Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives; Those who handle the bow shall not stand, and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives;and those who are stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked on that day, says the Lord. Amos 2:14-16
Patience is a virtue and it seems the past several years patience has been harder and harder for most people. Frustration fills the air. There is something about this time period we’re living in – everything seems to have sped up, especially since the advent of smart phones. I have no doubt most of this velocity is brought about by Satan, so as to distract us from keeping our eyes on Jesus.
You can bet Peter sank because of the velocity of the wind which distracted him when he had been looking at Christ and walking on water.
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:28-30
Satan will do anything to keep us from looking at Christ. He especially will do this to those whom he knows actually pray. He will make us so busy, so frustrated, so distracted that we take our eyes off of Christ and sink into the details of our daily life. We can’t see past the minutiae in order to start walking again. Despair can take over. We can begin to believe that God doesn’t see us.
When we find this happening to ourselves, our thoughts get more frenzied, our language gets worse, and soon our actions become a pathway to hell. I have noticed the “F” word fly, even among Christians due to the frustrations of technology, or the frenzied schedule of life. This word, though people debate the etymology, has it’s roots in copulation. Demons love this word because it can keep the cycle of delving into impurity going, it feeds impure thoughts. Impure thoughts feed impure words which feeds impure actions.
The man of impure speech is a person whose lips are but an opening and supply pipe which hell uses to vomit its impurities upon the earth. – Saint John Vianney
We are at a precipice and must be working towards stopping this cycle that distracts us from true love. I believe COVID was a warning. We had an opportunity to slow down, but instead we buried ourselves in virtual reality and became worse towards one another. Real reality passed us by.
When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came toward them early in the morning, walking on the sea.He intended to pass them by.Mark 6:47-48
In the passage in Mark, the Apostles cry out to him in their fear when they see him, did we do the same? Did we refocus back on Christ?
This opportunity to slow down, it gives God the opportunity to go big, for his speed is swifter than any demon.
By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent Job 26:13
God will part a sea if we sit still.
But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” Exodus 14:13-14
It is imperative in this time of distraction, that we become a people of prayer who act only when the Lord says and who wait on the Lord.
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
This does not mean not to act, it means to wait for the Lord to tell you how to act.
The other day in my journal I wrote what I felt the Lord speak to me (for your discernment);
September 27, 2022
Beloved Lily of the Father,
Lead us not into temptation; what you are praying for is protection. You are praying for the “garden of your soul” be “kept” so the serpent doesn’t get in. You’re praying for the consequence of concupiscence to be blotted out; so you aren’t just forgiven, but delivered and restored.
Prayer is communion.
As velocity speeds up due to the evil one, you should slow down and wait for me. Prostrate yourself before me. I will fight for you.
Those who endure never stop praying. They are righteous in following the law but sanctified by love, that is, by their heart which is open to me.
Cease striving and know that I AM.
If you wait and listen I will command what needs to be done. When you wait for me your strength will be renewed.
You will behold the wonder of not just the law, but of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Return to worship and rest. Make your life an act of worship. You shall be restored. Trust.
So my friends, let us not get so frustrated and distracted that Christ passes us by. Let us pray more and wait on the Lord for right action. Don’t get impatient if he doesn’t answer right away. He is stronger and faster than anything we can imagine and His timing is perfect.
“I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me that I did not know.‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
I am sure many of you are in a period of intense suffering, as these times seem to be increasing with velocity. Yesterday in my prayer I was lamenting to the Lord at how many times I fall. God made me to know that though He doesn’t want me to sin, it is my lack of trust in His greatness He is most concerned with. When I suffer, he doesn’t want me focused on my falling, but instead on His greatness. This is where He elevates you. It is a deeper surrender when you are made to know your weakness, but your expectation is in His power. He has a better plan.
It was here that I started thinking about our individual salvation, but also the larger picture of humanity. How God does will that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4); but how many are not (Luke 13:23-24). I felt like He pointed out to me the term “People of God,” that though this is a correct Scriptural term, it doesn’t go far enough. It seems when we use that term, in the context we use it, the focus is on the People. Whenever we focus on people instead of God chaos ensues. When we focus on God, we truly love people. When we use the term Mystical Body of Christ, the focus is actually on Christ.
I think using the terminology of “People of God”, more frequently than we use Mystical Body of Christ, came about in an effort to be more ecumenical as it is a biblical phrase; to be more inclusive of Protestants, and perhaps other religions. But instead of it making the other religions come to know Christ, it seems to have made us move further away from Him. It isn’t wrong to use, it just doesn’t convey the pilgrim path we are on. The path as a people, all of us, is to be incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Mystical Body of Christ is what we are to call people towards. The Protestants are a part of this body (Mark 9:38-40), but in an imperfect way, in the way a body might have an auto-immune disease where it’s attacked from the inside. The people are inside the body by virtue of baptism, but the lack of belief in parts of the Creed – that lack of belief is an antibody attack on the people. The more we don’t proclaim that truth, the more the body gets distorted. We don’t seem to trust God enough. We want to elevate the People of God without telling them of the Mystical Body of Christ. We rely on our own human efforts. The pilgrimage ends up walking away from the Tree of Life (See Synod logo).
Jesus is a Divine person. In His Divinity He wants to divinize us. We must then look at what He did with His human nature and will. He nailed it to a cross. Focusing on the Passion is primary in our pilgrimage on earth (Matthew 16:24-26). If we skip the Passion to play nice, we miss the total incorporation into the Mystical Body, which is unitive perfection. Mary did not skip the Passion. Whoever has ears to hear this, should. While Christ did “meet people where they were”, He didn’t leave them there. He revealed the truth of who He is, and sent them on the Way. In everything, He loved them. We too must love, we must always be understanding in our walk, but we should not get sidetracked or compromise truth because we will end up in a dialogue with the devil. Just ask Eve how that worked out.
The other religions, like Islam and Judaism, can be considered – People of God – but they are not part of the Mystical Body, because they are not baptized (Acts 19:13-15). We should want that they be baptized. In all we do, we should be inviting people into the Mystical Body, because it is here we can become Sacrament; an outward sign of God’s grace. The Church herself is Sacrament. But until we go back to being unafraid to proclaim truth, we will go down the autoimmune attack path – which eventually kills the body. Though, even in this, God is bigger and can resurrect. Again, we must think bigger. We as individuals can take up our cross and follow him, but as a church we can also do this. One way or another we end up on a Passion walk (CCC 675).
Which brings me to Mary who walked the walk from the Incarnation to the Crucifixion. It seems we have been afraid in the past to declare doctrines of Mediatrix of All Graces, or Co-Redemptrix. God willed human cooperation in His plan of redemption, and Mary’s fiat brought the mediator here. He came to us through her and her yes. Therefore she is Our Mother and Mother of the Church, which has been proclaimed.
By not recognizing fully the role Mary had in our redemption, we are not recognizing the healing power of Christ, who was the “keeper” of the garden of Mary. It is as if the church authority is putting a limit on the healing power of God in regards to the church herself. Blessed Duns Scotus said that God’s healing power goes beyond forgiveness and preveniently saved Mary. We must ask what will God’s healing power do for the church? It is a restoration of the wholeness created in the garden, but for Mary, unlike Adam and Eve, her cooperation led to perfection. God’s perfection. She cooperated to the full. Where Adam didn’t “keep” the garden because he let the serpent in to tempt Eve in the first place, Christ did keep the garden and Mary didn’t have original sin or concupiscence. Mary didn’t have the inclination to give into temptation. She didn’t dialogue with the devil. Christ Himself protected Mary. She, in turn cooperated in God’s total love, a vessel to be perfected. For us, this means, the more we recognize what God did for Mary and her cooperation with God, the more we recognize, “the woman”, the more that we become protected and filled by the Christ who protected and filled her; the more we become whole and healed, the more God’s glory descends.
