Friday, January 29, 2016

Strength in Weakness

"Don't mistake my kindness for weakness." Do you know who is responsible for that quote? Al Capone! This apostolate has definitely softened my demeanor. I have always tried to be kind, but in my younger days when kindness wasn't returned, I took it personally. And, I hate to admit this, I wasn't exactly a person who gave second chances. Everything was black and white to me. Either you are kind or unkind. Loving or unloving. Loyal or untrustworthy. Writing this makes me realize how completely superficial that sounds! I was a product of my environment growing up where I didn't trust anyone. As I have matured as a lay apostle over the years, Jesus has given me the gift of improved clarity. I see the layers where I had never noticed before. I understand people who treat me unkindly have other issues occurring and I just happen to be standing in close proximity to receive the hurt those issues have caused. To some, it may look like I am weak when I don't respond to negative behavior. Actually, the strength it takes to keep my mouth shut is much more difficult to master than the ease of lashing out (and I have not perfected this yet!). The humility that silence and smallness brings is what I strive for on a daily basis.  Some days I'm not even close, but most days I do pretty well. Remember, Our Lord rejoices in any attempts we make to emulate Him. 

In todays Gospel (Mark 4:26-34), Jesus teaches us how something powerful can come from something which seems weak:

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she encourages us to be joyful even during the tough times:

"A farmer ploughing his field loves to reap what he has sown, yes, and this is good. He is getting it done. For us, I think we will rejoice when we can be like the farmer for whom one day is exactly like the next. He is as joyful turning over new ground as he is when taking in a harvest. It is about the movement, the service, regardless of what that movement or service is on any given day. That stated, there are times of natural joy. Now we must all pause. An apostle working hard for Jesus has to think for a moment. What time of natural joy is there? It all appears to be hard work. And yet, the joy is in that very hard work. The amount of straining necessary on a given day becomes irrelevant. There is joy both on the hard days and on the easier days. There is joy on the days when the harvest seems to be coming in and when the seeds are only being put down. There is joy on the days of hail storms and killing frosts as well as the days on which little work is necessary because the sun and warmth seem to be doing all that is necessary for the field assigned to this farmer. In this case, I think we are examining a very experienced farmer indeed. The seasons come and go and the work of the day is the work of the day. He spends no time wondering whether or not he should have been a farmer. He is a farmer and this is his field. He will farm until he dies and the challenges and discouragements of one day are allowed to melt into the joys and encouragements of another day with little or no excitement.  We need to be calm surveyors of our life during the off times lest the enemy lead us into rebellion and danger. During the times when we are off, down or ill, let us examine both the canvas as a whole and then our little place on it with certainty that without us something would be missing." 

Lay apostles, how will you respond to negativity today? Or, are you the one spewing the negativity? Either way, just today, practice humility. Return kindness for negativity. Love for hatred. Console the Sacred Heart of Jesus with your actions!

Thank you, Lord, for showing me how silence and smallness is a good thing! Please continue to put Your Heavenly Hands over my mouth when I am heading in the wrong direction!

God bless,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Naked Truth

Nakedness in public places really bothers me. I am not a "naked" person. For example, in spas. Years ago I was redeeming a gift certificate from a well known spa close to where I live. After a wonderful massage, I decided to hit the sauna and steam rooms. First I went into the sauna, where I was alone. It was wonderful and peaceful. Then, on to the steam room. The steam was thick but I found my way to the bench where I placed the extra towel I had tucked under my arm. I was alone at first, then the door opened. To my surprise, an elderly woman walked in completely naked! And, sat bare-fanny on the bench across from me! As the steam dissipated, I happened to open my eyes (they were shut tight at this point!) as the steam machine began spurting, ready to release another round of thick fog. Noticing I was not "meditating" anymore, she took it upon herself to start a conversation. In any other situation, I am open to meeting new people. But where do you look when speaking to a naked person sitting across from you? Ugh. Sheer misery for me. After discovering I wasn't much of a conversationalist, she left the steam room. I was alone again. I started thinking about this elderly woman and the freedom she must feel exposing every flaw to the world, unaffected by what others could criticize. A new sense of confidence came over me and I untucked my towel and re-tucked it around my waist (I wasn't ready for full-blown nudity). I was feeling pretty good sitting in there alone, exposed. Just as I was feeling pretty proud of myself, the door opened. I quickly readjusted my towel and headed for the door. And what do you think I walked out to see? The elderly woman sitting naked in the hot tub! Thoughts of bacteria floating around made me shudder. I figured I was done and headed for the privacy of a bathroom stall to get dressed! I don't mind exposing my flaws in public (mistakes of my past, etc) . . . those which can benefit others when struggling. But the whole physical naked thing in public, well, some things will NEVER change!

In todays Gospel (Mark 4:21-25), Jesus wants us to be comfortable proclaiming His Name, which may include exposing our flaws for the world to see. Once exposed and internally accepted, nothing can draw us away from Him:

Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Serving in Clarity, she beautifully explains why we must be aware of our nakedness and not be afraid to admit it:

"There was a story about a vain emperor. In order to gain favor with him, some unscrupulous ones persuaded the leader to proceed naked. Being a foolish man, the emperor allowed himself to be influenced by the flattery of those around him. He proceeded through his kingdom naked. Because of his power, nobody had the courage or mercy to speak the truth, which was that the emperor was wearing no clothes. Instead, they allowed him to humiliate himself. A small child with clear vision finally spoke up and said, 'The emperor is wearing no clothes.'There is a similar phenomenon in this time. Truth is often not spoken. This habit of keeping back the truth has allowed God’s enemy terrific latitude in spreading sin and immorality. In the essay entitled Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, we read that 'a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.' So pervasive is this phenomenon that there is a name for it. It is called political correctness. I will take license and translate this term. Let us consider political correctness as a decision not to speak a truth if that truth will offend the sensibilities of those whose favor we seek. In other words, it would not be politically correct to share our honest feelings if our honest feelings would put us in bad favor with others. To be clear, it is not a decision to hold back the truth in order to avoid hurting the feelings of another, but a decision to hold back the truth to prevent reprisals of some kind. Hmm. How does this compare to the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God, in my experience, is all about truth. This truth is not negotiable and it does not change. Bad behavior is bad behavior and a bad behavior today does not become a good behavior tomorrow when we look at the spirit of the said behavior. How could it? Sin, a decision to separate oneself from God’s will, is known as sin in God’s Kingdom and none will spend time in heaven or purgatory trying to decide if a sin was a sin. If we search high and low in the next world, we will not find political correctness. What will we find? We will find truth, which is sometimes the opposite of political correctness. From the Christian point of view, which is the point of view Christians must operate from, it is merciful to speak the truth in love."

Lay apostles, what do you keep hidden from the world, or even from yourself? Are you afraid if you expose your flaws you won't be loved? Are you hesitant to correct a loved one for fear they won't love you in return? Are you judging someone who has bared their nakedness, trusting in you not to judge? We are all flawed. We are all beautiful in His Eyes. Have no fear in your nakedness, lay apostles. He is our protective barrier (in other words, our towel on the bench!).

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to expose my hidden truths and not be ashamed of them. They are my experiences and the path which led me to You.

God bless,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Time Is Now

There is a song written by Cee Lo Green and sung by Christina Aguilara called Make the World Move. The song has a fast tempo, and the words may get lost in all the theatrics of her performance (

But when you slow it down, and hear the message, it's beautiful:

Fight the darkness, sing the song
Move it Move it Move it Move it
If one smile could erase a frown
Imagine what two could do (turn it up)
And if one voice could change a heart
Imagine what two could do (turn it up hey)

The time is now
No time to wait
Turn up the love
Turn down the hate
Turn up the love
Turn down the hate (hey) . . . .

Basically, we have the graces, through Christ, to change the world. Our actions must speak louder than our words, lay apostles! It's never too late to begin loving instead of hating. To be tolerant instead of merciless. Let the Word of God take root within your soul . . . today.

In todays Gospel (Mark 4:1-20), does Jesus speak in parables to confuse, or to get us actively involved?

