Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent

Be watchful! Be alert! 
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, 
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore; 
you do not know when the lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all:
~Mark 13:33-37

My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!
~Psalm 57:7

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Blessed be God forever!

Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were made,
or the earth and the world was formed;
from eternity and to eternity you are God.
~Psalm 90:1-2

Photography by Ann L. Krumrein

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Now thank we all our God...!"

I ask God, the Father, 
to give me an intimate knowledge
of the many gifts I have received,
so that filled with gratitude for all,
I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.  
~St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, #233

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love...
let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
~Psalm 107:21-22

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

May peace abide in your walls... ~Psalm 122:7

O God of peace, who are peace itself and whom a spirit of discord cannot grasp, nor a violent mind receive, grant that those who are one in heart may persevere in what is good and that those in conflict may forget evil and so be healed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  ~The Roman Missal

Mary, Queen of Peace, we entrust our lives to you. Shelter us from war, hatred and oppression. Teach us to live in peace, to educate ourselves for peace. Inspire us to act justly, to revere all God has made. Root peace firmly in our hearts and in our world. Amen.  ~The Fire of Peace: A Prayer Book

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Narrow Way

Strive to enter by the narrow gate;
for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter,
and shall not be able. 
~Luke 13:24

Strive always to prefer, not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult;
Not that which is most delectable, but that which is most unpleasing;
Not that which gives most pleasure, but rather that which gives least;
Not that which is restful, but that which is wearisome;
Not that which is consolation, but rather that which is disconsolateness;
Not that which is greatest, but that which is least;
Not that which is loftiest and most precious, but that which is lowest and most despised;
Not that which is a desire for anything, but that which is a desire for nothing;
Strive to go about seeking not the best of temporal things, but the worst.
Strive thus to desire to enter into complete detachment and emptiness and poverty, 
with respect to everything that is in the world, for Christ's sake. 

~St. John of the Cross, Ascent to Mount Carmel (Book 1, Chapter 13, #6)

Lead me along the narrow way, dear Lord, for only then will I find You.  Amen.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal.
~Ezekiel 34:16

Praised be Jesus Christ, the King of Love and Mercy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lord, in the simplicity of my heart
I offer myself to You this day as Your servant for evermore,
for Your homage and for a sacrifice of perpetual praise.  
~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Bk IV, Chapter 9

Detail, The Presentation of the Virgin Mary by Titian (1534-38, Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Called to Become Saints

Live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.  
~Ephesians 4:1

“ is by living with love and offering Christian witness in our daily tasks that we are called to become saints… Always and everywhere you can become a saint, that is, by being receptive to the grace that is working in us and leads us to holiness.” 
~Pope Francis, 11/19/14 General Audience

Dear Lord, let me not fail to become the saint you are calling me to be!  Amen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

True Generosity

For to him who has more will be given,
and he will have abundance;
but from him who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Luke 13:12

How can we describe generosity? 

There is no pattern for it. 

We can't imitate anyone else's expressions of generosity. 

The form it takes for one may not be the form it takes in another. 

What we have to do is earnestly beg for the grace to be generous, for the light to see what is wanted of us, not in general but in every particular moment. 

There is literally not a moment when I am not being given a choice between God and myself. 

True generosity is always alert, always 'there', eagerly looking for the Lord, ready to throw its arms around him whatever his guise.  

It doesn't drift through life, sticking to patterned behavior and missing these living encounters in my neighbor, in the duty of the moment, in this little humiliation, in this physical pain, in this disappointment, in this pleasure and joy.

We are not to wait for our glorious hour, the hour of testing when we shall be called upon to show our generosity.

That hour may never come and if it does, we shall respond in the same measure as we respond to him in his humble guise hour by hour.

It is not a case of seeking suffering but a determination to disregard self, to accept life as it is, to be wholly at the service of others, faithful to our obligations great and small no matter how tedious, unromantic, unrewarding; willing to shoulder burdens that may seem too heavy if we are called upon to do so; disdaining to consider whether we are feeling happy or sad, consoled or afflicted.

This wholeheartedness is the way to happiness, whereas the careful, calculating life is fatiguing, full of stumbling blocks and fears.

We must pray for and work for an ardent love which overcomes reason.

~Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D., in Interior Castle Explored

Grant me, dear Lord,
"a heart generous in giving itself...
a faithful, generous heart...
a humble, gentle heart...
a great indomitable heart..."
(Rev. Leonce de Grandmaison, S.J.)

Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
make my heart like unto Thine!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Did you hear about Buddy?

All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord!
Praise and exalt him above all forever!
Daniel 3:59

Ave Maria!  In case you missed this in the news yesterday, here's Buddy, a faithful canine from San Angelo, Texas who has proved once again that a dog really is man's best friend. When his owner unexpectedly had to go to the hospital, Buddy managed to jump unseen onto the running board of the ambulance, where he rode for about 20 miles before another driver flagged the ambulance crew down. You can read the full story here plus see a picture of the now-famous pooch below. It looks to me as if Buddy is saying "What? Why are you so surprised? Where else would I be right now?!"

Monday, November 17, 2014

All the Lonely People

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

"Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles

Ave Maria!The above words immediately came to mind when I learned earlier this month that the Holy Father's universal prayer intention for November is:
"Lonely People ~ that all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others."
Then, in God's perfect timing, this prayer by the wise and gifted writer Sister Joyce Rupp, O.S.M., appeared in my daily reading a few days ago:  

Companion of the Lonely
by Sr. Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.
Fragments of Your Ancient Name

You hold the hand of lonely ones
As they walk in their dark valleys
Of empty isolation and strayed love.
The widowed, the childless, the lost,
Aged ones never visited, the rejected,
The dying with no one by their side,
Refugees in camps,disabled veterans,
Children abandoned by their parents,
And all those who have not been loved.
We can be your companionship for them.

Today: I reach out to someone lonely.

So this month we pray with Pope Francis that lonely people will know "the closeness of God", which often manifests itself through "the support of others". And we remember Sr. Joyce's invitation to be our dear Lord's companionship for all the lonely people. "Where do they all belong?" We find the answer when we "reach out to someone lonely," whether in action or in prayer. All those lonely people belong in our hearts, where God's love abides and burns for us and for them forever.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Because you have proved trustworthy in managing a small amount, come and share your master's joy." ~Matthew 25:21

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Master entrusted money to his servants and then set out on a journey. This was to help us understand how patient he is, though in my view this story also refers to the resurrection. Here it is a question not of a vineyard and vine dressers, but of all workers. The Master is addressing everyone, not only rulers, or the Jews.

Those bringing him their profit acknowledge frankly what is their own, and what is their Master’s. One says: “Sir, you gave me five talents; another says; You gave me two,” recognizing that they had received from him the means of making a profit. They are extremely grateful, and attribute to him all their success.

What does the Master say then? “Well done, good and faithful servant” (for goodness shows itself in concern for one’s neighbor). “Because you have proved trustworthy in managing a small amount, I will give you charge of a greater sum: come and share your Master’s joy.”

But one servant has a different answer. He says: “I knew you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not winnowed; and I was afraid, and hid your talent.” “Here it is -- you have back what belongs to you.”

What does the Master say to that? “You wicked servant! You should have put my money in the bank,” that is, “You should have spoken out and given encouragement and advice.” “But no one will pay attention.” “That is not your concern. You should have deposited the money” he says, “and left me to reclaim it, which I should have done with interest,” meaning by interest the good works that are seen to follow the hearing of the word. “The easier part is all you were expected to do, leaving the harder part to me.”

Because the servant failed to do this, the Master said: “Take the talent away from him, and give it to the servant who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has more will be given, and he will have enough and to spare; but the one who has not will forfeit even the little he has.”

What is the meaning of this? That whoever has received for the good of others the ability to preach and teach, and does not use it, will lose that ability, whereas the zealous servant will be given greater ability, even as the other forfeits what he had.

St. John Chrysostom, c.347-407

Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Collect for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"Mary's most beautiful name"

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!  ~Luke 1:28

"Full of grace" Mary's most beautiful name, the name God himself gave to her to indicate that she has always been and will always be the beloved, the elect, the one chosen to welcome the most precious gift, Jesus: "the incarnate love of God."  ~Pope Benedict XVI

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Great destinies are open to us"

Ave Maria! Several years ago I finally purchased the book Joy Out of Sorrow from a used bookstore online. This book is a marvelous spiritual treasure by Mother Marie des Douleurs, who founded the Congregation of Jesus Crucified in Paris during 1930. Each sister in this community is sick or handicapped in one way or another, and the talks in this book were given by Mother Marie to them. Her message is timeless for she addressed matters and principles common to all of us. As Rev. John LaFarge wrote in the "Preface" to Mother's book, her reflections are "a strong antidote for the self-pitying, anxious spirit; kind and delicately considerate, they are at the same time firm and virile: the spirit of the 'valiant woman,' the mulier fortis of the Scriptures." (cf. Prov. 31:10-31) And who of us doesn't fall into self-pity and anxiety now and then? Mother Marie possessed a keen understanding of our humanity and didn't hesitate to speak candidly about the vagaries of the human heart, all the while offering solid, practical advice on how to keep moving onward and upward to life on high in Christ Jesus. What follows is an excerpt from Mother's meditation on the feast of All Saints, which we celebrated at the beginning of this month.

Many of us, put off by the legends and halos of the saints, refuse to regard those faithful souls as of the same race as ourselves. Surely humility is a wonderful thing, but we must not confuse humility with cowardice! It's a fine thing to confess that you don't amount to much; but to make up your mind to keep yourself down in this category is depressing and an insult to your Creator and Savior. Admitting that one is a drunkard, while clinging to the bottle and preparing to pour another shot, can scarcely be called "confession"; it is denying the possibilities of struggle and victory in a human soul; it is dishonorable and vile. You don't realize that you are doing something just as bad by placing the saints in fairylandish meadows, where you imagine them dancing their peaceful steps. This is the same thing as confessing that you're not very keen to know how they went about achieving heroic fidelity and sovereign peace.
There are no boundary lines between sanctity and us. For all of us, including the greatest saints, as long as we are on earth, there are stretches of land that are extremely difficult to cross. Let us not regard the saints as of another race, but rather as older brothers and sisters who have gone on ahead of us; let us regard them as brave explorers and pioneers; let's not lose sight of their tracks; and let's remember that what one human being has been able to do can also be done by another -- and this isn't only true of evil
Great destinies are open to us: God is preparing more for us than we can imagine; and the holy ambition to fulfill His divine plan is the true complement of humility and its perfection, whereas the grumbling recognition of our misery is basically only love of laziness.
Let us raise our eyes toward the hills whence aid will come to us; and we will see them gleaming with the weapons of those who have preceded us in the good fight.
~Mother Marie des Douleurs

Mother sure does tell it like it is ... "we must not confuse humility with cowardice" (gulp!) ... "There are no boundary lines between sanctity and us" (really?!) ... "as long as we are on earth, there are stretches of land that are extremely difficult to cross" (you got that right!) ... "the grumbling recognition of our misery is basically only love of laziness" (ouch!) ... "Great destinies are open to us" (WOW!).

Great destinies indeed! Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Cor 15:57)

P.S. As an aside, the best way I know to find books on the Web is to use Bookfinder. In one fell swoop, it will search hundreds of millions of books from over 100,000 booksellers and 60+ worldwide websites for used books, out-of-print books, textbooks, rare books and new books for sale. I had been searching for Joy Out of Sorrow for a very long time but could never find it. Then one day a copy popped up, but the seller wanted $50 for it, plus shipping. As much as I desired this book, I wasn't willing to pay that much, so I kept searching for couple more years. Eventually I found a copy for $8, and now it's among those treasured books I keep close at hand.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mother Cabrini on how to suffer

Mother Cabrini,
Patron Saint of Immigrants

But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ,
rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed,
you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
~1 Peter 4:13

Let us then be glad when an unexpected cross presents itself, and we are afflicted with pain. These are the choice fruits of the mystic vine, destined to bear inestimable merits for our souls. We you have to suffer, do not go about sighing like those who don't know its value!  Lift up your eyes and smile sweetly on what you suffer, which is like a field turning golden for the harvest. She who knows how to reap in this field will receive the reward. With gentle sweetness always unite your suffering with that of Jesus. Then your travail, suffered for Jesus and his divine Heart, will become as many droplets immersed in the immense ocean of his Passion.  
~St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Feast day November 13

Dear Mother Cabrini, help us to suffer sweetly for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gratuitous Service

"Laziness distances us from work and leads us to this ease, this selfishness. Many Christians are like this ... they are good, they go to Mass, but only serve to a certain point ... But when I say service, I mean everything: service to God in worship, in prayer, in praise; service to others, when I have to do it; service to the very end, because Jesus is strong in this: So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. Gratuitous service – service that asks for nothing in return.

