Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I think the following scripture (the 2nd reading from the feast day’s mass) from Philippians 2:6-11 sums up this feast perfectly:

Image by calibra (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by chaddyfynn (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Though He was in the From of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.

Rather, He took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that He humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!

Because of this, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every other name,

So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father:

JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

I cannot even begin to fathom the awesomeness of God’s mercy in giving us His son, Jesus, to suffer, die and rise for our salvation. It is simply mind-boggling. What an amazing love God has for us! What lengths He went to in order to assure our place in heaven and to bring us into relationship with Him!

May we today, and every day, remember that great love, especially when we go through struggles and difficulties. There is no suffering that we go through that will compare to the sufferings of Jesus. He knows the feelings of desolation, despair, and agony. And because of that, He is able to assist us and be with us in our suffering. Let us try to live in trust and hope knowing God will always be there for us!

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Ten Reminders of God’s Love for You

(I am reposting this because I think we all need reminders of God’s love every now and again. When we are struggling or hurting in various ways it is easy to forget that we are not alone. So, if you are struggling, I hope these reminders will give you some hope and courage. God bless.)

Reminders of God's Love

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This post is dedicated to my Aunt Miriam who passed away a few years ago. She was one of the first people to encourage me to read the bible and to dedicate my heart to Jesus. I loved her so much and still miss her dearly. She loved God and understood His great love for us. She also loved to read her bible and did so faithfully. The Bible is God’s love story to us, so if you need a reminder of how much God loves you, here’s ten of them:

1. “O Lord, your love reaches to heaven; your faithfulness, to the clouds.” Psalm 36:6

2. “With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.” Jeremiah 31:3

3. “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love, he will sing joyfully because of you.” Zephaniah 3:17

4. “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love John 15:9

5. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13

6. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal live.” John 3:16 (My personal, all-time favorite verse from Scripture!)

7. “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

8. “For I am convinced that either death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

9. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the holy ones, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:16-21

10. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet we are.” 1 John: 31

I pray that you are touched by God’s love today. I pray that whatever you are going through you will have the courage and faith to stay strong. Never forget: You are loved. You matter. Your presence makes a difference in this world!

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Tweetable: 10 Reminders of God’s Love For You

Is God’s Love Enough?

Has God ever punched you in the face? Not in the literal sense, of course, but in the way that you hear something and it just changes everything for you?

Is God's Love Enough?

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Well, He “punched” me about a month ago. I went to confession and when I was done telling my sins the priest says (among other things), “When we sin we are, in effect, telling God that His love isn’t enough for us.”

BOOM!

For some reason, those words rocked me to the core. “Of course, God’s love is enough! I go to Mass, I pray, I go to Confession regularly. I profess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and try to do right by him. Heck, I even have a blog to encourage other women with their walk with the Lord! Of course, His love is enough!”

BUT, is it? Really?

By definition, sin is a rejection of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125 (1850)

Thus, when I sin, I choose self-love, self-wants, and self-desires over God’s love. So, yes, when I sin I am telling God that His love isn’t enough. I am telling Him that my immediate self-gratification and my self-will is more important than His Holy and loving Will for me.

Thankfully, God’s love and mercy is bigger than my self-love. He knows my hearts, all of our hearts. He knows that we are small and petty and foolish and yet He loves anyway. He knows that we will reject Him – are sins nailed Jesus to the Cross! – and He continues to choose us anyway.

Since that confession, I’ve tried to remember those words. When I am tempted to impatience, anger or other sin, I try to remind myself that God’s love is enough. I don’t have to choose impatience or bitterness, or whatever. It hasn’t been perfect. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. But, guess what? That’s okay! His love is even enough for my failures!

God’s love is enough for you, too.

Whatever you are going through right now, try to think of those words. Are you suffering or in pain? God’s love is enough. Are you struggling with bitterness, anger or hatred? God’s love is enough. Are you lonely? God’s love is enough. Are you out of work or facing financial problems? God’s love is enough. I promise, no matter what you are going through, God’s love is enough.

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P.S. Know that I pray for my blog readers daily! If you have a specific intention you want me to pray for, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Traditionally, July is dedicated to honoring the Precious Blood of Jesus. It’s a devotion I knew nothing about until a few years ago. While we were visiting the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, GA one day, my husband picked up this book. The book contains some beautiful prayers and it got me wanting to learn more about the devotion to the Precious Blood.

Image by seostar (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by seostar (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

During my search, I discovered what the Church teaches about the devotion to the Precious Blood and I learned a little about the history of this devotion. I also found information here and here about the devotion and discovered that there’s even an association dedicated to the Precious Blood.

