The Greatest Kindness: A Reflection on St. Thomas Aquinas

The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists of leading him from error to truth.

St. Thomas Aquinas

As one of the greatest philosophers, theologians, and Doctors of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas had a gift of imparting God’s wisdom. Through teaching and writing, he discussed and defended the faith. His intelligence was literally incomprehensible, considering his mind operated on a higher level.

The Greatest Kindness
The Greatest Kindness

Writer and Theologian
At first, other students called St. Thomas Aquinas a “dumb ox” because of his quiet temperament. As he joined the Dominican order around the 13th century, he studied, taught, and wrote about theology avidly. His numerous theology and philosophy books are still in print today, including On Law, Morality, and Politics, The Three Greatest Prayers, The Treatise on Human Nature, On Virtues, and more. As one of the greatest philosophers of the Church, he is still widely studied as theologians dedicate their lives to his work.

Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas’s last book, Summa Theologiae, which encompasses the entire Catholic theology, remains unfinished. “I cannot go on,” said Thomas Aquinas, “All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.”

Sharing His Wisdom
The Lord has revealed so much wisdom and truth to St. Thomas Aquinas that even as a prolific writer, he could not adequately convey it. Although he wrote so many books about philosophy and theology, they didn’t scratch the surface the truth that God imparted on him. I can only imagine what the Lord must have shown him.

God has definitely blessed St. Thomas Aquinas with not only wisdom, but also the means to share that wisdom with others. Maybe he considered his work “straw” compared to what the Lord revealed to him, but St. Thomas Aquinas still helped readers and scholars deepen their faith by studying his theological writings. If he hadn’t shared the truth through his books, countless souls would be lost and deficient in truth. By sharing God’s profound truth that he was blessed to see a glimpse of, St. Thomas Aquinas rendered us the greatest kindness.

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Fr. Adam, the chaplain of SRU, is the biggest St. Thomas Aquinas fan I’ve ever met. He constantly reminds us of how much he loves St. Thomas Aquinas, often quoting him in his homilies. I’m asking for St. Thomas Aquinas’s intercession for Fr. Adam today because he spent several years studying him. If you know anyone with a strong devotion to St. Thomas Aquinas, send this blog to them and let them know you’re thinking and praying for them today.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

Stay radiant!

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Gift of God

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:8

One Year Ago
Every day with Nathan is a blessing, but today I’m feeling especially blessed. One year ago today, Nathan took me to dinner, and afterwards he played his guitar and sang “From the Ground Up” by Dan and Shay to me. Our one year anniversary is today, and I can’t help but reflect on what a blessing he is to me.

Gift of God
Gift of God

When God Gave Me a Gift
We came into each other’s lives when we both were going through the worst semesters of our lives. He reminded me of my worth when I felt worthless and helped me heal from a massive heartbreak. Although I still didn’t know him very well, I knew that he was a genuine, kind, and generous soul. I reminded him of these realities which helped him overcome the struggles that he was going through. Nathan’s name means “gift of God,” which is so appropriate because I’m certain that God put him in my life to remind me that I’m his beloved daughter.

Showered with Love
I always dreamed of dating someone who treats me like a princess and never lets me forget how much he loves me. From our first date, Nathan has always reminded me of his love for me. He never stops trying to win my heart although it’s already he already has it. From singing to me on our first date, to surprising me with beautiful bouquets, to dedicating the most beautiful song to me at his senior recital, he isn’t shy about showing me how much he loves me. Although his grand gestures are heartwarming, I appreciate the little things he does for me just as much. The sweet goodnight texts he sends me every night put me in a good mood before I fall asleep. He gives me a big bear hug every time he sees me and gives me little kisses on the top of my head.

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Returning the Love
Because Nathan loves me so much, I want to do everything I can for him. I love to go to his music concerts and support him as he does what brings him to life. I listen intently as he tells me about the work that he’s doing, and I love talking with him about what a wonderful music teacher he’ll be. I surprise him with thoughtful gifts like candy, shirts, and art supplies to remind him that I think of him often. I love the little moments of having dinner in my apartment together and talking about our days. I give him hugs, hold his hand, and put my head on his shoulder to remind him that I’m here and I love him so much.

