Finding Faith and Strength in God: Battling Anxiety, Depression and Self-Doubt

You might think I have my life together due to the prolific amount of humorous and inspirational content I post here on IG and this website.

That’s one of the side-effects of social media. It causes people to think the creators of their favorite accounts somehow discovered the secret to dealing with life’s curveballs (and sinkers, fastballs, and knuckleballs) thrown our way.

But I have struggled and continue to this day to deal with anxiety and depression.

Some months it is on a daily basis.

This has been a rough week for me.

It’s been stressful at my retail job (thankfully, there’s relief on the horizon with less hours next month), it’s a busy time with parenting four children and juggling all the responsibilities that goes with it, and I’m struggling with imposter syndrome when it comes to my writing.

Anxiety disorder is something I’ve found I have to slay and tackle daily.

There is no permanent remedy save for total and complete abandonment to God’s Providence.

Daily prayer is a must in the battle against angst. 🙏

But it must be a conscious focus each and every single day.

These shields help my battle too:

  • Counseling
  • Music
  • Anxiety medicine
  • Humor (The Office has helped me an incalculacable amount of days)
  • Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints to help me find peace of mind and discover the joy of the Gospel

If I ever got a tattoo it would be the Teresa of Avila prayer. Daily I ask for her intercession, and I etch God’s promises on my heart every time I recite this prayer.

Let nothing disturb you.

Let nothing frighten you.

All things are passing away: God never changes.

Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing.

God alone suffices.

God wants you to find comfort and peace in this life. Never be afraid to seek help or to admit you don’t have your life together: no one else does, it’s part of being human.

Thank you for sharing!

Lessons in Spiritual Dryness: From Apple Anticipation to Hopes Dashed

Part 1: The Disheartening News

A few days ago, my wife sent me a text that I never expected. It simply read, “No apple orchard this year😢 ,” accompanied by a screenshot from our favorite apple orchard. The notice from the Orchard explained,

“APPLE UPDATE: An update we are devastated to share…With great sadness, we are not able to offer U-Pick Apples out in the orchard this season. Due to the spring drought and apple thrip pest, our trees just weren’t able to produce the harvest we had hoped for.”

Disappointment washed over me as I absorbed this news. When you spend months looking forward to something the letdown is pretty steep when your hopes are dashed. This experience led me to contemplate the connection between life’s disappointments and spiritual dryness.

Part 2: Understanding Spiritual Aridity

Spiritual dryness, an often-overlooked aspect of our faith journey, cuts to the core of our spiritual walk. We’ve all experienced those profound moments of connection with our faith, those times when the presence of God felt tangible and reassuring. But what occurs when that profound sensation suddenly evaporates? This experience can be overwhelming, especially if it’s our first encounter with spiritual aridity. However, it’s crucial to understand that this arid phase isn’t a judgment on our worthiness or dedication. Rather, it’s a facet of our spiritual journey, a terrain we’re meant to traverse, not an indictment of our faith.

As we explore this intricate topic, let’s take a page from the saints’ playbook. These remarkable individuals, who left their indelible mark on our faith, also grappled with spiritual dryness in their journeys. Amidst their spiritual desolation, they discovered that these periods weren’t indicative of their lack of holiness or spiritual effort. Instead, they realized that God, in His divine wisdom, allows souls to undergo these purgative periods to deepen their relationship with Him. This profound insight serves as our guiding light. It reminds us that our own spiritual dryness isn’t a verdict on our devotion but an invitation to fortify our faith.

When the wellsprings of spiritual consolation seem to have run dry and our souls yearn for the divine presence, let us remember that this spiritual dryness is a natural part of our journey. Draw inspiration from the saints who navigated this arid terrain. We find solace in knowing that these droughts aren’t desolation but opportunities for spiritual growth and a deepening of our relationship with God.

Part 3: Transforming Aridity into Wonder

In an article I wrote for Catholic Exchange, I explored “Three Ways to Turn Spiritual Aridity into Wonder.” Drawing inspiration from saints like St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Maria Faustina, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross, I learned that dryness in prayer is not an indictment of our spirituality. Instead, it’s an opportunity for growth. Much like a desert, periods of spiritual dryness can serve as a place of purification and transformation.

