Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 8

April 8
“Confess what you have done in word or deed, by night or day. Confess in an acceptable time, and in the day of salvation receive the heavenly treasure.”
-St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Today’s Reflection
As we enter into the Holy Triduum, how does this quote speak to me specifically today?

 


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 7

April 7

“Who can measure the extent of My goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the Cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain.”

-Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska

 

Today’s Reflection

What is Jesus saying directly to you through these words? What do you say back to Him? As we enter the season of Easter and Divine Mercy, trust that you will draw from the fountain of the Sacred Heart the very grace you most need.

 


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 6

April 6
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”
-Matthew 26:14-25
Today’s Reflection
Meditate on the ways we have been betrayed and the ways
you have betrayed others.
God is ever-loving. We can break our relationship with Him but He never stops loving us. Even if we trade Him in for thirty pieces of silver, He continues to love and extend mercy to us. Mentally submit these betrayals into His unfathomable ocean of divine mercy and receive His peace.

 


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 5

April 5
Palm Sunday

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

-John 13:36-38

 

Today’s Reflection

Have you ever been filled with so much zeal for the Lord that you would do anything for Him? Even die for Him? And then, only minutes later, when things got a little inconvenient, you changed your mind, or even betrayed Him?

The passage above shows us that even the apostle, Peter, who spent three years walking side-by-side with Him, turned his back on Jesus when the going got tough. As we come to the close of Lent and anticipate the Triduum and Easter, let us renew our fervor to stand
with the Lord at any cost.

 


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 4

April 4

“Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

-Isiah 42: 1-7

 

Today’s Reflection

Blessed Holy Week to you and your loved ones!
The passage above is the first of today’s mass readings. Take time to ponder it. As you walk these first steps on the journey into the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, how will you enter into the intense silence where God speaks? In what ways will you seek to be more receptive to the grace and gift of our salvation?

Pray that Jesus will give you eyes that are opened, a heart that is unfettered from the confinement of sin, and a mind that is free from the darkness and distraction of the world and fully fixed upon Him.


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Toddler Born With “Missing” Cerebellum Makes Astonishing Progress

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A three year-old boy who was born with key parts of the brain either missing or severely atrophied, the family counts with cerebral palsy attorneys to fight for the rights of the kid and has doctors stumped as he continues to progress far beyond what medical science says a person in his condition should be capable of achieving.

According to AOL News, Chase Britton was born prematurely three years ago, and is legally blind. He was a year old when suspicions of cerebral palsy caused doctors to perform an MRI on his brain. What they found was astonishing.

Chase appeared to have no cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor skills, balance and emotions. He also appeared to be missing his pons, the part of the brain stem that controls basic functions such as sleeping and breathing. The brain scans showed only fluid where the cerebellum and pons should have been.

“That’s when the doctor called and didn’t know what to say to us,” said Heather Britton in a telephone interview with AOL from her home in New York. “No one had ever seen it before. And then we’d go to the neurologists and they’d say, ‘That’s impossible.’ ‘He has the MRI of a vegetable,’ one of the doctors said to us.”

But Chase is not a vegetable at all. Despite the doctor’s dismal prognosis, Chase is managing to do many things that he shouldn’t be able to do without a cerebellum – such as sit up on his own and crawl. Now he’s even learning how to walk.

“He keeps going,” his mom said. “He keeps picking up new things and progressing. We call it, ‘Chase pace.’”

“There are some very bright, specialized people across the country and in Europe that have put their minds to this dilemma and are continuing to do so, and we haven’t come up with an answer,” Dr. Adre du Plessis, chief of Fetal and Transitional Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told Fox News affiliate WGRZ.

“So it is a mystery.”

Even more baffling is the fact that Heather had several ultrasounds during her pregnancy and the images clearly show that Chase had a cerebellum at one time.

“That is actually a fundamental part of the dilemma,” du Plessis told WGRZ. “If there was a cerebellum, what happened to it?”

Doctors have found no signs of a brain bleed, hemorrhage or stroke, and no damage to any other part of his brain, Britton said. Technically, his diagnosis is cerebellar hypoplasia, which normally means a small cerebellum rather than a missing one.

Some doctors, such as Steven Novella, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and author of the popular NeuroLogica blog, say Chase’s cerebellum is more than likely atrophied to the point of not being easily visible on an MRI scan. He believes there is probably a remnant there, which explains why the child has the capacity that he does.

“The pons also cannot be missing,” Dr. Novella writes. “That’s like saying someone’s neck is missing. It is just atrophied – perhaps the ventral pons is missing or atrophied.”

From what he could see from videos, Chase’s degree of neurological function appears to be in line with these anatomical deficits. “He can move, but he has very poor coordination. He walks with a walker, and does not seem to have the balance to walk without assistance. He is also legally blind.”

Dr. Novella believes the most amazing part of Chase’s story has more to do with how well he is able to function with his limitations.