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no roots; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

In Volume Ten, Jesus reminds us to take action now:

"As I prepared My original apostles to begin My beautiful Church on earth, I now commission you to reclaim My beautiful Church. You have such great heavenly assistance. When I speak of My Church, I am speaking of the body of the Church, comprised of its people. You are to call them back to the safety of the family of God. I send you out as I sent out the first group. You are to speak freely of Me. If a soul rejects Me, hold no malice for that soul. Simply pray for them and move along, seeking out another. Often you are like a farmer sowing seeds. I, Myself, must reap the harvest. This should not concern you because to insist on reaping what you have sown in this instance is not appropriate. Sometimes God is needed to ignite the divine. Use My words, dear little apostles. Spread them everywhere. Keep your words limited and allow Me to claim the soul. You will soften the soul by loving the person. Your love and your example can predispose a soul so that I can find the opening I need. What joy is there in this work! How satisfying is a rescue mission when souls are saved. And they will be saved, do not fear. You will be successful, but only I can measure your success. You are successful now, are you not? You are following My will. You are working for the Kingdom."

Lay apostles, it never fails. The minute I try to take things into my own hands, chaos begins to whirl. I can get the whirling to stop much quicker these days . . . only by calling His Name for assistance. He needs us for this mission. Every one of us! How can we participate? Show love. Be a beacon of light in the dark. Give someone a Volume today. Discuss the Gospel and what it means to you. He wants our success and promises to give it by following Him!

Thank you, Lord, for challenges, and the peace and calm You provide when I ask for it. I know I don't always hear You right away, but thanks for Your persistence!

God bless,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

God Doesn't Play Favorites!

This past weekend at Mass, we sang one of my favorite songs, We Are Many Parts, written by Marty Haugen. Here are a few of the lyrics:

We are many parts, we are all one body,
and the gifts we have we are given to share.
May the Spirit of love make us on in deed;
one, the love that we share,
one, our hope in despair,
one, the cross that we bear.

Not only is the melody beautiful, but the words imply a unity only God can create between us when we live our lives for His Glory. We all have our crosses to bear. But knowing and accepting that suffering is just part of our journey toward Christ . . . toward eternity . . . it is critical we have the love and support of our family, friends and church community. Most importantly, we must BE the light we hope to see in the world. Live for Him, lay apostles, and everything becomes a little easier to bear.

In todays Gospel (Mark 3:31-35), Jesus demonstrates there are no favorites in the eyes of God:

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

In Volume One, Jesus challenges us to unity with Him, so to shine His Light to others:

"Be an example of peace to your brothers and sisters so that they, too, may desire union with Me. That is the challenge to My followers. If you have a peaceful countenance, you reflect Me, your Savior. Others see this and desire it. ‘What is it about that person?’ they ask. If you are a follower, your holiness will shine from within you and that is what they will identify. Be at peace. Fear is not from Me and does not draw you closer to Me. You must strive for confidence in your God. I will be with you, even until the end of time. Your sufferings will console you greatly later, when you join Me. You will never be sorry you suffered for your Jesus."

Lay apostles, there is so much pain and suffering occurring all over the world. How can you brighten up someone's day today? How can you spread the messages contained in the Volumes? Change a life for the better by offering hope. We are many parts, we are all one body.

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me how to offer everything up to You, good and bad. Thank you for the graces bestowed upon me to offer hope and love when others are in need.

God bless,

Thursday, January 21, 2016

March For Life 2016

Today is the National Prayer Vigil for Life. Last year around this time, I communicated with a young unmarried woman who just found out she was pregnant. Although the father and his family insisted on an abortion, this young woman was adamant about keeping the child. She told me God had a plan for her and her baby. I can't tell you how impressed I am with her attitude and her choosing Life over death. Although it is not exactly what she had planned for her life, she could see beyond appearances, beyond what is "acceptable" in our society, and know God doesn't make mistakes. She now has a beautiful, healthy baby girl who she says is her reason for being here on this earth. She is a single mom, still struggling to balance motherhood and financially supporting her child. Not an easy task for sure, but one that can be achieved through prayer, hard work and most importantly . . . trust in Our Lord.