The authority of the church recognizing Mary for all of who she is, all of what God made her, will help usher in the will of God on earth as it is in heaven. She is a house of prayer, and she did not allow her gifts to be stolen like a den of thieves. We seem to have taken, in recent years, in order to not offend, the reverse path almost ignoring Mary, so as to be more ecumenical. But here again, we rely on ourselves and our own understanding to save. If we proclaim God’s truth, will God Himself not save? Will God Himself not bring people to understanding? Will not our seeing and proclaiming the total truth elevate us as a church body because God is revealing truth and He is the one who elevates? Cooperation receives the gift.
This recognition of Mary lends itself to the sacramental church being the mediator of grace through those very sacraments we seek to embody. Because the truth is love, these things should be proclaimed from the rooftop as it would make disciples of all nations because it reveals God who wants to divinize us. Our society has so degraded the woman that we can’t even define it anymore. The church, in her authority, can elevate the woman, by declaring who Mary is completely, thereby elevating the church herself. When we fail to fully proclaim the truth, the autoimmune disease takes over, and the organs begin to shut down one by one, until, she looks dead, the church looks dead, but it is only the disease that dies, for the body, because it is Christ’s, will rise again and the gates of hell shall not prevail.
It is said in apparitions, like Fatima, that it is Mary’s hand that holds back the flaming sword that would scorch the earth. It is she who intercedes wanting us to recognize the truth of all that God is; which we know through Christ and which can be seen in her, a human person perfected. The proclaiming of doctrines about her – says more about God, than her. And God wants his church, his bride, to be perfected. Why do we think he keeps sending Mary to proclaim this in apparitions?
We should not be afraid to proclaim these things to the world. We should take heed of the angel’s words to Mary and apply them to the church…
Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:26-28
Do not be afraid church – for you have found favor with God. Let all generations call you Blessed.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
I remember the first time I walked into the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, my breath was almost taken away. I had to pause to soak it all in. I thought I was in heaven, it was so beautiful. I have heard people criticize Mother Angelica for the money she spent on the place after she heard God call her to, “build a temple” for him. I don’t understand that criticism, in fact, their criticism reminded me of Judas;
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”John 12:3-8
Now sure, people can build and buy beautiful things for the wrong reasons, but that place, it was built for love of God, and you could tell. Just as the penitent Mary loved Jesus so much she anointed his feet with costly oil, her heart was pure, while Judas’ wasn’t. For me, in the place I was in spiritually, it was a soul healing encounter with God. The beauty lifted me up to Him at a time when I really needed Him.
We all know that beauty does come from within, but when our beauty comes from God it is outwardly expressed. The cathedrals of old were a breath taking example of this. They were a respite for both rich and poor alike, a place where anyone could go to worship, all are invited.
My cousin Kathleen, tells me she had the same experience when she walked into Saint John Cantius in Chicago, Il. But the thing about Kathleen is, she is an artist herself, so the fire that was lit inside of her compelled her to contribute to the beauty. Not only did she continue painting sacred Art, she started the Catholic Art Institute. It’s a place where artists can come together to work on what is good, true and beautiful. They are all about restoration of the sacred. They have a conference every year that is spectacular.
While we all know that we can worship anywhere that the Eucharist is, our eyes get lifted higher when the place is beautiful and the music transcends. When you see what beauty human hands can make for God, you know that what God can do inside of you pales in comparison to your own feeble efforts. When we act for God, God acts big.
We must always be careful not to make a god of beauty, for it is not the beauty itself that saves us. Scripture makes it clear that it is what is on the inside of our hearts that counts. But we must also never discount the impact beauty can have on the healing of a soul who needs it.
There is a renewal that can happen in a soul when the soul can worship in a beautiful place or listen to sacred music. We must not give up making beautiful things for God. While God actually needs nothing made for Him because He is perfect, when we make something for love of Him, His perfection is reflected in our work, for us, so that we may grow closer to Him.
I am telling you all this now and asking if you would consider making a donation to the Catholic Art Institute. My cousins work is valuable to all who are impacted by beauty that lifts them towards God. If you feel a call to give, please consider it. If you don’t feel that call, I do ask that you just pray for her and the flourishing of the Institute. I know people ask for money all the time. I actually have consciously tried to never ask. But I believe this is worth the ask, and after all, she is family.
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. Colossians 1:24
The recent news of the Vatican Dicastery suppressing Latin Mass is disheartening. As you all know I don’t like to get into Liturgy wars, but I do see the Latin Mass as a better Mass. There are just so many reasons why. I say this as a person who doesn’t attend regular Latin Mass. I had access to it for awhile, but no longer do without much travel.
I have stated in the past we can treat the Eucharist like Mary and Joseph treated the infant Jesus, or we can treat the Eucharist like Christ was treated on the Cross. The abuses I have seen take place in the Novus Ordo Mass in a lot of places seems to fall into the latter category. This is not to say that in the past, there was never abuse, but by in large the formula protected it from abuse.
I have stated before that the Mass is the Center of the World, and the way the Mass goes, so too the world will go. It is all connected. We as individual lay people can be reverent and our hearts can participate with love in any Mass. The attachment to God alone will ensure our perseverance in suffering, so we need not be afraid of the trajectory we are on. But the consequences we are seeing in the world around us, they are all connected to the Mass.
Why do I say this? Well because the Mass is where heaven and earth meet. It is where God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. When the Mass becomes less about God and more about us, we actually can reject heaven. God should come first, and with that comes peace and love of our fellow man. When we miss that point everything gets disordered. Latin was about universal unity, it put the Priest in a position of humility of the offering, a unity of sacrifice was made, not a forced manmade unity that is so active at times you can’t even really pray. That is not to put all new Mass down. I have also stated the Latin Mass won’t save us, God will. But I can observe, as many already have that fifty plus years of the new Mass and attendance at Mass is at an all time low and the belief in the Eucharist as the true presence is too.
As we went with the vernacular language in Mass, the language in the world got worse. When was the last time you went out and didn’t hear the “F” word a million times from the people around you? Or heard people using the Lord’s name to damn one another instead of bless one another? Now language is twisted so bad that we can’t even get pronouns straight. Pretty soon, if not already, we find ourselves speaking with people who speak our language but we can’t understand one another at all. And the “unity” we seem to promote is actually harsh judgment against those who have a different view, especially if that view loves Latin Mass. They are often accused of the very thing that is actually happening to them.
For those of you who feel disheartened, I have a story for you.
I have been caring for my mom with dementia now in my home for over 18 months. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and it is also beautiful.
Mom can’t walk because of two strokes and a previous broken hip. She partakes in what is called confabulation. Confabulation is a statement or action that is incongruent with the patients history. To most of us it feels like a lie, untruths that the dementia patient speaks. Mom has told me she is a baker, and has told others that I am a cruise director. She often tells people I am her sister. If you try to correct her you face the agitated wrath she flings at you, accusing you of being a liar. If you weren’t aware of the disease inside of her, you would think you were being gas lit. Mom often makes no sense. She went from being a power house of a woman who could conquer the world, and did so in her career and as a mom, to a weak, frail, disease ridden woman who is trying desperately to maintain her dignity. It is my job to help her maintain her dignity and love her despite all her weaknesses and despite the disease that has taken over. Mom’s dignity does not depend on her strength because it was given freely to her as a child of God. It can never be removed from her because it is God’s gift to her and God is holy. I must love her and stay true to her, even when it seems impossibly hard. I must know that suffering for love is God’s grace pouring out for redemption.
