"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
“What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.” ~Pope Saint John Paul II
Wow, Pope Saint John Paul II said it so well; not sure if there is anything left to say.
But I will try ...
The ultimate purpose of our life is to love.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” ~ Mk 12:30
Love God!! Love God with a pure and humble heart. Empty yourself before Him. When we let go of ourselves and allow Our Lord to use us, His graces will flow! When we empty ourselves, we will discover something beautiful. We will be filled with a joy so abundant and powerful, so natural that our real selves will shine. We will be moving along on our spiritual journey letting our love show...ready to use our gifts for the love of our God.
As it was written by Saint Faustina in her diary, “The Lord answered me, “My daughter, love has brought Me here, and love keeps Me here. My daughter, if you knew what great merit and reward is earned by one act of pure love for Me, you would die of joy. I am saying this that you may constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul. This act is an act of the will. Know that a pure soul is humble. When you lower and empty yourself before My majesty, I then pursue you with My graces and make use of My omnipotence to exalt you.” (Saint Faustina Diary, #576)
Listen to these words again, “Constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul” Love unites us, love binds us together, humble love calls God to pursue us with His graces. We are blessed and made whole by His love.
We hear this verse below all the time, but this time I want you to read it slowly. Reflect upon these words, reflect with humility, reflect with emptying of self.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We all have that kind of love in our hearts; the choice is to let it out and into the world.
“Truly, every person was created with a desire and need in his or her heart to love God and feel His love. But it is what we choose to do with this desire—act upon it or ignore it—that draws us closer to the Father or away from Him. There are three specific reasons the Lord placed this desire for Him in our hearts. First, when we enter into a loving relationship with God, He is able and willing to offer His wisdom to guide us (James 1:5). Second, when we accept the Father’s love, we will be open to becoming the people He created us to be, living to our fullest potential. And third, when we embrace the Lord’s love, we will begin to see people and circumstances as He sees them—from the vantage point of His love. In light of this, why would anyone choose to refuse God’s love? If you are ready to reap the benefits of God’s perfect love, reach out to Him in prayer today. Ask Him to help you overcome the hindrances so that you may rejoice in His everlasting and tender care.” ~ SOURCE: In Touch Ministries
Let us pray,
Lord, I know my love is not perfect for You. I know you have placed the desire within me. Help me, this day, to open my heart more fully to You. Purify my love for you, allow me to love You above all things. You deserve my total and pure love. I thank you for the joy you have blessed me with, may I share this joy with others. If today, I do not feel your love, allow me to trust in you. Allow me to know Your love is there and is always there for me. Allow me to choose Your love and to accept it with open arms. Allow me to understand and feel Your mercy. Thank you, Jesus. Jesus I trust in You because I know that in my heart and in my soul, Love is all that matters.
Day 7 ... Los Arcos to Logrono ... 30 kms, 19miles
Today was one of our first full sunny days. Sunny but blessed with lots of clouds and cool breezes. Still it made for a long day into Logrono. Those last few kms are always a killer.Your body is tired and your brain knows it is close. So guess what, the body aches a little more than usual. For me, the most mental part of the day is those last few kms.
So here we were, about 4 kms outside of Logrono. Luca who was walking with us and from Argentina, decided to start calling Albergues to make a reservation because it was getting late in the day. Due to the number of pilgrims on the path nowadays, it doesn't hurt to make a reservation. This is when I learned that some Albergues take reservations.
As we continued walking in the late afternoon with the sun beating down on us at this point, we were all ready for a shower and a bed. We kept hearing Luca say, "Ok, Gracias" each time you could hear the disappointment in his voice. He kept trying one right after another. Only to find out that every Albergue and some of the smaller Hotels were booked for the night. We then realized it was a Saturday, this big town had a lot going on this weekend, and this town had no rooms. After walking for seven days, we had picked up our own little pilgrim family. There were eight of us. Which made it even harder to find a reservation, but you know what? We never thought of splitting up, we were a family and we were going to do this together!
We walked into Logrono with tired feet and a weary heart. We stayed positive and headed to the Church. We all had heard, when there are no beds, go to the church.
I will never forget the moment we knocked on that door. We were tired, hot, sleepy, thirsty, hungry and just wore out. I remember looking at the gentleman when he opened the door, we probably had desperation in our eyes. I believe I even held my hands in a prayerful manner as we asked if they had a bed. He said, "he wasn't sure he had 8 beds, but some could sleep on mats." He then said, "come on in and relax, while we see what we can do" He led us into a room, I think I floated into it.
I didn't care if we had to wait, it was air conditioned with chairs. We sat, took our shoes off and some of us even headed to the showers.
I remember sitting there and saying a short prayer. After about 30 mins, the gentleman came into the room and said he had 6 beds and they could put two of us on mats. We had are own little celebration. Now for the big surprise, the cost. Nothing! Donation only! It also included a community dinner, breakfast and a private prayer service in the church after dinner. It was absolutely perfect, we couldn't ask for more.