Look to the Sacraments as Spiritual Oases

Just as travelers in a parched land seek water with utmost urgency, those facing spiritual aridity yearn for a source of spiritual refreshment. These oases in the desert, are the sacraments that Christ instituted to sustain us throughout life’s various stages. The sacraments, such as the Eucharist and Confession, stand as omnipotent oases, ever-flowing sources of God’s grace.

Living Water: A Promise from Christ

Recalling the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, we are reminded of His promise of living water. While this living water is not the physical water necessary for our survival, it symbolizes the grace found in the sacraments. These sacramental oases never run dry; they patiently await our journey to their wellsprings to receive God’s abundant grace.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1210):

“Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.”

Journey to the Well: The Sacrament of Confession

At the end of a particularly challenging week I recognized the need to address my issues with anger and impatience at home. Seeking spiritual refreshment, I ventured to a nearby Catholic Church to confess my sins to a priest.

In that moment, the priest stood in Personi Christi, embodying the authority to forgive sins through the sacrament of Holy Orders. This power, passed down from Jesus to His Apostles—the first Catholic priests (John 20:22-23)—allowed me to receive the healing graces of Confession.

Armed with this newfound grace, I returned home better equipped to confront the temptations of anger and impatience that had plagued me. Just as travelers in the desert find solace in the oasis, I found solace in the sacrament, knowing that these spiritual oases never run dry, always offering refreshment to those who seek them.

Follow the Caravan

Autumn has always held a special place in my heart. It’s a season when nature’s vibrant hues signal the transition from the warm embrace of summer to the crisp embrace of fall. One of my favorite autumn traditions has been visiting the local apple orchard with my family. There’s a unique joy in wandering through rows of apple trees surrounded by the fragrant aroma of ripe fruit. Last year, we missed out on this experience due to a hectic schedule and an early frost that closed the orchard prematurely. So, this year, I eagerly anticipated our visit. Little did I know, a message from my wife would take me on a surprising journey, sparking thoughts about the connection between life’s disappointments and spiritual dryness.

We’re not meant to walk our Christian journey alone. Just as travelers in the desert rely on one another for support, we should seek assistance from our fellow believers. Building a network of friendships and seeking guidance from trusted individuals can provide much-needed companionship on our spiritual journey.

In my article “Catholic Camaraderie: Unity in Suffering, I emphasized the importance of finding a community to support and uplift us in our prayer life. In our shared faith, we discover the strength that comes from praying together and bearing one another’s burdens. This sense of unity in suffering reinforces the idea that our Catholic faith isn’t just an individual endeavor but a communal one.

As we navigate the spiritual terrain, building connections within the Church provides a support system that extends beyond the pews. Trusted friends and mentors offer guidance, share their experiences, and help us persevere through our own trials. Following the caravan of fellow believers allows us to draw strength, solace, and inspiration from the Catholic community, making our spiritual journey not only more bearable but also deeply enriching. In unity, we find the companionship and encouragement needed to endure the desert’s challenges and emerge stronger in our faith.

Look to Mary in the Dark Night

In times of spiritual aridity we can turn our gaze toward the gentle presence of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Venerable Fulton Sheen poignantly captured the essence of Mary’s role when he said, “The Blessed Virgin Mary reflects her divine son. Without him, she is nothing. With him, she is the mother of men.” This profound statement encapsulates the beautiful truth that Mary, like the moon reflecting the light of the sun, illuminates our path and guides us to her Son, even when we struggle to feel His immediate presence.

Just as the moon’s glow lights the way for travelers in the night, Mary’s spiritual radiance can lead us to her Son, Jesus. Her intercession has been likened to the moon’s light breaking through the darkest night. Through her unwavering love and maternal care, she provides solace and guidance, reminding us that even in the darkest moments of our spiritual journey, Mary is there to lead us to her Son’s loving embrace.

One profound example of Mary’s role as our spiritual guide is seen in her journey from heartache to hope. Just as the moon’s glow dispels the darkness, Mary’s intercession can pierce the darkness of our struggles and lead us to the radiant presence of Jesus. Her enduring love and guidance offer hope, transforming despair into a deep and abiding faith.

