Queen of the Universe

The Lord begot me, the beginning of his works,
the forerunner of his deeds of long ago; From of old I was formed,
at the first, before the earth. When there were no deeps I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water; Before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; When the earth and the fields were not yet made,
nor the first clouds of the world. When he established the heavens, there was I,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; When he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the springs of the deep; When he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
When he fixed the foundations of earth, then was I beside him as artisan;
I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, Playing over the whole of his earth, having my delight with human beings. Proverbs 8:22-31

After I had written my last post on the Immaculate Conception, my friend James Ignatius McAuley commented. He said, “you made me think, we are all immaculately conceived in the mind of God, for nothing evil can come forth from God. The difference regarding the ever virgin Mary was that she was preconceived in God’s mind before the angels or we were. Venerable Maria de Agreda shows this in her first book of the Mystical City of God. Thus, Mary was before sin and its effects. This is shown in Proverb 8:22-31.”

I pondered what James had written and what Mary of Agreda had stated. I was always taught that Lucifer had the highest place in heaven and it was the Blessed Virgin Mary who took his place when he fell. I was also taught that Proverb was solely about wisdom. But wisdom dwells inside the Virgin and her womb. I pondered what James had told me. I wrote what I felt God speaking to me in my journal after Mass today. As always if the church says what I have written is wrong, then the church is correct and I am wrong. This is not meant to be embraced by people unless the Magisterium were to state it were true. I post it as food for thought and for discernment. And hopefully for someone who knows more than I to read.

May 3, 2020 – Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James

Beloved Lily of the Father,

The Immaculate Conception was the first conceived thought of us. Before anything was created purity was conceived in the thought of God. Union beyond comprehension. The gift of us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Immaculate Conception was there from the beginning of time. She was there before the stars, the earth and the angels. Her place as Queen was too much for Lucifer to stand when he saw her. She didn’t take his place as highest in heaven, she was always first, for envy is borne of that which you never had. He thought he stole it when he deceived Eva but in his evening knowledge he did not know it always belonged to the Ave. For if he simply thought he would be replaced he never would have fallen, he would have kept what was his. Non-servium was his motto from his envy and pride. It was that which he never had that he wanted to steal, kill and destroy.

I AM unchanging. The uncreated Immaculate Conception. Always meant for union with the first thought of creation, the created Immaculate Conception through which we sent our sacrifice in the form of the Son, through whom our bride, the church, is lifted to union with us and made complete. The uncreated Immaculate conception waited to act until the point in time when the word was spoken to bring the created Immaculate Conception on earth.

She was Queen of the Universe from the beginning of time. This is the Divine Will, soaked in wisdom, that all the church will be brought to unity at the end of time through the Immaculate Conception and the Cross. Redeemer and Co-Redemptrix.

She is the Mother of Mercy whose depths neither angels, nor men can comprehend. Mercy is unfathomable. Her intercession reaches far beyond what you in your limited human capacity can possibly understand or know.

  • The Most Holy Trinity
Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Mary Our Refuge

 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am supplementing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions in behalf of His body, which is the church. Colossians 1:24

I gave a talk on Mary Our Refuge at the Carmel Center in Liberty, TN today. You can listen to the audio.

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Immaculately Conceived

Mom and Dad holding hands on the couch

These days I am home a lot, probably like most of you. Though we do have caregivers that help with my mom and dad, the primary duty falls upon me. This experience has left me pondering a lot and talking to God a lot about what His plan for us is. I am not speaking of asking God details of the future, I am speaking of asking God what it was that he wanted for humanity.

The answer I got was “immaculately conceived.” This startled me a little because I know that Mary is the Immaculate Conception, so I couldn’t fathom what God meant for us to be “immaculately conceived” since as we all know, and as my friend James, quoting a Pope, put it, we are “maculate.”

So I pressed God. I know that scripture says we are to be “born again”, which speaks of the power of Baptism, but this was different. Lord, what do you mean?

God the Father let me know that when I was “conceived” in His thought, it was totally pure. Immaculate. His thought of me, His conception of me, was not meant to be maculate. But we all know, that mankind fell, and that original sin became our consequence, and the concupiscence that came along with that. As if, between the thought and the Word, the Satan’s thoughts and word slipped into our soul stealing the completeness of the thought of God.

You will surely not die, the serpent told her. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:5

And the battle began for the completeness of the thought of God. This path where the word becomes flesh and dwells among us so that we may have the word and the spirit dwelling within us. God’s completion is a new heaven and a new earth, one that is Immaculate. It is a trinitarian unity of the completeness of love. Satan’s thoughts and word are ones that kill and culminates in destruction. If we believe his thought, take his word in us act in sin the destruction comes in the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Hell.

We are meant to be completed. The thought of us conceived in the mind of God, the way originally planned. We know that this was accomplished in one soul, the Immaculate Conception.

In the night I felt the Lord speak to me of the Nativity, of the perpetual virginity of Mary. The picture I had in my head of Mary giving birth is not the way you would picture a regular birth. It was as if Mary was like pure water, that the sun shines through and the water magnifies the sun throughout it. A ball of pure light, and a vision of the clarity of the water. He came out of her as light passing through, everything of her remained in tact, clothed in the sun. This kind of unity is far beyond what we experience in mere human comprehension of unity. Her intercession for us is expansive beyond our understanding. And it is intimately linked with the depths of the mercy of God. It is through the Immaculate Conception, and her place in the Mystical Body cooperating with the redeemer on the walk to the Passion and Resurrection that is the ultimate intercession of a human for the rest of us. She is a refuge.

And so the Lord turned me to the Sacraments. We partake in them to cooperate with God as the means towards the Father’s original conception of us. They are meant to purify, they are meant that our purgatory be here. They are meant to feed us from the Tree of Life, so that the knowledge of evil is purged from our hearts.

But we still fall short, and God in his inexplicable mercy, still allows this purification after we die. Purgatory, the place where we finally see how attached we were to the things that kept us from God, and we long to be with him. These suffering souls in purgatory also suffer for us. It is part of our purification as a Mystical Body.

God wants us to have the same light in us as He originally conceived for us. This is the end goal for the end of time. It is a Resurrection of the Body. The completeness of the thought of God, originally conceived without sin and in a final restoration, the thought, word, and action of God completed. Body and soul united. The light passes through fills us with the sun, the son, remaining completely in the will of the Father. If this were to happen to us on earth as it is in heaven, we could command nature and it would listen, because our domain would be restored. It has nothing to do with prideful power, and everything to do with love. Nature listens to loves command.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered! “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Mark 11:20-23

Right now we are in a battle. The view of how to win depends on whether you rely on man’s ways of how to do this, like a man who wants to blot out the sun, which will ultimately lead to destruction, or you can follow God’s way of purifying your heart. Confess and reconcile, receive the Word Made flesh, and let God do the rest. He is far better a savior of mankind than we are of ourselves.

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

The Seven Sorrows of the Modern Church

Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral April 15, 2019

 the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the familyDon’t be afraid, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issueHowever, Our Lady has already crushed its head. Sister Lucia dos Santos

I write in my journal as if the Lord is speaking to me. I submit fully to the authority of the church and if they state what I have written is wrong, then I am wrong, and the church is correct.

This came to me while pondering the Sorrows of Mary, it came as the sorrows of the modern church. I believe every era has it’s sorrows. These are ours.

Seven Sorrows of the Modern Church

  1. The Prophecy of Paul VI – A sword shall pierce through Marriage and the Family

If you have never read Humanae Vitae you should. While the Protestant world caved to the use of artificial birth control, the Pope did not and his prophetic words have come to fruition. Unfortunately, those within the Catholic church have caved to the belief that artificial birth control is a good rather than the intrinsic evil that it is. And German Bishops defy the very definition of marriage, which was defined by Christ Himself.

2. The Lawful Passage of Abortion of the unborn. Slaughter of the Innocents.

While abortion was first brought about in the communist Soviet Union, the United States followed suit in 1973. To date no other form of death surpasses that of abortion. We kill more babies in the womb all over the world and it is comparable to all other causes of death combined. The blood of the innocent cries out from the ground. And our culture has become pornographic as a result.

3. The decimation of Holy Mass and gross Liturgical Abuse

One does not have to look far to come across Liturgical Abuse and Abuse of the Eucharist. Over the years I have personally seen people put Jesus in the Eucharist in their pockets, seen the precious blood spilled all over the place, and seen some Masses become unrecognizable to the focus which is supposed to be Jesus. Additionally when Mass was reopened, this increased in some places. The focus became so much on germs we were actually profaning the Eucharist with some of the policies certain places put into action.

4. The banning of the faithful from Mass and dispensation from the 3rd commandment. The faithful are left to carry spiritual suffering alone.

