Friday, July 29, 2011

Ignite Chicago

I am going to Christian Music Festival in Zion, IL today and tomorrow.  It will be great but right now I am not feeling great.  I am already missing my two youngest children that my husband took off to the Grandparents since he thinks they are too young to be at a music festival for 10 hours a day for two days.

He is probably right.  I just miss them.

I am currently listening to Matthew West's "Strong Enough".  It is a really awesome song.  I think you'll enjoy it.  He is playing tomorrow.  At one point, I think the official music term is the bridge, he starts singing Phillipians 4:13 which was the heart of my first blog post back in May.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Monday, July 25, 2011

Praising God in Everything?!

The homily this Sunday, by our Pastor, started out talking about those people that praise God in everything--that this is the key virtue marking their lives as Christian.

It is also what St. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit told us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give praise; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

He gave an example of an older married couple he saw that had a car accident and were doing some version of a liturgical dance, like King David in front of the Ark of the Covenant, on the roof of their "beautiful car" in the ditch.  He guessed it was because they were both able-bodied even though their car was not, and also that this was their virtue to Praise God in everything.

We have a beautiful small parish in a very large suburb of Chicago--Palatine, and after Divine Liturgy we have "coffee and" to talk with our fellow parishioners.

I walked by and said hi to the Father that had the homily.  Such a giant smile he had for me, and he reached out and touched my arm, saying, "God Bless You."  He was really joyful.

I told him, "Thank you for the visual of the couple dancing on their car."

I went to the rectory tonight and talked with the priest's wife.  Byzantine Catholic men can become priests if they are married before they are ordained as deacons.  However, it disqualifies them from being ordained bishops.  Also monks in Byzantine Catholic tradition remain celibate.

She asked me if I had heard that one of their daughters gave birth a month early, last Wednesday.  The baby was missing part of her brain, and the top of her skull.  She was born with a strong heartbeat and lived for a day before passing away.  She told me with tears in her eyes how strong her daughter was, and she said she still sees her sitting there holding her little girl.  The pastor and his wife are bilingual, but I noticed when she was becoming emotional it was as if it would have been much easier for her to talk with me if I understood Ukrainian.  

I had heard about it a few months back.  The ultrasound at 20 weeks diagnosed the condition, and a friend and fellow parishioner told me about it and told me to pray.  People were praying for healing, including me, but the priest, father of the pregnant girl said she was at peace and would carry the baby trusting in God and in acceptance of His will.  The priest's wife told me her daughter was in pain due to excessive amnio fluid leading up to the delivery.  Doctor's wanted to drain some, but her daughter would not allow it.

I was surprised that Father had not mentioned it to me after liturgy, and he had not mentioned this in his homily.  The priest's wife said the time with the baby was precious.  I think briefly of those that would have aborted the baby after the diagnosis and would have then missed out on the mercy of holding the baby that they would again know in heaven.

When Steven Curtis Chapman lost his 5 year old daughter, Greg Laurie, a pastor that lost a son in early adulthood told him, "Your future with her in heaven will be more real than your past with her."

There is another image in my mind from Divine Mercy Father that preached a mission some years ago and described how eternity is like rowing a boat from here to England.  Even after you had completed rowing all the way over there, it would be like only the first minute of eternity.

Another thought is a comment in my meditation today that it is insulting to Jesus Christ when we do not keep the hope of heaven alive and active in our thoughts, since his incarnation, life, death and resurrection are what opened the gates of heaven to us.

The funeral was held this past Saturday.  The precious baby is survived by a very strong mother, father, and 2 year old sister and five year old brother.

To me the priest's cheerfulness this past Sunday is now an even better visual and reminder to me to Praise God in Everything.  I am sitting here with tears in my eyes at the faith in action he and his daughter demonstrated.  I prayed the rosary, asking Mary's intercession, for the whole extended family's comfort, blessing, and continued strength.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sabbath Moments - First Time Posting

