Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Gospel Thoughts Today: Setting An Example

Every single child needs love and stability. And that doesn't stop just because they turn 18. Why is it so many parents think the minute their child is old enough to drive they can take care of themselves? Or, when their child goes off to college they choose to stop parenting, claiming they gave 18 years of raising this child and now it is their time to have fun? I'm not saying don't take care of yourself. I'm not saying don't have a good time. I'm saying take care of yourself and continue to guide and nurture your young adults. The best way to do that? By example. So many young people are lost, trying to figure out their place in life. If we, as parents, aren't there to send them in the right direction, who will? The media (heaven forbid!)? Their friends? You may think they don't need you anymore, but the truth is, they do. Have you planted the seeds of faith in your children? If you haven't, get to work. It's never too late. Set an example.

Jesus gives a few analogies in the Gospel (Luke 13:18-21) on planting the seeds:

Jesus said, "What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches." Again he said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she encourages us to take a look at the example we are setting for our children:

"Dear parent, I know you are lonely but Jesus loves our children far more than we do and if He has entrusted them to us, He will help us to both provide for them and fashion them according to His plan. In the case of single parenting, Catholic identity is even more crucial. Our children will retain perfect dignity if we connect them to the Church as we are bringing them up through their childhood. Jesus Christ and our Blessed Mother view all children as treasures, irreplaceable to the Kingdom of God. Therefore, if these children are secure in their place in the Church, they will be secure in their place in the world. I have seen many children from single-parent families flourishing. They generally, like all children, adapt to the viewpoint of the parent so the parent must be vigilant about his or her own dignity. This means, dear parents, conducting ourselves rightly and not exposing the children to any influences that are in conflict with holy formation. Children will not do what we say. Children will do what we do."

Lay apostles, begin with taking a look at how you act in front of your children, no matter their age.  If you have young children, are you speaking appropriately in front of them, eliminating unhealthy language? If you have teens, are you requiring they attend Mass with you every week?  If you have adult children, are you encouraging them to seek a relationship with Jesus?  All we have is the remainder of our time on this earth.  Let's use every second to promote the Kingdom of God.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me the gift of a loving man, four daughters, two sons-in-law, four grandchildren, and an incredible mother-in-law.  Please help me continue directing them straight into Your Loving Arms.

God bless,

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Gospel Thoughts Today: Choose Wisely

Do you remember the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Action-packed Harrison Ford movie . . . adventures you would never catch this squeamish-at-the-sight-of-anything-slimey-hopping-or-slithering kind of girl in close proximity to. Sitting safely in a movie theater or on the couch in the comfort of my own home makes it a virtual adventure and I can handle that! So, what was it about today's Gospel that made me think of Indiana Jones? Basically, Jesus prayed about who would be His Twelve Apostles. He didn't just randomly pick from all His followers. He prayed for God's guidance in making the right decision . . . to do the Father's Will. There is a line in this movie which I find quite profound and related to today's Gospel:

Grail Knight: But choose wisely, for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.

By Jesus choosing the Twelve He did, God's plan unfolded perfectly. Through His death and resurrection, we are saved (Luke 6:12-16):

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she describes beautifully how choosing wisely leads to living (and thriving in) a life for Christ:

"Young men and women of God, choose wisely. Ask yourself if the person you are dating is willing to view marriage through the eyes of Christ, never mind living it out that way. If the person you are dating does not share this sacramental view of marriage, how can we expect him or her to exercise it later? If the person you are dating does not view the formation of children with the most reverent sense of responsibility, how can we expect them to exercise it fully as a parent? Such cruel disappointment God’s children experience in unwise marriages, and yet, such humility from suffering and such miraculous healing of many marital unions."

Lay apostles, just as Christ called upon Our Father in heaven when He had to make some important choices, we must do the same. Pray for wisdom. Pray for the right answers. Choose wisely.

Thank you, Lord, for the lessons when I have chosen hastily and the graces when I have made choices after discussing it with You!

God bless,

Friday, October 27, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Hypocrites

What exactly is the meaning of the word hypocrite?  According to Dictionary.com, it means:

1. A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

2. A person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements. A pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.

Years ago, as this apostolate began to teach me how to have an intimate relationship with Jesus, a few people in my life didn't appreciate the new me. As I tried to become holier, wounded parts of the old Bonnie still emerged at times. I remember someone calling me a hypocrite whenever I slipped back into old patterns instead of being the humble lay apostle I was striving to become. It felt like all my hard work was dismissed over one slip. But what it taught me was . . . I am being watched and must practice what I preach! A lesson we all need to grasp and incorporate into our daily walk with Christ.

Today's Gospel (Luke 12:54-59) clearly tells us to work on ourselves first:

Jesus said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she reminds us to remain true to who we are instead of trying to appear better than we are:

"Because we serve in our humanity, it is true that we will not always set the example that either we or Jesus desires but let us strive to consider always, in our words and actions, what kind of example we are giving to others. There are some who position themselves around the place of the divine will, never entering, but claiming always to possess the attributes of the Architect of this place. These are the thieves and brigands. Suddenly, the word hypocrisy springs to mind. We must remember to be authentic. If we are having a hard time in holiness, we should not try to give the impression that we are worthy of canonization. Now the word humility springs to mind. If we are humble, we are proceeding in truth."

Lay apostles, sometimes we can become quite irritated with the actions of others and lash out.  But what are we really irritated with?  Is it something we see in ourselves being recreated in front of our faces by someone else? Is it someone who says one thing and does another?  Whatever it is, stay humble.  Remain on the path to holiness.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of humility. Continue to lead me on the path of holiness, leaving hypocrisy behind.  Living my truth makes life so much easier!

God bless,

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gospel Thoughts Today: Skeletons in the Closet

Skeletons in the closet . . . what to do, what to do. Our past didn't happen accidentally or by oversight. We can continue to deny the painful choices we have made and baggage others have left behind for us to carry.  Or, we can allow ourselves to feel and experience the pain, then let it go. If we are on the path to Jesus, understand He has been with us every step of the way. Trust we needed to go through all we have and will because it is and was the only way He gets our attention.

The Gospel today (Luke 12:49-53) expresses the frustration Jesus is feeling with those who don't believe and His upcoming crucifixion:

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she describes the importance of following the Lord's example:

"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. It must be noted that Jesus, in Holy Scripture, acted consistently with kindness, gentleness and humility. Jesus was continually misjudged and maligned. He returned love for hostility. It would be an excellent exercise for us to spend some time today thinking of who in our day is hostile to us and how we will follow the Lord’s example as set out in Holy Scripture and treat these people with patience and kindness. Let us look, not at the Lord’s righteous anger in one example, but at the Lord’s parade of loving acceptance for those with whom He served. This method of behavior, rejecting anger in favor of humility, becomes habit forming. How beautiful it is to witness someone who has gained mastery over himself in this way. Their rare departures into anger or thoughtless remarks are reassuring in terms of their humanity but also stark contrasts from their normal behavior."

Lay apostles, what can you do today to let go of a skeleton in your closet?  Face your not-so-stellar choices in the past, one at a time, no matter how painful.  The key is to experience them for what they are.  Don't deny them.  Don't convince yourself they never happened. Feel the anger, the pain, the sorrow. Then pass each one on to Jesus.  Let Him carry the load for you. He is willing so you will find joy. Start with one skeleton today.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to release the skeletons of my past so I can have a joyful future. I am a different person than I was yesterday.  And plan to be even more joyful tomorrow.

God bless,

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Gospel Thoughts Today: Keep Calm

One of my favorite young writers guest blogged for me a few years ago. Her message is just as pertinent as it was when she wrote it!

Guest Blogger: Annie C.

Keep Calm and Don't Beat Your Master's Maidservants

Absolutely love this young woman and so thankful she agreed to write a guest blog post. She is a brilliant writer! Don't you just love her title??? ;-)

Does anybody remember being upset as a child that your younger siblings were able to get away with behaviors that you weren’t? I have the distinct memory specific to the oldest child of being tossed out with the well water where my younger brother and sister were concerned. (If you don’t remember this, you were probably the youngest. You people don’t realize how good you had it!) The three of us shared a bedroom as children, and when my little sister Mary Kathryn came along, she used to wake us up long after bedtime, break out of her crib, and enlist us in causing mayhem in our room. We would break the slatted doors of our closet off their hinges and prop them against our beds, walking up and down them with great delight at our homemade “escalators”. Until we got caught and would flee to whatever hiding places we could find when our dad burst in, usually under the blankets. Not very creative for kids who could make their own escalator! Every single time we engaged in some night-time escapade, I would be singled out as the ringleader and punished the most severely, because I should have been setting a better example, I should have known better, the younger children looked up to me, yada yada yada. To me, of course, this was grossly unfair, given that my angelic looking baby sister was the real culprit (which she will deny to this day). Apart from feeling pretty sorry for my parents right now, you’re probably thinking that this sounds about right; older kids are usually guides for the younger, as they have that slight edge in terms of age and maturity. Clearly, this was a role I had to grow into! This added culpability for our actions according to our state and knowledge is exactly what today’s Gospel (Luke 12:39-48) is referring to:

“And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.  Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

The last two lines of this Gospel stand out as the most important to me, and call to my mind a quote from the third Narnia movie, when Prince Caspian says, “I have spent too long wanting what was taken from me and not what was given.” It can be easy to slip into the habit of focusing on what we lack and losing sight of how many blessings we have been bestowed with, as well as the greater expectations God has for us as a result of what we have been given. For some people, this gospel message and the expectations it describes might initially cause anxiety and excessive self-scrutiny. How do I know if what I’m doing is enough? What if I’m not good enough to meet God’s standard? What if I fail God?! The beauty of this message could be lost by the pressures that some of us may put upon ourselves. But that is the opposite of what God wants.

In a message from Volume Ten, September 28, 2004, Jesus reminds us that we will never be asked to take on more than we are capable of:

“Dear souls of the Kingdom, you are called to service. You know this. You have heard my call and rested in My anguish. I want to talk to you about your duty. Perhaps you hear my call and feel resistance at what it is I am asking from you. Let me promise you that you will be given exactly what you need to embrace your portion of this mission. Do not be afraid to stand beside me as I move into the world through each one of you. Souls will see you with their physical eyes, but they will experience me. Your fears, your hesitance, have no bearing on how you will perform for me. Do not worry about your ability when it comes to completing your duty. Do not worry about your lack of strength. It will come from me. It will flow deeply and completely from Me. Your willingness to serve is all that is required.”

Let us go forward together throughout our days with the calm assurance that God will see to our needs and prayers, and the knowledge that we must, in turn, see to His.

God bless,


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Vigilant

Communication can sound one way coming out of our mouths with the receiver hearing something different. Old habits of reacting seem to appear immediately when you think you are experiencing déjà vu in a given situation. As much as I like to think I have come a long way in offering everything up to Jesus, every once in a while I don't seem to offer it up to Him quick enough. But now, instead of being hurt or angry, I clarify. Sometimes I misinterpret the meaning behind the words. When things are explained in a clear manner with no malice interjected, it is a healthy exchange and everyone walks away understood and understanding. Alas, there are times I have impeccable comprehension and realize it's time to offer it up . . . walk away. I can do that now. I can leave toxicity behind and continue to serve.

Today's Gospel (Luke 12:35-38) shows us the importance of service to our Lord Jesus:

Jesus said to his disciples: "Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants."

In Volume One, Anne a lay apostle describes how vigilance in service can turn our suffering into blessings:

"The Blessed Mother, the Mediatrix of All Grace, takes our little offerings and uses them to buy mercy for souls, despite the horrendous behavior of us in this modern world. Let me put it this way. There is an alcoholic. He is steeped in sin, both with regard to this addiction and in general. Recovering alcoholics will tell you they got a tap on the shoulder at some point and their life changed. They were given the eyes to see their addiction, their selfishness, their sinfulness. They then got sober and became some of the greatest servants of Christ. Truly motivated now, these humble souls commit themselves to helping others to see. Where did the grace come from, to get them the tap on the shoulder? From our suffering, united to the Passion of Jesus."

Lay apostles, be vigilant in your service to Christ. And that means serving others, even when they make it difficult to do so. Sometimes the message is completely different when we listen with our own ears and not the ears of Christ.  If you are misinterpreting something as offensive, stop and clarify. Show others the Light of Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for the ability to ask questions and communicate when I'm not seeing things clearly. And, for the grace of calmness when I slip back into old thinking patterns.

God bless,

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Inheritance

The "God" hole. Something we are always trying to fill with everything other than God. For some, it's alcohol; some sugar; some accumulation of wealth and material things. But the more we buy or consume, the heavier the weight we carry around on our shoulders. What can a bigger house, fancier car or heftier bank account do besides look good on the outside when the inside is barren? Build your spiritual wealth first. Build the Kingdom of God. The inheritance waiting is more valuable than anything on earth.

In today's Gospel (Luke 12:13-21), Jesus warns of acquiring too many earthly possessions:

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me." He replied to him, "Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?" Then he said to the crowd, "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Then he told them a parable. "There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, 'What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?' And he said, 'This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, 'Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!'" But God said to him, 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?' Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she lovingly describes why we need to lighten our load:

"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."

Lay apostles, take a look at your life. What extra baggage are you carrying around on a daily basis? Anger? Greed? An oppressive relationship? How can you lighten your load today? If you start with baby steps, eventually you find yourself in a fast sprint to Jesus. And, He is waiting for your arrival in His loving arms!

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to fill my void with only You, letting go of things too heavy to carry. Please help those in difficult situations see Your Light and run toward it.

God bless,

Friday, October 20, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Beware

Years ago, in the pharmaceutical world, I worked as a Medical Science Liaison.  I was responsible for marketing a pain medication and educating physicians on speaking points for the product.  Prior to this my only contact with the pharmaceutical world was distributing medications as an RN and then in oncology clinical research.  Boy did I learn fast how the competition would say (and even do) anything to get a physician to write their product instead of ours. Lies upon lies. But, the truth would always debunk the myths the competition created. Kind of reminds me of the political battles raging these days.  Rabid lies being spread about people who only want to make America great again . . . to see her prosper. In the end, the truth will always prevail. And as Jesus tells us in the Gospel today, There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Dishonesty is born when poor choices are made for the wrong reasons . . . self-indulgence or celebrity to name a few. When we tend to overlook what is honest and good, the end result will almost always be worse than the right choice made in the first place.

Today's Gospel (Luke 12:1-7) reveals this: be brave and speak the truth:

At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples, "Beware of the leaven--that is, the hypocrisy--of the Pharisees. "There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows."

In Volume Ten, Jesus instructs us to ask one simple question to determine what is from Him and what is from evil:

"Children, when you are concerned about the many misleading powers in your world today, ask this simple question. 'Does the power for the alleged claim come from God the Father who sent His only Son into the world?' If the answer is no, then the power is being obtained from the enemy. Does this sound confusing to you? It should not sound confusing because it is clear. If you are still confused, it is because you do not want to relinquish some habit that has gotten hold of you. Be vigilant here, brothers and sisters. There are impostors everywhere and the impostors do not seek the good of your soul. The enemy, in the form of these powers, seeks the destruction of anything that is holy in you. The enemy seeks your soul."

Lay apostles, base your decisions on what is right with God, not society.  Stay focused on heaven and climbing the mountain. Bring Light to those around you, not darkness.  You know in your heart right from wrong. Beware the traps set forth by the enemy . . .

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to base all my decisions with Your Eyes, not mine. I'm far from perfect, but I am getting there!

God bless,


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gospel Thought for Today: Bear Witness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless,

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Laborers

Over three years ago, my youngest daughter Taylor moved back home for a few months to save some money for her move out west to California. As you can imagine, along with my beautiful daughter came "stuff" from being on her own for the previous 6 years. One bedroom was completely filled with boxes and random items. The room she was sleeping in held all things needed on a daily basis . . . clothes, computer, etc. Well, the room she was sleeping in looked like a hurricane hit! One day when my grandson Colton came over, I took him in to wake up Auntie TayTay. Now, Colton had a thing about messes as a young toddler (now he doesn't even look twice as a 5 year old!). He didn't like them. If there was even a fuzzy on the floor from a stuffed animal his dogs Jet and Molly happened to be shredding, Colt would begin shouting, "Mess! Mess!" looking at me to get it cleaned up. It was adorable!! So back to Auntie Tay's room . . . after he gave her a kiss hello, I set him down on the floor. He walked straight over to a laundry basket, and noticing multiple items all over the place, began his "Mess!" pleas looking right at me. We laughed and Tay told him she was working on it!  Messes are usually only temporary, lay apostles, and with a little faith and hard work, everything turns out cleaner in the long run.

Colton (age 2) helping Tay clean her room! It was going to be a big job so he brought in the lawnmower!

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Cleanse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Gospel Word Today: Sign

Faith is a gift. I never understood the depth of that statement until I found this apostolate. Every day we come across people who don't believe in God, who have no desire to believe in God because it means changing their heart. Some are so wounded, they blame God for their problems. No accountability, no responsibility for their actions. They seek to judge others because it makes them feel better about themselves. Well, the simple Truth is we ARE all accountable and responsible for our actions. And yes, sometimes our choices are not stellar. But, I have discovered something along my journey in life . . . I was given the gift of faith, and that I owe to my mother. I have never doubted God's existence. I believe in God as sure as I have a nose on my face . . . always there with me no matter where I go! So, if you've been given the gift of faith and only partially opened the gift, it's time to take the lid off and begin receiving all the graces from it!

Todays Gospel (Luke 11:29-32) provides a simple truth, stop searching for proof of God's existence, and look to His Son for confirmation:

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.  Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment, the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she beautifully illustrates the importance of doing all for His Glory:

"I often think of St. John the apostle at the foot of the cross. We could look at St. John’s role in the Passion and think correctly, ‘My goodness, what a privileged position St. John was awarded.’ In considering the matter, one might wonder what qualified St. John to accompany Jesus and Mary so intimately on this torturous day. What we know about St. John is that he was remembered by the purity of his love. He is called the Lord’s beloved apostle. What did love prompt him to do that day that nobody else did? He showed up, first of all, and then he stayed. The day got uglier and uglier, the crowds more venomous. It did not appear to be a day of triumph, even though we know it turned out to be so. St. John showed up, and he stayed. Was Jesus able to verbalize his tremendous gratitude to John at the time of His Passion? Was Jesus able to chat about John’s concerns? Hardly. He had his hands full dealing with His own considerable difficulties. The best Jesus could do was to assign John a task. “Son, behold your mother.” Was there any other apostle there to accept this task? No. Just John. I would guess that John did not do a lot of talking on that day. I would guess he just stayed, suffering Jesus and Mary’s anguish, uniquely willing to remain in a circle of suffering and grief that could be called unparalleled. Is there a greater example of loyalty, love or fellowship? Can we imagine the Lord’s gratitude even though it was not expressed on that day? I do not think so. I do not think we can ever imagine the extent of the Lord’s gratitude to St. John. I think, though, that His gratitude resonates throughout heaven, eternally preserved. We are called to be like John to each other. We are called to show up for each other and we are called to stay, often in silence or in service or in silent service. This is pure love. Why does pure love seem to be so elusive during this time? Well, we are called the Me Generation. That, all by itself, is a condemnation of our times. Love cries out for sacrifice but many of these cries go unheard. In some cases, the cries are mocked. People are encouraged to seek satisfaction for themselves. But we are a community people, intended to give and accept Christ in each other. If I am wholly concentrated on serving myself and filling my own needs, I become unavailable to serve others. As stated, people crave love as Christ craves love. This is the way we are created. But now some people experience guilt about this as though they are not worthy of being loved or as though they are not entitled to be loved or even as though they are asking too much in expecting to be loved. There are many making do with crumbs from the table when they should be experiencing a great Christian feast. We should never be ashamed that we crave love, from God, from each other, and from the world around us. Each person is created to be valued and loved and in this period of great advances, there is a historically unique opportunity to live out the Christian call to honor each of God’s created children."

Lay apostles, if you haven't fully committed yourself to walking this journey with Christ, what is your hesitation? Think about that today. It's surprising how what we think is a tall hurdle is actually just a short curb.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Faith. I am forever grateful You instilled it in my mother.

God bless,

Friday, October 13, 2017

Gospel Thoughts Today: The Power of Temptation

Temptation.  Such an ugly word. None of us are immune to evil's seduction. Temptation may present itself when we are at our weakest.  And our weakest can be when our lives are right on track.  We become complacent thinking we have it all under control.  Before long, temptation creeps in, upsetting our version of normal.  The grass begins to look a little greener on the other side. Whether it be in our careers, marriages, or families, temptation can create a desire so strong it can lure us away from what is right.  The fight between good and evil has been around since Adam and Eve.  Eve knew it was against God's direction to pick the apple from the tree.  Yet, evil convinced her otherwise. We are no different than Adam and Eve.  But, due to modern technology, temptations have become more accessible in the privacy of our own home.  Good 'ol free will.

With free will comes choices.  There is a great line in the movie Little Black Book, "Omission is betrayal."  If you feel like you have to lie or hide something, think twice about it before you make a mistake with irrevocable consequences.  Society is so fixated on making ourselves "feel" better despite outcomes.  Addictions, affairs (emotional and physical) and other poor choices we make only satisfy our perceived needs temporarily.  Our "truth" is whatever makes us feel better.  Fellow lay apostles, we must always follow God's Truth, not our own.

Today's Gospel (Luke 11:15-26) reinforces the need to combat temptation with Jesus in mind . . . always:

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

In Anne a lay apostle's book The Mist of Mercy, she beautifully illustrates where temptation comes from:

"But many of God’s children have wandered further and further away from truth and the enemy is making fools of them. We must accept that God’s enemy wants only our destruction. The enemy of God has an agenda for us that includes unhappiness and eternal despair. The enemy sends temptation. When a person falls prey to a temptation and commits a sin or even merely an action that pulls the soul from goodness, the enemy exults. The enemy mocks humanity and works tirelessly to sow seeds of restlessness and anger, frustration and bitterness. All people should understand that just as God loves, the devil hates."

Today, let's choose God's truth. If you are in the middle of something you know could be detrimental to a loved one, or yourself, stop. Stop and do the right thing. It's not always easy, but when you choose good over evil, He will provide the graces needed to get you through.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to choose Your Truth. Evil can hit me with its best shot, because I have no fear with You in my corner!

God bless,