Unto Dust You Shall Return

King Hezekiah in Sackcloth before the Lord

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19

The past few weeks have been round after round of personal storms, some of which I have told you about, and others I cannot because they are not for me to tell. Entering into this penitential season, I knew the Lord wanted to draw me into a deeper purification than I could possibly imagine. For those of you undergoing your own personal storms, I write to give you hope and a different perspective of what you are suffering. Because there is one thing I know for sure, that is, God is good, all the time. In that I have no doubt.

As most of you know, my mother has been declining over the past couple of years. COVID isolation escalated her decline. I wanted to take a few moments to talk about my mom. I love my mom, more than she knows. Everything I am about to write comes from a place of deep love for her.

My mother was incredible. I say that in past tense, not as though she is already passed, but to set the stage of the kind of woman she was before all her illness set in. She is still incredible, but in a different way now, and there is a deep beauty in how I see her now.

There was absolutely nothing my mother couldn’t do. She was brilliant and sharp as a tack. Nine times out of 10, in a room full of people, I would know, my mom was the smartest one there. Not in the book sense smart, but in a savvy kind of way. She was beautiful. She was always put together, dressed to the nines (on a very low budget), hair done, make-up on. Our house was always clean. She cooked us dinner, even though she was the Vice-President of a non-profit organization that worked closely with the Reagan White House. She was the woman who had it all. And did it all – well.

Mom age 18

I want to celebrate the fact that my mom accomplished all of these things. But I want to also mention how hard it was to grow up like this too. Please understand that what I am about to speak of is in no way a judgment of my mother, nor does it imply that I do not love her fiercely. My mom was and is my best friend. She is hilarious. She is still hilarious, even in her dementia, she has not lost her sense of humor.

As I grew older with this example of a dynamic woman, I realized I could not reach the same level of achievement as she did. The demons of “you’re not good enough” pummeled me. That coupled with over achieving siblings and the poison arrows of suggestion made it easy to spend life sinfully. It wasn’t her fault, she like all of us, battled her own demons. I think that’s why achieving was so important. It makes you feel worthwhile. But it also sometimes keeps you from knowing truly where your worth comes from. It also can make you think that you can save yourself, and you can save others. Mom was a “fixer”. She wanted to fix what was wrong with me. She wanted to fix my siblings. This is because she so deeply loved us and she was only giving what she knew how to give.

But it wasn’t her job to fix me. There was a time when I was bitter that she wanted to fix me. I loved her but I was mad at her too. I didn’t know how to stop being mad. Mostly because I hadn’t identified what was going on. Mom had a spirit of perfectionism that attacked her. She, and I, we didn’t recognize whose job it was to save. It would only be later that coming to rely on the Savior could bring the freedom from bitterness for me. Like in my last post, I can show you what gift Satan was trying to steal from my mom once I recognized what spirit was attacking.

To be sure, I already knew my mom had this gift of mercy. I saw it growing up. She regularly extended mercy to others that was a sight to behold. She helped relatives and friends who struggled with addiction. She extended herself to those who were isolated and lonely. We had people who suffered all kinds of things come to my home growing up. Mom extended a hand of mercy, words of wisdom and the gift of counsel. She was incredibly kind, a true women of God. Except to one person; herself. She lacked mercy towards herself.

Mom wanted to be her own savior. She didn’t ever ask anyone for help, ever. She tried to do it all. It took a toll. She had countless health issues over the years, of which I have no doubt stress of achievement played a role. I can’t tell you how many times I heard her call herself stupid if something didn’t work out perfectly. What a complete lie that was and is.

As I grew, knowing I could not keep my house as clean, be as skinny, or help run an organization, I struggled in extending mercy towards myself too. I searched for worth in sin after sin. I, like her, could extend mercy to others, but in my head, I didn’t deserve the mercy. God couldn’t possibly love me because I was not good enough.

It wasn’t until I met Jansen Bagwell and he walked me through deliverance that the demons of perfectionism were banished from me. I know the perfection God wants is perfection of virtue, not achievement. I was able to forgive my mom of things I didn’t even know I needed to forgive her for. The healing I experienced was almost inexplicable, except that it isn’t because it comes from God. Our relationship blossomed and caring for her became easier, even if she didn’t want me to help her. Again, understand that this is not a judgment of her, but a deliverance from the chains I was in because of my inability to extend mercy to myself for my own lack of achievement. As I write this, autocorrect has had to correct my spelling of achievement every time. And yet God still loves me.

Fast forward to now, and mom’s health is failing. She has dementia and her once sharp as a tack mind cannot remember what I just said to her. Her body, for the moment, is bedridden. She has to rely on anyone but herself to be cared for.

As I stood in the hospital room feeding her, I had a moment of gratefulness to God. Mom was finally accepting mercy. God is purifying her in this last era of her life. She is completely dependent. Any saving she thought she could do for herself is gone and she must rely on her Savior and His providence to survive. It is a total purification of achievement. No more attachment to things of this world.

My mom loves God deeply. I can see how God is removing everything from her that had kept her from Him alone. And he is doing it while she is still here. Long Suffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Although it is very hard to watch, it is purifying me too. Teaching me to rely on my savior instead of myself. Teaching me to honor my mother in these last years of her life. Mom is partaking in the cross and I believe it is the pathway to her entrance to heaven. As hard as this time has been, as much as we have both cried, I cannot imagine anything better.

I got her ready to Facetime the family. I put her lipstick on, just like she likes, so she could be presentable to the family. She smiled, she likes to look good.

I hope in my writing of this piece mom knows how much I love her. That she knows I think the world of her. That my love of God was taught to me by her and my father. That she knows that I know how much she sacrificed and how much she fiercely loves us. Mom can’t remember what I tell her, but I hope she knows, I love her to infinity and beyond.

We are all going to pass away someday. We are all going to return to the dust from which we came. I feel like mom and I have entered into the Passion this Lent. I hope it eventually leads to her glorification in heaven. I am grateful to God. True mercy and charity are something God achieves in us. Praise be to his glorious name.

Please pray for my mom and for me as she recovers from breaking her hip.

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

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Moving Beyond Comfort

Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Christ Child in the Snow

The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness. Pope Benedict XVI

I am a part of a Lenten Ladies group that came together this year to pray and offer support for one another during Lent this year. The agreement among us as we began was that we would be serious about mortification and reparation and that we would really try to work on our root sins. We assessed which were our biggest root sins by using the tools found in Navigating the Interior Life, which breaks down your root sins into three categories of Pride, Vanity, and Sensuality. You will find all seven of the deadly sins can be broken down into these categories.

Our Leader, Ashley Blackburn, showed us how when we recognize the sin we commit most habitually we can identify what gift of ours actually is being stolen by Satan, which is why he tries so hard to hit us in these areas. Satan doesn’t want our gifts being used for God’s Kingdom. We outlined some examples of what this may look like;

To be sure, you have many gifts that Satan may be trying to steal, but this process just helps you to identify some things. Each persons process and gifts will be different because we are all different.

For me, my most of my personal habitual sins fall into the sensuality category. My gifts include prophecy, pastoring and teaching. I have a spirit of anxiety that attacks me. I hate being uncomfortable. I choose comfort to soothe me. I cling to it instead of to God. I have asked God to purge me. Purging hurts. But if we ever want to live in a world of true peace, one which is of God, this purging is necessary. If we want to make it to the glory of heaven, this purging is necessary. This is the path of Sainthood. And we can be purified here or in the afterlife, but all of the Saints tell us that being purged here is better. The longing for God in purgatory is not something we should strive for. We should always strive for heaven in the hopes of purgatory, instead of striving for purgatory, with the possibility of ending up in hell.

If we live our lives seeking the union with the will of God, we may just become a Saint, but the reason we should seek it isn’t because of accolades from others about Saintly glory, but instead because being a Saint is being made into Love. We become another Christ.

We should know that when we pray God will answer our prayer, especially when we pray to be conformed to His will. I have prayed for God to purify me. But I have always deep down wanted a say in how the purification goes. Which isn’t really purifying me, it is just another way of my clinging to comfort. For me, if I pick my mortification to temper my comforts, I am actually really just falling back into comfort. This is not the case for everyone, but for me, it became an earning of purification rather than letting God do the work in me.

So here I was, about to start Lent, working diligently on how I would be purified. I was going to give up sweets, fast more, exercise more. I was going to be made to conform to God’s will by all these things I chose to do.

God had other plans. God decided he was going to purify me in a way that would actually purify me instead of my agenda of how to be purified. And y’all, man does it hurt.

On Monday night of this week my mother fell and broke her hip. We were in the middle of an ice storm and it was an impossibility for me to get to the hospital to be with her, I had to totally surrender the situation to God and trust that she would be cared for.

On Tuesday morning an angel of a neighbor who had a big truck drove me to see my mother. Mom was wheeled to surgery for a hip replacement. My 80 1/2 year old mother has a body that has been battle worn. She cried in pain throughout the day. She has dementia so she was confused as well. She spoke of her dead friends and relatives being in the room with us. She saw the Blessed Virgin out the window (it was a chimney of some sort – but I liked what she was seeing better). I was racked with anxiety that she may die. A second wave of snow and ice came down, I had no car, I decided to settle in the chair the hospital had to sleep in my mask that was required for Coronavirus precautions. I was just grateful they let me in. In no time at all it became apparent that the chair would not stay reclined and I would be catapulted to an upright position if I chose to sleep in this chair. I spent Tuesday night, heading into Ash Wednesday sleeping on the floor of the hospital.

My accommodations leading into Ash Wednesday

Obviously sleep escaped me. I felt jealous of Saint Joseph who so trusted God amid his bewildering circumstances that he was able to sleep.

I should note the blessings that came along the way. There was the surgeon who prayed over my mom for God to guide his hands. There were the nurses who took care of my mom as if she were their own mother. There was the palliative care doctor who told me that God is the author of all life and he is the one who decides when people get to go home. This is just one of the many reasons I love living in the south. That as filled with sin as we all are, people still believe.

As Ash Wednesday progressed, mom spiked a fever. She seemed more confused and lost, and at points wasn’t able to speak or be woken up. For my Ash Wednesday fast of two small meals and one regular meal, I had a brownie for dinner. It was all that was available and I just didn’t think I could cope if I gave up that sweet and ate nothing. I didn’t go to an Ash Wednesday Service, I didn’t watch one online. I did read the Gospel of John to my mother because she had managed to ask me to at one point. May God’s power be made perfect in my weakness.

In the past I would have let the demons of “you’re not good enough to even make the first day of Lent in your mortification and you didn’t attend services,” pummel me. But in my exhaustion I just relied on God and asked him to understand. I know he does.

By Wednesday night we knew mom had an infection and antibiotics were started and she began to improve. On Thursday morning, secure in the fact that she was okay, my husband dug our car out and came and got me.

I was very excited to sleep in my own bed. But when I got home, one of my children had major issues I won’t go into here. I ended up sleeping nearer to them because of the situation.

The demons pummeled me with “what if’s”. I kept being dragged into the past, “what if you had been a better mother? What if you had been a better daughter?” And into the future, “what if your mom dies, what if your child fails?” And sleep escaped from me. I longed for my own bed.

I realized that God was allowing all of this. In fact, when I asked to be purified, God was rejoicing. It means I want to be in union with his will. But it hurts deeply.

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Colossians 1:24

As I navigate the next few weeks, I pray for the grace to live in the present moment with God. I ask Him to sit in the middle of the mess I am in. I surrender my parents and my children to Him, for I am not their Savior. I take one breath at a time and one step at a time. I cry a lot. And I can not worry what others think about me. I have only to cling to God. I fully experience these Lenten mortifications that have been sent my way. I am sobbing through them, sometimes unable to catch my breath. But I mean it sincerely when I say, I am grateful for them. I am grateful for a God who took on this lowly flesh and experienced all of this with us. He didn’t have to, but in doing so he opened up heaven for us, if we only let him take us there.

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The Holy Father Has Much to Suffer

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:16-18

I write in my journal what pops in my head as if God were speaking to me. If the church were to say what I have written is wrong, then the church is correct and I am wrong. Know that as you discern what I am about to say and show from my journal.

This was written after long reflection on Saint Joseph during this, the year of Saint Joseph. The sleeping Saint Joseph has given me much comfort. A man who can sleep during anxiety inducing situations is a man who trusts God. From the sleep of Saint Joseph and through the intercession of Mary, the Holy Family was formed.

While it may feel as though Jesus himself is sleeping as our ship is being tossed in the waves, God has a larger divine plan for how we should love and live. He has given us a family to light the way.

Here is what I wrote in my journal on February 15, 2021 as I pondered all that is happening.

Beloved Lily of the Father,
She is the Immaculate Conception. Undoing the sin of Eva, instead of taking, she gave. She emptied herself. Ave.
United with us through the uncreated Immaculate Conception.
Through her the Blessing of the Father was restored.
Divine Life was able to walk in union again with mankind.
The protector of Divine Life was restored in Saint Joseph.
He is the Holy Father.
The sorrow of Saint Joseph cries out.
The Holy Father has much to suffer.
His yes restored the protection of Divine Life and at his yes he too became Immaculate.
The Family restored.
Divine Life birthed anew into the Fallen world to save you from your sins.
This Holy Fatherhood cries out for the unprotected.
He cried out for the innocent blood shed by Herod’s envy.

He cries out for the bride, the church.
He cries out for the blood of aborted children that scream for protection as the ground opens it’s mouth to receive this innocent blood.
The Assumption of the Immaculata offers a womb of mercy to baptize the innocent.

The Assumption of Saint Joseph protects the universal church from heaven.
The Protection of the Holy Father granted to each Priest so that they too can be a Holy Father, grafted into the Holy Family through her Immaculate Conception and the Cross.
The Priesthood of Protection flows from the Holy Family to the flock whom they serve.
The Holy Father has much to suffer.
Each Holy Father must consecrate his flock to her Immaculate Heart and to His Guardian Heart so that all rest in the Sacred Heart. The land is healed. All of creation becomes a Temple of the Holy Spirit within the Sacred Heart with the Blessing of the Father.
Those consecrated will rest in the Mercy of I AM.
Dominion restored.

1000 may fall at your right side, but you will be under my protection.
The insecurity and instability with frighten you, but I tell you Be Not Afraid, you have found favor with God. You are being purified and recreated. Take up your cross and become Immaculate in my mercy. My power will be made perfect in your weakness and you will see the strength of the Mystical Body and know in awe who is the head of the Body.
Trust fully and let go of what you cannot control.
Luke 4:23
– The Most Holy Trinity

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On Human Fraternity

Crucified Christ at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? 

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

The other day in prayer, I got a very heavy feeling and a very clear image. The image was of a pathway that was in the shape of the cross. All around the crossing point of the vertical and horizontal were roses. But there was a sense to me – the more you followed the path of the vertical, the more the roses grew outward from the cross, on both pathways. But if you turned from the vertical to follow the horizontal, the roses faded and the path became dark. I thought of when we try to be good simply as humans, on the horizontal of the cross, and we leave God out or we twist who he is so the vertical and horizontal glory cannot be achieved.

