Let us go.


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Yesterday, on the drive back from Mass, the curious thought to write behind my name occurred to me.  Yes, I’ve already been writing Catholic.. you see the posts I’ve written.. this time, the idea to publicly merge *all* of my online Catholic identity to my real self emerged.  I’m trying this out now.. AMDG.


Well, there’s been no way for me to get around it.  This is my name, after all, this is who I am.  And if I want to go forward as a writer, it means bringing all of who I am, all of my perspective, all of me, all to the forefront.. which is seeing everything through the Catholic worldview.  

Catholic.  More of a Godly worldview, as God is universal and above the Universal Church.  Yes.. I like seeing things as God does.

Time to just proclaim it from the rooftops.

Up until now, I’ve sorta, kinda hidden behind a Catholic Twitter identity – @begreatsaints – and I’ve never really let people fully know who I am from that end.

I think I’ll keep it that way.. direct my Twitter friends in this direction if they’re interested.  As for my secular life, I’ll let them figure it out if they’re so inclined.  Or reveal it as the Holy Spirit directs me, I guess (scary).  Whatever God wills, I will try to obey.

For now, it’s this, all for His greater glory.  Lord Jesus, give me your Strength, Mary, your Wisdom & Faithfulness.  May I forever be His little handmaid, Amen.





I am going to put this here.


OUr Lady of Sorrows


Today, I told you my marriage & family were in trouble.. a lot of things going through my mind this moment. I need to get them off my chest:

1. Do I want to write about this?
2. Is it proper to put it out there in the public venue?
3. Am I causing scandal?
4. What would my priest tell me? What would Jesus tell me? What would Mary tell me?

I’ve known I’ve been a writer for a very long time, for what purpose, I still don’t know.. I’m spread so thin at the moment, that that I’ve a loss of focus, which happens frequently. I’m still trying to figure out what the impact of family troubles has on fulfilling my vocation as a writer – what I believe to be my authentic vocation, my true vocation.

*I think God put me on this earth to reach people through language. He wanted me to see the world through language. His language, His liturgy.. His love, His peace, His Life, His Joy, His Passion, His pain.. everything.

I ended up in an English classroom.. I guess that was the first step.

This next step is telling the Truth in the language that I know.

The pain is raw, this is when it gets us close and is most Truthful, so yes, I will write about it.


Considerations for #2 – I will keep this as anonymous as possible, the perspective as merciful as possible. This will not be a crying fest. I am doing this to see this through the lens of the Cross as saints do. I can only do this if I’m not a bad person in the way I portray my story. I won’t do it to those I love.

Considerations for #3 – I hope I’m not causing scandal. When I see it, sense it, I will stop. My hope is to give hope to others to bear their Crosses and to Love. I need to get back to this place where I had been. I am downtrodden. I know many have experienced this before. Maybe if I leave a trail of breadcrumbs, little posts of prayer cards here in there marked with the stain of my blood, souls will turn to God.

That’s really all I want..

Considerations for #4 – Jesus would tell me to hold my thoughts up to the Truth, to use Him as a standard, like I did back in October of next year. For a few glorious days, I .. spiritually? .. had Him near me*, where I could turn to Him with thoughts to see what Right in a moment. To turn to Him like this! Always! I feel I have fallen from grace.. maybe not, I will only know in retrospect. All I can do is try to keep close to Him, make sure I am in a state of [sanctifying grace].. and my loved ones, too. This is all for naught if I do not open myself and do all I can to take care of them.


Last Consideration:  never written.. what happened that day was my daughter was in a car wreck with my husband and all hell broke loose in the house.  Neither one was seriously injured — you can thank our Tahoe — but that night felt like 20 years of whatever troubles we evaded, whatever demons we’d cast off from ourselves & our extended family, just came & evidenced themselves.. “we’re still here,” they seemed to say.  How this related to my writing vocation, I haven’t a clue.. except that 2 days later, I started my Water to Wine substack with changing wineskins, my first post.

I’ve been consistently writing, developing my voice — watching God’s work in my soul & in the world around me — ever since.

Praise God, all the Glory is His.

– veronica

On Praying for Priests – MP, In Sinu Jesu, Day 5


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For December 9, 2007, p 16-17, In Sinu Jesu

I was reminded to pray for priests today.