My mom reminds me of the church. As the church has had her legs, particularly tradition, taken out from under her, as the church has members who babel incoherent non-doctrinal statements, that constantly need clarification and correction, as the church confabulates and is incongruent with her history, and spits wrath at those who point it out; the church, she is still holy because she belongs to God and God is holy. Though the smoke of Satan may have entered and diseased the body, the body belongs to God, and we must trust completely that He has a better plan. He is allowing the purification, the crucifixion, of sin. This always brings Resurrection.
So my friends, now is not the time to despair. It is the time to love more and love harder. You be holy. We cannot control the trajectory of things, but we can allow God to work inside us for the sake of his body, the church. Everything could get taken away, including the Eucharist, which is why we need to be a Eucharistic people; a people of thanksgiving who trust God and his promises, even when we stand at a cross. He doesn’t just want to forgive us, he wants to glorify us, trust in that.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. Psalm 91:9-10
I had a dream in the early morning hours today, August 21, 2022. I am relaying the dream here for your discernment.
I had a dream that we were in a church/forest. It was the ruins of a newer church, the kind built in the 1980’s and 1990’s. You know the kind that looks like the Colosseum in Rome where people went to be “entertained”. I remember thinking it had been named Holy Family, but it was not a church I recognized in real life. The shape of it was circular with the altar in the center and seats graded at an angle. Half of it had been blown away. There were still seats, like stadium seating, but we were largely outdoors. There was no altar anymore because it had been destroyed. There was no roof. There was forest overgrowth inside the building, so you couldn’t distinguish much and it felt more outside, even while there were seats to sit in. It barely resembled anything Catholic for I didn’t see crucifix’s or statues, or destroyed art. Save for the presence of Priests, it was not recognizable as a former church. Nature had taken it over and the overgrowth of greenery had hidden if there were any vestiges of a sanctuary.
There were several Priests there. They were all of Indian descent, but I didn’t recognize or know them. Their demeanor was cheerful, or joyful, which I felt was strange given the situation we were in, but I felt so peaceful seeing them. I sensed that they were Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, because I know of that order from the Carmel Center. These Priests were very protective of the children. One of them was beginning to say Mass.
On the perimeter were men with hunting rifles, the kind that would fire one shot at a time. I felt uncomfortable at that sight. I knew we were in a perilous situation.
Suddenly I heard machine gun fire, but it was coming from the forest in at us. We couldn’t see who was firing.
The Priest continued with Mass.
I thought for sure people would be dead and I was looking in fear at small children, but everyone was okay. They men were firing back into the forest, but their firepower was so weak and small compared to the machine gun fire coming at us. I felt it was useless. I wanted to tell them to stop.
I remember looking at a baby sleeping, making sure he wasn’t dead. He was laying in the grass, away from the seats, snoozing soundly without a worry in the world. He looked totally peaceful. None of the people there were sitting in the seats. They were standing and praying, or guarding the perimeter. No one was running in fear from the machine gun fire. All had a posture of prayer or protection.
I was in awe that no one was hurt and knew it had to be supernatural help that protected us.
Then he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And there the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters, and the earth shone with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the vision that I had seen by the River Chebar, and I fell upon my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me out of the temple. He said to me: “Mortal, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet, where I will reside among the people of Israel forever. The house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their prostitution and by sacrificing to their kings at their death.Ezekiel 43:1-7
The name Israel has been translated with several meanings, the most agreed upon of which is, “wrestles with God,” but also, “he turns the head of God,” or “He retains God.”
The name Jerusalem means, “foundation of peace,” or, “in awe of peace.”
It is worth noting that a city built on a hill, like Jerusalem, (7 hills actually, which denotes the Foundation of God’s word) would have a wider more broad view of what is going on, and therefore would garner more protection because one could see what is coming.
Each one of us baptized has been, “chosen,” that is, called by God to His Kingdom. We are like Israel in this life. We wrestle with God and all we don’t understand. This wrestling, or staying in the relationship, if you will, means that God is with us, we retain God. We keep engaging in the relationship even in the midst of all we don’t understand and despite our limitations and sin. We choose to repent when we sin, we believe in the truth, that God is good, and He has a bigger plan. He sees more than we do. Israel does not walk away from God, it is a constant struggle to remain in relationship and to let go and trust in His promises.
Eventually, as Ezekiel says (43:1-7) the Glory of the Lord comes upon the temple. The spirit lifts up.
Keeping in mind the name Jerusalem, where the temple mount is, means, “foundation of peace,” and is set on a hill, a prophetic view, so to speak, we can know that Israel and Jerusalem are not just places, not just land. (Matthew 5:14). This is a place for the feet of God (Ezekiel 43:7) who walks with and dwells in the person.
The city on a hill, the “foundation of peace”, is then, therefore, a person built on the indwelling of God. One who is lifted by the Spirit in the Glory of God. The one who received this gift to the full is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Perhaps it is why she often appears on mountaintops. And it is why too, she crushes the head of the serpent under her feet, because she is a dwelling place of God.
She is the new Jerusalem. She is the foundation where the Word became Flesh, built solely on God’s word. She is a temple where the Glory of the Lord came upon her. God’s word spoke her. A gift, for her, that was outside of time. A gift, for her, that extended beyond reconciliation to restoration. And so, for her, the Glory of the Lord, Immaculately conceived her. She is the Glory of Eden restored.
Her love for God, so great, that the grace flows through her to God’s creation.
As Mother of the Church, and through her intercession, which is a cooperation in redemption, the Church herself, becomes the New Jerusalem, with each baptized member having the capability of meriting the Glory of the Lord through participation in the church and her sacraments and tradition. The Church as the New Jerusalem is a place that must honor Mary as the crowning gift of God for us. She is Co-Redemptrix because she freely chose God and never fell, thereby securing her place of honor, through her humility, in the City of God and as a City of God.
Each one of us must wrestle with God to be elevated to a higher view. That is to say, we must, through prayer, be striving to see what we don’t see, and be docile enough to receive what the Lord wants to show us. It is why, we must, in humility, sit at the feet of Jesus, like Mary of Bethany, who chose the better part (Luke 10:39).
Did you ever think the washing of Jesus’s feet by the Apostles is symbolic that our service of the Kingdom enables stomping on the head of the serpent. Like by serving we wash ours and others sins away through Christs power? It’s significant that it’s his feet, more than just the physical dirt. It’s a reparation. If Peter doesn’t wash his feet he can’t participate in the Kingdom (John 13:8). Our participation is needed for the works of the devil to be destroyed. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles is thought to be the one who washed his feet with her tears, but went even further, anointing them with perfume (Luke 7:38). She is the first to witness the Resurrection. Her humility in service makes her one of the highest of the Saints. No doubt her time with Jesus and His Mother shaped her docility to God and His plan.
We must be humble enough to be elevated higher to a view that is without perversion. It is a view that can see perversion coming to attack, but is fortified with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). A people who call upon the heavenly Father with full faith and trust, and who ask for the Queen to intercede, so the Glory of the Lord can come upon each soul who does so. Then the God of peace can crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20).
That soul, now with the Spirit fully dwelling within is lifted higher to a peace that surpasses understanding. They persevere no matter what comes upon the hill. They seek no places of honor at banquets or churches, they seek no greeting in marketplaces, or titles of importance. Instead the dwell in the Glory of the Lord, that is to say, the seat of humility, which begets true charity. They know the Father because they are in union with the will of the Father. They are a City on a Hill, shining the Glory of the Lord, in the darkness of society.
