Friday, April 21, 2017

Repetition

I used to watch my grandson Colton three days a week the first 2 years of his life. I remember watching in amazement how quickly he grew, learning something new every day. When he was in my care, we read, crawled around the house, played with the toy choo choo train, and practiced saying words. From the time he began identifying people by name (Mama was his first), I tried to teach him to call me "Grammie." Well, all the repetitive teaching started to pay off. At first he started making the "g" sound when he saw me. Then my daughter Whitney had made a book for Colt with pictures of all his family. She said they got to my picture holding him and he repeatedly said the "g" sound over and over!  I was thrilled. Eventually "Grammie" became "Mimi" months later (which I absolutely adore hearing my four grandkids say!). Just as repetitive teaching helps our children to grow and learn new things, so does reading Sacred Scripture, the Volumes, and all of the messages Our Lord has graciously provided through saints and prophets. If you make spiritual reading a daily practice, soon you begin to live the messages to the best of your ability. 

Today's Gospel (John 21:1-14) shows Jesus giving a third reminder to His beloved disciples . . . He is always around:

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Climbing the Mountain, she beautifully describes it may take multiple attempts to get it right, but give yourself a break and do better next time:

"There is a story about a hole in the road. A child steps into the hole repeatedly until, after many consequences, he learns to walk around the hole, and finally begins taking another street and avoiding it altogether. Well, this is how it is for us at times. Which one of us can say that we have not repeated a mistake? The God we love understands that it can take repeated lessons until we learn. If Jesus accepts us with such readiness, can it be right that we judge ourselves harshly? We are called to emulate Him. He is tolerant of us. Dear apostles, let us accept our humanity and our flaws in the same way that Jesus accepts them."

Lay apostles, the time I spend trying to "get it right" requires steadfastness, consistency, and small investments every day. I used to be so hard on myself when I failed. Now, I try to be as forgiving of myself and others as Jesus. Not easy, but so necessary.
Thank you, Lord, for all the repetitive teaching You provide me. Sorry it takes a few more reminders at times, but with Your patience and love, the lessons do come to me eventually!

God bless,
Bonnie


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gospel Words: Holding On

There are just some things hard to let go of at times . . . past hurts, ego, mistakes made, traumatic events. When I read the Gospel today, I started thinking about the depth of the wounds now healing in my heart. Instead of holding on to anger, pride or mistrust, through Christ, I can look past offenders to the fact I have been the offender periodically in my lifetime. I know I have never done anything mean intentionally (well, maybe when I was young and my little sister wouldn't give me my Barbie back!). But if I have hurt someone, especially someone I love, I want them to forgive me, not hold on to the hurt for years as we all have seen, heard of or experienced in families. Instead of holding on to the unpleasant memories, I try to view them as imperfect people making imperfect decisions . . . myself included. And that is my prayer when they think of me. Placing Christ in the forefront, I have better clarity gazing through His Eyes.

In today's Gospel (John 20:11-18), Jesus tells us to let go of earthly attachments:

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni,"  which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and then reported what he had told her.

I love the following from Staying in Place . . . it's time to move onward and upward:

"The offenders abused the power that came with representing God. Note that we gave them the power, which speaks to our need for development, too.

There now. A deep breath must be taken by all and a new way found. We must seek a new way. What is the past is the past and those who cling to it soon wither because it no longer feeds. Those who preach it find few takers because it no longer inspires. The Gospel message is always fresh, as stated. We can all look back with today’s knowledge and perhaps find little spots where we, too, got it wrong, perhaps in actions which, while not elevating to the criminal level, lacked mercy and honest human expression and thus distorted God. We must all accept our collective need for development, along with our faith expression. What was enough in the past now must be updated because it is no longer enough to hold the love that is God. We have to ‘up our game’ and be more mindful of integrating our humanity with our Christianity. That means that ugly behavior is ugly behavior and we should call ourselves on it instead of spiritualizing it. Because we can all point to a person or a group of people and say, ‘If that is the Catholic Church, count me out.’ There is actually a case to be made that if a ship is sinking, you jump in a mechanism for survival that has been hard wired.


However, and this is a big however, all families are dysfunctional to some degree and our faith family has predictably proven itself no different. While some need to leave to heal, some need to stay to repair and recover the family, sweep up the glass, face the neighbors and yes, deal with any outstanding legal matters, may the Lord bless our bishops."

Lay apostles, what past sins or hurts or opinions are you holding on to? First, ask yourself WHY you are holding on to them. When you figure out the WHY, contemplate where Jesus fits into the equation. There is a wonderful little book called Thoughtful Men and Women of God: A Guide to Contemplative Prayer to assist you in the healing process. It is time well spent with Our Lord. Give it a try. It's time to stop holding on and begin living your life for Christ!

Thank you, Lord, for the ability to heal the wounds acquired over my lifetime.

God bless,
Bonnie

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pray It Forward With The Volumes





Pray it forward with the Volumes…


Dear lay apostle,

We want to do an exercise with you. We will call it the positive memory exercise.

Take a moment now and remember a time when you held a Volume in your hands and, reading the messages from Heaven, felt the graces attached to those words flow into you. Most of us would say we felt God was speaking directly to us or that this message had been written just for us and for our exact situation at that time.

You felt loved, you felt a new clarity, a way forward, encouraged and changed somehow. Lay apostles, these Volumes and the accompanying graces are what we have each been asked to spread. How blessed we are that we get to do this!

“Will you answer My call? I am relying on my apostles on earth to spread My words and to allow My light and love to flow back into this world.”
— Jesus, November 1, 2005 Monthly Message

And so, it is our first priority to get the books of this apostolate into the hands of those who need them.

We are constantly amazed at the ideas lay apostles come up with for getting books into the hands of others –– a family member, a colleague, a friend, or even a stranger. And we are always thinking of ways we can make it easier to get the books into your hands too.

I cannot tell you how many times someone has described their life as before reading Climbing the Mountain and after reading Climbing the Mountain. For many of us life changed when we read about heaven and purgatory, less afraid, more excited about our faith and eager to help God spread this apostolate. So now we want to offer that same life changing grace to others.

For the next three weeks, we are offering an opportunity to participate in a special project that I’m sure you will want to take advantage of.
For $149.99 you will receive two complete sets of the Volumes, one for you and one for a friend, along with one copy each of Climbing the Mountain and Transforming Grace. The price includes shipping and handling!

What a great opportunity to spread the messages and expand the apostolate!

How it works:
1.     Place your order here before April 28: Pray it Forward
2.     Volunteer lay apostles will assemble to lovingly pack your order on    May 1st.
3.     Receive two sets of Volumes – keep a set and share a set!
4.     Receive Climbing the Mountain & Transforming Grace – Keep one, share the other?



As you know since the Volumes were first printed the price remained $5 but given increased printing costs and other overhead expenses since 2003 we will be raising the price to $7 after May 1, 2017. So, this is a fantastic opportunity to get your set at the old price and share the messages with a friend or family member.

As our friend Eric says 'we will pray it forward'. What does that mean? We ask God in prayer who He wants to get these books. And that is how we ‘pray it forward’. And then all together as a group we pray for everybody's book recipient. We pray for a powerful outpouring of comforting and conversion graces. Take that which comforted you and use it to comfort others.

We look forward to receiving your orders over the next 3 weeks.



Without you, this ministry is not possible. Thank you.

Faithfully,

Fr. Darragh Connolly, Chaplain

P.S. – Don't forget! The deadline for ordering your special pack of the Volumes and the two books is April 28. We will ship your order during the week of May 1st - May 5th.

Click here to order your pack now. This offer is only available through this link or by calling us at 708-496-9300

Who Do You Follow?

