Friday, July 31, 2020

Gospel Thoughts Today: Duly Honored

The word "honor" grabbed my attention in the Gospel today. There were those who didn't honor Christ when He walked this earth . . . when they could actually touch Him, see Him and listen to Him. So, why would it be any different over 2,000 years later? Well, the Truth can be overwhelming, right? It means admitting to ourselves we are imperfect. The fact is, a true follower of Jesus knows when they are getting it wrong and try to avoid making the same mistake over and over. His Love is unconditional. He honored every one of us in His Passion. If you are Catholic (or even if you are not!), pray the Sorrowful Mysteries. Watch The Passion of the Christ. Immerse yourself in His suffering. Give Him the honor He deserves. In turn, clarity in honoring our families, our friends, our community and our historically #MAGA President will become apparent! Seek the good, always. Be honorable in all you do and say.

Today's Gospel (Matthew 13:54-58) illustrates how painful (or disappointing) the lack of honor from His own people must have felt for our dear Jesus:

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.

They were astonished and said, "Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Climbing the Mountain, she beautifully describes the magnitude of God's love for us:

"It is like every honor in the world to be asked to write about love of Jesus. Where does one begin and, more importantly, how does one finish a task such as this? One will never be finished. That stated, when asked to do something, it is best to begin. Love of Jesus is like the wind. We cannot see it, we cannot always identify its origin, but it has great impact on us and can actually alter our course. It can begin in softness, as a gentle stirring, and end in the greatest of storms that will lead us to heroic deeds and action. Love of Jesus brings us to the base of the mountain. What is first experienced is the love Jesus has for us. Our love of Christ is actually a response to His perfect love for us because His love always was and always will be. The love between a soul and his Savior is a reciprocal thing. God’s love must be entertained by the soul in order to grow. If the soul has a heart surrounded by ice, Jesus will melt that ice, but He can only work if He is allowed. This ice, the result of sin and of the wounds inflicted by the world, closes off the divine. The heart needs love like the lungs need oxygen. Our Lord Himself has said this. So the more closed the heart is to the divinity, the less capable it is of loving. A soul can sometimes rest in mortal sin or in the world for a long period. This heart becomes hardened and toughened. The longer the heart is closed off to Christ, the more accustomed the soul becomes to living without the love of Christ. This stated, the Divine Healer needs only the smallest crack and He can flood the soul with warmth and heat, melting the ice and restoring the heart to a condition where it can freely give and receive love from Jesus and from other souls. The love of Christ is the most powerful driving force on earth. It is what compels souls to service. It compels souls to work tirelessly for others, their brothers and sisters who are also beloved by Jesus. This is because when we love someone, we begin to accept their goals as our own. If nothing else, we understand the goals of the beloved and if we can help to further those goals, we will do so."

Lay apostles, how are you honoring Christ in your life? How are you honoring those around you, including our President? How are you honoring yourself? I achieve more when I stay focused on Christ. Today, do an "honor" check in your life . . . how can you improve?

Thank you, Lord, for showing me continually the sacrifices You made for me and all mankind. Help me remember to honor You at all times, in any situation.

God bless,

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Gospel Thoughts Today: Separating Wicked from Righteous

After reading today's Gospel, the image immediately front and center? The radical, anti-America, hate-filled, greedy left. Ok, sorry, just had to get that out! Now I can refocus and, oh wait, perfect analogy to the Gospel below! I have to believe most Americans are in shock/disgusted/tired of the violence and deception going on not only in Democrat cities, but support of this hatred/evil by the Democrats in congress and senate (and a certain Republican)! I thank God for President Trump every day. And most importantly, try to remember God is still on the throne! Good will come out of this. As a matter of fact, I have witnessed a few of those blessings already. So, if all this chaos is causing fear or anxiety, stop and say, "Jesus, I trust in You!" Then, do something positive in His Name. Turn off the TV/radio/social media and work on making a difference for the good of your soul, and the souls of all those you encounter today.

This Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53) says it all . . . I believe it with all my heart:

Jesus said to the disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

“Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

In the Monthly Message of February 2011, Jesus spells out what we are fighting for:

"Oh dear apostles, I know that you carry crosses associated with your holy vocations, but do you not see that these crosses, carried with dignity, illustrate My presence in your life and indeed in the world more than anything else? In every circumstance, I bless you and receive you into My heart where you find the direction and reassurance you require. In every moment there is grace available for you and for others through you. The more grace I flow through you, the more the world is blessed and the more you are sanctified. Move toward Me, closer and closer in your hearts and in your actions and, truly, the world will find the love it craves.
Look at how God’s children drink in kindness, as though they were parched for want of it. Yes, you are sacrificing in order to answer My call but the plan is working and the world is being renewed through the efforts of all men of good will. Rejoice then, despite your cross. We are advancing the one righteous cause, that is, the cause of love."

Lay apostles, it all boils down to love, doesn't it? There is a famous sign in Ft. Myers on McGregor Blvd that was erected in 1943. It says in neon lights: God is Love. Remember that when you watch the news. Most of what you are seeing is NOT from God. Please, keep that in mind this November.

Thank you, Lord, for reassuring me You are and always will be in charge! Help keep my eyes focused on You when evil is displayed in broad daylight.

God bless,

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Gospel Thoughts Today: Take the Time

Motherhood. So much to do, so little time to do it all. And when there are multiple children involved, hours seem like minutes. As mothers, we try to keep everyone happy. Most of us are pleasers at heart. We cook, clean, bandage up scraped knees, and stop arguments between siblings. We love, cry, and brush off the words "I hate you" from a teenager's mouth. We are so busy with life, sometimes we forget to enjoy it. Since the births of our four grandchildren, I see things differently. I wish I would have read more to my girls; extended our Barbie play sessions; and taken more walks enjoying nature. During this whole "pandemic," I have latched on to opportunities to play with my grandchildren . . . via FaceTime! My grandson loves to play Yatzee and since we both have the game in our homes, it was easy to play virtually. Barbies via FaceTime? Heck yeah! I have a bunch of Barbies at my house as does my granddaughter at her house. We spent most of the time changing doll clothes from casual to ball gowns. The best part? Hearing my sweet girl's Scottish accent as she changed clothes for her Merida doll from the Disney movie Brave! Priceless.

Over the course of about 4 weeks, it had become a daily event with the kids. Each time I sat playing with my beautiful babies one on one, the same thought crossed my mind over and over . . . thank you, Lord, for this grace and blessing of grandchildren. I am so grateful we are back to "Mimi" days every week where I get to hug and kiss these little angels in person!

Mothers and fathers (and grandparents, aunts and uncles), take the time while your children are young. Don't miss the small stuff because you have to check email or update your Facebook status. Focus on your family. Help build the Kingdom of God!

The Gospel (Luke 10:38-42) today is one we must remember when believing we need to make sure everyone else is happy:

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

In Heaven Speaks About Stress, Jesus tells us to slow down:

"My children, why do you hurry so? Why do you feel you must move so quickly through your days? This is not the way I intended the children of God to live. You may tell Me that you have many things to do. I respond to you by saying that you are trying to do too much. You will not be holy if you move so quickly. I want My beloved apostles to move more slowly and thoughtfully through their days. I want you to make decisions on what I am asking you to do and what you are busying yourself with that is not from Me. I want your way of life to change and I am asking you to make this change now. In the next week, think about each activity and decide, with Me, if it is something I want you to do or something you want to do. My dearest apostles, I ask that you begin to remove activities that do not further My will. I want more time in silence, as you know. I want more time with families, without noise blocking you from each other. I want prayer, yes, but also conversations that are not hurried and stressed between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and parents and children. These are the souls I have decided you will walk through your life with and you have obligations to them. If you are too busy with your own will, you are not seeing to Mine and you are missing opportunities both to learn from others and to assist others in learning about Me."

Lay apostles, serve where you need to serve. But, if you are presented with opportunities to spend a few minutes with Christ in prayer, your children, grandchildren or spouse, leave the dishes in the sink (or whatever distraction detains you). What can you do today to make a memory? Remember, even God can't change the past.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me the importance of slowing down, focusing more on You and less on distractions that don't further Your Kingdom.

God bless,

Monday, July 27, 2020

Gospel Thoughts Today: Plant Killer to Plant Mom

I do not have a green thumb . . . at all. Over the years I have watched the demise of a multitude of plants, inside and in planters outside. They all start off so beautiful and healthy. Then, I forget to water them. Fertilize? Yeah, not even in my thought process. I have two fake larger plants in our home, along with some fake flowers I stuck in a vase I got for our granddaughter's room at our house (she quickly pulled them out and said they had to be REAL flowers, Mimi!). In redecorating our family room, our daughter who is helping with her amazing artistic design sense told me I had to put real plants inside . . . no convincing her of fake plants. So, I did my research and found the best indoor plant for those without green thumbs. My choice? A Money Tree! I read everything I could on taking care of it, including fertilizing, and anxiously awaited my delivery from Bloomscape. Thankfully, I found a website explaining care in words/photos, something I could understand and print just in case I needed some reminders! I am proud to tell you my Money Tree is thriving and even developed an offshoot I am going to replant in its own pot! Sometimes what seems complicated to some can be explained in a way that makes sense! Hence, the brilliance of Jesus and His parables!

In today's Gospel (Matthew 13:31-35), Jesus communicates with the crowd in words they could understand:

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”

He spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, 
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she asks us to take a look at ourselves and question if what we are doing is nurturing holiness or our ego:

"Some search constantly for evidence of unholiness in others. I think this might be their way of trying to fuel or protect their superiority or obtaining value for themselves in an unhealthy way. Superiority is something that requires constant feeding, like an addiction. Just as a cigarette smoker needs a nicotine fix periodically, a superiority addict needs to look down on someone periodically. Anyone will do. Those around this type of addict will suffer the most but if the superiority addict must go outside of his inner circle, he is happy to do that. Reading the daily newspaper can work for him in a pinch, but one addicted to superiority will eventually find himself searching for reasons to condemn even the holiest souls. This should make our skin crawl with revulsion. Really. It should. I suspect that what is happening is that it is easier to snatch affirmation in small unhealthy doses this way than to actually look within, meet the eyes of Christ and take whatever affirmation we merit in truth while accepting the growth challenges that Jesus puts before us. I often wonder if these people think they are going to get into heaven by citing the unholiness of others rather than standing on their own holiness. Do they think Jesus will ask them to regale Him with stories about the darkness of the times and the sins committed by those around them? Jesus Christ knows the sins of others and instantly factors in all mitigating and aggravating circumstances in each life. The life we will be accounting for is our own. Jesus knew the law but He was not rigid because He applied it with love and mercy. Remember that the characteristics of the Trinity include gentleness, kindness, generosity of heart, truthfulness, eagerness to serve, prudence, and humility. Where do we find these things in the behavior of the Pharisees? Where do we find these things authentically in the behavior of the superiority addicts around us? Look at Jesus in this incident. He, in one situation, exhibits all of the above characteristics. Truly, the smallest bit of contemplation on the earthly actions of Jesus Christ will take the apostle far back into the study of the place that is the divine will."

Lay apostles, Jesus has made it clear that in following Him, our path will be a series of roller coaster rides. Look at the Bible and Volumes as the bar that tightens across your lap on all the twists and turns of life! Once the ride comes to an end, we will be exactly where He intended all along . . . in His Loving Arms!

Thank you, Lord, for the parables to help those of us needing a little more explanation/visual of Your Words become crystal clear.

God bless,