Here are some of my sabbath moments this week:
  1. This is from last Friday when I went for a run while we were still on vacation in Michigan. I went at 7:30 in the a.m. on a bike trail before there were any bikers out there.  I was all alone listening to my iPod Nano playing lots of praise music:  Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickman, Leeland, MercyMe.  I kept thinking I should turn around but kept going when there was a good song on.  Finally I reached a bridge.  I was hoping it was over a creek or valley or something, but it was just over a road.  Still I turned off the music, pulled the earphones out of my ears and just had a good out loud talk with God in the solitude of that trail.
  2. I really enjoy just sitting out in my driveway in an old fashion lawn chair while my younger children ride their bikes or roller blade.  Reminds me of sitting on my grandma's porch glider in the warm summer evenings as a kid.
  3. Last night I went for a run and I have a new favorite site in the sky:  the sunset reflecting gold on a cumulus cloud in the eastern half of our overhead sky.  I didn't take my own picture but here is one I grabbed that shows the beauty of which I speak.  There was one on Thursday night and one on Friday night.  Both were bigger, more "cumulus" and had more gold on them than this picture shows.  Simply stunning!
  4. Last night we had the most lightning I have ever seen, and heard in a single storm.  It was such a spectacular display of the awesomeness of God's power in nature.  It went on for hours, seemingly stationary over our little neighborhood.  I was awake from 12:30 to past 2:00 a.m. watching, and listening.

The non-Sabbath moment occurred this morning when we found for the first time in 13 years that we have lived in this house that our basement flooded.  Our neighbors said it had been 20 years for them.  It is good we and the plumber who put in our new $1500 sump pump (inclusive of service call and after 15% discount) with marine battery backup are not Orthodox Jews or the water would still be in our basement.

I must have called 15 different plumbers from Angie's List, and one got out to our house quickly.  He had been working since 12 a.m. the night before  Two of my neighbors ran out and asked if he could please visit them after us.

We bought a new pro ShopVac and rented a Rug Doctor.  We may still end up tossing the area rugs down there.  The day has passed pretty well after the initial cursing and yelling leaving us almost a #5 sabbath moment: - satisfaction at getting 49 gallons of water out of our basement through our own efforts.  I did get a nap in to make up for the lost sleep while I was admiring the power of God in the storm last night.

Thank you Colleen for hosting at Thoughts on Grace.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Working for the Lord

I posted yesterday at Community of Catholic Bloggers on how I found I could work for the Lord based on the teaching of Colossians 3:23-24 and also by experiencing and learning about the Mystical Body of Christ.

So ends my shortest post to-date!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pay It Fwd

Pay It Forward
The two that I would like to highlight are:

1) Judy's post at Community of Catholic Bloggers telling about the great love, hope, and trial she experienced during the passing of her beloved father.

2) Anne's poem that the Holy Spirit inspired in her after spending time adoring Jesus in his Real Presence in the Eucharist.   It tells how she found peace through humility, and listening to her Lord.

Thank you to Holly for hosting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fulton Sheen on Prayer

After I read this in Archbishop Fulton Sheen's Introduction to Wartime Prayerbook via Amazon's "Look Inside", I bought the book. It is actually shirt pocket sized for a soldier, sailor, airman or marine and not a regular sized book. My 5 year old wanted it for his Bible since it was his size.
Prayer consists not in the saying of words but in the lifting of our heart and mind to God. Our divine Lord Himself warned us: "In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words" (Matt. 6:7). In the same spirit, St. Augustine said: "We may pray most when we say least, and we may pray least when we say most."
When love of God reaches a peak, it almost becomes too deep for words. For that reason this prayer book is made up of reflections which it is hoped will provoke us into meditation and communion with God, so that we will not only speak to Him, but also listen to Him when He speaks to us. So these reflections are not only to be read, but are to be thought about. Each thought should serve for a considerable period of time.
Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). The joy of a Christian comes not from intermittent devotions and vocal prayers, but by living the Christ life intimately and to such an extent that even in our failings and weakness we may still betray our familiarity with Christ, as did Peter in the moment of his weakness: "You also were with Jesus the Galilean ... Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you" (Matt. 26:69, 73).
While I was away on vacation in Michigan we had pleasure of assisting at Holy Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Cedar, Michigan. It was in "the Extraordinary Form of the Mass - Latin". There were even more altar boys--maybe 2 or 3 more than shown in this picture:
Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Cedar, Michigan. Photo by David Evich.
Extraordinary Form of the Mass - Latin Offered at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Cedar, MI
Fr. Libby, shown above, gave a comprehensive and very beautiful homily.  Plus, my whole family that was on vacation with me attended including 3 members that do not attend weekly mass anymore.  The homily was comprehensive in that it started with the readings, covered several of the salient point differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, and also touched on some of the cultural controversies of today between the teachings of the Church and the teachings of the culture, specifically the legalization of gay "marriage" in New York State.  I asked him to email or mail it to me by writing that on my donation envelope, but so far I don't have anything.  It would have been more effective to actually talk to him after church, but I was still coughing so much, I didn't want to get him sick.  He is the parish's only priest!  I also could have called or wrote him.  Maybe I still will.  He put his thoughts together so clearly, but since I don't have perfect auditory memory, I would need to paraphrase quite a bit, and would probably damage the way he presented his teaching.

