Joy Battista

"Joy Battista" stands for the Joy of John the Baptist at the presence of Christ.

"And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy." Luke 1:43-44

This blog is dedicated to all who seek the Joy of Christ's presence in their own lives.
This blog is also dedicated to the unborn, for John the Baptist was an unborn when he leapt for joy at the presence of Jesus who was also unborn at the time.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Repeated Messages

What is God saying to you? How do you know what he wants of you? Do you ever stop and think about it, pray about it or evaluate what it is that He wants of you? I’m always asking these questions but a lot of times fall short of stopping to listen, see or hear what God wants.

I have finally figured out the best way God gets my attention is that He speaks to me through repeating Himself in different ways. For instance, I have blogged repeatedly about St. Francis of Assisi because he has popped up in various ways and places for me and I just cannot ignore this Saint. The latest way God has pointed me to him is that my Parish will be getting a new Priest who happens to be a Franciscan. When I heard that I about dropped my jaw.

Along with St. Francis, another repeated theme in my life is the importance of the Priesthood. It is no wonder that God has combined my two themes by sending a Franciscan Priest my way. I continue to be reminded about priests every single day when my three year old insists that I play Church with him. And when we go to daily Mass or Sunday Mass he always wants to give a little hug to the Priest at the end of the service. Literally these desires of my small son have been going on for about six months now. I cannot ignore that he keeps pointing me to priests. It is so repetitive in an amazing way that only God could have designed it so that I take notice.

If you have taken the time to read this than you may want to evaluate the themes in your own life that God keeps repeating to you. And…….if you are a regular reader of this blog maybe God is repeating the same message to you about St. Francis and the Priesthood. If you take the time to read the life of St. Francis of Assisi you will be amazed at the similarities of his age and our own.

Since I have been getting various reminders about St. Francis I decided to read up on him. I have three different books about his life. The last one I read was suggested to me by a friend who has also been getting the same repeated themes pop up in her life. She has read the book twice now and it is called “God’s Fool, The Life and Times of Francis of Assisi.” by Julien Green, Copyright 1985. I would like to share some excerpts from this book and you will understand what I am talking about regarding the similarities of St. Francis’ time and ours: First you will read the condition of the Church in his time, then the condition of the people and finally a little of what he did to turn it all around:

“Francis’s filial love for the Church of Rome remains one of the most striking aspects of his character. From his youth till the day he died, his fidelity to it never wavered. He may have hesitated on the road to his conversion, but he had no doubts about an institution that Christ himself said was on the point of collapsing-an idea the young convert couldn’t understand. Paradoxically, his very faith resisted such a message. That San Damiano (the physical church building) might come crashing down was evident, but not the Church. That was unthinkable. It was there forever, until the end of time. The Church was the Church as permanently as the sky was the sky.

Yet he couldn’t have been blind to the facts. Any picture one draws of the Church in the year 1200 would have to be, by and large, very dark. There is no need to look for proof of this among the Church’s enemies; we have plenty of evidence from within Catholicism, beginning with the many papal bulls issued by Innocent III against the most scandalous abuses. But if the pope was worried about the general decay in Europe, his comminatory bulls could do little to stop the usury, the venality, the gluttony and sexual excesses of many priests, even in the monastaries. Scandal was everywhere. There was unheard of luxury in the Church, luxury and lust. People sang songs mocking lecherous monks. Defrocked clerics gadded about and burst into song, blasting church dignitaries…..
For all it‘s excesses the Church still had the power of the keys, to open the gates of paradise by absolving sins. Francis remained unshakably Catholic all his life.

There were plenty of faithful Christians, to be sure. Francis knew some perfect priests, but he was also aware that the Church was passing through a period of disturbances.”
(p 92-93)

“We have a hard time imagining the enthusiasm Francis stirred up in a country as spiritually weakened as Italy was in those days. Sensibility was paralyzing the flow of grace. People were often misled by a purely formal, ostentatious piety. The period also felt-thereby resembling our own era-a void that pleasure couldn’t fill, a hunger for something different, a restlessness of the heart. The Church had forgotten how to speak to the soul, because it was bogged down in the material world.

Then in the piazza or at a turn in the road, there appeared a man with bare feet, dressed like a begger and crying in a joyful voice, “Pace e bene!” One listened to him despite oneself. The fellow knew how to talk, and what he said was so simple that everything seemed new in his language, which had no hard words, those words that make thinking a muddle. No need to have studied to follow him-and they did follow him, first of all because he spoke as he went along, and especially because he believed everything he said. He believed it so strongly that they believed as he did and along with him. They felt that all the things they had learned as children and almost forgotten were now beginning to come true in a terrifying fashion.

He said that God was in love with us all. How did he go about turning them from love to uneasiness? By conjuring up before them in a flash the wall of black fire that cut them off from the heavenly garden and eternal bliss. 'Miser, throw your gold in the devil’s face, as if it were the most nauseating ordure, if you want to enter paradise. Libertine, drop all your women and all your pleasures that keep you from seeing death hot on your heels.'

