Monday, April 25, 2011

If the Grass is Greener on the Other Side...

"If the grass is greener on the other side, then it's time to water your own grass!"

He is Risen, Alleluia! Happy Easter!

Even though there is so much happening in the world -- political unrest, natural disasters, financial instability for many, and so many people hurting from life situations, there is always hope! We know that God is ultimately in control and that, as Romans 8:28 says,

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

This Easter Season, let us cling to the Rock of Christ, the One Risen from the Dead -- He will take care of everything in every situation . . . probably not the way we envision it, but God's ways are always better than ours!

How would one "water their own grass"? Easy -- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. Did you know that the Eucharist is the Risen Christ?! When we receive Him, we are receiving the Risen Lord! We are, in a certain sense, allowing God to live in us and to share in His Divinity! We weak human beings desperately need this.

During this beautiful Easter Season, take advantage of the Gift of the Eucharist (and frequent reconciliation). If you cannot recieve Him for some reason, then make spiritual communions. That's what the saints do -- they make spiritual communions as often as possible throughout the day. Only He can heal us and give us the strength we need to be like Him.

Blessings to all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

St. Francis and the Cross

This is St. Francis trying to comfort Jesus in His sufferings on the Cross. To St. Francis, it was (is) very important to meditate on the sufferings of Christ. In fact, St. Francis thought that he was the biggest sinner in the world. He said this because he realized that he had been given so many graces and he was still a sinner. He spent years crying over his sins. In this world of self-centeredness, let us take a step back during Holy Week to cry over our sins. Let us examine our consciences and ask the Holy Spirit to show us where and how we have offended Him. (We should do this all the time so that we can grow closer to Him, but this week is a great time to concentrate on this in a special way.)

Regarding the last two posts on the "Self-Emptying Love of Christ" -- let us continue on this mediation as well. We can strive, with God's grace, to "empty ourselves" out of love of God and our neighbor, but we must also fill ourselves with Christ and His Love. If we only empty ourselves, we will not be happy. The joy of the Christian life is in our being FILLED with God and allowing that Love to overflow to others!

We also mentioned in the last post about a deeper way to love -- to believe that the other person is more important than oneself. The key to this is that both husband and wife (if married), or everyone in the Community (if in a Relgious Community), treat each other this way. Yes, this is a higher way of thinking (actually, a higher way of loving) -- but just imagine a household truly striving to live this way! Jesus showed us how to love when He came to live with us, die for us, and then rise for us. We can ask Him for the grace to do the same!

Chris Sligh sings a song called, "Empty Me". Maybe it's appropriate for our meditation this week:

God bless you all! Be filled with God and His awesome and abundant love!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Self-Emptying Love of Christ, cont.

Sorry this picture isn't very clear. Just try to imagine Jesus after He has given us everything. He has totally poured Himself out for love of us! His body is still nailed, but now lifeless after He has commended His Spirit to His Father. His side is pierced and the little that was left in Him has poured out from His Sacred Heart. This statue brought me to tears the other day. I (Sr. M.M.) was imagining what my husband would have been like if I would have gotten married instead of becoming a Sister. I was hoping that my husband would have poured himself out for love of me (Yes, I've been reading Theology of the Body books). Then I looked at this crucifix, and realized that my Husband has poured Himself out for love of me! He has totally given of Himself so that you and I can live! What an awesome realization.

John 15:13: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

This is the key to happiness! We were made by God for this! To "lay down our lives" (according to our vocation) for those we love. There is always a "resurrection" for those who lay down their lives in this way. This is why Christians are happy. They have found the secret.

Yesterday I (Sr. M.M.) was listening to a talk in the car called "Holiness in the Sexual Relationship". I was listening to it to see if it could be used for married couples or to give to my friends who are married. The speaker was Annie Vining from TOBET. (see link)

One point on this CD hit me hard: We are to live as if the other person is more important than I am. The speaker stressed the difficulty in this and the grace (and years) needed to strive for this way of perfection. To me, it was showing me more what it means to live the "self-emptying love of Christ". The speaker was referring to marriage and to intimate love. I transferred it to me and how I can live better as a Sister and friend.

May you have a grace-filled Holy Week and an Awesome Easter! God bless you all!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Self-Emptying Love of Christ

We thought about naming this post as "Want to Get Married Someday?" (read on)

This beautiful crucifix hangs in the sanctuary at St. Elizabeth's Church in Lubbock (next to the Texas Tech Student Center). It is a wonderful representation of the "kenosis" (self-emptying) love of Christ. This is the love that God is modeling for us! This is the love called for in Ephesians 5 for the husband to love his wife like Christ loves the Church. This is the love that God calls all Christians to!

Never fear! God's grace is powerful. If God calls, He gives the grace. We can grow into this kind of love. It starts with our desire to be truly united to Him and with Him in our sufferings and joys. We then allow God to change us through prayer and saying yes to Him every day. He even takes sinful people like us and transforms us if we let Him.

There's an awesome section in this book which is too long to quote here, but this will give you a taste:

"The power of the cross of Jesus actually communicates strength through the sacraments to the believer to live the moral life: 'It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy spirit, in the sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer[,] that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God's holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships.'"

(The Human Person - According to John Paul II, p. 178)

Wow. God's very grace comes from the pierced side of Christ. After being pierced, His heart was totally empty.

Lord, help us to love in a self-emptying way. Help us to be self-forgetful for love of you and our neighbors!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Visitors!

God is good! We love having visitors that are wanting to know more about Religious Life, discernment, and prayer. This is our last crew from last weekend.

When God has an open heart that is truly seeking His Will in all things, He does amazing things in them! Our prayer for you is that you will trust Him so much, that you will open your heart more and more to whatever His is leading you through! May your Lent experience be fruitful with the Lord of Love!