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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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Change the Word. Monday, March 31. Lent 2014.

We all have a desire to be wanted.
We want to be loved.
We know the feeling.

I am guilty of having days
where I basically just mope around
convincing myself that no one loves me.

A lot of damage occurs when we think this way.
In fact,
most, if not all, of the brokenness in the world is a result
of a perceived lack of love.

When we know we are loved,
it results in happiness,
the drive to succeed,
the desire to help others,
the want to become a better person,
and the eagerness to, in turn,
love someone else.  

When we don’t feel loved,
from it stems pain,
and we can’t even think about showing love.

What’s crazy is we know this,
we see this,
and yet,
we don’t love those around us
because we don’t feel loved ourselves.

It’s a vicious cycle.

If we all knew
and believed that we are loved
and then acted upon that,
the world would truly be a different place.

Here is our reminder that we truly are loved:

“The Heart of Christ loves us without ceasing to love for even a moment.
The Heart of Christ loves us infinitely.”

He loves you.
He doesn’t ever stop.
Not even for a moment.

His love for us is infinite.
On and on.

We now know this.
But that doesn’t mean much.

What would happen if we believed it?
What would happen if we acted upon it?

Our perceived lack of love would be gone.
Others would know the love of Christ.
We would be partaking in purpose of our existence;
to know,
to love,
and to serve God.

What about trying this out?
I’d like everyone to know the love of Christ.
I’d like to change the world.

This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Cross as the Crucible to Holiness. Sunday, March 30. Lent 2014.

“The Cross is the crucible in which God fashions saints.”

The Cross is the big melting pot
in which we are bent,
and formed.

Formed to the shape of the Cross.
The shaped that saved us from eternal death.
The shape that will lead us to holiness.

It’s like taking medicine though,
we know it will make us better,
but we just don’t want to do it.

We know that the Cross will benefit our lives
but we have decided that we deserve to not suffer.

We think of our crosses as these big giant issues,
health problems,
money issues,
family tiffs
but really,
some of the most
and beautiful crosses that we can carry
are the minuscule daily ones.

The ones that we don’t even think of as crosses.
The little things that make us groan
and complain.

Sometimes I wonder how much I would actually have to say to people
if I was forbidden from complaining.
I’m guessing I would be a very quiet person.

All this day in and day out complaining
could instead be conversation.
Conversation with Christ.
Relating to Christ,
thanking Christ for the Cross.

“May Jesus and his Cross reign forever.”

and little inconveniences throughout the day
should not be dreaded.
they are what is leading us to holiness.
What should change is the way in which we respond to them.

I know I’m not thankful for my crosses,
I don’t normally ask for help in carrying them,
and definitely not asking for them to reign forever.
But maybe I should.
After all,
they are leading us to holiness.

This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Puffy Pizza Dough and Pride. Saturday, March 29. Lent 2014.

Friday night pizza is a staple in our house.
I love taking the dough out early
and just seeing it grow throughout the day.
It will nearly triple in size from the original dough.
And it’s fun to poke, of course.
To which is just responds by puffing up more.

The yeast.
It’s an essential part of the dough.
It is necessary for the dough to rise,
unless, I guess, we wanted flatbread pizza.
We don’t.
So puffy, yeasty dough it is!

Montfort makes this great analogy.

“Pride is to the human being what yeast is to the dough. Both puff up and completely corrupt the element in which they reside: The sin of Adam has almost entirely spoiled and soured us, filling us with pride and corrupting every one of us, just as yeast sours, swells, and corrupts the dough in which it is placed.”

What a way to ruin pizza nights, huh?

These concepts:
humans, dough, and yeast/pride
are an interesting group.

In order for dough to rise,
it does need yeast.
In order for humans to rise,
we need something too,
just not pride.

In fact,
what we need
is to not need anything.

Montfort is constantly talking about
total dependence on God.
With this comes giving of ourselves,
trusting that God’s ways are better than our own,
deflating ourselves of our pride,
and knowing that with nothing but God Alone,
we have everything.

So next time we poke that beautiful, puffy dough,
think about deflating the pride the resides in our hearts,
and rather than our pride bouncing back,
puffier than ever,
let it deflate like a helpless balloon.

For we know that we should rid ourselves of things of this world,
and trust, hope, be, strive for, listen to, love,
God Alone.
This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Detaching the Heartstrings. Friday, March 28. Lent 2014.

Whenever I go through my stuff to clear it out
and give some of it away,
I always end up with these nice clean spaces.
That emptiness is savored for maybe a week.
Then more stuff somehow finds its way there.

When clearing out our heart
or our home,
we need to ensure that it stays clean
to the best of our ability.

When cleaning out the junk in our hearts,
there is more room for Jesus
but only if we fill the emptiness with Him.
He will not force His way into our hearts.

If we have this extra room
and we fill it with worldly things,
then we are right back where we started.
A heart filled with the world.

A heart filled with Christ is
one that knows true happiness,
one that will serve,
one that will love,
one that understand suffering,
one that do the will of the Father.

Spring cleaning is a great way in which to
detach ourselves from material things of the world,
especially ones that we do not need
or ones that are keeping us from Christ.

Cleaning of our hearts is better.
Having too much stuff is visible to the world.
A worldly heart is visible to God.
He knows.

And He is ready to help fill the voids
once we are brave enough to detach
the heartstrings that are attached to the world.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Clearing Cobwebs. Thursday, March 27. Lent 2014.

Sometimes I feel as though my life is a mess of cobwebs.
So many.
So all over the place.
So dense.

Stuff that is tangible
and stuff that is not.

Stuff in my bedroom.
Stuff in my house.
Stuff in my mind.
Stuff in my heart.

It results in me thinking through fog,
or cobwebs, if we are going for that example.
Nothing is clear.
Nothing is that big of a deal,
but the constant cobwebs combined
are enough to make me go crazy.

Sometimes I want to take off to be a hermit.
But then I remember that human interaction is good.

But still,
there has to be a way to see clearer.

“When I go on a journey, my staff in my hand, barefoot and without any baggage, but also without any cares, I make stately progress, like a king with his court to the sound of the trumpet.”

Montfort was talking about a literal walking journey.
I think it can be applied figuratively though too.

We don’t necessarily have to give everything away
and go buy a staff
in order to have a relationship with Christ.

A staff to ensure balance.
No baggage, so our focus is Christ.
No cares, because we have cast those upon Christ.

When we clear our lives of the things that keep us from Christ,
we are able to see Christ clearly.

We begin to understand Love.
We begin to experience joy.
We want only to serve.
We want to be His hands and feet.

We won’t ever want to see through cobwebs again.
We will want to only continue to see His heart.
We will fall in love with that heart.
We will want to mirror that love.

We will truly know Christ.
We will know that we were created for so much more.
That we were created for Love and by Love.
That we were created to love.
We will understand that we are loved by the Father.

“Leave all things and you will find all things by finding Jesus.”
This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The 7 Effects of Consecration: Part 2. Wednesday, March 26. Lent 2014.

The final 4 effects of the consecration hold just as much beauty as the first three.

The fourth is great confidence in God and in Mary.
When we remove the roadblocks in life,
we have less to worry about,
we can continue on with life.
We are not so hung up on the little things.

“Stifling fear is transformed into courageous assurance.”

We are no longer afraid,
but rather,
have full confidence.
We are confident that we are nothing on our own,
that our duty is to serve,
to serve Mary,
to serve God.

“This confidence s not a ‘self-affirmation’. Rather, it is the affirmation of our nothingness become our strength.”

The fifth is communication of the spirit of Mary.
This effect Montfort considered the most important of them all.
This one is not simply having a relationship with Mary,
but rather,
Her spirit within us.
Us allowing Her spirit to guide our lives.

“It is no longer the soul that lives but Mary living in it, since Mary’s live becomes its life. To establish Mary’s life in the soul is an absolutely essential element.”

His reason?

“Of all God’s creatures, Mary is the most conformed to Jesus…the more one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus. That is why the perfect consecration to Jesus is but a perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed Virgin.”

Allowing the spirit of Mary to live within our lives
is vital according to Montfort.

“We must breathe Mary as the body breathes air. Every breath is one with Her spirit: a total ‘yes’ of radical discipleship to the Lord.”

The sixth effect is the transformation by Mary into the likeness of Christ.
The ultimate goal of this consecration is
to be one with Jesus,
a union with Love Himself.

Montfort considered this step almost easy.
He explained that since we have already
surrendered to the spirit of Mary,
we have found the presence of Jesus.
Through this finding of Christ,
we get to truly experience Christ.

St. Augustine coined the idea that
Mary is the mold of God.
Taking this into account then…

“To be poured into Mary we must be melted, we must surrender all. Losing ourselves in the fair interior of Mary, we take on Her active, responsible and courageous discipleship and thereby become faithful portraits of Jesus Christ.”

The final effect is the greater glory of God.
All for the glory of God Alone.
This is a fitting final effect.
Loosing ourselves to Mary,
brings us to Christ,
who brings us to the Father,
to God Alone.

“Through living of the perfect consecration, we are being dynamically drawn into the inaccessible Light of the Trinity Itself.
Here we have for Montfort the ultimate goal, the greatest motive, the supreme effect of consecration: a true mystical union with God Alone.”
This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The 7 Effects of Consecration: Part 1. Tuesday, March 25. Lent 2014.

Montfort carefully laid out 7 effects of the consecration.
One-by-one what one is to expected
as a result of true and total consecration
to Jesus through Mary.

The first is stripping of the self.
Montfort believed that in order to exalt Christ,
we need to empty ourselves.

“The first effect of the perfect Consecration is the total stripping of the self of all that is not the Lord’s in order to participate in divine life. It is only in emptiness that we are filled.”

Only once we are empty will we be full.
Only once we rid ourselves of ourselves
do we have room for Christ.

“This knowledge is not just for the sake of understanding our nothingness. The living Consecration demands from the soul more sacrifices for God, rids the soul more of itself and its self love.”

The second effect is participation in Mary’s faith.
Mary has perfect faith.
As a Mother, she intercedes for us.
Part of Her intercession is for us to have faith.
Through Her effective prayers,
we can obtain faith.

Sharing in even a minuscule part of Her total faith
allows us insight into the true meaning of
and gives us the strength to follow Christ.  
This faith is more than just for ourselves though.

“You will use this faith to enlighten those who are in darkness of the shadow of death, to enflame those who are lukewarm and who have need of heated gold charity, to give life to those who are dead in sin, to touch and overthrow…the hearts of marble and the cedars of Lebanon.”

The third is deliverance from scruples, cares, and fear.
This one just sounds peaceful reading it.

Montfort alluded to the fact the our desire to serve God
can appear so overbearing that we lose sight of the true journey.

“Nothing so freezes a soul in its journey to the inner castle as servile fear of God, which manifests itself in the disorder of scrupulosity.”

This servile fear and scrupulosity must be rejected for
God is not only majestic,
He is tender.

“True freedom, then, an effect of living Montfort’s Holy Slavery of Jesus is Mary: the freedom to run into the arms of Infinite Love, to let ourselves be embraced, to accept forgiveness, to accept acceptance.
The barricades of fear, of an exaggerated sense of unworthiness, of refusing to accept that God yearns for us more than we can ever year for Him- all are destroyed through living the consecration.”

This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Perfect Model of Consecration. Monday, March 23. Lent 2014.

These past couple of days these blog posts have talked about consecration.
Being made holy.
Us being made holy.
Christ, the holy one.
But Mary,
Mary has really special and unique roles in this idea of consecration,
of being made holy.

Mary is consecrated.
She is holy.
She truly is the model of consecration.

Her life is lived in faithfulness to the covenant of God.
Her fiat,
Her ‘yes’ and
Her constant surrender to God
show her complete obedience to God.

She has a unique role in the idea of consecrated,
of holy.
She herself carried Holy in her womb.
She herself was a holy place,
a sacred place,
holding the Consecrated One.

“She becomes herself a uniquely ‘holy place’, a new Arc of the Covenant bearing the Consecration of the universe, Jesus Christ. She is the first of the consecrated in the Consecrated, sharing as none other in the redemptive Consecration wrought by Her Son.”

Montfort believed Mary to be the perfect model of consecration.
In his eyes, no one responds more fully to God’s call to share in holiness.
It is through Her Immaculate Conception that She is the perfect model of consecration.

“When the time appointed for the redemption of mankind had come, Eternal Wisdom built Himself a house worthy to be His dwelling place. He created the most holy Virgin, forming Her in the womb of St. Anne with even greater delight than He has derived from creating the universe…the torrential outpouring of God’s infinite goodness which has been rudely stemmed by the sins of men since the beginning of the world was not released precipitately and in full flood into the heart of Mary. Eternal Wisdom gave to Her all the graces which Adam and all his descendants would have received so liberally from Him has they remained in their original state of justice. The fullness of God… was poured into Mary insofar as a creature is capable of receiving it.”

Mary provides us with this
holy example of
how to live a life consecrated to the Consecrated One.

She herself,
consecrated from birth,
carried the Consecrated,
and lived a perfect life of consecration
truly is the model for the consecrated life.
For the life of Holy.
A life dedicated to the Consecrated One.

This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Consecrated in the Consecrated. Sunday, March 23. Lent 2014.

Made holy.
Through Jesus,
the Consecrated One,
we are made holy.

“Jesus is the Consecration of the cosmos to the Father; he is also the acceptance of the Father’s gracious love.”

Though Jesus has the main part
in our Consecration to Him and through Him,
we have a role as well.

“To be one with Him so that in the power of the Spirit all may be made holy, consecrated through Christ to God. The total, loving response of the intellectual creatures to Jesus’ call, ‘Come follow me,’ implements the transformation of all creation to God’s holiness.”

Our unity,
our oneness with Christ
makes way for the transformation.
The transformation of all creation into holiness.
That’s a huge honor.
There is a lot at stake.

Our unity with Jesus,
our answer to His call,
might just begin the largest
and most magnificent
and most life-changing
transformation of all time.

“We enter into the victorious holiness of Christ through Baptism. The baptized person renounces everything that enslaves him to Satan in order to enjoy the freedom of belonging to Jesus Christ. The Christian is God’s chosen, dedicated in a special way to be at His service: ‘the slave of Jesus Christ’. The Christian accepts the Gospel as the rules of life and follows the Lord wheresoever He leads: he will carry his Cross after Him all the days of his life.”

We come back to this sacrament that
St. Louis de Montfort found ever so important.
The sacrament that Montfort considered to be
the driving force of the Christian life,
the foundation,
and the gateway to Heaven.

It is through this sacrament that
we are made holy.
We are consecrated to Christ.
We are called to live in service to Him,
all the days of our lives.

In Baptism,
we put on Christ.
We are made part of God’s family.

“We are consecrated in the Consecrated.”

We have been given this gift of Baptism.
Along with this gift comes some responsibility.
The responsibility of living life as one consecrated to Jesus,
as one who has the potential to lead others to Christ,
even to lead humanity to Christ.

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people claimed by God for His very own to proclaim the triumphs of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. You are now the people of God.”
-1 Peter 2:9-10

What will you do with your gift of Baptism today?
This Lenten blog series is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's writings. Unless otherwise noted, all the phrases in quotation marks are taken from the book Jesus Living in Mary.