Todays Gospel (Mark 3:7-12) demonstrates Christ's love and mercy for all seeking healing, despite their "follow the crowd" mentality:

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, it's clear we as parents/grandparents must lead the way in teaching our children to choose God before all else:

"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. As an example, because we believe that God is the author of life and that each life is precious and willed by God, we will teach our children to value life, by understanding that abortion is wrong, of course, and contributing to the support of mothers who face challenging circumstances. Parents, we teach our children to be always for something, rather than always against something. We must be a positive force in the world, drawing others into the stream of goodness and the stream of the emerging Church rather than a negative force which will mark our children as superior and contemptuous. Always compassion, always mercy, always gratitude."

Lay apostles, pray today for all those who are considering abortion. How can you help guide/support a young woman choosing life? There are many ways to show support: visit to see how you can contribute.

Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me of my past and propelling me forward to help those who choose life.

God bless,

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When Fear Controls Your Behavior

People who know me well, know I don't like surprises. I am a researcher by nature, and can find out just about anything with a little effort. I assess every situation I encounter with worst case/best case scenarios. It's a defense mechanism I have developed over the years. My brain automatically deciphers potential outcomes, good and bad. Although I look for the good, it doesn't take long for the warning sirens to go off when something doesn't feel right. If I find physical evidence of anything I suspect, well, let's just say it's hard to control the urge to confront the offender. Tough love has its place. Being a part of this apostolate has taught me to look past the offense to the wounded little boy or girl who is offending. To stop worrying about what others think or say about me. Jesus knows the truth, and fear doesn't come from Him. Fear causes people to act out of character when they let it overwhelm them. And can cause a little damage when allowed to fester. Once you allow evil in, it begins taking up residence if you let it. So, what am I afraid of? Other than swimming in the ocean with sharks, nothing. Worst case scenario on earth is you die . . . which in fact is the best case scenario when you are on track for heaven!

In todays Gospel (Mark 3:1-6), the Pharisees witness a miracle, yet fear prods them to plot against Jesus:

Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

In Volume Four, Jesus the King gives us the answer to living without fear:

"My children, I am giving you the antidote for grief, for fear, and for anxiety. When you remain in the present, viewing the world with My eyes and from My viewpoint, you have little to concern yourselves with aside from serving Me and allowing Me to work through you. This is the answer to the ills and darkness of your modern world. It is something that requires practice, it is true. But, like any habit, it becomes something quite easy once you are accustomed to doing it. I want each soul to know Me. I can give you this knowledge of Me if you want it but you must allow Me to do so."

Lay apostles, think about a situation which made you angry or uncomfortable. Write it down. And then ponder why it was so upsetting. Worried about losing your job? Your spouse? Your life? Then, as Jesus says in the quote from Volume Four above, view everything through His Eyes. See the fear the enemy is swirling through your head and know, without a doubt, God is in control . . . and we must let Him have it!

Thank you, Lord, for showing me my fears are only my lack of focus on You. Help me to remain in constant communication with You in all matters, allowing You to lead me!

God bless,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Do You Whistle While You Work?

As the mother of three daughters, I loved the Disney princesses as much as the girls did (and still do!). After reading todays Gospel, this song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs popped into my head:

A little nostalgia to put a smile on your face! Think about how joyful Snow White is while embarking on a big clean up project. Is she doing this alone? No. She has surrounded herself with others who share in the work (ok, so they are animals, but you get the picture!). Are we as joyful when faced with difficult tasks or decisions? Do we call for help/support from heaven or other likeminded Christians when we don't know where to begin? My answer is most of the time. But I am getting better. There is so much work to be done in this world for Our Savior, lay apostles. Jesus is thankful for even the smallest attempt toward putting Him first. So, whistle while you work, joyful knowing you are building God's Kingdom on earth.

Todays Gospel (Mark 2:23-28) shows us that we must always put Him first:

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

In Volume Four, Jesus the King asks us to do our own share of work for heaven, trusting Him to be responsible for His part:

"The process of My return has begun. You are the avenues through which these graces will flow. Open your hearts to Me now, little souls of the Kingdom. Watch in amazement how My Spirit flows through you. You need do nothing exceptional except be open to My will. I will do everything. When you feel pressure, it is because you are attempting to do My work for Me. Who could do the work of God? Certainly not a little learning soul who is attempting to find perfection in a very imperfect world. Let Me work through you. Let Me love you and support you as I make the necessary changes in your soul that will allow Me to flow through you uninhibited. All is well, My beloved children. You need worry over nothing."