People may call you a devil or call you crazy for seeing what they don’t see. They will exclude and calumniate you. This is where you rest at the feet of Jesus and let His grace and the Holy Spirit, lift you. There is no room for rage and resentment in this city. Be at peace, pray for fortitude, and you will persevere, not because of your will power, but because of God, and His Mother who constantly prays for you.
Thank you for inviting me back to the Padre Pio Nashville to speak to you again this year. I am honored to be here.
The topic that was given to me to speak on is “Mary, Mother of the Church.” An important, if not overwhelming topic given all that is going on in our world.
It may seem strange, but I would like to begin with the definition of what a Sacrament is. For the sake of clarity and brevity I will use the definition of a Sacrament from the Baltimore catechism.
“A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by God to give grace.”
And so in pondering that meaning, I now want to take you all the way back to the beginning of time, to creation. I promise, I will bring it back around to the message for today.
Prior to the fall of man, all of creation was in union with God. Adam and Eve were in union, with God, and the created things were in union with them and God as they held dominion over creation. We know, because scripture tells us, that they were naked and unashamed. They were full of grace. In essence, all that they were, could be described as sacrament because all that they were, held the grace of God from within. As the keeper of the garden all that Adam and also his wife Eve consumed was the food of God. They could tell a fig tree to produce fruit and it would, as all things in the garden were ordered to their purpose. It is why we see later in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus curse a fig tree, because it was not doing what it was made for. That unproductive tree is a product of the fall of man. In the garden, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed in need of no garment other than the sun that lit their way because there was no perversion. It was peace and harmony. They were in essence, clothed in the sun. Eden was a temple and they were tabernacles that housed the Lord inside of them. All of creation was an outward sign of God’s grace.
It is worth pondering what this would look like, being clothed in the sun. We can actually see things in the darkness that we cannot see in the brightest of light. If the sun shines brightly upon something at first you may see the flaws more clearly, but the brighter the sun gets, the more the flaws fade away in the brightness of the light until all you can see is the brightness and it can seem that you do not know where the thing begins and the sun ends, even as you know that the two are distinct. So it was for Adam and Eve that their purity and hearts shone so brightly that they were clothed in the sun and held dominion over creation. There were no flaws for the sun to blot out back then, it was just purity.
But then they fell. It occurs to me from reading scripture that the first capital sin that entered in their hearts was sloth or what is known as acedia. Why do I say this? Well, there are two reasons. First, the command of God to Adam was to “keep” the garden. So if his job is to keep it, it begs the question of how the serpent got in in the first place. It makes me wonder if Adam was resting in contemplation with God on the 7th day, thus was he, “keeping the Sabbath”, a foretelling of the third commandment? If he wasn’t, it is no wonder the serpent was in the garden in the first place. And Eve, well we know from her conversation with the serpent that she wasn’t listening to God, for when the serpent asks her about the trees in the garden, she answers with something God didn’t say.
God said, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Genesis 2:16-17
But when the serpent questioned Eve about what she was not allowed to eat, she answered;
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” Genesis 3:2-3
Eve adds in something that God did not say. It is here one can glean that the devil himself had flung the idea at her “not to touch it” and when she answered with what he had suggested, he knew Eve believed his lies. He could show God how lowly these human beings really are.
Perhaps Adam and Eve did not feel the need to pray because everything in the garden was good. What need does one have to pray when everything is going well and is good? Comfort can be a plague that keeps us from thanksgiving and gratitude.
And so we know the rest of the story of how Eve grasped at the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and Adam caved too. We know that this was a mortal sin because the council of Trent defined it as such. It was a grave matter, they knew it was grave, and they did it anyway. The enemy, who invaded the walls of the temple of Eden through their sloth and acedia, had trained them how to think, planting a seed of envy to be godlike in their unguarded minds.
And in a flash, they were naked and ashamed. The light that had once lit their hearts so brightly became dim and the darkened knowledge came upon them. They could see evil, which is to say their view became perverted. No longer was goodness all that they knew. I would venture to say that envy to be godlike as the serpent promised, breaking their trust in God, entered in through sins of the flesh, like gluttony and lust. For Satan cannot possess our soul, but our bodies he can wreak havoc with. While we may never know exactly what the sin was we do know that this was not the end of their wrongdoing.
God came looking for them. The God of the Universe who is love came looking for them. Are we to believe that he didn’t know where they were? And instead of seeking Him out and trusting His love, they hid. Then God questions them and they begin to blame one another. It is here that we see something unforgivable, they did not ask for the mercy of God. They chose pride, judgment and justification, over admitting their wrongdoing and asking for the mercy of God. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if they just asked for mercy? This rejection of the mercy of God when you commit a mortal sin is known as the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I used to not know exactly what Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit meant and I hoped I had never done it, but then I realized how many times I had in my past. How many times I didn’t go to confession in my past for mortal sin committed. God cannot give us His mercy if we don’t ask for it. This is something we choose to reject and it keeps grace from living within us. And if we die that way, it gains us hell. Thankfully, as long as there is breath in our bodies, we have a chance to turn back and repent and ask for mercy. God forgives when mercy is asked for.
It is in this moment for Adam and Eve, in the rejection of His mercy, that their offense against the infinitely good God, who is love, echoed through the generations, a sin of infinity because it is against infinite goodness and so it marks generation upon generation with original sin and concupiscence, which is our tendency towards sin.
Eden, their bodies, creation, had been stolen. His house had been a house of prayer but they had turned it into a den of thieves. They had let Satan steal the gift that had been given to them. They were no longer an outward sign of God’s grace. The Spirit no longer dwelt within, instead it in scripture we hear of the Spirit – “falling upon” people – as if clothed from the outside, like a garment of skin, which is what Adam and Eve were clothed in after the fall – waiting for the Son of Man to restore what they had torn in two. Waiting for Jesus so the Holy Spirit could once again dwell within instead of God holding everything together from the outside. How do we get back to being clothed in the sun? How could man possibly undo this offense of infinity? How do we get back to Sacrament? It is in pondering all of this that we can come to understand the importance of Sacrament, for it is not enough to simply say, “God is everywhere” and believe we don’t need the church. For though God holds everything together in His love, we have to choose Sacrament, to choose to consume holiness, for grace to dwell within us.
We can see the effects of the fall in the infinite marks we have for offending the goodness and mercy of God. It marks us in our minds, where Satan trains us to think, and in our hearts, where sin takes over, and in our hands and feet, when we act on disordered desire and sin. These are the wounds of Christ, and try as we may, before he came all of our meager attempts atonement fell short and covenant after covenant was broken.
But God in His infinite goodness and mercy, has a plan, one that is still in motion today. This plan was to include a “woman clothed in the sun,” as the Book of Revelation calls her, in order that we may be redeemed. He wanted for the participation of this humble human person in cooperation with His Divine person for our salvation.
God in His Divine providence, knew that only God Himself could atone for the infinite offense. Atonement is the reconstruction of the damaged relationship, a way if you will, for the Spirit to dwell within once again. So the second person of the Blessed Trinity came in the form of the Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sin. That is, He came to reconcile us to Himself. He did this through His death on the cross and His resurrection. But he entered into this world through the waters of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary being birthed and taking on our limited human nature.
He didn’t do this without her. Though God could have just restored us to the state of original justice, He did not. In His Divine Providence, through the prevenient grace of the Cross and Resurrection, God created the Immaculate Conception. A woman, who like Adam and Eve in the beginning, is full of grace. Clothed in the sun, the Holy Spirit dwelling within her. The remarkable thing about Mary, the singular thing, is that though she is conceived as they were, she actually does know of evil in the sense that she can see it around her, she can touch it, if you will, but she never consumes it. She touches it with the sorrow of suffering for us. She can see it in other people. She knows she can be killed for saying yes to this pregnancy, which would be an evil. But because of her posture of constant prayer, she knows no evil in her heart or mind. She thinks no evil, speaks no evil, and acts no evil. Her body and soul are a house of prayer, one that the Lord Himself has “kept” in order that we may be saved. Still, she has free will to choose, and she gives her FIAT, her yes and her soul Magnifies the Lord.
This woman clothed in the sun, has full dominion. And it is truly remarkable to think about what she did. Because no evil is housed in her, all of these gifts she chose to use for love of us. She chose to repair the damage we had done with her Son. Her yes to God, agreeing to bring God into the world, caused her much suffering, suffering that would make most of us flee. But for Mary, it is the remarkable trust in God that she demonstrates. Adam and Eve didn’t trust the goodness of God because they didn’t ask for mercy, but Mary, she trusts completely and she becomes the Mother of Mercy. The Divine dwells within her, not only in her soul, but physically makes His home in her womb and in her Immaculate Heart. She will be fruitful and multiply so all generations call her Blessed. She is our Mother.
One of her titles is Our Lady of Ransom. In Jesus’ time when someone could not pay a debt they were often thrown in prison until the debt was paid. You may ask, how could a person in prison pay a debt? The answer is that their family repaid the debt. Jesus was born to pay this debt for us, and Mary helped with our ransom. The walk of Mary with Jesus to the crucifixion was her cooperation to pay the debt for us. And we can partake in this too, this is what her message today is. We can partake in her Son’s repairing.
Jesus came through Mary to sanctify all that we had given away to the enemy. He came to destroy the works of the devil. And He did this by sanctifying the things that had been stolen from us. He gave us a place, and outward signs, instituted by Him to give us grace, so that ultimately in the end, the end of our lives and the end of time, we would be sanctified, we would be clothed in the Sun at the resurrection of the body once again, creation itself would be healed. While we still see the devil at work today there truly is a message to pay attention to in the life of Mary and her relationship with Jesus.
The Divine person of Jesus, came through this grace filled human person to atone for our infinite offense in the garden that marked generations. Her womb, the space where the Divine Person and Human Person meet. Her Immaculate Heart, the consolation for His Sacred Heart. In Jesus and Mary we see the unity that we had lost in their gaze of love for one another. And all things they went through point to the church. Jesus is the Way and Mary is His Mother and Mother of the Church. The path of the Way set clearly before us.
Together, Jesus and Mary bring us back to Sacrament which purifies us to redeem us. We can see the path they laid out – and the reason it is a path instead of something instantaneous is because God wants our free will to participate freely. He wants us to choose. This is because you can’t really love unless you choose to. While the path is narrow, and the road is hard, when we hand ourselves to Jesus the yoke becomes easier and the burden lighter.
It starts with making your soul a house of prayer. It took me most of my life to figure this out. Though I had been raised Catholic, taught the truths of the faith, taught the prayers of the faith, I don’t know if I ever really knew how to pray in a way that converted me. I often said the prayers but without meaning, and if I ever really did try to converse with God, it was usually to beg him for something I wanted. It was actually through suffering that I got real with God and began to have a conversation. I began to no longer hide all my flaws and wounds. I became transparent with God. And His mother showed me how to pray.
One only need to look at Scripture and the few words that Mary spoke to understand that she is the pinnacle of Mount Carmel, like an unblemished cloud of needed rain, steadfast in prayer and belief. There are only 4 instances where Mary speaks in the Gospels. They are found in the Gospel of Luke and John.
The first instance is when the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her of the Divine Plan. In her innocence she asks one question to help her understand and once she does, her words of consent to the will of God are seared throughout the generations, “let it be done, according to thy word.” God speaks, and Mary receives. Can we say this of ourselves? I can’t tell you how many times God asked me to do something, from wearing a veil, to kneeling for communion, that I argued and fought with Him before I acquiesced. I used to only approach God in my own suffering and tell Him what I wanted. Now I know to ask Him what He wants. If only we all would try to understand what the church teaches and receive what God wants, the world would be transformed. We see in Mary, she only asks in innocence and in awe, not in unbelief, and immediately does what God asks. After the angel visits her, we see her leave from here to go to the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Even in a situation where Mary could have remained troubled, she didn’t, the angel satisfied her question, and she turns to thinking of another when she learns of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Mary is not focused on herself.
The second instance of Mary speaking is her words to Elizabeth when she goes to visit her. And here she speaks the Magnificat. The beautiful prayer we all know and love. Her soul magnifies the Lord. Her spirit rejoices in God the Savior. This is a woman who trusts God completely. She even speaks of the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. Think about that for a moment. Abraham came 18 centuries before Jesus and yet Mary can proclaim confidently that the promises made to him will happen and are happening. She is not short-sighted as we often get. We often get stuck in our own little circumstances and world that we fail to miss the larger plan God is working. I don’t know how many times a situation with my kids or my husband has sent me into anxiety and worry. The devil keeps us busy looking down in distress, but Mary’s eyes are lifted toward heaven, never doubting in God’s promises. Can we say that of ourselves? I know I can think of many times when it’s only in hindsight I see His promises come true, but all along the way I doubted. I think this is why it is so important to take to heart the Words of Divine Mercy, Jesus I trust in you! Do we believe when we look at the state of the church right now that the gates of hell will not prevail? Or are we constantly scanning headlines to see which pit of despair we can fall into next. Are we so wrapped up in the day to day sufferings in our relationships that we forget to turn to the Divine Healer and let Him act? This trust Mary has extends even when she is distressed.
Which brings me to the next instance she speaks in Scripture where she expresses distress. This may seem baffling at first, but upon further examination we can see a reversal of what happened in Eden is already taking place before Resurrection. In Genesis, Adam and Eve hide because of their shame and God goes looking for them. In this instance, Mary who stands unashamed before God is with Joseph and they are looking for Jesus. They are looking for God. She stands in an understanding of what we go through in our hearts in suffering the feeling of absence, yet without sin. She expresses her distress straight to Jesus and Jesus points her back to the house of prayer, His father’s house, telling her, did you not know I would be in my Father’s house? In this exchange, again Mary is troubled. She doesn’t understand yet what is happening. Mary questions God, but always in a purity and innocence, not as if she doesn’t trust, never as if she doesn’t believe in His goodness. We learn from her how to converse with the Lord when we are distressed. Our questioning from lack of understanding is something the Lord understands. It doesn’t come from a place of pride where we think we know better, for that is when we get ourselves into trouble. I have had many conversations with the Lord in pride, and He always shows me just how wrong I am and it is always humiliating, but I know this humility is good for me. Our openness to correction is important, if we can’t hear correction, we are in trouble. In the situation with Jesus and Mary Jesus points Mary back to the Father and the house of prayer. His question of her is actually an assurance, “did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?”, is a way of letting her know that though she felt He was gone, He was never gone, He was exactly where He was supposed to be and she as His Mother is always in His Heart. For God does not abandon us, even when it feels as if He does. This is a message for us. When we look for God, we find Him in prayer. Even if our prayer receives no immediate response and we have to wait, we can be assured that God is handling the situation. Mary entered this situation in distress and left pondering these things in her own heart. How many times do we think God is missing in our lives, how many times are we in distress? Do we go to the Father’s house in search of him? Are we willing to wait for His answer? Do we ponder what he tells us in our hearts? Or do we distract ourselves with worldly pleasures never searching for God in our lives at all? Do we fill our distress with worldly pleasures? Do we even read scripture to know what He tells us, or do we just look at that as some ancient book? Mary didn’t do that. We have so many distractions. We can even distract ourselves with devotions (which are good, by all means), never really having a true conversation with God, never bringing our fears or our wounds straight to Him so he can help us better understand.