No one needs to say too much about this except to say that never before were Masses closed worldwide to the faithful like they were in 2020. Holy water was taken away. Confession was taken away in multiple Dioceses. The elderly were left to die alone without recourse to Last Rites. It was disgusting to watch. The church was not administering Sacraments to the faithful during a time when the faithful most needed it and as she was commissioned to do by Christ. The church essentially stopped her mission for that time period. Save for a few faithful Priests and Bishops who did so at risk to themselves, the rest cowered in fear. I lost a loved one to suicide during lockdown. The last thing he posted online was a virtual Mass.

5. The nailing of Doctrine to the Cross. Science replacing Sacrament.

Nothing speaks more to this than this diabolical depiction of what is supposed to cure us;

Absolutely astonishing to see a picture of God the Father with a glove on His hand with the Vatican name all over it, as if the Divine Creator of the Universe needs a glove in order to heal us. And again at least one of the speakers at this Vatican cohosted conference thinks it is unChristian to not allow women to abort their children.

Science has made it’s way into Mass when we reopened, to the detriment of the reverence of God. While precautions can always be prudently taken, they should not further abuse the Eucharist. Hand Sanitzer is not the savior and should never be placed on an altar. I hear more preaching on vaccines around the globe than on the Real Presence.

Servant of God Lousia Peccereta said this;

Ah! my daughter, when I allow that churches remain deserted, ministers dispersed, Masses reduced, it means that the sacrifices are offenses to Me, the prayers insults, the adorations, irreverences, the confessions amusements, and without fruits.  Therefore, no longer finding My glory, but rather, offenses, nor any good for them, since they are of no use to Me any more, I remove them.  However, this snatching ministers away from my Sanctuary means also that things have reached the ugliest point, and that the variety of scourges will multiply.  How hard man is—how hard! —Jesus to Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta; February 12, 1918 

It is after these five that I believe we have two more sorrows that are yet to come. These are the ones I hesitate to write. I hesitate because they are prophetic in nature and I know there are always multiple ways something can be interpreted. I started writing about this next one in my journal in 2016. I have never posted it publicly before unless I redacted a portion of what I was going to say. Obviously I could be wrong. I leave it here for your discernment.

6. Rome will burn. The Pope will be killed.

In my prayer I have been hearing “the Pope will be killed” since July of 2016. I don’t know if this is a spiritual or literal thing. I also never heard Pope Francis, but felt it may be him. I felt the Lord was telling me that the prophecy of Fatima is yet to be fulfilled and that Saint John Paul II was only part of the picture. This is for discernment. I am not claiming to know exactly how things play out or how this phrase was meant.

7. The Church looks dead and is laid in a tomb.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 675: 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.

The sorrows are never the end of the story. The joys come after the sorrow. The bride of Christ will rise purified. I believe the church will come out better than she was before, more faithful, less judgment of one another. A church resting in the will of the Father. Do not despair, Resurrection comes after the cross.

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they Shall See God

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama – Photo taken by Shawn Sulak

The past several months have been a whirlwind of suffering, beauty and miracles. The Lord continues to purify. After moving my parents into my home because of my mom’s broken hip, and after recovering from COVID, I was able to go to the Easter Triduum. The Liturgy on Holy Thursday made me weep as the Priest washed the feet of 12 men in our parish. I felt spiritually protected in that moment as I remembered the closing of churches the previous year. I was just so grateful to be there.

At the Easter Vigil 9 people came into the church. Nine people who fought through restrictions and lockdowns just to be able to have the chance to join the church that Jesus left us, in all it’s mess, and to receive Christ in the Eucharist. The whole Easter Triduum just made me so thankful.

On Thursday I went to the old chapel to pray for the first time in a several weeks. I said my devotions and as I knelt to pray, I am ashamed to admit this, but I had the thought, “I wonder how many co-workers come in here and pray?” The Lord sharply rebuked me, “None of your business, and until you stop entertaining thoughts like this your heart will never be pure.”

And like he has before, he showed me the thoughts I entertain. I wept. I do not feel I can sufficiently explain the goodness of God and the darkness of our hearts.

Take captive every thought. 2 Corinthians 10:5

I reviewed all the times a politician made think I wanted to punch them in the face. A person on Facebook made me want to tell them they’re going to hell. A person on twitter made me want to call them a moron. I had deleted these accounts a couple of months ago, so as not to be tempted, but here I was in the chapel still comparing in a moment of pride.

Until you stop entertaining thoughts like this your heart will never be pure.

The place where God is, the place where he wants to take us, it contains no darkness, no snark, no animosity, no despair, no bitterness, no sin. It is a place of nothing but charity and mercy. It is a place of abundant life. There is no knowledge of evil. Heaven contains none. He wants His will on earth as it is in heaven. We live in a society that cannot even look at another person without trying to size up whether they are good enough to be in our tribe. But God says, what I made is good. Sin keeps us turning away. I cannot control whether other people’s hearts become pure, but I can allow God to purify my heart.

The Lord wants for us to want what he wants, that other souls be saved because saving means being surrounded by nothing but unconditional love. How many of us have just longed for that? It’s available, it’s feely offered, Love hung on a cross to die for us.

When we look down upon others in pride, or compare in envy, or just wish ill upon another, we are not loving like God loves. It’s impossible to love like that right?

With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

I looked up at the crucifix and told God I was sorry. I asked him to continue to purify my heart. I recognize that total surrender to the Lord of Lords will bring a Pentecost like we have never seen before.

Saint Philip the Apostle Historic 1871 Chapel

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

I realized that ever since I had shut down my social media accounts I have been happier. The anxiety I experience I am handing more quickly to God. It is almost as if our technological age has created a whirlwind of calumny, ridicule, gossip and hatred. A perfect storm to create a demonic frenzy. I have no doubt God will deal with this. I think many of us will be shocked when he shows us who we are.

I thought of the beautiful Beatitudes and how it is the pure of heart who see God. Like the Blessed Virgin who beheld the gaze of love staring at the Infant Jesus. The pure of heart see the good, want the good for others, and bring the good to the world. May Jesus and Mary teach us to have hearts like theirs so we can be light shining in the darkness.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. John 3:20

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Inside, Outside – A meditation

Thank you for all who prayed for me. I have completely recovered from COVID19. No one else in my home contracted it. Praise be to God. As I look back on all that has happened, I can only thank God for answering many of my prayers. I would never have picked for myself how He chose to answer them, but that is why He is God and I am not.

I want to wish all of you a Blessed Easter Season. I got to go to the chapel for a long time today, my first time in awhile. I meditated on the greatness of God and the following is what I wrote. I often completely understand why Saint Thomas Aquinas quit writing after His experience of God. Nothing could ever actually put to words the awesomeness of God. Still, I write meagerly, because I cannot contain what I want others to know. God is good all the time.

Inside, Outside

From all eternity love existed.

Love lives outside of himself and so begets creation.

Love provides for creation, and so the Father gives.

The Father wanting His creation to love as He loves gives the freedom to choose it.

Free from coersion and filled with life giving love, the creatures can choose to be like the Father.

But rebellion is chosen, closing in on themselves.

A veil surrounds the creatures the way a pregnant mother’s body surrounds a baby in the womb.

Waiting for love to be born again.

Time held within the Creator until the Son can rebirth true love into the world through the Immaculate vessel of uncreated and created Immaculate Conception.

The Son takes all corruption inside Himself to die, wanting that His creatures would give their corruption to Him to die.

Wanting that His creatures desire only what love desires so true love can be birthed outside again.

Changing the laws of nature and rising from the ashes. Physics beholden to love.

The purging of corruption from the inside, to the gift given freely on the outside.

The creator is the host of perfection wanting mini hosts of perfection in His creation.

All operating at a higher level, a new heaven and a new earth exploding with love and creativity.

An outward expression, for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

Death of inward corruption begets outward purification that the Spirit may dwell within.

Divinization.

The creatures give outside of themselves and hand our everything to the Creator.

The Divine Will dwells inside, perfection permeates everything.

The Resurrection of the Body and Life Everlasting.

Have a Blessed and Happy Easter season and do not despair the times we are in, we were made for them.

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Refining Fire

A rainbow appeared out my window this afternoon

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

This post is mostly an update on what has been happening in my life since I last wrote.

As you know my husband and I were preparing to move my parents in with us. It took weeks of exhausting work, rearranging my own home and moving my parents things. I had many moments of anxiety. I remember praying in Mass one morning feeling overwhelmed. The Lord told me, “I will raise your husband up.” I felt a peace come over me that I would not be alone in this endeavor.

So we moved them in last Monday. It was a very difficult first week. Though we have hired caregivers for the day, we don’t have any in the night and I was being awakened by one or both of them. They are very disabled and need a lot of assistance. I was in tears by the end of the week from sheer exhaustion. Then the one thing I feared happened. I was diagnosed with COVID.