A Christ-Centered Relationship
This is the first relationship that either of us have had that is truly Christ-centered. I’ve never dated anyone who prays with me and for me. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to bring each other closer to God, and a year later, we both have strengthened faith because of each other. I constantly thank God for Nathan and ask him to make him a godly gentleman, and I see my prayers working in him all the time. He prays so beautifully and he uses his gifts to praise God in his church’s choir. In all things, he points me toward our Heavenly Father and helps me to grow in holiness. 1 Corinthians 13 provides a litany of love’s attributes, like patient, kind, not boastful, etc. I see these characteristics in our love. It’s not perfect, but Our Heavenly Father is constantly working in us to help us love each other the way we were created to be loved. By loving each other, we’re learning to love Christ more. Please join me in prayer, praising the Lord for our one year anniversary, asking for His intercession in our relationship, and that one day we’ll reflect Christ’s love for the Church in marriage.

I love you endlessly, Bean! I’m looking forward to the years to come!

Stay radiant!

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This Sunday’s Gospel: January 26, 2020

Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what has been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwellings in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw to brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

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Becoming a disciple of Jesus isn’t a phenomenon specific to His earthy ministry. He still calls us to follow Him closely. He still invites us to learn from Him and become like Him. Jesus met Andrew, Simon, James, and John where they were and as they were. He called them in their workplace as they were fishing, and they left all that they knew to follow Him. Likewise, He calls you and me according to our place in life. He calls me as a college student to follow Him as I earn my degrees. He calls us to follow Him and give glory to Him in all that we do. He calls us to be Christlike students, friends, children, parents, employees, teachers, spouses, and more. We respond to the call by leaving behind our habits and sins that draw us away from Him and resolving to obey His teachings and love Him above everything else. If you’re asking yourself, “Can I do this?” the answer is yes! This is what the first disciples did, and we often forget how much like us they were. He’s calling you right now, right where you are and as you are. Will you accept his invitation and follow Him?

Stay radiant!

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Choosing Love: Why I’m Pro-Life

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I dedicated you, a prophet of the nations I appointed you.

Jeremiah 1:5

I wish I could go to the March for Life tomorrow in Washington DC, but unfortunately, I have four classes on Fridays and I cannot miss them. Nevertheless, my prayers are with those who are marching tomorrow and giving their voices for those who don’t have a voice. I know that abortion is one of the greatest evils of humanity, and I’m dedicated to praying for an end to abortion, donating to pro-life organizations whenever I can, and sharing pro-life content on my personal social media accounts. I wish I could join the March for Life tomorrow, but consider this blog post my contribution to the March and one of my efforts in the fight to end abortion.

Note: All sources are linked at the end of this blog post, after my “Stay radiant!” signature.

Choosing Love: Why I’m Pro Life

There is nothing loving or merciful about abortion. The possibility of a child growing up in poverty or with a difficult life is not a reason to choose abortion. We don’t give the homeless or the hungry the death penalty because they’re suffering, so we shouldn’t abort the unborn because they could potentially suffer when they’re born. We should seek to eliminate the suffering, not the sufferer, or the person experiencing the suffering. Abortion is an attack on both the unborn baby and the mother. With every “successful” abortion, a child dies, but women also risk their own physical and mental health. With every abortion, the mother faces several risks, including bleeding, infection, cervix damage, uterus perforation, internal organ damage, and even death. Furthermore, women who had an abortion have higher risks of eating disorders, alcohol and drug addictions, depression, guilt, and suicidal thoughts and actions. Abortion denies both the mother and her child of their inherent human dignity.

Abortion never was, is not, and never will be healthcare. Doctors and medical professionals’ job is to heal their patients. They’re supposed to do everything they can to save lives, not end them. Considering that life begins the moment of conception, abortion is the deliberate act of killing a unique, unrepeatable life at its most vulnerable stage. Vulnerability also is not a reason to choose abortion. No, the unborn cannot survive on their own, but neither can newborns or toddlers. We shouldn’t end lives because they’re helpless. Instead, the most helpless, vulnerable lives are the ones that we should protect the most and handle with the most care and love. Furthermore, abortion is never medically necessary. This is the common argument for legalization of third trimester abortions, but no matter the case, doctors can always attempt to save both the mother and the baby. In the case of an emergency, mothers and their doctors should choose an early delivery instead of an abortion. Third trimester abortions can actually take days to complete, and in the case of a true emergency when time is of the essence, doctors cannot waste days before treating the mother. Of course, the baby might be lost as the mother receives treatment, but this does not count as an abortion.

Leah Darrow, a Catholic speaker, author, and podcaster just had her fifth baby: a beautiful boy named Valor Joseph! In her early stages of labor, she made an inspiring Instagram video that breathed so much truth in a world that tries to spread so many lies about children and motherhood. Darrow says, “Babies don’t keep us from our dreams. I’m getting ready to deliver a baby that will not keep me from my professional growth, but will make me better because of it… Children do not keep us from our lives, but they make our lives better!”

Ladies, believing that you have to choose between a baby and a career, or education, or fame only upholds the stereotype that women cannot be mothers and succeed in other facets of life! The abortion industry loves when women believe the lie that they’re “too weak” or “incapable” to do what they’re made to do. God gave us women the beautiful gift of pregnancy. Without a doubt, we are strong enough, smart enough, and capable enough to conceive, carry, and give birth. I will not give the abortion industry the satisfaction of believing their lies, and I hope that you’ll join me in this stand. Children are not burdens. They are blessings. Motherhood is not a setback. It will motivate you. Fertility is not a disease. It is a blessing.

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As a final note, I feel like the pro-life/pro-choice labels imply that they pro-life side has no concept of choice. I can assure you that we do, and we uphold the loving choice, which is the one that recognizes and protects the dignity and sanctity of human life. Yes, we have the right to choose, so I encourage you to choose life! (Thank you to Miss Ackerman, my morality teacher from high school, for shedding light on this concept and teaching me what it means to be truly pro-life.)

If you’re participating in the March for Life, I’m praying for you. If you’re fighting to end abortion, I’m praying for you. If you’re trying to conceive, I’m praying for you. If you’re mourning the loss of a baby, I’m praying for you. If you’ve had an abortion, I’m praying for you. If you’re pro-choice/pro-abortion, I’m praying for you.

Stay radiant!

“Abortion is Never Medically Necessary”

Abortion Procedures (Whether you’re pro-life or pro-abortion, you have to know the different types of abortions and what they entail.)

“Abortion Tied to Sharp Decline in Women’s Mental Health”

Leah Darrow’s Instagram Video (“Babies don’t keep us from our dreams.”)

Live Action (one of my favorite pro-life groups)

“Risks of Abortion” (Physical and Emotional)

Sisters of Life (a religious order which helps with crisis pregnancy help and healing for mothers who have had abortions)

Students for Life (one of my favorite pro-life groups)

When Human Life Begins

“When Does Life Begin?”

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How the Lilies Grow

Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these.

Luke 12:27

Depending on our Father
Your Heavenly Father wants to take care of you.

In a world that promotes self-sufficiency and praises stoicism, we find difficulty in depending on someone. We feel that if we become vulnerable, depend on a loved one, and allow ourselves to be taken care of, we’ll appear weak and incapable of standing on our own two feet. God doesn’t want us to act strong or independent with Him. Not only does He want us to depend on Him, but He delights in it. He loves his children so perfectly and He’s ready to take care of us and fulfill our needs.

All we need to do is ask.

I absolutely love Luke 12:22-34. This passage beautifully reminds us to let go of our worries and anxieties. It gently encourages us to depend on God and trust that he will take care of us. I quoted my favorite verse of it at the beginning of this post, but I urge you to read the whole thing. If you’re like me and you struggle to depend on God and let him provide, you’ll find so much peace by reading this passage.

How the Lilies Grow
How the Lilies Grow

Daily Bread
Tomorrow I begin my last semester of college. Although I’m excited for it, I’m genuinely nervous because this semester holds a lot of uncertainty. Now, I have to find my own way. I have to determine the next steps that I’ll take after I graduate and begin to navigate God’s plan for my life. Not only is this scary because I still don’t have a clue about what it could be, but it’s disheartening and frustrating.

I see my friends’ lives unfolding while my own life seems empty. As much as I’ve been praying for guidance and applying for jobs, I feel like I’m running in circles trying to find an answer that isn’t there. During this time of frustration and despair, I constantly remind myself to allow God to take care of me. I’m trying so hard to depend on Him and allow Him to provide for me. I know He has a plan for me but I’m just anxious to know what it is so I don’t have to worry about the future. Regardless, God doesn’t want us to worry about the future. When we rely on Him, he fulfills our needs for the here and now, and this is sufficient. It’s “give us this day our daily bread,” not “give us all the bread we’ll need for the rest of our lives right now.”

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Surrendering it all to God
I’ve never really had a “word of the year” until this year. On January 1st, while I was at SLS 20, the word “surrender” entered my heart, and I allowed myself to meditate on it. I adopted it as my word of the year, allowing it to remind me to surrender all that I am and all that I have to God at all times.

It’s easy to surrender bits and pieces of our lives to God, but that isn’t enough. He wants all of it. He wants to take care of us completely in all things. Little children cannot do anything on their own, so they rely totally on their parents. This is the relationship that God desires with us and the one that we should strive for. What’s the hardest part of your life to surrender? It could be your classes or work, a hobby, a habit, a friendship, a relationship, or in my case, my search for my next step after graduation. Whatever it is, allow God to enter into it. Allow God to take care of it and unfold His beautiful plan for it according to His perfect timing. Will you join me in surrendering to our Heavenly Father who is waiting for us to allow Him to take care of us as His most precious children?

Come, Holy Spirit.
Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender all that I am and all that I have at this moment to You. I come to You as Your precious child who can only depend on You. Help me to not worry about anything and to entrust You with all things, even my very life. When I get caught up in earthy matters, gently lift my gaze to You. Remind me to strive for Your eternal kingdom instead of material things that will fade away. I ask this in Jesus Christ’s Holy Name.
Amen.

Stay radiant!

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This Sunday’s Gospel: January 19, 2020

John 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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I love whenever I hear lines from the Mass in Scripture. I love being reminded of how much of the Mass is rooted in Scripture. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” is also heard during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. John says this line when he sees Jesus for the first time, and we say it in Mass when the priest holds up the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Just moments before we receive it, we recognize the true presence of Jesus Christ, just as John the Baptist did before he baptized Him.

Stay radiant!

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How to Pray with Expectant Faith

Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.

Mark 11:24

The Phrase that Changed my Prayer Life
In November, Sr. Mary Gianna of the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ spoke at the Newman Center at SRU. With the other leaders and members of Rock Catholic, I listened with awe as she told her incredible testimony and assured us that God has a plan for our lives. Early in her talk, she used a phrase that I’ve never heard before, and it truly changed my prayer life.

“Pray with expectant faith.”

I couldn’t stop contemplating what this meant, and even today I meditate on what it means to pray with expectant faith. As I prayed and wondered and racked my brain, it was revealed to me. To pray with expectant faith means to pray with enough faith that you truly believe that your prayers will be answered. It’s one thing to casually think that your prayers will be answered, but it’s different to pray and believe that God is going to answer your prayers. I know it might seem demanding, dare I say entitled, to expect that God will answer your prayers, but He wants to answer our prayers! He’s just waiting for you to ask, and He’ll happily answer you according to His will.

How to Pray with Expectant Faith
How to Pray with Expectant Faith

Revisiting Advent
Even though Advent and Christmas are both over now, I want to revisit Advent to discuss how one little chaplet deepened my prayer life so much during this time. Before Advent, I was contemplating what it means to pray with expectant faith while looking for ways to make Advent more fruitful for me. While scrolling through Instagram, I stumbled upon one of my favorite Catholic artists, Outpouring of Trust by Monica Skrzypczak. She had just released her new St. Andrew Christmas Novena Chaplets, and they were gorgeous. After reading the caption, which not only educated me on the Novena but spoke to my soul, I was sold. “It is piously believed that any request will be answered, and without a doubt, it WILL prepare your heart for Christmas amidst all the chaos of the season.” I knew that praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena would give me the opportunity to pray with expectant faith and transform my Advent.

I prayed the St. Andrew Christmas Novena every morning, as soon as I woke up, from November 30th to December 24th. It was the first Novena that I was consistent with the whole time; I didn’t skip any days! As I grew in expectant faith by praying the Novena, I genuinely believe that my intention will be answered.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I had a big prayer intention. I have yet to see that intention come to fruition, but I still believe that it will. Praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena gave me the grace to grow in faith throughout Advent. It helped me to complete the 33 Days to Morning Glory Marian Consecration, and it inspired me to deepen my prayer life by praying the Rosary more often and focusing more on its mysteries. Even now that Advent and Christmas are over, I continue to deepen my prayer life through the Rosary, going to Daily Mass or reading the Mass readings, and more.

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Keeping Faith and Hope
Sometimes we don’t see the fruits of our prayers right away. I’m still not sure if my big prayer intention was answered yet or if it’s still in the works. However, this fact shouldn’t discourage us from praying! Not seeing the fruits of our prayer doesn’t mean that our prayers “don’t work,” and seeing them fulfilled in a different way doesn’t mean that praying for a specific intention is useless. Although I’m still hopeful that I’ll see my big intention fulfilled, I’m grateful that praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena gave me the push that I needed to grow in prayer and taught me how to pray with expectant faith.

Stay radiant!

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How to Deal with Distractions During Prayer

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 17:6

Got Distractions?
We’re human, so it’s only natural that we find ourselves distracted while we pray from time to time (or often), but that’s okay! Every time I pray, it isn’t long before I get distracted by something in the room, a persistent thought, or a nagging item on my to-do list. Regardless, I acknowledge that the Lord has called me to pray at this moment. He deserves my attention as I deepen my relationship with Him, and I commit to doing the best that I can at that moment.

We can’t wait until we’re in the most perfect state of mind to pray, otherwise, we’ll never pray! When it comes to prayer, we’re called to show up, do our best, and allow the Holy Spirit to help us and Mary to make our prayers perfect for God. We can’t avoid getting distracted during prayer completely, but there are a few ways to cope with it.

How to Deal with Distractions During Prayer
How to Deal with Distractions During Prayer

Physically
Holding something, like a rosary, a chaplet, or a medal can keep us centered and help us to concentrate on the prayer at hand. Holding rosary beads while you pray the Rosary actually helps to take away distractions because following along with the beads takes away the work of counting the prayers.

Visually
Looking at something or reading something can keep us going during prayer. Looking at icons and pictures or reading scripture or prayers can allow our minds to wander while staying in a prayerful state of mind. When I pray the Rosary, I like to look at a picture that goes with each mystery to help me meditate on them more deeply.

Mentally
Meditating on a mystery or reflecting on scripture can intensify prayer. Lectio Divina is a beautiful form of prayer that involves reflecting deeply on passages from the Bible, allowing God to reveal the meaning of the passage. Mental prayer strengthens our faith as it helps us contemplate it and learn more about it.

Socially
Praying with friends can help you stay concentrated! Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I like to pray the Rosary or Lectio Divina with my friends because I find that I concentrate better and pray more deeply in a group. Get some friends together and grow in your faith together through prayer.

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Turn Your Distractions into Prayer Intentions
If you’re distractions are particularly persistent, turn them into prayers! The people and things that are on our hearts are there for a reason, so they’re worth praying about. While you pray, if someone keeps coming to mind, offer up a prayer for them! I keep these prayers brief but honest before I return to what I was doing, like this, “God, I’ve been thinking of my cousin a lot lately. Please bless her and keep her in Your hands. Please remind her that she’s Your beloved daughter.”

Don’t Let Distractions Discourage You
St. Francis de Sales said, “If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour (of prayer) but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be well employed.” Even the act of bringing yourself back to prayer when you get distracted is a victory. We’ll never completely get rid of our distractions during prayer, but that shouldn’t discourage us from praying. It’s dealing with our distractions, not eradicating them, that will strengthen our prayer life and our faith. My prayer for you is that whatever distractions are on your heart, they won’t prevent you from praying.

Stay radiant!

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“With Whom I Am Well Pleased:” Understanding the Baptism of Our Lord

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:16-17

Did Jesus have to get baptized?
Why did Jesus get baptized? He’s the Son of God, so He didn’t have original sin, or any sin for that matter. As part of the trinity, didn’t He already have the Holy Spirit? So, did Jesus have to get baptized?

He Helps Us Reach the Father
Jesus’ Baptism marked the beginning of His earthly ministry. It wasn’t until after John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan that He began preaching, healing, and exorcising demons. These things that Jesus did during His ministry allow us to reach the Father. Just like Jesus died so that we could have eternal life, He was baptized so that we could be born again and begin our relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus during his Baptism so that it could descend upon us during our own Baptism.