The final time we hear Mary speak is at the wedding at Cana. She recognizes that there is an issue, “they have no wine”, and wanting to intercede for the wedding couple she advises the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Knowing that whatever He tells them will be the right thing to do. She doesn’t know for sure that this would be His first public miracle. She doesn’t try to tell Him what to do, she asks Him, and then she lets God be God and advises others to listen to Him. And Jesus responds to the heart of a Mother’s concern for others, even though “his hour has not yet come.” Her intercession hastens God’s plan. Their love for one another is on display. He sees the purity of intention in her heart and the love with which she asks. She lets Him be the Savior and do what God does. How many times in our own lives are we trying to twist God’s arm wanting Him to do what we want rather than letting God act? I could totally see myself in this situation trying to run to the nearest vineyard to “fix” the issue. Mary knows that Jesus’ action is far greater than anything she could accomplish with mere human means. We need to ask ourselves daily, are we trying to control that which isn’t ours to control, or are seeking God, asking God, and making room for Him to act? To be clothed as Mary is, we must be willing to step back from a situation and not try to control everything. Let Jesus perform the miracle in your life. In today’s day and age, one glance at the headlines, or at social media can send you into a tailspin. But we need not despair, instead we need to go to God and “Do whatever He tells you.”
In these 4 instances of Mary speaking we can also see a prefigurement of the Sacraments of Initiation and confession. This is because the message of the Woman Clothed in the Sun, is the message of the Mother of the Church. The Sacraments are the way back to transforming union.
When Mary says yes to the angel Gabriel, “let it be done,” the second person of the Blessed Trinity enters the waters of her womb. For us, our yes to our baptism, and our yes for our children, opens the doors for us to become the children of God once again, to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we too, like Mary, are saying, Let it be done!
Our willingness then to be Confirmed in the Spirit enables us to go out to others the way that Mary went to Elizabeth and proclaimed that her soul magnifies the Lord. It is a Christian witness of the Good News that God has brought to us. Our souls can magnify the Lord!
Like Mary in her distress we can go in search of Jesus. But for us, it is His mercy we need because of our sins. Jesus calls us to the Father’s house to reconcile. While Mary needed no reconciling, we can be assured that, she held close to her heart and pondered in prayer, all of us, who need the mercy of the Son more than we can imagine. The Finding of the Child Jesus is a sorrow and a joy for Mary. Her sorrow is a sorrow for us when we are lost. Her joy is a joy for us when we find Him and reconcile with Him.
And finally, the wedding at Cana, Mary’s complete trust in “doing whatever He tells you,” brings the best wine. We need only look at the chalice on the altar after the words of consecration to understand this Eucharistic communion that is the marriage feast of the Lamb. When we receive this Sacrament in a state of grace, we truly allow God to act, to purify our hearts, minds, and souls. Overtime we make our way back to being clothed in the sun, that is to say, totally transparent and unashamed before God so He can work Divine Life in us. You can all see this sunshine when you come across a Saint or when you know someone holy. It is the real sacramental grace at work.
The words of Mary in Scripture are not to be outdone by her actions. In all that she did, in everyday life, she walked in the will of God, all the way to the Cross. In her purity, not having any sin on the cross of her own, she knew that the cross was needed for our sin. She knew that it was God’s will. She knew the human will needed to be nailed to a cross in order that we can be filled with the Divine Will. And she was given at the Cross to John, a Priest of Jesus Christ, through whom the Sacraments are brought to us. Every Priest has Mary as his mother, and all of us do too. The Priests through the power of Jesus Christ makes our food sacred again, so that we can once again consume God. And consuming God sanctifies us on our path back to union.
Mary’s message and the message of her Son is the Sacramental life and the life of prayer. She lets us know the Church herself is Our Mother. Following the teachings of the church, is to follow Mary our Mother. These are the things that transform you into the likeness of Christ. These are the things that ultimately help you nail your own human will to the Cross so that you can be filled with the Divine Will.
In today’s society there are so many evils surrounding us. We can all see them. The evil of abortion. The evil of confusing male and female. The evil of disordered so called “marriage.” This is the fruit of what Adam and Eve consumed. Eve consumed herself, Adam consumed Eve, what is wrought when we keep on this path is destruction. It is a devouring of ourselves. When we eat the Eucharistic communion without taking our sin to the cross but only show up in our own pride, we end up where we can’t even define what a male or a female is, where a woman has a right to kill a child, where confusion is a plague we feed our children. And the devil has stolen our identity, killed our life giving fertility, and destroyed the vestiges of truth. We are being devoured.
For those of us who do see, it is easy to find ourselves outraged on a daily basis. We wonder how we can fend off the attacks that seem to come from every angle. We watch as our children or relatives get sucked into the abyss of sin. We are standing at our own cross, not knowing what will happen. We have to be careful to oppose all this evil without wishing ill upon others, without judgment and condemnation of souls that isn’t ours to convey, but God’s alone. We, like Jesus on the cross, have to be willing to forgive, and here me now when I say this, we must forgive, even if someone isn’t sorry. This kind of forgiveness isn’t done by focusing on the works of the devil, but by looking up at the one who can heal us and believing that His power is stronger than the devils, because it is. Make no mistake. There is nothing happening today that God cannot handle and handle in a way that the most souls are saved; including our loved ones.
Our souls must become houses of prayer in relationship with the living God and purified by His Sacraments. In Acts of the Apostles chapter 7, just before Stephen is killed for proclaiming Christ, Stephen says, “the Most high does not dwell in houses made with hands.” He goes on to say, “what house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is my place of rest?” It is a question for all of us. Is your soul a house for the Lord?
Mary, in all of her apparitions, in all of her words and actions, she lights the way, full of grace and clothed in the sun. She beckons us to look up to the Father of Mercy and to purify our own hearts. While she has shown hell to the children in Fatima and given warning of war and evil in so many places if we don’t repent, it isn’t because she wants us to focus on fear, but because souls are lost in real time, and she wants us to embrace love. She is asking of us prayer and sacrifice for poor sinners, but in order to be able to do this, we have to be living a prayerful Sacramental life ourselves. We have to pull the planks out of our own eyes and heaven will give us the grace to be able to do this. She is asking for us to repair for what is being done because heaven wants sinners to be saved. She wants us to be transformed into love because love changes everything.
While we try every human possible way to get people to do what is right and just we often don’t look up and don’t think big enough. God is way more powerful than Satan, and our worldly “prepping” is nothing compared to the plans of God. Mary says, look at my Son, imitate Him, and trust Him. It is something that happens inside a soul’s interior and each time a soul turns towards Jesus in prayer and takes Mary as his or her Mother and is obedient to the church, this is the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. We don’t have to wait for some future time to have her triumph in our own hearts right now. Why? Because when we embrace the church and all that she teaches and all of the sacramental grace, God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven, now, through us. This is the Triumph, this is the continual message. Mary, the woman clothed in the Sun, out Mother and the Mother of the Church, cooperated with God to bring His Kingdom back to harmony to the peace that was in the beginning. It is why she is Queen of the Universe.
Let me expound on that further. Sin darkens everything. Our sin darkens not just our hearts, it tore everything in two. Our bodies and our souls, our relationship with God, our relationships with each other, and our relationship with creation. The only way to have true peace in the world is to follow the Way. It is the way Jesus made for us and it came through Mary to all of creation.