They felt terror from the secret sins their lives were full of, without Francis’s having to tell them. But he told them anyhow, not with the trumpeting of righteous indignation, as the clergy did, or with their threats of fire and torment, but with an inconsolable sorrow and bursts of searing tenderness, as if he were about to lose his beloved children. And, no longer able to find the words, he began to gesture, his face streaming tears. What eloquence could match those hands stretched out to them? They felt like throwing themselves on their knees to comfort him and to promise him they would return to the Lord. There were women who did this at once, un-self-consciously, carried away by love of God, of heaven, of everything, no doubt including the preacher. Some of the men imitated them, the young ones especially; they were all moved.

Priests who happened to be passing by watched in silence.” pg 124-125

How did Francis know to do what he did, “Francis plunged deeply into prayer to ask God what he wanted of him and his followers.”pg 107 In so doing Francis, “Didn’t want to trim the Gospel, to be “reasonable.” (and for which he was persecuted towards the end of his life) He was one of those uncompromising people whom the world sooner or later breaks, so long as they’re on earth, but who win the victory on the other side of the tomb. Saint Francis of Assisi was never more alive than he is today, whereas the great personalities of his age have faded away. He wanted to save the world; in the end he saved hope.” pg 233

Thank God for St. Francis of Assisi!!! Thank God for Priests, may they follow and preach the Gospel as St. Francis did.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass." ~ St. Augustine ~

The title of this post was chosen from a quote of one of the most well known Saints in the History of Christianity, Saint Augustine!! He and other Saints have left us with some great insights to the power of the Holy Mass. Mass is the greatest prayer there is. I'd like to thank my Seminarian Friend from Kerala, India for sending me these quotes via e-mail through facebook. If you are reading this please pray for him, his name is Sam Thomas Koonamplackil and he is studying for the priesthood. It is a priest that can give us the Mass!! Please read what he sent and then go to Mass ASAP:

Every Mass will go with you to Judgement and will plead for pardon for you.

By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervour.

By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.

Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The power of Satan over you is diminished.

By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

Through Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.

Through the Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honour of any particular Saint or Angel, thanking God for the favours bestowed on him, etc., you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honour, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection on yourself.

Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day.

"The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"
~Pope Paul VI~

For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death.
~revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the Great~

Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord "How can I thank you?" Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS."

The Blessed Virgin Mary once told Her faithful servant Alain: "My Son so loves those who assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that, if it were necessary He would die for them as many times as they've heard Masses."

"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death."
~Pope Benedict XV~

A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death. St. Leonard of Port Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may be more profitable than many after it.

"When we receive Holy Communion, we experience something extraordinary - a joy, a fragrance, a well being that thrills the whole body and causes it to exalt."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross."
~Saint Thomas Aquinas~

"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass. "
~St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), stigmatic priest~

"When we have been to Holy Communion, the balm of love envelops the soul as the flower envelops the bee."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "
~Saint Gregory~

"The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass."
~ St. Augustine ~

"When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar."
~ St. John Chrysostom~

Source: Theology Library

Please Pass On & Tell Your Friends about the importance of attending a Mass....

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and don't lean on your own understanding.
In all things acknowledge him, and he shall direct your way. [Proverbs 3:5, 6]”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II Guides Us to Our Own Individual Mission and Tells Us How to Pray


Lines taken from JPII address prepared for youth rally held in Superdome, Sept 12, 1987

Dear Young People of New Orleans,
Dear Young People of America,

I know that you are very much conscious of having a special mission in the world, of being partners in the mission of the Church.

I know that in fulfilling your mission you are willing to give, you are willing to share, you are willing to serve.

Yes, dear young people, I too want to speak about your mission, the reason for your life on earth, the truth of your lives.

You young people are proud to live in a free country and you should be grateful to God for your freedom…only Jesus Christ can make you fully free through his truth. Dear young people the whole message of Jesus in the Gospels and through his Church helps you to discover who you really are, to discover all the dimensions of your lives.

Each of us is an individual…he has a plan for us…God became man to explain it to us.

…but we are also apart of a community…as persons we have responsibilities and that these are part of our freedom…man is defined by this (GeS,55)…to understand ourselves as persons responsible to others, is a great insight – an insight that is necessary for fulfilling our mission properly.

There is no room for selfishness (he says 2xs)…It destroys the meaning of life; it destroys the meaning of love; it reduces the human person.

Being open to others…we are actually talking about the whole world…you young people much change society by your lives…partners with Christ.

In order to accomplish great works…you yourselves must actually be living in accord with your own identity – according to God’s plan for your lives…living the Beatitudes…you are liable to be accused of being na├»ve. But the message of Jesus is clear: purity means true love, and it is the total opposite of selfishness and escape.

What is in accord with the truth of Jesus is fulfillment, joy and peace, even if it means effort and discipline. What is not in accord…disorder, sin, unhappiness, frustration.

The supreme theft in your life would be if they [sinful ways, actions] succeeded in robbing you of hope. They will try, but they will not succeed if you hold fast to Jesus and his truth.

