“Love transforms one into what one loves.” – Saint Catherine of Siena
Yesterday, June 8, 2023, I had a lot of thoughts pour over me about the Mystical Body of Christ. I couldn’t stop thinking about how the wages of sin is death, but that death, in God’s original plan, was an unnatural thing. Our bodies weren’t designed to be separated from our souls. But of course we know this happened because of the fall. And it got me thinking about just how amazing what God did is.
He took the wages of our sin into His very body, His flesh, and He conquered this sin by rising from the dead. He makes this conquering of death available to us. In baptism we die in our sin with Him but our resurrection is contingent on our consumption of His glorified flesh. It is contingent on the Eucharist because we all know that at this moment in time, we all still die. Currently our souls go on after we die, but our bodies our meant for Resurrection and a union once again with our souls at the end of time.
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
And then I began to think about how this means we really do need to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus with proper care and discernment.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27
You see the Eucharist raises us up into Jesus’ Divine nature, which is to say, into eternity with the Trinity. Mary resides there body and soul. Our resurrection at the end of time depends on our consumption of this Divine Nature with a grace filled pure heart. In the passage from 1st Corinthians, where Paul speaks that quote, notice what he says prior to speaking about receiving in an unworthy manner;
For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it. Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine. When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s supper. For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. 1 Corinthians 11:18-21
Paul is chastising them for the hearts they bring to the Eucharistic table. What a sorrow that a large chunk of the Christian world walked away from the Eucharist. What a sorrow that people no longer pray for the conversion of the Jews and the Muslims so they too could partake in this Divine Nature. Paul, in this passage, was pointing out the impurity of hearts. Receiving the Eucharist with an impure heart brings judgment and not an elevation into the Divine Nature. When you receive unworthily you are, in fact, harming yourself, but not just yourself, you also, as a baptized person in mortal sin, harm Christ’s Mystical Body, which is to say, you harm others. Think of it like an actual body. If the liver gets cancer, the rest of the body will be harmed by that cancer. It takes treatment, that is to say, pure hearts, for the toxin to be purged. Receiving unworthily begets more suffering not only on yourself, but others as well. Those that receive with pure hearts are actually received into Christ’s Divine Nature. He is incorporating you into Himself, those who reject this are essentially refusing to help the body.
So what happens when we see widespread reception of the Eucharist when people are in mortal sin? We see an overall harm of the church because Christ cannot take away sin that we don’t freely give to Him to do so. We see chaos, hatred, division and diabolic things;
So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” John 13:26-27
Jesus wants to give us His heart. And here is the thing, Jesus has an unguarded heart. What do I mean by that? Jesus is totally open and vulnerable to us. We see the Divine Child holding His heart in His hand. We see it in the Sacred Heart. Behold the Heart that has so loved men;
We have a hard time understanding this vulnerability because we have been hurt. When you share a vulnerability with another human person they often use it against you. They can “Lord it over you”. This causes us to have walls around our hearts. We hide, we don’t let people see who we really are. Christ has no such wall. His heart sits in His hand waiting for us to share fully our heart with him. He wants for us to hide nothing from Him, not our sins, not our hurts, not our grudges, nothing. When we hide from Him we harm our own body, our own soul, and the Mystical Body of Christ. He holds out His heart and we abuse it and stomp on it the way others have done to us. We eat our own supper and we go hungry.
But, Christ’s unguarded heart will actually protect your heart if you hand it to Him. His heart protected the heart of His mother and she, in turn, gave all of herself to Him. Their hearts beat in unison. He wants our hearts to beat in unison as well. If we could see into the spiritual realm and understood the harm we caused to ourselves and others by receiving unworthily we would never willingly do it like so many do today.
Imagine my surprise when I had the opportunity last night to attend a High Solemn Latin Mass at Church of the Assumption for the Feast of Corpus Christi, which on the traditional calendar was yesterday, though in the Novus Ordo is moved to this coming Sunday. The Epistle was the very reading from 1st Corinthians that had been pouring over me all day. The Sequence spoke of His feeding of us and His defense of us;
Bread whose shepherd-care doth tend us, Jesu Christ, Thy mercy send us, Do Thou feed us, Thou defend us, Lead us where true joys attend us, In the land where life is given.
