i prefer…

One of the many graces I have received during this year’s Lenten Desire to

spend more time with God

has been all the extra-time provided to do more life-giving, beneficial things while under God’s gaze!

By sacrificing my time normally spent on Instagram I am (instead) doing things which

feed the Spirit He planted within me!

Like reading, writing, watching a good movie or crocheting!

Continue reading “i prefer…”

movie confessions

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It’s another Wednesday for Saint Maria Faustina KoWalska (what else,)

with a brief reflection on the Divine Mercy of God!

And I have a confession to make…

I’ve been watching an awful lot of movies these past 48 hours!

Mostly because I remain homebound on Doctor’s orders.  And so it is that I must confess to taking advantage of this permission ‘to do nothing’ & have woven some mindless things amidst my lenten prayer time, such as a….

 Movie Marathon

with sympathetic Helen by my side!

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Sleepy Helen & Bear are not impressed.

I have mainly chosen to revisit some of my all time favorite dramas to watch, for example: On Golden Pond (Norman is still  ‘just an old poop’.) Terms of Endearment (I decided I still prefer Shirley MacLaine as Wheezer in Steel Magnolias…and then tried to figure out how did she ever get cast as Martha Levinson in Downton Abbey???)  PS I love you (where a scene was filmed from Cuppycake & my favorite NYC restaurant, Ouestwhich closed it’s doors June 2015 and made me all teary-eyed as that particular scene was playing with Harry Connick, Jr & Hilary Swank.) And then today, trying to build upon this movie marathon to pass still yet more time, I attempted to watch a family favorite, Return to Me, which for some odd reason would not play. (And I was really looking forward to some bicycle riding time with Minnie Driver & the habited Sisters through the streets of Italy!)

So instead I popped this Nun into the Blue-Ray:

Faustina, The Mystical Life of The Visionary of Divine Mercy!!

And NOW I had Helen’s full attention!!

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Helen was riveted to the story of her namesake!

The movie is a drama on the life of Sister Faustina Kowalska, a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, based upon her experiences recorded in her spiritual diary.  Faustina received from Our Lord the visions of Divine Mercy and was both Beatified and Canonized by Pope John Paul II.  The first feature film of its kind in Poland, it is a beautiful artistic portrayal of her mystical life in high quality cinema.

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Dorota Segada was voted top actress of the year by European film critics for her stunning portrayal of Sister Faustina.

And while this movie just scraped the surface of the mystical experiences of St. Faustina & her many Diary entries, this was still a wonderful portrayal of St. Faustina’s mission as directed by Christ.  The focus of Faustina’s time spent in confession with her Spiritual Director, Father Sopocko, and the tender compassion he showed during those times was a beautiful expression of what the Sacrament of Confession can be for us.

St. Faustina herself wrote many times in her Diary of the beautiful gift we are given through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

(113)  And again, I would like to say three words to the soul that is determined to strive for sanctity and to derive fruit; that is to say, benefit from confession.

First [word] – complete sincerity and openness.  Even the holiest and wisest confessor cannot forcibly pour into the soul what he desires if it is not sincere and open.  An insincere, secretive soul risks great dangers in the spiritual life, and even the Lord Jesus Himself does not give Himself to such a soul on a higher level, because He knows it would derive no benefit from these special graces.

Second word – humility.  A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble.  Pride keeps it in darkness.  The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery.  It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery.

Third word – obedience.  A disobedient soul will win no victory, even if the Lord Jesus Himself, in person, were to hear its confession.  The most experienced confessor will be of no help whatsoever to such a soul.  The disobedient soul exposes itself to great misfortunes; it will make no progress toward perfection, nor will it succeed in the spiritual life.  God lavishes His graces most generously upon the soul, but it must be an obedient soul.  -Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

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Confession is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in his love and mercy. It is here that we meet the loving Jesus who offers sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God and neighbor. At the same time, Confession permits sinners to reconcile with the Church, which also is wounded by our sins.

