Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of America for True Change and Hope for America

Day Four. Our Lady of America, you said, “My dear children, either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace.”
Please intercede for us that we may be granted this grace and morally good leaders who will act according to the revealed will of God and the foundational principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.


O Immaculate Mother, Queen of our Country, open our hearts, our homes, and our Land to the coming of Jesus, your Divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of God’s light shining in and about you. Be our Leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, Who loves us with infinite charity.
We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care.
We consecrate our hearts, our homes, our Land to your Most Pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us.
We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire.
Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate, with your Son Jesus Christ. May His Divine Heart and your most chaste Heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments in bringing peace among men and nations. Work your miracles of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us.
May your valiant Spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy Angels and Saints, assist you and us in “renewing the face of the earth.” Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be . . .
By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of America for True Change and Hope for America

Day Three. Our Lady of America, you said, “What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is reformation of life. There must be sanctification from within. I will work my miracles of grace only in those who ask for them and empty their souls of the love and attachment to sin and all that is displeasing to my Son.”
Please intercede for us that we may be granted this grace and morally good leaders who will act according to the revealed will of God and the foundational principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.
O Immaculate Mother, Queen of our Country, open our hearts, our homes, and our Land to the coming of Jesus, your Divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of God’s light shining in and about you. Be our Leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, Who loves us with infinite charity.
We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care.
We consecrate our hearts, our homes, our Land to your Most Pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us.
We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire.
Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate, with your Son Jesus Christ. May His Divine Heart and your most chaste Heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments in bringing peace among men and nations. Work your miracles of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us.
May your valiant Spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy Angels and Saints, assist you and us in “renewing the face of the earth.” Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be . . .
By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of America for True Change and Hope for America

Day Two. Our Lady of America, you said, “I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.”

Please intercede for us that we may be granted this grace and morally good leaders who will act according to the revealed will of God and the foundational principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.
O Immaculate Mother, Queen of our Country, open our hearts, our homes, and our Land to the coming of Jesus, your Divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of God’s light shining in and about you. Be our Leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, Who loves us with infinite charity.
We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care.
We consecrate our hearts, our homes, our Land to your Most Pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us.
We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire.
Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate, with your Son Jesus Christ. May His Divine Heart and your most chaste Heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments in bringing peace among men and nations. Work your miracles of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us.
May your valiant Spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy Angels and Saints, assist you and us in “renewing the face of the earth.” Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be . . .
By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of America for True Change and Hope for America

Day One. Our Lady of America, you asked that the United States of America “be the country dedicated to my purity” and that your children in America “be the children of my Pure Heart.”
Please intercede for us that we may be granted this grace and morally good leaders who will act according to the revealed will of God and the foundational principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

O Immaculate Mother, Queen of our Country, open our hearts, our homes, and our Land to the coming of Jesus, your Divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of God’s light shining in and about you. Be our Leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, Who loves us with infinite charity.
We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care.
We consecrate our hearts, our homes, our Land to your Most Pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us.
We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire.
Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate, with your Son Jesus Christ. May His Divine Heart and your most chaste Heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments in bringing peace among men and nations. Work your miracles of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us.
May your valiant Spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy Angels and Saints, assist you and us in “renewing the face of the earth.” Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be . . .
By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday, December 8, 2017 Immaculate Conception: December 8th ... NOON TIME ... Special Hour of Grace

The Hour of Grace

The 8th of December is an important day - the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is also the day on which in 1947 Our Blessed Mother gave us the Hour of Grace.

Our Lady said as follows: "It is my wish that every year, on 8th December, at noon, the HOUR OF GRACE FOR THE WORLD be celebrated. Many divine and bodily graces will be received through this devotion. Our Lord, my Divine Son Jesus, will send His overflowing mercy if good people will pray continuously for their sinful brother.... it is my wish that the HOUR OF GRACE FOR THE WORLD be made known and spread throughout the world. If anyone is unable to visit his church, yet will pray at home, he will also receive graces through me.... will find a secure heavenly ladder and receive protection and grace through my motherly heart."

Our Lady promised she will hear any prayer we make at this time.

THE REQUEST OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE:

Day and time of the Hour of Grace: December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to be started at 12:00 noon and continuing until 1:00 p.m. for one full hour of prayer.

During this hour, the person making the Hour of Grace either at home or at church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephones, or answer any doors, or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this special Hour of Grace).

Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with out-stretched arms. (Psalm 51 appears below).

The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus, saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way, or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other psalms, etc.

