2019: Saying Goodbye to a Very Special Year!

 

snow angel pic by phil koch
Snow Angel, Photo by Phil Koch

 

In December I always feel the need to give thanks to God for everything in my life, especially for everything He gave me during the year. And this year has been a very special year for me for many reasons. My heart is overflowing with gratefulness!

I feel very grateful for the paths traveled, for the different countries I visited, for every person I met, and for everyone that was part of my life during 2019.

God is good, always good. He’s so good, He only knows how to give good things.

I give you thanks Lord for all my family and my new family I recently met from my dad Angelo’s side. This has always been a long dream of mine and little did I know that God was going to grant me this special gift in my life this year. I learned I have four siblings and I recently met my two sisters, Angelique and Daphne. I celebrated American Thanksgiving and my birthday with my sister Angelique and her family in California.

We visited our dad’s grave at the cemetery, brought him flowers and prayed together (I never met him and I learned that unfortunately he passed away several years ago). It’s so sad that I couldn’t find him before he passed but God knows why and his will is always perfect. May he rest in His love and peace forever. I had the opportunity to talk to dad’s family in Argentina and talked to my brothers Michael and Jean Pierre.

Our God is a God of surprises. I feel so blessed! Thank you Jesus!

I also give you thanks Lord for all my good friends and all my friends in the faith, especially my Carmelite (O.C.D.S) community and for all the opportunities that this year gave me to see You face to face.

As we approach the end of this decade I also reflect about my journey throughout the past ten years of my life; there is so much to ponder on. Each year’s difficult times and joyful ones, you were always there with me, dear Lord. I give You thanks for the gift of my life, for all your love, your presence, guidance and blessings every day and always.

And for me, certainly this will be an unforgettable year to cherish!

Muchas gracias mi Jesus,

Forever yours!

 

Wishing everyone a very joyful and blessed New Year 2020!

Pax et bonum!

 

The Isle of Love

 

saint john the evangelist
San Giovani Evangelista, art by Lorenzo Costa (1480 – 1485 circa) Accademia Carrara Bergamo.

 

Here is an excerpt from the book ‘The Way of the Dreamcatcher’
Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax: Poet, Peacemaker, Sage.
By S.T. Georgiou.

 

Robert, it’s been said that you eventually left Marseille and later went on to Greece and Patmos because of a “sign” you saw in your room. Over your bed there was an icon of St. John the Divine writing his Revelation. This image prompted you to start thinking of Patmos and the famous cave wherein John experienced his vision.

That’s a true story. And up there on my wall, among all the other pictures and postcards, is a copy of that very icon. The original is from an illustrated manuscript of the fifteenth century.

Oh yes, there’s St. John writing his Apocalypse.

And the fact that he’s writing also led me to believe that Patmos would be a good place to write and meditate.

So Patmos was love at first sight?

Definitely. Things were clearer here, much more real, rooted, you might say. No distractions. Excellent climate, at least for most months. A fertile, unfolding quiet. Beautiful, inspiring light. Something about the light – so many tones, hues beaming into the soul. And there was also a classical influence as well. It was a ruggedly Homeric place ringed by a “wine dark sea.”

What was it that you found holy here? The site must have certainly impressed you since you had previously gone to such inspiring locales as the Virgin Isles, the Canary Isles, and a number of the islands of Italy and Greece. 

Many people who visit say that there is an ominous feel to the place as your boat approaches, but not in a bad way. There’s just a certain feeling that something spiritually significant is here, waiting to reveal itself in its own good time. When I first came I strongly felt the power of St. John’s cave as well as the great monastery and that whole area up there, but it was really the Cave of the Apocalypse that moved me.

You sound like the islanders — they’re very ” cave conscious. ”  

Yes, the cave has been a magnet for all the Patmians since the days of St. John. In fact, St. John’s association with the cave has permeated the whole psychology of the people here. It has made them loving, gentle, wise. I’ve found that they never say a word in any situation that doesn’t emanate from a pure trust, a deep spiritual centre of which the cave is a part. So many times I’ve heard, “Epomoni” (Patience), “Oti theli o Theos” (Whatever God wants) and “Doxa si o Theos” (Glory be to God). Everything seems to be right here for a good rapport with the Creator. The men, women and children have a solid spiritual foundation nurtured by the sanctity of the isle and by their forefathers.
On top of that, they are always reminded of the high ideals of their classical and Byzantine ancestors. I mean, Socrates “Know thyself,” which many of the locals echo, is a good start for anyone.

