Friday, November 30, 2012

O Come All Ye Faithful

Today is a very special day for me.  I am enroute to Ireland to spend the weekend with some of the most loving, holy and FUN group of people I know, lay apostles! This weekend's Eucharistic Day of Renewal will be held at Holy Trinity Abbey in Kilnacrott. The Abbey was purchased by Direction for Our Times and Sunday will be a celebration of that purchase. The Gospel today (Matthew 4:18-22) is perfect timing as I journey to the Emerald Isle: 

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

Every committed lay apostle I have been blessed to meet are fishers of men. Living the Gospel and messages from Jesus and all of heaven through Anne imbeds Jesus Christ in our hearts, our minds and our actions.  Holiness is important to lay apostles. We try to live Jesus the best we can, day by day, spreading the words of Christ with love and joy in our hearts. Our only problem is we want EVERYONE to feel what we feel! The love of Jesus Christ the Returning King! O Come All Ye Faithful!

In the June 2012 Monthly Message, Jesus encourages His followers:

"I am pleased when I see holiness increasing in My friends and this increase in holiness is what gives Me hope for the Church. Yes, I am urging My followers toward sacrifice and service and many of you are answering with your whole hearts. You, listening to My words and allowing them to change you, are giving Me great hope. With this hope I push on into the world, confident, that while some resist change, others embrace it. Yes, change is happening, most especially in the heart of every committed apostle. You are becoming holier. As you are becoming holier, My Church is becoming holier. Apostles, hear this call with all seriousness. I, Jesus, have everything needed to advance the Church into greater unity. And I, Jesus, can do this as quickly as you will allow Me."

Lay apostles, pick up your cross and follow Jesus. What have you done today to spread the messages of Jesus in the Gospels and the Volumes?  It doesn't have to be complicated. For example, have you told someone you love them today?  If not, say it!  Have you smiled at a stranger who seems sad? If not, smile! Be joyful and band together with fellow lay apostles around the world to provide what this world so desperately needs . . . hope of salvation. 

Thank you, Lord, for providing what I needed to get to Ireland today. I am so grateful for all the love and support I receive from Jay, all my girls, and the Apostolate of Jesus Christ the Returning King! 

God bless,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

You Better Watch Out

Christmas is in the air.  There are radio stations dedicated to playing songs of Santa Claus, reindeer and most importantly, our beloved Savior. Yesterday, as I drove over to watch my grandson, the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" played.  It is such a bright and cheery song I remember from my childhood that my Christmas spirit was ignited. Why do I bring this up today? Well, the lyrics came to mind after reading todays Gospel (Luke 21:20-28): 

You better watch out, you better not cry,
You better not pout I'm telling you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town.

We are being told to cheer up and be joyful because happiness is just around the corner. Well, Jesus is telling us the same thing in the Gospel today, just a little more intensely:

Jesus said to his disciples: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the Scriptures are fulfilled. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."

Despite everything happening around us, we need to remain focused on Christ.  The oceans may rage and the winds blow, but our course must be steady, aiming straight for heaven. Never cower in fear, but stand tall knowing salvation is what we are striving for.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she encourages us to serve as our Blessed Mother and all the saints . . . as co-redeemers:

"And it is for this reason that Mary was crucified with her Son, truly and accurately. Because even as God possessed Mary through her Yes answer, she, in a sense, possessed Him by carrying the Saviour in her body. The Father created her immaculate for this role. He, as Father, craved a mother for His children, a “Yes” to Eve’s “No.” In Mary He created the most beautiful complement to His paternity. As Eve said no to the Father, Mary said yes and as Eve drew God’s children into the fall, Mary leads God’s children into Redemption. Apostles, we are each called to serve after the example of Mary. The Resurrected Christ wants to be presented to others through our yes answer to Him. We think of St. Francis and St. Dominic.

They, by allowing Christ to work through them, participated powerfully in the Redemption of mankind. Indeed, Francis allowed Christ to possess Him so completely that the wounds of the Saviour actually opened out and erupted again into the physicality of mankind. We know that periodically God sends these ‘big hitters’, as it were. Most of us will be smaller versions of this. Can we say that we are less important or that our call to be co-redeemers, or, those who cooperate with Mary and Jesus for mankind is less imperative? No. That is exactly what God’s enemy wants us to think, that we are irrelevant, that our yes answer is of no great importance to the Kingdom. On the contrary, the mystery of the Resurrected Christ is that He has a plan for the redemption of our brothers and sisters that includes each one of us."

Lay apostles, are you serving others, leading them to Christ?  Or, are you only worried about your own salvation? As we become more comfortable with talking the talk and walking the walk, we draw others into the Light of Christ.  Some will follow, and some will turn away. Pray for the latter. I can't imagine not knowing Christ when the time comes for His return. 

Thank you, Lord, for giving me strength and calm knowing I will meet you Face to face some day. And, to prepare myself and others I serve to stand tall in whatever is to come.

God bless,


Speaking in front of large crowds is something I enjoy.  But only if I know the subject well. I create an outline of main points to keep me on track. And I never rehearse. I don't stand in front of a mirror and practice my speech the night before. I am an "adlibber." A long time ago (in college) I tried writing out my entire speech and memorizing it.  Yeah, not so wonderful when you forget a sentence and your entire brain is searching for what comes next! Let's just say I learned to know my subject well enough to adlib!

Yesterdays Gospel (Luke 21:12-19) made me think about when my faith in Christ is challenged. I am horrible at quoting the Bible, but I remember the stories. I trust He will put the right words into my head when needed, but boy do I want to control what comes out, and I want it to sound eloquent! Jesus has other ideas:

Jesus said to the crowd: "They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she points out the importance of paying attention to our adlibbing: 

"There are times when our work requires speech. At those times we should speak and that is our prayer. The difficulty comes with useless talking, pointless communications which then become another distraction offered by God’s enemy to take our hearts from the contemplation of Him. In moments of useless communication when we are not in communion with Jesus, the enemy can come with temptation. Our talk is then subject to a dark influence. Our talk can then become subject to the enemy’s plan. In many ways and on many occasions we have furthered the plan of Satan through talking and other forms of communication that are not willed by heaven. Better we be mute than assist Satan in tearing down what the Lord attempts to build."

Lay apostles, when I found the above quote from Anne this morning, something became quite clear.  Everything that comes out of my mouth should be like a prayer . . . no gossip, no negative humor, no complaining. And, like prayer, honesty, love, kindness and understanding. It's what Christ gives us, so we must give the same to others. So today, speak as if you are praying to Jesus. It's hard, but it's all about baby steps!

Thank you, Lord, for illuminating me with Anne's words today.  I will continue to improve myself and what comes out of my mouth.  I'm going to need a lot of help with the adlibbing!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Sign Will Come

I don't needs signs anymore. But I do require a gentle "shove" in the right direction every once in a while. Jesus knows me well.  He knows when I ask for help with decision-making, I need His answer to slap me in the face. If it doesn't, I vacillate back and forth trying to figure out if my thoughts are His will or my own. Ultimately, the answer lies in this . . . will my decision further His Kingdom? Or, will it make me feel better, or stronger, or more loved? Pray the Litany of Humility. The answer will be crystal clear.

In the Gospel (Luke 21:5-11) from 27Nov2012, Jesus answers the "signs" question:

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, "All that you see here the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky."

In Volume Three, God the Father asks us to search for signs:

"My children of the world, look for Me. Look for the signs in your world that I am present. Some would have you believe that I am no longer actively directing the outcome of this time. Children, can you believe that I would lovingly lead My children for centuries, since the beginning of the world, and then leave? Would I really turn away from My precious creatures? This idea is fooling many souls today. They proceed in their lives as though I do not exist and as though there will be no reckoning for decisions against Me, against others, and at times even against nature, as I created nature. I see all. I will judge every action. I will reward every decision made by one soul for the benefit of another. In the same way, I will challenge every decision made by one soul to the detriment of another. Children, all is being recorded. You will account for your life. I am merciful. I am merciful to a degree that will astound you. But you must allow Me to be merciful. You must accept My mercy. You cannot scorn My mercy, child. Allow Me to exercise My mercy in your life. “How must we do that, Father?” you ask. I will tell you. You must say this to Me: 'God, my Father in heaven, You are all mercy. You love me and see my every sin. God, I call on You now as the merciful Father. Forgive my every sin. Wash away the stains on my soul so that I may once again rest in complete innocence. I trust You, Father in heaven. I rely on You. I thank you. Amen.'”

