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!


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