Final Harvest: Wrapping Up 🍎🍏

As I reflect on these three ways to transform spiritual dryness into wonder, I’m reminded of the unexpected turn of events this year. Although we couldn’t visit our local apple orchard, my mom surprised us with apples from her city’s orchard. In that unexpected moment of generosity, I found a glimpse of the wonder that can emerge from life’s disappointments. Just as we can find refreshment in the midst of a dry orchard season, we can also find spiritual renewal during our moments of spiritual aridity. It’s all part of the journey.

So, when life leaves you feeling parched, remember, the oasis is closer than you think. Seek solace in the sacraments, companionship with your fellow travelers, and guidance from the Mother who reflects the divine. In this way, even the driest of deserts can become places of profound spiritual wonder.

Thank you for sharing!

From Tax Collector to Apostle: Embracing God’s Unexpected Call to Redemption

God calls you where you are.

For the Apostle Matthew, he was a publican (a tax collector).

What emotions come up when you think of an IRS agent?

What about tax season?

“Unfortunately, you owe X dollars this year?”

Now, imagine if God publicly called a person  to be in his inner circle of twelve??

A man whose job it was to take your hard-earned money and collect it for a corrupt government.

It might stir up resentment, confusion, or dismay to mention a few of a thousand emotions that would likely be going through your mind.

But God’s ways are often mysterious and it may take time before we realize the plan He has for others and ourselves.

I can’t even begin to fully understand what some of Jesus’ early followers thought when he died and later named Matthew to be an apostle.

An unworthy tax collector. Money-hungry, an agent of the Roman Empire. That’s who Jesus called to follow him 2000 years ago.

Now, the name Matthew translates as “Gift from God”. His conversion is certainly a blessing along with his account of Jesus’ life in his Gospel.

No matter where you’re at in life, God will meet you.

You just have to be open to His call. 🙏

P.S. How has God worked in your life in an  unexpected and merciful way?

P.P.S. Here’s a Holy Haiku I created inspired by the witness of the evangelist-apostle.

Enjoy!

Related Links

3 Similarities I Share with my Namesake— Saint Matthew

Saint Matthew (Apostle and Evangelist)

Thank you for sharing!

Transfiguring Humanity—Reflections on the Transfiguration of Christ


Editor’s Note: Post originally published on August 9, 2018.


Among the most bizarre, mysterious, and interesting accounts in the New Testament is the event of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The dictionary defines the word transfiguration as “a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. Common synonyms for transfiguration include: metamorphosis, changeover, transformation, development, adjustment, and even mutation!! Growing up Catholic I have listened to the Gospel telling of this mysterious events many times.

Transfiguration

The Transfiguration of Jesus.* 1a After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.* 2*b And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3* And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5c While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,* then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6* When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” 8And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

Foretaste of Heavenly Reality

The primary purpose of the glory of Jesus shown [shone] to Peter, James, and John was meant as a means to prepare them for the glorification of God after the Resurrection and to hint at the beauty of transfigured humanity. According to Saint Pope Saint John Paul II in his 1999 homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration, “In the event of the Transfiguration we contemplate the mysterious encounter between history, which is being built every day, and the blessed inheritance that awaits us in heaven in full union with Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

Humanity’s Home in Heaven

Similar to the previous point is that fact that man is on a pilgrim journey, a sojourner on Earth—whose ultimate destination is union with God in Heaven. John Paul II echoed this truth as well,

“We, pilgrims on earth, are granted to rejoice in the company of the transfigured Lord when we immerse ourselves in the things of above through prayer and the celebration of the divine mysteries. But, like the disciples, we too must descend from Tabor into daily life where human events challenge our faith. On the mountain we saw; on the paths of life we are asked tirelessly to proclaim the Gospel which illuminates the steps of believers.”

I imagine the incredible letdown the Apostles must have felt in the moments after the dazzling and inexplicable event of the Transfiguration. Going back to following Jesus in an ordinary way, traveling from town to town, learning from him, and assisting the poor certainly did not compare to the splendor they witnessed on Mount Tabor. It definitely would have been challenging to transition back into that routine! Heck, Peter even desired to stay in the holy place when he declared, “If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Peter camping Transfiguration meme

Let the Holy Spirit Transfigure Your Life

Coming out of Sunday liturgy, I leave with a similar wonder and awe as the inner circle of Jesus received on that original Transfiguration event. Housing the Real Presence of Lord after reception of the Eucharist provides me incredible peace and patient strength. In a way, we all undergo a momentary transfiguration—a foretaste of Heavenly reality in the Mass. Going back to our worldly affairs, we quickly lose sight and memory of our close encounter with God. May we continue to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us with clarity and strength on our pilgrimage toward Heaven!