So you feel Patmos is truly a sacred site, a blessed zone? Is there a unique energy here? A cosmic pulsing?

I certainly would not be inclined to doubt it. The sun, moon and stars seem to shine right into you. Yes, I very much believe the people are blessed simply by being here. Grace seems to flow here. You can’t help but sense the love of God. The gates of Patmos are as wide as the heart, open to all.

What did you feel when you first came to this holy isle? 

A timeless serenity. Generative silence. Awe. The quiet imposed by the volcanic mountains and stones, a real love moving over the face of the waters. In a more familial sense, I did feel like someone might if they had run into their long-lost parents or grandparents — as if everything you’ve heard in your life, up till then, had just been an echo of something that all along had been planted right here. And the echoes of that something could still be heard. . .

It’s interesting how when St. John came here, he emphasized the need to love. “Just love one another, ” he would say. So we are meant to form relationships, to network. One star can’t illuminate the whole night sky. Constellations have to form.

Patmos then seems to be a model for harmonious living, a kind of cosmic school of higher learning. 

I do believe that very much — it’s a wholesome place that naturally fosters self-discovery and genuine agape. There’s a living tradition here. I felt a great wave of peace when I came to Patmos, and I still sense these peaceful rhythms. Things are free-flowing here. The sunlight writes on the water, and the waters wave in the light. Even the birds seem to fly in a more peaceful way, as if they know that they are loved. Animals are like children because they know when they are loved, and when they are not.

 

Look far back,
look infinitely on.
Penetrate, do not appraise.
Behold all things
with the innocence of light.
Laugh when you meet a stranger;
let your glances flash together
like water in sunlight.
~ Robert Lax

 

Happy Feast of Saint John The Evangelist!
The Disciple whom Jesus Loved, St. John The Divine, St. John The Theologian,
pray for us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe

 

Mother Mary
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Anne  ~ (Photo taken by me at The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec, Canada)

 

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race —
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.

If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn —
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.

Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! Nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steeped sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.

So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
An her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.

Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

~ A poem by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-89)

 

Happy Birthday Blessed Virgin Mary! ❤ Ora Pro Nobis!

 

The Suffering That Transforms Us

 

Christ art by ladislav zaborsky
Art by Ladislav Záborský

 

Suffering is not only physical; it can be mental or spiritual as well. In proportion to the love of God and others that grows in the soul, a massive transformation takes place through suffering. This is the threshold of a mystery into which God gently leads you.

If you follow him into his pain, it changes you. If you keep your hand in God’s hand, love will grow. He who holds his hand in the hand of God knows love, for God is love.

And there, I think, is something very profound, very mysterious and deep.

 

. . .we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.
~ Rm 5:3-5 

 

~ A Meditation by Catherine Doherty

 

 

In sorrow and suffering, go straight to God with confidence, and you will be strengthened, enlightened and instructed.
~ Saint John of Cross

Jesu, Highest Heaven’s Completeness

 

christsb
“Christ Embracing St Bernard of Clairvaux” art by Francisco Ribalta (1625-27)  Museo del Prado  Madrid, Spain

 

Jesu, highest Heaven’s completeness,
Name of music to the ear,
To the lips surpassing sweetness,
Wine the fainting heart to cheer.

Eating Thee, the soul may hunger,
Drinking, still athirst may be;
But for Earthly food no longer,
Nor for any steam but Thee.

Jesu, all delight exceeding,
Only hope of heart distrest;
Weeping eyes and spirit mourning
Find in Thee a place of rest.

Stay, O Beauty uncreated,
Ever ancient, ever new;
Banish deeds of darkness hated,
With Thy sweetness all bedew.

Jesu, fairest blossom springing
From a maiden ever pure,
May our lips Thy praise be singing
While eternal years endure.

 

~ A poem by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

The Warmth of God’s Mercy

 

holy card
Gesu Holy Card (Source Unknown)

 

Do you feel the warmth of God’s mercy? Do you feel the tenderness that embraces you? Do you feel the knock at your heart that says, “You needn’t be lonely and worried about this matter; I am with you. I am in you. “Do you feel his consolation—not emotionally, but spiritually, in faith? Do you feel the touch of his hand upon your heart, healing the wounds of sin?

 

” I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.”
~ John 10:14-15

 

A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

 

 

For a Lover of Nature

I recently got back from a wonderful trip to Scotland. My daughter and I visited the beautiful and magical city of Edinburgh and later on we took a full day tour to visit the Scottish Highlands—It was such a wonderful experience to be surrounded by majestic mountains and valleys, visiting small Victorian little towns, cruising the dark and deep waters of Loch Ness with breathtaking views followed by a visit to Urquhart Castle. And feeding the Highlands Cows—Unforgettable! What an amazing day we had!

I’m feeling very humble and blessed by the extraordinary experiences we had with my daughter during our visit to Scotland. So thankful to our Beloved Lord for blessing us with this amazing opportunity to travel together and treasure those moments for a lifetime.

Here I share a few of the photos I took during our visit to this beautiful land of many treasures. . .

 

EDI122
Relaxing at sunset with a view of Edinburgh Castle in the background (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI80
Our climb to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh…Philippians 4:13  (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI saint patrick church
Attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh on July 16th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel ❤ A very blessed day! (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI Little Flower
Saint Thérèse ❤ you are always near! Thank you Little Flower! At St. Patrick’s Church, July 16th 2019 (My photo)

 

Edi Lochness 2
Cruising on Loch Ness…Enjoying all the beauty and wonder! God’s creation is awesome and a precious gift to us all! (My photo – July 2019)

 

Urquhart castle
Visiting the ruins of Urquhart Castle. . . (My photo – July 2019)

 

Highland coo
Visiting the Highland Coo! They are so docile and cute! (My photo – July 2019)

 

roses in EDI
Beautiful roses everywhere in Edinburgh and The Highlands…The climate favors them for their growth and beauty! Here I took this photo in the Victorian town of Pitlochry (July 2019).

 

EDI me and my baby girl
The Highlands! So grateful to God for this unforgettable trip! (My photo – July 2019)

 

For a Lover of Nature

Your valley trails its beauty through your poems,
the kindly woods, the wide majestic river.
Earth is your god—or goddess, you declare,
mindful of what good time must one day give her
of all you have. Water and rocks and trees
hold primal words born out of Genesis.

But Love is older than these.

You lay your hand upon the permanence
of green-embroidered land and miss the truth
that you are trusting your immortal spirit
to earth’s sad inexperience and youth.
Centuries made this soil; this rock was lifted 
out of aeons; time could never trace 
a path to water’s birth or air’s inception,
and so, you say, these be your godly grace.
Earth was swept into being with the light—
dear earth, you argue, who will soon be winning
your flesh and bones by a most ancient right.

But Love had no beginning.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.  

 

 

 

 

 

Center of Our Hearts

 

Jesus Sacred Heart statue
Vintage wood carving Sacred Heart of Jesus statue from Spain (1930)

 

O God, what will You do to conquer
the fearful hardness of our hearts?
Lord, You must give us new hearts,
tender hearts, sensitive hearts,
to replace hearts that are made of marble
and of bronze.
You must give us Your own Heart , Jesus.

Come, lovable Heart of Jesus.
Place Your Heart deep in the center of our hearts
and enkindle in each heart a flame of love
as strong, as great, as the sum of all the reasons 
that I have for loving You, my God.

O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart,
so that I may live only in You and only for You,
so that, in the end, I may live with You eternally
in heaven.

Amen!

~ A prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by St. Claude de la Colombière,, S.J. 

 

 

“On awaking, enter in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and consecrate to It your body, your soul, your heart and your whole being, so as to live but for Its love and glory alone.”
~ Saint Margaret Mary  

 

 

A Very Blessed Feast of The Sacred Heart of Jesus to All!

 

 

 

How Do I Know God’s Will?

 

Jesus and the duty of the present moment
Art by Ladislav Záborský

 

If you ask, “How do I know what God wants of me at a given time,” the answer lies in the duty of the moment.

What is your next duty? It’s not a question of sitting around talking about the Holy Spirit! It is getting up at night to change or feed a baby, doing the duty of a nurse or the work of a man is supporting his family. Does one like it? That depends on how much one loves!

 

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5

 

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

Don’t miss the boat!

 

sail heart
Photo source unknown

 

The world today needs saints—hundreds, thousands, and millions of saints! Hate, fear, despair vanish like mist in the sun before men and women in love with God, men and women of sanctity.

Sanctity comes from much loving. For this we have been created: to love our neighbor, and through him, to love God. Loving is fun. Loving is joy. Loving brings peace. loving means serving and forgetting oneself for others. Learn how to love and you will receive everything you need.

We are all called to be saints. Not to be a saint is the greatest tragedy that can befall a Christian today!

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

 

“You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love.”
~ Colossians 3:12-14 

 

Pax et Bonum!