Easter Sunday – the Ultimate Celebration Sunday

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Happy Easter to everyone!! How glorious, how wondrous our King!!! Alleluia He has risen, and conquered death!!!

A final couple pictures of the joy and fun of our Easter Sunday. Here pictured, are a couple little ones running around who were simply ecstatic to be running around hunting chocolate eggs. How blessed we are with our faith and a wonderful family. How much joy there was in the celebration!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he’s alive! he’s alive!

– “Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher

Day 40

This is how much He loves us.
This is how much He loves us.

Forgive my lack of writing… Holy Thursday and Good Friday were filled with opportunities to walk with our Lord in His Passion. We spend the Easter Triduum reflecting on Jesus’ senseless death and what His sacrifice has won for all of humanity – for each of us personally.

This song, this video, and this movie (linked below) always moves me to tears… His suffering and death is presented so vividly and so shockingly, but so beautifully. Watch it and know: He loves each of us that much.

You were on the cross, my God, my God, alone, alone
You were on the cross, You died for us, alone, alone
You were on the cross, victorious, alone, alone

You were there in all of my suffering
And You were there in doubt and in fear
I’m waiting on the dawn to reappear

– “You Were on the Cross” by Matt Maher

 

Day 36

Blessing Day 36: Time
Blessing Day 36: Time

Thankful today for time. We take it for granted, but it is a gift. Don’t take this as a morbid thought, but as a wise schoolteacher once told us, the line between time and eternity is but a line. Our lives on this earth are not to be forever; it could end anytime, whether today, tomorrow, or years down the road.

The deaths of the university students last night made my heart so heavy for everyone affected – families, friends, the 5 students, and the young man who acted. (Please pray for all involved!) It opened my eyes, that if our time on this earth is so fleeting, it should be time well-spent preparing us for eternity.

The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.”

-L.M. Montgomery

When death comes, as it inevitably and unpredictably will, I want to be ecstatic, ready, and without fear to meet our God. This could mean growing in abandonment to His will, being less materialistic, being more loving, being less self-centred. Shouldn’t we be so grateful for each new day, and for the time given to us here on earth to do His work and prepare ourselves for eternal life with Him? 🙂

Day 35

Blessing Day 35: Change. The road that the Lord is asking me to follow.
Blessing Day 35: Change. Where I am asked to trust and follow, even ‘where feet may fail’.

I can sometimes forget to see the blessings in the struggles; it’s so easy to see them in the joys, isn’t it? But whether hard or easy to see, there are always blessings from the Lord…in ways we might not understand now. And comparative to many, I have not struggled, nor suffered, nor encountered adversity. I mean, really, the Lord went through agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, even before He then endured His Passion for our sake!

For myself today, I was trying to see the blessing of this transition, the blessing that I have work to even transition to! I was going through a strange mix of emotions. The transition from CCO missionary work into the “real world” is hard and bittersweet, since the year was such a gift for me and I hate to say goodbye. Yet there is also an excitement and a readiness for the road ahead, wherever the Lord is leading! A blessing in all of this change is the virtue of trust – it is an opportunity for me to let go of control, and place it all in His hands!

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path”

Psalm 119: 105

Celebration Sundays

Sunday blessing: a beautiful Palm Sunday
Sunday blessing: a beautiful Palm Sunday

I came across an incredible article about a Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires, when our Pope Francis was then Auxiliary Bishop. Read the article here. The evidence of the Host becoming part of the musculature of the heart – the left ventricle where blood is pumped to the rest of the body – struck me as so beautiful and profound. His Heart gives life to us, the Body of Christ.

There was a particular part of Palm Sunday’s Gospel that captivated me along with the Eucharistic miracle of Buenos Aires. Mark 14:61-62 reads:

“But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?” Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.'”

He IS the Messiah. He IS God. He IS present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. And we can receive Him every Sunday, if not daily!

His Heart yearns for ours. His Heart yearns to be loved. This Palm Sunday, let your heart be captured by the great depth of His love!

Day 34

Blessing Day 34: This sweetheart, mi hermana linda!

Blessing of Saturday: the chance to see this beautiful girl! There was a university spring banquet held to celebrate the end of the school year, and despite my love of dancing and good music, my sole intention was to see her. Schoolwork and busy lives sometimes keep us apart longer than we would like, but we always come back together as if nothing has changed.

Sometimes the Lord puts angels in our lives, right? We both embarked on a summer pilgrimage with 28 (eventually 60+) other youth to World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain. Neither of us knew each other, but within the first few hours of our trip, we were practically inseparable. The journey took us through England, France, and Spain, and there was never a dull moment. We were either moseying European streets, discovering delicious local eats, swatting a swarm of bugs on the ceiling of our French hotel, dancing in the dark Spanish plaza, or sharing hearts late into the night as we fell asleep. But what bonded us the most and has held us together is Christ. No matter what memories we share, no matter what memories we will make, what keeps our friendship alive is our faith and hope in Jesus.

Have you ever experienced friendships that drift apart? Friends go different roads in life and end up in different cities…when shared situations change, so too does that friendship. What I’ve come to notice in my own life is the friendships that hold strong are the ones founded in faith. Whether my friends move away, start dating, become engaged, get married, have children, graduate with a different degree, have different careers, or do not have the same friends circle…it doesn’t matter. Parts of our friendship may change with time restraints or such, but our friendship doesn’t fall apart, not even over time. Not when what brings us together is faith.

I am grateful for the friendships that are striving to be centred on Christ. These friends are here for the long haul, through thick and thin, through struggles and joys. And today, I was blessed to spend time with one of those very friends. She has loved me, grown with me, and inspired me to great heights over the years. She is an incredible, strong, gentle, loving woman, and I am blessed by her friendship!

Day 32

Blessing Day 32: Delicious ice cream with my soul seesta!
Blessing Day 32: Delicious ice cream with my soul seesta!

Sunshine + soul sisters + scrumptious ice cream = perfect afternoon

Our time together is so precious before my beautiful best friend is wed, so we’re taking full advantage of the little moments we can sneak in together! Her brilliant idea today…we indulged in our favourite local ice cream in two delicious flavours: Phil & Sebs coffee, AND Earl Grey. Right?!

I find this next fact rather funny…although the sun was out, we were still shivering a little bit with the wind… but us Canadian girls are hardy and we ate our ice cream with determination despite the chill. 😉 Still, a perfect afternoon as we celebrated the wonderful gift of time together!

The Lord knew just what I needed. Perhaps I needed the sunshine, the love of a friend, and melt-in-your mouth ice cream to remind me of how full of flavour life is! With the transitions that are inevitable and with the uncertainties before us, we can focus so much on our feelings of helplessness, sadness, or despair. Rather we need to open our eyes to the fullness we are called to live, and the hope we have in the Lord. I remembered this quote by François Garagnon that spoke wonderfully into what I have been feeling the past few days, and what I needed a reminder of:

“The mystery of life is in your eyes. You simply need to train them to look beyond appearances. And remember this well, that when the universe seems to darken before you, it is not because the doors are closing, but because your eyes are fleeing the light.”