Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: A Fighter Underneath

Christina Aguilera's song Fighter is one of my all-time favorites. The connotation of the lyrics has changed over time for me. Today, it makes me think of Jesus:

'Cause it
Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
Makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

Every lesson, every hurt, every joy, every fear has led me to who I am today. Because of God's love for me, I am a fighter for Christ. All that has occurred (and is occurring) in my life, difficult and easy, build my spiritual muscles . . . muscles needed to be a fighter! Have you flexed your spiritual muscles today?

Today's Gospel (Luke 13:22-30) is clear: if you don't acknowledge Jesus now while on earth, how is He to acknowledge you when knocking on heaven's door?

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them,  “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

In the Monthly Message of November 2007, Jesus assures us as long as we continue fighting for Him, He will supply all the strength required:

"My beloved apostle, I understand your struggles. You are becoming holier and yet you do not think you are making progress. Dear one, can you accept that the holier you become, the more holiness you crave? Can you accept that the more you become aware of your own flaws, the more willing you are to accept flaws in others? I am at peace that you are coming to know Me better. Each day brings growth of some kind for you, even if that growth originates in mistakes acknowledged and corrected. I understand you, dear apostle. I know that on some days you are ready for the battle of holiness and that on some days you feel you are not strong enough for the battle. This is what I want to tell you. You rise each day and pledge your allegiance to the Father. This commitment of your day insures that your Father takes you each day in the condition He finds you. Each weakness is used to increase your humility and illuminate for you the path to transformation. Do not become discouraged by the need for improvement. If you but continue on the path you have embarked upon, you will experience greater holiness. It can be no other way because those who pledge allegiance to the Father are cared for in every detail. Our greatest goal for you is holiness because only in holiness will you find peace and joy."

Lay apostles, life is full of struggles, isn't it? My struggles might not look like yours but are just as difficult all the same. It would be easy to throw up my hands and quit, allow chaos to overcome my peace and joy. Evil is ready to pounce at any moment . . . that's why we must turn to Christ to strengthen us in times of distress. So exercise those spiritual muscles today. You may need to begin with a few light stretches . . . maybe an Our Father and Hail Mary will ease you into the full workout. Go ahead, start now. I just did!

Thank you, Lord, for all the strenuous workouts in my life. I only wish my physical muscles looked as strong as my spiritual muscles!

God bless,

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Be The 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 husband, daughters, grandbabies and the rest of my beautiful family!  Please help me continue directing them straight into Your Loving Arms.

God bless,

Monday, October 29, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Good Deeds

Random acts of kindness . . . the power to create love. We are all intrinsically good, the way God made us. It's possible for each and every one of us to demonstrate the generosity of the human spirit on a daily basis. With the negativity perpetrated on every form of social media (and the #FakeNews), we can change the world, one compliment or kind word at a time. So, next time you are waiting in line at the supermarket (or wherever you are), take a look at the person serving you. What can you say to make his/her day a little brighter? Doing our small part is all Christ is asking of His children.

The Gospel (Luke 13:10-17) shows us that good deeds in His Name are never ridiculed by God:

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, "There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day." The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

In Volume Five, Jesus the Redeemer reminds us of what we take with us when our time on earth is finished:

Souls of the world, take heed. Your Jesus will return. The process of My return has already begun, but there are difficult times ahead. For those of you who set your vision on the heavens, you will find the time of transition manageable. It will only bring you closer to Me. Those of you who have your vision set on the things of this world will struggle. Remember the one Truth and that is you will each die someday. Regardless of what transpires between that day and this day, you are going to face the same end. Ultimately, you will have to relinquish anything you will have acquired. All that will last are your deeds of good or evil. Cast away the things of this world. I want My children to live simply. Look for your role in the Kingdom and you will find it. I have instructed you on how to pray and how to find Me. I do not wish to frighten and if you are unduly frightened that is possibly a sign that you are fearful of losing material possessions. You must care about My will for you and completing My will for you in each day. My dear ones, your Jesus is with you now and I will be with you in every moment of your life on earth.

Lay apostles, how are you working on your eternity today? What good deeds will Jesus see when our time on earth is over? Call a loved one you haven't spoken to; compliment a random person serving you; offer your time to a new mom so she can nap. The list of good deeds is endless.

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities You place in my path today to brighten someone's outlook.

God bless,

Friday, October 26, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Being Called a Hypocrite - Ouch!

What exactly is the meaning of the word hypocrite?  According to, 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 own eyes 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 25, 2018

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 24, 2018

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

Absolutely love this guest blogger . . . a young woman who graduated from Ave Maria University a few years ago who is one of the best young adult writers (and speakers!) I know! Enjoy!

Does anybody remember being upset as a child that your younger siblings were able to get away with behaviours that you weren’t? I have the distinct memory specific to an 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 realise 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 23, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Suffering Turned Into Blessings

Communication can sound one way coming out and another way being heard. 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 quite get 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 Jesus.  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 22, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Spiritual Wealth First

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 baggage too heavy to carry.

God bless,

Friday, October 19, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Truth vs. Dishonesty

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 18, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Labor In Love

Over four 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, to say the least! One day when my grandson Colton came over, I took him in to wake up Auntie TayTay. Colton had a thing about messes as a young toddler (now he is pretty much oblivious to messes as a 6-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!" desperately 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 as Tay promised 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,

Gospel Thoughts Today: Live By Example

(A day late on this post . . . forgot to hit "publish" yesterday!)

Three teenage girls + Sunday morning Mass = several prompts to get out of bed; approaching time warning signals; several honks of the horn while in the car waiting; stepping out of the car to make "it's time to go now" shouts; and relief when they would finally come out of the house and get in the car, usually with make-up bag in tow. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the annoyed looks as they slid into the back seat! The good 'ol days . . . long gone now as they live out their adult lives! But, they knew a rule was a rule. In our home, we go to Mass on Sunday mornings.  It's still the rule today.

Over the years, I have had the girls tell me stories of friends whose parents let them make the decision whether or not to go to Mass on Sunday morning.  How is a child supposed to learn the value of faith if it isn't valued by their parents? How is a child supposed to learn kindness when they see their father screaming at a waitress over spilled coffee?  And, how is a child supposed to learn thankfulness for what they have when their mother complains of wanting more/better (you fill in the blank) purely to "keep up with the Joneses?"  Others are continually watching to see if we live by what we preach.  So, live by example, ignore the groans, and continue on your way.

In yesterday's Gospel (Luke 11:42-46), Jesus lectures the Pharisees and scholars to practice what they preach:

The Lord said: "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk." Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." And he said, "Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them."

In Volume Six, Mary (an unknown saint) asks us to pray to Our Lady to help set a good example for our children:

"I want to tell you that when you attempt to introduce family prayer to those children who have not prayed together in the past, you may experience resistance. Expect this. Also, when you say “no” to a child who has previously been given many material things, you will get anger. It will pass. Your child will object to being forced to pray and having material things taken away. Be brave, mothers. Be strong. Do not think for a moment that your decisions should be based on the anger or resistance of your children. Make your decision, and then impose it. Your children will come around if you are firm. Pray to Our Lady to help you turn your household into another holy family that serves the Kingdom. She will hear you and she will help. Set an example of calm holiness yourself and I promise you that all will be well."

Lay apostles, don't have expectations for others that you don't have for yourself.  If you want others to be kind, be kind to others.  If you send your children to Christian schools (or you are a Christian), live a Christian life inside and outside the home.  Remember, there are many eyes watching our every move.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the guidance and motivation to live by example.  I am so very thankful my daughters turned out loving You so much despite some of my not so stellar choices along the way!

God bless,

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Maybe

Looking back on my life, I can see how Jesus was preparing me for this moment in time.  My not-so-stellar choices have led 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 today's 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 15, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Instilled Faith

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!

Today's 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 walk this journey with Christ, what is your hesitation? Think about that today. It's surprising how what we think is a hurdle is actually a curb.

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

God bless,

Friday, October 12, 2018

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,

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Gospel Word Today: Blessed by Friends

Karen . . . one of the most loving, kind, Catholic women I am blessed to call my close friend . . . a true sister in Christ. Despite struggles she is encountering right now, she remains positive and continues to persevere. I know she reads my blog, and I want to tell her: Karen, you are a beacon of light, facing your suffering with the will and determination I pray I emulate! The depth of faith it takes to trust in God's plan for us is a daunting task at times. Asking Him for the graces to withstand our challenges/struggles may be the easy part . . . acting on that trust He knows best is a daily spiritual workout and worth every minute trying to achieve. Although my spiritual muscles get a little sore once in a while, I believe the end result is life in eternity with our loving God! 

In the Gospel reading today (Luke 11:5-13), Jesus shows us God is ready and waiting to bestow His gifts upon us. All we have to do is ask:

Jesus said to his disciples: "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

In Anne a lay apostle's book Climbing the Mountain, she challenges us to service:

"We must compare ourselves to Jesus in love of neighbor. Scripture gives us plenty of examples of the selflessness with which Jesus served His brothers and sisters. He was a dutiful Son to His mother and father. He was a good friend to His apostles. Jesus was kind to strangers and those ill and less fortunate. He was patient in the extreme with the flaws of others. He saw each soul as a soul who was somewhere on the mountain and He viewed them with the patience of a teacher, who knows that the total cannot be achieved without walking through the equation. Jesus gave others the room to grow in the light of His love. Are we doing that for others? Or do we constantly point out the deficits in the holiness of our companions? Souls loved Jesus and sought out His companionship. They sought His love and tolerance, His acceptance and steadiness. This is our call to those around us. We must always rejoice in the holiness of our companions. Rejoice in each bit of progress or any bit of hope for progress. This will give us joy and we will not spend all of our time lamenting the failures of those around us, which is really our own failure."

Lay apostles, what is it you need today? Hope? Encouragement?  Whatever it is, invite Jesus to be on your team. He so badly wants you to make Him a part of your life . . . not a passing thought. Walking with Jesus is like walking with gel inserts on a long hike . . . it's comfortable, easier, and motivates you to make it to your final destination!

Thank you, Lord, for good friends who encourage and support me through thick and thin. Please continue to alert me to others needs when I am distracted by my own.

God bless,

Jesus said to his disciples: “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: A Prayer Life

Have you ever been too tired to pray? Yes, I am guilty of this at times. Yesterday, Jay and I were in Adoration (we try to do an hour every week) and I was just plain tired. I always pray a Rosary first, then go into Contemplative Prayer for the remaining time. As I got comfortable in my seat, I just wanted to sit there and let the Lord speak. As soon as I had that thought, I swear I got a spiritual butt-kicking to pray the Rosary and pray it now! It was so strong, I found myself thinking, "ok, ok, I'll pray it!" I am so glad I did. And, after reading today's Gospel (Luke 11:1-4), I know He appreciates every effort we make:

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test."

In Volume Two, Jesus lovingly shows us He is waiting with open arms:

"Faith is a gift, my dear one. I wish to give this gift to you. But you must turn to Me so that I may. My heart beats only with love for you. I can promise you that I will not reproach you. I will help you understand that only joy and light is suitable for a child of God. You will return to Us one day. Let Us make that the most joyful day of your life. Come to Me, My child, and I will show you how. You say, “Jesus, I forget how to pray.” My child, does a small one forget how to cry when he is hurt? Of course not. Come before Me and cry out your pain, your hurt, and your fear. We need not do it all in one day, but take the first step to Me by coming in front of Me. Put yourself in My Eucharistic presence and I will do the rest. The work will come from Me. I will move you back swiftly to that place that has been reserved for only you in My Sacred Heart."

Lay apostles, what does your prayer life look like?  Take time in the morning to read Scripture, pray the Rosary, or just say the Our Father.  Acknowledge and thank Him for the day ahead.  As a lay apostle, I always say the Allegiance Prayer and the Morning Offering.  It only takes about 25 seconds:

Allegiance Prayer

Dear God in Heaven, I pledge my allegiance to You. I give You my life, my work, and my heart. In turn, give me the grace of obeying Your every direction to the fullest possible extent. Amen.

Morning Offering

Oh Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, and for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen

Thank you, Lord, for igniting my prayer life through writing this blog. By beginning my days and ending my nights with You, You remain with me always.

God bless,

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Redirecting Time

Motherhood. So much to do, so little time to do it all. And when there are multiple children involved, hours seem like minutes. As mothers, we try to keep everyone happy. Most of us are pleasers at heart. We cook, clean, bandage up scraped knees, and stop arguments between siblings. We love, cry, and brush off the words "I hate you" from a teenager's mouth. We are so busy with life, sometimes we forget to enjoy it. Since the birth of our four grandchildren, I see things differently. I wish I would have read more to my girls; extended our Barbie play sessions; and taken more walks enjoying nature. In reminiscing, time spent away from them is lost time I can't recover. Mothers and fathers, take the time while your children are young. Don't miss the small stuff because you have to check email or update your Facebook status. Focus on your family. Help build the Kingdom of God!

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless,

Monday, October 8, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Love Without Expectations

Why is it that some people only show up when they need something or it's convenient for them . . . when our expertise or faith or knowledge or compassion provides comfort or calm or direction. I'm struggling with this one today. Do we continue being the ones who show up, only to feel slighted when the courtesy is not returned? Or, do we detach with loving kindness? I'm not sure what the right answer is, but I have discovered that by detaching from the emotional side of feeling unimportant to another works for me, and uniting my feelings of rejection to Christ's. I have found by setting boundaries of what I will do and won't do contributes to a peaceful existence. I will always respond with loving kindness to anyone asking for help. The hard part for me is seeing my loved ones experience the same rejection and realizing it's time to detach. It took a lot for me to detach from my past and old patterns of behavior. We are all called to be compassionate and gentle in our responses, yet Christ is very clear in terms of when our love is not received or rejected, we must detach, dust off the dirt from our sandals and move on. And, moving on means not getting stuck in negative thoughts/behaviors. We must love without any expectations.

Today's Gospel (Luke 10:25-37) reminds us how important it is to show up:

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,  “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she encourages us to look to Christ when the world disappoints:

"In many cases, one party must offer pure love consistently, without a return, and only over time will the other become willing to accept this pure love. It should not discourage any of us that we do not always know how to love. This should not even slow us down, any more than a small child going off to school for the first time is concerned that he does not know how to read. On the contrary, our awareness of our difficulty in loving others should make us seriously determined to show up for heaven each day, presenting ourselves to Jesus Christ as willing and eager students."

Lay apostles, we have choices. When a loved one tries to gather the family together, do you make excuses not to attend? Is this something which happens repeatedly? If it is, take a look at why you don't show up. Is it insecurity? Is it anger? Is it because of a disagreement? Figure it out. Life is too short to hold on to anger or resentment. Love without any regrets/expectations. After all, God is Love and we won't be living forever. Start practicing and show up.

Thank you, Lord, for the lessons and challenges. Please help me to see the gifts You provide in each one.

God bless,

Friday, October 5, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Rejection Hurts

Last night Jay and I attended a showing of The Trump Prophecy (based on a true story) with some close friends. The acting was, well, not the best. But, the message was spectacular! As soon as President Trump's name was mentioned, all I could think while watching it unfold was THANK YOU GOD FOR SAVING OUR COUNTRY! The uniting of people all over the world praying for this man was overwhelming. The negativity he has endured over the last 3 years is stunning. Evil has taken hold of so many hearts . . . these are the people we must pray for in addition to our great President. And Judge Kavanaugh? I have been praying non-stop since the circus began. To live your life as a good, loving, educated, country-loving person and being treated the way the Left has treated him? My prayer is Judge Kavanaugh and his family unite themselves to Christ's Passion and persevere.

Now, imagine how Christ felt . . . talk about the ultimate rejection! Yet He continues to love us despite our flaws and rejection of Him during the course of our lives. Remember the next time you judge someone out loud, make a negative comment, or you yourself are judged . . . we are all on our own unique journey. Stand up for God, do the right thing, and work on healing within instead of spewing hatred on innocent people.

Today's Gospel (Luke 10:13-16) couldn't make it any clearer:

Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me.  And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

In the Monthly Message of June 2006, Jesus showers us with encouragement to continue our climb:

"I speak to My beloved apostles today from the pain of My wounded heart. I suffer for each soul walking the earth without knowledge of My love. Despite rejection, My love cannot be limited and overflows into the world. Those who do not welcome the love of the Saviour continue in loneliness. Those who welcome My love are deluged with it. Dear apostles, I know that you are weary. You do not see the full impact of your service on the Kingdom but please believe that one day you will experience the fruits of your labour. You will exult in each act of service and each act of self-denial because you will see the act attached to all of the graces obtained from it. At that time you will marvel at My generosity. You will also thank Me for obscuring this from you during your time of service because it is through this trust that you gain both merits for your eternity and conversion graces for souls. How many sinners are pulled back into My Sacred Heart through your smallest act of trust and love in the face of scorn and mockery? Dear apostles, you must consider whether or not you yourself were called back to Me through the selfless action of another. It is in this way that we are a family."

Lay apostles, stay focused on the positive. When challenges arise, face them standing tall. Look at any roadblocks as lessons or gifts given to us from Him as a way to stay on a path to holiness. He has promised to never leave us. And, Jesus only speaks the Truth.

Thank you, Lord, for every hurdle You have placed in my path. For without them, I would never be able to bask in Your abundant, overflowing love!

God bless,

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Changing Minds With Knowledge

Jay gets excited when he reads his IBD.  What exactly is that? Investor's Business Daily.  My eyes glaze over just thinking about it. Numbers are not my thing.  My daughter Whitney teases me about the time she was in 6th grade and I had helped her with her math homework. Her teacher told her she should get some help from her parents as she got all the problems wrong. She looked at the teacher and said, "my mom helped me." The teacher quickly suggested a tutor! Anyway, back to IBD. Years ago, Jay tried to get me interested. Showed me a funny political cartoon. Ok, funny, but not numbers.  Then he peaked my interest.  He asked if I knew a company called "Francesca's." Well of course I do . . . I have three daughters.  We clothes shopped there over the years.  It was one of the top 50 recommended stocks.  Then he asked if I knew of a store called "Ulta."  What girl doesn't? It's so easy to reject what is difficult to understand. But if you are open to accepting the truth, as complex as it may be, all of the sudden it becomes quite simple with a patient, loving teacher. Thank you, JC!

In today's Gospel (Luke 10:1-12), Jesus instructs His disciples to spread the Good News, but move on when hearts are not open to the Truth:

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.' Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.' Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."

In Heaven Speaks to Those Who Have Rejected God, Jesus explains what life without God is:

"I speak today with the greatest seriousness. My beloved one, you were created by God. God did not create you to reject your place in His family. You are important in this family, which includes all of mankind. To cast yourself out of God’s love is to cast yourself out of your family. You object to this, telling yourself that you do not reject mankind, only the Creator of mankind. My friend, this is like reaching into your chest and removing your heart with the goal of rejecting your heart but accepting your body. The body will not function without the heart. It cannot. In the same way, the family of God cannot function without the sustaining hand of the Father. Even the earth would fail to exist if the Father were to withdraw His benevolence. Your rejection of God proceeds from anger. You move to deny this. Perhaps you cite scientific evidence that claims to supplant God’s existence. When you die in your body and you come before Me, Jesus Christ, you will be dazzled by the extent of what humanity does not know. The body of knowledge on earth at this time, while exciting for you, is miniscule when seen against the light of the full truth that you will be allowed to explore in heaven. I bless all science of good will. God has been merciful in the extreme through science. Many men have studied science and been brought to a profound respect for the Creator through the knowledge they have gained. They will continue this study in heaven, of course, and be blessed even more. Additionally, many men who study science have served their family, humanity, profoundly through their cooperation with Me in their studies. Do you understand? They cooperate with God and God, through that cooperation, blesses humanity. It is arrogance on the part of mankind to believe that they have discovered anything that I did not wish for them to discover. You, as one of God’s created ones, must come to accept that those using science to subvert Godly principles are working against the Creator. They will be accountable for any damage done to the Kingdom of God. I am merciful to those who repent and I will be merciful to you. I speak to you today, not to condemn, but to save. I am with you. Do not reject Me."

Lay apostles, God's instructions are very simple and the end result is peace and joy.  We each are blessed with special gifts. Share those gifts willingly and lovingly. How can you change a mind toward Christ with your love and knowledge today?  Give someone Volume One? Discuss today's Gospel? There are so many ways we can shine the Light of Christ. Be open to giving and receiving.  There is so much to learn!

Thank you, Lord, for an open mind to accept the Truth. You are so easy to love.  Please help me keep an open mind to learning from Jay's IBD! 

God bless,

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Thank You Lord For Guardian Angels!

Angels. Beautiful celestial beings God has supplied to protect us. Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. This beautiful prayer comes to mind:

"Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day (or night), be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen."

Sometimes I forget my Guardian Angel is around. I'm taking the longer periods of "quiet" as an indicator I am making some good choices lately. Believe me, there are times I believe all of heaven fires a million warning shots only to have me ignore my conscience and make choices based on what makes me feel better . . . not what is best for my soul. My dear angel has worked overtime in the last 40 years, saving my life a few times in the process.

When I was a freshman at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, I was driving over Monarch Pass home to Denver for spring break. Three other people were on board. As I came to a two-laned hairpin curve, I slowed down, and with one hand held the wheel while the other hand ejected the cassette tape (no cracks about age here!) to change the music. At that instant, the passenger in the front seat grabbed the wheel (we were about to go off a very steep cliff) and I slammed on the brakes. The combination sent my car rolling.

(This may be the exact spot my car started to roll, landing on the other side of that curve! If not, you get the idea)!

As you can see in the pic, it was either go off the cliff or slam into the mountain. Only by the grace of God, my car landed upright in a small area where cars could pull off to sightsee! Thank the Lord my passengers escaped with a few bruises. Luckily, I only broke my nose and needed a few stitches in my shoulder. My car, well, completely totaled. As I ponder this memory from so many years ago, I can only imagine my Guardian Angel petitioning very quickly for God to move a mountain . . .

Today's Gospel (Matthew 18:1-5, 10) creates awareness of how much God loves us. So much so he assigns each an angel:

The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

The following quote profoundly affected my oldest daughter and me when reading this message from Jesus in Volume Nine:

"The angels surround you, My dear ones. They minister to you in so many ways that I could not clearly explain this to you. I am going to give you some idea of these heavenly friends, however, so that you will understand the strength on your side. When you attend Mass you are praying and worshipping with thousands of angels. Your guardian angel goes with you, of course, and is so grateful for the opportunity to rest in the heavenly companionship of his fellow angels. These beings of light pay rapt attention and take such joy in praising Me. Truly, each church is filled with angels. When you enter a church and find it empty, that means that you can see no other human. But there are angels present and they welcome you as they welcome your angel guardian. This loyal servant of Mine, your special guardian, prays for you without interruption. When you are safely on the path to heaven, this angel then begins to petition heaven for greater and greater spiritual gifts. Your angel can communicate with the saints in heaven and often seeks out their intercession for you. When you are working with your angel and with the saints, you will find yourself making sublime spiritual progress because the gifts being secured are of the deepest and sometimes most indiscernible variety. You are often making progress that you do not feel, little soul, but your angel is watching it closely. When something threatens your spiritual progress, your angel attempts to warn you. He does this in many ways. You often hear whisperings, what many call your conscience. This is your angel attempting to persuade you that whatever you are considering will be bad for your cause. Your angel can anticipate danger so you should always ask him to be alert and assist you."

Lay apostles, after I read the above quote years ago, every time I brought someone to Mass who really didn't believe or want to be there, I knew I was giving their Guardian Angel time for heavenly companionship. Can you imagine the scene if we were allowed a glimpse? The next time you are dragging your teenager, a friend, or a lost relative to Mass, think about his/her angel's thankfulness for the effort. Ignore the annoyance and know his/her angel is petitioning heaven for the soul they are assigned.

Thank you, Lord, for my dear Guardian Angel. I am sure I would not be here on this earth if it wasn't for this heavenly being's assistance!

God bless,