We were fed an amazing dinner of Paella. We ate as a family, shared where we were from, and sang a song for prayer "Ultreria"
After dinner, we gathered in the choir seats of the church for our prayer service. They handed out prayers in all different languages. We each took a turn saying a prayer in our own language. This community of the church was overwhelming. To hear all the prayers said in all the different languages, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Korean and even more! It was beautiful.
Tears of joy were definitely streaming down my face and many others!
After prayer it was time to clean up the kitchen and head to bed. We all took turns washing and drying. When one was washing, we formed a massage line. Everyone was getting their shoulders massaged! We all learned who gave the best massages.
Here again, the Camino has reminded me to always trust in Our Lord. He always takes care of us. Jesus, I trust in you!
Even when we didn't think there was a bed for our head, all we could do was walk. Moment by moment, step by step we made our way into Logrono. Praying every step of the way, trusting that all will be well. Not only was it well, it was beautiful.
So let us remember, when its looking like the path is getting difficult.
step by step,
prayer by prayer
trusting in Our Lord.
Our Lord will give us an answer better than we could imagine.
He always makes a rainbow out of a storm!
Pope Francis tells the inmates at Regina Coeli prison present for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper that Jesus risks himself by serving others because he loves so much.
By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis, speaking off the cuff during his homily during the Mass of the Lord's Supper at Regina Coeli prison, contextualized the Gospel passage from John in which Jesus washes his disciples’ feet.
Jesus does what a slave does
He explains that this was a task done by slaves. After having dirtied their feet on the dusty roads, people would return home. As soon as they entered their house, a slave would provide the “service” of washing their feet. “Jesus wants to do this service to give us an example of how we must serve one another,” Pope Francis says.
Those who command must serve
The Pope then brought up the passage where two disciples “who wanted to climb the corporate ladder” asked Jesus to give them the most important places. After looking at them with love like he always did, Jesus told them they didn’t know what they were asking. He described what those in positions of power do: “command and make others serve them.” In thinking of times past, Pope Francis says that there have been many kings and cruel people who have made slaves of other people. But Jesus says it must not be this way with us. “The one who commands must serve,” the Pope reminds us. “Jesus overturns the historical cultural habits of that time, but also of our own day.” If only the kings and emperors of the past had understood Jesus’ teaching and had served instead of commanding and killing, "so many wars would never have happened," Pope Francis observes.
Jesus serves today in me
Turning to those present, Pope Francis told them that Jesus tells those discarded by society that they are important. “Jesus serves us today, here in Regina Coeli.” Jesus risks himself for each person. Jesus does not know how to wash his hands of people. He knows how to risk for his name is Jesus, not Pontius Pilate. In going after the lost sheep, Jesus risks being wounded, Pope Francis asserts.
“I am a sinner like you. But I represent Jesus today,” Pope Francis confessed. He then invited the prisoners to think of the fact, as their feet were being washed by him, that “Jesus took a risk with this man, a sinner, to come to me to tell me that he loves me. This is service. This is Jesus. Before giving us himself in his body and blood, Jesus risked himself for each one of us—risked himself in service—because he loves us so much.”
Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. Yes, you heard me. Ash Wednesday is next week, Feb 14th to be exact. Valentines Day is Ash Wednesday. I can't believe its already here.
Are you ready? What will you do for Lent?
So, here we are again. 40 days to prepare. We are called to deepen our spiritual lives. We have been given the tools, fasting, prayer and almsgiving. So what are you going to do? Lets join this gym for our spiritual life and get to work. Participating in these practices improves our spiritual well being. Lets strip away all that is unnecessary. Lets focus on God. Lets open our eyes and our hearts and become more mindful of how God is working in our lives.
Are you ready to walk into the desert?
(As I was writing this, I found this writing below on another blog. It was perfect, so I hope you enjoy it)
The desert is a dry, dusty, desolate place. Our winter landscape covered with snow in some ways resembles a desert of sorts. The monastic tradition of desert connotes caves, silence, solitude and a withdrawal from people. The desert offers a place for inner reflection and contemplation to encounter our relationship with God and self.
Do you remember singing this song as a child? I do and I loved singing this song. It always made me feel so special. I would sing it in the car, riding my bike, I would sing it everywhere. No matter where I was, if I started singing this song my friends would join in.
How about you? Did it make you feel special? Did it make you feel like a child of God and so proud to shine?
My question is this, when did we lose this? When did we stop shining? When did we stop singing?
Lets go back to that childlike love, that childlike enthusiasm, that childlike joy. Sit and remember that Child. Let go of what the world has told you or showed you. Let go of what you think of yourself (if its not loving). Let go of all the lies you have told yourself. Let go of the fear and lets shine!
Now repeat after me and lets sing together:
Marianne Williamson says it so well in her book, A Return to Love...
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen