Uncle Passed Away

I have just been notified my uncle has passed away.  I thank you all for your comments and will respond to them all.  Right now it is just hard to breathe. 

I also thank you all for the prayers and love.  Your words and prayers are what is keeping me going.  Love to you all, SR

 

Yet Another Death!

A dear friend of our family died yesterday.  She went in for back surgery, came through fine and a blood clot hit her heart, right after surgery.

Her family is in deep grief and shock.  We all are.  She was my Mother’s best friend.

One of the greatest memories I have of this remarkable lady is: 

We had all spoiled my little sister to the point of no return., including this dear friend.  So much so Mom could not do supper dishes as she always wanted to be in Mom’s arm.  This dearest lady used to come and get my sister and she, her kids, and myself used take my sister strolling every single night, so Mom could do dishes! 

I do know though, there are two ladies happy in heaven today.  And that is my Mom’s dearest friend and my Mom.

It has shocked us all, her family, and myself.  We just all had a good cry this morning. 

My uncle is still in a coma and no change has been made there.

I love you all, I thank you, and God Bless, SR

 

 

Need Prayer

Once again, death is at my family’s door.  Gees!!!!  The fourth death in my family in two months. 

Please pray for my uncle who has had a massive stroke, and the doctor’s are saying he will not make it.  Right now he knows nothing and they are keeping him asleep.

Please pray for his kids and my aunt.  Also keep his nieces and nephews in prayer, which one is me.

Our heart’s are sad, and he will be greatly missed.  I cannot tell you how much he has meant to us all.  Thank you, love you, and God Bless, SR

My Conversation with Jesus Regarding Death

I am sorry I am behind on blogging and comments, but I have had so many deaths these past two months.

Three cousins died, and two grandson’s of friends committed suicide, and last week my neighbor’s Father died.  Of course this inspired me to have a conversation with our Lord, about death.  It went like this:

I was mowing and said, “Jesus, I know heaven is supposed to be the most beautiful place that we will ever live but…. Jesus, what can be more beautiful than the earth?  The sky, the colors, it is all so beautiful. It all matches so perfectly.”

“Lord, I know I was once with You before I was here, but I do not remember being with You.  The earth and it’s beauty is all I know.”

“Lord again, I cannot imagine anything being more beautiful!”

“Lord, it is not that I am afraid to die, but this is all I truly know.  I cannot imagine having to leave it!”

The Lord really did not answer me with anything at that moment.  In fact about four days passed.  I was saying my morning prayers and Jesus spoke and said:

“I am more beautiful S..  I am more beautiful than all the things of the earth.”

“The day you look upon Me, is the day you will see perfected love in all of it’s glory.”

Many of us have a fear of death and many do not.  I think sometimes we drag our feet about “death” because it is unknown to us.  It is certainly not our “familiar.”  It is way out of our “comfort zone.”  I do not know of anyone who remembers being with God, before we were born???

Jesus let me know though, as beautiful as I think all of creation is, He is “more beautiful.”  As I contemplated this thought I realized:

Jesus has a beauty which not one single one of us can fathom.

After thinking all of this through I also realized:

My soul begin to yearn to be with Him.

I am not saying I have a “death wish.”  I am only saying, when our soul yearns for Jesus, this is when we truly begin to “die to ourselves.”

I do not know, it just changed things for me.

It made Jesus more real, to me.  It also made me want to serve Him in a different way.  I think it did so because, I know He will be the first One I see when I die. 

When my eyes gaze upon Him, I will see what “Perfected Love,” really is.  I pray I kneel in all humility at seeing such Beauty, on that day!

Love and God Bless, SR

Is Being “Laid Back” All We Have to Offer God?

I was having a wonderful conversation with a woman whom I had just met, at the gas station. She was beautiful, loving, and you could feel her kindness and love whenever she spoke.  The conversation went into the direction of God and Church, and she ever so kindly invited me to her Church, which I greatly appreciated. 

Then she said something which has troubled my spirit greatly this week:

“I really like you and I want to invite you to my Church.  We are so “laid back.”  You can wear whatever you want, be whoever you want to be, and really have a nice time.”

“We have coffee and doughnuts and it is really enjoyable.”

This lady belongs to a Church which came into our area a few years back.  I have heard a lot about it including they take their coffee and doughnuts into the worship service.

In no way am I saying this lady meant any harm, as I really liked her also.  She was being sweet and kind, and so was her offer.

But the statement “laid back”

Truly, has bothered me.

In our “culture” is this really all we have to offer to God anymore?  Going to Church in shorts and flip-flops and taking coffee and doughnuts into the worship service?  Having a good time and just being relaxed, while we are in Church?

No reverence for God?  No humbling ourselves before Him?  Wearing what we would wear to the swimming pool? 

Never contemplating the very reasons we are there, is because Jesus took lashes and nails in His flesh.  That He cried out to God in agony and a “thirst for love,” feeling an abandonment we will never feel.

Never contemplating we are in Church, because with His last breath, He consummated every single human being, back to God?

Because of all of this, we really have a chance of spending an eternity in heaven.

God is holy.  God is all knowing.  God speaks or breathes and it comes into existence.  God sent His Son to be tortured and murdered, for our sins.  He did so because He loves us so much.

His Son, Jesus, carried out His Father’s will perfectly.

I do not know, but as far as I am concerned we should love God more than, especially in our worship, to be something besides “laid back.”

Scripture does not teach us being “laid back” is the way we serve nor worship God.

In fact I cannot think of anyone in the Bible, who had this frame of mind when encountering God.  I cannot think of anyone in the Bible, who had this frame of mind when worshipping God.

I know we are a “culture” of “anything and everything goes.”  You see when it comes to God, we are to give Him our best.  Our everything.  We should be so humble and grateful before and to Him. 

I am not saying we should wear a 500.00 dollar suit to Church, but we should wear our “Sunday best.”

I also worry about what parent’s are doing to their children with this “laid back” attitude?  We as adults cannot teach our children, “anything goes” with God!  To lead them by the example of, “It is Sunday and we are going to Church.  Get in there and put something on, and you can eat your breakfast during worship,” is just plain wrong to me.

I am sure when the Blessed Mother saw her Child hanging on the Cross, she was anything but “laid back.” 

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit deserve so much more.  Worshipping Them is not about us, and us feeling relaxed and having fun.

It is about reverence, respect, and humility.  Giving Them honor and glory.

I do not feel, we can do this in a “laid back” manner, frame of mind, or spirit.

God Bless, SR

“Eyes of Faith,” is a “Soul in Grace” (Part 3 – The End)

imagesWQCE1CF4I would like to conclude these post with a few “quotes” from St. Faustina’s Diary on “grace.”

“When a soul loves God sincerely, it ought not fear anything in the spiritual life.  Let is subject itself to the action of grace, and let it not impose any restraints on itself in communing with the Lord.”  (292)

“When Jesus ravished me by His beauty and drew me to Himself, I then saw what in my soul was displeasing to Him and made up my mind to remove it, cost what it may; and aided by the  grace of God I did remove it at once.  This magnanimity pleased the Lord, and from that moment God started granting me higher graces.  In my interior life I never reason; I do not analyze the ways in which God’s Spirit leads me.  It is enough for me to know that I am loved and that I love.  Pure love enables me to know God and understand many mysteries.  My confessor is an oracle for me.  His word is sacred to me.  I am speaking about the spiritual director (Father Sopocko)  (293)

Once the Lord said to me, Act like a beggar who does not back away when he gets more alms (than he asked for), but offer thanks the more fervently.  You too, should not back away and say that you are not worthy of receiving greater graces when I give them to you.  I know you are unworthy, but rejoice all the more and take as many treasures from My Heart as you can carry, for then you will please Me more.  And I will tell you one more thing – take these graces not only for yourself, but for others; that is, encourage the souls with whom you come in contact to trust in My infinite mercy.  Oh, how I love those souls who have complete confidence in Me – I will do everything for them.”  (294)

St. Faustina throughout her Diary spoke often of the “grace” and “mercy” of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit.   I also remember a passage I read where,  “It hurts Jesus when we do accept His mercy and grace.”   How when we do not accept them, “They will go to another.”

If you read (part 1& 2) of my post, you can see where depending on and accepting “grace”, from our Lord has changed my spiritual life.   It has just changed everything.   These are a few things which are beginning to happen:

During prayer the Lord is always showing or telling me something.  (I will be sharing these things in upcoming post.)  I see Mass in a way I have never seen it.  It is such an offering of myself to Jesus, my virtues and faults.  He accepts them all.  In return He offers all of His love to me.  It is such a glorious exchange of persons, souls, and spirits.   One who is so unworthy going to the One, who is so worthy. 

Now, since I have offered myself to the grace of understanding of this, Jesus is there holding His arms out to me saying, “Come.”  “Nothing you do is so bad, that I cannot love you.”

I get up in the morning depending and asking for “grace”, I go to bed doing the same.  I trust in it, cherish it, ask for it, and cannot live without it. 

It does “level every single mountain” which springs up in my life.  It has also silenced my soul in a way, which I cannot explain.  I am also convicted of my sins, but once confessed, the guilt goes with it.  

I want to listen more to Jesus, than I want to talk to Him.  When I do talk to Him, it is like He is sitting across the table from me.  We have a relationship.  I am like a “beggar.”  The more grace He gives me, the more I ask for, the more I want to share it. 

I am available so much more to Christ and His desires for me.

All I can say is:

“The Eyes of Faith is a Soul in Grace.”

Thank You Lord and thank you Francis,

Love and God Bless, SR

Excerpts taken from:

Divine Mercy in my Soul

Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

“Eyes of Faith” is a “Soul in Grace” (Part 2)

What do I mean, “Eyes of Faith” is a “Soul in Grace?

As I stated in Part 1, I went to confession with all of this.  My confession was:

Father, I want to confess the selfishness and unforgiveness in my soul.  I want to confess I have been holding onto grudges from past hurts.  Father, I also want to confess God’s grace could not get into my soul with a sledge – hammer.  It has been so hard.  Now Father, God’s grace is there.  I know it is.

Father’s Reply:

Now you have the “Eyes of faith,” because God placed your “soul in grace.”

In being told this, I began to understand, when we allow God to pour His grace into our souls, our spiritual senses awaken.  Our spiritual senses are just like our physical senses.

We begin to:

See, taste, smell, touch, and hear God.  We do not do it like we do in the physical world.  Our “senses” become illuminated in the “spiritual world.”

I want to give an instance for this:

I have not nor have I ever claimed to be a “visionary.”  When I was in Confession and Father absolved me from my sins, I saw:

The wound of Christ in his hand.

I saw it through the grace in my soul.  I understood, the Priest was not “absolving me,” Christ was.   To have this image before me in confession, was totally amazing!    I was free, I was happy, and I went back to my pew with the greatest of all smiles in my heart, soul, and on my face!  I was the happiest I have ever been, in Mass!

The grace God has given to me in my soul, has allowed me to “see” all things which He wants to show me. 

It is the same way with all my other spiritual senses.

My desires have changed. 

 I desire to smell the sweet aroma of God.  I desire to hear Him.  I desire to touch Him.  I desire to taste Him.  I desire to see Him.

When we begin to desire these things, these “sweet aroma’s” go up to God, and He continues to shower us with more “graces.”

In doing so, He plucks us out of our world into His.

Now these are a few examples I want to share of speaking God’s grace to our mountains:

I have two torn tendons in my right arm.  One completely torn through the other half way through.  Surgery was surely on the horizon.  Everyday I have stretched out my arm to God and said:

I speak “grace” to these torn tendons God.

Went to doctor two weeks ago:

Was released from his care.  Range of motion is coming back into arm, and pain is minimal.  Thank you God!

Another:

I live in Texas and to say we have had “storms” is an understatement.  I am talking trees bending to the ground.  Over 5000 strikes of ground lightening has hit close to where I live.  Tornados out the wazoo.  Water everywhere one could look, that had no place to go.

Friday morning God awakened me at 1:00 a.m.  The storm had hit again.  Between 1 & 4 a.m. I begin to “cry grace to those storms.” 

The Lord spoke and said, “I will close the heavens in a little while.”

At 4 a.m. the storms stopped.  We had a few showers between 10:00 and noon.  The rest of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there has been no rain here. 

It was supposed to rain all day Friday. 

When we speak God’s grace to something or someone, we are asking for His favor, kindness, mercy, love, and any other attribute contained in His grace.   God actually “stoops to the inferior” (us) to grant us these graces.  (See part 1)

This very grace is what made the Blessed Mother, the Blessed Mother, as the angel said,

“She was full of it.”

For myself:

That is as far as I have to go to understand the meaning of how God’s grace influences our lives, and how our lives react to it.  (See part 1)

Love and God Bless, SR

(Next post and the last will be about what Jesus told St. Faustian about grace.)


“The Eyes of Faith” is a “Soul in Grace” (Part One)

images

Before I begin this/these post I must give thanks to a dear blogging friend, Francis Philip.  His post http://francisphilip.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/i-make-all-things-new  began a stirring in my soul, on something the Lord has already been dealing with me about, for the past several months. Please I beg you to go and read this post and our comments.

Let me start at the beginning:

The Lord begin to deal with me about “grace” several months ago.  He showed me in Scripture where it says:  “Cry grace to your mountains, and they will be leveled like plains.”  Zech. 4:1-7

In my faith journey, and all I can say is:

It works.  What one is actually doing, is speaking God’s “grace” to our mountains.  (I will talk more about this in my next post.)

So the next step I had to find out, “What is grace, actually?”  This is what I found in the Hebrew and the Greek, in the Strong’s. These are “some” definitions:

Kindness, favor, beauty, pleasant, precious, well favored.  It is derived in the Hebrews from the word “chanan.”

Chanan:

To bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to favor, bestow, to implore (i.e. move to favor by petition) beseech, give, grant, merciful, have mercy upon, have pity upon, pray, make supplication. 

In the Greek:

Graciousness of manner or act.  The divine influence upon the heart, and it’s reflection in life.  Favor, gift.

So I begin to understand:

Grace has many attributes.  Most of the time it involves an action on our part, which God will give to us the ability to perform said “action.”

Then we get to the spiritual part of it for ourselves:

God’s grace influences our heart and it “reflects” these influences in our lives.

Bingo!  There it was for me.

We cannot hope to achieve one thing in life, without God’s grace.  Our soul’s cannot hope to accomplish spirituality without the “influence” of this same grace.

Now what do I mean:

If we want spiritual gifts, be they whatever,  we had better learn to open ourselves up to God’s grace.  If we want God to influence our thoughts, actions, prayers, etc… same thing, we have to let Him know we want and need His grace to do so.  If we want our “mountains” leveled, we have to learn to “cry God’s grace” upon them.  If we want God’s world, we have to have His grace to get there. 

In other words:

If we want to do, speak, think, perform, and live as Christians,  we must be open to letting God place our souls in a “state of grace.”  (Thank you Francis!)  We must always and daily, ask God for this great “gift” to which He is so ready to bestow upon us.  We can never hope to achieve a beautiful and loving soul without it.

When God gives us this gift for the asking:

You are going to be amazed at what happens. 

This week I begin to implement all of this in my life.  The outcome of it at the end of the week, I am having to pinch myself to make sure it is real.  Tonight’s Mass was the most beautiful Mass I have ever been to.  It is because I have kept the desire for God’s grace so close to my heart.  In doing so I understood so much more regarding, Mass. 

I went to confession tonight which I will be sharing in my next post.  I told my Priest all of this, and this is where I got the “Eyes of Faith is a Soul in Grace.” 

 Jesus told me to go in St. Faustina’s Diary and I did.  I learned what He had to say about grace to her, and how we should always ask for it.  I will be sharing this also. 

So it will probably be three post on it.

Love and God Bless, SR

Photo Courtesy of:

izquotes.com

 

Discerning What Others do to Us Spiritually

images

Sometimes in our lives we have a friendship with someone, which “grows apart spiritually.”  There can be many, many reasons such as:

Lifestyle changes, maybe one going to another Church and the “beliefs” change, one quits going to Church all together, or even how one views and sees God, etc… One I would like to focus on today is:

When another is infiltrating our holiness.  What do we do?

Jesus said: (Mark (9:42-47)

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.  And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with the two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.”  (He also goes on to say, if our feet and eyes cause us to sin we are to get rid of those also.)

 Jesus is not speaking about us “really” maiming ourselves.  My Bible notes gave an interesting view on this I thought:

“Jesus hyperbole, (overstatement) to emphasize that drastic measures are needed to avoid sin. (CCC 1861, 2284-87)  Because public sin can embolden others to sin likewise, the consequences that await those who cause scandal are worse than drowning by the weight of a great millstone.  Because grave (mortal) sin merit hell, avoiding them requires us to take action so serious that it can be compared to bodily dismemberment.”

Morally, (St. John Chrysotom, Hom. in Matt 59):  “Severing bodily limbs signifies the amputation of intimate friends.  When close companions drag Christians away from holiness, they must be cut away.  It is better for us to enter heaven without them then to maintain their company in everlasting misery.”

I think somewhere in our lives we have all encountered others such as Jesus and St. John Chrysotom, are speaking of.  (We at some point may have been this very person ourselves.)  

A lot of the time it is not those who we know want nothing to do with God, but those who claim to “know God better than anyone else.”  Those who feel “they have the monopoly on God.”  Those who “quote every verse of Scripture for our circumstances in life,”  using them to “point out all of our wrongs.”  Those who also feel, “they have the monopoly on a  soul and knows where it going to when we die.”   Sometimes these are our “dearest friends.”

Jesus battled people like this called, the “Scribes and Pharisees.”  He devoted a whole chapter in Matthew 23 calling them among other names, “hypocrites.”

My favorite verse is Matthew 23:15 where Jesus says:

“For you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”

Sometimes, we have to be very careful regarding “who we associate with in life.”  In doing so, we need to discern, “What is this person doing to me spiritually?”  “Could he/she be leading me into sin?”

Because of their influence am I becoming:

“Judgmental of someone’s soul, full of myself,  doing my deeds in front of others, causing someone to stumble in their walk with God, telling another what they need to be doing in their situation in life, and never offering a hand to help them?” 

Is their influence causing me to:

“Lose my holiness?”

If it is we need to:

“Sever our relationship with them.”

Holiness requires us to examine ourselves and those who we have a relationship with.  When we find someone is taking us in another direction from what God intends, we must ask ourselves the question:

“Which is more important, the eternal state of my soul or this friendship?”

This does not mean we think, “we are better than anyone else?”  It only means our lives are no longer “compatible,” with this person’s.  From there we need to “move on.”

Love and God Bless, SR 

Bible notes:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible

Commentary and notes:

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

Quote courtesy of:

quotesgram.com

Jesus Teaching Me Why I was Born

I am not sure with this post if I can begin to explain what the Lord did for me today.  I have been speechless and standing in awe since this morning. 

This morning I read 1 John 4:7-12 (I will only give verses 8-12, and the Bible notes)

Verse 8:

“He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.”

Verse 12:

“No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is “perfected” in us.”

Bible notes verse 8 and 12:

“God exist as an eternal act of love, with the Father, Son, and Spirit giving themselves to one another in an everlasting embrace.  This love of the Trinity, which has its eternal source in the Father, spills over into history through the sacrificial love of the Son and the sanctifying love of the Spirit.  For John, we can be sure that God lives in us if we love others as God loves-genuinely, sacrificially, unconditionally.  In this way, God’s Trinitarian love is reflected on earth as it is in heaven.”

“The divine essence of God is invisible in the humanity and mission of Jesus and in the selfless charity of His followers.”

As many of you know I have been studying the Gospels to try to understand and relate to the “humanity” of Jesus.   He has taught me many things such as:

Our constant opinions about Him and lack of belief, angers and troubles His spirit.   He has taught me to use the “common” things of and in my life for “spiritual reasons.”  He has shown me what He does when He resurrects us from ourselves, by “removing the bandages from us” and “setting us free.”  Much, much more, believe me.

But today Jesus taught me why I was born:

“So that God’s love could be “perfected.”

The way it is perfected is if we love:

“Genuinely, Sacrificially, Unconditionally.”

God does not just have “unconditional” love, nor  Jesus, nor the Holy Spirit.

What I love more than anything, is in “Christ’s humanity”

He was able to accomplish,

“All Three.”

We cannot have “one” without the other “two.”

We can accomplish it because:

Christ did and in doing so, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will enable us to because……

This is “Trinitarian Love.”

You see, “God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit,” give one another this love in an “everlasting embrace.”

This is exactly how “They” want us to do it.

In doing so:

God’s love is “perfected in us.”

If you ever wondered what your purpose in life is, as I have:

Here it is!

Jesus completely:

“Silenced my soul with this, and brought it to peace.”  Thank You, Jesus!

See I am not trying to figure it out anymore.  I do not have a thousand questions a day, of “Why was I born God?”  “What do You want?”

He wants us to:

“Love one another,  just as “They” do in heaven.  He wants this love in heaven to be shared throughout the earth, by us.

We cannot get out here and give someone a third, or even two-thirds, of it.

It must have all three “attributes” for this  to be complete,  perfect, and to “spill over.”

For me:

There is no other way to see or do it, if I want my “humanity” to relate to and become the “Humanity of Christ.”

Love and God Bless, SR

Bible Notes:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible NT

Commentary and Notes:

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

Seeing Jesus only as a “Wonder Worker”

Some of the things I have heard over the years when someone is sick, has amazed me.  Especially, if their “healing” does not come right away or at all.

For example:

“You have not had enough faith.”  “You need to pray harder and quit doubting.”  “You are not trusting God enough.”

These people are serious. I cannot imagine having a life threatening disease, and this is all my Christian community has to offer me!  What????? (It blows my mind!)

So I went and read the story  of when “Jesus Cleansed the Leper.”  (It is taken from Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-16 (I will not be giving the entire Scripture but a summation of them.  You may go and read the entirety of it if you would like.)

Jesus cleanses the leper and in Mark He says:

“See that you say nothing to any one.” 

In Luke:

“He withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.”

This was because:

“The leper went and told everyone.” 

Of course:

“Jesus had great crowds around Him.”

Bible notes Mark:

One consideration:  “Jesus wanted to avoid a sensationalist reputation of being more than a wonder worker.  Publicizing His deeds by word of mouth comes with the danger that the rumors will begin to disconnect his miracles from His saving message.”

Bible notes Luke:

“Jesus does not want people to think He is merely a wonder-worker.  Solitary prayer is part of Jesus’ teaching and constant practice.”

“Morally (St. Gregory Nazianzen):  Christ serves as a model for both the active and contemplative life, since we see in His example both the dignity of labor and the higher duty of laying aside work for prayer.”

How many times do we see Jesus in our own lives and the lives of others, as only a “wonder worker?”  How many times do we present Jesus to others as only a “wonder worker?”

All of these healings were His, “wonder works.”  If you read Scripture Jesus did them with simple words such as:

“You are healed.”  “Take up your mat and go.” 

Then:

He moved on.

I believe He did so because:

His “saving message” was His “purpose.”

We need to be careful how we think of Jesus and present Him to others. 

Can He do miracles of “healing?”  Of course.  He has healed me twice in the last year.

We see in the “cleansing of the leper:”

Something was more important to Him.  “Prayer” and that people would not only come to Him because they needed to be “healed,” or for some other “wonder works” of His.

The most important thing to Jesus was:

His “saving message.”  So important He carried “it” all the way to the Cross, to His death.

You know, when someone is sick, suffering, dying, etc…,  the best thing we can give to them is “love.” 

To me this was the “saving message of Christ.” 

“I am taking My love for you, to the Cross.”

If someone is sick and are healed or they die, either way they are “victorious.”   Jesus died for both, “reasons.”  He does not want to be recognized for only one of them. 

We see where He laid down His “wonder works” to go pray, by Himself.  He did this because the offering of His prayers, were also important.

If we want to live with Jesus in the correct way.  If we want to represent Jesus correctly to others, then:

The best way to do that is:

John 3:16-21

Love and God Bless, SR

Bible notes:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible

Commentary and Notes:

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

Finding what There is to Love in Ourselves

I think sometimes the hardest thing Christians try and accomplish is “loving ourselves.”  I know I have struggled with this for many years.  There has always been a failing, fault, or sin, which would continuously override any “good thoughts,” I had about myself.

Then of course, there are always those in our lives or around us who always have this “whole spiritual” thing worked out.  Or so it seems?? 

Their souls are absolutely beautiful.  They are always giving and doing for others.  It seems like everything they “touch” turns to gold, as far as the work they are doing for our Lord.

But what did Jesus say:

“You shall love your neighbor, as yourself.”

When I read this I really thought about it.  Jesus never commanded us, “not to love ourselves.” 

Jesus also, when it was time to rest or get away from the crowds:

Did.

I do not see anywhere in Scripture, where He carried “guilt” because of it.

So what do we do:

I know we are supposed to continually “crucify” our flesh.

What about the  part of us which is not flesh:

The part of us which is spiritual?  The part of us who loves God, and wants to serve Him no matter what?  The part of us, which is so willing to share our love and what we have with others?  The part of us which prays continually, for others?  The part of us who will help the sick, the elderly, the helpless, the homeless, the hungry, the poor, or the thirsty?  The part of us whose only desire it is, is to bring “joy” to someone’s life?

The part of us who:

“Loves our neighbor as ourselves.”

Do we try and “crucify” these things also?

Of course not!

Each and every single one of us are made in the “image of God.”  We all have God’s virtues and goodness within ourselves.  

I believe:

We need to love this part of ourselves.  It is a wonderful gift. 

We need to understand:

When we have done all we can do for someone, we need to rest.  In doing so, we are actually following in the “footsteps of Christ.”

Being “displeased with ourselves” all the time as a Christian, is a very hard burden to bear.  I think it is one we place upon ourselves, unnecessarily.   

Each night  as we examine our conscience, thinking of the good and not so good that we have done, we need to say:

“Lord, forgive me for where I have sinned against and failed You.”

and……..

“Lord, thank You for where I have not.”

We need to close our eyes knowing, there is a very good, “good” within us.

It is:

The love of God. 

That alone enables us:

 To become and to be, all He created us for.

Love and God Bless, SR

 

The Lord Bringing us out of the “Odor” and “Death” of our Tomb

I have never been one who “rejoiced” while carrying my crosses in life.  I have never told God, “Lord I thank you for this cross I am under.”  It was more like, “Lord when is this going to be over?”  That is the simple truth of the matter!

The other day I heard someone on television say:

“What is the Cross?  Yes, it was suffering but it was also death.  When we are carrying our crosses, as Jesus told us we were going to do, we are also dying to ourselves.”

I mean to tell you, light bulbs started going off at rapid speed within myself.

I begin to think about “all” the crosses I had carried in the last six years.  Most of you know they were many.  If it was not one thing it was the other.  As I begin to look back, I also saw how much of myself truly did “die!”   Many things about me are now, “dead.”

My “impatience” have become “more patience.”  My “lack of faith and trust in God, have increased in “leaps and bounds.”  My life has become increasingly simple, and the “anxiety” which I have lived with all of my life, seems to decrease with each “challenge.”  It seems as if I am beginning to “accept others in my life,” for who they are and “not as I think I should be. ”  I am finding I am “relaxing more,” from the things I thought “just had to be done,” and realizing “tomorrow is another day.”  These are a few things I came up with, though there are more.

Then I asked myself:

How did all of this come to be?  I remembered asking my Priest one time, “Where do we follow Jesus to when we are carrying our cross?”  His reply, “To the resurrection.”

This brought my thought process to Lazarus being resurrected from the tomb and actually what Jesus said:

When He had said this (Jesus,) He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus come out.”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”  Matthew 11:43-44

If we would only understand this is what happens to us, when we die to ourselves.  I do not believe we have to die to every single solitary thing there is about “ourselves.”  There are things about us, we should love, after all we are “created in the image of God.”  We should love “God’s image within us.”

But:

When we begin to die to the things within ourselves, which are not of God, then Jesus can call us out of that “particular tomb.”  When He does, we are no longer “bound” to those “bandages” which have “enslaved” us for most of our life.

Not only that, Jesus tells us:

“Come out!”  “Get out from underneath all of that “stuff!”  He begins to “unwrap our bandages one at a time.”

I truly “rejoiced” for all the crosses I have carried in the past, and for one I am carrying now. 

I do so because for the first time, I understand:

This is the process the Lord uses, to bring us “all” out from the “odor”  and “death” of our “own created tombs.”

Love and God Bless, SR

 

The Necessity of Christ

I was going to do a post on “Our Purpose.”  (That is coming.) But first I wanted to share how I “Discovered Myself With Jesus.”  I do not know how many post this is going to entail, but you will know when you see the post, “Our Purpose.”

Jesus showed me through the Gospels it is imperative that I discover myself, if I ever want to truly do the will of God in my life.  I had to be honest to and about myself.  I also had to be honest about who Jesus was and is.  First and foremost I had to “discover” the “necessity of Christ.”

Why did Jesus come?

I can hear everyone right now, “To save us from our sins?”  Which is true.  Jesus was also “necessary” to save us from the justice of God, and to appease His wrath.  Without Jesus there would be no “us.”  God would have destroyed mankind, due to sin. 

In realizing this, I realized if Jesus was so “necessary” to save me from my sins and God’s judgment, I must be necessary also, to God.  (I do not mean that statement in a prideful way.)

In Jesus fulfilling His “necessity” I could be born.  I could breathe air and have life.

I have spent years beating myself up, because maybe what I was doing was not “grand enough.”  If I sinned, no matter how many times I confessed it and told God I was sorry, it ate at me like acid.  Completely destroying the “joy” in my life.

Now:

In the morning my first prayer is, “Lord I offer you the Sacrifice of Your Son, for every thought, word, and deed, that does not line up with what you want from me today.” 

I accept these things will probably be a part of my life on any given day but, I know God took care of it for me, and for Himself.   He Himself supplied what I needed to get out from under all of it.  I am either going to use it for it’s worth and be happy, or I am not, and be one miserable human being. 

God nor Jesus cannot do anymore for me, than they have already done.  I live “free” in that belief now.  It is up to me, to take it and move on.

Jesus called Peter, “Satan.”  Why?  Jesus was foretelling about His death and resurrection.  Peter loved Him, and could not fathom it.  Jesus told Him, “You are a hindrance to Me, for you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

Jesus rebuked Peter because: 

 Jesus knew He was a “spiritual necessity.” Peter did not recognize that fact.  I know for myself, I never “recognized” that fact. 

I knew Jesus came and died for my sins, but that is not the only reason.  Everything that I have spiritually is because of this “One Man!” 

I am either going to be on “the side of God” and be thankful and happy because of it,

Or:

I am not.   

We need as Christians to realize, God supplied it all for Him and us, in Jesus.  We need to be humble because of it, but not so much so, that we cannot rejoice, for the very same reason.

 We need to accept our failures and faults.  God is going to use them for something. 

Also:

 We need to accept our goodness, kindness, and love.  God is going to use them for something too.

Love and God Bless, SR

One “Body” and Two Pieces of “Wood”

I was reading John Chapter 9 regarding, “Jesus healing the blind man by spitting on the ground and making clay of the spittle.”  When Jesus, “Anointed this man’s eyes with the clay, his blindness was healed.”

My Bible notes stated:

“The use of common materials to serve a holy purpose anticipated Jesus’ institution of the seven Sacraments.”  Also stated as referral Mark 6:56

Mark 6:56

“And whenever He came, in villages, cities or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and begged Him that they might touch even the fringe of His garment; and as many as touched it were made well.

These Scriptures plus the Bible notes, really made me think not only about the Seven Sacraments, but in particular The Eucharist and The Cross.  I am going to begin with the Eucharist.

Jesus took common bread and wine.  He gave thanks to God, consecrated it to God, and Jesus said:

“This is My body and this is My blood.”

How did this happen:

Jesus took two common things, and all He had to do was touch and speak over them.   In doing so, from that day forward a “holy purpose” was created for the rest of us.  That “holy purpose” was given to us to receive, “The Eucharist.”  “Holy Communion.”

From that day forward it became a “holy meal,” for us to share with our Lord. 

Thank You, Jesus.

Now the Cross:

The Romans, always crucified people.  On the Day of the Cross, there were “three” crosses.  Yet we never see any Cross in our thought’s, mind’s,  or even in art except; the One Jesus hung upon.  I can look at a piece of artwork with Jesus and the two thieves, and I never see the two thieves hanging on a cross.  My eyes gravitate to the one which has Jesus on it. 

See Jesus took a couple of pieces of wood.  Very common material.  The minute His Body and Blood,touched that wood, that wood, became the “Holiest Common Material” ever known to man. 

Jesus and that wood became nothing less, than a “Holy Purpose.”

My Point:

Sometimes we think we must see and hear Jesus, in all the splendor and glitter.  When we do not, we question at times, “Is this You, Lord?”

“Splendor and glitter,” was not the Lord’s way.

He used spit, fringe on a robe, a fig tree, five fish and loaves, bread and wine, dirt, boats, water, etc…

For me personally at times He has used:

A tree, dragonflies, my dogs, a dead bird in my bird bath, wind, skies, clouds, a lawn mowr, etc…

I never remember the Lord teaching me anything contained in something so spectacular, that I could not see or hear Him.

He and I have always related and communicated through the “common and ordinary.”  I always came away with a feeling of “holiness.”

Our Lord, was “plain and common.”    Yet, multitudes followed Him.

They did this because:

He did not have time for the “splendor and glitter.” 

He only had time for completing God’s will.

In doing so He left us with the best of examples:

To do all things with/in humility, as not to destroy, it’s “holy purpose.”

So the next time we think we need to go to the “spectactular” to find or present  Jesus to others,

Remember:

He came to us on “two common pieces of wood.”

One “Body” and two pieces of “Wood,”

That changed the world forever,

Because of Their Purpose.

Love and God Bless, SR

Bible notes:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible NT

Commentary and Notes:

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

“Distressing and Humiliating the Spirit of Jesus”

Yesterday I did post regarding the “opinions” of so many people at the death and resurrection of Lazarus.  Today I would like to continue on with something else which happened to Christ, during all of this.  I want to use John 11:33

“When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, He groaned in spirit and was troubled.”

I always took these words to mean compassion or pity.  That is not what they mean at all.

In the Greek these words mean

Trouble – to stir or agitate.

Groaned in spirit – to anger, to sigh with chagrin

Chagrin – distress or embarrassment at having failed or having been humiliated. (English definition)

Spirit – (human) a rational soul, disposition, an Angel, demon, or divine God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, ghost, life, spirit, mind

My notes:

The more I am studying the Gospels, the more I am becoming “learned” in the humanity of Jesus.    This is something I have needed for a very long time. 

In the story of Lazarus, it is like “scales” fell off of my eyes, regarding His humanity.  

Scripture does not give us the reason Christ was angered, but after looking up what these “words” meant, this is my spin on it.  (Please feel free to comment on why you think Jesus became angry.)

As I stated yesterday, “Everyone there had an opinion.”  “He was too late, Lazarus was now going to have an odor, He loved Lazarus but, He did not keep Lazarus from dying.”

Did these words:

Distress and humiliate Jesus, to the point of making Him angry?

If it had of been me, my answer would have been:

Yes.

Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Not one word was spoken about this, from those people.  Not one, “Thank you Lord.”  Not one, “Bless you Lord.”  Not one, “Praise you Lord.”

A miracle was about to take place, and all they cared about was:

All the little “details” of how “Jesus failed.”

Have you ever been in that place?

Have you ever tried to do something so wonderful for another, and all the people around you could do, was “criticize?” 

Criticized you because:

You did not put enough effort into it.  The effort you did place into it, in their eyes, “you failed.”   Maybe you really worked hard at helping another, yet you were “criticized” because they thought you did not work hard enough.

Have you ever been sick yourself and “criticized” because you did not “pray hard enough.”  Maybe you did “not have enough faith.” 

The list is endless, isn’t it?

Do these things distress and humiliate you, to the point where you “groan in your spirit?” 

Our Lord on this day suffered distress and humiliation. In His Spirit He became “angry.”   To me He became angry because everyone was telling Him basically,
“You are just a failure.  What are you going to do now, Lazarus is already dead?”

You know, we grieve the Lord by our words.  We also grieve Him, when we get our minds off of the miracle, and place them on all the “details and circumstances” which we are in. 

A lot of times from there we will place Jesus as “having failed us.”  This causes Him, “Humiliation.”

Jesus does not “fail” us. 

Just because we think:

He does not show up at the right time,

Does not mean:

Our resurrection is not going to take place.

Love and God Bless, SR

 

Does Jesus Need Our Opinons?

I was reading the story of Lazarus, and it astounded me how many “opinions” everyone had, regarding the death and resurrection of this man.  (John 11)

To begin I am going to be taking the Scriptures where everyone were voicing their thoughts.

John 11:32

Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw Him, fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:36

So the Jews said, “See how He loved him.”

John 11:37

But some of them (Jews) said, “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

John 11:39

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, “Lord by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead for four days.”

You know, here Jesus was about to raise a dead man, and look at the “know it all, opinionated attitudes”  He was faced with! 

They said:

You are too late!  If you do it now Lazarus is going to smell, because you did not come sooner!  Jesus loved Lazarus!  Really????  If He loved Lazarus He would have saved him from dying!

Can you imagine how this made Jesus feel?

Even though, these people were “full of themselves” Jesus went ahead and raised Lazarus from the dead.

It got me to thinking:

How many times do we place the stumbling block of our “opinion” in the way of Jesus’ mercy?  How many times, when the Lord shows up to help us out of any given situation, do we have to put our “two cents” worth in?

We never know what miracle the Lord is about to perform in our lives?  We never know the place or time these miracles are going to happen?  We never know how they are going to happen, or their outcome? 

We can be assured of one thing:

When Jesus does show up, we are going to have an opinion about something!  We are going to let Him know it!

Jesus does not need our “opinions.”  I am sure He can do quite well without them, just as He could have on this day.

If we trust Him to get us out of every circumstance, we need to trust in His timing and method also. 

We have to remember, His timing and method’s are perfect.  Ours are not.

So the next time we call upon Him, maybe that is all we need to do.  When He arrives, just maybe, we need to “hush!”

Love and God Bless, SR

Did Jesus Live in a “Culture” of Different Religions?

One thing about our “culture” in America, are all the many different religions, with all “different beliefs.”  As I was studying the Gospels I realized:

Jesus lived the same way.

For a few:

There was Judaism, Samaritans,  The Romans, and then there was Jesus bringing in Christianity.

I wanted to know more so I went to the Samaritan woman at the well.  Before I really get into this post, I want to give a little history regarding the Samaritans.  (If you have not read the story please go to John Chapter 4)

Bible notes:

“Centuries of animosity between Jews and Samaritans loom in the background of the episode.  It began with the devastation of northern Palestine by Assyria in the 8th century B.C., when masses of Israelites were deported out of the land and foreign peoples were forcibly resettled in the region.  (2Kings 17:6, 24-41)  According to the Jews of southern Palestine, the remaining Israelites (Samaritans) had defiled themselves by assimilating the practices of these pagan peoples and intermarrying with them.  The enmity between Jews and Samaritans was very much alive in NT times, and both groups took steps to avoid interaction with one another, especially in matters of food and drink.”

“In the OT  the Samaritans worshiped in a sanctuary built on Mt. Gerizim.  Although it was destroyed in 128 B.C., they continued to worship on the mountain during NT times and even to present day.”

“Samaritan religion was an admixture of Israelite faith and pagan idolatry.”  (2 Kings 17:29-34)

My Notes:

Jesus lived much in a culture like ours.  A lot of different religions and beliefs.  As with the Samaritan woman we see Jesus approaching her, which was almost a “stoning offense” in those days.  He told her things about herself, about Himself, and about who He was.  When the Samaritan woman went and told others about this meeting with Jesus, “Many Samaritans from the city believed in Him, because of this woman’s testimony.”  John 4:39

I got to thinking:

It would be so wonderful if as Christians, the outcome of our witnessing, and helping one another,  could turn out as good as this story did.   It would be wonderful for Non-Christians as well.

Jesus did not approach her with the rights and wrongs of her religion.  He did not attack her.  He never said she was going to hell.  He wanted something to drink, on I am sure a very hot day. 

Jesus was just being who He was, and carrying out the Father’s will, in all He told her. 

So many “were saved,” because of this meeting of mutual respect and kindness. 

I often wonder what people think of us “Christians” when we begin to set up our “battle grounds” of who is right and who is wrong?  Do we lead them to Christ?   Do they wonder as the Samaritans did, “Is there something to this man, Jesus?”

I am prone to believe the answer often to these questions is, “No.”

If we are going to be a witness to and for Jesus.  If we are going to be a witness to and for others, we need to remember this story, how it was handled, and the outcome. 

Jesus gave to us a wonderful example here of how to approach and speak to others of different religions, denominations, beliefs, and forms of worship. 

Jesus also left us an example of what to say to others regarding Himself, and how true worship is done in “Spirit and Truth.”

We live in a “culture” of so many different Christian and Non-Christian religions.  I learned from this story, “respect” goes a long way in trying to help the salvation of others. 

I think over the years, we have lost said, “respect.” 

I know this:

We better get it back, as the world is turning into a very evil place.   

So the next time we run into someone who goes against our very grain, maybe all we need to say is:

“Would you give me a drink?”

Then:

Let Jesus take us over from there.

Love and God Bless, SR 

 

Bible notes taken from:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible NT

Commentary and Notes by:

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

The Eight Words of Jesus as Our Greatest Defense

Do we ever think before we speak?  I know there are a lot of times I do not, especially if someone gets my “dander” up.  The quickest way to do that, is someone accusing me of something which is a lie!  I do not much care who they are!  That “Texas Mouth Syndrome” (thank you Claire) goes into action! Let’s go to the  8th chapter of John beginning with verse 48-59 (Please go read the entire chapter if you have not.)

The Jews answered him: (Jesus)

“Are we not right in saying you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

Jesus said:

“I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.  Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge.  Truly, truly I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.”

The Jews said to him:

“Now we know that you have a demon.  Abraham died, as did the prophets and you say, “If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.  Are you greater than our father Abraham who died?  And the prophets died!  Who do you claim to be?”

Jesus said:

“If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing, it is, my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God.”

Bible notes:

“A Samaritan:  An insult implying that Jesus was born of mixed racial parentage and followed a deviant form of religion. “

“Jesus sets the example of perfect composure in the face of insults, since he denied the charge of being a demoniac but did not counter it with an abusive response. If Jesus did not avenge himself, then neither should we return injury for injury when reviled by our neighbor.”  (St. Gregory the Great, Homily 18)

My Notes:

These particular Jews were giving Jesus everything they had, were they not?  They accused him of being a Samaritan and accused him of having a demon, twice!  We all know both accusations were an out and out lie!  So did Jesus.

Jesus never lost his composure.  He did not say, “Well you !@#$%^&*,  get out of my face!”  In fact he really calmly denied having a demon, and stuck to the truth to who He and God were.  He stuck to the truth that he was “not a liar,” because “he knew God and he kept his word.”  That was really about it. 

Of course at the end we see these highly “religious people” picked up stones to stone him, and Jesus had to run and hide.

This story got me to thinking about how many times, my responses have been so off the charts.  By that I mean to such a high degree of anger, especially when accused falsely, that I was actually making my “accuser” run and hide.

Of course in my own self-righteousness, it kind of goes with, “Well they got what they deserved.”

That is not the example Jesus set forth for us, is it?

It all boiled down to Jesus saying:

“I know God and I keep His Word.”

“Eight Words,” which should be the greatest defense, we should ever have to speak.  Then turn and walk off. 

To return injury for injury, does exactly that.  It “hurts” both parties.  Sometimes to the point where there is no return.

Love and God Bless, SR

Bible Source:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

Commentary and Notes

Who are our Brothers/Sisters as a Christian?

In my last post I spoke of “taking the speck out of our brother’s eye”  These are the only people Jesus gave us permission to do this with.  Of course it comes after “taking the log out of our own.” 

So who are our brothers and sisters?  How many times do we ask this question to ourselves???

Jesus said:

” For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”    Matthew 12:50

So, not every single person is our brother/sister are they?  Only those “who do the will of God are.”  We do not like to accept this, do we?

  Jesus left us a teaching for this.

He said:

“Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.”  Matthew 7:6

Bible notes (in part) on this says:

Dogs and swine……  Derogatory Jewish epithets for pagans.  (15:26-28)  Dogs were generally undomesticated in Jewish culture, and most were stray scavengers.  Swine were especially contemptible to Jews, they were unclean and could not be eaten.  Jesus directs these insulting labels to anyone inhospitable to the Gospel, Jew or Gentile. 

My Notes:

Jesus to me, makes it pretty clear who our brothers/sisters are.  He also makes it clear who our brothers/sisters are not.  We need to pay attention to that!  He commands us to:

“Leave those alone who are inhospitable to the Gospels.”

Do we do this:

NO!  Most of us as Christians are so overly zealous.  Instead of “sharing the Gospels” we “shove them.”  Jesus said, “We are going to be attacked” and it is no one’s fault but our own.  We are outside of our “family unit.”  If God “accepts” the free will of man to choose, then so should we! 

The Gospels were not given to be shoved down someone’s throat.  They were not given to “send someone to hell” with. 

They were:

Given for God’s children to live by and with.  The only people who we are “allowed” to discern a “speck in their eye,” so we can help them remove it,  are those who are trying to do God’s will.  Our brothers/sisters, in Christ. 

It is hard when the Gospel of Jesus is not received to, “shake the dust off of our feet,” and move on.  Yet, that is exactly what Christ commands us to do.  That is exactly what He did.

It is hard to “not cast our pearls before swine,” but Jesus does not want them “cast” there.   Our pearls are a gift freely given to those who want to accept them.  Yet, they come with instructions on how to  be protected and used, and so does everything which is “holy.”

There is no way as Christians that we can live harmoniously with those who are pagans, atheist, feel it is okay to abort babies, or let our elderly/sick die, “as they are of no use to us anymore.”  There is no way we can live “peaceably” with those in this “culture,” who wants us to accept sin.   Jesus of all people, knew we could not, because He could not.  When Jesus started preaching and doing miracles, there were times, “He had to run and hide.”

It does mean:

We love and pray for those against us, as Jesus commands us to do this for our “enemies.”  However, if they want no part of God or His teachings, so be it!  From the moment we realize this, we need to let God take care of it.

Then what:

We live in peace with our brothers and sisters.  We become a unity, in Christ.  We do the best we can for one another, because:

We need each other.  We will with open arms, receive willingly the love of Christ, from one another.  Also, hopefully receive “critical discernment” from one another, when it is done out of and with love.

Are God’s children a “people set apart?”:

The Bible says, “We are.”

As His children, we have to obey Him, and protect our gifts, if we ever hope to make it through what “society” is giving us.

The best way to do this:

Is to recognize who our brothers/sisters are.  In doing so we become more like Christ.

Love and God Bless, SR

Bible notes taken from:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament

Commentary and Notes by:

Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

Living in a Non-Christian Culture as a Christian

As I stated in my last post, Jesus lived in a “culture” in His humanity.  His was just so strict one could not breath, where ours is so “accepting” we are told by many we “must embrace sin.”  So what do we do? 

First off I want to begin with our human nature:

I used to believe I had to deny everything about my human nature.  After doing this study I do not believe that anymore.  There are things in my human nature which are good.  I love, I try to help and take care of those who are poor, sick, or homeless.  I adopt animals out the wazoo.  Now why would I want to get rid of that part of me?

What we need to deny in ourselves I believe are:

Anything which goes against our soul and spirit.  The soul and spirit are the things which are attached to God and the heavens.  So we “must” examine ourselves, see what is in us that does not line up with the teachings of God and Christ.  The amazing thing is, through the Holy Spirit, the soul and spirit will be convicted as soon as we commit an act of sin.  So finding out what these things are, should not be a problem. 

As I told you in my last post one thing is quit this “blame game” and go to the mirror.  Jesus in the Gospels showed us how to do that?  Let us begin:

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

Bible notes:

“Christians must prioritize the pursuit of holiness in their lives.  This is not an excuse for laziness in practical matters. (2 Thess 3:6-13) but a call to trust in the Father’s care. (Phil4:6; CCC2608)”

Me:

In a non-Christian culture we have no choice but to “prioritize the pursuit of holiness in our lives.”  It needs to be 1st on our list daily, then at night we need to examine ourselves and see where we failed and where we succeeded.  Where we succeeded we keep that part of us, where we fail we “deny” that part of ourselves and follow Jesus. 

Matthew 7:3-5

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is your own eye? ” Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is a log in your own eye.”  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Bible notes:

Jesus’ teaching on judgment is two sided.  He condemns judging other’s faults.  We are incapable of judging with fairness and accuracy since God alone knows the heart.  However, Jesus commands us to exercise critical discernment.  Examination is necessary to avoid profaning what is holy and embracing what is false.  We set the standards of our personal judgment by our own conduct towards others.”

Me:

In our culture of today it is very hard not to judge, to blame, to get downright disgusted, isn’t it?   In these two Scriptures alone, Jesus told us how to begin with ourselves. 

Now if you notice Jesus did not say, “Do not take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

What He did say was:

“We must see ourselves in “truth, so we may discern clearly the splinter in our brother’s eye.  Then we may take it out.”

No matter what we cannot live in a non-Christian culture and judge anyone.  We cannot blame those who are wrong, when we as Christians have had a hand in creating this “culture.”

So what do we do:

Confess to God  and admit to the part we played in creating this culture, therefore; taking the log out of our own eye.  Try to make it right, by “exercising critical discernment,” with our brothers/sisters.

As Christians though we need to ask ourselves, “Who are our brothers/sisters?”  That is coming on the next post.

Love and God Bless, SR

Bible notes taken from:

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament

Commentary and Notes b Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

Is it “Culture” or “Christians?”

This post is going to go along with the “Living the Gospels” post, but the Lord gave me so much today, I wanted to post this while it was fresh on my mind.  (Another will follow Sunday)

“Is it the Culture or Christians?”

When the Lord begin to impress “Living the Gospels” upon my heart, the first place He took me was the “culture in which He lived.”  See:

Jesus lived in a “culture of 600+ laws” which if you stumped your toe you were stoned to death.  No one could follow each and every one of them.

We live:

In a “culture of 600+ laws” where if we do not “accept everything even to sin,” we are stoned to death.  We live in a “culture” which is the exact opposite of what Jesus lived in. 

So we need to begin to look at the Gospels as a “set of laws” which are:

So well balanced concerning our human and spiritual nature, that if applied by everyone, the whole world would live in perfect harmony. 

As Christians we must realize we are not:

Living the Gospels to the fulfillment of our potential.  If we were we would not be battling one another so much.  My lands, some Christians I think would “stone” anyone just for not believing as they do!

Jesus came to:

“Fulfill the law, not to do away with it.”

We are called to:

“Fulfill the Gospels, not to do away with them, and not to place our own “spin” on them.  By “fulfilling the Gospels,” it is the only means in which we can live in this “culture” of what I call the “culture of death.”

But:

How many Christians have contributed to the “culture of death” by not “Living the Gospels?”

We cannot get out here and “accept” every single thing this nation wants us to accept, and be a Christian.  We cannot vote for people who are pro-choice, who want our elderly just to be left alone to die, and so many other things which are sin. 

We cannot  want to be “politically correct,” more than we want to be a Christian!

As Christians:

We are supposed to be united.  We are all supposed to believe in and do what Jesus set forth in the Gospels to do.  Jesus left examples of how we are to do it.  For many of us, (myself included) we are not following these examples.

First off we love to blame:

The devil, evil on a whole, other denominations, politics, pastor’s, priest, the Pope, laws, lack of laws, people not knowing their Bible, people not going to Church, our youth, our culture, the list just goes on and on.

Well:

What about us?

Are we living the Gospels?  Are we living them as Jesus set them up to be lived?  Are we seeing them as a set of “laws” where not only we can thrive spiritually, but every other human being can also? 

Or:

As Christians do we live and give them to others,  only to the part where they go against what we want?  As Christians do we live and give them only until they make us uncomfortable?  Do we say:  “Oh this Scripture had it’s place in the day, but today is not that day?”  As Christians do we “Live the Gospels” until they go against what we have been taught or what we want them to mean to us?

I think if we are honest with one another, mainly ourselves, the answer to some of these questions is, “Yes.”  If we answer “yes” to any of these, then maybe this “culture” has a lot to do with us??

I am going to show in my next post concerning this “blame game.”  I am going to use the Gospels to do it.

This is just some food for thought, before I begin.

Love and God Bless, SR

“Living the Gospels” (Part 1)

As I stated in my post last Sunday, “This was the best Lenten Season I have ever had.” 

Again to remind you, our Priest gave us a book for Christmas titled “Rediscover Jesus,” by Matthew Kelly.  In one of the chapters Mr. Kelly wrote about:

“Living the Gospels”

This really stuck with me.  I asked myself:

Do I live the Gospels daily?  What are the Gospels, really?  How do I relate to them?

So of course being me, my questions had to be searched and answered, within myself.  I am going to start with this revelation I discovered within myself.  (Maybe you can relate and maybe not.  I only know it is the truth for myself.) 

I have always related more to the OT, writers.  Why? I do not know.  I think what always intrigued me were, God’s responses to everything that was done during those times.  I can read the same OT stories over and over. 

Now when it came to the NT, of course I read the Gospels and all the other books.  As I pondered on this, my revelation was:

I quoted and remembered Paul more than anyone?

Again the question:

Why?

This is what I begin to realize about myself and these “Four Books:”

 I saw Jesus as someone I love dearly.  I related to Him as my Savior.  I related to Him as the one and only Sacrifice for my sins.  I related to Him as my friend and Lord, but….

I never related to Jesus as my “teacher.” 

I think I did this because:

He was so far beyond being a “teacher,” within myself.

Then my thoughts went to Helen Keller:

She was blind, deaf, and mute.  She had absolutely no skills whatsoever, nor life for that matter until:

Her “teacher” Ann Sullivan came into her life.

Ann Sullivan was the one who gave to Helen Keller, everything!    She opened Helen Keller’s eyes, hearing and speech, in ways you and I will never be able to comprehend.  Helen was not real responsive to her teacher at first.  In fact, I think she fought her for a while. 

But:

When Helen grasped what Miss Sullivan was trying to do with and for her, she flourished.

You see this was my problem:

By not relating to Jesus as my “teacher,” I was deaf, mute, and blind to the Gospels.  I mean, I knew to be good to others, pray for others, so on and so forth, but….

My ears, eyes, and mouth were closed to the:

“Heart of those Four Books.”

This began a forty-day search on trying to find that:

“Heart.” 

(To be continued next Sunday)

Love and God Bless, SR

 

Praying the Psalms Over the Powers of Darkness

I did a post saying that a dear friend of mine had stated she was praying the Psalms.  First she did it in order then in reverse.  I did it, and so much came out of it, I do two or three daily now.

There was only one problem I had:

When David got to his enemies, he wanted them destroyed, put to shame, or anything else he could come up with.  As I stated before, “He never much cared how God took care of his enemies, as long as He did.”

As I would pray these part’s out loud:

I just kept getting an uncomfortable feeling.  I am the last to say I would have my “enemies” over for tea, but I am the first to say I never want harm to come to anyone.  I do not care if they are my dearest friends or my worst enemies.

So what did I do:

When I would get to chapters where David was really asking God to do something with his enemies I would tell God, “Lord I mean the devil and all of his demons.”  As I was praying on, eventually I did not have to say that anymore to God, it was already in my heart and mind.

Then God reminded me of something:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”    Ephesians 6:10-12

Back then Paul was warning about the spiritual warfare that was going on, unseen, in the Church.  Christian’s, Christianity, and all that implies was under attack.  Today is no different.  We are still being attacked, by the “wiles of the devil.”  As Christians he and his cohort’s are our greatest enemies.  We have to get it into our heads, they are not only our greatest enemies, they are our worst!  It is not that human being, illness, pain, heartache, etc… it is the most evil spirit which exist, within it all!

I do not care how great, mighty, or tough we think we are, if we think we can defeat him, we are only kidding ourselves.  After all he is an entity, he comes in either with a whirlwind to defeat us, or in bits and pieces.  Either way, we seldom ever see it coming until we are there in it.  I always say, “If you want to see the devil “give it his best shot” go to the Day of the Cross, then look at the Cross.”   That is what his evil was able to accomplish in the “heart of man.”

I have found the best weapon outside of the death and resurrection of Jesus in my life, is praying those verses in the Psalms, where David wanted his enemies destroyed.  As Christians we cannot wish harm on another person but…. we can wish it all we want on the devil!  Then we have to be strong in the power of God. 

All I can say is this:

I was amazed at the outcome.  The more I prayed those Psalm verses, the more I trusted God, the more they left and the more peace I had.

Love and God Bless, SR

“When was the Last Time you Knelt to Pray?”

This Lenten Season I have to say was the very best of my life.  I was determined to let God show me the creature He created me to be if it killed me!  I am going to be sharing some of what I did, on Sunday’s.

One of the best things I did was receive a book from our Priest called, “Rediscovering Jesus” by Matthew Kelly. (Excerpts are taken from this book)  It has forty short chapters with meditations/questions/prayers at the end of each Chapter.  If you are Catholic or Protestant I really urge you to get this book, as it helped me immensely.  (I read a chapter a day through Lent and am starting it over.)

One of the questions Mr. Kelly asked was:

“When was the last time you knelt down to pray?  It may seem old-fashion, but when was the last time you knelt beside your bed at night and prayed?”

As I read that question I realized it had truly been a long time.  Due to age, sore knees, squeaking bones, etc… most all of my prayers became at the kitchen table, couch, propped up in my bed, outside, walking, working, etc…

So I thought:

I am going to go down on these “old knees” one way or the other, once a day, humbling myself before God, and pray!

I knew once down there I could not stay long, because “help me I cannot get up!”  :-)  What was I going to pray?

 So I decided or God decided for me:

The Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, the Glory Be, and Oh, my Jesus…

What happened:

Everything!  It made me feel as if I was truly humbling myself before God.  It made me feel as if I was giving Him, the respect He deserves.  Though the prayers are not long as in “time length,”  the quietness and stillness of my soul was so profound, for those few moments.  Even the surrounding environment became quiet. 

Somehow I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jesus and I were connecting, in a very spiritual way.  When I pulled myself up, I felt peace, freedom, and a special love which I cannot describe, for and from Jesus.

I know in our busy lives, kneeling sometimes gets left by the wayside.  We pray to God going out the door, driving to work, and/or doing our work.  At the end of the day, there are dinners to prepare, washing to do, bath’s to take, and finally we fall in bed telling God when our head’s hit the pillow, “Thank you for this day and forgive me where I offended You.”  Then we drift off to sleep and it begins all over, the next day.

I cannot urge you enough, if it is only for a few minutes a day, implement the “kneel” back into your prayer life.  It really did wonders for me.

Love and God Bless, SR

 

Learning to Live in Our Promise Land (The End)

As I wrote in my first post God and myself had a conversation regarding, “How to live in my Promise Land.” This is our conversation as I wrote it down.

God:

When you get to your  Promise Land  you do not seek Me daily.  Life is going well for you and you tend to cast Me aside.  You do not rely on Me as much anymore.  You begin to find your pleasure in other things, because you are so relieved.  Seek and serve Me daily, the same way you did on your journey.

At times you sin and do not repent immediately, and at times never.  You  continue to walk in this sin day after day.  When you know you have sinned, repent immediately, as my servant David did.

When you are in your tribulations and trials our relationship is different.  You continually praise Me.  When it is over, this still comes, but not like it does, when you “Need Me.”  Can you not  at least praise Me, “seven times a day,” as My Word says?

Never deny who you are in Me.  Remember when they asked My Son, “Who He was,” He said, “I Am.”  No matter the tribulations of my Son, He never denied His Father, and that He and His Father were One.

Obedience.   How careful you are to obey Me during your tribulations and trials.  When they cease how you can at times, ignore what I am calling you to do.  Always obey me.

You forget my “cloud of grace” which is over you, and the waters which you are drawing from My Mercy.  You start to depend on your own “grace” and “mercy” which will always fail you.

My Response:

Nothing!

Why:

I knew He was correct!

When we are in our Promise Land, we still have to do what we know is right.  We have to live in it the way God expects us to.  The way He expected Israel to. 

You know Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden forever, because of these very things.  I mean God walked with them every single evening, can you imagine!   That Garden had to be the most beautiful place on earth.  In their comfort and so much beauty surrounding them, they forgot about God, and did what the devil was calling them to do.

I have done the same thing many times.  Life is well, God and myself are well, the tribulation is over, I am in the Promise Land, I do not have to do all of these little things, anymore.

I think that is where I fail the most.  Oh, I still do all the “Big” things I know I am supposed to do, like praying, going to Mass, etc. but…. God still wants that, “Oh, God I have sinned and I am sorry for offending you,” the moment I realize I have done it.  He still wants that, “Lord I will praise you seven times a day.”  He wants that quieting of my soul, so He can converse to and with me.  He wants that obedience when He tells me to do something.  Nothing changes just because I am in the comfort of the “Promise Land.”  Learning to live in it well, is as important as trying to get there.

When I become slack in these things, “I AM” denying who “I AM” in and with Him.   I have to admit, it is because the “relief” of the journey is over.  Most of mine really “suck,” as I am sure many of yours have as well.

I am beginning to understand, I have to be the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow with God.  As God is the same always. 

When I get out here, and I am not wandering in the wilderness anymore, I have to remember,
God is the same God.   Though my circumstances have changed, He has not!

I have got to “STOP” creating my own “wilderness” most of the time, get in that Promise Land and learn how to live there the rest of my life!

Love and God Bless, SR

Learning to Live in our Promise Land (Part 1)

About a week and half ago I told God:

Lord I am sick and tired of these journeys!  I know I learn from each and every one of them, but I am tired Lord! 

Lord’s reply:

Nothing!

Today I told Him:

Lord am I ever going to reach my Promise Land?  A land flowing with milk and honey?  I want my Promise Land, Lord!

Lord’s reply:

You are already in it and have been.  You do not know how to live in it.  Israel did not know how to live in it, and you are no different.

My response:

Teach me how to live in it, Lord!

First the Lord gave me this verse of Scripture plus much more.  Today I am going to leave this post off with the verse of Scripture and my thoughts, then continue in another post.

But Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God.  He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.  If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.’  And the people said to Joshua:

‘No, we will serve the Lord!’

Then Joshua said to the people:

‘You are a witness against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord to serve Him.’

And they said:

‘We are witnesses.’

He said:

‘Then put away your foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.’

The people said to Joshua:

‘The Lord our God we will serve, and Him we will obey.’  (Joshua 24:19-24)

My thoughts:

Hmmmm,  o-k-a-y!  I might be and have been in my “Promise Land,” but how many other gods do I have in it????

For some and most of all, my own feelings, emotions, wants and desires, or maybe just myself in general is the “biggest foreign god I worship!” 

How about:

Television, internet, work, letting the thoughts and comments of other’s just more or less ruin my day?  Completely taking away the “joy of God” from my heart.

How about:

Fear.  Fear of what tomorrow will bring or will not bring.  Fear of hurt and shame.  Most of all the fear of the unknown, to all, but God Himself.

I can go on and on with this and I am sure you can to, but….

Unless we recognize how many foreign gods are in our lives and get rid of them, I do not care if we are in our “Promise Land” or not, it “ain’t going to work!” 

God is more than willing to take us out of these journeys and give us our “Promise Land.”  As God does though, there are stipulations on how to live in it!  We cannot live there, and place God on the back burner!  That ain’t going to “work either!”

God does not “command” but God “DEMANDS” He be the only God in our lives.  If we want to live in a land “flowing with milk and honey,” we better make sure He is.

We can never forget He is a “jealous God,” even though He is a very merciful God.  There is nothing in our lives, we can place before Him, if we want the “peace” He promises us.

When we “CHOOSE TO SERVE THE LORD,” that is exactly what He expects us to do!

Love and God Bless, SR

I Told Jesus, “No.”

Today a very interesting thing happened to me.  I went to lunch with a friend, and as we were checking out of the restaurant I noticed a sign that said,  ” On Thursday nights come and join them for praise and worship.”  I showed it to my friend and did not say anything. 

Then the owner came up to check us out, and I said, “I see y’all have praise and worship here on Thursday nights.”  He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Good.” 

He then asked my friend what religion she was and she said, “Lutheran.”  He asked me and I said, “Catholic.”

He then said,

I was born and raised a Catholic, but I became a Christian in 19….   (I lost all concentration at that point.)

I said:

So you are referring because I am a Catholic, I am not a Christian?

To which everything just kind of went silent.  It brought back a memory of one of the most trying times of my life.  That was my:

Conversion.

Most of you know it was the Blessed Mother who called me to the Church.  But something else I fought over and tried to destroy with my own belief’s and that was the 6th Chapter of John.

Jesus taught the Sacrament of the Eucharist in this Chapter.  He said,  “Truly, Truly I say to you, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you, he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, I will raise him up at the last day.”

But this was not the Scripture that got me.  The one that got me was in 6:66..

After this, (his teachings) many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him.  Jesus said to the Twelve,

“Will you leave me too?”

Now I am a Protestant at this time, trying to discredit how the Catholic Church believed on this Chapter.   I went to see what “eats” meant in the Greek and it was to: “Chew or gnaw.”   So I knew Jesus was not only speaking “sacramentally” but was also speaking “literally.”

Then the question came:

Is Jesus lying?

Of course I knew He had not. 

Something else I knew also:

The Jews knew exactly what He was saying and left, because under the law they could consume no animal blood, much less the Blood of a Human. 

The reason for this post:

I have been called/told many things since becoming a Catholic.  Idol worshipper, not a believer in the Cross, I love my Pope more than I love Jesus, I am going to hell, blah, blah, and more blah.

I have yet been referred to as or told to my face that I am not a:

Christian.  Hmmm…..

You see:

The biggest stumbling block I had was John Chapter 6.  Finally, I had to come to the realization “Jesus would not lie about something like this.”  It also said in Chapter 6, “Jesus let them go in their disbelief.”  This disbelief was on His teaching of the Eucharist.   Jesus would not have let them go, if He meant it only as a “symbolic gesture to remember Him always.” 

I for one year tried to disprove the teachings of the Church on this, and could not.

Jesus kept asking me the whole time:

“Are you going to leave Me too?”

Today words kind of failed me in that restaurant.  It stunned me actually. 

I know this:

John Chapter 6 gives to me all the verification I need to prove Jesus is in the Blessed Host, after it has been consecrated by the Priest, and the Holy Spirit comes.  It is His Body, it is His Blood, and He said, “I MUST drink and eat it.”  He left no room for questions or doubts when He taught this. 

I guess if that takes me out of the Christian loop, it just does.

But when Jesus asked me:

“Are you going to leave me too.”

I told Him:

“No.”

I gave Him my word, and I am not taking it back!

Love and God Bless,

SR

 

 

 

Feeling Shallow and Stupid!

Today the Lord and I had a very interesting conversation.  In fact, He showed me what I do in my darkest hours that prevents me from knowing He is there.  He also showed me how I trust in the dark hours of the night, but I do not trust Him.  This is all what the Lord spoke to me, while I listened.

There is darkness of the soul, and it is created by the hearts and minds of my children.  You say, “You do not feel, see, nor hear Me in these moments.”  Then why do you cry out to Me if you believe I am nowhere to be found?  Yet, you believe in all of these things which you do not feel, see, nor hear:

When you mow you have said, “Why do the birds come to feed when I mow.  I do not know what it is they are eating?”  Yet you believe the ground produces something they are eating, which you do not see, feel, or hear.  As you sleep do you not believe in gravity, though you do not feel, see, nor hear it?  When the clouds cover the sun, do you not believe the sun is still there, underneath the darkness of the sky, and it will shine once again?  Do you not believe while you sleep in darkness, the earth is still rotating, though you do not see, feel, or hear it?   Do you not believe when you sleep during the darkness of the night that the grass is still growing, the clouds are still moving, the sun will rise in the morning, the wind will still blow, yet your eyes are closed in the darkness of the night, and you neither feel, see, nor hear these things. 

Then why do you not believe in the darkest moments of  your soul, I AM NOT THERE?  How can you believe in all of these things when night covers the earth,  which you are not even aware of, yet you trust they are there?  How can you NOT  believe I am there, just because you are not aware of Me, in those moments?  

The Lord showed me today, how I am so ready to believe in the presence of things I never feel, hear, nor see.  Yet, it is the total opposite when it comes to Him.  I feel abandoned and left alone.  It made perfect sense to me when He said, “Why cry out to Me, if you do not believe I am there?”  After all, that would be just floating words into the air, with no destination in sight, wouldn’t it?

The Lord said, “Darkness of the soul is in the minds and hearts of His children.”  It is!  It is because we will sooner believe that the earth is rotating in the night, then believe that God is always with us.  It is our lack of trust and faith.  Therefore, we create our own hell, in a hell which has already presented itself in our lives. 

Of course I felt ashamed, ever so sorry, and apologized to our Lord. 

The next time darkness covers our life, and we feel God is nowhere to be found, we need to ask ourselves:

What is it that I DO believe in that I have never seen, felt, nor heard?  Contemplate it and then ask ourselves:

How can I believe in these things and believe that the God who created it all, has left me in my darkness?????

God showed me today how I can readily believe in many things of which I have no concept of how they even operate yet, when it comes to Him….

I at times, do not believe He is always with me, though He promised He would be.  

Made me feel kind of shallow and stupid, if you want to know the truth!

God Bless, SR

 

God Gave it to Me Through the Psalms

Month’s ago a dear friend of mine told me she had started praying the Psalms daily.  Through all of my ordeal I thought, “Why not?”  I begin to pray two or three verses daily, along with my other prayers. 

Now I have always related to David in my life, more than anyone else in the Bible.  I have read his story more times then I can count.  I think I did this, because David and I are so similar in nature.

To me:

David never gave up.  No matter how many times he sinned, he always went to God.  David, though a King, never had any problems humbling himself before God.  He never really made a whole lot of excuses for himself, sins, or anything else.  He was always very honest with God.  If David wanted his enemies stopped, he told God.  (He did not much care how God did it.)  He always prayed for God’s mercy, and if he wanted a change to take place within himself, he asked God for that, also. 

David also had merciful tendencies, towards others as King.  Then there were the times, he had to do what he had to do, because he was a King.  There were the times he just did what he did, and bore the consequences of it.

David moaned and complained, then the next minute he was rejoicing.  I am telling you, I have really just summarized me!

Yet God said he was:

“A man after His own heart, as he would do what God commanded Him to do.”

You know for many years, I have really searched for the person I wanted and needed to be with God.  As time past in reading the Psalms, the yearning to become a “child after God’s own heart,” became so strong, within myself.  I surrendered that to God, and have been at peace with it ever since.

I never truly knew what my calling was.  This creature to which only God knew why she was created.  This creature who has taken a lot of wrong turns, but from a little child, she pondered every thought about God.  From a little child there was always this desire to serve Him. 

This child grew into an adult, and still could never quite find that path.  I think a lot of the time, she just felt inadequate compared to others, she heard of and read about.  What was this “great thing” she was supposed to do, and could never accomplish?

See God did not call her to be a queen or great Saint which was going to change the world.  She did not write beautiful prayers or songs.  (Though she loves to say and sing them.)  He did not call her to do something so great that the whole world would know about her. 

He did call her though:

To a little country place, where she communicates with Him all the time.  He called her to a life of simplicity, and one which is so shared with nature, animals, and the simplicity of those around her.  Where a fresh jar of canned jelly, beans, or freshly baked bread given to her by a neighbor is the highlight of her life.  He called her to love her family and friends dearly, and she does.

He called her to desire in her heart, that which He desires in His.

She has never been as thankful as she is today, that God finally brought her to that quiet still place in her life.

He did it through the Psalms.

Love and God Bless, SR

Jesus said, “Deny Ourselves” NOT “Despise Ourselves”

I believe many times we take this Scriptures so far our of context.  I have spent years torturing myself over this one Scripture:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Why?

Because I never thought it out!

When bad things happen to us we usually go into the “Lord what have I done wrong,” mode.  We start our soul searching casting away everything about us.  “Evil creatures that we are.”  Sometimes implementing things which are ridiculous.  

Then there we stand, with nothing but this depressed empty shell, because we feel as if we offend God with every breath, word, and action.

You know what?

We don’t!

These are my thoughts on this Scripture with some help from the notes from Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament/Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch:

Notes:

Matthew 10:38  “And he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Take his cross:  A striking image of the demands and consequences of discipleship.  Jews needed no explanation of it, since the Romans utilized crucifixion as a torturous means of execution for many criminals during NT times.  Jesus here assures us that faithfulness will entail self-denial,  suffering, and possibly death.  Before his Passion, the cross symbolized shame and rejection; afterward it symbolizes the glory of Christian martyrdom.  (CCC 1506)

We see the same Scripture in Matthew 16:24

Notes:

Jesus’ challenge follows his first Passion prediction (16:21).  He indicates that suffering and self-denial are central to the Christian life.

My thoughts:

I have come to learn “self-denial” is not “self-despising.”  I signed up to be a disciple of our Lord, He did not twist my arm.  When I did I signed up to do my best to place God first in my life, the need’s of others second, and my own needs third. 

I signed up if it ever approaches me, that I will suffer, die for Christ, and for others. 

I also signed up if someone needs something, to place my own agenda for the day aside and help them, but not to the neglect of my husband, family, and home. 

I signed up for something else:

To love the creation of me.  To love it, because I am created in the image of God.  Though this is true, I still have many faults, sins, and failings.  I also have many virtues and talents. 

See I love the part of me:

Who is willing to forgive.  Who likes to paint and draw.  Who loves to pray.  Who is willing to help a friend, neighbor, or family member.  Who will deny herself if need be and suffer for another, taking up that cross and follow Jesus to the Resurrection.  

I love the part of me who shares her life with animals and cares for them.  Who walks out in nature and sees God in every single blade of grass or tree leaf. 

Why?

Because these things are God inside of me.  These things are the image of Him, not myself.

You know:

We can get out here and hate everything about ourselves.  We can be depressed all the time.

Or we can:

Accept that God knows we are fickle creatures, at best.   Love every inch of ourselves that is good and true, as that comes from God.  Try and correct what we know is not.  Trust in His mercy and grace when no matter how hard we try to correct, it seems to never come.   Love our talents and gifts.  Deny ourselves when the Lord is calling us to do so, and pick up that cross daily.  Know when we pick up that cross, Jesus will help us to carry it, when we cannot “embrace” it one more minute. 

We should never:

Despise ourselves because God does not “despise” one hair on our unworthy heads.

Love and God Bless, SR 

We Need God’s Angels

In my last post I referred to a Scripture in Zechariah.  Well….when I read that Scripture of course I had to read the whole book.  As I was reading I noticed something.

This entire conversation was done between a man and an Angel.

This really got me to thinking about Angels and why do we need them?

I realized throughout Scripture, Angels were as big a part of doing the will of God as man was. 

Examples:

Angels came to Abraham.  Angels went to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Angels are all throughout the OT.  Then I went to the NT. An Angel appeared to Mary.  At the Temptation of Christ an Angel ministered to Jesus.  In the Garden, an Angel comforted Jesus. We see Satan having a conversation with Michael the Archangel.   Again in Revelations, they are throughout that Book.

So we see throughout Scripture:

Angels minister to us.  They protect us buy fighting against evil.  They stand guard for us.  They comfort us.  Angels are given the power by God to destroy what He no longer wants to be.  Angels are created beings by God Himself, to assist His children on earth.  Angels also teach us (as in the book of Zachariah.)  They deliver messages for God.  They put the soldiers to sleep at the tomb of Jesus, and rolled the stone away.

So why do we not use them?

I have heard a lot of people say things such as, “I go to God.”  “I do not need an Angel, I have Jesus.”  “To ask an Angel to do something for me would be turning myself and my trust away from God.”  “God takes care of all my needs.”  (Which is true) 

But….

When I started to contemplate all what Angels actually do, and the very reasons God created them, I knew, WE NEED THEM.  Not only that, God knew we needed them.  For heaven’s sake, Jesus needed them.  Jesus never turned an Angel away telling them, “Go away I am the Son of God, what do I need with you?”  Did He?

When I was going through my ordeal, I needed help.  Yes, I needed spiritual help, but I also needed some help here on earth.  I needed somebody or something from heaven to get down here with me.  I needed guidance, especially when I was blind in that eye.  I needed help lifting things because of my arm.  I needed to be guarded from the evil which was attacking me. 

Daily I said and still do:

God, send my Angel my Guardian dear, to whom Your love entrust me here, that ever this day and night, they be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.

I walked every step, every single day with my Angel.  I never felt like, I was betraying or turning on God.

I know this:

The evil which was so hell bent on making me fold.  The evil which was so hell bent on destroying me and my life, left!  Peace came in it’s place.

Take advantage of these wonderful creations of our Lord, and their many gifts. 

Every single one of them were created by God, to do His will, and for us.

Love and God Bless, SR

 

Harboring Unforgiveness Towards God

The other day I was confessing my sins before God and asking for forgiveness.  The Lord spoke to me and said, “What about the unforgiveness you are harboring against Me?”

I had to stop and think for a moment, but regardless I knew it was the Lord’s voice I was hearing.

Some of you know I was molested as a child for several years.  I will not go into the details, as it just was.  When I begin to think of the Lord’s words to me, He and I both knew what He was speaking of.  My reality set in.

I have since I can remember, “harbored unforgiveness towards God,” for this.  I have never been able to understand how or why He would let that happen to one which was so innocent?  I do not understand it, today.  I do not have to anymore.

I told God, “You are right, I have and do harbor unforgiveness towards You for this.  I am being honest with You, God.  Please forgive me?” 

At that moment the grace of peace entered into every inch of my body.  The grace of forgiveness did also.  Something else happened.

I understood as far as I can understand, just how deep God’s mercy and love is for us.

People I am telling you, this unforgiveness was deep rooted in me towards God.  It wasn’t that I did not love Him, I just could not forgive Him.  I really did not know I had unforgiveness towards Him, until He told me I did.

God used it for my good and His glory.

This was God, Who can take me out of here by the sound of His voice.  This was God Who created everything, even me!  This was God Who can wipe out the earth, with one sweep of His hand.  This was me, not being able to forgive Him.

When I was honest with God about it.  When I asked for forgiveness, I knew I was forgiven.  Then I understood:

No matter what I do.  No matter what I may feel, that I do not even realize I am feeling.  No matter my thoughts.


God’s mercy and love for me, is “bigger” and “deeper” than all of it.  He will give it to each and every one of us for the asking, and even when we don’t.

This unforgiveness for God, I carried with me for over fifty years.  For over fifty years, God understood it.  He might not have agreed with it, but He understood it.

Today, I am free.  Today, I am forgiven.  Today, I know the depth of how far God is willing to let His mercy flow.  Today, I understand how God freed me from those chains. 

Don’t ever think God does not love you.  Don’t ever think He does not know every thought and feeling you have.  Don’t ever think He is not patient with us. 

Don’t ever think He is not there to help you, with every single thing you are going through and feeling.  Don’t ever think anything you say, do, feel or think, can ever separate you from His love.

Be honest with Him and open up.  When you do, everything about God, will flow from heaven into your soul.  Especially the wisdom of how merciful He is.

God Bless, SR

 

If a “BONE” is All You Have to Give, “Give It!”

puppy-giving-gift  As Christians we are called to do many things.  I think the three main things Jesus calls us to do are:

To love God with all of our heart, to love others as we would want to be loved, and to give.

 Sometimes we make these three things, truly harder than they have to be.

In today’s readings when John the Baptist was asked:

“What should we do?”

His reply was:

“Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none.  And whoever has food should do likewise.”

Now if you notice there is a word in his sentence and it is:

“Share”

These are my thoughts on it:

So much of the time we become so hopelessly “guilty” because we are not giving away “all” we have.  Maybe we do not give because what we have seems so small and insignificant.  Due to these things we do nothing. 

I know I have fallen into this “trap” of Satan many times.  “Is what I am giving really enough?”

But you know:

God is all about “sharing.”  I mean He “shares” Himself with all of His children.  He “shares” His love and blessings in small and great ways.

In doing so:

He blesses millions daily by meeting their needs.

Now God does not require us to:

Bless “millions” daily.  However, He does require us to bless those we can, with “what we have.” 

This may seem foolish to some of you, but I have a neighbor who has very little material wise.  She does have the “heart of God,” within her, and helps everyone she comes across with her time and love. 

Anyways, she has chickens and I always have left over bread, which usually will go stale.  So instead of throwing that half- loaf of bread away, I give it to her to feed her chickens, which helps her to cut down on the cost of “chicken feed.”

I am not saying this to “toot my horn,” but to say my “stale bread” is cost effective to her.  At times when she has had to bake something for a Church dinner, she will use it to make “bread pudding.” 

This is what a half-loaf of “stale bread” can do for someone else.  To me it has no value at all, but to her, it keeps her from spending money she does not have.

Another thing, on our Christmas tree at Church I picked a family, that all they wanted was a blanket.  Imagine “that” being at the top of your Christmas list? 

People, it does not have to be a million dollars.  Sometimes all one is praying for is a “warm blanket.”

We need to:

 “Share” what we have.  Give what we have to give, no matter what it looks like, cost, or is.  What may seem as “nothing” to us, could be “everything” to someone else.  Even if it is no more than a “bone.”

In doing so:

We will be loving God with all our heart and loving others as we would want to be loved.

God Bless, SR

Photo courtesy of:
Photobucket.com

In Spite of Ourselves

Annun Tanner  Have you ever thought about an Angel of the Lord appearing to you and saying, “You have been chosen to have God’s Son?” 

Maybe it was done at the busiest moment of your day?  Maybe it was done at the quietest moment of your day?  Maybe it was done at the end of your day?  The thing of it is, it was done!

Now, this Angel is awaiting your answer.  God is awaiting your answer.  Are you going to say “yes” or “no?” 

You think about it for a few moments, and your answer is “yes.”  Then you sit down, alone, and there you are.  The Holy Spirit is about to impregnate you, with the “Son of God.”

I love this painting of the Blessed Mother.  In fact it is my favorite.  Why?

The Blessed Mother, seems deep in her thoughts here, to me.  She was being asked to do something no other human being had ever been asked to do, or ever will be again.  To birth “God Man” to earth. 

I have often wondered, when it was all said and done.  When the Magnificat was said, what were her thoughts?  

I wonder if she thought,  “No one is going to believe this!”  In Scripture we see where St. Joseph did not, so how many others “did not?”  Jesus was hung on the Cross years later, because there were those who did not believe He is “God’s Son.”  Who was going to believe this young girl????

We know Mary loved God and was willing to do His will, by her answer of “yes.”  I wonder, “Did she ever question why she was the one who was chosen?”  Did she ever say to herself, “I know this is real, but it is so unbelievable?”  “Did she have to sit down quietly for a moment or two and “digest” it all? ”  “Did she have fears?” 

We see when Gabriel greeted her saying, “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you,”  she was “greatly” troubled by the saying and “wondered in her mind” what sort of greeting this might be?  We also see how she wondered how she would become pregnant, as she “had not known man?”  We see something else too:

She had these thoughts of “total bewilderment,” maybe thoughts of “This is not making sense to me at this moment.”  In spite of them, she did God’s will, and the Magnificat was her answer.

Mary was definitely called “out of her comfort zone.”   Gabriel appeared and then he left.  The Blessed Mother became pregnant, and then she had to go and tell the man she was going to marry.  In all honesty, who can really blame St. Joseph for his reaction and disbelief?  I am sure most of us would be the same way.

The point is this:

Our Blessed Mother, did not let the “thoughts of her mind” keep her from doing God’s will.  She did not let the questions she had and her own bewilderment, “keep her from doing God’s will.”   She moved past her own disbelief.  Her own questions.  Her own “wonderings.”  When she did, she said, “My soul does magnify You, oh Lord.”

To me, there is not a greater example other than Mary, of how to move past our own thoughts, doubts and move into God’s will.  I mean Mary did not let herself delay her answer to God.  In doing so, she brought forth Christ, for the world. 

We need to follow this example, to the letter. We need to remember, there are times God is awaiting our answer, and He wants one now!  We also need to remember, if she would have let her own mind control her answer, it probably would have been “no.”  Then, where would we be?

To me, this is what the “Immaculate Conception” teaches us:

To always persevere towards God will, “in spite of ourselves.”

