Friday, October 18, 2019

Gospel Thoughts Today: The Answer to Any Mess

Not my circus. Not my monkey. This is has become a common phrase Jay and I use when the "atmosphere" around us becomes unruly. Others try to draw us into their spinning vortex, but we have nothing to do with the drama. Nada. A good friend recently told me, "There comes a point where you can't be distorted anymore to suit their victimhood." Very profound advice. As Jesus states in the Gospel today, pick up and move on. There is no reason to vacillate when the Truth is clear.

In today's Gospel (Luke 10:1-9), Jesus tells His disciples to dust off and move on when it is time to head out:

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’

In Heaven Speaks About Divorce, St. Anne assures us Jesus is the answer to any mess:

"It is like standing in a big mess. When you bring it to Jesus, He pulls you away from the mess, and, with a glance, reduces the mess to nothingness. He is your Healer. He is your trusted friend who will not make your cross heavier. He will make it lighter and manageable."

Lay apostles, sometimes our circumstances seem so disorderly . . . even chaotic. We all have a choice. Either we buy into the chaos becoming just as angry, fearful, entitled, or (you fill in the blank). Or, we go to prayer and let Jesus take care of anything we experience causing us unrest. He is ultimately in control . . . something I have to tell myself all the time. We may feel we are in the middle of a mess, but truly, He is working behind the scenes to create a pathway for us to climb the mountain of holiness to His Sacred Heart.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me despite the mess and chaos, laboring for You draws the ultimate Peace.

God bless,

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Gospel Thoughts Today: Appropriate Behavior?

What do you do when someone blatantly lies to your face when the fact is you know the truth? Do you call them out? Run away screaming "Liar, Liar?" Do you try to convince them of the real truth according to you? Or, do you calmly say your peace and walk away? Remember, as Christians, we must be gauging our own reactions in relation to how Christ reacted. Instead of throwing spears back at the "misguided" person, show them what telling the truth looks like. Be gently honest . . . consistently. One of two things will happen . . . eventually, they begin the path toward truthfulness or they just don't come around anymore. Think before you speak or react, lay apostles. What does your behavior say about you?

In today's Gospel (Luke 11:47-54), the scribes and Pharisees react with fear, pride, and jealousy instead of love, humility, and eagerness to please God:

The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

In the booklet Heaven Speaks About Stress, St. Padre Pio asks us to live a life of service, not judgment:

"Serve each other in joy and patience. There is far too much talk about relationships. You were created to serve, dear apostles. Serve. Do not keep scorecards of who is serving the most or who is serving the best. You have only to account for yourself so why do you concern yourself so often with the lack of service in others. Set an example of consistent service and you will find that others fall into line with you and improve. Love each other as Jesus loves you. Jesus forgives and forgets. Jesus does not wait to catch you at a bad moment when you are not doing your best or when you are discouraged. Jesus encourages you and overlooks your flaws. Do this for others, most particularly the souls who are called to walk through your life with you. No judging, my friends. Judging is for Jesus. Put the best possible light on others and expect the best from them and you will not be disappointed. Love passionately in that if you are called to walk with someone, be loyal to them as Jesus is loyal to you. Look for ways to make them feel cherished and appreciated. Small acts of kindness can change someone’s life."

Lay apostles, pay attention to how you react in adverse situations. Remember we are all imperfect beings . . . including the one who is disrupting your peace. Stay calm and forgive.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me to gauge my reactions as if You are right in front of me . . . after all, You are!

God bless,

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Gospel Thoughts Today: Be Strong

Disciplining my daughters growing up was a natural for me. But my grandkids . . . well, how can you get mad at angels? Jay and I took care of our 7-year-old grandson and 5-year-old granddaughter for two weeks beginning the end of September. They both are very comfortable in our home as we see them often. Full-time parenting on the north side of 50 is quite an experience (did school always start so early in the morning?)! Over the course of two weeks, heads butted only a few times . . . the culprit usually being after-school tiredness. Refereeing between the two required tact and diplomacy. I needed to be strong, despite the watery eyes on the verge of erupting. Talk about heart-wrenching! When time out expired, we talked about the lessons learned and ended with a big hug. Children need loving structure, safety, and discipline in order to become loving adults and parents themselves. As parents and grandparents, we must make sure we are not sending mixed messages which confuse small little minds. If we take them to church, make sure that faith comes home with them. The outside must equal the inside.

In today's Gospel (Luke 11:42-46), Jesus lectures the Pharisees and scholars to practice what they preach:

The Lord said: "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk." Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." And he said, "Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them."

In Volume Six, Mary (an unknown saint) asks us to pray to Our Lady to help set a good example for our children:

"I want to tell you that when you attempt to introduce family prayer to those children who have not prayed together in the past, you may experience resistance. Expect this. Also, when you say “no” to a child who has previously been given many material things, you will get anger. It will pass. Your child will object to being forced to pray and having material things taken away. Be brave, mothers. Be strong. Do not think for a moment that your decisions should be based on the anger or resistance of your children. Make your decision, and then impose it. Your children will come around if you are firm. Pray to Our Lady to help you turn your household into another holy family that serves the Kingdom. She will hear you and she will help. Set an example of calm holiness yourself and I promise you that all will be well."

Lay apostles, don't have expectations for others that you don't have for yourself.  If you want others to be kind, be kind to others.  If you send your children to Christian schools (or you are a Christian), live a Christian life inside and outside the home.  Remember, there are many eyes watching our every move.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the guidance and motivation to live by example.  I am so very thankful my daughters turned out loving You so much despite some of my not so stellar choices along the way!

God bless,

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Gospel Thoughts Today: Prep Time

Looking back on my life, I can see how Jesus was preparing me for this moment in time.  My not-so-stellar choices have led me straight into His arms. He knows I am stubborn, hard-headed and would require multiple occurrences of the same offense to learn the lessons. There was a time I didn't love myself enough to face the truth of my reality.  Numbing the pain sufficed for a while. The problem with numbing is you eventually sober up again. I was never an alcoholic, but the analogy works here for me.  My numbing consisted of multi-tasking, occupying my mind to the extent my past was not recognizable . . . or I should say memorable, by choice. My outside did not correspond with my inside. There is a song by Kelly Clarkson called "Maybe" which describes who I was (and still struggle with at times) while on my path to Christ. Here's a little piece of me:

I'm strong
But I break
I'm stubborn
And I make plenty of mistakes
Yeah I'm hard
And life with me is never easy
To figure out, to love
I'm jaded but oh so lovely
All you have to do is hold me
And you'll know and you'll see just how sweet it can be
If you'll trust me, love me, let me
Maybe, maybe

My big spiritual cleansing occurred in 2006.  The day Anne a lay apostle and the Volumes came into my life.  I finally understood.  I finally let go. I finally began to know Jesus.

In today's Gospel (Luke 11:37-41), Jesus wants us to understand looking pious on the outside does not make us holy on the inside:

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you."

In Volume Two, Jesus explains how He will heal our brokenness:

"I have come to cleanse souls. Much as a mother cleans her house, My child, I am cleaning and organizing your soul. If you have been away from Me, We must be busy. Events in your life, from your past, must be looked at now in a different way. This is an important task, and that is why I am spending time on it with you. Events can leave marks on your heart when you are not praying. Hence, My goal. To clean these marks and leave a heart that gives and receives love freely. When you pray, My child, I help you to sift through the experiences occurring in your life. Perhaps you have a disappointment today. Taken alone, without My assistance, you might feel down, sad and discouraged. If pride is a problem for you, and many suffer from pride, you might not share your sadness and disappointment with even another soul. It remains on your poor heart and, after a time, this turns to bitterness. Now, earthly life being what it is, and human beings being flawed, as they are in their search for perfection, you encounter yet another disappointment or betrayal. Pride asserts itself and again you do not adequately share your grief. Another patch of disappointment turns to bitterness and covers another area of your poor little heart. My child, when this process continues, you have a heart enclosed in bitterness. A heart needs love, in the same way your lungs need oxygen. Your heart was designed this way, dearest, and if your heart is enclosed, the love is blocked off. How handicapped you are in the spiritual sense. How it grieves Me to see you so disturbed and unhappy. My little one, I am coming to clean every mark from your heart so that you will love freely, as I love. Do not think this is an impossible task. I am Jesus. I am God."

Lay apostles, when was the last time you did a little spiritual cleansing?  If you are Catholic (or even if you're not), get into an Adoration Chapel and let Jesus apply the salve of His love and forgiveness on your broken heart.  Release the bitterness you have built up over the years. Let Him in. Let Him cleanse you.

Thank you, Lord, for all the spiritual cleansing You have done so far in me.  I know I still have a ways to go, but I am confident You know what You are doing!

God bless,