Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lent 2018 Begins on Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day

The holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which also falls on Valentine's Day in 2018. Interesting. The greatest love story of all time,  the remarkable story of how much the Creator is in love with His Creation, how God loves each of us unconditionally and knows us personally,  how the Son of God gave his life for each of us, how we are baptized into the Divine life of the Trinity at baptism, all because of love.
So in Christianity, it always comes back to love.
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life. It was not to judge the world that God sent his Son into the world, but that through him the world might be saved. (John 3: 16-17)
It always comes back to love.
The whole New Testament could be summed up in one word- "love."
The Great Commandment, a call to love-"Love God with your whole heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as you love yourself."
The saints tell us that God loves each of us,  as if there were no other soul but us. It's very personal. It's very intimate. That's how God loves us. An amazing and remarkable truth, that is difficult for the human mind to grasp.
NJA

Sunday, January 28, 2018

End Of The World A Bit Closer? Hope Not!

On January 26th an article appeared in the New York Times titled, "End of the World Is A Bit Closer; Scientists Fear" by Sewell Chan. To be honest, when very smart people (atomic scientists) start getting nervous about the current global situation, that concerns me.
I quote, "The Doomsday Clock, a potent symbol of scientific concerns about humanity's possible annihilation was advanced by 30 seconds on Thursday to 2 minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced in Washington. The last time the clock was moved so close to midnight was in 1953 during the Cold War."
What is concerning the scientists so much? They believe that world leaders are not doing enough to respond to threats from nuclear war and climate change. They cite problems with North Korea's nuclear program, tensions in the world and the build up of nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India. The scientists sound very serious, "To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger and its immediacy." Just writing this blog post is making me anxious. I probably should have chosen another topic!
But anyhow,  all the dangers they noted, should concern everyone and be taken seriously, yet the one I find most alarming is-"the speed of technological change." That's a big risk. (From other articles I've read, artificial intelligence (AI), is something that can get out of control very quickly.)  They especially mentioned, "the hacking of computer systems that control financial and energy infrastructure; the development of weaponry that can make 'kill' decisions without human supervision, the misuse of synthetic biology......" Scary stuff. (I definitely should not have written this before bedtime!)
So what is a believer to do? Of course pray for the future of humankind. Pray for the conversion of leaders. Hope that pride and ignorance doesn't cause human beings in power to destroy, harm or do something irrational. (Also note that, The Doomsday Clock and the expert panel does have its critics, not everyone believes it.)
But since Lent is fast approaching, seems like a good idea to pray and fast for the global situation to improve. I pray the "speed at which technology advances" is good for humankind and is a blessing, not a curse. We shall see.
NJA

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pope Francis in Chile And the Joy of Indigenous People

As I watched the Masses celebrated by Pope Francis in Chile on TV, I thought it was wonderful that the indigenous people of Chile were given the chance to express themselves, at the Masses, in such a creative, authentic way. Their exuberance, music and song was joyful and a pleasure to watch.
The Church needs to be relevant in the modern world, and embracing multiculturalism and the natural gifts of indigenous people is certainly a step in the right direction.
Good music is so important in liturgies and good homilies that help people apply the gospel message of hope to modern problems and situations. We all need to hear the reassuring message that Christ continues to offer through Scripture....that God is with us, that God gives us courage and life-giving water and life-giving food for our souls. The modern world is desperately in need of the gospel message, most especially young people. Also, I think often of people in parts of the world where people cannot worship God freely or openly. I pray that all should hear the word of God and be open to the gospel message of hope. I pray that all people on the earth will....."with joy draw water at the fountain of salvation."
NJA

God indeed is my savior, I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord...With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

St. Joan of Arc-Fearless And Bold-An Example for the Modern Age in 2018


I am not afraid.....I was born to do this.   St. Joan of Arc

I recently saw the quote above on a plaque and I just loved it. What better quote for a believer, in the New Year-2018. If only we could all find out what God's will is for our lives and then work to fulfill it. (Without having to be martyred, of course!) All the saints say, that it is very important (perhaps the most important thing), on the spiritual journey, to find out God's will for your life. That is not easy to do and takes much discipline and prayer.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has a great, very large oil painting of St. Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien Lepage (1879). I love to gaze upon it and study it whenever I'm at the MET. Bastien-Lepage, a native of Lorraine, depicts in the painting,"the moment when St. Michael, Margaret and Catherine appear to Joan in her parents' garden, rousing her to fight against the English invaders in the Hundred Years War."
So what is it I shall do in the New Year to be fearless for Christ? And what will you do in the New Year to be fearless for Christ? What should the Church do in the New Year to be fearless for Christ?
I have an idea what the Church should do, should have done years ago to make itself more relevant (and open to growth) in the modern age. I know but I'll keep it to myself. But maybe you know too!
Pope Francis and the entire Roman Curia as well as the Cardinals and Bishops should be fearless and face the modern day realities we are dealing with. It is extremely important for the Church to face the unique challenges of the modern world and deal with them creatively and through working with the Holy Spirit as guide.
NJA

Veni Sanctus Spiritus!
Amen!