God Bless, SR

 

Painting by:
Henry Tanner 1898 "The Annunciation"
Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ossaw_Tanner

 

How Do We Cut a Straight Path, for Jesus?

renai25  Do you ever feel like this?  You are in the wilderness with the clothes on your back, sitting there wondering, “How on earth am I going to, “Prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight His paths?” 

You think, “I have done all I can possibly do and nothing is working!” 

So you end up just sitting on a log with your head in your hand,  wondering if what you are doing/saying is reaching anyone?  Wondering, if you are helping to make their crooked path straight?  Wondering, if the Lord would dare walk the path you are creating for Him and others?

We see in today’s readings John the Baptist did it by:

“Proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

So what options are opened to us?

We have so many options, if we would only take advantage of them?

One option opened to us, is to quit being “habitual sinners,” as Father said last night in his Homily.  Do you ever catch yourself doing the same sin over and over?  I know I have, and Father said, “Sin can actually become a habit.”  I could not agree more!

Two other options I feel which are opened to us, are love and forgiveness.  Others are feeding a hungry person, giving a blanket to one who is cold, helping our neighbors or a total stranger.  How about just shooting a smile someone’s way? 

Buying Christmas, school clothes and supplies for a child, who will not have these things?

How about quality and loving time with our family members?  Maybe a night out for pizza or a board game with hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day?

How about calling our Mom, Dad, brother or sister, since they live far away, and even if they do not?

There is a child waiting to be adopted, who the right set of parent’s lies within your home.

There is an animal lonely, afraid, and in a shelter who is waiting for you to go and get them. 

So the next time we want to sit on a log because the wonderings of our mind,  wants to make us give up. 

Get up and say/do one act of kindness and love.  This will also help us overcome our sins against God. 

In doing so:

“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.  The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

This my friend’s is how we make the “path straight for Jesus!”

God Bless, SR

Painting by:
Geertgen tot Sint Jans
(1465-1495)
en.wikipedia.org
"John the Baptist in the Wilderness"
Scripture from today's readings

 

 

Have We Lost the Meaning of What the Church Is?

I hear the term “religious institution” being used today as a “term” for the Church.  It is always being said of the Catholic Church, but I have also heard it used for many Protestant denominations.  Some kind of follow it up by saying, “Stay away from religious institutions.”  I have been thinking about this, and I think we have totally lost the meaning of what a “Church” is.

A “Church” is a place where people gather to worship and thank God.  It is also a place of prayer and songs to God.  It is THE PLACE where Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered, I will be among them.”  So when those in a Church gather, the presence of Christ is there. 

It is a place where we go to hear the Word of God. It is a place to go and “be” with God.  Last but not least, it is a place where God’s children are being obedient in going and doing all of the above mentioned. 

No matter how we like to think of any Church, to sum it up would be to say, “It is a place one goes because they love God.”

Most all, if not all, Churches have doctrine.  They also have, ( for lack of a better term) rules and guidelines to follow.  When I thought about all of this, some other things came to my mind:

You know in the OT God set up a “Church.”  He gave very specific instructions on how it was to be built, form of worship, and even down to what color Aaron would have on, when he wore his robe.  He also gave specific instructions on how things were to be placed in the Church, and what they were to be made out of.  He gave instructions on who would lead worship and there were “rules and guidelines” to follow.   I do not think God much cared if Israel thought it was a “religious institution” or not?  This is what He wanted and it was going to be built, and all instructions carried out, period!

We also see the Holy Family in the NT, following everything their “Church” required them to do.  We see Jesus doing this as an adult.

“Freedom” to worship God, does not mean we are “free” to worship Him any way we so choose.  From the OT on, God gave a set of rules to follow and since then, man has been appointed to carry them out.  From the OT on, God had a place set aside where people came to worship Him.  You can call it a tent, a Synagogue, a Church, or a “religious institution.” 

 Whatever you want to call it, it is a place with a time set aside, where God’s children are gathered together, and He is dwelling among them.  It is a place set aside, where we can draw closer to God, and Him to us.  Rules and all, and we need them!

God Bless, SR

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

DECENSUS-CHRISTI-AD-INFERNOS  Sometimes our tribulations make it seem as if we are in hell on earth, don’t they?  They seem as if, they are a “never ending eternal fire.”  At times we may think, “Is this ever going to end?”  “Is there any way out of it?”

In today’s Gospel we read our “tribulations are imminent.”  Always forthcoming if they are not already here.  We also are told what to do about them.

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape tribulations that are imminent, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

In this painting I saw many people from many different walks of life.  A king, some better off than others, and Satan under the foot of Christ.  I also saw a broken door and Christ standing in the doorway with a flag of the Cross, getting these people out of hell.  I saw something else, too.

People reaching out to Jesus and some not.  Some kneeling and some standing.

We all have our tribulations.  Maybe sickness, family members who have gone astray, financial difficulty, a marriage on the rocks, persecution, etc..  It does not matter if we are rich or poor, famous or not famous, hell on earth is very real to most of us.

Scripture does not give us much hope does it, that these “tribulations” are going away?  In fact it says they are “imminent.”

As we see in the painting, Jesus is so willing to meet us where we are at.  He accepts us if we are rich or poor, famous or not famous, a king or a peasant.  Sick or well.  Catholic or Protestant.

He is not afraid to reach His hand out to us, even if our hands are stained with sin.

Jesus breaks down many “doors” in our lives.  When He does He frees us, mainly from ourselves.

The only way we are ever going to get the devil off of our back, is to let Jesus put him, under His feet.

Jesus loves us so much.  It is a love which we will never be able to fathom, for it is a love that we have done nothing to deserve and never will.  I think we often forget this.

We never know what someone is going through, do we?   We can be assured most have an “imminent tribulation” which they are suffering.

So we need to ask ourselves:

Am I going to extend my hand out to them in love,  no matter their status in life, the Church they go to, the clothes they are wearing, or if they have a crown on their head or a tattered rag?  Am I going to help break down their door of  suffering?

Or am I:

Going to turn my head and walk away in disgust or indifference?   Maybe spew out a little venom and injure their soul even worse, in my selfish need to be right?   Am I going to keep hammering boards and nails into their suffering, making the door to their prison even thicker, by my actions and words?

Then we need to ask ourselves:

What would Jesus do?

Look at the painting, and there is our answer.

God Bless, SR

 

 Painting by:
Duccio di Buoninsegna
"Descent to Hell" 1308-11
www.ducciodibuoninsegna.org

“Reformanda Initiative” and “Church Planting” What the !@#$%^&*?

I have just learned about this, and this is my concept on what I have read.  I will start with what is written on their website.

“We are convinced, in line with the historic Protestant view, Roman Catholicism is a severely flawed system in need of a “radical”  biblical reformation in its basic theology and practice.” 

(http://reformandainitiative.org/ 

(It is my understanding these people are going to clear all of this up, through their teachings and knowledge.)

Another thing they do is:

“Church Planting???”

Truly, I have not taken offense to some of this because it is so absurd to me, it is just funny.

What one of their goal’s seem to be, is to teach people, how Catholic’s believe.  Two of the things I have seen mentioned by people who support them is:

Catholic’s do not believe Jesus is our Savior. Catholic’s do not read our Bibles.  (These are lies!)

I guess the Jesus we pray to, who we thank daily for dying on the Cross for our redemption, is what to us,  if not our “Savior?”  I guess that Book we read daily with the “daily readings,” and the studying we do daily in it, is something else besides the Bible? 

I guess according to the “Reformanda Initiative,” I am “oblivious” as to who Jesus is and what kind of Book the Bible is?  I mean how do Catholic’s quote Scripture, if we never read the Bible?   Think about it for goodness sakes!

Another conclusion I came to is:

If I am going to breed a Quarter horse,  I am going to a Quarter horse breeder, to find out every single thing about the how’s, why’s, and wherefores of it all.  This is where I am going to obtain my knowledge.  I am not going to a “cattle breeder.” 

So if one wants to know what and how Catholic’s believe:

Would it not make sense to simply ask a Catholic?  (Or is that just too obvious and logical?)

Now this “Church Planting System”

What they do to my understanding is “begin a new Church” in given areas.  (I have not studied this enough to comment about it other than my thoughts.)

Where my mind went to with the term “Church Planting” was:

Jesus hanging on the Cross.  Bleeding, skin torn to shreds, suffocating in His lungs, the pain of carrying the sin’s of the world on His back to the Cross, and hearing each hammer of those nails into His flesh. 

He did it:

So people could get out here and use the term “Church Planting.”  (Now that I do not think is funny.)

People this kind of stuff has to stop!!!!  I have Protestant and Catholic friends and family.  I love them all.  Never in my life have I ever tried to convert someone over to the Catholic Church, by pulling a Protestant away from theirs.  Never have I thought to do this, by teachings which are not the complete truth, nor would I ever.

Now I will explain what Catholic’s believe and why, and if one eventually wants to convert and “ASK” for my help, I will help them. 

People we all must learn, if we want the “truth” about something we have to go to those who are “knowledgeable” about said “truth.”  Any “true” Catholic I know is more than happy to explain what we believe and why.  Any “true” Protestant I know is happy to do the same.

Stay away from this kind of stuff.  There are many wonderful Christians, (Catholic and Protestant alike) out there, who can give you the answers to the questions you are asking.  They will do it as God intended.  With love and concern for you, without an “agenda” behind it.

God Bless, SR

 

What Will Remain?

Today I went to Mass and I cannot stop thinking about the homily Father gave.  It touched my heart so.

He took it from our daily readings of course and begin to explain where it stated:

Mene, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; Tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Then he went on to read what Jesus said to the crowd:

They would be seized and persecuted, handed over to synagogues and to prisons, led before kings and governors, and even put to death.

Then Father said something:

Everything passes away.  Kingdoms, Kings, us, everything.  There are two things which will always remain.

Our love for God, and God’s love for us, will always remain.

You know I have thought about this since going to Mass.  I thought about how everything does pass away.  Dynasties I read about have long been gone.  Wars which were fought are over.  Countries who were bitter enemies with one another, those people are no longer here. Empires who tried to destroy one another, have since expired.  Civilizations have disappeared, such as the Inca’s and the Aztec’s.  They are just gone.  Really not thought about a whole lot.  

One day the same will be said about us, and all what we think we “just cannot live without.”

After many thoughts on this, I realized what Father said was true.  When all is gone, even ourselves.  When we cross across that great divide into heaven, we are still going to love God, and He is still going to love us.

It gives me great comfort to know, when everything passes away, we will enter into a love, like we have never known.  This love will last for an eternity, and never go away.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Love and God Bless, SR

Accepting our “Dark Night of the Soul”

A friend of mine told me a few weeks back, “I do not know if we really ever get over our “dark night of the soul.”

I have pondered this statement for the past several weeks.  I have taken this thought and turned it up and down, inside and out.  This is the conclusion of my thoughts and how light came back to me.

I came to the conclusion I think my friend’s statement is true.  Just about the time we think, “Okay it is over, things are going to get better,” something else shows up doesn’t it? 

I mean, we get excited don’t we?  There we stand and before we can get, “Thank You God” out of our mouth’s, the raging flood strikes again. 

There goes our soul, engulfed maybe not in “darkness” so to speak, but the “dusk just before the darkness.”  Not much “light,” but not truly “dark” either.

So the other day I told God, “God if this is how it is going to be, I accept it.”

I cannot explain how much “light” engulfed my soul when I did.

I do not know if “dark night of the soul” is God’s will for us or not?  Some Saint’s say it is, others do not.  I only know I have lived in it very dark, not so dark and not so light, and very light.  I will dare to say most of the time it is, “not so dark and not so light.”

I live in peace with it now, because I accept it as, “this is the way it is.”  If this is the way it is, then God has a plan for it.  If He has a plan for it, I am going to be okay.

We so eagerly accept the “good” from God, but when it is the “not so good,” that is a different story.

Would I like to have “glorious light” in my soul at all times?  Of course!  In accepting the “not so light” in it, it has helped me to stop exhausting myself trying to “fight” it all the time.  It has also made me see when I let God be in “control,” I can lay down and “rest.”

Have a great Thanksgiving!

God Bless, SR

  

“What is Truth?”

What-is-truth02Do you ever see yourself, as Pontius Pilate?  The world is going crazy around you, and you are standing in the light having a conversation with Jesus, as He stands in the shadows?   You are trying so hard to figure everything out, to get to the truth of it all.     

Then Jesus says this,  “I came to testify to the truth.”   At that moment, point and time all you can say is, “What is truth?”

I have been Pontius Pilate, many times in my life.  I have had many conversations such as this, with Jesus.  Well today, I asked Him again, “What is truth?”  This was my answer.

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son.”

   As I received this answer from the Holy Spirit, I understood it all.

That is exactly the truth of God.

The truth that God did Sacrifice His Son’s life for ours, out of love.   Jesus testified to the truth and depth of this love, as He hung on the Cross, suffering and dying.

So the next time we are trying to figure it all out.  The next time we begin to search for the answers to all of our questions.  The next time we feel as if the world is going crazy around us.  All we need to say is:

“Jesus, You are the very depth of God’s love for me.”

When we “belong to this truth” we will, “hear His voice.”

 God Bless, SR

Painting by:
Nikolai Ge (Christ and Pilate) 1890
Scripture taken from:
John 18:33-38

 

 

Waving Goodbye to My Mother

untitled  For those of you who do not know, my Mom died March 15, 2015.  It has truly been hard at times, not hearing her voice.  Through the help of a very dear friend, today, “I waved goodbye to my Mother.”

I let her go on, in this her “spiritual journey.”  “This Spirit a weakened body could no longer contain.”

I have missed her.  I have wanted her back.  I have wanted to hear her voice one more time.  I have grieved, and had moments of laughter and tears, through memories of years long past.

My friend made me realize, I must “free” my Mother. I must “help” her to be free. Free from all attachments to this earth, including myself.  

I have to let her go now, and be whatever one becomes, when they are no longer contained in a body.  I have to let her walk the street’s of heaven, without having to worry about her daughter. 

I have to quit wanting her back.  I asked myself today, “Why would I want such a thing, when she is clothed in a robe of jewels now?  When she lives in a mansion, which set’s on a street paved in gold? She lives now in a place, where she remembers no, nor has any sufferings.  Where Alzheimer’s no longer affects her mind.”  Why would I want to call my Mother back to such things?

