As we reflect on the memories of the year behind and prepare for the resolutions of the year ahead, let us not forget about the beautiful gift of this very present moment!
Indeed, every precious present moment holds unique graces and unrepeatable opportunities to more deeply, fervently, and wholeheartedly love. And how exactly can one increase his or her capacity to love? The answer is surprisingly simple: prayer. The more your heart humbly surrenders itself to intimate prayer, the closer it grows to Divine Love, the larger it grows in Holy Love, and the stronger it grows in all the virtues. Thus, in addition to the many physical and intellectual resolutions you might be planning, don’t neglect nourishing your spiritual life as much as possible through prayer, or “oxygen for the soul” as Saint Padre Pio defined it!
The prayer I find most calming yet energizing is the Rosary. And not just repeating decades of 10 “Hail Mary’s” and a “Glory Be” over and over, but really putting my heart into it, plunging into my inner self where God’s Vibrant Presence dwells and Christ’s Endless Love burns, a place that craves greater union to Him, especially in His painful, piercing Passion, by which I am saturated with His very Divine Life!
In these times of so much lack of love in hearts, there is so, so much need for heartfelt prayer. I am reminded of the quote by philosopher Peter Kreeft: “I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers make, and all the people those prayers were destined to affect…we would be so paralyzed with awe that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.” Indeed, I imagine the angels scavenging the earth daily to collect and count even my smallest, weakest, faintest prayers, which are then purified, perfected, and presented before the Throne of God through the unblemished hands and Immaculate Heart of Our Mother Mary, before finally being sent out to their final destinations: human hearts desperately -albeit often unconsciously- hurting and hungering for true love, which is salvation.
In this way, every prayer surrendered up from a loving heart can transcend time and space to reach just the person who needed it most there and then! And the more love in our hearts when we pray, the more powerfully our prayers pierce the very Heart of Our Loving and Merciful Father, such that He cannot help but look upon us, His little children, with tenderhearted compassion and shower the whole world with fresh graces and blessings!
Don’t allow yourself to be saddened, worried, or discouraged, for no matter where you are along your spiritual journey, what you’ve done in the past, or how others perceive you, rest assured that you have a special place reserved for you for all of eternity by the Creator and Bridegroom of your soul, safely nestled so close to His Divine Heart of Infinite Power, Majesty, and Love. He is truly so madly in love with and utterly enamored by you that even your slightest effort toward contemplation, conversation, and communion with Him fills Him with love, joy, and peace and thus affects the whole cosmos.
As the new year ahead is dawning, remember that every breath, every heartbeat, every present moment is another chance to show and grow your love for God and others, and thus attain salvation for your own soul and your brother and sister souls, many of whom you may never meet until eternity. On the stage of heaven and earth, you have a whole multitude of faithful friends- the saints- praying for you and cheering you on, including the Queen of the Universe, your most beautiful Blessed Mother Mary, whose intercessory power is unmatched by any. In all Her gentleness, goodness, and grace, She will help you to transform every thought, word, and deed into an immortal victory of Love, through constant surrender of your heart to God’s Divine Will- which is Love and Mercy itself. Imagine the great soldier of love, warrior of prayer, and hero of holiness you can be in this life and in the next, by handing over everything, especially the distractions of physical appearance, social reputation, emotional bitterness, intellectual pride, sensual pleasure, and material gain, to the only one who loved the Most Holy Trinity perfectly and sinlessly, as the Mother, Daughter, and Spouse of God! “Ad Jesum Per Mariam”
Only along Heaven’s Shores will see the unlimited value and eternal ripple effects of every prayer, every sacrifice, every act of kindness made with a heart full of love… but by then there will be no “time” left for increasing our capacity to hold all the heavenly happiness God desires to infuse our hearts with, the sublime glory of which no eye has seen, ear heard, nor heart imagined… Delay not one moment longer, then, and begin by praying the powerful “weapon of choice”- the Most Holy Rosary. If you don’t have time to pray all 5 decades, pray just one, or even just a few Hail Mary’s. And if you don’t know yet how to pray the “Hail Mary”, simply yet sincerely say, “I love You, God, I love You God, I love You God…” over and over to until you feel the fires of His Love burn brighter and brighter from deep within. You can be sure that God never tires of hearing His name lovingly pronounced by one of His beloved souls, for He once told Saint Teresa of Avila, “I would recreate the whole universe just to hear you say you love Me.” Indeed, just one single act of love- “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!”– so satisfies His unquenchable thirst for our love that it can convert a soul and repair 1,000 blasphemies*! Every last “I love You” is another step closer to the defeat of evil and the Triumph of Love!
Through perpetual prayer, our lives are destined to become an ongoing love affair with Jesus! Enkindling this intimate union with Him is truly, the greatest possible gift we can give to the world and way to make use of the present moment. The more we spent time praying from deep within, the more peace, joy, and love we will radiate outward to all and the more present moments we will successfully sanctify and thus eternalize, until even the most monotonous of tasks becomes a wonder of love! For in the words of the little St. Therese of Lisieux so beautifully put it, “Love makes time eternal by giving divine value to everything.” And as Our Lord Himself declared on November 5th, 2006 in a special Message to all peoples and nations:
“The only thing you lose forever in the present moment is that which is not loving. The only thing which you save in the Eternal Now is all that you think, say and do in Holy Love. Holy and Divine Love are eternal.”
May the Eternal Now, God of all Love and Mercy, and His and our Mother, Mary, bless, protect, guide and inspire you in every precious moment of 2019, and forevermore!
Yours in the loving-kindness of Notre Dame, Our Mother,
Greg O. Perenich, aka “Little Gregory”
PS- The above writing drew significant inspiration from the Messages of Holy and Divine Love. To learn more, and read these Messages from angels, saints, the Blessed Mother, Jesus Christ, and now God the Father for yourself, visit https://liveandliveon.wordpress.com/the-messages-of-holy-and-divine-love-qa/
“Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited; it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage; it does not take offense or store up grievances.
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the Truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end.”
-1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NJB
”O life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain! When I look at everything with the eyes of faith, no two hours are alike, and the dullness and monotony disappear. The grace which is given me in this hour will not be repeated in the next. It may be given me again, but it will not be the same grace. Time goes on, never to return again. Whatever is enclosed in it will never change; it seals with a seal for eternity.”
-Saint Faustina, in her Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, (#62)
Additionally, inspiration was drawn from these intimate Love Letters from Our Lord, which have deepened my spirituality and prayer life greatly, and allowed me to believe more concretely in the ever-present, on-fire Love of Jesus! I could not recommend them more: http://www.sofc.org/BLUEBKII/bb2_vii.htm
The featured photo on this blog post is a painting by the amazingly joyful, kindhearted, talented Katie Sisk, entitled “Queen of Peace.” Her website featuring more incredible artwork is available here: https://kateasisk.wixsite.com/breathoflife/gallery