We see at Pentecost, Mary is in the upper room, praying with the Apostles when the Holy Spirit reigns down. After this the Apostles are performing signs and wonders like we have never seen before. They raise people from the dead. Creation responds because they are purified and they are walking in the domain that was given to them. The problems with our environment would go away if each and every soul sought to purify their heart of sin and walked the Way that Jesus left us in the church with Mary as our Mother.
We see Saints who are able to do amazing and miraculous things. This is how Mary wants us to live. She is so pure and so in union with God, she is the Queen of the Universe, but she doesn’t want to keep it for herself. It is always about giving. God wants all of us to share in it.
This requires though, this life I am speaking of, this Sacramental life, nailing our human will to the cross to be filled with the Divine Will. This hurts. Letting go of our selfish desires feels like great suffering. And often times suffering comes upon us in unexpected ways. Each time we can respond in love when suffering comes our way, we conquer evil. Instead of fighting suffering, fight sin, fight the devil.
And while it is good to read prophecy, as Scripture tells us not to despise it, if it turns us inward on ourselves where we want to save only ourselves (and our physical being) at all costs, if we fill up our own barn when we see the storm coming with no thought of others, if we judge and condemn other souls and wish harm on them, then the point has been entirely lost. Rage and condemnation have no place in the Christian heart. It is not what we see Jesus doing on the cross. He forgave everything. Mary’s response to souls that are lost and opposed to her Son is sorrow and reparation, not resentment and rage.
What does this path look like in your life? Well I can tell you what it looks like in mine. I can tell you that 10 years ago if I had been asked to take my parents in to care for them in their old age while raising teenagers, I probably would have ended up in a mental institution or just flat out said no I won’t do it. Though I am still on the path and have such a long way to go in my journey with the Lord, I can say that because of prayer and the Sacraments and seeking the Lord with all my heart, that the difficulty of this situation has been lightened by God. The grace is there. Suffering is not something I am choosing to accept and to try to not fight against, instead my focus is fighting against sin. When suffering comes, because it always comes, I try to look up and Praise God in the middle of it. I would be lying if I said I don’t complain, but I do have a realization that complaint doesn’t make suffering stop, but praise, well it transforms the suffering into something beautiful. I have let go of trying to control the outcome of everything and started praying that God works through me and in the situations.
The message of the Mother of the Church is to desire Sainthood. As humans this can seem impossible. And on the human level it is impossible. But with God all things are possible.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
I write in my journal as if God is speaking to me. If the church says what I have written in wrong, the church is correct and I am wrong.
This journal entry came while praying about the many sorrows in my own heart.
July 7, 2022
Beloved Lily of the Father,
Radical Forgiveness is the path ahead forged in the wounds of the Cross. This is the kind of forgiveness Stephen gave to Saul and Maria Goretti gave to Alessandro Serenelli. Do not be afraid if your children or friends seem like Saul or Alessandro, for my power can change the most hardened of hearts if you cooperate with me. Neither Saul, nor Alessandro were repentant at the time, nor were they deserving of mercy. But I AM WHO AM and in the whirlwind Radical Forgiveness pours grace over mankind and illuminates souls the way Saul was illuminated to become Paul and Alessandro was illuminated in prison. To stand at the cross, to be crucified, forgive until it’s complete. Radical forgiveness, undeserved, love without boundaries – illuminates consciences and lights the way for mankind. Soul to soul the fire ignited.
Through my Mother grace flows. My mercy and death on the Cross flow through the Immaculate Conception who forgave as I did. In her sorrow with her pierced heart she forgave and trusted. Her love united to mine is fruitful and multiplies – a church built to crush the head of Satan. The Beloved Apostle grafted into the Holy Family, into communion, into mercy, given authority.
Let the bitterness give way to the light of the Star of the Sea and oceans of mercy will pour out of my wounds from the sky. Illumination will be the result. Find your way – act of your will and radically forgive those who don’t deserve it and usher in the Illumination of the Divine Will. Rebuild my church. True Love Illuminates. Be a Golden Soul. Live Radical Forgiveness.
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” John 3:19-21
First, I would be remiss if I didn’t praise God for the overturning of Roe v Wade and for the success of the Kennedy ruling on prayer. When Roe v. Wade was overturned a curse was lifted from our land – so of course the demonic are in a frenzy using everyone who will listen to cause havoc and destruction. We must keep praying as we battle this Hydra. One head at a time, working together, to defeat this beast. We must not close off from one another. In isolation we become targets, but together, we become an army of love.
It’s been a while since I have written anything, as you know from my last post, I have had many trials. The trials have extended beyond caring for my mom and my back injury. I do not want to go into what they are now, but one day I may share it. I have been feeling of late like I was suffocating and drowning. Many of you out there may feel this way too. Then I listened to a podcast by Sister Jane Dominic, OP.
Sister described the journey to transforming union as one of descent, not ascent. She said, while she had thought one ascends to God, she realizes God actually digs a hole, puts you in it, covers you with dirt, and waters you until you sprout and bear fruit. I loved this analogy as it explained exactly how I felt, and set my resolve to keep my eyes on Jesus, to keep loving in the darkness. It also made me to realize that the ascent – it’s HIS. I am weak, on the human level I have nothing left to give. But God has a lot to give. His giving is supernatural. When we have nothing left to give, we only need to turn to the Lord and ask for help because His power really is made perfect in our weakness. Our ability to love, despite what has come at us is key to God being able to lift us into His grace. It is a total trust, that no matter what, He can do whatever it is you feel you can’t.
We are entering into more and more difficulty as the demonic becomes more and more frantic. It is here we must be docile to the Lord, despite whatever fears we may have. The signs are marked in the sky. The victory is God’s already.
“How can I know?” is trying to fill a hole that cannot be filled. God’s ways are not for us to know in and of themselves because that removes our faith if we “know”. If we know, we don’t need faith. So we shouldn’t be asking to know. Asking to know is trying to control and grasping at that which doesn’t belong to us. We can make plans, but we shouldn’t despair if they’re thwarted or changed.
“How can this be?” is a response of wonder and awe. It recognizes that God is leading us and places complete trust in His providence. This response says, “God, how will you be working miracles in this situation?” It is completely open to God’s work and not about anything we will gain, but about seeing God’s action and witnessing what He will do in and through our lives.
In my situation, in all the hardships, I was wanting to know God’s plan, and I found myself anxious, because trying to know puts you in a place where the devil can openly fling the “what if’s” at you. It’s an open doorway to the demonic to take your thoughts to the darkest places. It was draining me especially if I looked at the news in addition to my personal mountains.
But in realizing I was grasping at the wrong thing, I can be redirected. Instead, knowing all my prayer is efficacious and knowing that God loves me and my family more than I do, I can look at the mountain in front of me, and know that God will move it. I can say with wonder and awe, “how can this be? How can you move this unsurmountable mountain?” And I can be still and know that He is God and He will fight for me like a God who parts a sea when an army is chasing you. This is reliance on the supernatural when the natural human means leave you at a loss. God’s ways are not our ways and I am thankful for that.
It’s important to keep this perspective in the months ahead when we find ourselves worried and mired in details and practicality. We can do what we can do, but God, have you seen what He can do? Don’t rely on yourself and your human ways to persevere. Rely on God and his supernatural ways.
Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
Remember this and have faith. Your faith will save you.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb… John 20:11
It’s been awhile since I have written anything so I thought I would update you on my life.
On Friday, May 6, I ruptured a disk in my back lifting my mom into her wheelchair. This was just shortly after I spoke the week before on Radio Maria, USA’s show, Battle Ready with Father Dan Reehil, that I wanted to hold nothing back from God, that I understood suffering purifies us, and I wanted to be purified. I don’t think these things are ever coincidence.