Please copy and distribute this message. Remember to pray for your country during this hour. The Blessed Virgin has requested that her important message be sent throughout the entire world. Please help her Mission: that all souls be drawn to God, and that Jesus will be loved in every heart. This is the perpetual song of her heart. Let it also be yours.

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PSALM 51

Have mercy on on me, God, in Your goodness; in Your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me. For I know my offense; my sin is always before me. Against You alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in Your sight that You are just in Your sentence, blameless when You condemn. True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me. Still, You insist on sincerity of heart; in my innermost being teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow. Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn away Your Face from my sins; blot out all my guilt. A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from Your Presence, nor take from me Your Holy Spirit. Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit. I will teach the wicked Your ways, that sinners may return to You. Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise Your healing power. Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering You would not accept. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart. Make Zion prosper in Your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on Your altar.

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Few doctrines of the Catholic Church are as misunderstood as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which Catholics celebrate every year on December 8. Many people, including many Catholics, think that the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That event, though, is celebrated at the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25, nine months before Christmas). What is the Immaculate Conception?
Conceived Without SinThe Immaculate Conception refers to the condition that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from Original Sin from the very moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne. We celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary—her birth—on September 8; nine months before that is December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Development of the Doctrine of the Immaculate ConceptionFr. John Hardon, S.J., in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, notes that "Neither the Greek nor Latin Fathers explicitly taught the Immaculate Conception, but they professed it implicitly." It would take many centuries, though, for the Catholic Church to recognize the Immaculate Conception as a doctrine—as something which all Christians must believe—and many more before Pope Pius IX, on December 8, 1854, would declare it a dogma—that is, a doctrine that the Church teaches was revealed by God Himself.
The Declaration of the Dogma of the Immaculate ConceptionIn the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX wrote that "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
As Father Hardon further writes, the Blessed Virgin's "freedom from sin was an unmerited gift of God or special grace, and an exception to the law, or privilege, which no other created person has received."
The Immaculate Conception Anticipates Christ's Redemption of All MankindAnother misconception people have is that Mary's Immaculate Conception was necessary to ensure that Original Sin would not be passed on to Christ. This has never been a part of the teaching on the Immaculate Conception; rather, the Immaculate Conception represents Christ's saving grace operating in Mary in anticipation of His redemption of man and in God's foreknowledge of Mary's acceptance of His Will for her.
In other words, the Immaculate Conception was not a precondition for Christ's act of redemption but the result of that act. It is the concrete expression of God's love for Mary, who gave herself fully, completely, and without hesitation to His service.
For more on the development of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, see the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

DECEMBER 02 MESSAGE FROM OUR LADY TO MIRJANA

“Dear children, I turn to you as your mother, the mother of the just, the mother of those who love and suffer, the mother of those who are holy. My children, you too can be holy - this depends on you. Those who are holy are those who immeasurably love the Heavenly Father, those who love Him above all. Therefore, my children, always strive to be better. If you strive to be good you can be holy even though you may not think so of yourselves. If you think that you are good, you are not humble, and arrogance distances you from holiness. In this peaceless world full of threats, your hands, apostles of my love, should be extended in prayer and mercy. And to me, my children, give the gift of the rosary, the roses which I love so much. My roses are your prayers pronounced with the heart and not only recited with the lips. My roses are your acts of prayer, faith and love. When my Son was little, he said to me that my children would be numerous and that they would bring me many roses. I did not comprehend Him. Now I know that you are those children who are bringing me roses when, above all, you love my Son, when you pray with the heart, when you help the poorest. Those are my roses. That is the faith which makes everything in life be done through love, not knowing arrogance, and always ready to forgive; never judging, always striving to understand one’s brother. Therefore, apostles of my love, pray for those who do not know how to love, for those who do not love you, for those who have done evil to you, for those who have not come to know the love of my Son. My children, I ask this of you because, remember, to pray means to love and to forgive. Thank you.”


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Immaculate Conception Novena - begins November 29th

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.

I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests…

(Mention your intentions)

My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.

As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Christ the King Novena begins 11/17


Christ the King Novena Prayers

Christ, our Savior and our King, renew in me allegiance to Your Kingship.
Day 1 – I pray for the grace to place You above the powers of this world in all things.
Day 2 – I pray for the grace to obey You before any civic authority.
Day 3 – I pray for the grace to fervently bring about Your Kingdom in my family and community.
Day 4 – I pray that You will reign in my mind.
Day 5 – I pray that You will reign in my heart.
Day 6 – I pray that You will reign in my will.
Day 7 – I pray that You will reign in my body.
Day 8 – I pray that You will reign throughout all the world.
Day 9 – I pray that You will reign in every area of my life.

O Prince of Peace, may Your reign be complete in my life and in the life of the world. Christ, my King, please answer these petitions if they be in accordance with Your Holy Will…
[Mention your intentions here]
As I reflect on Your second, glorious coming and the judgment of all mankind, I beg You to show me mercy and give me the grace to become a great saint. I pray that not only will I spend eternity with You but that You may use me – a sinner – to bring others into Your Kingdom for Your glory.
Christ the King, Your Kingdom come!
Amen.

Background on this Feast

This feast day was instituted by Pope Pius XI on December 11th in 1925 within the encyclical letter Quas Primas. The Holy Father was responding to the fact that the world was becoming increasingly nationalistic and secular. Governments were claiming more and more allegiance from their citizens and attempting to replace God.
“While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.” – Quas Primas, 25
Pope Pius XI, therefore, created this feast to help the faithful to remember that allegiance to Christ is above any allegiance to government of a nation.
“The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.” – Quas Primas, 33
It is particularly important to recognize the words of the encyclical in today’s climate of government intrusion on the Church.
“When we pay honor to the princely dignity of Christ, men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state; and that in fulfilling the task committed to her by God of teaching, ruling, and guiding to eternal bliss those who belong to the kingdom of Christ, she cannot be subject to any external power.” – Quas Primas, 31

Monday, November 13, 2017

Novena of Surrender to the Will of God

Day 1
Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying? Leave the care of your affairs to Me and everything will be peaceful. I say to you in truth that every act of true, blind, complete surrender to Me produces the effect that you desire and resolves all difficult situations.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 2

Surrender to Me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to Me a worried prayer asking Me to follow you and change your worry into prayer. It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry, to be nervous and to desire to think about the consequences of anything. It is like the confusion that children feel when they ask their mother to see to their needs, and then try to take care of those needs for themselves
so that their childlike efforts get in their mother’s way. Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and to put yourself in My care.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 3
How many things I do when the soul, in so much spiritual and material need turns to Me, looks at Me and says to Me; “You take care of it,” then close its eyes and rests. In pain you pray for Me to act, but that I act in the way you want. You do not turn to Me, instead, you want Me to adapt to your ideas. You are not sick people who ask the Doctor to cure you,
but rather sick people who tell the Doctor how to. So do not act this way, but pray as I taught you in the Our Father: “Hallowed be Thy Name”, that is, be glorified in My need. “Thy kingdom come”, that is, let all that is in us and in the world be in accord with Your kingdom.
“Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”, that is, in our need, decide as You see fit for our temporal and eternal life. If you say to Me truly: “Thy Will be done” which is the same as saying: “You take care of it” I will intervene with all My omnipotence, and I will resolve the most difficult situations.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 4

You see evil growing instead of weakening? Do not worry, Close your eyes and say to Me with faith: “Thy Will be done, You take care of it.” I say to you that I will take care of it, and that I will intervene as does a doctor and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed. Do you see that the sick person is getting worse? Do not be upset, but close your eyes and say “You take care of it.” I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than My loving intervention. By My Love, I promise this to you.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 5

And when I must lead you on a path different from the one you see, I will prepare you; I will carry you in My Arms; I will let you find yourself, like children who have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms, on the other bank of the river. What troubles you and hurts you immensely are your reason, your thoughts and worry, and your desire at all costs to deal with what afflicts you.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 6
You are sleepless; you want to judge everything, direct everything and see to everything and you surrender to human strength, or worse - to men themselves, trusting in their intervention, - this is what hinders My Words and My Views. Oh how much I wish from you this surrender, to help you and how I suffer when I see you so agitated! Satan tries to do exactly this: to agitate you and to remove you from My protection and to throw you into the jaws of human initiative. So, trust only in Me, rest in Me, surrender to Me in everything.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 7
I perform miracles in proportion to your full surrender to Me and to your not thinking of yourselves. I sow treasure troves of graces when you are in the deepest poverty. No person of reason, no thinker, has ever performed miracles, not even among the saints. He does divine works whosoever surrenders to God. So don’t think about it any more, because your mind is acute and for you it is very hard to see evil and to trust in Me and to not think of yourself.
Do this for all your needs, do this all of you and you will see great continual silent miracles.
I will take care of things, I promise this to you.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 8

Close your eyes and let yourself be carried away on the flowing current of My grace; close your eyes and do not think of the present, turning your thoughts away from the future just as you would from temptation. Repose in Me, believing in My goodness, and I promise you by My Love that if you say "You take care of it,” I will take care of it all; I will console you,
liberate you and guide you.
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Day 9
Pray always in readiness to surrender, and you will receive from it great peace and great rewards, even when I confer on you the grace of immolation, of repentance and of love.
Then what does suffering matter? It seems impossible to you? Close your eyes and say with all your soul, “Jesus, You take care of it.” Do not be afraid, I will take care of things and you will bless My Name by humbling yourself. A thousand prayers cannot equal one single act of surrender, remember this well. There is no novena more effective than this!
Repeat 10 times...
O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!

Mother, I am yours now and forever. Through you and with you I always want to belong completely to Jesus.

(Author: Father Don Dolindo Ruotolo 📷✝ 1882-1970)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Musings of Hope and Exhortation

from: The Next Right Step
(I asked our own Phillip Frank to write a piece to hearten us in these days in which, as he says, the world has gone mad. Phil has recently been through a season of personal storms. About the time Hurricane Irma passed through, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. In this month which our Church has set aside to remember our loved ones who have gone before us, we pray for the repose of his mother’s soul. We pray, too, for the repose of all the souls of TNRS family and friends who have, recently, made their Final Journey Home. Charlie prayed in the most beautiful way when commenters sought prayer for a loved one who had passed. He requested that the soul would be welcomed into the Kingdom and that s/he would become an intercessor for us as we proceed through the Storm. May all whom we know and love in the Great Cloud of Witnesses become such intercessors for us in this sobering time.  ~Beckita)
A young mother from our church was asking me about how to keep her children pure in these times. She was frustrated at the thought that her daughters would make the same mistakes she had when she was young and would end unhappy like she was as a single parent raising two children in this crazy, messed up world. I told her that no matter how hard she tried, temptations of the world would find them and they would then choose to follow the righteousness they were taught or the world. Proverbs 22:6 says to “train up a child in the ways of God and they will return to it when they are old.”
In her fear of how to keep her children safe and not really knowing how to accomplish it, I reminded her that Jesus told His disciples that for man alone salvation is impossible but with God all things are possible. (Matt 9:26) Despite her weak efforts, God would make sufficient what she lacked. Further, I said she needed to TRUST God and release her worry to hope, then train up her children to the best of her ability and live a good life as a witness to them, then, God would make sufficient her weakness (My grace is sufficient) for in weakness (our acceptance that God is really in charge) we (He) are strong. When Jesus told those He cured “your faith healed you” He was referring to the fact that they “relented” their will to Him and opened themselves to trust Him. Faith leads to hope (trust) then to love which is eternal (heaven). We reach into eternity (heaven) when we do the will of God (thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven). Love, then, casts out all fear as our faith, hope and love stabilize us in this world gone mad.
When Jesus washed the feet of the apostles, He was taking a position of the least among them, despite being their leader, to help them realize humility (for I am meek and humble of heart). It was the enemy who sowed the temptation in us to “be someone” but Jesus came and took the lowest possible position among us – a slave. “Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.” (Phil 2:7) He did this to bring us back to the realization that we are children… His children! And that, like children, obedience, trust and not worrying are the correct behavior of a child of God.
It will be the Great Miracle of light blinding Satan… The torrential flood of blessings about to jolt the world must begin with the small number of the most humble souls.”  – Our Lady to Elizabeth Kindelmann <http://www.theflameoflove.org/>http://www.theflameoflove.org
The tragedy of this life is that we all suffer. That is our lot from the Fall of Adam and Eve and a combined condition of humanity’s spiritual link to one another as the Body of Christ. But we also gain through this Body. Just like a physical body that profits as a whole from good nutrition, rest and peace of mind, the Body of Christ gains merit, goodness and even physical relief by the good acts of its members. We must be prepared to give “reasons for your hope.” (1 Peter 13:15) And to do so “in season and out of season.“(2 Tim 4:2).No good deed goes unrewarded just as no evil deed goes unpunished. We, who are in the “know” of God’s grace and goodness, carry much responsibility for the good which comes into the world. We are like dikes that allow water to flow into a desert. When we are open, much flows through us to green up the parched lands. But when we are closed, the earth is dry and barren. If we, who then receive so much, refuse to open ourselves to the life-giving graces which can flow through us by our “prayers, works, joys and sufferings” and, instead, become too attached to something or someone or shy away from the sufferings God sends us or if we are spiritually lazy, we should not be surprised when everything around us is turning to dust!
What is most acceptable to God are acts that involve no self-interest, whatsoever, and that we do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Actions done solely out of love for God are sacred deeds that bring eternal blessings. “So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.” (Luke 17:10) As God is whole and complete (“I am the beginning and the end.” (Rev 22:13), we profit Him nothing by our existence and are incapable of loving Him as He truly deserves. But He gave us each other (His Mystical Body) to fulfill that which cannot be fulfilled for us by Him – “love one another, as I have loved you;”  ” and forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “See how they love one another.” “For the sake of the body of Christ, they complete what is still lacking in His afflictions.” (Col 1:24)
So for the sake of the Body of Christ, we must remain OPEN in these times to allow God His chance to save as many souls as He can. We must not “ refuse to pay attention, and turn a stubborn shoulder and stop our ears from hearing.“(Zech 7:11) when it is hard to forgive and forget. I see a great division among those of us professing faith and those opposed to it. We must be mindful, always, that we, too, are worthy of death because of our sinfulness and are saved from this fate by God Himself.  “Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.” (Rom 2:1) We are to pity and love our enemies and pray for their salvation, realizing that but for the grace of God, we would be just like them and we actually are just like them in many ways. The mystery of why God allowed the enemy to dwell among us has always troubled me but the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt 13:24) has given me insight into how Our Lord expects those of us who are “in the world but not of the world” to bring light to His people. God allows sinners to dwell alongside His faithful ones, not to punish them, but to bring light into the darkness. It is we, His faithful, who are to be a sign of contradiction to the weeds. As our “roots” grow entangled among the weeds, we may pull some of them up and out of perdition along with us when the harvester brings us home.
My mother was sent to the hospital the day before hurricane Irma rolled into Florida. The next day, the doctors diagnosed her with late stage pancreatic cancer and because of her age and physical limitations, treatment was not an option. The nurses on staff cried for her when they heard this. Why? Because my mother was sweet and loving, wheat among the weeds in this life and “entangled” herself up with everyone she met, even those she only knew for ONE DAY!
Though He constrains Himself against compelling our will, God manages the divine economy so that every event, every chance encounter, calls us to Him.” (Charlie Johnston) Being a sign of hope is to be that chance encounter with someone who needs a chance. Growing alongside the weeds, we learn to love and care for them despite their offenses and if they don’t pray, we can pray in their stead. They, in turn, learn to love and care for us… and will recognize God dwelling in us. St. Faustina, in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, captures this relationship importance. “Although a sinful person is at the point of death, the merciful God gives the soul that interior vivid moment, so that if the soul is willing, it has the possibility of returning to God thus making use of all the prayers that other souls offer to God for them.
Jesus set His eyes on the goal, was not put to shame and felt joy in what He was accomplishing by the cross. Despite the great suffering He was going through, He experienced joy in its accomplishment, a parallel which we can ourselves feel as we suffer the Storm and await the Rescue with its light already piercing the darkness. Our own Francesca here at TNRS feels this distinction: “Fortunately we walk by faith and not by sight, and so the prayers of God’s people, our Guardian Angels, the tender embrace of our Immaculate Mother, and the hope to see Jesus brings needed mercy, and I do not despair, although despair is all I can feel.” She does not despair because she has replaced it with trust and hope which she does not “feel” but “believes” through her faith. Here people, is a sign of contradiction and a true disciple of TNRS. She becomes a “sign of hope” herself when she practices what she preaches. And with the Storm, God has given us ample chance to practice!
I see the parable of the workers (Matt 20:1-16) like this: The land owner hires the workers to work his vineyard. The first to be hired, work all day (their entire lives) to fulfill the job given them by the land owner (God). But God, loving all humanity, sees those standing around in the market place (the world) doing nothing (not tending to what they were created to be) and asks them to join those who are already working (the faithful) and offers to pay them what is right (eternal life). This story has two lessons for me. First, God is “generous” with His love and salvation. He makes the point that those who worked the longest in His vineyard “deserve” the pay agreed upon but, because of His generosity, He can also give those who do not “deserve” it the same. He makes the point that it is none of our business what He does with His money (grace) despite our “jealousy” of His mercy and love for those we think do not “deserve” it! He makes the point that the work does not actually give us salvation but His generosity does. So the second lesson is this: despite our ideas on who deserves to go to heaven or not, God will, in the end, save us all if we, even at the last moment, “agree” to work in His vineyard. “God’s mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illumined by a ray of God’s powerful final grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment.” (St. Faustina) For this soul the “work” is its final “turning to God” and then God’s grace “is sufficient” for it to receive the “day’s pay” of eternal life. Thus, we all enter heaven on equal ground, not because of our labors’ equality, but because of our God’s mercy and love for His children. This is why “the first will be last and the last will be first.” We do not go into heaven in a straight line, first to last, but all together at once as a single unit, as the Body of Christ!