I’m not a priest-prayer. The long-suffering of the Church has left me with a severe degree of cope – after being a great admirer of the holy office of our priests.

I’d lived through the 2003 scandals, held myself aback from my own reactions, knowing the priests that I saw before me, the priests I knew likely had nothing to do with the horrific sufferings from the , 60s, 70, 80s, whatever time frame was referenced in the Dallas Charter.

I had to form my children in the Faith, I had to move on.

This time around, beginning with the McCarrick scandal, I gave myself a few weeks (months?) to be aghast and infuriated, but I was in a place in my prayer life where I didn’t want to be sullied by the hatred I saw in everyone else.. and myself.  So I prayerfully put it aside Continue reading

A Better Start – In Sinu Jesu Day 5

I woke up at 7:30 this morning, the earliest I’ve woken up in a couple of weeks since we’ve been in isolation. We’re Week 7.  We abandoned our daily work routine and started staying up late. When it got to 3, 4 am this week, I knew the time to radically adjust had arrived.

Breakfast done, In Sinu Jesu reading done, prayer by by about 10a.  My earliest prayer times for my first In Sinu Jesu reading this week have been at about 2p.  I still need to push it back.

Clarifying it for myself now:

– Wake up 6a, read, pray – breakfast.
– 11a, read, pray – lunch
– 5p, read, pray – dinner.
– Family prayer later, night prayer by myself, bed.

This is the Lection Divina prayer routine I’d like to follow with In Sinu Jesu.

Holy Spirit, guide me, Jesus, Jesus, be my Savior. Amen.


Parking In Sinu Jesu


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In Sinu Jesu Book CoverToday’s the soft start of In Sinu Jesu – we’re reading the Introduction and whatever else we feel like posting – and I’ve hung around Twitter aaall day, a habit I’m wary of, for obvious reasons.

Maybe it’s not too obvious.

I’ve been working on my prayer life.  And I know about the delicacy keeping the mind and heart free for God.  I’ve experienced this..I’ve struggled with this. So, to go to a place that has a history of causing so much distraction to me.. it seems foolish.

I overcame something in the beginning of this year.  It took weeks-long, then days-long hiatus’s.. hiatii.. so I’m wary.  I don’t trust myself, not when my prayer life has lagged as it has for the past few weeks.

I start again.  This time, with In Sinu Jesu, a book written by a Benedictine monk as Jesus spoke to his heart while in Holy Adoration.

I have another blog, but it’s for another purpose, not suitable for what I have in mind with In Sinu Jesu.  This blog has been hidden because it has my full name.  I haven’t been afraid to use it.. I just didn’t know what I would use it for.

Now I know.

veronicaestrada.wordpress.com has a beautiful Chateau Theme that has been retired from WordPress for ages.  I – again – parked it years ago.. 2013 or so.  Now’s the time to use it.

AMDG. Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday

What it’s Like to Speak to Jesus all Day – Part 1


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Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 10.41.26 PM

Ecce Homo, 1877, Gustave Dore

Let me tell you what it’s like to *try* to turn and speak to Jesus all day.

I haven’t mastered this practice yet, it’s only been about 2, 3 days, but I’m excited to show you what I’ve already gained these past few days since spending time with Father Earley at our Carmelite retreat.

Yes.. I’ve still to go through my notes from the beginning and do the slow reveal about how we got to *here*, but it’s important for me to capture what’s going on now before I go back and sift.

Just a snapshot of my soul, let me share that with you.

First of all, it’s nothing like I imagined it would be.  I’ve always imagined the saints being in some sort of ecstatic state if they were to be in God’s presence throughout the day, as though to be with God, you’re half-asleep to the world.  These past few days, that hasn’t been my experience at all.

It’s a lot like the my turning to your father for wisdom, advice or direction before making a decision or beginning something.  First comes the mental acknowledgement that there is someone there, then there’s the follow-through movement of engaging with the person.  That’s how it is when I’m around your Dad — or even when we’re around each other.  We can be immersed in doing something and walk by each other without even noticing a person’s walked by, so that awareness is always the first movement.  Then comes the engagement.  The “Hey.. I wanted to ask you something..” Or the “There you are… Guess what happened today.”  It’s that simple with Jesus.

First, you mentally pull yourself away from what you’re doing for a second from what you’re doing, you place yourself in God’s presence – which is moving your mind into a state to pray.  Carmelites call that recollection, collecting the faculties of the soul.  It’s basically lifting your mind from everything around you and forgetting all else for a moment while you acknowledge God.

You know He’s everywhere, so this can be done anywhere, in an instant.

“Lord…”  Boom.. You are with Him, in His presence.

Second, you simply speak, ask, tell, reveal, as honestly and as simply as possibly, with absolute trust, holding nothing back.  You have to believe that Jesus is present and that you are being heard.

It’s like a momentary prayer.  You can lift your eyes up and pray to God in a moment’s notice when you’re in need, can’t you?  It’s the same thing.  Lift your mind to Jesus, who is beside you, closer than you can imagine (He actually dwells in your heart.. but having Him beside you is a nice point of reference to get started with this.)

Practice this often, several times a day.

When?  Well, try moments of temptation, for starters.  You know yourself, your flaws, your faults.  When you know you’re approaching something that will tempt you, turn to Jesus and ask Him what He thinks.  Should be doing this?

Pay attention to the movement of your heart as you do this a few times, and you’ll be turning to our Lord more frequently.

That’s how it’s happening with me.  I’ll tell you more about this tomorrow..

AMDG. Feast of St. Bridget

Dieu de roi



Jesus, Truest Friend Who Gives All


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IMG_7167Dearest Kids,

I’m so very glad you told me the story about the shoelaces and St. Therese.  I think all the hassle you went through to be able to see her at St. Mary’s Cathedral — and your concern for your Dad having to open up your truck – is just absolutely charming.  It’s a fuss that I am certain Therese would not have wanted, but that Jesus had you go through so you can witness the value of love for the sake of our dear saint.

So many times, it’s so easy to invoke our little beloveds.  We have great faith and we know we can call to them, and they will be with us in any moment of need.  But when do we go through the trouble of showing them what great worth God’s treasures are to us?  When you went to see her, that was just a little taste of all we owe them.  A pilgrimage, a little drive, a little going out of the way, a little extra prayer are all means to show our gratitude to them for all they have done for us, but most importantly, for all they’ve done to Glorify God our Father.  May their intercession for us be to God’s glory as well…

I’m so happy you went down to see our dear friend Therese.

Today, I was thinking about how much we need to immerse ourselves in their friendship to counter the effects of the world.  Whatever it is we touch or consume, whatever is secular, there’s a trace of a truly unknown we expose ourselves to.. so much we immerse ourselves in through our entertainment and media.  It touches our eyes, our minds, and imprints itself onto our souls. What good it would do us to spend time to immerse ourselves with the saints, always..

To immerse yourselves with the Goodness, Beauty and Truth of God’s friends is to immerse yourself with the traits of God Himself.  And He has given this all through Christ Jesus.

“Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.”

And to imagine.. He gave us His Mother, the Blessed Virgin, our Dear Mother who love us so.  His greatest treasure is ours.  What love He has given us, what care, what concern.

Yes, these saints and Our Blessed Mother, these great treasures of heaven are proof of God’s great love, but they’re also a testament of the great graces He wishes to bestow upon you and me, too.  May we ask Him to prepare to accept every singular grace and gift He has in store for us… whether it’s the gift of a saintly friend, or a greater awareness of His great friendship with us, or whether it’s drawing us ever closer to the inner recesses of His Most Holy and Sacred Heart.

Jesus is our soul’s Truest Friend.  He is the Truest Lover of our little hearts.   May we never fail to ask Him to give us His Divine Love, that we may love Him divinely with all our heart, mind, and soul in return.

AMDG. Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Dieu de roi

Jesus on My Mind, Always


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Christ on the Mount of Olives and the angel with the cup of suffering, 1750, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Christ on the Mount of Olives and the angel with the cup of suffering, Giovanni Battista, Tiepolo, 1750.

I plan on talking to Him all the time.  I plan on asking Him for direction, clarity, and permission all the time.

With God’s grace, I will overcome the gnawing nagging of my social media habit.

Google and Twitter are not my friends, no matter what my brain tries to tell me.