Lay apostles, everyone is watching . . . our kids, our families, our friends, our acquaintances . . . to see if we live as we preach. When you introduce others to this apostolate, are you living proof Jesus' words govern your life? Take a look at how others perceive you, especially your own family. Do you act and react with the love and kindness of Christ? Something I am working on in 2016!

Thank you, Lord, for joy in my heart when working to build Your Kingdom. And thank you for the extra gentle shove when the joy is harder to come by!

God bless,

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hurt People Hurt Others

Every day is a new day . . . an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin again. The past few weeks have presented some challenges. Seems like the stronger and closer I get to Christ, the attacks seem to appear when I least expect it. Some are surprising. Others not so much . . . even anticipated. Despite the disappointment when I am attacked, I get through it pretty quickly by talking it out with Jay and realizing hurt people hurt others. And then I have a choice to make . . . I can either prolong the hurt by revisiting the injury over and over or wipe the slate clean and begin anew. I choose to begin anew. I choose to forgive. I choose to let go of the past. And pray, pray, pray.

In todays Gospel (Mark 2:18-22), Jesus explains He is the New Covenant (new cloth/new wine) and therefore it isn't necessary to be restricted by Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) rules such as fasting while He is on this earth:

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she gives good advice on how to let go of things which weigh us down:

"In order to truly enter into the heart of Jesus, we must serve Him in the way He needs us to serve. This is another way of saying that we must reduce our commitment to self-will and replace it with commitment to divine will. Often we pay lip service to this but do not really abandon our own plan. Jesus says that the door is narrow. I think that means that we cannot get through it if we are carrying too much of our own stuff. If we are laden down, we are bulky and we simply cannot squeeze through. What makes us bulky? I believe that things like attachment to the opinions of others, addictions, materialism, pride, greed, anger, holding on to hurts . . . carrying things like these add weight and girth to us. I believe that we all spend time standing outside the door knowing that we are called to enter but remaining unwilling to let go of some things. Many of us, I think, are squeezing through a little at a time, making wonderful progress by gradually letting go of the things that prevent complete entry into the Lord’s Sacred Heart. A pertinent part of that passage is the Lord’s encouraging us to make every effort. This tells us that Jesus expects us to cooperate with this process of holiness by relinquishing the things that weigh us down and recommitting daily to the duties of our vocations. We must ask the Lord to help us on each day to let go of our fears and attachments so that we can slip through this door and move into the light of the Divine Will."

Lay apostles, whether someone offended you years or even hours ago, let it go. The past is the past. Forgiving someone doesn't mean you continue to be their punching bag. Forgive and move on. Eliminate toxic people from your lives, but continue to pray for them. The difficulty in the elimination process occurs when it involves family members or friends. This is where boundaries come in. Learn from the past what behavior you will accept in the future. You will then be free to let go of your hurts and continue to focus on God's Will, receiving the joy He will bring into your life by doing so.

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to let go of hurts and offenses, quickly focusing on the joy You bring into my life.

God bless,

Friday, January 15, 2016

Walk This Way

It never fails. When things seem to be going smoothly, evil will, in all likelihood, cause a hiccup! And the hiccup always has to do with another's behavior in opposition of my core beliefs. There is appropriate behavior which I may not be in agreement with, but I respect because we are all individuals with our own way of doing things. Then there is inappropriate behavior . . . behaviors I avoid at all costs. When they are demonstrated right before my eyes, my immediate thought is "SERIOUSLY?" But then the Good Lord steps in to calm me down. All I have to do is start writing my blog post for the day and He always sends the calm I need. There will always be those demonstrating inappropriate behavior as in the parable from the Gospel today (Mark 12:1-12). Jesus can only do so much with me . . . it's my free will I am in control of and in need of remembering to focus on Him when others try to disrupt my peace:

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.