Back at my home parish today, we also had an outstanding homily.  Very much on the topic that I have been spiritually struggling with:  Listening and hearing God.  After liturgy was over the priest that gave the homily stopped downstairs to give me a book to read, The Gift of Faith by Father Tadeusz Dajczer.  Has anyone else read this?  I think it is key book in the Families of Nazareth Movement and is published by the "In the Arms of Mary Foundation".  I am very touched that he thought to give me the book to read.  Some of the chapter titles are very compelling:
  • To Perceive the Loving Presence
  • Hungry for God
  • Agape
  • To Allow Christ to Love in Us
  • You Cannot Love People if You Do Not Love God
Father said that we can talk about the book once I start reading it.  I am looking forward to it, even if all I've done since getting home from church was watch the Women's World Cup final. I will be reading a few chapters before bed tonight!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick Takes from Family Vacation in Michigan

- 1 -
Last full day of vacation is already in progress.  So, so thankful for God's loving kindness and blessing for the natural beauty that is all around us, and for the family he put me into.  I am very much appreciating all my kids.  I find myself soaking them in with my eyes and hoping that I will remember all these times.  Sometimes when I read that someone saved something off in their heart I don't really get it.  I try to all the time, and then looking back my memory is so weak.  My little ones, 9 and almost 6 (next week) still seem to be magnetized to me.  At times I am literally bruised by their affections.  At the same time, as my older ones (12 and almost 15--can't believe it) still want to be hugged and kissed, but so much less often I am trying to remember what it was like when they were like their younger sister and brother.  Here is the lake we are staying on in Michigan:
Lake Leelanau
- 2 -
What did I learn from taking a week off of from blog reading, commenting, and writing?  I actually finished reading a book.  I have so many started but I finally finished reading Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  Only the letters and the maxims are by Brother Lawrence I found out and the other two chunks of the book are the Eulogy and the Way of Life of Brother Lawrence by the Abbot who knew him.  Both of those were rather redundant with each other and the Introduction.  I think I do talk to God often but as I have never heard a still small voice inside of me nor any other form of inner locution, sometimes I find myself craving to hear God.  I know I "hear" God when I read the Bible.  I have saved off so many great Bible verses in Google Docs, and when I glance at them on my smart phone I remember why they are so great.  I also know he blesses and speaks to me in the love of those around me.  The hug of a person I recognize from Church but don't really know.  When any one of my children tells me how much they love me.  

- 3 -
Running is very important to my emotional stability.  As my husband was going off to golf, again, with his father this morning I was starting to take a little umbrage that somehow it didn't matter that I liked to golf and then I got a little angry when he was trying to make sure, repeatedly before he left that I wouldn't rent a wave runner and take all the kids on rides with it, as he was envisioning that my non-swimming mother-in-law would not be able to keep the non-riders safe while I was riding the others.  This is the one activity we haven't done with the kids that is at the top of their list.  I am one foot in the "wives be submissive to your husband" camp and one foot in the "St. Paul and Moses both had their 'moments' in Leviticus (was reading parts of this last night--lots of stoning prescribed) and several of the epistles where written by men seems to have had the stronger hand than inspired by God."  At any rate, I am not going to take the kids riding the wave runner when he is pretty much doing everything to persuade me otherwise.  I was disappointed at all the negative emotions and so I went running.  I hadn't been able to run for last week and a half I was sick.  I had a coughing sickness I think I caught from someone at my church.  I am officially better today.  I am also much better after running.  I need to get to temporary physical exhaustion and sweating as part of my negative energy management.  Get so disappointed in myself when I feel that way.  

