Tuesday, April 25, 2017

God is With Us in Our Loss

Jesus Wept. - John 11:35

It’s a short verse. Two words. But they carry so much in them, don’t they? A lot of power, courage, strength and resolve.  I think we sometimes take these things for granted; we know the stories. We make little jokes about how it’s the shortest verse in the Bible. It is not really a verse I see many people talk about often. But who would have thought that two little words carried so much power in them? 

What comes to your mind when you read this verse? I think of compassion when I read this verse. Jesus was the Son of God. He was fully God, but He was also fully man. He knew Lazarus would rise. He knew the end result would be joy. Yet He still cried. He still wept over the loss of Lazarus. He still wept to see his friends grieving.

He didn’t cry to make a statement. He didn’t cry because he wanted to teach the crowd something. He cried because his heart was aching for the people gathered there. 

When we lose a loved one, we might think that God is on the other side saying, “there now, don’t cry, they are okay.” And you know, yes; He is saying this. But He is not removed from the agony that occurs.

To me, the very idea of the God of the Universe becoming human and willingly interacting with us…even sharing in our tears, is nothing less than beautiful. od  sharing in our tears, is nothing less than beautiful. man and willingly interacting with us...Just the very idea that He did not just sit and comfort Mary and Martha; He cried with them. He was genuinely heartbroken. The Creator of the rocks, the trees, the lakes and riverbeds, of mountains and valleys, understands the very depths of your aching heart. And not only does he understand and bid us, “child, come here to Me.” He weeps. He cries. Tears roll down his face, not in hopelessness, but in compassion and in love for us as His children.

And that He cares...for every issue in our lives. Just think about that. Every tear you have ever shed, the Psalmist David says, has been recorded by Him (Psalm 56:8). He hears us and he cries with us in our darkest moments. 

My God wept with me.

My God weeps with me now.

Hold onto this promise. No matter what you are going through, God is there. He will never leave us, and He will never forsake us.

Pax <3

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday

I didn't know what to write today, not at first.  But then I got to thinking about what today is, and what it represents. Holy Saturday follows Good Friday, a day when Christ, the Light of the World, was crucified and died. For us. We know that. We're taught this since before we could crawl. Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Holy Saturday is a day where all hope seems to be lost. Our Lord and Savior is dead and gone from the world (or so we think). Things are bleak. What can we do?

We're lucky, aren't we? We know what happens. We know the end of the story results in joy, happiness, reconciliation...but his disciples didn't have that luxury. To them, it was over. Gone. The sheep had been scattered. I always wondered: what were his disciples doing Holy Saturday? Were they at home? Did they stay inside? Did they run away? Did they weep? What were they thinking? "Was this all a sham? Did I waste my time with this man who told us great things about God and about the Kingdom of Heaven? Are we next? What now? What now..."

I think we have all felt like that. We all have our dark nights. Where there is so much to fear and to fret over. We can't see the stone being rolled away. We can't see the light bursting forth from the tomb.

But Easter gives us hope. It's the new day dawning. It's our joy in the morning. New beginnings. That's what Easter is to me. And think about it: God gives us an Easter of our own, every single morning. Each morning we are given a new chance. A fresh start. Easter shows us that, just as Jesus overcame death for us, we can overcome through Him every single day of our lives, no matter how bleak things are, no matter how distressed we become, no matter the tears we may shed.

We all have an Easter. Wait for morning. Remember that if Christ conquered death, he can surely conquer the problems in your life.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

So My Chaplet Is Here!

Isn't it lovely? Ugh (in a good way) I love it! :D

I got it here at this Etsy store. She makes all kinds of chaplets and rosaries: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KarinaNDesigns?ref=l2-shop-header-avatar

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

You Need Good Friday Before You Get Easter

So I am a little down today, a few mild drawbacks have left me feeling unsure and a little upset. I know life isn't supposed to be easy, and we need challenges to make us stronger. But I just wish, for once, that my life could go smoothly.

But who knows, maybe that's one of the reasons we have Lent. I was pouting on my way out today to do some errands, and I turned on EWTN radio. I can't remember if it was Women of Grace, but anyway...one of the things the host said was, "We need to have Good Friday before we have Easter" and she started talking about how our struggles can lead to bigger and better things. It was kind of funny, because I really, really needed to hear that.

God is funny like that.

Don't give up. Easter's on the way.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Miracle of the Red Egg

I know it's still Lent. But I am way too excited for Easter right now. And I just had to blog about this, as it's my favorite story to tell.

I love dyeing Easter Eggs. I'm almost 28 and I still do it without fail every year. It's just fun, and plus, you get tons of egg salad too!

There are a lot of cool stories surrounding where and why we started doing this for Lent and Easter.
Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians have this beautiful tradition of dyeing eggs red. It actually stems from a tale surrounding Mary Magdalene.

In the story, Mary Magdalene travels to the Emperor of Rome, greeting him with "Christos Anesti!" (Christ is Risen). The Emperor did not understand, so she took an egg (representing an empty tomb) and sat it in front of him. He mocked her and said he would believe it when the egg turned red. And it did.

So to this day, Byzantine Christians will dye eggs red to remember this great miracle. They are usually placed in the Icon Corner for a time (since eggs go rotten after a while). Two eggs cracked together represent the harrowing of Hades, Christ's triumph over death.

I remember hearing of another one where Mary Magdalene was at Jesus' tomb giving out eggs to the poor who traveled there to pay their respects. As she did, the eggs in her basket turned blood red, representing the blood Jesus had shed.

This would be a great story to share with kids on Easter morning, or as you are dyeing eggs with them. You could add it to a Sunday School lesson as well! Humans are visual creatures; many of us grasp things better when we see it pictured. It's a delightful little way to share the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus.

Happy Dyeing :)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spending Time With Your Patron Saint

A patron saint is someone who you choose upon confirmation, though it doesn't have to just be that. Some people also call on a saint who can guide them through their jobs or hobbies. For example, my confirmation saint is St. Francis of Assisi. However, I also have St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, that I pray to whenever I start to play the guitar or the piano. Then there is St. Dymphna, the patron of mental health and those who suffer from mental illness, whom I pray to because I am in the mental health profession.

Whoever it is, a patron saint enters your life for many reasons: they are your accountability partner, helping you grow in grace. They are your protector, your prayer partner, and your friend. Sometimes we forget that in our everyday life, we have heavenly friends surrounding us and helping us through each day, praying and encouraging us to keep the faith. They do so much for us.

So today I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice to do something for them?

There is plenty of things we could do to get to know them better, to honor them, and to grow close to them. For example, on St. Francis' feast day (October 4th) I usually go and have my pets blessed, or I might give to a charity in his name. There are also plenty of chaplets and novenas dedicated to him. I got a lovely little chaplet rosary off of etsy yesterday, and cannot wait to use it to pray his chaplet. I will have to post a picture when it arrives. 

Read about your patron too. Get to know them, all about them. Remember every single saint was once like us, and it's okay to stumble, because they did too.

In some parts of the world they have elaborate celebrations, with food and processions. If you are able to attend one, by all means! Have fun and celebrate. 

Finally, go visit them at a shrine. National shrines dedicated to a saint can be found in many places in the U.S. and around the world. Light a candle and just spend some time with them. Get to know your heavenly friends and remember you are never alone, and there is always someone praying for you :)