Priceless Treasures

Love In the Offering

Holy Eucharist

When I was four, I was an expert scribbler!!!  If you were to give me a coloring page, I would feel the need to use a lot of colours and present them on the page going this direction and that direction!!  My colouring page would look something like this: green faces, blue hands, purple hair, and orange toes!!!  I was a natural four year old Michelangelo!!!  The greatest part about it is, I tried so hard to make it nice because it was going to be for my parents!  Whenever I had artwork that I wanted to give to my parents as a gift, my mom would say: “O honey, we will treasure this!!”

I find it fascinating that even though what I had to offer my parents, this artwork, was not exactly, perfect…they loved it because it was something from their daughter…a priceless treasure!  It was special because they knew that my heart was in it, even though it did not come out perfectly and it was special because they knew that I gave it to them with a great desire to show them that I love them.

In our last posting, we looked at the importance of contemplating the face of Jesus, seeing in His eyes the truth about Him and about ourselves.  Now we must contemplate on our response to His love.  What must be central in our thoughts is the conviction that God loves us.  Jesus offered everything to the Father when He gave Himself for us!  Whatever or whoever we love, we are drawn to.  Is Jesus the main one I am drawn to?  If so, then I will want to say “I love you!” and show it!

What can we, poor, imperfect, sinful creatures offer to God?  The answer is really in the question.  We can offer God our littleness, our brokenness, our tiredness, our loneliness, our struggles, anxieties, afflictions, temptations…even your sins.  Yes, Jesus wants those too!  What else can we offer?  Our families, our children, grand-children, spiritual children, our work, our service, our joys, our laughter, our peace.  Even though our offerings are not perfect, and it may seem like we are offering to God just some scribbles on a page…really we are giving to God in a little way our heart.

The Scriptures tell us that God our loving Father wants our hearts.  God looks at the love of His sons and daughters who wish to give of themselves.  When we make an offering of ourselves to God, we are making an act of worship and praise like the psalmist: “I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation…” (Psalm 13:5-6).  When we make an offering to God, we are focusing on God, our true treasure: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21)  The saints would offer themselves: “Give until it hurts” says the great Saint Mother Teresa who was so preoccupied with aiding the poor seeing Jesus in them.  She also said, “intense love does not measure, it just gives!”

Do you know one of the best times to make our offering to God?  At Holy Mass!  There is a beautiful time before the Consecration where the bread and wine are brought to the altar and offered.  We call this the offertory.  This is the time where we, the faithful, can offer ourselves in union with Jesus’ own sacrifice for us on Calvary.  Remember that the priest prays, “Pray brethren that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father.”  Imagine…we can offer ourselves with Jesus!  How pleasing that is to the Father!  Holy Mass is the most privileged time, but we can make offerings to God anytime of the day!  Any moment of irritation that you take with patience, chores that you completed when you did not feel like it, blamed for something that you did not do and staying quiet about it, smiling at someone who may have hurt you in the past…these are all moments that we can offer up to God which says, “I love you Lord!”

God loves scribblers!!!  It’s okay if what we offer is a little messy!  What is most important is the love in the offering!

Looking into the eyes of Truth…

Holy face of Jesus

The Holy Face of Jesus photograph by Samuel Epperly uploaded on October 14th

Based off of the Shroud of Turin

https://pixels.com/featured/2-the-holy-face-of-jesus-samuel-epperly.html

Have you ever had the feeling like someone was watching you?  That is such a creepy feeling isn’t it?  I remember once stepping out of a Church one day and I just had this cold feeling like someone was watching me… then, I heard a noise!  It was very close…I took another step…there was the noise again. My body turned…it was like a horror movie.  Then…there it was!!!  A raccoon coming out of the garbage can!  I bursted out laughing…it was really funny…of course after the shock.

God loves us so much that his eyes are fixed on us!  Through the great gift of the Incarnation (God became man), the face of God was revealed to the world! “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).  God revealed His face when He sent His Son into the world and so through the eyes of the Son of God, there is truth, beauty and love.  When Jesus walked the earth two-thousand years ago, so many people saw His face and were never the same!  Sinners of all kinds came to Him!  Why?  Because in His eyes they saw that they were loved.

In order to get over the “selfish me,” one must learn to contemplate the face of Jesus.  To a pious nun, Sister Mary of St. Peter who died in the odor of sanctity, Jesus revealed what he would do for those who reverence His Sacred Face: “According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of yours which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint upon it My image and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the baptismal font.” (Catholic Tradition “Chosen Souls Who Have Venerated the Thorn Crowned Head of the Savior” accessed January 21, 2020 http://www.catholictradition.org/Christ/holy-face10.htm) Jesus promises that the more we contemplate His face, the more will our face reflect His face in the world.  It will be “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

The eyes of Jesus speak to us the truth about ourselves and the truth about who He is.  Our selfish tendencies come, because we do not realize how much we are loved and so we turn inwards and struggle with loving others.  Jesus’ face speaks mercy and says, “I love you for who you are!” Have we allowed ourselves to contemplate the face of Jesus?  Have we allowed ourselves to be loved by Jesus?

Jesus looks at you and me in a way that no one else does.  Sometimes we can be ashamed to look into the eyes of truth.  Sometimes the weight of our sins and past wrongs can crush us and we do not have the strength to raise our eyes to Christ.  The evil one tries to plant lies into our head saying: “you are not good,” “you are not worthy,” “look how bad you are.”  The eyes of Jesus tell a completely different story.  Jesus’ face of love says, “I LOVE YOU!” “YOU ARE MINE” “YOU ARE LOVEABLE.”  We do not have to be afraid anymore to look into the eyes of our Savior, for in His eyes we see Truth.

To be loved by someone is a big deal.  Our modern culture speaks of love in so many different ways, especially with thoughts like: “I will love you only if you love me back” or “I will love you only if you give me what I want.”  However, the reality is when someone says to another “I love you” they are saying “You belong to God and I wish God to be present in our relationship.”  To say “I love you” to someone means to see the face of Jesus in that person and to be willing to pray and sacrifice for that person so that one day they can be in heaven with God forever.  “I love you” means “I see Jesus in you and I love Him in you.”  It is only when we contemplate the face of Jesus in our prayer life that we can see His face in others and then really learn how to love.

 

“HE must Increase I must Decrease…” (John 3:30)

st. john the baptist

Magnifying Humility!

Ice cream is one of the most wonderful creations on this earth!  It seems as though the more ice cream we have the more we want! On very rare occasions would we think to ourselves: “I need less ice cream.”  Not only can I settle for one scoop, I need two scoops, or three…or four!!  Ice cream is one of those things we just cannot get enough of!

Something similar happens when we consider self.  There is something in us that says, “I need more praise,” “I need more compliments,” “I need you to tell me I am beautiful, athletic, intelligent.”  It is very difficult for us to say: “I would rather be unnoticed,” “I don’t need praise or compliments.” St. John the Baptist taught us the right way: “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30).  In other words: love of God must increase and self-love must decrease.  Many times we are afraid for people to see who we really are.  We easily think to ourselves “If they knew what I was really like, they would never love me.”  Guess what!  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  GOD LOVES US FOR WHO WE ARE!!!

The more we think about ourselves, the less we think about serving God and others.  Think for a moment: how many times today have you said the words “I” or “me” in conversation with others.  You might be surprised to see how constant “self” is on the mind!  It is times like these when we ask ourselves…is life really all about me?

We celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord recently and we can hear the words on the lips of the Baptist: “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30) St. John the Baptist teaches us the way of humility.  St. John the Baptist was not “puffed up” because people were listening to him, but he pointed people to Jesus.  I once heard that “real humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking about ourselves less.”  To be humble means to acknowledge the truth about ourselves and to see all our gifts, talents, and resources as gifts from God and must be used for His glory.  All that is good in us has been given to us by God.  Being humble also means acknowledging the weaknesses that are in us and through good spiritual direction, prayers and reverent reception of the sacraments these weaknesses can eventually be uprooted and we can be healed.

So what is the point?  The point is this: not only should we share our ice cream, but we must KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS AND THEN WE WILL FIND FULFILLMENT.  We all want to be happy and if we allow God to increase and ourselves to decrease, the life of God will grow in us and we will be happy.  Virtues will begin to bloom in us.  Not only will we be satisfied with less ice cream, but we will become more fully ourselves, and become who God is calling us to be: loving sons and daughters of God who are living in truth.

God’s Masterpiece

Ringing in the New Year With Our Blessed Mother Mary!signed Mary Mother of God- by Sr Mary Isidore

A New Year means a fresh new beginning!  A new start!  New beginnings mean new adventures, and new resolutions!  The Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate are very excited to have our Blog up and running in this new year of 2020!  We would like you to join us as we embark on a journey of faith, where we will reflect on the great love that God has for us, grow in our relationship with Him through prayer and Scripture reading, and finally meet some of the most amazing people that ever lived, the saints!

God calls us to be on this great adventure of life!  Some adventures will bring great happiness to our lives and some adventures may be more challenging.  It seems only right to consider a woman who went on the greatest adventure of all time, who experienced both joys and sorrows.  She is God’s Masterpiece: Mary.

This month of January we celebrate her as Theotokos….Theo what????  Yes, you read right… Theotokos which means God-bearer: Mary is the Mother of God.  We can say that she is God’s Masterpiece meaning she is full of grace, conceived without stain of original sin.  God wanted to make His Mother perfect…so HE DID!! They say that Mothers know everything…sometimes you think they have some special superpowers… at least that is the experience that I had with my own mother growing up.  She always knew when I was happy, upset, hungry or sleepy…I am telling you…SUPERPOWERS!!!!  How much more is this the case with Mary!  She is with us always…we can bring all our prayers and petitions to her.  She knows what we need and she is the greatest example of what it means to be a woman of God.  She is God’s Masterpiece, who is full of grace!  We should resolve to pray to her frequently this year, asking for her motherly care upon all of our endeavors.

God gave us a beautiful example to follow in the Blessed Virgin Mary!  Ask her everyday to be with you and accompany you, but most importantly ask her to help you come to know and love Jesus more.  May we follow her example of adoration of God, her charity toward others, and her love for God.  May this new year bring many adventures and may those adventures be hand-in hand with our Blessed Mother Mary.