- 4- 
I am also thankful to live in a pretty flat area of the country as my run here started out going up and down some really ridiculously large hills.  Oh my gosh they were big.  I thought I might make it up a couple, but no, not one.  Then I reached the Leelanau bike trail on an old railroad.  I just realized the part about it being an old railroad.  At first I was just appreciating the smartness of people making a relatively flat trail through such hilly country.  Now I realize why it was flat.  The railroad company wanted it flat.  I run with an iPod Nano filled with Christian praise and worship music.  I find I have much more stamina when I am listening to it.  I went early enough that I was alone for the first half of my run and decided to end it when I got to a bridge.  I talked to God for a little then and even pulled the headphones off for some minutes of silence surrounded by natural beauty and the feeling that I was very much alone with my God.  I came to realization I need to resume the practice of writing down God's goodness to me and my family on a daily basis.  I stumbled on some entries I did in Google Docs back in February when I started that.  If I don't make a point of writing down God's goodness the memories slip away so easily and I am left with less reminders of God's active loving touch in my life.

- 5 -
Simple things are the best things.  Went for little hike with my younger two children.  On the way back, which was sooner than I planned due to the 6 year old not really caring to keep up with my daughter and me, we started picking some wild flowers.  This is the result of that fun.

- 6 -
Saw Cars 2 last night at the Cherry Bowl Drive Inn in Honor, Michigan.  The movie itself was really good.  I liked it more than the first one and so did my kids.  The intermission show which had clips from way, way back in time was even better.  It is great when you see your kids appreciating how rare, happy, and fun going to drive in with family is.

- 7 -
While we stayed on Lake Leelanau, we also boated and/or swam on Big Glen, Little Glen, Crystal Lake, and Lake Michigan while we were here.  We also, for the third time, did a family tubing trip for two hours on the Platt River.  We come up here every two years!  Big Glen is my favorite because the color is amazing--aquamarine.  Crystal Lake is more of an arctic blue, but also very pretty.  We will probably come back here in 2 years.  I hope next year to plan trip out west.  My daughter will be 15 going on 16, junior in high school, and think we need to have that memory for her before she gets much older.  She still very much treasures time with family though as I saw her and her sister sharing iPod headphones in the back of the van yesterday and she just seemed to very much enjoy resting against her younger sister who had already cashed in her chips (fallen asleep) beside her.
Sunset on Lake Leelanau
Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes Friday for hosting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Humility and Undivided Heart

" . . . He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:7-8)
Extreme Humility
I've read that many times, and had my Confessor point out to me at Christmas and during Lent the humility of Christ, but somehow I am seeming to learn this lesson fresh and new this morning.

I went to confession this past Sunday, one of the things I love about my church is that Confession is available during the Divine Liturgy most Sundays.  I try to go at least once a month, since that is what Our Mother told us to do in messages from Medjugorje.  (It's important to do what Our Mother tells us!)

When I go, I usually wait to go after the readings and the homily, so I can hear what the Holy Spirit wants me to hear and learn before going for a good soul-scrubbing before receiving Communion.

This past Sunday what I remember most was how the priest started.  "No matter how long we have been in the spiritual life, there is always opportunity for improvement, for growth.  What I mean by that is there is always opportunity for us to have more joy in the Lord!"

On rare occasions, the priest who is most often my Confessor, who at one time did attend Charismatic prayer groups, will place his hand on my head after the granting of absolution and will say a short prayer for me.  Either the first time I went or the second time, it was close to Pentecost and he prayed that I would receive the Holy Spirit along with some specific gifts.  Looking back, that was a key turning point in the way I live my faith.

On Sunday he did place his hands on my head and prayed simply for God's blessings and peace.

I have not been at peace lately, and I think I have received the grace these past few days in my meditations, some of which he gave me as penance, to learn why I have not been at peace.

I had prayed during the Novena to the Sacred Heart to have what St. Faustina had, when Jesus told her, "I delight in your soul."  I prayed that Jesus would find his delight in me, and that I would find my delight in Him.  I also prayed for the gift of understanding, wisdom, and counsel because I seem to have understanding of the outlines of things, but not a penetrating understanding.

I am thanking God for answering my prayers.  I learned that I do have a divided heart.  My heart has the priority of loving God first and foremost, but not the follow-through during the passing moments of the day.