Saint Faustina reminds us we need the sacrament of Penance because each of us, from time to time, sins. When we recognize that we have offended God who is all deserving of our love, we sense the need to make things right. Like the prodigal son in the Gospel, we long to know again the loving embrace of a forgiving father who patiently waits for each of us. Jesus himself has established this sure and certain way for us to access God’s mercy and to know that our sins are forgiven. By virtue of his divine authority, Jesus gives this power of absolution to the apostolic ministry. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “in imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church” (1444).

We need to know that our sins are forgiven. There is something in our human nature that calls out for the assurance that our sins are actually forgiven. Confession is the visible manifestation of God’s mercy that provides us, in human terms as well, the clear awareness that God has forgiven us.

As Holy Week approaches may we consider the mercy that awaits us.  There is no better drama to play out than what forgiveness has to offer us.

And I must confess there is no greater drama to watch than our selves falling into the arms of Jesus as we allow Him to wash away our sins.

“As we exit the confessional, we will feel his strength which gives new life and restores ardor to the faith.  After confession we are reborn.” Pope Francis

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hugs n’ restored blessings as we sincerely, humbly, obediently proclaim…

Jesus, I trust in You!

show me the money!

Number one on my bucket list: To Reach Heaven!

And like every good marathon participant, I’m in training!

(I promise I don't even like Rum.)
Photo Courtesy of Themetapicture.com

Ready, Set, Go (towards the goal!)

To reach this goal one might strive, as a part of their training ‘exercises,’ to become Holy or Perfect but,

what does it mean to be holy or perfect?

“There are two classical concepts of perfection, one Greek and the other Hebrew.  In the Greek ideal, to be perfect is to have no deficiencies, no faults, no flaws.  Perfection, to the Greek mind, means to measure up to some ideal standard, to be completely whole, true, good and beautiful.  To be perfect is never to sin.

The Hebrew ideal of perfection is quite different.  In this mindset, to be perfect simply means to walk with God, despite our flaws.  Perfection here means being in the divine presence, in spite of the fact that we are not perfectly whole, good, true, and beautiful.

Our concept of holiness in the West has been, both for good and bad, very much shaped by the Greek ideal of perfection.  Hence, holiness has been understood as a question of measuring up to a certain benchmark.  In such a view of things, a view with which many of us were raised, sanctity is understood as achieving and maintaining something – namely, moral goodness and integrity.

Such a view is not without its merits.  It is a perpetual challenge against mediocrity, laziness, giving in to the line of least resistance, and settling for what is second best.  Such a view of perfection (and the spirituality it engenders) keeps the ideal squarely in view.  The flag is always held high, ahead of us, beckoning us, calling us beyond the limits of our present tiredness.  We are always invited to something higher.  This can be very healthy, especially in a culture that is cynical and despairing of ideals.

BUT such a concept of perfection also has a nasty underside.  NOBODY MEASURES UP! In the end, we all fall short, which leads to a whole series of spiritual pitfalls.  First of all, we beat ourselves up with the false expectation that we can somehow, all on our own, through sheer will power, fix all that is wrong with us.  Will power, as we now know, is powerless in the face of our addictions.  Because we dont’ recognize this, we often grow discouraged and simply quit trying to break some bad habit.  WHy try when the result is always the same?  The temptation then is to do what we in fact so often do, namely, split off holiness and project it onto a “Mother Teresa” type of figure.  We let her carry holiness for us because we believe we are unable to become holy ourselves.

Hence, despite the positives that are contained in the Greek concept of perfection, we might well profit from incorporating into our lives more of the Hebrew ideal.  Perfection here means walking with God, despite imperfection.

All on our own, we can never measure up!  We can never be perfect in the Greek sense.   But that is not what God is asking of us.  What God is asking is that we bring our helplessness, weaknesses, imperfections, and sin constantly to him, that we walk with him, and that we never hide from him.  God is a good parent.  He understands that we will make mistakes and disappoint Him and ourselves.

What God asks is simply that we come home, that we share our lives with him, that we let HIM help us in those ways in which we are powerless to help ourselves.”    PRAYER, Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser

And suddenly…it’s as if God & I just had a Rod Tidwell/Jerry McGuire training exercise together!

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hugs n’ blessings to those registered in this same Marathon with me!

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