In Anne a lay apostle's book The Mist of Mercy, her point is eloquently made . . . there is always going to be disruption in our lives . . . it's how we handle it that matters:

"During periods of duress, it is important that we be very gentle with ourselves. We must not condemn ourselves or judge ourselves more harshly than the Lord judges us. The enemy delights when we think, poor me. I’m not holy enough. Surely the Lord should cast me out of the family. Surely the Lord can do without the service of one who fails as I have just failed. We will all fail. We will at times lose patience with others. We will also, at times, mistakenly take the bait from the enemy and be drawn into upset and disorder. There are times when we will be the cause of the upset and disorder. But to beat ourselves up over failures is to prolong the enemy’s influence. Jesus has no need of perfect apostles or He would have created some. He needs us, in all of our imperfection. And He needs us to be humble so we must rejoice when we experience our humanity. If nothing else, mistakes remind us that Christ is King and we are not. Remember, too, that Jesus allows attacks. The devil has no power that Christ does not allow him. Jesus allows us to experience spiritual warfare so that we can grow in holiness and trust. With regard to spiritual warfare, my spiritual director often says, “Expect it. Count on it. See it coming.” We must expect resistance and become adept at weathering storms. It is terrifically helpful to have humility. Ask God for humility each day as without it you will be vulnerable. It is a standing joke in our family that a request to heaven for humility is usually answered within minutes. If you lack humility, my friends, you will inevitably land on your backside. In fairness, we all land like that at times. Our humanity guarantees it. Be assured though, that a lack of humility insures a far more painful

Lay apostles, spiritual warfare is all around us. Today, take it for what it is . . . evil trying to disrupt our peace. Focus on Christ and His Will. Please Him in every reaction, every word coming from your mouth. When I practice this way of thinking (and I am far from perfect in doing this!), things seem to blow over much quicker!

Thank you, Lord, for all the comfort and protection You give me in times of angst.

God bless,

Friday, January 8, 2016

What Are You Communicating?

Secrets and gossip. I despise them. Especially if the gossip is detrimental to another person who is unaware of a situation. Although I am guilty of this sin (as we all are at one time or another), I have learned to avoid joining in the chaos the best I can. How do we respond to the "gossiper" initially? Do you tell the "gossipee" the slander being spread about them or do you keep it to yourself? Is it disobedience when we don't keep secret what was asked to be kept secret? I don't know what the right answer is to any of those questions, but I know how I can respond. The gossiper usually gets an encouraging word about the "gossipee." Focus on the positive. Or, I keep my mouth shut. I try to assess the pros and cons of revealing the information to the "gossipee." If the information can create a positive outcome for the person being talked about, then it can be appropriate. But if it is information which could cause catastrophe, I take it to prayer. Sometimes what we don't know doesn't hurt us.

In todays Gospel (Luke 5:12-16), I still wonder if the leper was disobedient or needed gossip for God's Plan to unfold:

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, I love the following quote and advice she gives to alert us to be mindful that whatever comes out of our mouthes should further the Kingdom . . . not evil:

"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. Many things can happen in useless talking and random communication. Often what happens is destructive gossip. Before any communication, therefore, we must seek to determine if Jesus wants us to communicate. Is Jesus asking us to make this communication? Many times and probably most times the answer will be ‘No’. Jesus needs only the smallest percentage of the communications we make."

Lay apostles, do you find yourself gossiping or responding to others' negative gossip? If you are or do, stop it now. Reread the quote from Anne above. Even better (this idea just came to me!), print out the above quote to hand to the next gossiper you come across. Or, print it out for yourself if you have a gossiping problem. Nothing like a little reminder of the damage gossip can render in an already struggling world.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me the importance of what comes out of my mouth should always reflect You!

God bless,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Are Miracles Real?

How many times have we witnessed something miraculous happening to others, or even to ourselves? And then, the next day, looking for the another "miracle" to occur? Man, I know I've been there before. But now I try to take nothing for granted. He has blessed me with so many "miracles," I choose to focus on those, thankful for everything. If I remain focused on what I don't have, I miss out on so many opportunities to thank Him for what I DO have! Yes, miracles are real . . . and right before our eyes.

My beautiful group of miracles!

Todays Gospel (Mark 6:45-52) demonstrates how even the apostles witnessed miracles, yet continued to question if they were real:

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

In Volume Four, Jesus explains His Love is real:

"Let me tell you about Me, so you will understand who loves you, and who it is you are being called to follow. I walked your earth as you do. I saw the failings of mankind as you see them. I was grieved at the injustices, in the same way that you are grieved when you see things that are not fair. Did I grow bitter? No. I did not. Why was that? Because I am God? No. I was God on earth but I was God trapped in man’s body and constrained by the limitations of the body. I did this so that when it came time for you to follow Me you could not say that it was easy for Me because I was God. I did not use My divinity except during the last three years and then only to heal, cure, and otherwise support My claim that I was the King of Heaven, come down to lead all back to the Father. I did not waste miracles on those who would reject Me, regardless of proof of My divinity. Do you intend to reject Me? You are Mine, dearest soul. Come back to Me that I may introduce you to love and joy."

Lay apostles, are you dismissing past miracles which have occurred in your life? Take a minute and think about all you have been blessed with. Good health? Children? Grandchildren? The comfort of shelter in the cold? A car to drive? A cell phone to connect with others? Strong Faith? The list can go on and on. Don't take anything for granted. Look for the miracles every day . . . you will be surprised by all He graces us with!

Thank you, Lord, for all the miracles in my life . . . Jay, our girls, sons-in-law, grandchildren, family, friends and all the other blessings too numerous to write down!

God bless,

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

His Plan vs. Ours

"Somehow God hasn't seen my business plan yet!" Jay says lightheartedly when things don't proceed exactly as he anticipated. But we both know His business plan is much better than ours. It's all about trusting Our Father knows best. There are many twists and turns in life . . . and looking back, I can see how Jesus gently (and sometimes not so gently when I wasn't listening!) changed my direction when I was headed into disaster or toward something which took my attention away from Him.  As I get older (become more mature) and inherit more and more clarity and wisdom the Volumes provide, those twists and turns become a roller coaster ride (ok, not a fan of roller coasters, so let's say the "It's a Small World" ride at DisneyWorld!) . . . full of adventure, joy, peace and challenges He has prepared us to take on. Remember, He will provide any graces we require . . . all we need to do is trust any outcome is His Will leading us to His Sacred Heart!

Todays Gospel (Mark 6:34-44) is a perfect example of trusting what He says:

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.  Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”  He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”  He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”  And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.”  So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.  The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.  Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

In Anne a lay apostle's book The Mist of Mercy, she describes one of her experiences provided to guide us on our journey toward heaven:

Jesus began to talk about His mercy and those who promote His mercy. He brought me to a woman who had spread His mercy on earth. Jesus explained that it is important to talk about His great mercy, but it is also important to show His mercy through our actions and even our thoughts. We must be non-judgmental of others. We must strive to be tolerant and kind because Jesus is tolerant and kind. If we show mercy to others, clearly it will be shown to us. This woman I saw in the mist was so lovable. I felt a great happiness in being near her. I understood that others on earth had loved her very much. She had glasses and I understood that she died near the age of sixty-six years old. She was lighthearted. Jesus cherished this woman. I could feel it. He had warmth and tenderness and, I have to say, delight when He said to me, “Listen to her. Listen to her prayers.” She cheerfully thanked Jesus for everything and everyone. She thanked Him for His mercy to her family, to her friends, to everyone at her job in a school where she worked. She thanked Him for His mercy to herself and to the world. She repeatedly thanked Him for everything under the sun and beyond. This woman did not care at all where she was. The mist was just fine in that she took no notice of her progress or lack of. She remembered all of her friends and their little ailments, their children’s difficulties, their fears. 

She was detached from herself so much on earth that this purgatory experience was just more of the same in that she prayed on earth and now she was praying here. I looked at Jesus and said, “Why is she here, Lord? She sounds like a saint.” Jesus replied lightly, “She had an addiction and she is separating from it. Anne, what is different about the mist around her?” I looked and saw that the mist was moving quickly past her. Some souls are in a mist where there is no movement. Others rest in a mist where there is slow, gentle movement. The mist here seemed to be flying past this soul, not that she cared. She took no notice at all because she was so concerned with getting all the graces she could for other souls. Soon, as we watched, Jesus spoke to her.