A few years ago Jay and I were watching the last installment of The Bible on the History Channel. From the moment the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, I could barely contain myself (The Passion of the Christ invokes the same). Throughout His torture, I wondered about His disciples. Were they so fearful for their human lives they went into hiding, nowhere to be found at the cross?  Did they feel immense anger or frustration knowing they couldn't save Christ as it would spoil God's plan?  And when Peter denied Christ three times . . . well, I can imagine how disgusted Peter was with himself. Is covering up the truth for fear of an unknown outcome = not trusting Jesus? I think it does. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life.  We have the benefit of the Bible, the Volumes, and all God has provided over the last 2,000 + years. Stand up for Christ. Don't remain quiet when others deny Him. It's time to be bold, lay apostles. Admit you know theTruth!

Today's Gospel (Matthew 28:8-15) should prove lies will only lead you away from Christ:

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guards went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

In Volume Five, Jesus the Redeemer makes it plain and simple . . . choose Him or choose the enemy:

"I assure you that a human being does not have the right to choose against God. That is not one of the choices you have been allowed. So when a soul chooses against God, he chooses to follow the enemy. Again, this is simple. The father of lies draws souls but only those souls who say “yes” to the darkness. Choose Me, then follow Me. You would not choose Me and then follow a path that leads away from Me. Many are doing just that because they do not like the earthly sacrifices that come with following My course. Little ones, you will laugh at the nothings of this earth when you die in your body and are born into your eternity. If you have sacrificed your eternity or your crown in heaven for the nothings of this world, your regret and bitterness will be profound. This is not for you. You are for heaven so I want you to learn all about Me, your Redeemer, and God, My Father, and all of our saints and true servants. I want you to learn about My Church on earth. I want you to have the answers when someone asks you why you follow this carpenter’s Son."

Lay apostles, what has Lent and the joy of Easter done for your spiritual life this year? I feel clarity, calm and fearless. After reading Volume Five, I have never felt so focused.

Thank you, Lord, for all the protection You offer when I stand up for You. Please continue to open my eyes to Your Truth.

God bless,

Bonnie


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday

Today is a day of waiting . . . waiting for our Risen Christ. Waiting for a new season of hope. We are an Easter people, and tomorrow is a grand celebration. May you all have a holy and blessed Easter.  

Today's Gospel (Luke 24:1-12) shows even those closest to Christ still had some doubt:

At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.  They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Staying in Place, she suggests we must seek to understand:

"God burns off our self-will by teaching us through His own systematic lesson plan which incrementally increases in us the willingness to sit in the Garden, like Christ, and accept that we only embrace the Father’s will by relinquishing our own will. Those are hard moments but in those moments come absolute and legitimate anointing. Now if we are playing pretend, we simply call life a cross and be drama kings and queens. Some things people call crosses help us to understand the incremental nature of our fashioning by God. But if it is real, a real Christ-cross, we know the price we are paying and we receive lovely dignity interiorly in the isolation that comes with heavy crosses.

What are effective Heavenly crosses? The loss of respect? The loss of one’s reputation? The loss of one’s physical strength or ability? The loss of the ability to affect regulate? The loss of one’s independence? The loss of one’s financial status? The loss of loved ones? The loss of ego (at the appropriate adult age and not before when we are supposed to be ego building, that is, until 24 years of age).

Some readers, as they read those sentences remember their anguish associated with those experiences. But the astute reader has already noted the benefits, spiritually, which accompanied such experiences, too. There are none of us, most likely, who would say, ‘God send me all of them.’ A wise person would not advocate such a request. God, Himself, knows what we need to transform. Best not to be prideful in requesting crosses that will neither benefit, nor anoint us. Suffering comes unbidden. Best to let the Lord design the cross that will strengthen us without overcoming us."

Lay apostles, think about the apostles and followers of Jesus today and what they must have been experiencing finding the tomb empty. What suffering they must have endured losing Him. But through suffering, we become stronger with Christ. Celebrate tomorrow as they did when Jesus appeared to them.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me hope and faith. Tomorrow will truly be a celebration!

God bless,

Bonnie