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This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Sunday, December 25. 2011.

Merry Christmas!
Happy birthday Jesus!
Welcome to the beginning of the Church.
The decorations, the food, the family, the pine smell, the chill in the air (unless you happen to live in Southern California where we spend our Christmas days on the pier), the gifts, the giving, the receiving, and the return lines.
The afternoon naps, the friends, the poinsettias, the dishes to clean, the wrapping paper to pick up, the carols, the cookies, the fudge, and the dusty gym card.
It all shouts the most wonderful time of the year.
Among the stress and the shopping and the preparations, people still seem to be able to spread around the Christmas joy.
People seem to regress to their childhood; they are joyful and they are hopeful, they are wide-eyed and expecting, and they again posses the unwavering faith like a child.
There really is something magical about the Christmas season.

For Catholics, the Christmas season really rocks because it lasts for 8 days! Yup.
The octave of Christmas.
And during the octave, we experience how the Church was started and who started it.
We experience the battle and the glory of the Church.
Praise God.

December 25.
Christmas day.
The birth of the baby boy who saves the world.
His superpowers are far greater than Spiderman, Batman, and Superman.
He cleanses us of our sins.
He gives us the opportunity of everlasting life with Him.
He came; He was born to die.
The wood of the manger would soon be the wood of the cross.
Despite the pain that would manifest; He still came.
He came to bring you joy and the hope of ever-lasting life.
He loves you.

December 26.
The feast day of St. Stephen.
The first martyr for the faith.
He was stoned to death for his love of the Child born to save the world.
We go from the joy of the birth of the Child
to a battle victoriously won for the glory of the Child.
Though it may seem harsh to go from the joy of the Child to the sorrow of the death of St. Stephen, the Child brings hope.
It is because of the Child that St. Stephen gave his life.
And it is because of the Child that St. Stephen has hope for an eternal life.

December 27.
Feast day of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.
One of 12 chosen by Christ.
By the power of the Child in him, John shared the love of the Christ Child with the world.
He told about the life of the Child in his letters and his Gospel firmly engraved in the Bible.
Yet another man who lived his life for the love of the Child.

December 28.
The feast of the Holy Innocents.
The day dedicated to the poor innocent lives lost as a result of the pride of Herod.
Herod ordered all the young boys in Bethlehem to be killed to prevent the loss of his throne.
The Holy Family, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, fled to Egypt. There they found safety.
The feast of the Holy Innocents honors the children who lost their lives due to the pride of one man. This day is also a day to pray for and acknowledge those innocent children who have lost their lives by means of abortion. May we also pray for the the women who are considering an abortion this very moment and for the women who will consider and abortion in the future. May they have the courage, the humility, and the selflessness to bring their blessed child into the world.

December 29.
The feast day of St. Thomas A. Becket.
Deacon, chancellor of England, and the archbishop of Canterbury.
St. Thomas underwent a drastic conversion and began to stand up for the Church and its true teachings. This new-found courage, truth, and faith angered King Henry II.
His anger turned to rage and hate and the king had St. Thomas killed.
St. Thomas is a martyr for the Faith.

December 30.
The feast day of the Holy Family.
A day dedicated to the perfect family.
A humble husband and earthly father.
A sinless, pure, and ever-virgin mother.
A sinless Child who came to save the world.
Could a family be any more perfect?
The Holy Family is the perfect family; the family to form our own families after.
The feast day of the Holy Family is the symbol of unity and togetherness after the previous days of sacrifice.
May we all strive to obtain the perfection and unity of the Holy Family.

December 31.
The feast day of Pope St. Sylvester.
During his reign as pope, the Arian heresy and the Donatist schism caused unsuitability and uncertainty in the church.
He continued to lead in truth.
He lived to reign as Pope under the Emperor Constantine.
May his trust in the Church and words of truth be a witness to us even in the midst of uncertainty.

January 1.
Solemnity- Mary, Mother of God.
The mystery.
One of the incomprehensible mysteries of our Faith.
Mary was hand-picked to be the mother of the Christ Child.
The Christ Child is one with God and is God;
The mystery of the Blessed Trinity.
Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.
Oh, glorious mystery!

The octave of Christmas seems like a precursor to the ever-lively life of the Church.
There is glory and there is joy.
There are hearts won for the Lord and good deeds done.
There is pain and suffering.
We go through trials that seem unending.
But the octave of Christmas continues to prove that the sorrow and pain is not met by defeat but rather, it is met by victory.
The pain and suffering that Christ experienced, the purpose for His birth, was not met by defeat but rather by the greatest victory ever, salvation, eternal life for all.
He offers us the same gift.
The beauty of Christian suffering is that it is victorious in the name of Christ.
There is peace in our suffering knowing it is for a greater good, for His glory, and for the victory.
There is peace in suffering.
Via Dolorosa per Pax.

Talking about suffering is not to put a damper on the joy of Christmas but rather it is a reminder that joy can be present in every moment of your life; even in the sorrow and suffering,
Because He was born on that beautiful Christmas day.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
May you be truly blessed this season and in this up-coming year.
May you be blessed enough to remember that even in your greatest sorrow,
There is victory in the wood of the manger and the wood of the cross.
God bless you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monotony and the Glory of the Lord. Friday, December 2. 2011.

Rut. Rut. Rut. Rut.
Wake up at 5am-go to the gym-go to mass-get ready-go to school-come home-do homework-go to church-eat dinner-go to bed-and repeat.
That is pretty much my schedule for the day.
For everyday.
It is not particularly exciting.
In fact, it just becomes routine.
It becomes just blah.
And sometimes I feel caught in a rut.
Stuck in a whirlwind.
I think it is fair to say that at some point or another most people end up just going through the motions; they feel caught in a rut.
So many times as I am just going through the motions of my daily routine and a heave this big sigh; really this, again?
It seems like so little.
If feels like I am making absolutely no dent in the world for Christ.
Listening to the Sociology teacher who uses her class as her own personal therapy time and gives us brilliant life advice such as, "Do not date someone who does not like you" just seems so pitiful in the big picture.
I sit in class at times just thinking there has got to be something more productive.
Something more to life.
There has got to be some way to better serve Christ.
The sole reasons for our creation are to know, love, and serve Him.
Am I really serving Him sitting is Sociology?
It is something I struggle with almost everyday.
It is a battle that rages in my head so often.
It is a battle that God constantly wins.
He gently reminds me that it is the way in which I go about my routine that I can bring fame to Him.
He convinces me that right now I am going to school to get an education so that I may get a job.
And it is through that that I should serve Him.
While I am not a missionary in Africa, my life is no less important.
It is just as much my job to bring glory to His name as it is the missionary's.
It is my job to figure out how to glorify Him through my routine.

