Monday, December 21, 2009

A Blessed Christmas

"The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Savior into the world- because, thanks to her YES, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time” Pope Benedict XVI

In these final days of preparation for the birth of our blessed Savior, I want to take a minute to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas. You have shared so much of yourselves and your faith with me during this Advent season, and I am truly thankful for each one of you.

You will be in my prayers every day, as well as your families and the requests for prayer that you have shared.

Until the New Year, may the Lord continue to bless you and hold you close to His Sacred Heart.
In Christ,

Daily Grace

A virgin unspotted, the prophet foretold,

Should bring forth a Savior, which now we behold,

To be our Redeemer from death, hell, and sin,

Which Adam’s transgression had wrappèd us in.

The King of all kings to this world being brought,

Small store of fine linen to wrap Him was sought,

But when she had swaddled her young Son so sweet,

Within an ox manger she laid Him to sleep.

Then God sent an angel from Heaven so high,

To certain poor shepherds in fields where they lie,

And bade them no longer in sorrow to stay,

Because that our Savior was born on this day.

Then presently after the shepherds did spy

Vast numbers of angels to stand in the sky;

They joyfully talkèd and sweetly did sing,

To God be all glory, our heavenly King.

To teach us humility all this was done,

And learn we from thence haughty pride for to shun:

A manger His cradle Who came from above,

The great God of mercy, of peace and of love.

Words & Music: Ap­par­ent­ly based on A Vir­gin Most Pure. This ver­sion ap­peared in Christ­mas Car­ols New and Old, by Henry R. Bram­ley and John Stain­er (Lond­on: No­vel­lo, Ew­er & Co., 1871), pp. 6-7 (MI­DI, score).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Presentation

Wrapped in a blanket, coffee steaming from my cup;

Rosary beads in hand, I watch the gentle flames dance in the fireplace as they warm the room.
In the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit, I begin this day.

It is now the fourth joyful mystery, Mary and Joseph present the child Jesus in the temple; with joyful obedience they present him.

Simeon, a righteous and devout man, is moved by the Holy Spirit and praises God, saying:

"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel." Luke 2: 29-32

And, a prophetess, Anna, was also there. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 36-38

As I think of what faithful prayer warriors Simeon and Anna were, I am reminded of a prayer request that I had received yesterday from a beautiful great grandmother on behalf of her great grandson, Liam.

Liam is only 3 months old. He was in the hospital for about 10 days; most of that time was in critical care. He has been home now for about 3 weeks on the highest dose of medication allowed. However, he is continuing to have 5-6 seizures a day. The doctors do not want to increase the medications that he is on. Liam’s family is asking for prayers.

Oh Blessed Mother, just as you and St. Joseph presented baby Jesus in the temple for consecration to the Lord, please present baby Liam to your Son today. Ask Him to touch this little child with His healing hand and to bring peace to his tiny body. With each bead on this rosary, I ask you to increase the number of prayer warriors, like Simeon and Anna, on Liam’s behalf and to give his parents the courage they will need to get through this. In Jesus name, Amen

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Totally Yours

“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus. (Luke 1: 28-31)

I slept very little last night, thinking of what the morning would bring. I rose early, around 4:30 a.m., got ready as quickly as I could and left to meet my mother for 6:30 mass on this beautiful feast day of the Immaculate Conception.

We arrived about 30 minutes early to pray together.You see, for the past thirty three days, I have been preparing and waiting for this special feast day of our Lady, because it would be my day of consecration, "To Jesus, through Mary".

As I walked up to receive Holy Communion, the cantor was leading us all in Immaculate Mary. Tears filled my eyes, and joy filled my heart. Returning to my pew, I once again read my Act of Consecration, as the presence of Christ embraced me.

After mass, my mother and I recited the "Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary", hugged one another, and thanked Jesus for the gift of His mother.

Hail, then, O Immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men. Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for the end receive the vows and offering which in my lowliness I present to thee…….

I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before....

Today I, too, can say the words of Pope John Paul II, “Totus Tuus”, which in Latin means, “totally yours”.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Come Closer

The door to the hall was opened. As I looked around, I could see that the floors were still damp from being mopped. Somebody had to be close at hand because one of the closet doors was also opened, with a bucket and mop sitting close by.

“Hello”, I called out. “Is anyone in here?” A small gray haired man walked out from behind the closet doors. “Yeah, what do you need?” he asked me. “I read on the Internet that the church here has adoration on First Fridays, is that right?” “Yeah, you enter the church through those doors over there”, he grumbled at me. Then he went back into the closet to attend to whatever he had been doing before I had interrupted him.

As I entered the doors to the church however, I immediately felt a much warmer response, though I was the only person there. It was in the quiet of that moment, that I looked up at the altar and saw the body of my Lord exposed in the monstrance. As I knelt before Him, it was as if I heard Him say to me, “I’ve been waiting for you; come closer.”

I walked up to the front pew, genuflected, then lowered the kneeler to pray and pay Him homage. A simple Advent wreath stood next to the altar. The altar cloth itself , had four small banners hanging down the front of it. One banner read peace, the other love, and the two that followed read hope and joy.

As I prayed I whispered to Him, “I feel your peace and love right now, thank you Lord”.

I said my rosary, then read some pages from a book I have on St. Louis de Montfort’s, True Devotion…., and just relaxed in this much needed time with the Lord.

As I  got up to said goodbye and started to leave, I realized the He had given me a gift. He had given me the gift of hope and joy that I would need to finish this day.

"Thank you",I said.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Heard A Gentle Call

Our Lady of Medjugorge

Message of November 25, 2009

"Dear children! In this time of grace I call you all to renew prayer in your families. Prepare yourselves with joy for the coming of Jesus. Little children, may your hearts be pure and pleasing, so that love and warmth may flow through you into every heart that is far from His love. Little children, be my extended hands, hands of love for all those who have become lost, who have no more faith and hope. Thank you for having responded to my call."

I heard a gentle call from a gentle mother;
I heard a gentle call from a gentle friend.
I heard a gentle call from a gentle mother;
Calling be back to her son again.

I heard a call in the middle of the night,
Calling me to wake, calling me to change my life.
I heard a call in the middle of the day,
Calling me to fast,
Calling me to pray, pray, pray.

I heard a gentle call from a gentle mother,
I heard a gentle call from a gentle friend.
I heard a gentle call from a gentle mother,
Calling be back to her son again.

I heard a call in the middle of a war;
Calling me to peace,
Calling to pray some more.
I heard a call in the middle of despair
Calling me to faith, to believe that God’s always there.

Oh, the sun turned round, and the rosaries turned gold,
But the cross on the hill was something to behold.

But the greatest change that I did see;
Is a change that happened inside of me;
The change that happened when my mother called me.

I heard a gentle call from a gentle mother,
I heard a gentle call from a gentle friend.
I heard a gentle call from a gentle mother,
Calling be back to her son again.

Song by Connie Salazar

May the peace of Christ be with us this day as we prepare for His coming.
Mary, Mother of our Redeemer, pray for us.

Connie Salazar