Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mission Critical!!


 
Kristen M. Soley

Years ago I read that the primary mission of the family is to get each other to heaven. Having seven children, of whom five are boys, the thought getting each other to heaven as fulfilling a critical mission, seemed the perfect approach to sainthood. Further to this point, understanding that God’s plan is perfect and has chosen each family member for our sanctification (growth in holiness), there is no more perfect person than each family member to aid us in this critical mission.

Everything that happens to us, good, or seemingly not so good, is by God’s hand; gently aiding our growth in virtue. For our family, He Wills for us joy through successes, peace through time spent in prayer, safety through our angel's prayers, wisdom through learning, laughter through recreation, character built through work, His love through us given to each other, and ultimately union with Him through full surrender to His Divine Will. He also wills that we grow in patience through trials, fortitude through hurt feelings, perseverance through enduring long days without sufficient rest, meekness when we hit sensory overload, forgiveness when we have things stolen from us, mercy when we lose a friend (if only for five minutes), humility when our pride is pricked, and surrender when we feel unappreciated. These are a mere sampling of all the opportunities family life provides, and are not dissimilar to His life on earth. Each of these opportunities allows us to grow in virtue; to be more like Him.  

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10 NASB)

Our family has taken this mission, as given directly from our Commander and Chief, God Himself. Therefore, in our home, we begin each morning with family prayer. As we close our prayer, either my husband or I, with team-captain enthusiasm, pose the question, “What is our Mission?” To which we all cheer, “To get each other to heaven!” This is followed by the question, “What are we going to do today to get each other to heaven?” Which is followed with the children cheering loudly the following:

· “Be kind and share!
· Do the right thing even when it is difficult!
· Pray, think, and then speak!
· Pray, think, and then do!
· Build up the Kingdom of God!
· Do something beautiful for God!
· Be charitable!
· And when in doubt, ask the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’”

Finally, we all put our hands in, team-style, and raise them as we cheer, “One, two, three - “Go team Soley!” 

This has helped us to daily embrace our assignment to this critical mission; getting each other to heaven, and helps us to remember that it is a mission we cannot fulfill without each other. 

+All For JMJ+


 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Fruit of His Love

No matter what our vocation, if we are given the good fortune of arising to another day, God has work for us to do, for Him. Borne of the love Jesus has for us, He desperately desires to equip us with the fruits necessary to serve Him in the gift of another day.

Imagine that each morning we arise, we are holding a bag that is utterly empty. This is the beginning of each day for us. Only through prayer, which is quiet, meditative time with Him, is He able to equip us with the fruits needed to serve Him each day. As Blessed Mother Teresa expressed, “In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.” Therefore, in the quiet He waits, patiently and lovingly, each day with the fruits we require to serve Him throughout the day. This time with Him can be as little as fifteen minutes each day.  

Now imagine as we are spending this quiet time with Him, He lovingly fills our bag with beautiful fruit, to overflowing. This fruit is the exact amount required for our service to Him for this new day. Again, no matter our vocation, we were given the gift of another day to serve Him, through those He has placed on our path, and we now have the fruit to do so. Whether we are to allow Him to shine through us at the office, settle a dispute, encourage a patient, assist a student who is struggling, endure a manager who is unable to show love because he or she is hurting, pay for somebody’s late fee at the library, support a friend who has lost a loved one, suffer for offenses against Jesus, lead a parish family closer to Jesus, pray for those who are separated from Him, bring a meal to a new mom, wipe a runny nose, change a diaper or twelve, or support our children in their vocation as parent, we have been given the exact amount of fruit required to serve Him in this gift of a day.


Today at Mass, our Pastor illustrated that Jesus was often exhausted from tirelessly serving. He healed, forgave, fed, prayed, taught, suffered, endured and loved. Jesus was so exhausted for love us that He was able to sleep in the midst of a terrible storm on the Sea. This is the visual we are to use in our service to Him. As Blessed Mother Teresa expressed, “Give until it hurts.” As our day comes to a close, our bag is to be completely empty, having given back to Him all the fruit He gave to us, to sustain us as we navigated another day.  


Each person we encounter is an opportunity to allow Jesus to love through us. This is the fruit. Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (MT 25:40 NASB)

Jesus’ life, His Passion in particular, is the perfect example; teaching us to empty ourselves for love of God and man. Beginning His passion, He was beautiful, unblemished, and filled with the fruit that would be our salvation, His love.