Lay apostles, are you waiting for signs the end is near?  Or, are you searching for signs of God's presence in our world? Live life in preparation for His second coming, not in fear of it. If you are prepared, there are no surprises. Only the joy of living for eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Thank you, Lord, for showing me the importance of living for You while on this earth. Please keep me focused on Your signs of beauty and love so graciously provided to endure this time in exile from You.

God bless,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Give When You Have Nothing Left

Living paycheck to paycheck is draining, stressful and reeks of poor financial planning. When Sunday Mass rolls around and the money baskets are passed, who are we thinking of when we place the check or cash within? Are we thinking of Jesus, how He died for our sins, and the price He paid?  Or, are we thinking about the brunch after Mass we will have to pay for? The cell phone bill due next week? The lattes you drink on your way to work every morning? Next time you contribute $4 for a latte at Starbucks, think about how that $4 times the number of visits to your favorite coffee shop can add up. Then, pass on the expensive coffee and add it to your church fund. Depending on how much you consume, all of the sudden you are contributing more in the right direction. The more you give Him of yourself, your time and your money, the more graces and blessings shower you on earth. I've seen it happen with my very eyes. Give for Him and He will provide exactly what you need.   

In this very short Gospel reading (Luke 21:1-4) from 26Nov2012, Jesus shows us His love and mercy for those who think of Him first:

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she gives us a healthy perspective on stewardship from any financial climate we find ourselves:

"Families proceeding from a solid Christian identity will be careful about their views of material possessions. If a family has been given or allowed great wealth, that family will be alert to keep possessions in their proper perspective, meaning emphasize people, not things, and teach their children good stewardship. The word “wealth” is highly subjective of course. The poorest family can perceive themselves as wealthy if they compare “down” to those who have less. The wealthiest family can feel bitter if they compare “up” to those who have more. A healthy attitude for any family will be to promote an outpouring of gratitude to God for whatever blessings they have been given—material, spiritual or relational. A positive approach to our faith will teach our children to flow out from Christ generously."

Lay apostles, what can you do to contribute more to your church? Take note of everything you spend money on in a given week.  Discover what is necessity and what is for pleasure. What changes can you make to add more to your gift giving on Sunday? Every little bit helps.  He is worth everything and more. Give when you have nothing left.  It won't go unnoticed. He sees everything.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me the importance of the widow's contribution in the Gospel. I will continue to look for ways to contribute more and be co-responsible for the growth of our beautiful Church!

God bless,

But I'm a Sinner . . .

Yes, Jesus loves sinners. Yes, His mercy is great.  Yes, we must repent and do our best to leave sinful behavior behind.  How do we do it? Where do we start? We begin with what we have avoided . . . the truth. Sometimes the truth is so awful to admit we have convinced ourselves of a different version of our truth. One less painful.  And some tell the lie so often, in their mind, it is the truth. Begin today with a reality check. Face the pain and the truth of choices made. Then ask Jesus to step in. Remember, He loves us all. As soon as we acknowledge our truth, He will be the salve on our gaping wound. 