All the “what if’s” spiraled in my head. As I write this I am locked away in my son’s room (he is at college) quarantined from everyone else, praying no one else in the household gets it.

The body aches I had were awful. I cried and cried out to God not understanding why this has happened. Did I do something wrong Lord?

But then I realized, I had prayed for this. Not COVID, I didn’t pray for that, but I prayed to be purified and refined. I had prayed to be stripped of comfort. And boy oh boy was I uncomfortable in every single way, physical, emotional and spiritual. There was nothing left to do except offer up my suffering and thank God for being good.

The readings this week included the story of the fiery furnace. I pulled out my bible. And it was there I found strength from 3 young men from thousands of years ago and I prayed their prayer from my heart.

Then the three, as with one mouth, praised and glorified and blessed God in the furnace, saying:

 “Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers,
    and to be praised and highly exalted for ever;
And blessed is thy glorious, holy name
    and to be highly praised and highly exalted for ever;
 Blessed art thou in the temple of thy holy glory
    and to be extolled and highly glorified for ever.
Blessed art thou, who sittest upon cherubim and lookest upon the deeps,
    and to be praised and highly exalted for ever.
Blessed art thou upon the throne of thy kingdom
    and to be extolled and highly exalted for ever.
Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven
    and to be sung and glorified for ever.

“Bless the Lord, all works of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you heavens,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all waters above the heaven,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all powers,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, sun and moon,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, stars of heaven,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all rain and dew,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all winds,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, fire and heat,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, dews and snows,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

 Bless the Lord, nights and days,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, light and darkness,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, ice and cold,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, frosts and snows,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Let the earth bless the Lord;
    let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, mountains and hills,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all things that grow on the earth,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you springs,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, seas and rivers,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you whales and all creatures that move in the waters,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all birds of the air,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, all beasts and cattle,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you sons of men,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, O Israel,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the righteous,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, Hanani′ah, Azari′ah, and Mish′ael,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever;
for he has rescued us from Hades and saved us from the hand of death,
    and delivered us from the midst of the burning fiery furnace;
    from the midst of the fire he has delivered us.

 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures for ever.
Bless him, all who worship the Lord, the God of gods,
    sing praise to him and give thanks to him,
    for his mercy endures for ever.” Book of Daniel

The Lord has raised my husband up. As we are all on lockdown he has done everything. Please pray that no one else in the household gets COVID, especially mom and dad. Please pray also that I recover quickly. I don’t know what the future holds, but I will offer the suffering to God and walk forward knowing He is in the middle of this with me.

Mom and Dad together on my back porch

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , | 48 Comments

Radical Trust and the Purification of Suffering

A rainbow halo appears around the sun, hope for a new day

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

I wanted to give an update today on what is happening with my mother. Over the past 18 months my mother has had two strokes and has fallen and broken her hip. She also has dementia. This once power house of a woman is now very frail. My mom has always loved the Lord with her whole heart, but she also has had a measure of self reliance that I believe God is stripping her of before she passes, whenever that may be. She must rely totally on her Savior and his Divine Providence to be cared for. As hard as it is to watch, I see it as purification, which highlights the beauty of God.

This purification is something the Lord is taking me through as well. My mom, in all her independence, basically had two wishes as she entered into this era of the Golden Years of life. The first was to “not be a burden to her children” and stay as independent as possible. The second was that her and my father stay together and not be separated. Dad wasn’t as worried about being a burden, but he definitely wants to stay with my mother until the good Lord takes them home. He referenced the movie, The Notebook, and said he would like to die together with mom holding her hand.

Obviously for mom, being independent has fallen by the wayside. One could view what has happened to her as her becoming a burden. The Lord tells me it is a gift.

Over the past few weeks it has become apparent that the way to honor that second request of my parents staying together is to have them move into my home. When my parents first moved here 4.5 years ago my husband and I offered for them to live with us by building onto the back of our house. Mom didn’t want to. Dad was fine either way. So over the past 4 years, as mom’s health and dad’s health has declined I actually ended up moving them 3 times, each move an effort to see they were cared for to the best of my ability. This will be the 4th move. And it will be into my home, we have come full circle.

