Every year there is a wonderful woman who comes to our church with a big popcorn tin filled with slips of papers. On these slips of papers are Saints Names and a little quote from the Saint. One is supposed to reach in a pull out a slip of paper and that is the Saint who is praying for you and God is sending to you to help you through the next year. Last year I pulled out St. Pope John Pau II! Talk about an amazing Saint to be praying for you and helping you through your difficult times!
This Year I was waiting with my middle daughter Annie to experience the blessings and renewal one receives in the Sacrament of Confession, and the women came up and asked if we wanted to pick out our saint for the year. Of course getting St. Pope John Paul II last year , I was eager to see who I would get this year. The Saint that I Picked out is St. Peter Julian Eymard (pronounce Amard). A Saint I absolutely do not know and was attempted to ignore because, well I am busy and didn’t see any connection, unlike when I picked St. John Paul II last year…..Oh how we so often miss the gifts the Holy Spirit wants to give us by our own lack of faith and by our intention to depend on ourselves, and not to depend on the Lord!!!!!
Our Church this year wanted to start Eucharistic Adoration this year every Friday during Lent. I volunteered to help organize it because I absolutely love Adoration! I believe Adoration is a tremendous gift and blessing God has given me; which I have taken advantage of all my life; to be able to go before Jesus in the place where you can be physically present with him on earth! Physically present with HIM….in the Eucharist!!!! Where the veil between Heaven and Earth is gone and you rest in Jesus’ arms!!!!
I went home frustrated with getting St. Peter Julian Eymard. Annie got St. Lawerence Justinian. I had also asked her pick out saints for my other two daughters and they got St. Joseph and St. Bernard. All three Saints I know, 3 incredible Saints and men of God who lived tremendous lives! I was ready to put St. Peter Julian Eumard back and ignore the gift God had given me. But instead I took the piece of paper home to find out about this Saint whom I knew nothing about and...... St. Peter Julian Eumard IS KNOWN for…..
WAIT FOR IT…..
“The great love and the driving passion of his life: Jesus Christ in the Eucharist”
He is the founder of the BLESSED SCRAMENT FATHERS!!!! This Lent I am responsible for bringing a greater awareness of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to our Church!!!! What Better Saint to help me accomplish that than St. Peter Julian Eumard who devoted his whole life to the Eucharist and Adoration!!!!! Well WHAT A COINCINDENCE!!!!
As I tell my girls and my 8th grade Religious Education class, always remember hell and Heaven are real. Sin and the battle to destroy our souls by having us sin is real. Yet we are never alone in this struggle! The Lord will guide our every action and our decisions, IF (and this is a BIG IF) we truly are able to BELIEVE that HE cares for our life and watches over us, and actually rely AND DEPEND ON JESUS in the decisions and struggles we have in our life! It doesn’t mean there are not challenges, failures, and crisis in our life….It means we meet those challenges, failures, and crisis events with repentance for our sins and faith and belief that He hears our cries and that He desires and will guide us and teach us if we truly let him; IF we truly believe that JESUS IS LORD AND SAVOIR AND HE IS WITH US IF; WE BUT DEDICATE ALL OUR LIFE AND GLORY TO HIM.
So how do we let Jesus guide us?
1. BELIEVING that God Exists, that Jesus died for us, that Jesus is our savoir and can know Him thorough Holy Scripture; that Heaven (and Hell) is real, but we are not alone, we can meet Jesus in the Eucharist, we have the incredible intercession and help of our Blessed Mother who is just as much a Mother to us as our mother; and we have the Sacraments especially CONFESSION when we fail which wipes away and actually REMOVES EVEN THE DARKEST AND WORST SINS we can ever commit, if we but ask for that forgiveness in confession, and we have the EUCHARIST his actual presence! Because whoever believes and lives that belief has eternal life!!! John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” Believing is the easy part, it is what we do with that belief that makes all the difference. It's like having a great set of snow skis; do we leave we leave them in the garage where we know yup the skis are there OR do we actually take the skis, get in the car, drive to the mountains, go up the lift, get in the bindings at the top of a majestic mountain with incredible views facing us and fly down the pristine snow with exhilaration and joy!!!! with the wind in our face. Look at all the actions we have to take to use the skis; But it is by using the skis that we experience the fullness of the joy having skis can give us!!! Believing alone while good is not enough, we must act on our belief by doing 2 and 3 below!!!
2. By GIVING THE LORD GLORY in everything we do in our lives; how ...first with our worship of HIM and second in our prayers ... with an active prayer life that actually PRAYS!!!! As scripture says TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen Philippians 4:20
3. By ACTIONS that show to ourselves and others that yes we believe and love the Lord and want to Glorify the Lord with our lives, actually living and acting like we believe by how we act and speak....and being Christ's mercy and love to others, as St. Teresa of Calcutta was reported to have said, we are the hands and feet of Jesus to others in this world; BY LISTENING in prayer and asking God what do you want me to do? Oh I find this number 3 so hard. I am so wrapped up in making my own decisions without asking God to guide me; instead I am always asking God to help me do what I WANT, not what God wants. Sort of like taking your skis off the great snow and trail into the woods, it can be fun but sometimes you hit the trees which hurt and worse yet off the trail sometimes you fly off a cliff and have to beg the Lord to save you!!!!
My greatest hope for my own children (which I share with anyone reading this Blog on my website) is that they can learn from me, learn from my mistakes and failures, and don’t do the same things. For the longest time in my life I did not put or exercise real faith in God. Oh I believed, but I did nothing with that belief to truly guide my life and decisions. All though my 20s into my 30s, I did my own show; in many ways I still do even when I don’t want too. And then God taps me on the shoulder like giving me St. Peter Julian Eymard to help me and whispers to me “Briand I am real and I am here to help you”, “will you let me do that this time?” And to think I almost threw away the paper with St. Peter Julian Eymard name on it because I thought nothing good can come of this!!!!
Take Nick Foles backup quarterback of the Eagles for example. He told Tony Dungy former coach and broadcaster, (both believing Christians – Born again protestants) that in prayer and his faith in Jesus gave him confidence that he could do anything. Foles believed and rely on his faith and what did he accomplish?? He beat the greatest quarterback ever to play football Tom Brady who threw for a record 500 passing yards and still didn’t win the Super Bowl. Foles had the best passing completion rating of any quarterback to ever play in a Super Bowl. He prayed before the game, he was confident in his own abilities to do what the Lord was going to help him do, and that unquestioning faith in Jesus’s guidance and protection gave him the best quarterback rating to ever play the game!! NOW he didn’t do that alone, he didn’t win alone, but he did his part to a perfection no quarterback has ever achieved, and what did he say as his first words after winning “I give all the Glory to Our Lord Jesus Christ.” Great things in life are possible it requires very hard work and dedication.
As Julian Edelman a New England Patriot put it last year against overwhelming odds when victory seemed impossible “You gotta Believe!!!!”
You have to believe in yourself and most of all in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whom you receive to LIVE WITHIN YOU every Sunday!!!! Live each day as if it is precious, because when those days are gone, you do not get them back; so make the most of every day you have to be with the Lord, now as you hope to do so in eternity.
God Bless you all this Ash Wednesday!