~Pope Francis, 11/12/14 Homily

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Work of Sorrow

Nothing thickens life so much as sorrow. Nothing precipitates the great work of experience as it does. Nothing endows our nature with more magnificent accessions of power. A life of joy is, for the most part, thin and shallow. Few heroisms can be manufactured out of gladness, though it also has its sunny depths which are full of God. But sorrow is the making of saints, the very process of the transmutation of drossy earth into purest heaven.  
~Fr. Frederick Faber, At the Foot of the Cross

But the God of all grace, who has called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.  ~1 Peter 5:10

Monday, November 10, 2014


Photography by Ann L. Krumrein

Thy beauty abounds, O Lord!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mother Church of the World

Crossing of the Nave and Transept of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior

Today, November 9, is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, also known as the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior. This church is a special one because it's the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. As the Holy Father's church, it is a symbol of Catholic unity. We find its title inscribed on its walls: "Mother and Head of all the churches of the city and the world."

As we see from the reading below, which was written in the fifth century by St. Caesarius of Arles and is used as the second reading in today's Office of Readings, this feast is an important one for us baptized Catholics. We might make it even more special by renewing our baptismal promises. FYI, the Text of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises from the New Roman Missal, 3rd Edition, can be found here.  Additionally, some excellent articles about today's feast can also be found here, hereherehere, and here.  

"My fellow Christians, today is the birthday of this church, an occasion for celebration and rejoicing. We, however, ought to be the true and living temple of God. Nevertheless, Christians rightly commemorate this feast of the church, their mother, for they know that through her they were reborn in the spirit. At our first birth, we were vessels of God’s wrath; reborn, we became vessels of his mercy. Our first birth brought death to us, but our second restored us to life.
"Indeed, before our baptism we were sanctuaries of the devil; but after our baptism we merited the privilege of being temples of Christ. And if we think more carefully about the meaning of our salvation, we shall realize that we are indeed living and true temples of God. God does not dwell only in things made by human hands, nor in homes of wood and stone, but rather he dwells principally in the soul made according to his own image and fashioned by his own hand. Therefore, the apostle Paul says: The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.
"When Christ came, he banished the devil from our hearts, in order to build in them a temple for himself. Let us therefore do what we can with his help, so that our evil deeds will not deface that temple. For whoever does evil, does injury to Christ. As I said earlier, before Christ redeemed us, we were the house of the devil, but afterward, we merited the privilege of being the house of God. God himself in his loving mercy saw fit to make of us his own home. My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil. I shall speak clearly, so that all can understand. Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified. Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts."

The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come and behold the works of the Lord,
the awesome deeds he has done on the earth.
~Psalm 46(45):8-9 (Responsorial Psalm for Nov 9)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"letting himself be carried"

God-made-man has found his liberty in seeing himself imprisoned in Mary's womb. He had made his omnipotence shine forth in letting himself be carried by that blessed virgin. He has found his glory and his Father's in hiding his splendors from all creatures here below, and revealing them to Mary only. He has glorified his independence and his majesty in depending on that sweet virgin, in his conception, in his birth, in his presentation in the Temple, in his hidden life of thirty years, and even in his death, where she was to be present, in order that he might make with her but one same sacrifice and be immolated to the eternal Father by her consent, just as Isaac of old was offered by Abraham's consent to the will of  God. It is she who has suckled him, nourished him, supported him, brought him up, and then sacrificed him for us.  ~St. Louis de Montfort

Please, dear Jesus, give me the grace
to let myself be carried by Your Mother as You were.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Take me, O Heart of Christ..."

Take me, O Heart of Christ, in all that I am, take me in all that I have and that I do, in all that I think and all that I love!

Take me in my spirit, that it may cling to Thee; take me in my willing, that it will but Thee; take the depth of my heart, that it love only Thee!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, in my secret desires so that you be my dream and only goal, my one affection and my complete happiness!

Take me for the work of Thy great mission, for a complete gift toward my neighbor’s salvation, and for every sacrifice in service of your people!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, without limits, without end; take even what I’ve failed to offer Thee; and never give back to me what you have taken in hand!