I had a moment about a week ago where I didn’t know what to do. It was becoming obvious that mom’s care was so high level she needed more help. The financial situation was becoming strained. I was in tears. My husband just looked at me and said, “they need to come home here.” I was stunned. I didn’t expect that to come from him. I was so grateful. I don’t often talk about my husband here because he is such a private man, but he has grown into such a Godly man. I know this is because of the intercession of the Blessed Mother. When I stopped badgering him to be better and just prayed for him, the way Mary did for Joseph, the Lord and His Mother began a great work on both of us. If only I could always remember that and not badger him, even in the small things.

I paused to pray and the Lord told me that this time period would be short, like a pregnancy. I could treat it as unwanted and grow bitter and resentful which leads to the defilement of dignity, or I could treat it as a gift. If I chose to treat it as a gift I would live to see much joy and glory for my mom and dad. I told the Lord I wanted the gift.

We have had to find space in our home and we knew we had to keep them on the first floor. This meant clearing out our office and dining room to accommodate them. As I began the task old wounds came to the surface. In the middle of the mess of clearing everything out, God was showing me how messy my heart still is. How I have places he wants to heal deeply and purify from the lies of the enemy. And how moving forward I must live in the present moment with Him, allowing Him to clean out my heart.

The office was filled with things I had purchased to try to better educate my children, but failed to follow through with. The demons pummeled me with “you’re a bad mother.” I was faced with all the ways I wanted to raise intellectuals, religious intellectuals, but had let the culture infiltrate my home. My kids won’t go to Princeton, and they don’t have the catechism memorized. They’re not the geniuses I had envisioned back then, nor are they clamoring to join seminary or religious life. I had lacked discipline and follow through. The Lord had me look at it. Hand my shame to him, and told me he had great plans for my children and Princeton was never part of His plan. He told me to let go in a more deep way of the worldly intellectualism and reliance on self so that he could mold my whole family into true virtue, which can be done even without memorization of the catechism. He told me memorization doesn’t equal conversion of heart. He said what the world views as failure he turns to gift, if only I hand my shame to Him. He told me I have no idea the plans He has, and to just trust.

As I disassembled the dining room table, again, the surge of shame came over me. I have never been a good cook. The demons pummeled me, “you’re a failure as a wife, you didn’t teach your family healthy eating.” This has been a deep source of shame. To know what is good for you and feel so overwhelmed at the thought of completing the task of revamping a diet and learning to cook that you don’t even try. If our bodies are a temple, I have made the temple unclean. The Lord told me to hand him my shame. That my body is His temple and He can rebuild it on His timeline. He showed me the resurrection of the body in all it’s glory. His glory. He makes all things new.

As I continued through the house, to all of the places we had to rearrange, I was confronted with wound after wound, some sinful, some just places where judgment of myself was so harsh. And like staring at the serpent on the staff, the Lord brought healing to wound after wound. The Lord told me he was walking me through this because he cannot purify those things which we refuse to look at. He is pulling up the root of the weed that is trying to strangle the wheat. We must stare at the source of our shame, pride, despair, anxiety. If we do not He cannot heal because we have not invited Him in. The confidence in God grows deeper with each wound we hand to Him.

On Thursday morning, as I looked at the empty office and dining room turned sitting room, I had a giant surge of anxiety. I thought “I can’t do this.” I yelled at my husband to help me with my parents who aren’t even in my house yet. He put up his hand as if to say, “whatever is happening in your head, work that out with God and then come talk to me.”

I left and went to Mass. The Lord told me, you can’t do this by yourself, but you can do this because I have sent help. He told me I will be amazed at how he raises up my husband and family to help. He wants to restore the Blessings of the Father. He told me all those years I have prayed for unity in the church, both domestic and universal, that he will show me unity in my own domestic church. He asked me to step into radical trust and to stop my own self reliance.

I know there are many of you who undergoing hard personal storms, ones that are much harder than I am experiencing. The Lord is purifying and asking for trust.

While the world is set in turmoil, the Lord asks me to view it as a hard labor to birth true beauty. I believe he will illuminate our souls as part of our purification. The plan is to make us immaculate. A people with purity of heart. A people who stop judging each other and really love each other. A people who recognize sin and want no part of it. A people in whom the Immaculate Heart can triumph.

I realized as I am writing this piece that today is the day I was baptized, 49 years ago. It is my birthday into the church. This Lenten season, may God continue to purify me and you so that we become living sanctuaries of love. Pray for me as I venture out into the deep with my mom and dad, and I will pray for all of you. May the Lord Bless you and keep you.

Mom and Dad at Their Wedding, October 13, 1962

Mom and Dad just before her fall

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , | 34 Comments

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

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

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.

Posted in Catholic | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments