Hope~A Blog on Prayer and Reflection
11 December, 2018
What Will You Give Jesus for His Birthday?
Do you remember the song of the Little Drummer Boy?
“I have no gift to bring…….That's fit to give our king”
What gift will you bring to our King for His birthday?
Reflecting upon this, I have thoughts as to what gifts I would like to offer Jesus and I would like to share my “Jesus Gift List” with others. Of course, before deciding on our offerings, prayer, reflection and a long honest look at ourselves are necessary. Honest self-reflection is difficult for in this, we must face our dark side and, like it or not, we all have one. I can’t speak for others. I can only examine myself and I do this by going deeply within and, with willingness, recognize the dark side of my heart and soul. Then, with sincere commitment to obey, ask that Jesus will tell me what He would like me to offer Him. I don’t think He is asking for these things just for His birthday. I believe He would like them every day, so my prayer begins with the request that He will give me the strength to give what He asks. With hope that the gifts I want to offer are the gifts He wants, I bring my list to Him and, in reflection, I see Him smiling and nodding in agreement.
First and foremost, I offer my love and my commitment to keep Him in the center of my life always and in all ways.
I want to give him any and all of my human frailties. I know He will gift them back to me but first He will bless them so that they may change, and when He returns them to me, they will have changed from dark to light. It is then, my choice to work to keep that light above darkness.
I want to give Him my life; every aspect of it, completely and with the understanding that I am not, nor have I ever been in control of it.
I want to give Him my judgments, prejudices, selfishness, ingratitude, pride, and insecurities. I want to purge attachments, live more simply and with greater gratitude. I want to give him the seeds that are obedience, humility and charity and ask that he water these seeds so that they may blossom.
And my trust! I want to give Him complete trust.
I have no gold, frankincense, or myrrh. Neither do I have a drum or a song but I have kindness and love for others and I know that Our Precious Lord values this. After all, did He not say, “love your neighbor as yourself?”
May you enjoy a peace-filled and prayerful Advent.
19 October, 2018
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
~ Saint Ambrose ~
With our world in turmoil, we often tend to focus upon the negative and forget to give thanks for the blessings we have been given. This Thanksgiving, we would like to share with you a few quotes on gratitude given to us by our saints and others who possessed the gift of wisdom.
We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. May you always remember to offer prayers of thanksgiving to our Creator who, although we may not always understand them, never withholds blessings.
“In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.”
~ Saint Teresa of Avila ~
“O God, grant that whatever good things I have, I may share generously with those who have not…. “
~ Saint Thomas Aquinas~
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.”
~ Saint Gianna Beretta Molla ~
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”
~ Saint Mary Euphrasia ~
“Get used to lifting your heart to God, in acts of thanksgiving, many times a day. Because he gives you this and that. Because you haven’t what you need or because you have. Thank him for everything, because everything is good.”
~ Saint Josemaria Escriva ~
"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~
“The greatest saint in the world is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice. It is he who is most thankful to God and who has a heart always ready to praise God. This is the perfection of all virtues. Joy in God and thankfulness to God is the highest perfection of a divine and holy life.”
~ William Law ~
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”
~Marcus Tullius Cicero~ (106 BC-43 BC)
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road."
~ John Henry Jowett ~
"When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude."
~ Elie Wiesel ~
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26 August, 2018
Spending Time with Jesus
At one time or another, you were probably asked, “If you could spend one hour with anyone from history, who would you choose?” Most Christians would answer, “Jesus.” If you have a clear understanding of our faith, you know that you can spend an hour with Jesus. You can be with Him, pray to Him, talk to Him and listen to Him. You know this to be true because you know that He is present in the Blessed Sacrament. He is present in the monstrance that is holding and protecting that Eucharist. Such a gift! He is in a chapel waiting for you. There are no words to adequately describe time spent with Our Lord during Eucharistic Adoration. How do you communicate the sense of peace, the depth of prayer or the joy experienced when you are in the presence of Jesus? How do you communicate the sadness you feel when you, in His Divine Presence, contemplate the sacrifices and suffering He took on for you? You cannot communicate it. You cannot describe it because what you are experiencing cannot be put into words. It can only be experienced and that experience is between you and Jesus. Just you and Him. And that experience is more important in this time than ever before.
Peter Kreeft, a philosopher at Boston College, said, "Adoration will heal our Church and thus our nation and thus our world... Adoration touches everyone and everything... [Because it touches the Creator, Who touches everything and everyone]... When we adore, we plug into infinite dynamism and power. Adoration is more powerful for construction than nuclear bombs are for destruction."
Go to Him. Tell Him you love Him. Ask Him to help you love Him better and know that the deeper we love Our Lord, the deeper we love our neighbor. Ask Him to help you become more forgiving and know that in this, we shall more easily forgive those who have hurt us. Once you have asked, come to a place of quietude and listen. Listen trusting that He is answering you. If we all spent an hour, just one hour a week in Adoration, putting aside our busyness and listening with our souls and hearts instead of our ears, imagine the love that could reverberate throughout this world. Remember the lyrics to the hymn, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me?” We have to begin somewhere. Where is better than with Our Precious Lord?
This article is sponsored by Holyart.com
Truly unique sacred items
15 November, 2016
This election was probably the ugliest in history. The candidates were ugly and that, in itself, is bad enough but what is worse is the ugliness and hatred brought out in its aftermath.
Throughout my life, I have always tried to help the downtrodden. I spent years volunteering with people with AIDS. Among these people were black, white, veterans, gays, Latinos, drug addicts, wealthy and poor. I voted for Donald Trump so I have been called a racist.
I have always been a person who would take from myself to help another but I feel it is time we stop giving free everything to people who are adept at working the system and begin helping those who are truly in need; like the elderly who have to choose between food or medication. I have been called uncharitable.
I don’t want refugees left out in the cold with no food or shelter. I want that we help them but I also believe that we need some type of screening so that we are not, while helping the good, bringing in those who want to harm us. I have been called unchristian.
All my life, I have had friends who are gay. I wept when we lost friends to AIDS. I sat with those who were grieving when they lost loved ones. I love our gay friends. I have been called homophobic.
I am opposed to abortion. I am pro-life. I hate the fact that a late term (or any term) baby can be aborted; that their tiny bodies whose hearts are beating can be literally ripped apart and thrown into a garbage pail and there is no remorse for this brutal action. But this is not brought up when I am being chastised.
I am Catholic and I want the right to worship freely as a Catholic and not be told that I must change my religious beliefs to suit the system. I will not apologize for that.
I have seen some ugly posts and ugly actions in regard to this election. Here’s what I have not seen:
I have not seen Liberals admit that Margaret Sanger (the woman who started Planned Parenthood and who was much admired by Hillary Clinton) began Planned Parenthood as a means to cleanse the earth of who she believed to be undesirables. (“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” ~ Margaret Sanger)
And while they are screaming for Donald Trump’s organization to be investigated, I have not seen Liberals admit that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and donations to the Clinton Foundation have mysteriously found their way into the Clinton’s pockets.
I don’t understand how any Catholic can justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate but I will have to answer to God for my soul, not theirs. Neither will I bring my soul to the level of name calling and intentionally hurting people whose opinions differ from my own. If I loved you before this election, I love you today.
I just find it so ironic that those who want equality, togetherness and fairness are the ones who are protesting, rioting and using words; cruel words and name calling to get their point across.
Perhaps God has had it with the anti-God society and decided to step in and give us a change for at least four years?
11 August, 2016
“Religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to expand abortion.
“The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,”
“In order to expand worldwide access to abortion, deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
With the upcoming election, there is much discussion on abortion. For me, it is difficult enough to hear a non-Christian’s pro-choice views but when I hear a pro-abortion view spew out from the mouth of a Christian, I find it cringe worthy.
Let me be clear. I claim to be neither a theologian nor a scientist but I am a Catholic Christian who respects the sanctity of human life from beginning to end, and I am saddened by men and women who call themselves Christians but are in favor of abortion.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly teaches:
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
(Full article below)
For those who argue that an embryo is not a life, perhaps this article from Princeton University (along with all its attached links) will help paint a clearer image:
"Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote." "Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
Life Begins at Fertilization with the Embryo's Conception
Abortion is an intrinsic evil:
Combining the above information, Saint John was very clear when he wrote:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
1 John 1: 5-7
We go through lie facing challenges and making choices. We help or we ignore. We forgive or we remain in a place of non-forgiveness. We set our priorities and, in doing this, we either put God at the top of our list or we become quite adept at making excuses for being luke warm and placing Him at the bottom. Either way, there will come a time, be it sooner or later, when we will have to face our God. He is our judge. He is a loving, generous and forgiving God but we should never ignore the fact that He is a just God. When my time comes, I’ll have much to answer for. I make no excuses for my sins but I know that He watches me sees that each day is an adventure in working to become better. I trust in His love and forgiveness so I am not afraid to face Him but I would be absolutely afraid if I had to explain why I was in favor of, or had any part in, the killing of an innocent baby. If you are among those whose mantra is, “I am Christian but I am pro-choice,” please rethink your chant. Pray about it. Reflect on it. Research the horrors of abortion. Watch graphic abortion videos on You Tube. Consider the body parts of aborted babies that are thrown in trash bins behind abortion clinics. Research Margaret Sanger who said in regard to blacks, immigrants and indigents:"...human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born (http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm ). Come to understand that when a woman says, “I have a right to choose what I do with my body,” that it is not her body whose head is being jammed with a scissors. Take a few minutes to read this: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/abortiontypes/
And if, after you have considered each of these points and are still not convinced that abortion is wrong, remember John’s words, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”
I and my pro-life brethren are praying for you.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82
2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83
"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84
"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
“America you are beautiful…and blessed…. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”
~Saint John Paul II~
copyright Marilyn Nash 2016