His Passion began at the Last Supper, where He humbled Himself by promising to remain with us in the Eucharist.  Jesus teaches, “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins." (Mark 26:26 - 28 NASB) "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." (John 6:55 NASB)


Following the Last Supper, Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying and making reparation, offered Himself to the Father for our salvation. He emptied Himself of is Precious Blood, through His sweat, which ran down into the ground, “giving blood for offenses, life for death.” 1

Next, He emptied Himself of more of His Precious Blood as He was mercilessly scourged, crowned, and given the Cross, the symbol of His love for us, further consuming the fruit of His love.



Finally, it appeared He had no fruit left to give, after suffering for us, giving us forgiveness, His Mother, and the promise of eternity with Him in Heaven, they pierced His side from which He was completely emptied. He gave us everything He had to give. His bag was completely empty, for love of us.

Let us thank Him for the gift of another day, by meeting Him in quiet, meditative prayer, where He can give us His fruit, the fruit we need to serve Him, through those He has placed on our path.

 Sources 

1 – Hours of the Passion - http://www.passioiesus.org/en/horasdelapasion/hp05_8a9pm.htm 

The inspiration for this post was from Jesus, through my friend Susanne.

All For +JMJ+





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Titus 3:4-7



I just felt like sharing some good news today!  :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Get Happy! The Beatitudes of Life for the Vocation of Wife and Mother - Part VI

Kristen M. Soley



The Sixth Beatitude - Blessed are the pure of heart: for they shall see God.
Merriam-Webster defines pure as, “Not mixed with anything else.” Father Ahern explains that purity of heart lacks actual sin, and affords freedom from affection toward sin. When self-love and the seeking of personal pleasure are removed the passion of love, the human heart becomes crystal clear, 2 not mixed with anything else.   

He further explains:
“In marriage, a man or woman lives to serve and love the other, the spouse or the child. Love leaves no room for self-love, just simple devotion to members of the family. The more perfect this love and service the greater glory is given to God. The lover then sees God now and for eternity. In loving his spouse and children a man pure in heart is too busy loving and providing for his family to be attracted to sins of the flesh; there is no self-love or pleasure seeking in him; this is the first stage of purity of heart… Husband and wife love each other, and the love of each, given, completes the other. They see faults in their marriage partner, but instead of reproach, they simply give more love. Family life, social life, prayer life – each is patterned, geared, and has meaning through love of the spouse and children. As gift after gift of love is given, love of self is forgotten. Happiness is possessed, and purity of heart is found. A man is filled with love for his neighbor and God is glorified. The pure of body, mind, and intention are the happy, the blessed man and women.” 2
  
Possessing no self-love, St. Joseph served God, with a pure heart, by loving Mary, and Jesus and humbly submitting to God’s Will. After having found Mary to be with child, Joseph, “being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” (MT 1:18-19 NASB) Through the message of an angel, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” … And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

In the vocation of wife and mother, purity of heart is simply, humbly surrendering our will to the Will of God, purity of heart, mind and body. We need to seek all that is true, good, and beautiful not only for ourselves, but for our family. When we choose God’s Will over ours, we most assuredly can achieve beatitude. It is only when we are living outside of God’s Will that we introduce discord into our lives.

Begin each day with quiet, meditative prayer, alone with God. Begin by meditating on His Passion and then read a passage from the Gospels. Spend ten to fifteen minutes, quietly reflecting on what we have read. God will take this time to provide all the fruit required to aid is in living in His Will. We can then use the fruits He provides, or give them to those He asks, as we proceed through the rest of the day.

"Every virtue in your soul is a precious ornament which makes you dear to God and to man. But holy purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue, is a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like the angels of God in Heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh."
~ St. John Bosco

Sources –
1. Newadvent.org
2. Eight Happy People, Reverend John J. Ahern
3. Etymonline.com
4. http://www.americancatholic.org/messenger/oct2000/feature1.asp#F1
5. http://www.copiosa.org/virtue/virtue_meekness.htm
6. Happy are you Poor, Dubay
7. Volume 6, Direction for Our Times – Anne the Lay Apostle
8. Courageous Virtue, Stacy Mitch (A Bible Study on Moral Excellence For Women)
9. Catholic.org
10. http://stperpetuaparish.org/perpetua.php
11. The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ – Luisa Piccaretta
12. Michele Szekely - http://www.leblogdelabergerie.com/articles/Catherines.htm