The truth of Jesus is capable of reinforcing all your energies. It will unify your lives and consolidate your sense of mission.

These are the responses to the culture of death. The Church possesses light – the truth of Jesus Christ!

Prayer…communion with God…deeply personal between ourselves and God.

In prayer we express our feelings, our thoughts, our sentiments. Only God loves us perfectly, with an everlasting love. In prayer we open our hearts and our minds to this love of God. And it is prayer that makes us one with the Lord. Through prayer we come to share more deeply in God’s life and his love.

Jesus’ habit of prayer.

If you really wish to follow Christ, if you want your love for him to grow and last, then you must be faithful to prayer. It is the key to the vitality of your life in Christ. Without prayer, your faith and love will die. If you are constant in daily prayer and in the Sunday celebration of the Mass, your love for Jesus will increase. And your heart will know deep joy and peace, such as the world could never give.

But many young people tell me they do not know how to pray…how did Jesus himself pray?

Prayer is marked by the spirit of joy and praise…the Eucharist remains for all ages the perfect means of offering to the Father glory and thanksgiving and praise.

Yet there are also times of suffering…

Most important thing is not to stop praying, not to give up the effort

For true success of our lives consists in knowing and doing the will of Jesus (Mary to Jesus: do what ever he tells you). Realize when you pray it is not just asking God for something or seeking special help. But also prayer should be characterized by thanking and praise, by adoration and attentive listening, by asking God’s pardon and forgiveness. If you follow Jesus’ advice, and pray to God constantly, then you will learn to pray well. God himself will teach you.

Prayer can truly change your life. For it turns your attention away from yourself and directs your mind and your heart toward the Lord. If we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, then our hearts are filled with hope, our minds are washed in the light of truth, and we come to know the fullness of the Gospel with all its promise and life.

Prayer also helps us to be open to the Spirit, the Spirit of truth and of love…It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the strength to resist evil and do good, to do our part in building up the kingdom of God.

Dear young people: my message is not new. I have given it before and, with God’s grace, I will give it again. And so, as long as the memory of this visit lasts, may it be recorded that I, John Paul II, came to America to call you to Christ, to invite you to pray!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Passing Along a Short Powerful Prayer

This QUICK PRAYER was e-mailed to me as a chain e-mail. I'm not a fan of passing on those but I really liked the prayer and have said the prayer a couple times already!! I wanted to pass it along to you via my blog so that you can pass it on in your own way. Feel free to cut and paste it right off this blog and pass it along to all your friends and family!!
Here is what was e-mailed to me from a good friend:

"God, our Father, walk through my house and take away
all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my
family in Jesus name, Amen."

This prayer is so powerful. Pass this to 12 people
including me. A blessing is coming to you in form of a new
job, a house, marriage, finances, or maybe an answer to
something (a prayer, a request) that you have been waiting
for. Do not break or ask questions. Does God come first in
your life? If so, stop what you are doing & send it to 12 people
now. Watch what He does!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Stab to My Heart

She is the Princess of my house the girl that rocks my world, she is beautiful, adorable, and kind and loving too. She's not the best at Geometry, Biology or Art but I'll never trade her in for a girl with all those smarts.

She may sometimes say she's not good at anything which is anything but true, and she may cry when life seems real unfair, I am amazed at what she knows.

She had acute leukemia, twice while she was young, which took away some things as the doctor's warned it would, she has been left with an acute awareness of what real life is all about. Her outlook is one of wisdom with humility, and a spiritual intelligence that only her suffering can provide.

Her wisdom seems that of an Angel and her hope that of a Saint. When it comes right down to the things that matter, I have no reason to complain for I know how much she prays.

But.....that acuteness, that wisdom and humility can be a bitter pill to swallow. And I was reminded again on Mother's day I cannot take a thing for granted.

I had a bad morning Mother's Day morning, did some crying of my own. I was feeling sorry for myself, mad about my house....Oh how ashamed am I now. I'd been so busy that my house became a mess and I woke up in the morning feeling tired and depressed.

I cannot blame anyone for my state of affair, I was enjoying motherhood and shouldn't have worried, cried or cared that my house wasn't perfect because I had plenty of time to spare. It is true I need to remember that when I get to do things like baseball games, volunteer activities, cooking and organizing events that I have indeed been blessed with being a mother and many women can't.

One young woman worries that she can't be a mother some day and her name is Michaela. We were headed out of church and when we got to our van the boys started competing for the middle seat coveted by all and Michaela was the winner of the spot. But the boys tugged and pulled hoping to move her. I intervened and said, "Boys let her sit in that spot it's mother's day and she'll be a mother some day." Her matter of fact response, "Yea, I'll be a mother some day...if I live long enough."

Boy was that a stab to my heart and didn't even compare to how I felt with my messy house. My biggest consolation is I can truly unite my suffering with Mary up in heaven, for her heart was pierced with the events of her life too. And, unlike me, she was full of grace as she suffered in silence. May we never take our motherhood and our children for granted for they have so much to teach us....they are all truly gifts from God.

Here are my four Blessings!!

Cole, Eric, Michaela and Daniel on Easter