We attended a parade on the 4th of July and my three younger kids would position themselves when they saw floats or marchers throwing candy.  Then they would as politely as possible swoop down to get the goodies.

In The Better Part this was exactly the example that Fr. John Bartunek used to explain how I am when I am looking for attention, whether it is checking my emails, or blog stats, or for a card in the mailbox, or at work, when I am striving to be perceived as success, and soaking in whatever compliments or recognition that I can come by.

None of this is "Seeking First the Kingdom of God".  What is?

I am learning that it is to break from the tendency to slip into self-destructive thirst for recognition and success, and attention.  I realize this tendency is deep.

I also realize that if I am loving God "with my whole heart, my whole soul, and my whole mind (Matthew 22:37)" then this shouldn't be in my thoughts, and certainly should not affect how I feel emotionally.  Something is broken in my make-up when this is the case, and this is why I don't have peace.  I know with my mind how things are supposed to be ordered, and I am not at peace because my heart is not ordered like Christ's undivided, and humble heart.

I need to seek only to be pleasing in the sight of God.  I need to turn to him first thing in the morning, and throughout the day. If I don't feel like it for some reason, I need to ask him for his grace, because, he always answers the prayer for grace, with grace--his presence.  Either in my knowledge that he is there, or in the sense that he is there.

If God is pleased with me, what do I care about the opinion of others?  Now for the practical, how do I build the habit of not caring about the opinion of others, and seeking first for his will and to please him?

"My help comes from Yahweh who made heaven and earth."  Psalm 121:2

Not sure I have that figured out, but as we are going on vacation, and as blogging has been feeding rather than being the antidote for my vanity, I'll be fasting from reading or writing in the blogosphere for the next week and a half.  I hope when I return to have some better habits of loving and seeking God as primary to my living, and I have confidence "If You seek him, he will let you find him (1 Chronicles 28:9b)".  Maybe I'll actually be able to do a "Sabbath Moment" post for Colleen's MEME?

Then I hope to do as Jesus did with his undivided heart.  To love with self-forgetful love in love of God, and to please Him, and not to receive attention or recognition from others because of my efforts.  Still to truly love others for who they are, and in gratitude for what goodness God has brought to light in them.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Why Do They Leave?

Why have so many Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago left to join one of the local "megachurchs" like Willow Creek or Harvest?

Willow Creek Community Church has weekly attendance of 24,000.  The weekly offering will blow your mind. Last week:  $358K.  Which was below the budgeted number of $560K.

Are you seeing this in your dioceses as well?  Are Catholics leaving to join large churches?  Do you have ideas as to why?  Please leave a comment if you have insight to share on this.

If you have left your Roman Catholic Parish to become a member of a large Protestant Church would you leave a comment as to why?

I went to see The David Crowder Band tonight at Willow Creek.  As you'll remember from an earlier post, I love to hear and sing Praise and Worship music.  David Crowder rocks and his lyrics tend to have the themes of God's love for us, God's redeeming grace, how glorious Jesus is, and provide the opportunity to Praise Him!

While my kids and I enjoyed the music I was a little disappointed in a few things:
  • It was the same concert (almost exactly) as he played at Greg Laurie's Harvest back at the end of October I think, in the Allstate Arena.  
  • It was only an hour of music.  I was hoping for more as the woman who opened the night said it was a concert tonight and not the usual worship.
  • Instead of playing SMS Shine he played some rock opera (his words) song.  It had good lyrics but was I think to reach the preteen and teenage boys in the audience.  My 12.5 year old son liked it.  My 9 year old daughter and me -- not so much.
  • The "altar call" was really down from what I saw on Billy Graham Crusades and what I remember from attending Vacation Bible School at a Southern Baptist Church about 35 years ago.
  • There was no mention of sin, or healing, or forgiveness - just grace and love.
  • There was advertisement for "Communion Sunday", with option for gluten-free.  I don't mean to be insensitive if this is an issue for someone reading this.  It just struck me as funny.
My daughter was a little surprised this was a church, since it had theater seating, instead of pews, and multiple balcony levels.  It was super clean, and not like any theater I have been in!  I told her it was an arena and not like our church.

In general people were smiling and happy.  No one came up to us or shook our hands or anything.  Someone made a nice comment about my phone, but other than that, not welcoming and friendly like I thought would draw people.  This was not a representative night though.  Maybe it is different when there isn't a concert?