It’s not that God wants us to suffer, because suffering is bad. It’s that God wants us to love Him enough that we are willing to suffer. It’s the love God is looking for – because that kind of love is Christ on the Cross.
Now, when I tell you I have never experienced that level of pain in my whole life, I mean it was a 10+, I can’t think straight level of pain. More pain than childbirth for me. I don’t go to the ER generally ever. I think I have been 3 times in my life, all for life threatening things. But this level of pain – this sent me to the ER crawling in on my hands and knees.
The devil tried to tempt me with thoughts that God didn’t love me. He even tempted me with thoughts of death being better. I sobbed and sobbed and begged God for mercy. It was in this night I gained an understanding of the night of long suffering of Christ. I am talking about the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It was as if I knew all these thoughts were flung at Him and the depth of Jesus’ understanding of all we go through, both physical and mental. Jesus understands those who have thoughts of suicide because of physical and emotional pain. He understands all of our mental anguish. And I was made to understand the unending ocean of mercy he wants to bathe us in. Though Christ wants us to choose love regardless of suffering, He offers His mercy to everyone who is suffering, and we just have to say yes. He always wants us to hold on to hope that His promises are true, because they are, in fact, true. In that space between life and death, lies the mercy of God. I pray that everyone says yes to it and doesn’t lock themselves into hell.
The road to recovery has seemed long to me, though in the scheme of things it is rather short. But needless to say I have been confined to my home again. My doctor would not prescribe narcotic pain medication because so many people get addicted. I admire his stance, but this brought on a lot of physical pain for me. I am not here to debate my doctor’s decision. I will just tell you that this led to nights of excruciating pain where the medications I did have simply didn’t help. I experienced temporary blindness in one eye from one of the medications that was given to me. I cried out to God. Still, I tried to offer all this suffering up and get outside myself to pray for others. That is the goal, to love others and be stripped of ego, I have prayed for this for years.
But I am a failure. By Tuesday, May 17, I was yelling at my husband, crying about my situation, and cursing with words I haven’t used in a long long while, caving in on myself. My husband got me to the chiropractor and I experienced relief. I apologized to Jesus and set out to keep moving forward. There are two paths, stay on the path of prayer and faith and move forward, or fall off the path back to the old ways of living. I am not going backwards. I have experienced the love of God and in these moments where He feels absent to me, I refuse to believe that He is absent. I have faith.
By Sunday the 22nd, I was able to hobble back into Mass. On Monday I made it to confession and Mass. But some things have changed for me which I will now try to explain as best as I can.
Back in 2018, when I was on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, I felt the Lord ask me to receive the Eucharist kneeling. You may remember I had already had a dream and conversation with God about receiving on the tongue. The parish where I work is a Novus Ordo Mass parish. There are no kneelers or altar rails in the line for communion. I listened to what I felt God speak to me, and then I ignored it. I already wore a veil, and received on the tongue, I was afraid of the judgment of man. I mean, how many things was God going to ask me to do? I justified to myself.
Then came the 2020 pandemic. The shutdown broke my heart. When we reopened, I told the Lord I would do whatever He wanted, and I wouldn’t worry about the judgement of man. I received kneeling on the tongue, and I was blessed enough that our Diocese hadn’t banned tongue reception. While we took the prudent measures to protect, this was still allowed. I am externally grateful for that.
I have knelt down ever since. But here I find myself today with a bad back that made kneeling down without an altar rail for support, impossible for me. So like I do, I had a conversation with God about it. I just told the Lord that I wanted Him to know that my receiving standing up wasn’t out of disobedience.
It was as if a lot of things poured over me about the Liturgy and communion and standing and kneeling at that moment of my conversation with God. I am not sure I understand all of it, or if it is even correct, but I am going to do my best to explain.
The Latin Mass everyone kneels for communion. This is a posture of humility, of a sinner in front of her Majesty, the King, receiving the gift. Since I began to be on fire for the Lord, this position of reception has always made sense to me even though I just did whatever the church I went to at the time did until the pandemic.
What I saw in my prayer during Mass about this, was Mary Magdalene in a heap on her knees at the foot of the cross. Here she was, a penitent sinner, watching the death of her Lord, perhaps not understanding, but still, at the cross. Though scripture isn’t clear that Mary Magdalene was kneeling (it says standing were the Blessed Virgin Mary and then lists the other women), tradition has always depicted her this way in the art I have seen, on her knees. She is contrasted with the Blessed Virgin Mary who is sinless and full of grace, and John who rests in the bosom of Christ and as a Priest is grafted into the Holy Family in a way that others are not. They both are standing.
It is only at the empty tomb that we see Mary Magdalene standing, having been through the cross, and now bowing to look for Him at the tomb (John 20:11). The risen Lord appears to the woman who is standing after having been through the cross.
The new Mass has everyone standing with a bow to receive communion, which, in light of this, to me, is a posture of Resurrection. The problem with this is, most are still filled with sin, don’t confess, and want Resurrection without going through the cross. While I understand both positions – one should actually lead to the other.
Acceptance of suffering and total forgiveness takes time in the human heart. For these things to take place, virtue needs to grow. It is these things that convert us into other Christ’s. And it is these things that are desperately missing in the world.
It is a process of being purified. It is as if, while the Blessed Virgin Mary is the archetype of the church and Mother of the Church, Mary Magdalene stands as the purified church. The one whom seven demons had been cast out of.
Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9
It is as if the church herself still needs these demons cast out; the demons of pride, envy, lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, and greed. We find ourselves in a period of history where we are brought to our knees at the cross of purification, so that we may stand in the Resurrection of being purified. I am starting to understand why the Saint of the Year I picked was Mary Magdalene. In scripture she is the first the Lord appears to and she is the apostle to the Apostles. She is a purified bride made for transforming union. She was at the cross with the Mother of God, mediatrix of grace, and a Priest who was given to us to bridge the gap between heaven and earth so we may be purified sacramentally. God heals his family members.
Since the time I began to realize all that God is, I wanted to kneel, knowing I am not worthy that he should enter under my roof. I cannot at the moment physically do this. But the Lord was kind and gentle with me at Mass. I am currently bearing a cross. I have never felt as more of a failure than right now, and never even more dependent on Him, as I am now, crying most nights for Him and His mercy in the physical pain I am in. It’s almost as if in my complete helplessness, what does the Lord do? He stands me up. Not me, not my merit, not my earning, not anything I have done at all. A glimmer for me that in helplessness and surrender – Resurrection is on the other side – that I may stand. It is God who stands us up, we should not be standing ourselves up without Him filling us and guiding us there. It is a posture of pride to think we can do this on our own without having surrendered to our crosses. We must stop fighting the cross.
I had actually been praying this whole last year to be able to stand at the cross like the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was so positive that I was not doing that during this trial. That all I am and all I can do is fail. And then I had this moment at Mass – when total reliance on Him is all I can do to make it through, and I stand at communion, as if to signify – He will bring me where I need to go, because I am not my own Savior.
Lastly, my friend Ashley sent me something about how Saint Margaret Mary offered Jesus His own heart. There was a time I wouldn’t have understood this. But here, in this cross that I bear, I understand. I have decided when I awake in the night to make an act of reparation to His Sacred Heart. Because it is usually dark and I am tired, I just used my own words. I leave you with this prayer;
Lord Jesus, I desire to make reparation for my sins and the sins of mankind that have injured your heart. I give you my own heart, but I know it doesn’t contain enough love, though I desire it to. So, I offer you your own heart, which contains an infinite amount of love, along with my own heart, that the world may be repaired and your heart consoled. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.