From her diary

One young woman I interview for my book entrusted me with her diary and told me to use it to help other girls who have eating disorders. I was speechless by her candor and love for those who suffer. Today I was rereading something she wrote from one entry and wanted to share it with my readers who are struggling. This young woman, who will remain anonymous, wrote the following when she was sixteen years old.

I mean I made the biggest mistake of my life doing what I did 3 summers ago. And I hate to see people go down the same path I went down because it is a tough place to be in. I wish I could tell them to go to Mass and ask Jesus to heal them, because He will. 

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The Infinite Value of the Mass

This morning after Mass I read the daily reading from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez and there were two particular paragraphs that left me breathless and wanted to share it with you today. Today’s mediation was called The Infinite Value of the Mass and read as follows.

For this reason each Mass has an infinite, immense value that we can never fully understand. It causes the whole heavenly court to rejoice. It alleviates the pain of the souls in purgatory. It draws down all types of blessings upon earth, and gives more glory to God than all the sufferings of all the martyrs together, more glory than the penances of all the saints, than all the tears shed by them since the beginning of the world and all that they may do till the end of time. -St. Jean Vianney, The Cure d’ Ars, Sermon on the Holy Mass

Another exceedingly powerful paragraph:

As well as the effects of praise and of adoration that are given to God, the Holy Mass also produces fruits of remission for our sins, and of petition for all our needs. There are of themselves capable of being infinite and unlimited, but may be finite and limited according to our dispositions. This is why the preparation of our soul to attend and partake of this unique Sacrifice, and the moments of thanksgiving and recollection once the sacred action os over are so very important.

I believe if people knew the value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass they would flock to it. Let us together spread this powerful Truth.

 

 

Wednesday’s Inspiration

“These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” – 1 Peter 1:7

Once there was a woman who watched a silversmith polish her candlesticks. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot flame.

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy, “When I see my image in it.” -The Refiner’s Touch: Author Unknown

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His gentle Hands on you and will keep watching you until He sees His Image in you. And when He sees His Image shining through you, He will remove you from the fire and you can be His light to the world.

Imagine you burned your hand in a bonfire. Over time your burn will fade and a scar will form. Most likely, the scar will remain on your hand, but over time will fade in color. In the early months following your burn, every time you see your scar you will be reminded of the painful experience. As the scar begins to fade the experience will also slowly fade too because you won’t be visually reminded of it. But, due to the nature of the burn and how painful it was you will never completely forget the pain you experienced.

I think our sweet Father gives us trials from His most Sacred Heart and also at times leaves a “scar” on us to remind us of our dependence on Him. Also, so that we can help others who have been through a similar situation and truly feel their pain.

Fight Him with love.

You know what they say…

You know what they say…”Never go food shopping when you’re hungry.”

Well, guess what world? I did. And it was awesome! I ran (well not literally) into the store after working out for some Parmigiano Reggiano and on my way to the register walked by the ice cream aisle.

I use to spend summers in Vermont, so naturally Ben & Jerry’s is my favorite kind of ice cream, and a new flavor happened to catch my eye.

It’s called Bonnaroo Buzz, made with coffee and malt ice creams with whiskey caramel swirls and english toffee pieces- yum! I couldn’t resist and got a pint.

It’s delicious! And I highly recommend you pick up a pint today at grocery stores nearest you. A perfect summer treat!

 

The Spiritual Combat

A very wise person once told me to read this every morning before my feet hit the floor- wanted to share it because it’s awesome

None shall be crowned who has not fought well. -2 Tim. 2: 5

Taken from the book The Spiritual Combat by DOM LORENZO SCUPOLI

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST MUST PREPARE EARLY FOR THE BATTLE

THE FIRST THING to do when you awake is to open the windows of your soul. Consider yourself as on the field of battle, facing the enemy and bound by the iron-clad law——either fight or die.

Imagine the enemy before you, that particular vice or disorderly passion that you are trying to conquer——imagine this hideous opponent is about to overwhelm you. At the same time, picture at your right Jesus Christ, your Invincible Leader, accompanied by the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, whole companies of Angels and Saints, and particularly by the glorious Archangel Michael. At your left is Lucifer and his troops, ready to support the passion or vice you are fighting and resolved to do anything to cause your defeat.

Imagine your guardian Angel thus spurring you on: “Today you must fight to conquer your enemy and anyone who tries to ruin you. Be courageous. Do not be afraid or cowardly. Christ your Captain is here with all the power of Heaven to protect you from the enemy, and to see that they never conquer you, either by brute power, or by trickery. Hold your ground! Do violence to yourself, no matter how painful it is. Call out for the help of Jesus and Mary and all the Saints. If you do this, you will be victorious.”

It does not matter how weak you are——how strong the enemy may seem, either in number or in power. Do not be discouraged. The help you have from Heaven is more powerful than all that Hell can send to destroy the grace of God in your soul. God, the Creator and the Redeemer, is Almighty and more desirous of your salvation than the devil can be of your destruction.

Fight courageously, then, and do not neglect to mortify yourself. Continual war on your inordinate inclinations and vicious habits will gain the victory, acquire the kingdom of Heaven, and unite your soul to God forever.

Begin to fight immediately in the name of the Lord, armed with distrust of yourself, with confidence in God, in prayer, and with the correct use of the faculties of your soul. With these weapons, attack the enemy, that predominant passion you want to conquer, either by courageous resistance, repeated acts of the contrary virtue, or any means that Heaven gives you to drive it out of your heart. Do not rest until it is conquered. Your endurance will be rewarded by the Supreme Judge, Who, with the entire Church triumphant, has witnessed your behavior.

To repeat——you must not become tired of this war. Everyone must serve and please God. It is impossible to avoid this fight. If anyone flees, he is exposed to being wounded and even destroyed. By revolting against God and indulging in a life of sensuality with the world the difficulties are not lessened, because both body and soul suffer greatly when given to luxury and ambition.

There is a great lack of vision in one who does not avoid a great deal of trouble in this life, followed by endless agony in the next, and yet shirks small difficulties which will soon end in an eternity of happiness and the never ending enjoyment of God.

In Honor of a Saintly Man

This morning I got up at sunrise to go for a quick run. I had been sick previously during the week, so since this was my first run in a while I decided to do a slow 3 mile shake out run. It was a gorgeous morning; I felt like I was in California because it was mid sixties and cloudy, just like California mornings.

I’m a thinker and often think deeply while running. This morning I thought of a man who God used to help teach me the power and beauty of forgiveness. His name is Dr. Burns and he use to be a professor at the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. Dr. Burns graduated from Colorado State University in 1973. He spent 20 years as an Air Force officer and flight instructor in both B-52 and B-1 bombers. He is a distinguished graduate of Squadron Officer School and Combat Crew Training School. He holds master’s degrees in both Theological Studies and in Management. Dr. Burns is a devout Catholic and has dedicated his life to serving Christ’s Church.

Today is his birthday and I will never as long as I live forget my encounter with him.

It was May 22, 2009 and I was in Colorado taking a week of graduate classes at the Augustine Institute. That morning I had gotten up early with one of the other students to go for a run in the mountains. We had returned in time to shower and make it to Mass without being late. The chapel was about a fourth of a mile walk from where we were staying and as I was walking there that morning Dr. Burns was walking ahead of me by himself. I recognized him by a picture I had seen, but had never formally met him.

I put a little spring into my step so I could catch up to him and meet him. As I approached him I extended my hand to introduce myself, Hi, I’m Maura. It’s a pleasure to meet you. He had a distinct presence about him; my brother James has the same, so I knew he had been in the military. But there was something else there too, he radiated peace, yet kept close to himself. I was intrigued.

Once inside the chapel, he chose to sit in the last row by himself. I sat several rows in front of him and when I turned around to give the woman behind me the sign of peace I saw him again. I knew in my heart that I was in the presence of someone great I just didn’t know why. I wonder what he is going to talk about this morning, I thought to myself.

Dr. Burns was our third professor and speaker that morning; and I sat up a little straighter when he walked in. The week was exceedingly condensed and I was exhausted; I think I may have dosed off before his talk and was determined to vigourously take notes during his class. Only the Lord knew that instead He wanted me to be still and listen with my heart.

At first he talked about the New Evangelization and how the Church exists to evangelize. And to be completely candid, I was slightly disappointed because I had heard countless talks about the New Evangelization, not that one could ever hear enough. I just thought he was going to talk about something that was going to leave me breathless. Little did I know as I sat there drinking watered down coffee that everything I claimed to believe in was about to be tested in a dramatic way.

I remember thinking, I could really use a real cup of coffee or a few shots of espresso. Then Dr. Burns said, Is forgiveness possible?” What? You were just talking about the New Evangelization and I was day dreaming about a good cup of coffee and taking a nap, how did we jump from that to forgiveness?

I instantaneously snapped to attention. Dr. Burns proceeded to share the story of his abusive father with the class. There was one particular day in his childhood that he was describing that caused me to quiver. I saw someone who had hurt me in his story and started to relive a memory I had repressed for so long.

Tears began to well in my eyes and he glanced at me and without words said, there is hope in the Lord who heals. He continued his story and then my tears turned to torrents. Dr. Burns paused and said he was available after class to speak with me. He had to stop half way through the story to compose himself and it was actually comforting to me to see that it was okay to cry.

When he had finished describing the trauma he told us about the beauty of reconciliation. He shared about how he was driving to Texas and listening to a tape in the car when the speaker started talking about forgiveness. The speaker told her listeners that when we forgive from deep within, we not only free ourselves but free the other person as well. God’s grace and our free will to chose to forgive will release the one who has caused harm. Dr. Burns said that we must forgive in order to be forgiven. For that gift we need grace and must frequent the sacraments and ask God how to forgive. God promises that He will not give us anything He can’t handle, for His grace is sufficient.

He continued to tell us how he pulled over on the side of the road and begged God to help him live out that message and prayed for the grace to forgive his father from his heart. As he grew in God’s wisdom, Dr. Burns realized that he needed to forgive not only his father, but his mother for allowing the children to be subjected to harm and ultimately he needed to forgive himself for believing it was his fault.

I could never compose a string of words deep enough to describe how God used Dr. Burns to inspire me to forgive my father, mother and myself. As I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament one last time before returning home I begged our Father in Heaven to help me put into practice Dr. Burn’s talk. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. “For gold is tested in fire.”

Coming home I wrote out a battle plan, which I go into detail in my book. More than two years later, I am in utter awe at what our Father has done. He deserves all the praise and glory. When God said He would never leave His children; He meant it. And His grace is like the ocean, vast and deep.

Forgiveness is a choice and I am exceedingly blessed to be privileged to know Dr. Burns. He is one of the most humble, courageous and encouraging people I have ever met. I am blessed to know him and thankful for his witness. His courage and virtue changed my life and I want to honor him today for it.

I think of Dr. Burns when I see this quote.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

FUEL UP- Introduction

After college I worked for a non-profit organization called Varsity Catholic. I was a Catholic missionary on a college campus, helping student-athletes grow in their relationship with Christ and His Church. All of the Varsity Catholic Missionaries are former collegiate athletes, so from our own experiences have a firm grasp of the unique struggles that student-athletes are faced with.

One of the programs I had the privilege of designing and writing is called FUEL UP, which I am posting here on my blog.

This is just an introduction to FUEL UP and I will post more later in the Student-Athlete section of my blog. This program is for high school and college age athletes, and was designed and written with great love in my heart for you. It is my hope and prayer that through the Lord’s grace this will help you be a signing light on your sports teams.

FUEL UP

Helping student-athletes fuel up spiritually

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone to the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:7-14).

Every athlete needs to properly hydrate in order to perform at their optimum. As a collegiate athlete you are exercising your body and mind in a rigorous way. You need to drink even more than normal to replace lost fluid. The same principal can be applied to your faith journey with Christ.

College campuses today breed immorality. Therefore, to be a college student in today’s society is exceedingly dangerous without the proper armor. For you are engaged in a battle, a battle between good and evil, a battle for souls, and ultimately for eternity.

Similar to the way your elite physical regime requires you to consume more fluid, the war that has been waged on college campuses requires you to fuel up spiritually. FUEL UP hopes to encourage and equip student-athletes with the tools necessary to learn more about their Catholic faith so you can encourage your fellow teammates. FUEL UP will help you develop a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, depend your faith, share His message of hope, love and mercy to all of those you encounter.

Be a warrior for Christ! FUEL UP!