Thank you for sharing!

This is the Universal Antidote to Loneliness and Despair


Editor’s Note: Post originally published on June 14, 2018.


Life is confusing

Confusion, misunderstanding, strife, and conflict pervade our modern world. “Fake-news” recently become a moniker attached to popular United States media outlets. The human race seems to be more splintered and fractured now more than ever! Ancient Greek tragedian Sophocles declared this timeless truth, “Despair often breeds disease.” Viewing life from the singular optic of the self-perspective also leads to despair. I am most troubled and experienced hopelessness especially when my daily living is self-centered.

Loneliness is a Familiarity in Our World

Life can feel like a lonely journey.

According to the great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” In high school I used to listen to Green Day when I ran for cross country practice. The song Boulevard of Broken Dreams had a catchy beat and was always on the top of my playlist. Not fully reflecting on the meaning of the lyrics, in hindsight the words hint at a forlornness that is sadly all too familiar in the modern world:

I walk a lonely road

The only one that I have ever known

Don’t know where it goes

But it’s home to me, and I walk alone

I walk this empty street

On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Where the city sleeps

And I’m the only one, and I walk alone

Despair Needs to be Slain Daily

Because of the incessant onslaught from our Adversary despair creeps into life each and every day. Satan wants you to give up. It’s important to remind yourself of how his frequent attacks. Being aware of our daily battle as humans and knowing our ultimate aim in this journey in life are excellent ways to help ward off despair.

Gratitude— A Shield Against Despair

Along with hope, being thankful daily is essential to combat devilish despair and pessimism. Saint Gianna Beretta Molla spoke of gratitude in this way, “The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” The days where I experience greater peace, joy, and contentment are the same days where I make a point to be thankful for the simple blessings. As a Catholic my faith life centers on the Eucharist. A few years ago, I discovered that the word Eucharist comes from the Latin Eucharisiai which translates as thanksgiving. The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324).

Tips to Battle Anxiety

Despair, worry, and anxiety sprung up on me suddenly several times this week. Usually it stems from hearing news that I perceived as bad, viewing it solely from my perspective, or possessing an entitled mindset. Giving myself a small five or ten minute break allowed me to reframe my mindset.

Reminding yourself to be thankful throughout the day is absolutely key to fending off despair and anguish. Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Times where I am angry or frustrated with my children or wife usually is not indicative of their behavior. Rather, it is an indictment on my attitude of ingratitude for the blessings that God bestowed on my daily. As a father, I need to be more thankful—promoting this mentality will flow to the rest of my family and create a culture of love and compassion.

We all come from different backgrounds, past, and family make-ups, but holds humanity together is our ability to be thankful daily! Let us start anew and don a thankful attitude to combat despair and loneliness.


“Gratitude is the first sign of a thinking, rational creature. — Venerable Solanus Casey


Thank you for sharing!

Unveiling the Rainbow’s Symbolism: Exploring Faith, Art, and Connection

In a world brimming with natural wonders, few sights captivate the human spirit quite like the vibrant beauty of a rainbow. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the rainbow holds profound symbolism that speaks to the depths of our faith and the boundless love of God. Inspired by my own experiences and reflections, as well as insights from two compelling articles, let us embark on a journey to unravel the spiritual significance of the rainbow.

Birth in a Rainstorm

My oldest son is named Noah, and he was born in a rainstorm. He and his siblings are also quite the artists, so the rainbow is a symbol that reminds me of his birth, in addition to reminding me about God’s promise in Genesis. The mention of the name Noah conjures imagery of the biblical account of the Great Flood. Just as the appearance of a rainbow marked God’s promise to Noah, the birth of a child amidst a rainstorm tangibly reminds us of hope and the fulfillment of divine promises.It symbolizes the renewal of life, a testament to the enduring love of our Creator.

The Sacrament of Baptism and God’s Covenant

While I identify as a Catholic dad, but my first identity is an adopted child of God. I received this adaption through the graces of my Baptism. Drawing a parallel between the Flood in Genesis and the sacrament of Baptism, we see that the rainbow becomes an emblem of rebirth and spiritual regeneration. Just as the waters of the Flood cleansed and renewed the earth, so too does the sacrament of Baptism wash away sin and initiate us into the divine family. The rainbow signifies our adoption as children of God and the beginning of a lifelong journey of faith.

A Symbol of Hope and New Beginnings

After a long winter, I tend to think more about spring/summer-related signs like the rainbow more often. What natural signs remind you of Jesus? After a storm, the rainbow emerges in spring and summer, signifying the shift from darkness to light, desolation to renewal. As the earth awakens, the rainbow reminds us of Jesus and the hope He brings. It symbolizes new beginnings, triumph over death, and God’s unwavering presence in every season.

The Incarnational Bridge

Jesus bridges us to God.

A facet of the rainbow rarely focused on: its structure. A bow. It looks like an arch or a bridge. And the bridge is a symbol of the Incarnation because Jesus links us to God. Delving deeper into the rainbow’s symbolism, we uncover its structural aspect—a bow resembling an arch or a bridge. This image becomes a profound reflection of the Incarnation, where Jesus becomes the bridge connecting humanity to the divine. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Christ provides the pathway to God, enabling us to encounter the fullness of His love and mercy.

Rainbows in PopCulture: The Rainbow Road and the Bifröst

How many times have you fallen off this course?

In popular culture, rainbows have portrayed roads or connections to other realms. Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road is a boundary-breaking course, igniting players’ imagination. Similarly, the Bifröst in the Thor movies symbolizes the interplay between mortal and divine realms. It is a rainbow bridge linking Asgard to Earth. Though fictional, these representations remind us of the rainbow’s power to bridge gaps and unite realms. They serve as a signpost to Jesus, the ultimate bridge between humanity and God.

The Bifröst connected Asgard to earth.

Mirrors of Christ’s Light

The best way to convert souls is for them to encounter holiness. We are called to be mirrors of Christ’s light. As believers, we are called to reflect the light of Christ in our lives and illuminate the world around us. Just as the colors of the rainbow blend harmoniously, creating a magnificent kaleidoscope, so too should our lives radiate the diverse facets of holiness. By embracing our unique gifts and virtues, we become living reflections of Christ’s love, drawing others closer to God through our words and actions.

Evangelizing through the Rainbow:

How do we evangelize others about God’s love? Keep discussing the various aspects of the rainbow: structure as a bridge, colors representing a kaleidoscope of holiness, its occurrence usually in spring/summer, reminding one of art/creativity. And our creativity is derived from the creativity of the Holy Trinity.

Prism
Just as light is separated into the color spectrum when viewed through a prism, so too are Christians emboldened with various gifts (hues) of charisms to spread the Good News to the darkest parts of the rest of the world. Only unified through the light of Christ may the saints provide various ways to communicate the Gospel.

To effectively share God’s love with others, we can engage in conversations that explore the manifold dimensions of the rainbow. By contemplating its structure as a bridge and its representation as roads in popular culture, we invite others to discover the transformative power of the Incarnation. Emphasizing the diversity of colors, we illustrate the rich tapestry of holiness within the communion of saints.

When we see a rainbow, we reflect on the renewal of life in spring and summer, inspiring hope in others. The rainbow’s connection to art and creativity is seen in Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road and the Bifröst in Thor. These references show the rainbow as a bridge, uniting realms and fueling our creativity—a reflection of divine creativity within us from the Holy Trinity.

Conclusion

The rainbow shows God’s Covenant love, weaving personal experiences, biblical narratives, and theological reflections. Its vibrant colors remind us of rebirth, hope, and the bridge to God. Let the rainbow inspire us to mirror Christ’s light and share God’s boundless love.

Related Links

Thank you for sharing!

3 Ways We Can Avoid Awkwardness and Apathy after the Ascension


Editor’s Note: Post originally published on June 1, 2019.


