Monday, April 24, 2023

Mass of Dedication

I confess--I've been singing more than I've been writing. But it's all so wonderful. Last week we've been practicing for the Mass of Dedication of St. Clare of Assisi in the church building itself. These past three years we've been watching it take shape on our walks but to be inside this magnificent space set apart to worship our Lord Jesus... oh my! I've not come down from heaven from the Dedication Mass. The entire liturgy is packed with meaning. Truly, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a meeting of heaven and earth. Everything we have is a gift from Above and given that we're made in His Image we can exercise our creative gifts and offer the best to Him. Here I offer just a few pictures.

The narthex has this gorgeous piece showing the important events in the life of St. Clare of Assisi and a mosaic (made locally) of her motto. The Altar, stained glass windows, Stations of the Cross, and many more items like statues come from the Sisters of St. Francis in Pittsburg. I loved practicing (and it is all a prayer) in this space--great acoustics--and so proud of Michael chanting with the small group of professionals. To God, all the glory! 

We didn't want to leave the church after Mass but there was a lovely reception afterwards at Bishop England High School, across the street. The bells were ringing! Just imagine how beautiful it is going to be for the kids to pray here, instead of the gym. All this beauty points to our Almighty God. The liturgy itself teaches the tenets of our faith. It was a beautiful night walking home. Deo gratias!!! 

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy image in Vilnius
Eugeniusz Kazimirowski (1873-1939)
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!!! This Sunday goes by several names: Low Sunday, Quasimodo Sunday, and Divine Mercy Sunday, and it's that last one that I will focus on.

But first, we've been enjoying fresh strawberries so I couldn't resist posting a picture of the three lovely and united Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph again.

Heart of Jesus, I adore Thee.

Heart of Mary, I implore thee.

Heart of Joseph, pure and just,

in these three hearts

I place my trust.


Sister Faustina Maria Pia of the Sisters for Life composed this Litany of Trust. May it give you child-like confidence in our Lord's unfathomable love and mercy. 

Litany of Trust

From the belief that I have to earn Your love … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear that I am unlovable … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the false security that I have what it takes … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute … Deliver me, Jesus.

From all suspicion of Your words and promises … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You … Deliver me, Jesus.

From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will … Deliver me, Jesus.

From anxiety about the future … Deliver me, Jesus.

From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past … Deliver me, Jesus.

From restless self-seeking in the present moment … Deliver me, Jesus.

From disbelief in Your love and presence … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being asked to give more than I have … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of what love demands … Deliver me, Jesus.

From discouragement … Deliver me, Jesus.

That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me … Jesus, I trust in you.

That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me …Jesus, I trust in you.

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You are with me in my suffering … Jesus, I trust in you.

That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next …Jesus, I trust in you.

That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church…Jesus, I trust in you.

That Your plan is better than anything else … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You always hear me, and in Your goodness always respond to me …Jesus, I trust in you.

That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others …Jesus, I trust in you.

That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked …Jesus, I trust in you.

That my life is a gift … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You will teach me to trust You … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You are my Lord and my God … Jesus, I trust in you.

That I am Your beloved one … Jesus, I trust in you.


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Happy Easter!

Easter Tuesday this year is the feast of St. Gemma and our 14th anniversary of reception into Church. We love celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord for 50 days! The Easter Vigil is one my most favorite liturgies as we recount salvation history and prophecies. We begin in the dark and as the Paschal Candle is lit, the light of Christ spreads throughout the sanctuary. Our deacon chants the Exultet so beautifully! Favorite bits:
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

I always find it fascinating that although our Lord Jesus prepared his disciples for the horror of Good Friday, they forgot that He told them He would rise from the dead. They were astonished, confused to be at the empty tomb. Unbelievable, yet TRUE!

Our pastor spoke about what a strange religion it is, from God becoming a Baby, born of a Virgin Mother, who allows Himself to be tortured and put Himself to death, who rises, and gives a way to remain with us substantially--His Real Presence in the Eucharist. We celebrate this because it's TRUE!!! And if it's true, nothing else matters. Watching grown men and women make their desire known, to be part of the biggest family on earth, that of the Catholic Church, fills me with so much joy. They have taken the same journey we have--of questioning, of studying, of accepting by faith all the truths of the Catholic faith. Alleluia!!! A most blessed Eastertide to all. And if you have little ones, might I recommend Ten Easter Eggs by yours truly?

Friday, April 7, 2023

O Agony and Dying

Our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is Sacrifice: This is MY Body, given up for you. 
But He was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by His wounds we are healed.
We adore You O Christ and praise You! Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
Crucifixion by Matthias Grunewald

This poem is attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. There are several different renditions of it and they all make me weep with sorrow and gratitude. "O Agony and Dying! O Love to sinners free! Jesus all grace supplying, O turn Thy Face on me!" Some years ago, a choir member gifted me His Sacred Head crowned with thorns. I keep it near me, grateful to have a small share in His Passion.

1 O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown!
O sacred Head, what glory,
what bliss till now was thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call thee mine.

2 What thou, my Lord, hast suffered
was all for sinners’ gain.
Mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve thy place.
Look on me with thy favor,
and grant to me thy grace.

3 What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest Friend,
for this, thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever,
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love to thee.

4 Be near when I am dying,
oh, show thy cross to me,
and for my rescue, flying,
come, Lord, and set me free!
These eyes, new faith receiving,
from Jesus shall not move,
for one who dies believing
dies safely, through thy love.

Thursday, April 6, 2023


Judas Iscariot by Giotto
I've been pondering Judas. Why did our Lord Jesus choose him as an apostle knowing that Judas would betray Him, and with a kiss, no less? Our Lord says, "The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Matt 26:24. Wow! Because the only tragedy I can think of not making it to heaven. There are only two options--heaven or hell. And clearly Judas is in hell. Not because he betrayed our Lord, but because he despaired and took his own life instead of running to Jesus. He was remorseful and tried to return the 30 pieces of silver to the Sanhedrin. He could've fallen to his knees at the Cross and begged forgiveness for the worst sin ever--Deicide--and Jesus would've saved him, opened the gates of paradise to him. But instead, he tried to save himself. We cannot save ourselves. Yet our Lord will not save us without our consent, unless we accept His Mercy. But I still wonder why Jesus chose Judas knowing what a traitor he'd be. God is love. I know our Lord loved Judas. 

I wonder what Judas was thinking. We know he was a thief, stealing the money the disciples collected for the poor. But when did he stop loving our Lord? Why did Judas continue to stay with this little band of people who followed Jesus? I ask these questions because I wonder about myself too. How I betray Jesus, and for what? Michael and I have been reading St. Thomas Aquinas' Lenten Meditations daily and they give so much insight into both the nature of Christ's sacrifice and our own human condition.   

As we enter the Sacred Triduum, I pause and ponder my faith and pray that I may never ever be separated from our dear Lord Jesus. Why the Incarnation? Why the Crucifixion? Why the Eucharist? One drop of His Precious Blood at His Circumcision could've saved us all. Instead every last drop of His Precious Blood is drained from His Body. He gives us His all. And He continues to give Himself in the Holy Eucharist. It is impossible for my poor heart to imagine a love so deep. And so I pray and praise and petition my Lord Jesus to let me grow in His Love. To be more like Mary of Bethany and less like Judas Iscariot. All these ponderings at the beautiful full moon last night at Breach Inlet after Maundy Thursday Liturgy with the commandment to imitate Him. Perhaps the next book we read together will be Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.

Mary Anointing Jesus by Daniel Gerhartz