It is the story of time immemorial, we try on our own to fix what only God can fix within us.

I came across this article the other day. The article is about how on the Arabian Peninsula there are plans to build a mosque, a synagogue, and a church, all in a triangle together, as if to create a trinity of religions. The article points out that some have criticized this as syncretism. Those critics are correct. While I do not doubt the good intentions of the people planning this, this is simply idolatry of people over God, which is what syncretism is. In an effort not to offend people we mix our beliefs together and care not about offending God. It seeks to create a peaceful coexistence between contradicting religions. While peace is a laudable goal, if you ever read the Bible when men try create what God wants to gift freely, you know how this always works out. War.

I don’t mean this post as judgment upon any soul. It is for God alone to judge intentions. We should always reach out to others in love. Love converts souls. But this isn’t love. Creating a space like this leaves the people confused. Is there really different truth for different people? The video at the bottom of the article leaves me feeling all the disordered chaos wrapped up in a sterilized package of lawlessness. I ask myself, is anyone in charge of this place? The answer appears to be, “you do you”, everyone is in charge. When everyone is in charge, no one is in charge. And the one through whom all authority comes gets left behind. It is a giant recipe for disaster, with good intention. The path of the road to hell.

Jesus tells us there is one truth. He is the way, the truth and the life. And they killed him for it. Are we now killing him too by killing his bride, the church? As if his sacrifice on the cross was all for naught? Making a mock trinity. We all know God will not be mocked.

We human beings spend so much time trying to create what isn’t ours to create. Jesus did not come for us to “peacefully coexist” in this worldly fashion. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly, by having Him dwell within us. This is something that comes from the Sacramental Life. It never needs to be forced, but lived so that people see you look different. It looks like Saint Francis, who did engage with the Sultan, but he did not shy away from preaching the Gospel truth. If we want true human fraternity we need true worship in our own hearts and in Mass of the One True God, who sent His Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, in the Incarnation to die for us so we might know Love.

“The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.”
–Saint Thomas Aquinas

While we should absolutely love all people, we should not partake in syncretism. While Abraham is the father of these three religions, only one fulfills the covenant, only one culminates in truth with the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection. The idolatry I see here is worship of man. Taking the horizontal path that will end up leaving the vertical behind. And we will be left in ruins.

We have already reaped havoc from this idolatry. From the time Pachamama earth bowl was on the altar at Saint Peter’s to the time Mass began to shut down because of a virus was 135 days. I see Fatima in that number, the 13th day of the 5th month.

Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

When the church allows idolatry, the flock is scattered. I wonder how long until the next wave of chastisement comes upon us as a result of our latest idolatry of self. Perhaps another round of sex scandal. Perhaps another plague. Perhaps war. It isn’t God who is doing this, we have done it to ourselves. We can choose to leave God in the face of these sufferings, or we can choose to walk this Passion with steadfast faith and love of Christ in our hearts. If we stay, resurrection is on the other side.

Whatever the case we should pray without ceasing and we should take refuge in the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Pray for those who persecute us. Hold on tight, the labor pains will be getting harder.

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Corruption, Purification and What is Coming Upon the World

Photo by Bridget Touhey

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

God has been showing me what I can only call corruption and how it is everywhere.  We really have so little idea of how much sin and corruption is everywhere, even within our own hearts. From what we buy, to what we wear, to what we eat and drink, corruption is apparent. I came to understand that I can’t escape it short of living in a cave like a desert monk – but even then the land is corrupted – so it would still be there.  But God isn’t asking me to try to escape it on my own either. For the devil would like to use the understanding of corruption that God has shown as a tool to isolate and judge people, but God doesn’t want that. God just tells me he will purify everything and not to be afraid, to just trust Him.  The ways in which I am personally corrupt that I do not yet see, he will root out, and for me not to worry.  His power is made perfect in my weakness and He will work all of it for good of those who love him. I am about to tell you of an example of corruption that at one time in my life I thought was a good. A good of evangelization, that in reality was a corruption.

I went to a Latin Mass on January 22, 2021 to pray for the unborn and for our country.    During the homily the Priest said that we are entering very dark times, but God is pouring out grace and that all the people who are rejecting the grace means that those of us who are open to it may get overwhelmed by it.  I felt the Lord say “I am pouring it over you.”  This grace is there for those of us open enough to receive it. This grace is sanctifying.

At the consecration I had the thought that I wanted to take a picture because it was so beautiful and I like to share this beauty with all of you. A glimpse of the beauty of heaven on earth in the Mass.  But God rebuked me and said, “don’t bring your corruption into what I am doing here.”  Then he showed me all the times I took a picture at Mass and how that interrupted the union of myself with Him.  I was so super ashamed.  I started to cry.  A picture, he said, is a mere mimicry of the glory of what is happening there on the altar and instead of being immersed in it, I was actually interrupting the beauty with my own agenda. Which in turn, makes it about us, instead of about Him, who is love. The shame I had, I can’t explain.  I was just so so sorry.  I felt and feel so completely unworthy.  It was then He let me know that I am not worthy to enter under his roof, but at His Word, I am healed. Having no other recourse, I abandoned myself to His mercy.

Even writing this small story down I am overwhelmed.  While I believe there will be an illumination of conscience, I don’t believe the vast majority of us are prepared for what we will see. And whether or not this event takes place in the near future, or just at our own particular judgment, we will be greatly humbled. But this moment at Mass was also more than that.

I sat down after communion and He just said, “I am preparing you for what is coming.” And I knew that what is coming on the world will be like nothing we have ever seen. I don’t know when and I don’t know how, except that it involves purifying fire.

The Lord just said there are so few that trust Him. That what He wants for us more than anything is our salvation, and we may not understand His ways, but if we can view what is coming in His larger plan, we will be purified and glorified. TRUST.

He wants His faithful to go into the refuge of their hearts and prepare. The preparation is one of individual purging of sin in cooperation with Him, so as to abandon yourself to His will. It is a letting go of control. This abandonment to His will involves adoring the Holy Face of Jesus and bringing His Mother into your home. Mark your homes and your hearts with the Sacred and Immaculate Heart so that the darkness may Passover your home and the Lord can bring you to true peace and joy.

Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Revelation 7:2-4

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Mediatrix of All Graces and Co-Redemptrix

And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Luke 1:28

Mary is in perfect relationship with the Holy Trinity. She wants to guide us there too.

Mary, who was conceived without sin, knew that she was a loved daughter of God the Father.  She knew this because she prayed and had a relationship with Him as we see in her Magnificat. This knowledge and relationship combined with her Immaculate purity meant she was confident and trusting in God the Father.  She was truly Full of Grace, just as Eve had once been in the garden. Eve, desiring to be like God, fell from grace by handing the domain of grace that God gave her to Satan, who turned God’s grace to death and destruction. She ate the fruit of self will by falling prey to temptation.  Mary, in contrast, never desired to be like God.  Instead she emptied herself. And despite the fact that Mary saw suffering and evil,  Mary did not view the Lord as someone who would harm her.  Mary ate the fruit of God’s will being fed only from the Tree of Life.   Because of this disposition Mary could receive everything God wanted to give to her.  Mary was an open vessel, unashamed before the Lord.   In Mary’s case this meant she would personally carry the Word made flesh.  Mary is the perfection of daughterhood. 

Because Mary was an open vessel for the Lord this means that when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her she could give her full consent to being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.  Tradition teaches us that this relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit was spousal as she is often referred to as the spouse of the Holy Spirit.  Saint Maximilian Kolbe takes this even further.  He referred to Mary as the created Immaculate Conception and to the Holy Spirit as the uncreated Immaculate Conception.  Thus when she tells Saint Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception”.  This isn’t just spousal relationship, it is who she is. (Manteau-Bonamy, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit).  The depth of what this means is a mystery too large for our understanding.  But it is through this teaching that we get a glimpse of God’s plan and how Mary, because of the salvific work of God before her conception and her yes to unity with the Holy Spirit, she becomes the mediatrix of all graces.  This teaching lets us know that the person who embraces Mary is led by her to this unity with the Holy Spirit.  

Mary because of her unity with the Holy Spirit conceives the Son, thus becoming the Mother of God and ushering in the Savior of mankind. This Motherhood of God is co-redemptrix in nature because it is through this Motherhood that God saves us by being born and dying on the Cross.  She brings the birth of true love into the world.  From the Incarnation to the Cross Mary made gift of herself to the Son, who in turn extends His loving gaze upon her.  Her soul magnifies the Lord.    Even in her sorrow, she gives to God what belongs to God.  This is an unconditional love and is the culmination of union with the Trinity.

We see the action of co-redemptrix and mediatrix of graces at work when we take a look at the relationship she has with those around her who were closest to her.  It is important to note that everything she merits is done through the salvific work of her Son whose grace was applied to her preveniently.   Where Eve chose to fall from grace by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Mary gifted with grace eats from the Tree of Life.  Those who surround her benefit from this grace which flows through her and they receive redemption from the Son.  Saint Joseph, who originally wants to dismiss her quietly, changes his mind, no doubt through her prayer and of course a visit from the angel. From this angelic encounter we see Joseph abandon himself to the will of God. He takes Mary into home.  This act of taking her into his home, is a restoration of full dominion God had planned for Adam in the Garden.  But God gifts this to Joseph who by taking Mary into his home is able to adore the Christ child with loving gaze, thus magnifying the Lord himself. His decision to say yes and take Mary into his home unites Joseph to Mary and thus into the relationship Mary has with the Trinity. This is the restoration of the blessings of the Father onto the family.

Likewise, we see Saint John take Mary into his home at the foot of the Cross.  When meditating more deeply on John’s presence at the foot of the cross, we can gain an understanding of how the ministerial priesthood is united to the family of believers. When Jesus turns to John and says, “Woman, behold your son, and to the disciple, Here is your mother,” (John 19:26) John takes Mary into his home.  Having walked the Passion with the Immaculata and her Son, John has abandoned his will to God the Father and taken the Immaculate Conception into his home.   From the very wounds of the Tree of Life, John becomes united to Mary, which is to say he is united to the Trinity through the Cross and the Immaculate Conception. Here too we see dominion restored. This is the model for the Priesthood.

And so to the Priest takes Mary into his home and takes up his cross becomes ever united with the Trinity and brings us the Eucharistic Lord to consume, uniting us with the lay faithful with the Tree of Life. To Jesus through Mary we enter into right relationship with the Most Holy Trinity.

For these turbulent times we live in, may we all take Mary into our home and receive the Eucharist with total abandonment to God’s will.

Our Lady, Healer of Families, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Anchor of Families, pray for us.

Saint John, Beloved Disciple, pray for us.

Divine Child Jesus, save us.

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Divine Ways

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:28-32

I have been watching all that is happening in our country with a sadness that I am sure that many of you feel. I am not here to comment on the details of what is happening. I wholeheartedly believe the only one who has all of the facts is God in Heaven. He sees what we do not. In my prayer he tells me we will all be humbled. I believe Him. I also have taken a look at what the Saints and faithful did in tumultuous times.

It was then that I came across Saint Genevieve that I thought we could all learn something. She lived in times of war, and after her death there was plague. I found the following two paragraphs from Catholic Online.

When Attila and his army of Huns came upon Paris, the Parisian Christians were prepared to run, but Genevieve spoke to them and convinced them to stay within their homes, fast and pray to the Lord. She assured them they would have the protection of Heaven. Her prediction came true as Attila suddenly changed his path and turned away from Paris.

After her death many miracles occured, the most famous occurrence was the miracle of Des Ardens, or the burning fever. In 1129, a violent fever swept through the city, and doctors couldn’t stop the people from dying. The shrine of Genevieve was carried in a procession to the cathedral, and during the ceremony, those who touched her shrine were healed by the power of the Lord. Throughout the whole town, no one else became sick, all the ill recovered and only three people died.

Here we have the Saints and faithful turning to the ways of God instead of the ways of men to help with all of the things that were happening.

It occurred to me that we should be doing those things; Praying and fasting and having processions. I know there have been some faithful Priests and leaders who have done these things, but we faithful can do this as well.

Our Padre Pio Nashville Group has decided to process with relics throughout our city and towns and neighborhoods, calling on the communion of Saints to protect us from COVID and violence. We must start turning to the ways of heaven. We must turn back to God. The Saints did not hide in their homes forever, they went out and changed things, even and especially when there was sickness. So on January 23 we will take many relics or many Saints and pray for protection and blessing. We realized after picking the day that this was the Feast of the Espousal of Joseph and Mary. May the Holy Family be with us.

It is time to put on the Armor of God in the ways that we can.

I will leave you with what I wrote in my journal yesterday, January 8, 2020 during adoration. As you know, I write what pops in my head as if God were speaking to me. If the church says what I have written is wrong, then the church is correct and I am wrong.

Beloved Lily of the Father,

The earth is in shackles because of sin.  I came to proclaim the Kingdom of God at hand.

Still you turn to the ways of men to handle your sin.  Do you not see what I am calling you to?

You hold back from me and I cannot pour my glory.

There are so few that understand.

You think you “know” but your knowledge is but a grain of sand.  I AM knowledge.  I AM truth.  My ways are higher.

Still you seek only knowledge instead of seeking ME.

No matter how much you think you know, you are not GOD, I AM.

You seek in the wrong places and it takes you deeper into the abyss. 

You have no idea what I made the human body capable of for the soul living in the Divine Will.  You try to manipulate the body instead of seeking my will.

Therefore I hand you over to your desires since you see fit not to acknowledge me.

Death technology begets death. Freedom is found IN ME.

My bride will be purified, no corruption.

You worship like a prophylactic keeping MY BODY from you like a disease.  I have been contracepted in reception of the GIFT of me.  You have not abandoned yourselves to me, rather you want to serve mammon.  You cannot serve to Masters.

Satan is trying to stop the consecration, wanting to abort the sacrifice the way he convinced you to abort your children, the way he convinced Martin Luther to break the family line. 

I tell you, the Gates of hell shall not prevail. 

I will remain with the remnant when Rome falls.  The remnant who see, who trust me.

The living will envy the dead.  The remnant will suffer but their total abandonment to me will bring Resurrection.  A bride washed anew ready for the Bridegroom that I AM.  You will be able to move mountains. 

Those who knew me but justified their sin and remained in the pride of it handed themselves to wicked deeds – death is what befalls them.  Remain steadfast and keep my commandments.

Those who truly see are few, their suffering united with me saves many And I will pour grace over them through my Mother and protection through my earthly father. 

Be wise like a serpent and peaceful like a dove.  Do not be afraid but be confident.  I want more for you then you want for yourself.  You have no idea how GREAT I AM.

– your Divine Spouse

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Sin Management

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:20-23

I have spent time pondering what the Lord wants our world to look like. A world where His “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is a world of union with the trinity, which, in turn, creates union with creation. Adam and Eve had this before they fell. Mary is the new Eve. Jesus the new Adam. What does this world look like? Scripture shows us;

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. Matthew 4:23

Of course Jesus, as the second person of the Blessed Trinity is God, so it is no surprise that he can heal and cure. But Jesus tells his disciples that they will do greater things than even he did, so this unity is something that God wants to bring back to all of us.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

So what is wrong with the world today? Why don’t we see this unity which begets miracles? It is still because of corruption and sin. We look to other idols to cure us, when in reality all we are doing is managing our sin. And as humans, working in our own pride, we haven’t done a good job of managing it. Disease and sickness are in the world because of sin. The confessional is the place we purge of sin, yet we spend more time at the doctor than in the confessional.

Don’t get me wrong, we actually do need the doctor. Why? Because sin isn’t just something you do personally, others sin too, and when they sin it affects the entire body. Sometimes we are suffering the consequences of someone else’s sin, even from generations ago, and that is not something we can control, so we manage it. Corruption is so far and so deep, it would take an act of God to purge the world of it. God has allowed us ways to manage what is going on, but have we made this management our God? Are we even turning to God?

Jesus came to show us how to overcome sin and be purified. He took on all the sin. But there was a path to that. It was a path to the cross. Whenever Peter wanted to tell Jesus not to go to the cross, Jesus rebuked him.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”  But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Matthew 16:21-23

We as a people will be purified when we look like Christ. This is why the church herself must walk this Passion. In between where we are now and a world of true union with the Trinity is the Cross the church must take on.

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. Catechism of the Catholic Church 675

We can do this individually, this purging, but it is something the Body of Christ is called to as a whole.

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready;
to her it has been granted to be clothed
    with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Revelation 19:6-8

When you think about this purification that will “shake the faith of many believers“, you can’t help but think of the faith of the Apostles being shaken when Jesus took on his Passion. Judas betrayed, Peter lied, Thomas doubted, most ran and hid. They wanted a different Messiah and trusted in their own expectations of what that was, and when it didn’t pan out, everything seemingly crumbled.

There was one Apostle whose faith wasn’t shaken, that was John. He rested in the bosom of Jesus. He stood at the foot of the Cross. He was the only one who wasn’t martyred. He seemed to have fully surrendered to the will of God before the crucifixion. In short, John expected nothing except what God wanted and it enabled him to surrender to the will of God without losing faith while everything was crumbling around him. We can ponder what happened at the foot of the Cross, and John’s example.

My friend Ashley spoke of John as being “grafted” into the Holy Family. Grafting is a technique that joins two trees or plants into one. This is done by creating a wound in the rootstock of one tree and the other is inserted into that wound so each tree’s tissues can grow together. Grafting is used to make a tree “grow true” and is meant to stay true to the line from which it came. When Jesus turns to John and says, “Woman, behold your son, and to the disciple, Here is your mother,” (John 19:26) John is incorporated into the Holy Family. John is the tender young tree that is grafted to the rootstock of Christ. He is implanted into the wounds, or Sacred Heart of Jesus, at the crucifixion. From the very wounds of the Tree of Life, John becomes kindred to Mary, and as such spends the rest of his life on earth as a member of the Holy Family. 

St John’s union with the Holy Family brought a fourth heart into the Holy Family; the heart of the beloved. And perhaps this is why he appeared at Knock, Ireland with the Holy Family. Heaven was trying to tell us something. That the men who can say, “behold the Lamb of God” to us can form us into the family God intended for us.

The priest that embraces the cross instead of running from it, the priest that takes Mary fully as his Mother, this priest is kindred to the Holy Family. When he brings the Eucharist, the lamb, the crucified Christ, the Divine Child, to his flock he can help graft us into this family as well so we can all be beloved hearts. This is about the power of the Priesthood, the Holy Family, and the purification of our sin as the Body of Christ, the Bride.

We are so far away from this unity that God had planned for us. Our leaders run from the cross and embrace idols choosing to follow secular forces instead of Divine ones. As a people we have fled from the confessional justifying our sin at every turn and judging others with no mercy. Just glance at social media and you see there is no mercy.

We have so many idols, so many attachments, so much corruption. We aren’t even aware of the level of corruption so there is no way we could save ourselves. We need a savior. We turn to science, counseling and various types of secular healing in our sin management instead of to God who could take away our sin. We call evil good and good we call evil. Science, counseling and other various things aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re not God.

We are at a precipice. It is one of choosing to surrender to the will of God – which means picking up our cross and following him. This will look different for each of us and hear me when I say – it is so important not to judge the decisions others make, for all of us are at different points on this journey. God works all things for the good of those who love him. Remember that Peter, Thomas, and the other Apostles, save for one, are also Saints, and that God filled them with His glory even though they didn’t fully surrender until after the crucifixion. God loved them as he loved John, they were all beloved. But if we want to be filled with the glory of God we have to have the humility to surrender our expectations and our sins. It is in humility that glory is found.

I ponder how far away I am from what God wants for me. I tell God I can see the world he wants and I see the cross in between where I am and where he wants me, and I ask Him to take away my fear of that part of the journey. I ask God at every Mass to fill me with Himself.

I also pray for Priests everyday. It is through them I have access to Christ, but also to the Holy Family. It is through them I have received Sacramental grace, sanctifying grace. Pray for your Priests to be grafted to the Holy Family so that you yourself can be as well.

This is a time of purification. Move forward in fortitude and trust. Ask Saint John and the Holy Family to help you persevere.

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Consecration to the Holy Family

Today, in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas, the Church, reliving with fresh wonder the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us, leads us to contemplate the Holy Family of Nazareth. From contemplation of this admirable model, the Church draws the values to hold up to the women and men of all times and all cultures. – Saint John Paul the II – Angelus, December 27, 1998

Today would normally be the feast of Saint John the Evangelist, but because it falls on a Sunday during the Octave of Christmas, today we celebrate the Holy Family. I can’t help but think though, we are at a culmination point. Saint John the Evangelist was at the apparition in Knock, Ireland. It seems fitting that in this crazy year of 2020, his day would be shared with the Holy Family, as if heaven is trying to speak something to us, both about priests and families. I hope to write more on this in the coming weeks.

For now, you may be aware but I live in TN. Our city was bombed. Thankfully it does not look as if people were the target but I have been without cell phone access or internet since Christmas. I am only able to connect today because I am in another location that still has access. It is strange to be so isolated from the outside world. But I do believe the Lord has been preparing us for these times.

In that vain, it is important for us now more than ever to have our spiritual houses in order. I will leave you with the Consecration Prayer to the Holy Family, who will guide us through these times.

Consecration to the Most Holy Family

O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, today our family has come together to unite our hearts with yours, Sacred, Immaculate, and Guardian, in order to consecrate ourselves as a family to your Most Holy Family. Our hearts are longing for your presence amongst us. Our hearts are longing for your peace within us. Our hearts are longing for your protection around us. We surrender our desires, our temptations, our troubles, our sorrows, our weaknesses, our blessings and our joys to you. We give you everything, our very lives, and place it all at the foot of the cross of the Divine Child, Jesus Christ, so that we may live only for Him, our King and our Savior.  May each member of our family have a heart that is Beloved beating in unison with your 3 hearts.  

O Most Holy Family, we praise and honor you as the archetype of the domestic church. May our family be a reflection of yours, as we practice virtue and deepen in faith, hope and charity. We have been placed together as a family to be a reflection of you, father, mother,  sons and daughters. As we live together in our own domestic church, may our home be an extension of the Catholic Church, which is an extension of our eternal home in Heaven. May our life together be ever open to the movement of the Holy Spirit so that we may be full of your grace and peace. 

Mary and Joseph, just as you lived your quiet life in Nazareth as parents of the Divine Child, who was the source of Love in your family, may we too keep Jesus as the center of our lives and the center of our family. Teach us to honor and adore Him, to turn to Him first and foremost in our need, and to be witnesses of His love and mercy.  May we gaze upon His Holy Face and reach the heights of union that both of you did.

Divine Child Jesus, just as you were obedient to your mother and father on earth, may we as children of our own parents, always remember to honor them in good times and bad. May we learn the virtue of obedience from the family, which will lead us in our obedience to the Heavenly Father as we grow and mature in our faith.

O Most Holy Family, today we consecrate ourselves to you and seek your intercession so that from this day forward, our prayers, our thoughts, our words and our actions will be united to you, who were ever united to the Divine Will of the Triune God. In this we pray, all glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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Do Not Despair

Our Lady of Ransom

To be delivered from the slavery of these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Son has destined for this restoration will need great will-power, perseverance, courage, and confidence in God. To try the faith and trust of these just ones, there will be times when all will seem lost and paralyzed. It will then be the happy beginning of the complete restoration… Our Lady of Good Success

I write in my journal as if God were speaking to me. If the church says what I have written is wrong, then the church is correct and I am wrong.

December 19, 2020

Beloved Lily of the Father,

Fear, Shame and confusion are Legion, demons unleashed upon the world because of the vastness of sin.

Do you not know by now that the anxiety you feel is a demon tempting you? They tempt you to despair, as if what is happening in the world cannot be overcome by me.

They tempt you to shame, as if the sins of the body cannot be forgiven by me; as if you were the one who could give and take life. I tell you, you do not have that power. I am the author of life.

There are no sins of the body that I cannot heal and make whole. There is no illness I cannot overcome.

You are made to feel shame incessantly as a relentless attack. This reaps confusion and paralysis – halting the work of the Kingdom.

Child, do you not know that what I created is good? A repentant heart is lifted up in sanctifying grace through the sacrament of confession. Forgive others, but do not forget to forgive yourself as I have forgiven you. Judgment is not yours to pass on the soul, not even your own.

Remain steadfast. Accept my mercies daily. Be confident in ME, this will dispel the confusion.

Hear me now! There is nothing that is happening that I cannot heal. My promises are true.

Do not be afraid or give into despair. Instead persevere in prayer and unite your suffering to the cross.

I AM funneling grace under the mantle of my Mother. Be confident in me and trust.

Luke 8:29-30

Abba

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