I got teary eyed, once again at the intimacy of the Lord who speaks to us. Church of the Assumption is still not repaired from the tornado that hit it in 2020, a few days before worldwide Corona Virus shutdown. Their Masses are held in a hall across the street. My understanding is that set backs have plagued the speed of the repair. It felt as though we were in exile (which we are on this earth) while God whispered to me, “rebuild my church”. And then I remember how Saint Martin de Porres asked Jesus what He could do for his country of Peru and Jesus told him simply that it takes only “one Saint.”
One Saint can help Jesus transform His Mystical Body so a country can be changed. One Apostle at the Foot of the Cross can help birth a church. One Mother who gives a Fiat can usher in a Savior. One pure soul receiving the Divine Glorified Nature of God can change things. That could be you.
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. John 1:45-46
I was reading the 11th chapter of John, a chapter I have read many many times over the years, and yet, I saw something this time I had never seen before. Perhaps it was because of different bible translations that I had never seen it. But the translation I was reading (RSV Second Catholic addition) said the following;
Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled: and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. John 11:32-35.
And I was struck by the fact that Jesus wept after they told him to “come and see”. Now I am not here to talk about whether that is the correct translation, just that it was the translation in my bible. I was struck by how it was those exact words Jesus had uttered to the disciples after John the Baptist, pointed to Jesus;
and he looked at Jesus as he walked and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means teacher) “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and See.” John 1:36-39
So I came back to why Jesus had cried after they spoke to him about seeing where Lazarus was laid. Prior to that he had been troubled, some translations say perturbed. But Jesus weeps when they tell him to see Lazarus.
In the first scenario, the disciples are invited to Come and See, to what I would say is knowledge of a God’s eye view of things. In the second scenario Jesus is invited to a devil’s eye view of things. One is all encompassing moving towards the good, one is destructive.
In my prayer of late, I got the inspiration to pray for 360 degree vision. I wasn’t praying for this so I could grow eyeballs in the back of my head. I was praying for a God’s eye view. The news is so permeated with destruction, it seems almost impossible to not get sucked into a devil’s eye view. By that I mean where we see so much evil we can see nothing else. It evokes rage and despair.
In the story of Lazarus, we see Jesus wait before he goes to Lazarus. We see Jesus let death occur. Jesus, who knows the Father, is doing the will of the Father, but a God’s eye view would make us to know that this will bring Glory, so though sorrowful emotions pass through us, we should never lose hope. We know the outcome of the story.
I think perhaps Jesus wept over how we only see the devil’s eye view of things.
After reading this passage I climbed into bed and asked the Lord to speak to me. I fell asleep and had the most vivid dream.
In the dream I was coming across person after person who was steeped in sin. I should say that the disposition of my heart for all of them was sorrow, not hatred. There was a teenager dabbling in witchcraft, a Priest who was hiding his sins, and a psychologist who was trying to separate minor children from their parents.
When I first came across the witch, I had a bit of fear. She was speaking spells. I started to speak, but because of my own fear, I choked, or I should say, invisible demons choked me. They had power over me because of my fear. But, I managed to whisper out, “In the Holy Name of Jesus, I command you to stop.” With that, the chokehold on me stopped, and she stood frozen.
When I came across the Priest, and then the psychologist, I no longer had any fear. The Priest was demonized because of his own sin. I spoke confidently, “In the Holy Name of Jesus, I command you to stop.” He collapsed on the floor and started weeping.
The psychologist was spewing what people call “wokeism” at me. I said, “in the Holy Name of Jesus, I command you to stop.” She froze. The I breathed on her and said, “I speak the Name of Jesus over you.” She began weeping, and so did I.
I wept because I know I am not worthy to be the conduit of grace like that, yet God, in my dream, allowed it anyway. She wept because she was liberated.
I woke up from the dream and I realized even more the power of the Holy Name. I also realized that the Holy Name speaks blessing over people and not curse;
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:41-44
Jesus raises us up among the living and unbinds us and sets us free. He has the power to do that. We get our eyes unbound so we see glory, and our hands and feet unchained so we live joy.
I am not suggesting that everyone run around like a deliverance minister (though I don’t doubt that God could have that possibility), and I want to be clear, we lay people aren’t exorcists, but I do want to say that speaking blessing instead of curse, can, in fact, bring blessing. There is power in the Holy Name.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
I am writing to you all today to see if you might be interested in a 33 Day Consecration to God the Father based on the Gospel of John. The Consecration would begin on June 13th (Feast of Saint Anthony) and Consecration Day would be July 16th (Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel).
To participate in the Consecration you will need the Book, “33 Days to Greater Glory” by Father Michael Gaitley. You also need to have the Gospel of John, either on audio or in your bible. The introduction to the book lists a place where you can get an audio file for free.
It does not require anything except a commitment to read each days scripture passage, reflection, and to pray the recommended prayer. If you wanted to create your own small groups in your areas you can but it is not required.
I would send a daily reminder email.
Let me know if you are interested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all need to have faith in the power and Glory of our Heavenly Father for these times.
In Christ Always,
Christi gloriam et servitium — (In Christ’s service and for His glory)
Therefore God exalted him even more highly and gave him the name that is above every other name, so that at the name given to Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
It seems of late the Lord has put piety on my heart. Piety is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Piety in it’s expression is giving due reverence to the Lord. Justice is giving God His due, religion is a subvirtue of Justice. Piety is a gift and a fruit. Pope Saint Gregory the Great said, “through fear of the Lord we rise to piety.”
Now I will admit when I was younger, I didn’t understand this. I didn’t understand proper fear of the Lord and I certainly found having to kneel and such as something annoying I had to do and I did it out of obligation. My sense of obligation was an opening for true piety, but on it’s face at the time, I was not a pious person. But once I came to experience the Lord, and I realized how big He is and how small I am, my only response could possibly be to fall down before Him. If I could lay prostrate that would not be low enough.
Back in 2018 when I went on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, I felt the Lord ask me to kneel when I received communion. As I usually do, I fought with the Lord about it. The norm in a Novus Ordo is standing, though the General Roman Missal is clear that people who kneel cannot be turned away. I already wore a veil and received communion on the tongue. I questioned the Lord on why He asked me to do these things of old. He remained silent on the why. I suspect He was waiting to reveal why for a time when my heart was more open. I am sad to report that I did not kneel down when I came back from Medjugorje. In looking back, I did not love the Lord enough, or fear Him enough. I ask the Lord to increase my love for Him. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom as the saying goes. When COVID19 hit and the world and Masses were shut down, I sobbed at my lack of fear of the Lord, that I did not listen. When Masses reopened, I fell to my knees at communion. I did not care what everyone else thought, I only cared what the Lord thought and my love for Him increased when I realized the extent of His love and patience for me. My desire to lower myself also increased.
When I discovered the Latin Mass back in 2018, I realized this Mass had all the things the Lord had been calling me to do. The reverence, the awe, you could physically see something holy taking place and it evoked a sense of the Sacred. I have said before I don’t think the Latin Mass will save us, Jesus saves us, but I do have a great appreciation for that Mass. Of late, I have heard that the Latin Mass has been used in an, “ideological way to go backward.” This statement doesn’t make sense to me. Certainly people have ideologies, which can be formed out of truth or out of wounds. In this case, a genralization was made that all Latin Mass goers are into backwardness. That is itself an ideology. It seems to be born out of a woundedness. No, everything was not hunky dorey back in the old days, it is okay to acknowledge that and still appreciate and allow the old way of worship which gives God His due. The Liturgy itself is not an ideology, it is not backwards. If anything, it is upwards, an ascent towards heaven. All Liturgy should be this way, upwards. Degrading our history and tradition is a descent, a downward division.
When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, no matter which Mass we attend, we are receiving the glorified body of Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity. It is His glory because the Mass takes us through the entire Paschal Mystery, passion, death and resurrection. I want you to think then about God’s glory and what scripture says.
Then Moses said, “Now, please show me your glory [his manifest presence].”
The Lord answered, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will announce my name, the Lord, so you can hear it. I will show ·kindness [favor] to anyone to whom I want to show ·kindness [favor], and I will show ·mercy [compassion] to anyone to whom I want to show ·mercy [compassion]. But you cannot see my face, because no one can see me and live.
“There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes that place, I will put you in a large ·crack [fissure; cleft] in the rock and ·cover [screen] you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will ·take away [remove] my hand, and you will see my back. But my face must not be seen.” Exodus 33:18-23
God’s glory is so great it will kill us, it was a mercy for Him to hide Himself. If that doesn’t bring you to your knees, I don’t know what will. Yet, Jesus came to us in human nature, and we have a face of glory. We spit on that face and we killed that glory on a cross, and He overcame death and now offers us His glory in His glorified Body, so we can live, truly live. It’s so humbling to even think about it. The face of Christ is now hidden in the Eucharist we receive. It is a mercy. Yet, I have heard from many of Eucharistic hosts being left under cushions in pews. I have seen it put in pockets. I have seen particles on the ground. It is bad enough that we abuse our own bodies with sin, but to do this to the Eucharist is such a great sorrow. For He took our sin and we stomp on his Body, again. Even in the precursor to the Eucharist, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus tells them, “...Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost (John 6:12)”. And later in that chapter is says, “perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by himself (John 6:15).”
Are we taking Jesus by force and making him the kind of King we want Him to be? Or do we truly want to follow his ways and receive the gift he gives freely to those who seek to do His will alone and do it in reverent humility? Are we grasping at the host the way Eve grasped the fruit? Or do we receive in childlike trust? I am speaking here of the disposition of your heart.
Friends, the world is in chaos and is backwards and upside down. There is a lack of faith among the people. We spend so much time trying to fight as the world fights. We spew at one another. But the answer lies in asking God to increase our faith. We must, in our hearts, believe what we say we believe, and our actions must reflect it so much so that people can see it. You will know they are Christians by their love. Start with showing that love to our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist and don’t be afraid of the gift of piety. Piety reverences the Sacred and strengthens belief.
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24
This is the audio and transcript of a talk I gave at the Carmel Center in Liberty, TN on 5/6/23. Much of this is personal testimony from the past year.
The Crushing: Living Mary’s Fiat
By: Susan Skinner
Hello and thank you all for inviting me to speak on our Blessed Mother. The topic on which I will speak will be Living Mary’s Fiat, but I would be remiss to speak about how to do this without first speaking about true devotion to the Blessed Mother.
One of the many fallouts of the Protestant Reformation besides the obvious divisions among Christians, was the loss of true devotion to Mary and the understanding about why it is necessary. Indeed, even Martin Luther himself stated; “the veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.” (Sermon, September 1, 1522).
The misunderstanding of the role of Mary in Salvation History by the modern world leads to a degradation of the very church herself, because Mary is the archetype of the church. She is what God had in mind when He created Adam and Eve. Pure communion. Mary is not just redeemed by Christ, she is restored to Eden as it were. Her body a temple, her soul a house of prayer. Her womb, the place where heaven and earth collide. She exemplifies, and is singular, in her relationship with the Trinity. Mary is total trust in the goodness of God. She is the Immaculate Conception.
Jesus Christ came to rectify us to His Father, to make atonement for the fall; a sin against the infinitely good God. Jesus undid the sin of infinity as only God could do. He did it by preventing Mary from sin and housing his own being within her, taking on this limited human body and nature with a human will, being born, dying and rising, all with her there. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, in order to save us, entered the waters of the fruitful womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to become incarnate. This is not something to dismiss or scoff at. To share in the repaired relationship with the Father we must also share in the relationship with Mary. For Jesus is the Son of the Father and the Son of Mary. All of his human DNA belongs to her, think about that the next time you receive communion. There is nothing that will bring more profound union with the Father than following Jesus’ example. He came to us through her, we go to Him through her. He left her to us as our Mother at the cross.
Many people hold back from true devotion to Mary for fear that she will take something away from her Son, Jesus Christ. Perhaps this is because in our disordered and perverted society we don’t really understand the true meaning of communion. We think if one person is praised another is detracted from. But that isn’t how God thinks. Isaiah 55 tells us God’s thoughts and ways aren’t our thoughts and ways and that his thoughts and ways are higher than ours. For God is not a detractor. If he highlights the importance of a person it is because it brings Him, who is love, more glory. She is the fullness of God’s love because the Trinity dwells within her. Mary takes nothing from her Son. She only adds to His glory. For if one is rightly ordered we know that honoring Mary does not detract from Jesus. In fact, it shows us how big God is and how much he loved us, that he chose her to help Him repair. It sets the example for all of us of how to do the will of God and lets us know the promise of God’s love for all of mankind. Saint Louis de Monfort said of devotion to Mary, “it is only in order to more perfectly establish devotion to Jesus Christ and to offer a secure means of coming to Him. This devotion is necessary for us to perfectly reach Jesus Christ, to love him with tenderness and to serve him with fidelity.”