” . . .  (W)e can be uplifted by the courage and strength of Chase’s parents, who seem to be meeting this challenge with optimism and a very productive ‘can do’ attitude,” he writes.

His parents have indeed created an optimal environment for Chase. They are providing him with specialized education, a team of therapists that have been working with him since he was an infant, and a special “sensory room” at home which is full of lights and sounds and tactile things — like mirrors — to visually stimulate him. They are also planning to begin horseback-riding therapy.

“We’re throwing as much at him as possible to make sure he’s as stimulated as possible,” she explained.

“He’s happy. We call him the Little Gremlin. He loves to play tricks on people. He loves to sing. His goal in life is to make people smile. He’s got so much love around him. We’re an extremely happy family. His story is not tragic.”

Her message to other parents who might be experiencing medical challenges with their children is “don’t give up on your kids” and “don’t believe everything the doctors say” because “they can be wrong.”

“People could view this as a tragic story. But that depends on how you look at life. You can be angry or you can appreciate what you have been given,” she said.

“Chase was meant to be with us.”

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

And a Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul

“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” -Luke 2:33-35

As we sojourn together through the final days of Lent, Holy Week, and the current Coronavirus pandemic, we recognize now more than ever that suffering and sorrow are part of the human condition. However, when they are united to the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering and sorrow become part of the supernatural dimension. By virtue of our baptism, all of us are called to participate in the sufferings of Christ in ways that are uniquely our own. I think of this reality as I meditate upon Our Lady’s never-ending fiat.

Theologians tell us Mary’s assent at the Annunciation was also her assent to the tortures of Golgotha. She didn’t understand exactly how God would work it out, but she did understand the proposal at hand: she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Familiar with the teaching of the prophets, Mary also understood what this meant – He would be a suffering servant (Is. 53:3-12), and she, by virtue of her motherhood, would suffer with Him.

Her understanding was confirmed by Simeon when she and Joseph presented Jesus to the Father: “A sword will pierce your own heart,” she heard him say (Luke: 2:33-35). But could she imagine the sword? And how would she respond to it?

Luke gives us insight into Mary’s means of appropriating the sufferings of her Son’s life and, therefore, her life’s sufferings, too. He tells us that she pondered them in her heart. The mystic par excellence, her response was reflective and contemplative. It yielded an unquestioning surrender to the Father’s will each time that will was revealed to her. Thus, from the moment of the Annunciation, Mary actively conformed to the cross that would one day bear her Son.

Long before she stood at the foot of His cross on Calvary’s hill, she interiorly beheld its mystery and embraced it. Ultimately, she entered into it.

This movement of the interior was not unfamiliar to Mary. The Fathers of the Church remind us that Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb. Would we not then expect that she mystically bore the pain of His Passion and death before He lived it out in time?

Confronted with such a thing, what would a mother do, especially this mother?

Would she not imbue her Son’s sufferings with maternal beatitude? Would she not offer her suffering to the Father on His behalf? Not that she could lessen the pain or add to the eternal merit He was acquiring, but rather, to offer her presence as a consolation to the travail He would endure. Was not her every “yes” to the Father’s will laden with a sweet unction that would be released in her Son’s heart at the moment He needed it most?

Perhaps it was precisely this He experienced as she ministered to Him on His ascent to Golgotha. Beholding her, He beheld pure love. He recognized that Eternal Love from which all true love is generated. In her He saw embodied the self-donating love of the Trinitarian life.

Surely it was this He saw in her when they met on the way. Surely it was this He saw in her as she stood sentry beneath the tree upon which He hung. And surely it was this that breathed with Him as He breathed His last and commended Himself to the Father.

Ultimately, only heaven will give us the answers. But one thing is certain. Each of us, like Our Lady, is called to be present to the mystery. To behold it. To embrace it. To enter into it. To let it enter into us. This is the mission of Lent. It is the glory of Easter. It is the triumph of everlasting life. So be it. And so be you and me in the midst of all things including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please know that in this difficult time, we stand with you soul-to-soul in a special way. You are invited to join us for a weekly live Women of Grace Warrior’s Rosary Crusade live each Wednesday at 4PM ET until this pandemic is behind us. With God’s grace, we will get through this together.

I faithfully remain…
Your sister in Christ,

Johnnette's Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Living the Hidden Years

Liturgically, we’re taking a brief breath in ordinary time.  We’ve lived the long wait of Advent, and Christmas has been celebrated and it’s trappings stored away – nativity sets snuggled in attic alcoves and ornaments stacked in garage bins. Read the rest…

Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 3

April 3

“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

– St. Catherine of Siena

 

Today’s Reflection

Does the finish line of Lent seem far off in the distance? Let us hold each up in prayer. Endure!


Dear Women of Grace family,
As a means of daily support and inspiration, we will temporarily be sharing our Daily Gracelines with our entire email audience. We hope it is a source of daily encouragement for you as we walk through these challenging times together. We are praying for you. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.

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