With Whom I Am Well Pleased
With Whom I Am Well Pleased

“With Whom I am Well Pleased”
In my diocese, Confirmation preparation takes three years, beginning in 9th grade and concluding in 11th grade. During my first year of Confirmation classes, we spent a lot of time learning about the Sacrament of Baptism. We learned that we receive the Holy Spirit for the first time in Baptism, and then we’re sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, when we become full members of the Church and soldiers of Christ. In this way, Confirmation completes what began in Baptism. We began our Confirmation classes by praying, “I, (name), am God’s beloved son/daughter, with whom, he is well pleased.” This mantra imitated our Heavenly Father’s announcement when Jesus was baptized, and reminded us that by our Baptism, we become beloved children of God.

Click here to read My Confirmation Journey!

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His Beloved Children
At first, John the Baptist was hesitant to baptize Jesus. I don’t blame him; I wouldn’t feel worthy to do so either. Jesus replied to John’s hesitation by saying “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:16). Getting Baptized was part of God’s will for His Son, desiring that Jesus start His ministry with His Baptism. Everything Jesus did during His earthly ministry, including getting baptized, pointed toward our Salvation. As you celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord today, remember your own baptism and reflect on it through the lens of Jesus’ Baptism. Through this sacrament of initiation, we receive the Holy Spirit and become our Heavenly Father’s beloved children.

Never forget that you are a beloved child of God, and He is well pleased with you.

Stay radiant!

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A Glorious New Morning: My Marian Consecration Journey

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son,” and then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

John 19:26-27

A Glorious New Morning on the First of the Year
In a few of my previous blog posts, I mentioned that I was working on the 33 Days to Morning Glory Marian Consecration. I’m blessed that I finally completed it on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st, 2020.

I began this new year in a beautiful way by consecrating myself to my Blessed Mother. Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, who wrote 33 Days to Morning Glory and spoke at SLS 20, said that when we consecrate ourselves to Mary, our consecration day will feel like “a glorious new morning,” and mine truly did. After going to confession, going to Mass wearing one of my new chapel veils, and receiving the Eucharist, I prayed my consecration prayer on the first morning of 2020. I felt wonderful on that morning as I gave everything to my Blessed Mother and asked her to use all that I am and all that I have to give glory to her Son.

A Glorious New Morning
A Glorious New Morning

About Marian Consecration
Fr. Gaitley referred to Marian Consecration as the surest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect way to become a Saint. In all that Mary does, she gives glory to Jesus, so consecration to Mary is actually consecration to Jesus; we just go through Mary because her mission as our Heavenly Mother is to bring her children to her Son. She does the will of God perfectly and she has an unlimited amount of grace to distribute to us, so Mary helps us to grow in holiness and become Saints.

Several of the greatest Saints, like St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II consecrated themselves to Mary and encouraged others to do the same. Marian Consecration renews our baptismal vows to reject Satan and to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ as closely as possible. It also allows us to entrust Mary with all of our merits. She takes our prayers and perfects them for God. Our Blessed Mother cannot be outdone in generosity. She generously uses our prayers to help those in need, and she takes great care of our loved ones.

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Mary as our Heavenly Mother
During his Passion on the Cross, Jesus entrusted His mother to us. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells His mother to behold her son, who in this case, is John, the beloved disciple next to her. He also tells His beloved disciple to behold his mother. This loving command still applies to us today.

As Jesus’ beloved disciples, we still welcome Mary into our homes and share our lives with her. We turn to her to help us grow closer to her Son and love him more deeply and beautifully. As followers of Christ, it is our duty to love Mary as our own mother because Jesus entrusted her to us. In return, our Heavenly Mother takes care of us. When we draw close to her, she brings us closer to her Son. I’m overjoyed that I finally completed my Marian Consecration, and I’m excited to see what I’ll do for Mary and what she’ll do for me. I’m grateful to have her as my Blessed Mother who keeps me in her most Immaculate Heart and graciously helps me draw nearer to Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t made your Marian Consecration yet, I highly encourage you to do so! You’ll grow so much closer to Jesus and Mary and you’ll constantly feel yourself growing in holiness. If you have any questions, please reach out to me and I’ll happily tell you more!

Stay radiant!

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