Tuesday, June 25, 2013

He and I: A Review

 I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading this book at first. I had never heard of Gabrielle Bossis, and I am usually a bit careful about private revelation. That being said, He and I is one of the most beautiful books I have read in quite some time.
He and I is the account of the words allegedly spoken by Our Lord to Gabrielle Bossis, a lay Frenchwoman from 1936 until she died in 1950. I say allegedly spoken by Our Lord because Gabrielle never really refers to Him as Jesus, but rather as the Voice. However, the more you read, the more it becomes clear that this Voice can only be the voice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
You begin the book reminding yourself that these words are not being spoken to you personally, but to this Frenchwoman. As you continue to read, you seem to forget that and feel as if Christ is addressing these words to you. If this book finds its way into your hands, I believe those words are for you.
While the book is an easy read, set up by year with brief journal entries, it should not be read quickly. Take your time and stop where you feel called to stop and pray. Trust me, this will happen often as you get deeper into the book. I read it highlighter in hand. There are prayers both prayed by Gabrielle as well as those given to her by Our Lord that you may want to remember and use in your own prayer life. Here are a few:

~"Holy Father, I offer you Jesus living in my life and dying in my death. I offer you the heart of Jesus in each one of my heartbeats."(p.37)

~"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit present within me." (p.61)

~"Lord, my body and soul are Your home; may all that I am and have be used for Your glory." (p.164)

When I began reading He and I, I mentioned it to a few friends. I was amazed to discover that this book had been read by many of them, and in two cases, it had played a significant role in their return to their faith.
There is no dogma or doctrine in this book, but it does carry an Imprimatur, which is basically the OK from the Church to publish and read it.
I can't say enough good things about He and I. If your spiritual life, or your relationship with Jesus needs a bit of a spiritual boost, this book will help to do just that. If you haven't read it, if it has been sitting on your bookshelf~pick it up and begin what you will find to be not simply the journal entries of a devout laywoman, but a beautiful and intimate conversation between you and Your Lord.

*This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on He and I. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

                                        Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Divine Mercy In, Through and Beyond Prison Walls

If you ever doubted the power of Divine Mercy, the story of Pornchai Moontri will erase all doubts. Fr. Gordon MacRae has posted how Divine Mercy in Bangkok, Thailand has traveled the globe and found its way into a New Hampshire prison. The details of the story are explained in great and amazing detail in Fr. Gordon's recent post titled Knock and the Door Will Open: Divine Mercy in Bangkok, Thailand.
Click the link above to visit These Stone Walls to read this wonderful story of faith and Divine Mercy. You may want to leave an encouraging thought, word or prayer for Pornchai afterward.
If you are unfamiliar with Pornchai's story from the beginning, Fr. Gordon's post has links to his earlier ones as well as posts written by Pornchai himself.

"Give glory to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." ~Psalm 106

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Feast of Thanksgiving

The word Eucharist is the Greek word for thanksgiving. While here in the United States, we celebrate a national Thanksgiving Day, today our Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi. In a very real way, this is the Church's Thanksgiving Day. In it we celebrate the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We worship and give thanks for His Eucharistic Presence.
So many do not believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, or in some ways seem to forget that He is there. Today's feast is a wonderful reminder of the awesome gift we have been given by a God who loves us so much that He remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament.
He waits for each of us in this sacrament. If you have never done so, spend a few minutes or more if you can, with Him. Receive Him worthily in Holy Communion with as much love and devotion as your human heart can muster. If we give just a little, He will do the rest.
So as we celebrate this feast of God's greatest gift to us today, let us love and adore Him as He so desires and deserves.

"But just as He stood quietly among His apostles in the amazing beauty of His resurrection, and said, handle Me and see, so does He abide with us in the Blessed Sacrament, that we may get to know Him, to outlive our tremulous agitation, and the novelty of our surprise, and to grow familiar with Him, if we can, as our life-long Guest. There we can bring our sorrows and cares and necessities at all hours... We can choose our own time, and our visit can be as short or as long as duties permit or as love desires. There is unction and a power in the mere silent companionship of the Blessed Sacrament which is beyond all words... The ways of visiting the Blessed Sacrament must be as various as the souls of men. Some love to go there to listen; some to speak; some to confess to Him as if He were their priest; some to examine their consciences, as before their judge; some to do homage as to their king; some to study Him as their Doctor and Prophet: some to find shelter as with their Creator. Some rejoice in His Divinity, others in His Sacred Humanity, others in the mysteries of the season. Some visit Him on different days by His different titles, as God, Father, Brother, Shepherd, Head of the Church, and the like. Some visit to adore, some to intercede, some to petition, some to return thanks, some to get consolation; but all visit Him to love and, to all who visit Him in love, He is a power of heavenly grace and a fountain of many goods, no single one of which the whole created universe could either merit or confer."
The Blessed Sacrament
Fr. Frederick William Faber, D.D.

 Thoughts and Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Holy Trinity: The Oneness of God


I am cheating a bit this week, and giving you a re~post from Trinity Sunday 2011. I love that the Church gives us this truly awesome feast. It helps us to remember that God is one in the three Persons. We can remember that and meditate upon it, but it won't be until we reach heaven that we will finally understand it. So for now, may we simply praise God in awesome Mystery.
Here is God's Feast Day from 2011.

God's Feast Day
This title may be simplifying things a bit, but while the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity is pure Mystery, while reflecting on this divine reality, that is what I thought, that the Solemnity of the Trinity that we celebrate this Sunday is truly God's feast day. It celebrates God~Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the Godhead they are. There are no words to explain or describe this adequately. I guess in my feeble attempt, what I mean by all this is that today we celebrate God for being God.
As far as my thoughts go, I will leave it at that. However, there have been saints who in their earthly lives have been given the grace of a deeper knowledge or understanding of the Trinity. St Faustina Kowalska is one of them. Here are a few excerpts from her Diary on the subject of the Trinity in her own life.

I understand the spiritual espousal of a soul with God, which has no exterior manifestation. It is a purely interior act between the soul and God. This grace has drawn me into the very burning center of God's love. I have come to understand His Trinitarian quality and the absolute Oneness of His Being. (Diary 1020)

After Holy Communion I communed for a while with the heavenly Father. My soul was drawn into the glowing center of love. I understood that no exterior works could stand comparison with the pure love of God. ... I saw the joy of the Incarnate Word, and I was immersed in the Divine Trinity. When I came to myself, longing filled my soul, and I yearned to be united with God (Diary, 1121).

And I will close with the TeDeum

WE praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud; the Heavens, and all the Powers therein;
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father, of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true, and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

THOU art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou
hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O LORD, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them, and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Thoughts and comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Becoming New Wineskins

It has been awhile since I have been inspired to write anything here, and quite honestly I am not sure when I will post after this, but I did come across something in a reading from the Office of Readings yesterday that is appropriate as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost today.
The only information about the author of the reading is that it is from a sermon by a 6th century African author.
The sermon was speaking about the Church and how in its unity it speaks the languages of all nations. The author used the passage in Scripture that speaks of the disciples speaking in all different languages after they had received the Holy Spirit,  and he linked it with the Scripture passage about not putting old wine into new wineskins. Here is the excerpt from the sermon:
"...So when the disciple were heard speaking in all kinds of languages, some people were not far wrong in saying: They have been drinking too much new wine. The truth is that the disciples had now become fresh wineskins, renewed and made holy by grace. The new wine of the Holy Spirit filled them, so that their fervor brimmed over and they spoke in manifold languages."
Yes, they were truly drunk in the Spirit, and like them we too should be drunk in the Spirit that has made us holy by grace.
Pentecost is the birthday of our Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The best birthday present we could give Christ and His Church on this feast is to celebrate what, and more specifically, Who unifies us despite the diversity of languages and cultures.
May our lives become the new wineskins filled with the new wine of the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit and enliven in us Your gifts that we may bear their fruits in our lives to the benefit of our brothers and sisters, and to the greater glory of God.

Thoughts and comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.