“Rise, My beloved.”

This woman opened her eyes in the light of the park and stood up with complete confidence and joy. After a lovely smile in our direction, she spied a group and immediately made her way to them. This was the funniest experience because she accepted her lightning fast move through this merciful mist as her due, as completely consistent with her expectations. This was how she understood Christ to be, merciful. She expected no less.

Jesus laughed. I laughed too, in plain joy. I said, “Lord, how could You do anything else?” Jesus said, “Exactly, little Anne. How could I do anything else? This soul and all like her disarm Me with their trust. My heart has no protection, no armor against souls such as this. She is so convinced of My goodness and of My mercy, that she comes to the Kingdom in delight. I, in turn, experience delight in her. I cannot help but give her all she requests. While she served on earth, I answered her prayers with great generosity. She trusts Me, Anne. Her trust is a balm to My wounded heart. When I experience man’s ingratitude, I look to souls such as this to console Me. She told others about My mercy, she showed others My mercy, and when she died in her body, she experienced My mercy, as you have just seen. Anne, this woman did not judge others. She talked about Me as a loving and merciful God. She was entitled to every bit of mercy she received. Tell all souls that they should talk about My mercy, practice My mercy toward others, and when they come to Me, they will experience My mercy themselves. As you have seen, I cannot resist a soul such as this.”

Lay apostles, whether it's struggling with finances, tough decisions, or a lack of direction, turn to Jesus. Tell Him your problems while trusting He is listening. And He is listening, working to send you the graces you need to get through your suffering. There is a whole bunch of heavenly coordinating taking place. Be patient your answer is right around the corner. In the meantime, keep learning from Scripture, the Volumes and anything bringing you closer to Christ. Most importantly, stay connected to Him through prayer. Strive to bring Him joy!

Thank you, Lord, for providing love, joy and peace in my life. Help me remain connected to You through prayer and trust . . . especially when I falter!

God bless,

Monday, January 4, 2016

Our Divine Healer

Jesus Christ the Returning King healed me . . . healed my soul. It was a process and didn't happen overnight. With every message I read in the Volumes, my relationship with Christ became stronger . . . clearer. Although my choices in life weren't always ideal, they were my choices . . . decisions made to the best of my ability. I could control it all on my own after all. Or so I thought. Messages from Jesus revealed how sick my soul was, how childhood circumstances created insecurities causing me to build brick walls around my heart. As the walls began to crumble, I became vulnerable to the world . . . and to Christ. Not an easy thing for me at first. But once humility kicked in (thank you, St. Faustina!), I could handle just about anything with calm and peace. And it continues to this day. Don't get me wrong, situations can still cause me to misstep, but it's usually just a stumble I recover from quickly. Jesus is the Divine Healer, if you let Him be.

In todays Gospel (Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25), it's clear Jesus can heal every wound:

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Serving in Clarity, Jesus encourages us to keep focused on Him, continuing to serve despite our suffering:

"I know what consoles you and gives you comfort. In the same way, you understand what consoles Me, what lifts Me and gives Me comfort. Shall I remind you? Love. Love gives Me solace in a time when there is great hatred. I look to you and I see suffering, yes, pain, of course, but also love. I see that you suffer for Me and this sustains Me. I see your sacrifices and I see your wounds, and yet you continue to serve your King. You do not melt away into the world as others have. You do not allow your heart to be hardened as some do. You work constantly to allow Me access as the Divine Healer. I require constant access to your little heart, it is true, but you give that to Me through your time in prayer and your willingness to be honest in assessing your actions and motives. Dearest apostle, walk with Me as one of My guards of honor. I love you immeasurably. I will care for everything and I will never fail to sustain you. Bring Me your fears constantly, in every moment. I will eradicate them. If you walk closely with Me, you will exert less effort and I will sow a heavenly garden in your soul as we proceed."

Lay apostles, we all have wounds in need of The Divine Healer. Let Him in. Let Him comfort you. Continue to serve Him with joy. You will be surprised at how quickly He can transform even the most stubborn soul!

Thank you, Lord, for healing my heart and soul. You have opened my eyes through this apostolate and showed me how complete trust in You heals every wound.

God bless,