The Gospel (Luke 19:1-10) from last week assures me Jesus will always love me, despite my poor choices in the past, as long as I repent:

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house." And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner." But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, her words soothe with the greatness of God's mercy for us:

"When God’s mercy is being discussed, God’s mercy should be allowed to stand alone as a remedy for this time. When, on the other hand, sin is being discussed, one should always point first to the effect of the sin on the individual, the sinner, because this is where sin damages first. Only after this discussion should one move into the impact of the sin on others. Sin first wounds the soul of the sinner and creates sadness and grief. Next, sin moves with great determination out into the world around the sinner. Heaven mitigates fiercely when invited to do so. God’s mercy is the balm that should be carried out to those who have drifted away from the Church. Press God’s mercy into the world and sinners will return. Yes, God’s mercy is the remedy for all fear and anxiety. The truth, when accompanied by God’s mercy, is both instructive and consoling. Each soul carries within it the seed of goodness planted by the Father. It is often God’s mercy that germinates the seed, which then identifies the truth."

Lay apostles, is there something you have hidden deep in the recesses of your mind which, if admitted, could send you over the edge? Well guess what?  You are in a hostage situation. If you continue to hold on to painful mistakes or memories, you will never heal. You will never be free to accept God's mercy. Aim to please only Him, and your life will soar 5 levels higher in no time. Admission is the first step to recovery.

Thank you, Lord, for loving this sinner. The more I aim to please only You, the more I begin to heal from my past. 

God bless,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holding Jesus to His Word

Watching my grandson in between my clinical research job and writing has been a huge blessing for me. It's precious time with Colt just about every day. And, he takes precedence over my blog posts (as I have missed a few days!). 

Is he adorable or what?  

In the Volumes (and as He does in the Bible), Jesus promises if we commit ourselves to Him, He will see to the conversion of our loved ones. This is a promise I hold Him to. When I find myself wishing a loved one would make choices with Christ in mind, I pray.  As quickly as I can, I turn the worry over to Jesus.  By doing this, I have literally seen miracles occur.  Some a little slower than I wanted, and some so quickly I could hardly contain my joy. His timing, not mine. I have learned a very important lesson He repeats over and over . . . Trust Me . . . Believe in Me . . . I am with you. I fall more in love with every Gospel I read, every Volume I quote for my blog. I know He is seeing to the conversion of my loved ones. I know my grandsons will love and know Him as well as I do, but from a much younger age.  I tell Colt every day I am with him how much Jesus loves him.  Grant it, he is only 3 months old. But this little boy will know the name of the Lord. How cool is that? 

In the Gospel from yesterday (Luke 18:35-43), Jesus showers graces upon a believer:

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me!" Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see." Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you." He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she encourages us to share our love of Christ with our children (and grandchildren!):

"Do we want our children to live in the truth, which is that they have experienced some suffering but also many blessings and gifts? Let us not transmit to our children that they are entitled to greater wealth or privilege than others. This would be untrue. If our children have been blessed with steady shelter, sustenance and safety, then we expect them to flourish, assuming we parents are pouring love and formation into them which promotes Christian growth, and we expect them to then go out into the world and help others."

Lay apostles, are you worrying about the salvation of your children? Grandchildren? Spouse? If you are, commit yourself to Christ.  Live His words. Then hand over the worrying to Him. Live by example.  Tell anyone who will listen about the love Jesus has for all His children. You will begin to see the beauty in His timing.  It is spectacular!

Thank you, Lord, for giving me Your promise to convert my loved ones.  I am blown away how quickly you answer my prayers at times! 

God bless,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm Thankful, Lord!

After a long telephone conversation with Jay tonight, he ended with the sweetest words, "I'm so happy we are in love! This is fun!" Blessings and graces galore in this lay apostle's world! I am thankful for many things . . . too numerous to name. Jesus has healed me. He has opened my eyes like never before. I will never take one second for granted. I will thank Him for everything, even in situations which seem disastrous at the moment. For He is always waiting with open arms to comfort us when we are sad and celebrate with us when we are happy. Living with Him as my constant companion has given me a peace I have never known before, and will never live without again. 

Wednesdays Gospel (Luke 17:11-19) brought me to my knees in thanksgiving:

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

In Volume Four, Jesus the King reminds us He is always present no matter where we are or what we do:

"Brothers and sisters, it is this prayer, this attitude of humble and meek acceptance that makes great saints. I will show you. Study Me as your guide. Study My life. Read about My life in scripture and you will see My humble and meek approach to souls. Did souls scorn Me for such a countenance? No, My brothers and sisters. Good and holy souls saw that I carried heaven within Me and were drawn to Me. Good and holy souls, souls hungry for the Spirit of God, followed Me from town to town and waited for Me so that they could be close to Me. It will be the same for you. Souls will be drawn to you in their hunger because they will sense that you carry the only bread that can fill them to satisfaction. I am using you, dear ones, to spread Me. I want to be felt in every room, every car, every place where even one soul rests in loneliness and spiritual deprivation. You will enter and I will be there. I will fill the room, the car, the place, and souls who hunger for God will feel My presence and give thanks. So do not curse hardship. Do not blame God for the pains and sorrows in this world. It is through your acceptance of these things that you will find your soul illuminated with the light of the next world."

Lay apostles, thank Him for the good, the bad and the ugly. When life seems to take a turn for the worse, remember, it only seems worse. Jesus has a plan.  Trust Him. And, most of all, thank Him.

Thank you, Lord, for the love You found me worthy of with Jay. And, for the love of my girls, sons-in-law, grandsons, family and friends! 

God bless,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heavenly Obligations

Disorderly environments spark the organizer in me. This past April, I flew to DC to spend a month with my daughter (pregnant when I arrived), son-in-law, and first grandson after his birth.  While we awaited the arrival of Connor (Con Con as we lovingly call him now!), Mal needed help organizing and getting rid of clutter.  Perfect job for me!  We began with the kitchen . . . and I did something I think my son-in-law still hasn't forgiven me for.  There were 50 million (ok, maybe not 50 million!) wine glasses from visits to wineries around Virginia.  With tastings, you usually get to keep the glass.  Well, considering there were two of them in the house, I figured 50 wine glasses were taking up too much space in their already crowded kitchen cabinets. So, got it down to maybe 15, boxed the extras and placed it by the front door for donation. Kevin agreed to get rid of them . . . albeit reluctantly. I think he caved because he is a gentleman and, most importantly, I am his mother-in-law! By the time Connor was born, a lot of elbow grease went into preparing to house this tiny human being who required a lot of extras . . . diapers, clothes, crib, swing, stroller, etc.  I know Mal and Kev were thankful for the help. It was my small part in fulfilling my heavenly obligation to serve others joyfully. Although, not sure how long it will take Kev to eventually forgive me . . . Love you, Kev!
Todays Gospel (Luke 17:7-10) teaches us to perform our heavenly obligations . . . no complaining allowed:

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she encourages us to identify heavenly obligations vs. earthly temptations . . . and respond accordingly: 

"It is so important to identify our ‘stuff ’ and not put it on someone else. If someone attacks us without merit, it could be their struggle that prompts the attack. We have to learn to identify our fears and insecurities and how these fears and insecurities affect our heavenly obligation, which is to love. Clearly, if someone we love speaks we must listen and examine their observations but there are times when the enemy tempts those around us against us and there are times when the enemy tempts us against those around us. To simplify, Jesus will always shine a light of compassion and truth on the people in our lives. The enemy will always shine a light of suspicion and anger on the people in our lives. As Christ followers, we must look at the people in our lives in truth, with compassion. We can judge objective wrongs as wrongs and still view those acting out those wrongs with compassion. We can say, 'Ah, yes, it is pain and vulnerability that prompts these bad actions against me.' Viewed in this way, we can avoid bitterness and condemnation, even as we deal with the affects of the wounds inflicted by others. We, committed to Christ and plugged into His constant healing graces, can stop the destruction from spreading and even push back at it by returning love for hostility."

Lay apostles, love and serve unconditionally. Even when there may be a little protesting. As long as you serve with love in your heart, others will eventually get over discarding unnecessary wine glasses!  (Good thing my family loves me, knowing they will eventually be part of my blog posts!). 

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to continue to focus on my heavenly obligation to love and serve others.  Please help those who I serve see Your Light!

God bless,

Mischievous Activity

We laugh about it now, but when my girls were teens, it sometimes infuriated them. I'm talking about my response when they wanted to go somewhere with friends, attend an event, or stay out later than curfew.  When my answer was no, it usually didn't stop there. After a few times of "pleaaaasssseee, Mom," they would say it. "(Insert name of friend)'s mom said she could do it!"  My response every time, "Well I'm not (friend)'s mom!"  They were not too happy and knew it was a losing battle at that point. As adults, my daughters now understand I was protecting them, trying to prevent mischievous activity before it began. They got away with some things . . . things I didn't find out about until bridal showers with some of those high school friends in attendance!  All we can do is pray we are teaching our children to uphold Christ-like morals. As hard as we try to guide them down the right path, life happens. Understand we are all sinners. Our children included. As parents, uphold rules . . . lovingly, calmly (something I learned over time!).  And, forgive quickly. We have all been there in one way or another!

In Mondays Gospel (Luke 17:1-6) Jesus shows us by the mere fact we live on this earth we are destined to sin. Let's just try not to take others with us:

Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him." 
And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

In Volume One, the Blessed Mother assures us despite our mischievous past, we are forgiven if we ask:

"We must help souls to realize that it is time to come back to Jesus now. Time is short. There is no other way to say that. I want all souls to convert in the silence of their hearts and Jesus and I will lead them by the hand. No harm shall come upon them if they turn to us in their hearts. My heart is soft and forgiving. Like any good mother, I forget the mistakes of my children almost immediately. I can help poor sinners to forgive themselves and seek the forgiveness of my Son, a forgiveness that heals and strengthens. Sinners must not be afraid. They must simply close their eyes and say, ‘God, I have made mistakes. I’m sorry. I am Your child, though, and seek to be united to You.’ My child, all of heaven weeps for joy when even one soul makes this act of humility and love. How we rush in to assist this soul, and protect him from the attacks of the evil one. We nurture and guide this soul until he is back walking the path to Christ with confidence. Don’t be afraid, dear souls. You will find no recriminations. Only love."

Lay apostles, pray the words Our Lady gives us in the quote above. Ask it with a sincere heart and you will be amazed at the graces which will flow in abundance. Evaluate your circumstances and if you are behaving in a manner which could lead others into sin, stop. You can do it. Begin by asking Christ for forgiveness, then lead by example. 

Thank you, Lord, for the ability to step back and assess my behavior in addition to those around me observing it. Help me to continue healing and growing stronger being united to You always.

God bless,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Understanding Conflict

I have learned to pick my battles . . . when to keep my mouth shut. Last week I was describing, in a group setting, how Jay changed my attitude the day after the election (see my post "A True Spiritual Leader").  Now, when I am encouraged to participate in a discussion, I am assuming my opinion and thoughts are invited. In no way was I trying to be political, just explaining how Jay brightened my outlook. But, it was misconstrued to be as such. I was quite surprised when the gentleman responding began with, "Obama is a good man." This is the part where I have learned to keep my thoughts to myself.  A comment like this coming out of a Catholic man's mouth would have sent the old Bonnie into a verbal dispute explaining that while President Obama is a child of God, many of the ideas and policies he promotes are in direct opposition to our Catholic faith.  I chose not to respond. As Jay and I were driving back to my house, he said he knew that comment upset me . . . he could tell by my body language. Understanding conflict, knowing when to respond (and when not to respond) is key in always shining His light. Just because someone has not understood us completely, it doesn't mean we let them dull our shine!

