Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Great I Am In The Great Outdoors

We've recently been blessed to spend some free time in the great outdoors.  I never cease to be amazed at the wonder of God's creation...It often leaves me speechless.  Yet one thing I can manage to "say" is that it is here where I find the Great I Am, the One and only God who created the universe.  Next to the Sacraments, it is where I find heaping measures of peace.  
Words can hardly describe the beauty in nature that is vast, yet simple.  It is true that "Simple things make us happy because they take us beyond time.  They just smell eternal."~Peter Kreeft~
I ask myself why we don't take time to enjoy the simple, more often?...After all, it is here where the window to our soul opens wide, ready to receive grace, like much-needed fuel for our life's journey.
Spending a little time with nature reminds us that we really do need to make more time to appreciate the world around us, just waiting beyond our doorsteps...The Great I am beckons.  He calls us to Himself in more ways than one.
This poem came flying out of my heart and on to paper during one of my recent Holy Hours... 
The Monstrance Outside The Door...
All of nature is a monstrance that holds the very heart of God.  His hand in creation lies right before our eyes, yearning for us to gaze upon it in wonder.
His majesty enthroned on the altar steps out into the open for all to see, hear, feel, and touch.
The tiny, white, host, makes Himself known.
Yet how many still do not see Him?
Like a canvas, He opens His arms to welcome all of us.
The magnitude of His landscape is impossible to discriminate. A natural monstrance that holds God Himself is right before our eyes, just outside our door. His face is eternally exposed.
Heavenly grace bursts through the golden gate, cascading down into our souls.
He seeks us in our brokenness and washes us with a wonderful flood of love and mercy.
Each inhale and exhale can be a spiritual communion, a cleansing, a constant prayer of thanksgiving.
Behold, the Savior of the world...
Come, let us praise Him.
All of nature is a monstrance that holds the very heart of God.
Come, let us adore Him.
Our summer has been blessed with many wonders...
both large and small.
 Our beautiful Church teaches us that God calls each of us to Christian Beatitude, that our true happiness come from God alone, the source of every good and of all love.
  We are invited to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else.  It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone. (CCC 1718-1723) How blessed we are that He comes to us in many forms, daily, that we might see His face. 
"Because of God's goodness towards us, and because He can do all things, he goes so far as to grant those who love Him the privilege of seeing Him..." (CCC 1722)
We hope to carry these moments in our hearts as a reminder that the Great I Am is always waiting for us, especially when we open our eyes to see Him in all things, all around us..

It is only in stepping out of our world that we truly SEE!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saying Farewell To Grandpa

A great man, husband, father, and grandpa left this earth on Monday...My husband's Dad, Rudy.
It's never easy to bid farewell to those we love...
As prepared as we hope to be, we still want more time in this life.  Through their tears, we try to explain to the children that we are made for more than this life and a better home awaits us all.  We pray for Grandpa that he will be basking in the light of his Eternal home until we meet again.
Rudy's greatest wish was for his wife, Sybil, to be taken care of after he was gone...He was the ultimate gentleman.  My husband Rod made it home from Scout camp just in time to hold his father's hand and tell him of his promise to take care of Mom.  Shortly after those words were spoken, Rudy silently passed the torch to his son and departed this earth.  It was a beautiful love story and a legacy that we pray will live on in our lives forever.
God Bless Grandpa Rudy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Patriotic Father's Day Gift

Just thought I'd share this cute hand-made Father's Day gift that the girls made for Dad this year.  I loved this particular idea because it's great for all ages, it's easy, and I had all of the materials at home.*Bonus* Our 9yo made the pen/pencil holder on top and our 4yo made this one:
Our patriotic Dad loved them both...One for home and one for the Fire Station:)
Empty food can
Acrylic paint (red, white, and blue)
I also thought these would be a cute craft for the 4th of July.  They would make great utensil holders! Fill them with sand and they would also make festive candle holders, both inside and out!  These luminary cans were the original inspiration for our Father's Day gift.

God Bless all Fathers on this special day of honor...Both living, deceased, and our spiritual Padres too!
Prayer to St. Joseph for Father's Day:

Saint Joseph, guardian of Jesus
and chaste husband of Mary,
you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty.
You supported the holy family of Nazareth
with the work of your hands.
Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you.
You know their aspirations,
their hardships, their hopes.
They look to you because they know
you will understand and protect them.
You too knew trial,
labour and weariness.
But amid the worries of material life,
your soul was full of deep peace
and sang out in true joy
through intimacy with God’s Son entrusted to you
and with Mary, his tender Mother.
Assure those you protect that they do not labour alone.
Teach them to find Jesus near them
and to watch over Him faithfully as you have done.

Courtesy of UCatholic

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

This is our dessert tonight...Easy and scrumptious Strawberries and Creme Cake!  The recipe is courtesy of my friend Patty, over at Reasons for Chocolate.  We just followed her recipe, using a heart-shaped cake pan, and added the strawberry decor:)  The recipe calls for more yummy topping to add when serving...Yum! I thought this would also be a great recipe for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, maybe using chocolate chips to make the thorn design...Just a thought;)  

Tonight, we are also celebrating Father's Day since our Dad will be gone to Scout camp tomorrow.  The littlest gal in our family exclaimed: "It's a heart cake and it's perfect because we love Jesus, Mary, and Daddy."  Don't think I could have said it better myself:)

"Mary is the heart of the Church."~St. Anthony Mary Claret~

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Love For Greater Glory

Last night, I had the privilege of seeing the new movie For Greater Glory.  First let me preface this post by noting that I am no movie critic by any means, nor have I really read many of the reviews that are out there.  Ultimately, this is just my personal reflection about a movie that deeply touched me.

I have heard others speak about the parallels of this movie to the current religious freedom issues in our own country.  This is definitely a haunting theme.  But to me, the movie is much more than that.  The human experience in this movie is capable of triggering a great explosion of love.  Love is no great secret yet it's true meaning is often lost in the day to day shuffle of the meaningless.  "Love" often sounds cliche to a deaf ear but it runs deep in this movie.  I don't mean love in the romantic or shallow sense of the word but love in the deepest recesses of our soul...Only the love that God provides, only the love that God IS, only the love that sacrifices, only a love that is true.
It's the eyes of some of the characters that still bring me to tears...They spoke this love.  Their eyes were powerful reminders that the eyes really are a window to the soul.  When we look into the eyes of those around us, we are capable of expressing God's love in the truest sense, beyond words.  On the other hand, we can also do damaging harm with our eyes.  Do we shoot daggers or do we show Christ? Let's face it, we all need tangible human love to show us the love of God; We are no different from those who are hardest to love or even from those who seemingly have it all holy and figured out.  Every human being needs love to live.   After all, we are human and God knew we would need the tangible, we need one another.  That being known, it's no accident that He left us Himself through the Holy Eucharist as the tangible source and summit of our faith.
In the movie, I saw the eyes become a domino effect of love, leading to God's ultimate glory; Each act of love built on another...  In the beginning, the Monsignor's eyes of love spoke to the boy that he was worthy and chosen; The boy's eyes spoke love right back to the Monsignor and in turn, spoke to the General that God is truth and everything worth dying for;  The boy's eyes also shot love through the heart of his Godfather who betrayed him. In the end, a Mother's eyes gave the ultimate gift of her son for love, followed by the General's eyes that spoke to the priest in brotherly love as they sought mutual forgiveness and the greater good for God's glory.  Like a musical crescendo, Love begets more love.
 The explosion of love and sacrifice at the end of the movie stirs the spirit, to say the least.  As I wept with swollen eyes, I realized that I wept out of a desire to love more.  The love of the characters in the movie should be a reflection of ourselves.  It begs us to answer some questions.  Am I a reflection of God's love?  I find myself pondering this right now, especially this weekend with the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  There are many people who are starving for love all around us and how will our eyes look at them?   How will I sacrifice myself so that others will know Christ, just as we know His sacrificial love in the Eucharist?   We may just be called to sacrifice our lives in a literal way someday but in the meantime, we are also called to sacrifice ourselves in small ways, each day. 

We may never know how the domino affect of love plays out in this life but we can be guaranteed of it's path to the heart of the Father, the climax of real love. Let us not be afraid to use our eyes and our actions to shine the light of God's true and everlasting love into the souls of our brothers and sisters, lest we forget to put ourselves aside for others.
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."~John 15:13~

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