Take for eternity all that is in me, that one day I may, O Heart, possess Thee, in the embrace of Heaven take Thee and keep Thee!

–by Rev. Fr. Jean Galot, 1919-2008

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How good God is!

We cannot improve upon God's plan for our happiness. God loves us better than we love ourselves, and He has a better knowledge of our needs and of our heart than we have ourselves, and He has the will and the power to satisfy all the longings of our heart, if we only trust Him. We need never be afraid to abandon ourselves to God's will, for God's will is God Himself -- and God is infinite goodness.  ~Dom Eugene Boylan, O.C.R., This Tremendous Lover

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed the man who seeks refuge in him.
~Psalm 34:9

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Conserving Energy

Learn to conserve energy and to control the emotional and mental expenditure and wastage continually taking place in everyday life. A Master has learned the supreme lesson of the conservation of energy; he will never waste his energy, the vital force, the God-life. He trains himself to remain calm and tranquil in spite of the storms of life.  ~The Quiet Mind

If you return and be quiet, you shall be saved:
in silence and in hope shall your strength be.
~Isaiah 30:15

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"God of infinite mercy..."

God of infinite mercy, we entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where you await all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ Your Son, who died to save us from our sins.

Look not Lord, at our poverty, misery and human weaknesses when we present ourselves before You to be judged in happiness or condemned.

Gaze upon us with pity, born of Your tender heart and help us to walk the path of purification.

May none of your children be lost to the eternal fires of hell, where repentance is no more.

We entrust to You Lord, the souls of our beloved departed, of those who died without the comfort of the Sacraments or who did not have the opportunity to repent, not even at the end of their life.

May no one fear the encounter with You at the end of their earthly pilgrimage, in the hope of being welcomed within the embrace of your infinite mercy.  May sister death find us in prayerful vigilance, and full of all the good we have done during our existence, be it long or short.

Lord, may nothing distance us from you on this earth, may everything and everyone support us in our ardent hope to serenely and eternally rest in You.


~Pope Francis, 11/2/14 Angelus

With the Lord there is mercy,
and with him plentiful redemption.
~Psalm 130:7

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Souls of the Just

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
~Wisdom 3:1-3

Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Souls Day

Our soul hath been delivered
as a sparrow out of the snare of the followers.
The snare is broken, and we are delivered.
~Psalm 124:7

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy All Saints Day!

O come, let us worship the Lord, the King of kings,
for He is Himself the Crown of all the Saints.
~Invitatory Antiphon for Matins on All Saints

"All Saints I" by Wassily Kandinsky

Ave Maria!  Wow! This painting of makes my heart leap for joy! I know nothing about the Russian artist Wassily Wasilyevich Kandinsky, but I hope to learn more when I read his bio herehere and here. I wonder what the artist had in mind when he painted this? Three things immediately pop out at me:

1.  There are no insipid saints. Just look at that riot of colors! These men and women are throbbing with life and love -- and they make me want to be that way, too! True, some of them have their eyes closed, but I like to think that they're quietly contemplating the grandeur of God rather than napping in boredom.

2.  There are no carbon-copy, cookie-cutter saints. Each figure is different from all the others. God calls me to be me and you to be you. His grace builds on our nature, refining it into a worthy sacrifice of praise to His glory. As St. Francis de Sales so often said, "Be who you are, and be that perfectly well." God has called me to be St. Alice Claire, not St. Clare nor St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus nor St. Faustina nor any of those other saints whom I so dearly love and so ardently yearn to be like. 

3.  There are no saints without the Cross. What, you didn't see it? Keep looking, it's there, and you will find it. Our dear Lord and Savior has made it quite plain: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34). And the cross will always be there, just as Thomas à Kempis said: "The cross, then, is always ready and awaits you at every turn. You cannot escape it, run where you will; because wherever you go, you have yourself; you can never be parted from yourself. Go up, go down, go out, go in, you will always find your cross; and everywhere you will have to practice patience, if you wish to enjoy inward peace and to win an everlasting crown" (Imitation of Christ, Bk !!, Ch XII).

So those are three things...for now...and undoubtedly there will be more that will come to mind as I continue to gaze upon this exhilarating painting and ponder today's glorious feast. "Thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:57)

I rejoiced at the things that were said to me:
We shall go into the house of the Lord.
Psalm 122:1