Friday's Gospel (John 2:13-22) shows Jesus making a statement in regard to taking our Father and our Church seriously:

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, "Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace." His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.' At this the Jews answered and said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she describes why anger is not the answer when conflict arises:

"The holiest and most pure relationships will include misunderstanding and conflict while the people involved serve in exile from heaven. There are close relationships and not-so-close relationships. It is important to Jesus that we discuss conflict because there is no need for misunderstanding or conflict to result in behavior that is not consistent with Christ’s example as seen in Holy Scripture. How did Jesus behave when there was conflict? He spoke few words but they were true words. It is best, in the area of conflict, if we spend time going through a situation of difficulty in the presence of Jesus and conclude on a holy course of action. Anger makes this even more necessary because anger leads to the enemy’s plan. People love to talk about righteous anger and so often refer to the Lord’s behavior in the temple. We like to convince ourselves that our anger is righteous. I am equally convinced that rarely will our anger be righteous. More often it will be plain old self-indulgent anger which is symptomatic of pride. I speak as an experienced person, not an observer, and I can assure the reader that Jesus would like us to avoid acting in anger whenever possible. Humility allows for wounds. This is partially why humility is so important. If a person is humble, he will be willing to say, 'I am hurt.' When we admit something has hurt us, we can steer away from anger and take things calmly, acting with Christ to deal with any misfires in the relationships around us. This calm course will help us to remain an asset to heaven as opposed to a liability."

Lay apostles, understand the conflict occurring in your life and assess if you are staying focused on Christ. When you feel yourself moved toward anger, humility is more likely the proper response Jesus asks of us. 

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to remain calm when my human emotions may signal otherwise. Continue to keep my focus on building the Kingdom and that others may see You in me.

God bless,

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Lot of Lost Sheep

Despite chaos in the world, my life is blessed.  Saying "yes" to Jesus comes with a ton of graces for which I am forever grateful. A barrage of depressing emails are entering my inbox with things like how there are a lot of Catholics who voted again for Obama. Even when the president is outright giving us "the finger." Poor Jesus is all I keep thinking. There are a lot of lost sheep in this country, and He is asking us to stay focused on Him so we can guide our lost brothers and sisters home. 

In todays Gospel (Luke 15:1-10), Jesus asks us to assist Him in gathering all His sheep:

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." So Jesus addressed this parable to them. "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. "Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.' In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Fittingly, here is a special message from Anne, a lay apostle, post election:

"Dear lay apostles,  

May God continue to grant us His most special blessings in this time.

How are we, lay apostles, called to offer ourselves to the people we meet today?

My friends, always and every day, we are called to offer hope. God's kingdom is not of this world, and we, those who strive to bring about God's kingdom, are probably serving as best we can. Often, in our service to God we decide what success will look like. But this is short sighted. Only God can judge success and failure.

And we must take responsibility for leading God's children into hope, regardless of what external circumstances look like. When saints died for Christ they died in hope, not despair. And if the saints were led to death proclaiming Christ and the hope of eternal salvation, how can we do less while we live? Will we allow the ebbs and flows of Christian unity and popularity to affect our certainty that we have been ransomed at great cost? No. We must direct people continually into the hope that is heaven, which, we must remember, is real.

Also, our goal is not to get everyone to stand where we are standing but to spark transformation in each person so that each person can stand where God needs them to stand. What is our spark? Always and forever, the most effective spark is love. And it is love which will transform a culture of death into a culture of life.

Now, as apostles of the Returning King, we should remain focused on our work, wherever that has brought us. But perhaps we must accept that the on-going risk to God's children in the womb has taken us into an ominous landscape, indeed. The Creator has blessed each of us with life, not cursed us. Each new life, regardless of the circumstances around conception, should be viewed as a personal gift to humanity from God. In the same way, each elderly person should be lovingly escorted by humanity to the moment when he returns to God. Yes, we should help each mother to view herself as a temporary custodian of life, appointed by the Creator to participate in the offering of hope to mankind. Each father should be lovingly directed to integrity and the noble call that is the transferring of integrity into the next generation. Am I off topic? I do not believe so.  

Truly, a hurting culture does not understand, but perhaps we can help them to understand.

I suppose, we will help by pouring ourselves into the counter cultural task of love, just as the first apostles poured themselves into their counter cultural task of love. We do this with positive enthusiasm, excitement and all of the energy that our beautiful young Catholics bring to the job. We do this through fidelity to the Magisterium.

Truly, we are each part of a team which includes all of heaven. So now we pray for all of our leaders, that they will hear the voice of God inside them and be consoled, strengthened and directed.

With love from Anne, a lay apostle"

Lay apostles, we have A LOT of work to do over the next 4 years. Start by stocking up on some Volumes or Heaven Speaks booklets to pass out to those lost sheep. Promise Him you will step up your effort in spreading the Good News.  Begin with those closest to you, family. Speak the name of Jesus often. Thank Him always, in good times and in bad. It's time.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be part of this apostolate. Guide me to those lost sheep needing some direction for our times!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A True Spiritual Leader

This morning I woke up with a sick feeling in my stomach. I am so saddened by not only the outcome of this election, but even more so by the fact so many rejected life and Godly morals. At breakfast with Jay today, something happened to me which has never happened before.  I realized I was sitting next to a true spiritual leader.  I was heavyhearted, and his first words were, "This is good news, really. It means we have another four more years of working hard for Christ!" I was so overwhelmed with love for this man!  I could hardly believe I was in the presence of a man I knew existed in my heart, but never experienced personally. With tears streaming down my face, Jay went on to talk about the work cut out for us as a couple and with our families.  Most importantly, he reminded me God is in control and will use this outcome for good!

In todays first reading (Phil 2:12-18), Paul the apostle has some good advice, especially today with the outcome of this election:

My beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Serving in Clarity, she addresses a very important issue when viewing our Catholic faith and becoming spiritual leaders:

"We must begin to see the guidance and direction of the Church as God-given for our protection, as opposed to man-given in order to control and stifle us. I have heard it said that the Catholic Church is all about rules. Why is it that other faiths can have rules and it is viewed as acceptable but the Catholic Church’s guidelines are seen as objectionable? Catholicism is, after all, a faith. The Church teaches us the way. There is intended an order and peace about the way we are taught to follow Jesus and treat each other. The guidelines we are asked to follow are not punitive, but protective in nature. The Church is warning us, cautioning us, advising us and attempting to lead us. The Church is the vehicle through which God seeks to counsel His flock. Consider that if lambs rejected the shepherd, they would be lost and vulnerable. Should the lambs turn their back on their shepherd or react in rage when the shepherd draws them down a given path? Wouldn’t it be ridiculous of the lambs to accuse the shepherd of stifling them? Controlling them? Wouldn’t it be a foolish lamb that bites the shepherd when the shepherd tries to bring him to a safe place? I am comparing us to lambs, as Jesus does, because we are vulnerable, as well as lovable. If we reject the way, the direction that Jesus is giving us, we are at the mercy of the world and He cannot protect us. A smart lamb, a thinking lamb would say to himself, “Hmm. The shepherd knows what he is doing. He has been put in charge of this flock and no doubt knows the way home. It is in my best interest to follow Him and encourage others to follow Him so that we can all arrive home safely.” In each of our souls let us cultivate a spirit of obedience even as we accept and understand that our life today may not match the perfect obedience lived by Jesus. In other words, we all accept that we can probably do a little bit better."

Lay apostles, what can you do a little better to further His Kingdom today? If you voted for Obama, you have a lot of work to do.  Learn about why abortion destroys not only the life of the child, but the life of the mother (and father in many cases). Learn about why religious freedom is so important for each and every one of us.  Open your eyes over the next four years and educate yourself on why the Church believes the way it does. Just because you don't like the rules, doesn't mean you get to make them up.  Can you imagine what would happen in the NFL if players didn't have rules and penalties? Well, it's a great analogy to think about in terms of our country. The rules are there to protect us, not put us in harms way.  Think about it.

Thank you, Lord, for the God-loving, spiritual leader in Jay You felt I was worthy to experience in this life on earth. Thank you for the blessings and lessons of the next four years.  I promise to remain joyful always! Although not in my business plan, I trust You know what You are doing! 

God bless,

P.S.  A little note for Jay: I love you with all my heart and soul! I love the life we are creating together!!!  God has His Hands all over this!!! We are so blessed!