Additionally, I came across this website that has suggestions for activities for the Precious Blood. There are a lot of options available on the site; however, as I always do, I plan to keep it simple. My plan consists of making an effort to go to daily Mass more often, praying the Litany of the Most Precious Blood twice a week, and maybe a craft or two.

In spite of all the summer traveling that often goes on during July, I encourage you do something to honor Our Lord and the suffering He endured for our salvation – no matter how small. For more information and resources go here, or here, or here.

Of course, as always, I also invite you to share your activities we us. Leave a link in the comments!

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Corpus Christi: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

(repost)

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

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I will never forget watching an episode of Women of Grace  on EWTN a while back where the guest speaker said that only 30% of Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This statistic shocked me. Belief in the Real Presence is a central and essential doctrine of our Catholic faith. Truly, the Real Presence is part of the foundation of our Catholic faith. In fact, it is a non-negotiable article of faith; to be Catholic one must believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. However, the doctrine of the Eucharist remains a source of confusion and misunderstanding among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

There are many passages in the Bible that deal with the Eucharist. Most of us are aware of the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-30 and in all the gospels) and the “Bread of Life” discourse (John 6:22-69). The Catechism of the Catholic Church has whole sections that deal with the Eucharist (See Part 2, Section 2). Additionally, the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist has been spoken about by many saints. I highly recommend that you take a look at these references for yourself and pray about them. For now, I just want to do is give you, in a nutshell, is what it means to believe in the Real Presence:

Believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist means that at the consecration at Mass the bread and wine is transformed into the very real body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Although the physical appearance of the bread and wine do not change, they are no longer bread and wine but Jesus Himself.

This is hard for many people to accept. That is why so many walked away from Jesus (see John 6:66-67) when He said those words and why many are still walking away from Him in our own time. How is it possible that Jesus can be contained in the Eucharist? How can this happen? Those are valid questions. However, it is a sublime mystery and we trust Jesus at His word. The mystery of the Eucharist is a miracle. It is a gift from God Himself out of love for us. With God, all things are possible – including Jesus making Himself present in the Eucharist!

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Tweetables:

Corpus Christi: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

What  Catholics believe about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Saints and Feast Days for June 2016

Wow. We are almost halfway through 2016. Wow, wow, wow! June has my favorite solemnity, the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Anyway, without further ado:

Saints and Feast days in June

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Saints and Feasts

June 1St. Justin, Martyr (obligatory memorial)

June 3: Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (movable feast)

June 3: First Friday Devotions (optional)

June 4: Immaculate Heart of Mary (optional memorial – movable feast – day after Sacred Heart)

June 4: First Saturday Devotions (optional)

June 6: St. Norbert, bishop (optional memorial)

June 9: St. Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the church (optional memorial)

June 11: St. Barnabas, apostle (obligatory memorial)

June 13: St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (optional memorial)

June 21: St. Aloysius Gonzaga, religious (obligatory memorial)

June 22: St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop (optional memorial)

June 22: Sts. John Fisher, Bishop and Thomas More, Martyrs (optional memorial)

June 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

June 27: St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (optional memorial)

June 28: St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr (obligatory memorial)

June 29: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

June 30: The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (optional memorial)

Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

June 14: Flag Day (USA)

June 19: Father’s Day (always 3rd Sunday of June)

June 20: 1st of summer

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Tweetable: Saints and Feast Days in June 2016

Catholics and the Rosary

Rosary and bible

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In a previous post, I explained a little about the Catholic’s devotion to Mary. This week I want to write a little about the Rosary. Actually, a lot can be, and has been, said about the rosary and in an upcoming post I will point you to some resources that do a good job explaining why we pray the rosary.

However, before  I do, I want to point out one thing: Although we direct many of the prayers to Mary, the rosary is all about Jesus and meditating on the life of Jesus – and based on the Bible.

Let’s take a look at the mysteries of the rosary: During the Joyful mysteries, we meditate on the birth and early life of Christ, from when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary she would conceive a son, to the visitation to Elizabeth where John the Baptist “leaped for joy,” to the birth of Jesus, to His presentation in the temple and finally to His being found in the temple by Mary and Joseph.

During the Luminous mysteries, we contemplate Jesus’ public life. In the first mystery we think upon Jesus’ “baptism” by John. In the second we meditate on Jesus’ first miracle at Cana and the third mystery is centered on the proclamation of the kingdom and call to conversion. In the fourth mystery we meditate on the Transfiguration of Jesus and in the fifth we meditate on the Institution of the Eucharist.