Jesus is my friend.  He is my First, Last and Everything.

Jesus – Our Friend


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Holy Eucharist

It’s nice that this is here.

Retreat has ended and Daddy & I were intent about bringing Carmel home this time, what we learned, what we’re committed to.  So, we brought you to see Jesus, our Holy Friend in the Holy Eucharist.

What I had to say about Father Earley’s talks with us really doesn’t do him justice, but I’m glad we were able to start presenting the ideas from our retreat.  It felt like a continuation, really.  We’d spoken of Father Earley all those years ago, and in a way, our lives got interrupted when he left us back then, too.  But, now he’s back and we’ve picked up right where we left off.

Kids, that is a true definition of friendship: wherever there is divine love, an intimate sharing of hearts rooted in God, His Beauty, His Goodness, His Truth, there is true friendship. When you can pick up where you left off, you’re picking up from the Truth of your Divine Love, from the Truth of your friendship.  This is how it is for me and your father and Father Earley.  May we be blessed with his presence for as long as possible, if it is God’s Holy Will..

When I say “we,” I mean all of us.

From now on, I’ll be sharing everything of what we learn, whether you guys are ready for it or not.  I’m a teacher — how can I not interpret what we’ve learned in Carmel for your wee little listening, your wee little hearts and your wee little spirits?

Hence, igniting this blog.

I’m not interested in going back to the way things were.  This weekend, I repented.  I asked for forgiveness of offending Him by running away, hiding, playing and fettering my time away with distractions instead of following after Him, in whatever it has been that He has wanted to show me.  Several weeks ago, when I was in Holy Adoration, I was inspired to ask for the graces I had lost throughout my lifetime, for everything I had lost because of my negligence, ignorance, laziness, whatever fault.  In a moment, I just wanted it all back.  I didn’t want to fail God and hurt Him anymore.  Me.  Just me.  Not, the world hurts Him, so I don’t want to add to it. 

I am cause enough for Christ’s suffering on the Cross, because I know He would have done it just for me if I was the only one He was intent on saving.

I didn’t want to hurt Him anymore.  It began there.

I wanted to amend my life and change the course of my History.  I wanted to get back on the road of becoming a saint.

This weekend was the tail end of that resolution.  I sought forgiveness for the harm I’d caused Him.. and even that has roots in asking for forgiveness from other people in my life.  It’s a grace how I’ve been faithful to that inspiration of humility, see where it has led me.  It started with one person (your Dad), then another, until finally it was brought to it’s natural conclusion:  Our Dear God.

Jesus has shown me this path.  It has been Him all along, I know this.  Father Earley has shown this to me, and now it’s time for me to write this down and show you the pathway, too.

I will continue to flesh out the conferences from the retreat this weekend here.  I’ll compose some of my notes, some of what Father Earley said, some resources he offered.

I’ll reflect, I’ll pray, and I’ll leave everything in God’s hands.  But, most importantly, I will follow the praying Jesus.. pray before, pray after, be with Him always.

Do the same as He does for the Glory of Our Father in heaven.



God has Crowned His Christ With Victory



Week 1, Tuesday Evening Prayer, Antiphon 1, Psalm 20

A prayer for the King’s Victory

Myth Lord answer in time of trial;

may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.
May he send you help from his shrine

and give you support from Zion.

May be remember all your offerings

and receive your sacrifice with favor.

May he give you your heart’s desire

and fulfill eery one of your plans.

May we ring out our joy at your vitory

and rejoice in the name of our God,

May the Lord grant all your prayers.

I am sure now that the Lord

will give victory to his anointed,

will reply from his holy heaven

with the mighty victory of his head.

Some trust in chariots or horses,

but we in the name of the Lord.

They will collapse and fall,

but we shall hold and stand firm.

Give victory to the king, O Lord,

give answer on the day we call.

If God establishes the kingdom in our hearts, when He is victorious, can He not be victorious in our bodies, minds and souls?

Is it possible to give Him victory over whatever mess is in us?  Isn’t there a great battle waging in there, too?

Why would we withhold that Victory from Him?  And let Him be King in His little corner of His Kingdom, which is us?

originally posted in Little Good Things – Build His Kingdom (littlecarpenters.wordpress.com)