"Come Holy Spirit, Come!" St. Joan of Arc pray for us!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bono-We Are To Be Grateful For Everything!

I read an online article titled, "Bono Complains Modern Music 'Has Gotten Very Girly'" and it makes the point that in a recent interview with "Rolling Stone," U2 frontman Bono remarked (among other things), that, "You know people of faith can be very annoying, like when people on the Grammys thank God for a song and you think, 'God that is a shite song. Don't give God credit for that one, you should take it yourself!'" Obviously he doesn't think artists should thank God unless its a remarkable, fantastic song (in his opinion).  I respectfully disagree. Perhaps the noted artist didn't get the song, "directly from the mouth of God," but certainly artists get inspiration (in varying amounts) from God, as Bono well knows. And anyone who makes it to the Grammys or any other awards show and wins an award, should definitely thank God. (Actually they should be on their knees!) I thank God for the smallest accomplishments, in my life, knowing that all is gift and I would not have made it this far in life, were it not for God's inspiration and guidance.
God indeed has great taste, as the world is filled with natural beauty, inspiring artwork and writings, music and beautiful things. When we unite our will to the will of God and ask God humbly to bless our work, whatever that work may be, creativity shines forth. So much to be thankful for as this year ends and another one begins.
NJA

In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 
First Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians (1Thes 5:18)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017-Blessed New Year

I hope and pray that you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! How blessed we are to believe in God, worship God and have Jesus near. There is no better gift, no greater advantage in life than to have the living God as friend, Savior and Redeemer.
As I get older and take stock of all I have been given, as I have followed the spiritual journey with and in Christ, I am amazed. I have been greatly blessed, on many levels. Of course, I have also had to suffer trials, be misunderstood, suffer terrible losses but I have always remained in hope.  I have never stopped praying or believing that God would turn things around. And God has in God's time and in His way.
The words  of St. Faustina, "Jesus I trust in you," that she was told by Jesus to have painted on the bottom of the painting of Divine Mercy are  a great comfort and words that should never be far from the lips of a Christian.
During trials in my life, I always knew that God would help, would strengthen me and be close to me. I always knew that God is full of mercy and compassion. At times waiting for God to act can require patience, and I like things to happen quickly. But that's not God's way.
When God does move, when the Spirit moves, you can get glimpses of the genius of God. As a person of deep faith but also as a person who likes to observe and analyze, I'm amazed by God's creative action. God will not be outdone. God is a God of justice and great mercy.
How blessed I am to know God. How blessed you are too!
NJA

I thank you Lord, with all my heart, you have heard the words of my mouth....I thank you for your faithfulness and love, which excel all we ever knew of you." (Psalm 138:1-3)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Advent 2017-Doing the Will of God

This has been an unusual Advent for me. All I have to do, (with just some effort) is watch God work in God's mysterious and powerful way and let things unfold according to God's will and plan. The Spirit is moving.....As you can see, (from the ad on this site), I have published a book on mysticism, on a mystical experience I had many years ago, when I was a young mother, living in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn. I had great fears about publishing this book and telling this unusual story.  I finally did it, as I became convinced that it was God's will and it is what God wanted me to do. Having read the saints over the years, I knew that they continually say that doing God's will and finding out what God's will is for your life, is crucial and of most importance on the spiritual journey. Doing the will of God will ultimately bring peace, fulfillment and depth of meaning to one's life. And of course it is necessary to trust in God.
However, before I actually put the finishing touches on the book and sent it off, a fear overcame me. Friends tried to calm me but I didn't know how the book would be received and that concerned me.  And of course, there can still be some doubt and negativity. But amazingly, my family and Church friends who have read the book (and even some reviewers on Amazon), like the book and find it inspiring.  Praise God!
So the fear has left me because what I have come to understand is that you will always be taking a risk when you do the will of God, it will never be easy and you just have to go with it and pray, which is what I did. And as people have positive reactions, I see that the fear was probably from the "evil one," trying to stop the process or dare I say, a lack of trust in God. (Sorry about that God!)
But God's holy will is in progress, everything is unfolding according to God's plan and for that I am very grateful this Advent.
NJA