According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 675, “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.” This Sunday Catholics across the world will celebrate the feast of the Ascension. Until recently, this high feast was celebrated on a Thursday—forty days after Easter. From a traditional standpoint normally a 10 day period existed from Ascension to the Coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. Regardless, of the precise days, the main point is that for a brief period, the Apostles and early disciples of Jesus lived in a transition period from when Jesus no longer visibly existed in the similar manner that he did previously and the official descent of the Holy Spirit.

spiritual desert.jpg

Suffering from a severe dryness in my spiritual life this Easter season got me thinking: maybe I am in a transitory period myself whereby the descent of the Holy Spirit is not apparent in my life. I feel completely dried up—spiritually! Obviously, my situation is not exactly the same as the 1st century Christians who had to live for an awkward [and maybe apathetic] period before the official reception of the Paraclete.  Nevertheless, maybe your life is at a stage similar to that awkward week and a half—pondering the return of Christ, experiencing doubt in Divine Providence, or possibly even living in fear or distress. Reflecting on Acts 1-2 and wisdom from the tradition of the Church—through the Catechism and the saints—I came up with three methods [not really earth-shattering] to avoid awkwardness and apathy in your spiritual life in the days after the Ascension!

wellspring of worship

 

 

 

 

  

 

Drink from the Wellspring of Worship

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). I have probably cited this paragraph more than any other passage, yet it is vitally important to the Catholic faith. What sustained the Apostles in the early Church while waiting for the Paraclete? The body of and blood of Jesus Christ in the form of the Eucharist—it is the wellspring, the origin of worship!

Although Jesus’ physical existence did not appear the same after his Ascension, he is still present to the Apostles [and to us] body, blood, soul, and divinity in the sacrament of the Eucharist. St. Pope John Paul II mentioned the importance of this sacrament in his encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “Her [The Church] foundation and wellspring is the whole Triduum paschale, but this is as it were gathered up, foreshadowed and “concentrated’ forever in the gift of the Eucharist” (no. 5). During periods of spiritual dryness we may be able to sojourn to the spiritual oasis of the Mass.

mary of perpetual help

Hail, Mary: Mother of Perpetual Help, Mother of Good Counsel

Josemaria Escriva declared, “Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.” I imagine the days following Jesus’ Ascension was a perilous time for Peter and the rest of the Apostles. During the most confusing and perilous times in my life it appears that Jesus is not present—the most difficult days lands in the middle of the work week when I lack the time to attend daily Mass or ability to go to Eucharistic adoration. Here is where my devotion to Mary is key to sustaining me during the staleness of my spiritual life. Jesus augmented Mary’s motherhood in John 19:27 with a simple command, “Woman, behold your son!” This is a reciprocal relationship as a mere verse later Our Lord urged the Apostle John [who represented humanity both individually and collectively] with the charge: “Behold, your mother!”

 From my own experience, I normally contact my mom first [when my wife is not available!] after an incredibly stressful and frustrating day. This is not to downplay the role of my father, but there is something unique, almost mysterious about the ability for mother to sooth children in need. The Blessed Virgin Mary is no different. Mother of Perpetual Help pray for us. Mother of Good Counsel pray for us.

keep calm and trust in the Holy Spirit

Trust in the Holy Spirit

The great scientist Isaac Asimov once purported, “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” While the first two points of his statement may be debatable, it is quite difficult to argue that turning points in life, no matter how large or small, pose a challenge for everyone. Transitioning from physically seeing the Resurrected Christ to the age of the Church would have been a tough transitory event as well!

Jesus prepared his followers of the coming of the Holy Spirit prior to his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. According to Christ in John 14:15-19, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate* to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 1I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.”

While the Holy Spirit did not formally descend upon the Apostles in the Upper Room until Pentecost Sunday, the power of the Holy Spirit allowed Jesus to be substantially present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Paraclete also guided Peter and the other Apostles in selecting a worthy replacement for Judas. Moreover, just before his Ascension Jesus repeated his promise to send another Helper to fortify his followers: “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you,g and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Hope Always Never Despair

Although you may in a spiritual dry spell [if not now you most certainly will encounter aridity and acedia—spiritual sloth– sometime in your life!], please do not despair. Hope is always on the horizon. Through the sacrament of the Eucharist, guide of Mary, and promise of the help of the Holy Spirit we receive strength and sustenance make it past any awkward and apathetic period in our spiritual journey.  Never give up—hope in the Lord always!

never give up gif.gif

The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity (CCC 1818).

Related Links

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/why-celebrate-the-ascension

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/36152/everything-you-need-to-know-about-pentecost

Thank you for sharing!