The Sorrowful mysteries are centered on the suffering and death of Jesus. In the first mystery we accompany Jesus during his Agony in the Garden. In the second mystery we meditate on Jesus’ flagellation at the pillar. In the third mystery we see Jesus as he is mocked and receives the Crown of Thorns. In the fourth mystery we join Jesus as He carries His cross and in the fifth mystery we meditation on the Crucifixion and  death of Our Lord.

Finally, the Glorious mysteries allow us to rejoice in the great mysteries of the Resurrection (decade one) and Ascension of Jesus (decade two). In the third Glorious mystery, we meditate on the Descent of the Holy Spirit. In the fourth and fifth Glorious mysteries we honor Mary as she is Assumed into heaven and Crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

I also want to encourage you to take a closer look at the prayers of the rosary. The Apostle’s Creed, Our Father, Glory Be and even the Hail Mary are God-centered and Christ-centered prayers.

Even the Hail Mary is focused on Jesus. The first part of the Hail Mary comes from Gabriel’s greeting to Mary (from the gospel of Luke) and Elizabeth’s cry of joy (“blessed is the fruit of thy womb). In the second part of the prayer we are asking her to pray for us, just like we would ask our own mother to pray for us.

It would be impossible to expound on the rosary in this short post, but I hope you can begin to see how rich and Christ-centered the rosary is and why it is such an important devotion to Catholics. In tomorrow’s post I will share some links on the rosary that I trust you will find helpful.

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Tweetables:

Catholics and the Rosary

Did you realize that the Rosary is all about Jesus? It is!

Why do Catholics Worship Mary?

(I have had a few emails and questions about Mary and the rosary recently; thus, I am reposting this series.)

Mary

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May is the month traditionally dedicated to Mary, so I thought it would be good to talk about our Catholic devotion to her. A lot of non-Catholics, and sadly some Catholics, believe that Catholics worship Mary and that is simply not true.

Catholics HONOR Mary as the mother of Jesus. They DO NOT worship Mary. If they do, they are completely wrong and mislead. Worship belongs to God and God alone.

According to dictionary.com, to honor someone is to show “high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor” and to worship someone means  “reverent honor and homage paid” or “the object of adoring reverence or regard.”  See the difference? We give our worship to God but we honor Mary as the mother of Jesus.

You see, Mary is who she is BECAUSE of who Jesus is. She was given signal graces because she was chosen to be the mother of GOD. That is why we honor her and love her.

You can also think about it this way: usually, especially those of us who have a good relationship with our mothers, of course we would want others to respect our mothers. How much more would Jesus? Of course he would expect us to honor her and respect her, and so we Catholics do.

Our devotion to Mary is centered on Jesus, and ALL true devotion to Mary leads to Jesus – ALWAYS. If not, then there is something wrong with the devotion. 🙂  Speaking of devotions, if are looking for devotions to honor Mary this month, here are 7 Ways to Honor Mary.

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Have a question about the Catholic faith or confused about some Catholic doctrine or devotion? Contact me and I will do my best to answer your question in a future post. You can email me at carol (at ) simplecatholicliving (dot) com or use my contact page.

photo credit: Qfamily via photopin cc

Have Courage

We must always remember that no matter what happens in our lives, God has already won the victory in Christ Jesus. Our job is to take heart and to bear our trials with patience, even when it is not easy. Check out this encouraging quote by St. John of the Cross:

CourageandPersJohnofCross

There will be trials ahead, both personally and as a society, but if we remain fast, persevere with courage, and trust in the Lord, all will work out according to HIS plan, and for our greater good! God bless!

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Quote found at Catholicbible101

Thank You for the Prayers and an Update

Well, I didn’t plan on having a mini blogging break, especially so soon after Easter but I guess it was God’s will. It has certainly been a crazy couple of weeks! First of all, thank you for the prayers while my husband was in the hospital. He is home and doing much better, thankfully. He has to change his diet and get more exercise (don’t we all!) and follow up with a specialist.

With him out of the hospital, I was able to enjoy a trip to Virginia that was planned a long time ago. I went two of my friends and it was wonderful. However, with all that was going on, blogging fell by the wayside, but I think I can now get back on track. I will be posting the saints and feasts for May early next week, as well as the bible study. I also have lots of ideas for posts and I am hoping to start a Periscope series soon! Of course, all of this will be according to God’s will.

Jesus, I trust in you! So thank you again for the prayers, they mean so much!