I am waving goodbye to you, Mom.  Know, that I am going to be okay.  Know, that I am releasing you from my grief.  Know, I am not going to yearn, to hear you say my name, “one more time.”  Know Mom, I love you more today, then I did when I was born. 

Know Mom, one day we will be together again.

I love you Mom.  We are both free now.

Goodbye

Painting by:
Harriet Kempe  (Waving Goodbye)
www.1st-art-gallery.com

 

What Does it Take to be One of God’s Elect?

SignorelliTheElect

I have really thought a lot about our readings today.  God’s “elect.”  “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever.”

How do we get to this point in our lives?  How do we become one of God’s elect, where no grave will ever hold us?  This is where I went in my thoughts.

I thought of Moses.  One of my favorite prophets in the Bible.

Moses went through hell, he really did.  Moses told God to “kill him” if the way he was being treated did not subside.  Moses told God to “strike his name from Scripture” if God was going to break the covenant He made with Abraham.   Moses was very “honest” with God regarding the way he felt.

Moses battled Pharaoh and many other nations.  He led the Israelites out of Egypt, through a sea, into the desert, to the Promise Land.  Moses was very obedient to God, and He also trusted God to hold to every promise God made to him.

God called Moses His “friend.”  God enjoyed spending time with Moses.  He enjoyed conversation with Moses.  Yet even in this, God still maintained being “God” in the life of Moses.  Moses respected God as being his God.  Moses knew there was no other God besides the God, he loved, worshipped, and obeyed. 

Through all of the frustration, anger, bewilderment, and resentment at times, Moses never gave up hope in God.  He knew somewhere in that desert, laid a Promise Land for God’s children.

As I thought about all of this, I realized, we are not God’s “elect” just because we want to be.  Just because we “believe” in Him.  It takes a “commitment” to God.  Moses was “committed to God,” and all God had “planned for him to do.”

It takes knowing, not just hoping, that He is truly God.  That He will make the wind blow, the cloud’s rain, the sun shine, the moon and stars come out at night, or He will not.  He is God.

It takes us knowing, not just hoping, that in His infinite wisdom all suffering will pass through our lives, or it will not.  No matter He is still God.

It takes us knowing, not just hoping, that every single word He ever spoke is real and truth.  That He will never break one single promise to us.  He is a God who does not lie.

Last but not least, it takes us knowing, not just hoping, besides being our Father, He is our Lord and our God.  In being so we must obey, love, respect, and worship Him, as such. 

If we want to be one of God’s “elect” and come up out of that grave, we must be willing to be a Moses.   In doing so, we must realize He does not desire our commitment to Him, He commands it.

 God Bless, SR

photo by
The Elect Luca Signorelli 1499-1502
www.called to communion.com

 

The Miracle in One Right Hand

I was thinking today about years long past.  I thought I would share this one more story, regarding my Grandmother.

She used to always make me ragdolls.  I mean the real ones, which were stuffed, had a face, two arms and legs, and a dress to match whatever color she was.

As I mentioned in my last post, she had a stroke and was paralyzed on her left side.  I still continued to visit her, but it did not take me long to realize something was missing??  My ragdolls.

When I questioned this, she did the best she could.  She took a pillow case, rolled it up, and tied it around the neck.  She then proceeded to draw a face on it.

Of course me being young, understood very quickly, this ragdoll did not quite measure up.  Where were the arms and legs?  Where was the beautiful sewn face?  Where was the pretty dress? 

I played with the “rolled up pillow case,” that is about as far as it went. 

The next time I went to visit her she said, “Go look on the sewing machine.”  I did, and there laid the most beautiful pink and white checkered ragdoll.  It had two arms and legs, a sewn face, and a beautiful pink and white checkered dress. 

My Grandmother made me that ragdoll with:

One Right Hand.

Cut it, sewed it, and stuffed it.

Of course as a small child, all I knew was, “I had a ragdoll, again.”  As the years went by I understood, all the love one could possibly ask for was in that “right hand.”

You know when love is the driving force behind all we do, miracles happen.  That ragdoll was a miracle. 

When love is the driving force behind all we do, strength takes us over.

When love is the driving force behind all we do, all can be accomplished.

The only way we can become Christ-like, is love always being our driving force.  The underlying reason for everything we do.

Go take both of your hands today, bless and love somebody.

Always remember:

My Grandmother did it with “one.”

God Bless, SR

What is in a Song Book on the Front Porch?

Today I see a lot of Churches, (including Catholic) jumping through hoops to entice our youth, to come to Church.  (As if Jesus is not enough and for heaven’s sake do not ever make it where they must sit still for an hour!)

I have seen gimmicks, games, loud music, parties etc…, become the corner stone, (even though Jesus said, “He is the Cornerstone”) that our youth must have in order to go to Church.  (Nothing like Mom and Dad saying, “Get up, get dressed, today is Sunday and we are going to Church.”

Anyways this brought up a memory of mine, from before the time I started school.

I had the most wonderful Grandmother who was paralyzed on one side of her body.  When she became paralyzed she and I could no longer do the same things we used to do.  We used to pick berries, churn butter, gather eggs, etc..  Of course her being on a walker this could no longer be done.  So what did we do?

When I would go visit her, one of the things she did with me was done with a Baptist Hymn Book on the front porch.

She and I would sit on her front porch for an hour or better and sing songs out of that old hymn book.  I had not even approached the age for school, yet I knew almost every word to every song in that book.

I knew them, because the voice of an Angel taught them to me.  I also knew “Jesus Loved Me” because that is a song we sung over and over.

As I look back, this was what was used to form my Christian faith, at a very early age.  My Grandmother left me that hymn book when she died.  I  still feel her love when I look at it.

There is nothing more valuable then such as this, that we can give to our youth.  The reason why is because it does not come with a gimmick, game, loud music or a party.

It comes from love, which should be in the heart of all Christians.

Kids have not changed.  As adults we have changed them, even down to their Christian faith.  We want to make them believe they have the “right” to everything they want and desire.  That all things must be changed for their sake, and the ways of others, set aside.

From my view point this is working like, trying to dry up a mud hole by continually adding water.

The next time your child is “bored,” grab a hymn book and sit on the front porch.  Give your child something to hang onto. 

Your love!

God Bless, SR

Which Eye Will We Choose to Look Through Today?

In my own interior life, I am looking with one eye at the abyss of my misery and baseness,

images

And with the other, at the abyss of Your mercy, O God.

Which eye will we choose to look through, today?

God Bless, SR

Excerpts taken from
St. Faustina's Diary
Photos from:
flickrhivemind.net
www.pinterest.com

I Was Not Created to be an “Island”

As I said in my last post, “I am heaven, and I am hell.”  When I read that quote, I realized so much of me was creating my “own” heaven, and my “own” hell.  I did it because of the “reasons” behind me loving solitude, and living as a “hermit.”  Also, confusing my “stubbornness” for “strength.”

Again from Thomas Merton:

Some men have perhaps become hermits with the thought that sanctity could only be attained by escape from other men.  But the only justification for a life of deliberate solitude is the conviction that it will help you to love not only God but also other men.  If you go into the desert merely to get away from people you dislike, you will find neither peace nor solitude; you will only isolate yourself with a tribe of devils.

The need for solitude is a complex and dangerous thing, but it is a real need. 

Go into the desert not to escape men but in order to find them in God.

The man who is living in division is living in death.  He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality. 

I will admit it.  I love living as a hermit, and having my solitude.  I was born and raised in the country, and I still live in the country.  My motto is:

If I never have to start my pick-up I am the happiest person on earth.

I love nature, animals and I will also admit it, some people really irritate me. 

Most important, I always felt it gave to me a closer union to and with God.  If I had God I needed nothing or no one.  I pretty much lived my life as such, until I begin to understand the “motives” behind it all. 

I love solitude to escape the world and those in it!  I love solitude to escape what to me is the absurd views, actions, opinions, and hypocrisy of some individuals.  I love solitude because of selfishness and not wanting to share my life with anyone. 

When I dug deep down in my soul, God was in my solitude, as a very small part of it.  It had more to do with my likes and dislikes.

I was not created to be an island.  God cannot find me, unless I am willing to share my life, faith, and love with others.  When I realized this, I also realized why my “desert” place with God, usually brought about more “desert” then I really wanted.  For the first time I understood my “dark night of the soul” was brought on by myself.  My dark night of the soul, was in actuality my own, “created hell.”  I went through it for years. 

My stubbornness is my weakness, my love for and with others is my strength.

So what have I done?

I have since implemented going out with some girlfriends once or twice a month for lunch.  I actually call my friends now, and pick up the phone when they call.  We go out for supper with friends and Daddy after Mass. 

My “desert place” with God.  Oh, I still do it, but the motives are different.  I go to be with God, to thank Him for all of His beautiful and wonderful created nature.   But….

I also take the needs and concerns of others with me.  I thank God for the people in my life now.  The laughter and joy which we share with one another.  I tell God how wonderful it is to end my week in their company, after Mass. 

I also with deep regret, had to set some boundaries with a few friends.  Friends who they and myself have drifted apart.  I did not cut them completely out of my life.  I go to them if they need me.  I am at peace with that decision, also.

I understand now without love and caring for God’s two legged creatures, as well as his four legged ones:

There is no being in His will.

God Bless, SR

Excerpts taken from:

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

Being an “Illusory Person”

It has been a couple of months since I posted.  Mom died, a friend committed suicide, I had some anger issues regarding some things during Mom’s care, maybe a little guilt of “could I have done better for her?”  Helping Dad with his sorrow and loneliness.  Reflecting on the many things God and myself went through, and the outcome.  So I shut myself down from the “computer world” and begin to deal with all issues. 

When I left off I was reading  a book by Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation.”  These are the words which inspired my “One woman retreat.”

To say I was born in sin is to say I came into the world with a false self.  I was born in a mask.  I came into existence under a sign of contradiction, being someone that I was never intended to be and therefore a denial of what I am supposed to be.  And thus I came into existence and nonexistence at the same time because from the very start I was something that I was not.

To say the same thing without paradox:  as long as I am no longer anybody else than the thing that was born of my mother, I am so far short of being the person I ought to be that I might as well not exist at all.

Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self.

All sin starts from the assumption that my false self, the self that exists only in my own egocentric desires, is the fundamental reality of life to which everything else in the universe is ordered.

The secret of my identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God.

When I read this many thoughts went through my mind:

Did I grow from all the suffering of the past six years?  My parent’s suffering and my own?  Am I still the creation which came from my mother’s womb, or am I a “new creation in Christ?”  Am I that person which God only holds the secrets to, and have I allowed Him to share those secrets with me? 

Or am I:

A “false self?”  A creation of my “own” making?  Does God know this creature of my own making?  Does He recognize her as being His own design, or am I completely foreign to Him?  Do I contemplate for the right reasons?  Do I go into the desert with God for the right reasons?

I set out to find these answers to these questions and many more?

The first thing God gave to me were these Scriptures:

But my people did not listen to my voice, Israel would have none of me.  So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.  Psalms 81:11-12

Bingo!  There it was, and here I sat. 

Through it all, (and there is so much I cannot write about) I had a very “stubborn heart.”  I followed my “own counsel.”  God obliged me so beautifully, and turned me over to it all.

He did so because He did not know or recognize this creation of my “own making.”  I searched for Him ever so diligently.  For His mercy and His love. 

You see I had it backwards.  I did not need to search and “find” God.  God wanted to “find” me.  God wanted to find and recognize His creation. 

Instead what He found was, one who was doing all the “right things,” for all the “wrong reasons.” 

I leave you with this which sums it up better than anything to me:

I sent my soul through the Invisible,

Some letter of that afterlife to spell:

And by and by my soul return’d to me,

And I answer’d, “I myself am heaven and hell.”

When we find ourselves such as this, we are the “illusory person” to whom God does not know.

God Bless, SR

Excerpts from:
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

“To be a Saint is to be Ourselves” (Part 3)

Have you ever asked, “What is “my own salvation?”  “How do I work it out?”  After reading this, I understood.

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny.  We are free beings and sons of God.  This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth.  To put it better we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity.

To work our own identity in God, which the Bible calls, “working out our own salvation” is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. 

The way of doing it is a secret I can learn from no one else but Him.  But contemplation is the greater and more precious gift, for it enables me to see and understand the work that He wants done.

The seeds that are planted in my liberty at every moment, by God’s will, are the seeds of my own identity, my own reality, my own happiness, my own sanctity.

St. Paul told us, “To work out our own salvation with “fear and trembling,” as it is Christ working in us.”

As I read this passage by Thomas Merton, I begin to understand “my own salvation” is discovering within myself, with God, what God created me for.  Who is this person, uniquely designed to be a “saint,” which only God knows of?  This “creation” who/ which is so foreign to me?  I do not know her, but… I have never desired to know her, either.  Nor, have I ever asked God to help me discover her.

I am beginning to find her as I said in Part 2, by placing the concerns of God, before my own.  By asking God, “Lord what/who do you want me to pray for today?”  “Lord, what do You want me to do today? ”  Then praying for myself.  This has been a milestone in this spiritual journey. 

I have always been one who “contemplates.”  Now I see, that to come into contemplation of God’s creation for/of myself,  is to recognize the “seeds of my own identity, reality, happiness, and sanctity,”   placed there by God. 

As Thomas Merton said, “To refuse them is to refuse everything; it is the refusal of my own existence and being: of my identity, my very self.”

To work all of this out with God,  IS  “working out our own salvation.”  When we become what is “hidden in God alone,” we are also going to become “free.” 

I am finding the “worries” of the world and daily life, are slowly beginning to leave me.  I am finding the “contradiction between my “false-self” and my “creative self” are no longer such a burden to bear.”   My humanity is beginning to give way, to a deeper soul.  A “new creation.”  One which is beginning to accept “many” things as “God’s will.”  (I will admit, I am still having some struggles with this one.)

When we begin to do this in life, that is when God is going to work “with us” to change and mold us into the image of Himself.  But…only if we are willing to let Him, and let go of the “idol of ourselves.”

I am going to end this on the next post explaining more on living in our “false-selves.”   The “child who was brought forth from our mother’s womb.”

God Bless, SR

Excerpts taken from:

“New Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton