Thursday, September 29, 2016

Really God, THIS is Your Invitation of Love?

Image result for christ the bridegroom icon
God, Your love hurts!  

You know all too well of this painful love through Your sacrifice on the Cross.  Yet, You don’t act in our lives expecting an equal return, but only fidelity to the daily tasks asked of us.  

On the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mercy, my two sisters and I received a fuller outward sign of our consecration to Christ as His bride.  The Bridegroom demonstrates His self-gift through humbly and obediently accepting death; stripped of His outer garments, He seemingly has lost all, or has He gained all?  The icon of Christ the Bridegroom depicts brutality yet powerful omnipotence--paradoxical!  He is Whom I love and Whom my sisters and I were clothed in, yet this act was only a manifestation of the inward transformation slowly being done in hiding, in the secret of our hearts.

Formation in religious life is such a unique opportunity to die to oneself while also receiving insurmountable and unexplainable graces.  Honestly though, this is the faith any baptized Christian is called to live.  The paradox that underlines the foundations of our beliefs is challenging, yet we must not succumb to fear. Our human nature so easily allows fear to consume our being and paralyze us from living as authentically as we were created to be.  This emotion is unwarranted given Christ crucified and risen, yet we wrestle with understanding this merciful act of love.

God created the world out of nothing, so there is nothing He won’t do for us.  God simply IS:  present, alive, merciful, compassionate, loving, patient, faithful, a Father.  With this next step in formation, I must live in the Truth that God is not distanced from me.  Sure, I’m wounded and broken and in need of daily healing:  none of this is ‘too much’ for God (even though I can be treading water and seemingly drowning).

"Yes, my daughter, I invite you to love Me specifically through the crosses you encounter."

God’s invitation for me demands that I respond by offering Him my life through a consecration in religious life.  How is He begging you to love Him?  Offer yourself as a living sacrifice today!  Wounds will be formed, but only imitating those of Whom you follow.  Know that my sisters and I carry you in prayer!  How can we pray for you? My desire is to offer my Novitiate intensely for the intercessory needs of the Church. Every day, every moment is grace.  May you be filled today with such love.  United in the suffering and joys of life, we stand at the foot of the cross, in hope.  See you in the Eucharist!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Wisdom! Be Attentive!

V. J. E.

Image result for holy wisdom icon

This post actually has nothing to do with Byzantine spirituality, despite the title and this Russian icon of Holy Wisdom... but while I'm on the topic: Random shout out to our other half of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Double Stuff Oreo Cookies and Milk, haha! (Inside joke with the Sisters of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery) Love ya'll :D

This post is about my wisdom teeth extraction adventure this past Monday (yes, how fitting to have my teeth removed on the feast day of John the Baptist's beheading). The experience was quite emotional. For one, I went in knowing that I was receiving the service under the graciousness of a benefactor of our community, through the referral of another gracious benefactor of our community. While on the surface I thanked Divine Providence, I nevertheless asked questions of how to repay or at least show gratitude for such a gift?

We decided on sugar cookies. Despite the fact that these cookies are deliciously addicting, I didn't think they were enough. So we gave them a thank you card as well. But this too wasn't enough, so I did not cease to give the staff countless smiles and hugs and thank yous. Still, this was not enough. Then I realized that I could never do enough to repay such a gift.  And in this realization I felt overwhelming smallness.

Of course, on the part of any giver, there is simple happiness in being appreciated; indeed, to any giver, the very act of receiving, on part of the receiver, in gratitude and thanksgiving is repayment enough. But on my part, it was killing my pride not being able to repay in a big way for a big gift.

But isn't that such a stupid mentality? How does it ever make sense to match a gift with an equal or greater gift? Does not the first gift cease being a gift? Does it not rather become null and void? If I would have given a gift in gratitude for the service that cost just as much as the service, how is that different from simply paying for the service in the first place? Thus, there was something great to be learned in the midst of this adventure, namely, that Divine Providence does not wish and will not be out done in charity and the art of gift giving, or else it would cease to be Divine Providence... 

So, in His great mercy, seeing that I had not wisdom (teeth nor virtue), but rather four gaping holes in my mouth, the Lord filled me with holy wisdom...teehee #puns

On top of that, all the readings for Mass and even the Liturgy of the Hours this week have spoken about Wisdom...o the humor of God!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Vision Continued Part VII

The Queen’s Request 

Suddenly, my Lady stepped forward and stood in front of me. I had not noticed that her attire had been completely transformed from simply dress to royal garments. She was adorned as a queen with twelve stars about her head. Her mantle had turned into a regal cape of lace with a long train. Embroidered unto the train were the initials AM, one interwoven into the other and both pierced with a cross. Roses branched out from each side of the letters and twelve jewels lined the train, six on each side. She held my hand behind her and I stood on her train in the darkness, for her presence had cast a shadow upon me. To the King she began to speak these words: “If it should please the King, may this daughter of mine be brought up within my personal court, that she may one day be found worthy to be considered a suitable bride for your Majesty’s Son. The King agreed and I was brought back to earth for the vision was finally ended.

This is part seven of a seven part project. For the full story click here

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Vision Continued Part VI

The Main Hall 

The main hall was lit with many torches, and led to a massive stone double door. Carved within the
arching door post were the words Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. On each side of the door post were eight jewels with eight encircling jewels around each. On the center of the double doors was the image of a burning heart with rays of light coming forth from within it. There were two angels on either side of the heart with their faces hidden. To the sound of trumpet blasts, the doors opened and the Great Room was filled with glorious and piercing light. I could not see anything for the light was too bright. It did not come from lamps, for there were no lamps in all the Great Room. The light was coming from the One seated upon the throne. And so I knew that my Lady’s mantle could no longer hide my presence. Indeed, a deep resounding voice called out to me saying, “Come out.” I stepped out from underneath my Lady’s mantle and stood naked before the Majestic Light seated upon the throne. Nothing came between me and His scrutinizing gaze.

This is part six of a seven part project. For the full story click here

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Vision Continued Part V

My Perpetual Help (continued)

At one point and in my curiosity, I peered through her mantle and found that we were walking on a tight rope that had connected the first mountain to an even higher mountain. This higher mountain had an immense water fall coming forth from within and the waters were flowing down to the depths. I held on to her more strongly and she said “do not be afraid, am I not here who am your mother?”

This is part five of a seven part project. For the full story click here

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Vision Continued Part IV

My Perpetual Help (continued)

Then she told me that the journey had only just begun, but that I was now under her maternal
protection and she would not let me fall. She said “I shall be your guide, you shall only step where I step, when I step. Plant your feet firmly on top of mine, your left foot on my left and your right foot on my right.” And so, as I lay hidden within her mantle, I stood on top of her fee. She took a step forward and I immediately lost balance. Many times she attempted to walk but many times I failed to stay secure. I lamented and complained saying “is there not an easier way?” She replied, “Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, there is no other way.” After countless trials, I started to complain less about the fact that we had not progressed at all, and started to rejoice more in the fact that I was gaining better balance. Slowly we began to progress rather steadily and suddenly we were walking at a very quick pace. Yet we still journeyed for what seemed like an eternity.

This is part four of a seven part project. For the full story click here

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Vision Continued Part III

My Perpetual Help

Through my bitter tears, I prayed for aid and suddenly the mountain began to rumble and rise, and I
feared that I would fall off the side of the mountain. I realized the rumble was the sound of many carvings appearing beneath me, but I could not see what was being written below me. I looked above
me and I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, standing at the top of the mountain. She was
dressed in simple garments and a mantle of white. She stretched out her hands towards me and told me to grab a hold of her. I did as she said and she pulled me up over the cliff and drew me directly into her warm embrace. I dared not ask her who she was, for I already knew that she was Mary, my dear mother and surest refuge. I stayed in her embrace for what seemed like an eternity, and there I wept. As I cried, I felt the weight of a thousand worries being lifted from me, and I became as light as a cloud. Indeed, I became a little child in her arms, so she wrapped me underneath her mantle. I asked her what was being written on the side of the mountain when she was pulling me up over the cliff. She told me that all the names of my friends, family, benefactors, patron saints, indeed the entire communion of saints, all who had journeyed with me, prayed with me and for me, were lifting me up just enough to grab hold of her arms.

This is part three of a seven part project. For the full story click here
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