I fully trust that He places each person in the right place at the right time.
If my duty is to serve Him and He puts me in a specific place then it is my duty to serve Him right where I am.
Right where He has placed me.
So if listening to my Sociology teacher giving us "advice" and listening to her rant about her life brings glory to Him, then praise God.
It is possible that her seemingly useless ranting keeps her sane.
Or maybe it brings her unseen joy when students show an interest in what she has to say.
Maybe it is none of that.
But if sitting in class and listening attentively brings glory to Him because that is where He placed me and that is where He wants me to serve, then praise Him.
It does not seem the most obvious way to glorify Him.
But it is important to recognize that it is possible to glorify Him though the tedious and monotonous daily activities.
He gave it all for us. His life. So that we may live.
It is only right that it is our duty to give it all over to Him.
The annoying coworker, the tedious job, and the teacher who rambles;
Whatever the routine, whatever the rut, whatever the monotony, glory can be brought to Him.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Failure of the World; the Unfailing Love of Christ. Monday, November 7. 2011.

It is interesting how He uses the weak points to make us strong
and He uses our doubts to help us believe
and He uses worldly distrust to help us trust in Him
and He uses the failures of the world to to show His unfailing perfection.
It is how He seems to work.
And there is beauty in knowing that whenever something negative happens,
He is waiting there with an even greater positive.
The world is going to fail you,
people are going to fail you;
even people who shouldn't fail you.
It is a letdown when a so-called friend fails to live up to the term friend.
It is an awful feeling when people, especially a friend, cannot even show basic decency.
When a friend fails to act like a friend or even acts more like an enemy,
there is one thing that remains constant; the perfect love of Christ.
When the world fails, when a friend fails and says awful things about you,
It is horrible, it is painful, and it hurts.
But in a strange way, the failure of someone to be a decent friend proves even more Christ and His love.
Everyone knows the pain of a false friend.
But more importantly than that, everyone should know that the love of Christ loves infinitely more than the acts of a false friend hurt.
You have had someone hurt you in every manner possible and hurt every part of your being;
Christ can love even more than that.
When you feel like you just cannot even take another step or another breath;
Christ's love become your feet and His love your air.
No matter how hard someone trips you, no matter where you fall, no matter how long it take you to get back up to your feet again, He is there. Ready and waiting to love.
Every time a friend fails you, He is there ready to love no matter where you are.
Today's Psalm exemplifies His unending love at every point in life.

"Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there."

"If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast."
Psalm 138

He is there.
No matter where you are physically or where you are emotionally.
Down in the dumps or the highest of highs; He is there.
When everyone else fails; He is there.
And when someone causes you pain He is waiting there with an infinite amount of love.
He is love.
He loves like a lover.
His love is bold enough to heal the pain that the world brings about.
There is no pain that His love is not capable of healing.
Where do you need healing?
Where have you been hurt?
Where has someone hurt you?
Where has the world failed you?
Wherever you might be in pain and in need of healing,
He who is the healer of all is ready, willing, and equipped to heal you.
Whatever your pain,
Whatever your hurt,
Whatever your need,
His love is greater.
His love is stronger.
His love will never fail.
His love can heal.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Praise God, His Love Never Fails. Sunday, September 18. 2011.

On Saturdays I work at the local skate rink.
I love my job.
I get the joy of hosting the birthday parties.
As much as I love it; it can be an incredibly challenging job.
Dealing with frazzled or controlling parents
and demanding or spoiled children takes its toll.
By Saturday when I get off work at 5pm, I am about ready for bed
but despite all that, the good out weighs the bad.
There still are so many good people who make Saturdays seem like a breeze.
People that are enjoyable to talk with and spend time with.
People who are just outstanding parents who are raising wonderful children.
It is a job that definitely gives me a lot of experience with people and a lot of insight.

This Saturday the first party was supposed to come in at 11am.
The mom of the birthday girl arrived a fashionable 20 minutes late.
What's more than that is she was already drunk. She had already been smoking.
I knew that this was not going to be an easy party.
Anything I said to the mom just went right over her head and it was fairly frustrating.
I could not get across any of the important information to the mom that I needed to.
When the party seated for their table time everything was just so scattered and broken up.
This party was like no party I had ever hosted. There was no flow or peace.
Just one very drunk mom being obnoxiously loud with all her friends, who also happened to be drunk. Finally, they had been at the table so long that I had to move them to a different table to make room for other people.
A few hours after their party time was done they decided that they wanted to have their cake cut.
As I was cutting their cake, the mom and daughter were having a conversation that broke my heart. The birthday girl was whining a little bit because she did not want to leave the skate rink. And what 8 year old would want to leave her party? The mom went on to explain that they had to leave because she had work the next morning....and she needed to get hammered now.
Poor. Little. Girl.
I could not believe what the mom had just said.
The mom was continuing to make her daughter's party miserable so that she could go get even more drunk.
I wanted to badly to say something to the mom.
But I didn't;
because I realized that even though I thought she was being an awful mom, at least in that moment, it is not my place to judge.
I have also learned very well that people love to the greatest extent that they are able.
While I may have considered the "affection" the mom was showing the daughter anything but love, the mom may have felt she was loving her daughter to her best ability.
I pray for that family that they might be able to learn how to love
and I thank God.
I thank God for His love for us.
Because His love is the most perfect love possible.
He love does not run in 20 minutes late or come unable to function or leave for selfish reasons.
His love for us always has been and it always will be.
His love is there for us unconditionally and completely.

I know that we might not all act like the birthday mom
but we all have our failures in our attempt to love.
We are not capable of loving perfectly or wholly.
Thoughts get in the way.
Feelings get in the way.
Our humanness gets in the way.
But greater than that all-
praise God that His love comes to the rescue when our love fails.
praise God that His love never runs short.
and praise God that He loves that little girl. And her mother.
And praise Him that He love us.
Take a look at the cross.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Your Life Is a Love Song. Thursday, August 11. 2011.

Songs touch people.
Music touches people.
Of all songs, there are probably more love songs than any other song.
And why?
Because love seems to be so desired yet often times so misunderstood and hard to obtain.
It is so desired.
It is our reason for creation.
It is misunderstood.
The world's concept of love seems to be so twisted.
It seems to hard to obtain.
For we are looking in the wrong places.
Love songs are written by someone with great feelings of love for another person.
The author of the song continues to write despite the fact that the person that they love is human and in their humanness will never quite complete the other person and may sometimes even fail the other person.
Love songs supply only about 3 minutes of gratitude.
Like so many things of this world, the instant and short gratification ends.
And sorrow or complacency or failure sets back in.
We play the love song again to get rid of that emptiness
and the result is a vicious, never-ending cycle.
Like so many things of this world.

What if there were love songs that never failed anyone?
Love songs that brought about infinite gratitude.
We can still be the authors.
The song will exemplify the love that we were created for.
The song will last through all eternity.
The song will bring so much good to so many people.
It is a the greatest love song of all time.
Your life.
Your life is a love song.
Your life is a long song written to our Lord.
The ups and downs of life are the high and low notes.
Your words are the lyrics.
Your actions are the instruments.
Your love song, your life, has the ability to bring so many people to Christ.
You were made to love.
Your life is a song.
Show how dearly you love our Lord by living your life and singing your love song.
He wrote the greatest love story.
It is now your turn to bring glory to the greatest love story ever written by
living your life in love with Christ.
Your life is a song.
You love Christ.
Your life is a love song.
Sing it well.
Sing it strong.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Conversations with Christ. Friday, July 29. 2011.

Last night I had a conversation.
A conversation with Christ.
I was just kind of moping over all the things that I have had to give up to be a Christian,
over all the things that make me different or that make me stand out,
and over all the things that I wish I could have or do.
Shameful. I know.
So I went even farther and said, "Man, Jesus, the things I do for you.."
He wasted no time in shooting back with, "The things I did for you."
That did not take any time to sink in.
It just dropped like a huge boulder on my heart.

I think that often times as Christians we forget that everything we give up or do differently is for a much greater cause, clearly I do.
Every little discomfort or ounce of suffering that you go through because you are a Christian, it is not in vain. There is purpose for it. There is hope for redemption.
There is hope and redemption and purpose because of all that He did for us.
Our small daily discomforts could never add up to what He did for you.
Being betrayed.
Being scourged.
Being stripped of His garments.
Being harshly nailed to a tree.
And being left to die.
And I have the guts to complain about the small discomforts and still call myself a Christ follower?
I don't think so.
My discomforts are nothing in the long run.
And nothing compared to what Christ suffered for me.
I am weak, clearly.
I am so weak.
I am human
and therefore a sinner.
But that gives me no right to compare my small sacrifices
to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ giving His life that we may live.
That we may live to do what...?
Well for me it's to complain half of the time.
Well when it is put that way.
How disappointing for Christ.
He gives His life so that I might complain.
There is something very wrong with that picture.
I guess the question would then be, how can I live my life to best glorify Him?
I, however, am not here to answer that question. I am clearly not worthy to answer that question.
But I ask you to join me in taking that question to the Lord.
Lord, how may I glorify You today?
Lord, how may I glorify You in this moment?
If You lived to die for me, then it would kill me to not live for You.
Help each moment of my life to reflect your glory.
Each and every moment.
I love You despite my failures.
Despite my lack of ability to live for You.
I love You
and all You did for me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spiritual Warfare Book for Teens- COMING SOON!! Sunday, July 24. 2011.

Hello all,
Today's post will be more of a letter than an actual blog post. First, I want to truly thank each person who has ever read this blog. It means so much that anyone would take the time to read this blog. I pray with all my being that this blog brings glory, honor, and fame to the Lord and nothing less.
At this time, I feel called to write a book. The book will be focused on spiritual warfare for teens. The Lord keeps pointing me in that direction and He continues to place some amazing words on the paper. I humbly, yet confidently, ask for your prayers. I am confident that the Lord is leading me in this direction yet, I most definitely need prayers to continue what He has asked of me and to complete what He has asked of me in the manner which He most desires. I would really appreciate all the prayers possible. I thank you so very much for your time and prayers. All glory and honor to the Lord. Praise be to His name.
May His peace be with you,
Rebecca LaBriola

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blessed to Be Alive. Blessed to Be Able to Pray. Sunday July 17, 2011.

I consider myself blessed to be alive.
I always have. But after this past weekend, I feel even more blessed.
Long story short, my friend and I had an encounter with a drunk man that could have been very dangerous.
The man happened to be roaming around our very quiet and safe neighborhood before 11pm on Friday night.
He was clearly drunk as he decided to pay his respects, if you will, to each of our license plates that all have to do with prayer and praying. He walked down the street but then decided to come back. It was then that things could have become dangerous. When he came back he decided to start a conversation with my friend and I.
He was uncomfortably close and started talking about random things including the licenses plates. He used a line that would be a prime line to use so that he could pull out a weapon. He told my friend and I to look around. I was just simply waiting to hear some sort of noise from a gun. Praise be to God he did not pull out any sort of weapon. As he continued about nonsense, it appeared that he was more than just drunk, he had a sliver of evil engrained in him. He was being used. He was being used to bring fear and panic into the night.
He finally left and I quickly went into my house.
I wasn't able to sleep for hours.
Every time I closed my eyes his face and his harsh, evil voice came to mind.
From the moments I laid in bed I started praying just simply to keep my mind off of what happened but it seemed impossible, even with prayer.
It was then it hit me.
I was fine.
I am fine.
I am safe.
Nothing bad happened in the big picture.
I was scared
but the situation could have been MUCH worse.
It was not me who needed the prayers but him.
I needed to pray for the guy who completely terrified me.
He was the one in need of prayer.
He was the one who allowed himself to be used for evil.
He needed the Lord and the Lord's peace.
It was by no means any longer about me.
My Hail Marys turned from prayers to bring me peace to prayers for him.
The man who was clearly so hurt and so far from the Lord's peace.
Despite the fact that the whole situation was just awful, if the Lord allowed it to happen so that that man could receive some prayers, then so be it. All glory to God.
By His grace I praise Him for all that happened.
Please join me in praying for the man.
Please pray for anyone who lets themselves be used for anything other than the glory of the Lord.
May our lives always reflect everything good about Him and His glory.
It is for this that we were created.
No less.
Let your life bring glory to Him.
Let your life reflect the Son.
All praise,
all glory,
all honor
forever be the Lord's.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Battle Belongs to the Lord. Sunday June 10, 2011

I love ministry.
Church ministry. 
I just absolutely love it. 
I live for the days and nights when I can tag along with my dad when he speaks at a parish. 
And the nights that I am blessed enough to speak, also very awesome!
I love ministry for the simple reason that it brings others to a deeper relationship with Christ.
He works through people. 
His love changes people. 

We are called to have a one-on-one personal relationship with Christ
But Christ also acknowledges that the unity with others is also important. 
Where two or more are gathered, Christ is there. 
This is the beauty of ministry and unity. 
When people are brought together to and through Christ, His name is glorified. 
He is exalted.
He is honored. 
And the devil is peeved. 
And so enters the battle between good and evil.
Spiritual warfare. 
The on-going, never-ending, yet, beautiful battle. 
The battle is beautiful because it will be overcome.
The Lord will prevail.
The good side will win.

The promise and assurance that Christ will win this battle make it a joy to be apart of it.
To be a soldier in His battle. 
To proudly wear the armor of faith.
The belt of truth.
The breastplate of righteousness.
The shoes of peace.
The shield of faith.
The helmet of salvation.
The sword of the Spirit.
All for His glory. 

The battle may be rough.
There may be days when you feel like quitting and giving up. 
It feels like it will never end. 
You get discouraged. 
You do good for the glory of the Lord and then it seems like every little thing goes wrong the next day.
It just seems like too much. 
It is in the moments of overload or of too much that your participation in the battle for the Lord is most needed. 
It is in moments like these that the words 'praise God' mean more than you could ever know. 

The battle belongs to the Lord.
It always has.
It always will.
Will you fight for Him? 
Fight with Him? 
Fight along side Him?
Fight for His glory and honor.
The battle belongs to Him.

*This was a VERY brief overview of the concept of spiritual warfare. There is more information that goes into a lot of detail. It is outstanding information to have. Though it may sound bias, the best information and the most accurate information I have ever found on spiritual warfare is found in one of the books my dad wrote entitled, Onward Catholic Soldier. If you have an interest in equipping yourself with knowledge of spiritual warfare, please consider this book! God bless!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Directions for the Journey Home. Sunday July 3, 2011.

"We're just going right around the corner but I have directions for anyone who needs them."
"I do! I am so lost in this grid that we live on." 
I smirked upon hearing this conversation. 
The destination was literally around the corner and someone needed directions? 
But the more I thought about this conversation,I realized that the person who was so lost is the person that we should all be.
No, not going out and buying a new GPS
but being humble enough to admit our failings and weaknesses. 
And allowing ourselves to be guided to our final destination, home, heaven. 
Man does not know when his time will come; whether it be the end of the world or his own personal death.
Our time truly could be around the corner.
Or it could be years from now. 
He knows.
We don't.
It is for this reason that we must strive to be holy, to be Christ to others, and to bring others to Christ. 
This life is a journey. 
A journey that could last a second longer or 70 years longer. 
We were created to know, love, and serve God. 
I am prideful and weak. 
I need to humble myself so that I may best know, love, and serve Him. 
I NEED those directions. 
I do not come equipped with a built in GPS. 
I am lost and need Him to show me the way
Yet I am too prideful to accept those directions. 
Lord, humble me. 

The directions are there for us, to help us on our journey for Him and to Him. 
The Church. 
The Church is part of these directions.
Our priests and religious. 
Pray for our priests.
They are called to lead the Church home. 
Each and every person we come in contact with; they are a part of these directions. 
Each person was placed on your path to help you on this journey; whether it be your best friend or the person in your way on the road. 
He placed them there.
Pray for them.
Your Bible, your rosary, your sacramentals. 
They are there to help you on your journey.
Most importantly, He is there. 
He is here.
He always will be.
In time of despair, helplessness, pain, sorrow, joy, suffering, turn to Him.
He is your rock.
He is your salvation.
He is your answer.
He is your guiding light.
He is your way home.

Directions for the Journey Home. Sunday July 3. 2011.

"We're just going right around the corner but I have directions for anyone who needs them."
"I do! I am so lost in this grid that we live on." 
I smirked upon hearing this conversation. 
The destination was literally around the corner and someone needed directions? 
But the more I thought about this conversation,I realized that the person who was so lost is the person that we should all be.
No, not going out and buying a new GPS
but being humble enough to admit our failings and weaknesses. 
And allowing ourselves to be guided to our final destination, home, heaven. 
Man does not know when his time will come; whether it be the end of the world or his own personal death.
Our time truly could be around the corner.
Or it could be years from now. 
He knows.
We don't.
It is for this reason that we must strive to be holy, to be Christ to others, and to bring others to Christ. 
This life is a journey. 
A journey that could last a second longer or 70 years longer. 
We were created to know, love, and serve God. 
I am prideful and weak. 
I need to humble myself so that I may best know, love, and serve Him. 
I NEED those directions. 
I do not come equipped with a built in GPS. 
I am lost and need Him to show me the way
Yet I am too prideful to accept those directions. 
Lord, humble me. 

The directions are there for us, to help us on our journey for Him and to Him. 
The Church. 
The Church is part of these directions.
Our priests and religious. 
Pray for our priests.
They are called to lead the Church home. 
Each and every person we come in contact with; they are a part of these directions. 
Each person was placed on your path to help you on this journey; whether it be your best friend or the person in your way on the road. 
He placed them there.
Pray for them.
Your Bible, your rosary, your sacramentals. 
They are there to help you on your journey.
Most importantly, He is there. 
He is here.
He always will be.
In time of despair, helplessness, pain, sorrow, joy, suffering, turn to Him.
He is your rock.
He is your salvation.
He is your answer.
He is your guiding light.
He is your way home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A life well lived. A cross well carried. Wednesday June 22, 2011.

A childhood friend of mine died this weekend.
She was 19.
She had cancer for the past 4 years.
It's so unreal to me.
It is in moments like these when we are called to trust in His plan.
To believe He uses the sorrow and the sadness for His glory.
To know that He knows exactly what He is doing.

Looking back on growing up with Diana the things I remember most clearly about her were her infectious laugh, her sweet personality, and her respect towards others. 
Regardless of the fact that we were about 7 years old, Diana made sure to address my parents as Mr. or Mrs. LaBriola. The last name LaBriola is a mouthful for any child but Diana made sure to use that mouthful of a last name whenever addressing my parents.
She was always sure to include everyone in the games we would play at recess. 
Often times she would be the leader and distribute the parts we were to play in the game but it was always done in a generous manner and with a sweet spirit. 
Her laugh, my goodness when she laughed we could not help but all bust up laughing. 
There was just something about her laugh.
There was something about Diana in general.
There was always something special.

Diana was special. 
She was diagnosed with a type of cancer that would eventually spread throughout her body.
But that did not bring her spirits down. 
In fact her joyful spirit still soared. 
Her faith strengthened.
And the thing that just blew me away was her acceptance of her cancer.
Diana believed that her cancer was the cross that the Lord had given her. 
What faith.
What an incredible person.
Her comment about her cancer being her cross stunned me.
I was not stunned or shocked because it was out of character for Diana;
I was stunned to see how greatly I fail in picking up the cross that He has given me and following Him. 

We are called to pick up our crosses and follow Him.
We are each given a cross to carry to better understand the life of our Savior and to learn to follow Him.
The crosses we are given may change throughout our life.
They may be big.
They could be small.
We may be given one cross
or we may be given a couple crosses to carry. 

If I could carry my cross half as well as Diana did, I would be a different person. 
It is in picking up our cross that we learn to lay down our lives for Him 
and it is in surrendering to Him that we find true freedom.
In our humanness we do not understand the irony.
We struggle to understand that in giving of ourselves completely to Him,
it is then that we become free.

Instead of pushing our crosses aside
or carrying our crosses with complaints,
what would happen if we gracefully and joyfully picked up our cross?
What would have happened if our Lord picked up His cross and complained all the way to Calvery? Or if He just ignored His calling to pick up His cross?
The story, the greatest love story of all time, would be completely different. 
Just as with our lives, if we picked up our cross the way the Christ did, our story would be different.
Each of our stories would be different.
We would be different.
The world would be different.
We could begin to change the world if we could learn to pick up our cross with grace and joy.
One of the things I learned when we moved to Texas was this- 
there is a difference between doing what God asks of you and doing it with grace.
That is one of the most important things I have learned on this journey of life. 
There is a difference between doing it and doing it with grace. 
The very next moment you are called to pick up your cross, 
take a moment to figure out how you can do so with grace.
Bring Christ into every part of your life, especially the hardest parts, the crosses.
If anyone understands, it is Him.
It is He who loves you
and it is He who is strong enough to give you the strength to pick up your cross and to follow Him.
Follow Him, for His burden is easy and His load is light.

Diana gracefully picked up her cross and followed Him and by His grace she will see Him face-to-face.
May we all be graced with the same undying faith that Diana exemplified so well.
Pick up your cross.
Follow Him.
Make the choice: with grace or without?

Please pray for the repose of Diana's soul as well as for the comfort, peace, and strength of her family. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Need for Love. Tuesday June 14, 2011.

I feel pretty confident in saying that most every preteen and teenage girl knows every single word to Bruno Mars' song, Just the Way You Are.
There is a reason for this.
The reason is beyond the dreamy fantasy that Bruno will one day marry them, however, the star that they are going to marry ironically changes every couple of days.
The reason that they know every word is because the song strings out the words that every girl wants to hear.
The words that every girl was created to hear.
"When I see your face there's not a thing that I would change, cause you're amazing just the way you are."
This is the never ending cry of the heart of every girl, of every woman.
Girls don't know the lyrics because it is a popular song.
Girls don't know the lyrics because they are in love with Bruno Mars.
Girls don't know the lyrics because their friends listen to the song.
They know every single word because the cry of their heart is to be thought of as amazing but more importantly to be LOVED.
They desired to be loved.
Among many things, we were made to love and be loved.

In our society we are so focused on the self.
What can we do to earn more money or make ourselves look better?
But what would happen if we took the time to focus on someone else and tell them that they were loved?
Oh, how our world would change.
I am not just talking about teenage girls either.
There are so many adults who yearn to be loved.
Their loud boastful personality or their complete shyness and lack of self confidence just screaming out, "Please, somebody love me!"

This very day, what can you do to help sooth someone's cry for love?
Bring them to the cross.
It is there, at the foot of the cross that we can know we are truly loved.
Carry your own heavy heart that is screaming for love to the foot of the cross.  
Love was nailed to the cross.
Love saved the world.
God is Love.
Love is eager to love you.
He is far more fulfilling than a song or drugs or money or power.
There is a God-shaped hole in each of our hearts.
We were all born with this hole and we all try to fill it with things of the world and we all fail.
We fail miserably.
Yet we try time and time again to fill that hole with the world.
We must stop.
We all must stop.

If you have ever tried to teach a baby or toddler how to do a puzzle, it can become somewhat frustrating. We of course know that the round hippo does not fit in the slot for the tall giraffe. To us, it is mind boggling that a child would not understand what shape goes where.

How similar. If our hearts are puzzles and we have only ONE missing piece, it should be so simple to figure out what shaped piece goes there.
It is the God shape that belongs there and yet we so often fail to see that.
How many times is God right there saying, "Here! I am RIGHT here. I am the missing piece!"
And how many times we, in turn reply, "oh hey, not right now God. I'll, uh, pray later."
And in the inside we are losing it and breaking apart and sill wondering why.
He wants to love you.

What is keeping you from letting Him love you?
Get rid of it.
Let Him love you.
Let you heart be whole.
Let the hole in your heart be filled.
There is only one thing, one person that can fill the God-shaped whole, just like a puzzle.
Let God play His part.
Let Him fill His puzzle piece; He will do so with a beaming smile and a generous love.
Let the hole in your heart be whole.
Let Him love you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gifts and Talents. Monday June 6, 2011.

We each have a gift.
A gift given to us from the Father.
That gift is different for each person.
When we use our gifts- we help the Church grow and thrive.

He gave us a gift.
When we use that gift- we are gifts to HIM.
We are gifts to the Church.

I think we often get wrapped up in what others are doing.
Maybe someone has a talent that we wish we had.
We wish we could play an instrument in the choir, or we wish we had the courage to lector, or the ability to sing, or the outgoing personality to be a greeter.
Instead of dwelling on the gifts or talents that we might not have; take a firm grip on the gifts that we are blessed with!

We were created in His image and likeness.
We are His.
He has molded and shaped to be who He has created us to be.
We may not agree with that gifts He has given us or has not given us
but we must trust that He knows exactly what He is doing.

One person may be given the talent of singing, while another has the gift of being incredibly welcoming and helpful, and another person’s gift is simply being present at Mass and praying for those in attendance.
Each person’s gift differs.
Each person is truly blessed to have a gift of their own.
What is your gift?
How can you give glory to God?
How can you help the Church thrive by the power of the Lord?

I was at a Matt Maher concert one year and he was giving a small speaking introduction before playing a song. He was thinking as he was talking and the words that spilled out have stuck with me ever since. He said, “Everyone has talents and gifts and when we use them, God goes mad….with LOVE.”
Going mad with love.
Going crazy with love.
We can make God go crazy with love!
He is so insanely in love with us.
And then when we make proper use of the talents He has given us?!
Goodness, His love for us continues to grow inexpressibly.
His love is never-ending.
How blest are we to make Him go mad?
Mad with LOVE.
Love for us.

God designed us so perfectly.
He created us to know, love, and serve Him.
What better way to serve Him than make use of the gift or talent He has so graciously given each of us?
Through our service to Him we will get to know Him better
And learn to love Him even more deeply.

The Church is many things- it is an ongoing project.
If you take a second to think of a project being completed and completed well,
there must be some sort of order to make the completion successful.
If a group of people was building a house; they would each be required to have a part in the building otherwise the house would not be completed properly.
Each person must put in their all to their individual project to complete the house properly as a group.

We, the community, through the Lord, make up the Church.
Our job is to know, love, and serve Him, live our lives to glorify Him, God-willing obtain heaven and help others to do the same.
If we are to complete this mission given to us by Christ, then we must each do our part.
We must each make use of the talents and gifts He has blessed us with.
Alone we can do nothing.
Each of us, with Him as our guide, working together, can enliven the Church.

Pray to Him.
Ask Him to show you your talent.
Ask Him how to best use your talent.
Ask Him for the grace to draw others in by your talent, through Him.
Tell Him you desire to truly know Him, to wholeheartedly love Him, and to selflessly serve Him.
Ask Him to help you do so.
Tell Him you love Him.
He loves YOU ever so deeply.
Thank Him for the talents and gifts He has blessed you with, regardless of how you feel about them or how you feel about others’ talents.
Ask Him to bless you with a sense of peace.

Your talent is amazing.
It is special.
You are special.
You are loved.
He loves you.
Love Him back.
Use your talent.
Bring others to Him,
through Him.

We were created by You, Lord for some outstanding and seemingly unworthy things. 
Help us to make use of the talents You have given us only to bring glory and fame to Your beautiful and glorious name. Amen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Our Father and the Hail Mary. Wednesday June 1, 2011.

Ever since I was little, I’ve always wondered why the Hail Mary is prayed around ten times more than the Our Father during the Rosary.  When I was younger I would almost become concerned with how this question could be answered.  I thought that it seemed almost prideful that Mary would want a prayer to be prayed to Her so many more times than a prayer prayed to Her Son but I knew that couldn’t be the case. I never came up with a good enough answer and just accepted it as is.  Well, during the homily that Fr. Charbel gave on Mothers’ day, he gave a brilliant answer to this question.

The answer is in the content of the prayers themselves. 

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Our Father is a prayer of things to be, of things to come.

Holy be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
And Your will be done.
Bless us with Yourself, our daily bread.
Forgive us of our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Keep us from temptation and evil.

Each and every line of the Our Father will come, will be done-
the moment we enter heaven.
We will truly know the definition of the word holy
And we will clearly see why and how it is applied to the Father.
His will for us will be complete.
We will be with Him every moment and therefore not in need of the tangible Eucharist.
We will be forgiven of our sins and will hold nothing against those who did us wrong.
We can no longer be tempted in heaven
And we will have clearly been kept from evil.

The Our Father is a prayer of hope.
It is a prayer of the things yet to come.
It is a plea of the helpless crying out for help.
He can do nothing but help us to the end that we are destined for.
He will answer the cries of the helpless.
The cries and pleas of Our Father will be answered.

The Hail Mary is quite different.
It is not a prayer of the helpless.
It is not a cry for better things.
It is a prayer of praise.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Mary, You who are completely filled will with grace, we greet You.
The Lord is with You.
Blessed, holy, are You among women.
The fruit of Your womb, Your Son, Jesus, He is also Holy.
Mother of God.
Pray for us.
We are sinners.
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Heaven will be full of praises.
Pleas will no longer be a necessity.

And there’s the answer;
the answer to the question that has been pondered over by many.

The Our Father will no longer need to be prayed in heaven.
We will be with Our Lord, His Mother, and the saints.
We will no longer need to ask for anything or make any requests or cry for mercy.
We will be with Him.
All of our needs will be met beyond what any of us could imagine.

But the Hail Mary, the prayer of complete praise and honor, will forever ring.
Praise of Mary will never cease.
Even more so in heaven we will continue to boldly proclaim these praises.

The answer to this question brings hope to many.
It is a joy and a relief to know that there will be a day when pleas will no longer be necessary.
There will be a day when our only duty will be to praise.
Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Spirit.
No longer will we need to hope for a better life, or for peace, or for forgiveness.
We will be in the presence of peace and mercy.
The day of no more pleas and continuous praise will come.

Until the day that we may be blessed enough to enter heaven,
Lord please help us to praise You and Your Mother who are so worthy of all praise
and please help us to pray the Our Father with fervor and hope that one day each of those pleas may be fulfilled.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hail Mary. Mother's Day. Sunday May 8, 2011.

If you love Her, protect Her.
Do you love Her enough to protect Her?
Pray the Rosary.
Hail to the Mother who is full of grace.
Praise to the Mother who is so often pained by the evil in the world.

We all deeply love our mothers.
There is simply no person who can take the place of a mother.
Most of us would do anything to protect our mother if she was in danger or in harm’s way. 
We would use any means needed;
anything for the woman who sacrifices so much for us. 
It should be the same for Mary.
Our perfect and heavenly Mother.
We should be ready at any moment to defend Her.
To protect Her.
To love Her.
And this is what She asks of us-
Please, pray the rosary.

In each house that we have lived in, my mom hangs up this mirror that has a number of hooks at the bottom of it.  Each of the hooks holds two or three rosaries.  This mirror is always hung somewhere near the front door.  A friend was over one time and commented on the fact that the rosaries were all lined up like weapons that we would grab in a hurry, run out the front door, and fight in a battle.
The rosary beads are the weapons of peace that we are called to use to fight for our Mother.
The rosary is the weapon of peace.
A prayer of praise.
To honor the beloved Mother.

In Croatia, the word that they use for the Rosary is krunice.  It is more properly translated as crowns.  Each time we pray the Rosary we are forming a crown of roses for Mother Mary that we will present to Her. She will joyfully accept the crown of roses with tears of joy.  She loves us all so much.  She is pained by so much evil in the world.  To know that we can bring Her joy by something as simple as praying the Rosary? What is better?
What a joy, what a privilege, what an honor, to be so blessed to be able to bring JOY to the Mother of the world.
We are SO blessed.
So very blessed.

So often I overlook this amazing gift.
I’ll pray the rosary later…
And so very often it just never happens.
I’m too busy.
I’m too busy to bring the Mother of the world JOY?!
This is absolutely a fault of mine.
I should take full advantage of this gift.
After all, joy is my favorite word, my favorite thing and I won’t take the time to bring that joy to the one who loves me unconditionally?

Our Mother deserves all of our praise.
All that we are.
All that we have.
All that we hope to be.
She deserves it ALL.
No holding back.

This is Mother’s Day.
This is HER day.
Bring Her some joy.
Pray the Rosary.
Put a smile on Her face,
Put tears of joy in Her eyes,
And put happiness in Her heart.

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

Many thanks to Fr. Charbel who gave an outstanding homily this morning; many of the ideas in this blog came from his divinely inspired homily. Please, pray for our priests. Pray that they may continue to be open to the Holy Spirit and continue to faithfully lead this Church home.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden....and the mercy of God. Monday May 2, 2011.

So, he’s dead.
One of the most hated men.
Facebook was just jam packed with statuses about Bin Laden.
I saw just about every opinion on Facebook.
Some were middle ground.
Just surprised. Or maybe a bit shocked.
Others asked for prayer for the man’s soul.
And still many others rejoiced.
I was slightly taken back.
It is so ironic that we can call ourselves the body of Christ,
yet we rejoice in the death of one whom He loves.
For God so loved the WORLD that He sent His Son.
God loves each and every person in this world.
No exceptions.
His love is not conditional.
He does not pick and choose who He loves.
He loves the WORLD.
We are called to love like Him.
To love each and every person in the world.

Bin Laden hurt thousands of people.
Physically and emotionally.
No doubt.
He did many evil things.
But we are called to hate the sin, not the sinner.

It was no coincidence that Bin Laden was pronounced dead on Divine Mercy Sunday.
God is fully just but He is fully merciful as well.
We have NO idea what was going through Bin Laden’s mind as the gun was pointed at his head.
He could have had a moment of complete repentance and turned to the Lord. We don’t know and it is not for us to say.
On the day of Divine Mercy we must trust in God’s complete mercy.
This mercy is twofold.
WE must be merciful towards the sinner.
We are all sinners.
It is completely hypocritical to hate on Bin Laden and rejoice in his death and then assume we are on good standings because we think we are better than him.
God is all merciful.
God is all just.
And God is all loving.
God will exercise the same amount of mercy, justice, and love towards the WHOLE world.
Without exception.
This includes us, Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Bin Laden and everyone in between.
Instead of rejoicing in the death of Bin Laden we can pray for God’s mercy towards Him.
And we can pray for His soul.

"Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult,
Lest the LORD see it, be displeased with you, and withdraw his wrath from your enemy."
Proverbs 24:17-18

"But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”
Luke 6:27

The bottome line is, we are blessed enough to be apart of the body of Christ.
To whom much is given, much is expected.
It is time that we step out of ourselves and our rejoiceing and turn to God and beg for mercy towards Bin Laden.
We are the body of Christ.

“…But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the Body of Christ”

If We Are the Body-
Casting Crowns.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter! Sunday April 24. Easter Season 2011.

Alleluia! He has risen!
He has fulfilled His promise!
He has conquered death!
It is through Him that we may live!

The time of waiting and praying and fasting is over!
We can look back upon this Lent and see how strong we truly are.
How strong we are in the Lord.
This Lent I gave up something slightly extreme.
I gave up solid foods and stayed on a liquid diet.
For the most part, I did really well.
Towards the end of Lent there were a couple of times when I would sneak in some vegetables or rice but all in all I was able to hold to my sacrifice pretty well and it was solely by God’s grace.
I learned a lot of things this Lent.
I learned that I make delicious soups. ;)
But far more importantly, I learned how dependant we are on things of the world when we need to be depending on God.
Obviously we need food but it was such a dramatic change to go from worrying about what I am going to eat to just pouring some soup in a bowl or making a shake. I never realized how something as simple as food takes up our thoughts.
I was also amazed at how our source of strength is truly in the Lord.
So many times, especially at the start of Lent, I just wanted to chew and gum wasn’t cutting it. I wasn’t hungry but yet I just wanted something to chew on.
Or the afternoon boredom. I just wanted something to snack on.
And it was in these times that I turned to the Lord, asked Him for strength, and offered up my wants and desires.
It was so amazing to watch Him pull me through this Lent step by step.
I hope and pray that this Lent was a fruitful one for you as well.
I pray that you were able to begin parting with something of this world or that you are able to continue doing whatever you added on this Lent.

Easter is upon us and it is a time for celebration, family, and thanksgiving.
I hope and pray that you have a joy-filled Easter day and Easter season.
May we go and carry the good news of the Lord with fear of the Lord and His joy filling our hearts just like the hearts of Mary and Mary Magdalene.
Happy Easter!
Christ has risen!
Praise God!

I want to thank each person who has taken the time to read this little blog during Lent.
It truly means so much that you would take your time to read the words written here.
Also, a huge thanks to my dad who, almost daily re-posted my blog on Facebook. Katelyn and Francis, thank you for being support systems. For reposting this blog all on your own. I feel honored that you promoted this blog.
He is working.
He is moving.
He is doing great things.
Praise God.
I will continue with this blog, though most likely not daily, yet, I ask that if you feel called to, please continue to follow along.
Please pray for me as I will pray for you!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday Evening and Holy Saturday. Saturday April 23. Lent 2011.

Friday night began preparation day for the Sabbath.
The bodies were not to remain on the cross during the Sabbath.
The soldiers had the duty of making sure the men that hung on the crosses were dead.
The soldiers went to each of the thieves and broke their legs.
With their legs now broken, the men could not press against their feet to breathe and thus died of cruel suffocation.
When the soldiers came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead.
They did not break His legs thus fulfilling scripture.
“Not a bone of it will be broken.”
As solider thrust a lance into Jesus’ side and a combination of blood and water came flowing out.
“They will look upon him who they have pierced.”
The blood that flowed from Christ was the very blood that washed over all of our sins.
The water signified the complete and unending mercy that Jesus has toward us, regardless of our continuous sins.

Joseph of Arimathea received permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus.
Nicodemus brought a mixture of aloe and myrrh, spices and burial clothes as was the Jewish custom.
When Jesus was taken down from the cross, His mother was given the grace to hold Her Son once again.
“on the hill of calvary
woman behold your son
she watches Him nailed to a tree
the child she bore grasps for air
a loud cry and her heart is pierced
the child she held has gone from her
His body hangs without life
they take him down from the tree
they lay him in His mother's arms
they lay him in her arms
she won't understand
why her son had to die
But she said, "Come hold my son,
Come hold my son."
The Thirsting-
Come Hold My Son

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and grave and deep sorrow that Mary experienced on Good Friday. I think the greatest pain of all was for Her to see Her Son suffering and She can do NOTHING. There is nothing She could say or do that would change the situation and ease Her Son’s sufferings. When Jesus was placed in Her arms once He was taken down from the cross I would imagine it was the most intense moment of mixed emotions. Mary was still in sorrow and pain that Her Son had died. Yet, He was no longer suffering physical pain. She could hold Him once again but do nothing to change what had just happened. Some say that She knew exactly who Jesus was, what He had come to do, and what would soon happen but that does not take away Her motherly love and desire to care for Her Son.

Jesus was buried and laid in a tomb close by.
The stone was rolled in front of the tomb.
The Sabbath was upon them.

Holy Saturday.
For the Jews, Sabbath.
They could do nothing.
But sit.
And wait.
Despite the events that had taken place the day before, the apostles rested on the Sabbath.
They obeyed the law despite what would have been going through their minds.
I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to rest when their minds were probably racing a million miles a minute.
Thinking back on every word Jesus had said to them
Playing back His suffering and passion from the day before
Wondering if He really was going to come back
And if so, when?
The apostles probably had to muster much self-discipline to obey the laws of the Sabbath that day.
The important thing here is that they did obey the law.
Regardless of their thoughts, feeling, and emotions they obeyed.
Regardless of what was going on inside, in their heads and hearts, they had FAITH.
And obedient.
Maybe they weren’t exactly sure what they had faith in at the moment.
Maybe they did have their doubts.
Maybe they did have their moments where they just wanted to give up,
To stop playing the waiting game,
And to break the law on the Sabbath.
But they didn’t.
They waited in silent, quiet, and obedient faith.
And it was in this moment when their God, OUR God was working.
It is often in moments of silence when our God works.
When we finally shut up and just LISTEN to Him.
Or maybe He doesn’t have anything to say but that we are open to Him.
That we have the faith that He knows what He is doing, even if it is complete silence.
There are moments in our lives when we are communicating with other people when the most effective and correct response to their words is silence.
It is in the silence and the stillness and the peace that our God does great things.
Help us to be silent and filled with peace on this Holy Saturday as we wait for our Lord.
Help us to have silent faith in our lives when we need it most.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Friday. Thursday April 21. Lent 2011.

Good Friday.
The day of Our Lord’s suffering, passion, and death.
There are not words enough to do justice to the pain and suffering and glory of this day.
However, using very few words, the movie, The Passion of the Christ gives incredible visuals of the torment and suffering that our Lord experienced all because of His love for us.
This is another day that contains so much detail and depth.

Barabbas was chosen to be released over Christ.
This choice was so that the Lord’s will would be carried out.
And the passion of Christ begins.
Christ was chained to a post and scourged.
His body brutally beaten with cruel weapons.
Weapons that sliced His sacred skin.
Weapons that when thrown upon His body took a hold of His flesh
and ripped it off of His body.
And He went through this because

A crown on thorns was placed upon His head.
Actually, people believe that it was more of a cap of thorns.
The 2 inch thorns were forced into the sacred head of Our Lord.
Blood ran down His face joining with the rest of the blood that covered His body.
And He tolerated this all because

Jesus carried the cross to Golgotha.
The heavy physical burden.
The wood rubbing against Christ’s skin, irritating it even more.
The dirty wood shoving splinters through Christ’s bloody ripped skin.
He falls on the gravel three times.
The gravel pushing up through the gaping wounds all over His body.
The burden of the cross falling down with our blessed Lord.
He carried His cross all because

When Jesus reached the place called Skull, He was rudely placed upon the cross.
Nails that are thought to have been 7-9 inches long were hammered to Jesus’ feet and His hands, just below the wrist.
A block of wood was fastened to the cross under Christ’s feet which left His knees slightly bent.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The nails driven through His hand and wrist area did not break a bone but they are thought to have hit a major nerve that controlled movement and feeling of the shoulders.
Because of the strain on the nerve, Jesus lacked the ability to lift up His head to breathe.
To be able to breathe, Christ had to put force on His feet that were nailed onto the block of wood so that He could force the rest of His body up to breathe.
He went through this pain because

The soldiers mocked Jesus and made fun of Him.
They told Him that He should save Himself.
And He could have.
He is God.
He can do anything.
But He chose to stay on the cross.
Obedience brought Him to the cross
It was love that kept Him there.
His love for YOU.
Love kept Him on the cross.
Staying on the cross showed extreme humility.
His love brought about humility.
He humbled Himself to death, even death on a cross because

Jesus was crucified between two criminals.
One on His right.
One on His left.
One criminal joined in with the soldiers in mocking Jesus.
The other one repented of His sins and asked for Christ’s forgiveness.
Right there.
On the Cross.
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
He instituted the sacrament of confession and is gracious enough to forgive us of our sin because

Mary standing at the foot of the cross.
Her pain inexpressible.
Her motherly desire to reach out and help her son was a desire like no other.
But She could do nothing.
It was in this moment that Her fiat was required to be a silent one.
Her yes had to be quiet.
She could only pray.
And then listen to Her son when He said,
“Woman, behold your son.”
He would not leave His mother alone.
He will not leave us alone simply because

At about ,
The hour of mercy,
in Jesus’ great pain and agony He cried out to His father,
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Jesus then proceeded knowing that His time was almost finished and said,
“I thirst.”
He was given some wine on a sprig of hyssop.
This completed the fourth cup of the Passover from the night before and Jesus said,
“It is finished.”
Thus, that line has many meanings.
The Passover was now finished.
Christ’s time on earth was almost finished.
The suffering on the cross was almost finished.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father into YOUR hands I commend My spirit.”
Jesus bowed His head and died.
The earth quaked and people came to believe.
“Truly this was the Son of God!”
“This man was innocent beyond doubt.”
This man was innocent.
Yet He was obedient to the point of death on a cross so that we might live.
Truly He loved us.
Truly He loves us.
And truly He always will.
He gave His life for us.
The least we can do is live our lives for Him.

Just as a side note, some of the information from yesterday’s blog and today’s blog came from a talk that David Calavitta gave the other night on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. He came up with some outstanding insights. So a huge thanks to him! Please pray for David and for all other church ministers that they may continue to do the work of the Lord and that they may continue to let the Lord use them for His glory. Thanks!