Very happy I'll be going with my children to Divine Liturgy at our church, Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church tomorrow morning.  There won't be a band, but there will be 2 humble priests, both gifted teachers, bringing Jesus to us in the proclamation of the Gospel, the opportunity for Confession, and Holy Communion.  It won't be gluten free, but it will be the Real Presence of Christ our King, and Risen Savior:  Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Are you wondering why I am asking about Roman Catholics leaving for megachurches while I am attending a Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church?

Keep in mind that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (name in Ukraine) is in full communion with the Roman Pontiff.  I have heard Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and previous Popes quoted more often in my current church than I heard in any of the Roman Catholic parishes I went to for Mass previously.  The two priests both give excellent homilies, explaining the scriptures, doctrine, providing spiritual advice and challenging us to forgive, love, and live generously.

I am still officially a Roman Catholic by baptism as are our children.  It would be a "rite change" and not a conversion to change to the other rite.  Still discerning if we will make that change. 

I am very much still one foot in Roman Catholic and one foot in Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic.  Part of that is I really feel blessed with some of you I've met since I started blogging!  
I also posted over at Community of Catholic Bloggers on the Immaculate Heart of Mary  The intercession and motherly care of Mary, another reason I can't understand why some leave, unless they have never known the love, care, and manifestations of her interceding for them . . . 

Another reason would be the Communion of Saints, and their writings and prayers they left to help us on our path.  If you want to leave links to your posts saying why you are grateful to be Catholic, please do!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day of Lenten Devotion in Mid-Summer

Two Great Solemnities today, both which compel us to not let this day pass without some time meditating and thanking our Dear Lord for his unfathomable love for us.
Sr. Lucia's Vision
June, the traditional month of devotion to the Sacred Heart, and July, the traditional month of devotion to the Precious Blood meet today on Friday, July 1, 2011 with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and the Solemnity of the Precious Blood.

Today is great day to assist at Holy Mass or Divine Liturgy, and if that doesn't happen, to find a way to spend an hour in Adoration either before Our Lord's Real Presence in the Monstrance, or in the Tabernacle.

Devotion to Jesus's Sacred Heart and His Precious Blood is way of reminding us to be grateful for all the aspects of Christ's love for us and for mankind that he gave up heavenly glory for 33.5 years to be God with us, that he suffered unimaginable humiliations and cruelty as Redeemer, that he laid down his life for us his friends, that his pierced heart gushed forth every drop of blood and water so that Divine Mercy would be available to us who believe and love him rather than Divine Justice.

When I picked the blog name Inadequate Disciple it was because I feel so inadequate in reaching out to others for Christ.  That I've been blessed with gift of faith and seemingly so little ability to reach others.

Today is a day when the inadequacy realization has to do with how inadequate my words and thoughts and anything I could possibly write here is to express gratitude for Jesus's love for me personally.  St. Augustine wrote, "He loves each one of us as if there were only one."

I pray that everyone reading this will never become so hardened by what they experience or see others suffer in this life that they lose the main truth of their existence:

God loved you into existence, created you to know, love, and serve him, and to live in personal communion with him in this life, and more fully and eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is your reality and my reality.  Despite what suffering, or loss we see or see others experience in this life, that is the reality, that is the truth.  Do not let our Adversary, his minions, or our secular, apostatic culture steal or distract you from this wonderful life giving, consoling truth.

"Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God."  
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 44

Jesus loves me!  Jesus loves you!

May the Holy Spirit stir up our gratitude this day.

Prayer of St. Paul of the Cross in Cardinal Spellman's Prayer Book

O JESUS!  Through Thy burning love for us, Thou didst will to be nailed to the Cross and to shed Thy Precious Blood for the redemption and salvation of our souls.  Look upon us, fully trusting in Thy mercy, here gathered together in the remembrance of Thy most powerful Passion and Death.

By Thy grace, purify us from sin; hallow our labor; give unto us all our daily bread; sweeten our sorrows; bless our families; grant unto nations so sorely afflicted, Thy peace, the only true peace, that we, being obedient to Thy commandments, may attain unto heavenly glory.  Amen

LORD!  I give Thee thanks that Thou didst die upon the Cross for my sins.