Did you hear that? Devotion to Mary is necessary for perfection. If you wish to be perfect as the heavenly father is perfect, you should make Mary your Mother. If you speak with a Protestant and even some Catholics you will see that they are usually more willing to study Ruth or Judith than to study Mary, the Mother of God. We see Mary often degraded by society not understanding that degrading her is actually a degradation of our own nature that God made good. She is the perfected human person. This is the path we should all be on but instead we put limits on God the Father as if he were like men, broken and weak unable to fill us with Himself. If this is your disposition you can only conclude that we cannot be elevated, we are stuck in our sin, just a pile of dung that cannot be transformed. But Scripture tells us we can be transformed. Mary is God’s promise who lights the way. This is why she is the archetype of the church. Though we will never be without sin the way Mary is, God does promise restoration. Acts 3:21 states; “Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” We aren’t just saved, but God wants us restored. He wants the church to become the bride perfected from Revelation 21. The dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary body and soul let’s us know before our own restoration at the end of time that God’s promises are true. We should not put limits on God. Mary did not put limits on God, and so she could give her unreserved fiat and be the handmaid of the Lord.
We know that Mary was saved from original sin because the passion, death and resurrection were applied to her outside of time. Her state was total purity and communion with God. Blessed Duns Scotus made us to know that God is so big He can operate outside of time, and He did so for the Blessed Mother. Her Immaculate Conception is a feat of an infinitely good God. He preserved her and made her a tabernacle to house the Second person of the Blessed Trinity. Through her, the savior of us all was born.
I want to take a moment here to reflect on all I have just stated because it is a lot to unpack. Our Lord is so good that He stepped down into our mess and became incarnate. The Blessed Mother, who, full of grace, is the perfection of humanity, in her Fiat, said yes not only to God, but to the mission of stepping down into our mess with him. She stepped into the mission of intercession for reparation. Mary placed her soul in the hands of the Father and believed that He was big enough to come into the mess and heal us. She knew God sent the savior she had personally been praying for. And God sent Him to her. Though she knew evil around her, she had to believe that God was bigger than the evil. Though her life would have been threatened, she had to trust that God could overcome all of that.
As Mary journeyed with Jesus and Joseph, they were surrounded in the mess of humanity. They faced it with love and trust in the Father. Let’s just look at a few examples.
Mary’s yes to God made her pregnant when she had “not known man”. She did not know how Joseph would handle the news. Him being righteous, he was to divorce her quietly which would have perhaps preserved her from being stoned. What a messy situation for both of them. But Mary trusts instead of reacting, and God speaks to Joseph. Perhaps she felt the human emotion of fear, for emotions are not sinful, but in her purity and her understanding of the greatness of God, she was not swallowed by fear because she believed God was big enough to handle it.
Then their government calls a census and she has to travel late in pregnancy. There is no place for them to stay. What a mess. Mary isn’t seen cowering in the corner or yelling at Joseph for not planning better. She faces the mess and gives birth in a cave with a manger, to the acclaim of the singing hosts of heaven. Mary knows God is bigger than an animal laden birth place.
When she and Joseph present Jesus to Simeon in the temple, Mary is told that a sword will pierce her heart. Mary knows she will encounter suffering, for she already has. She is not looking for God to fix the suffering. She is looking for God to heal His people and she is willing to take the road wherever it will lead in order to help us all get there. Mary believed God could do this and she was willing to walk into the unknown believing God was bigger than we can imagine.
At the wedding at Cana, we see her ask Jesus for help when her friends ran out of wine. She stepped into their mess and she believes God’s glory can be shown. His response appears to be a rebuke as he states, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” But here we can see in this interaction, Jesus’ response seems to be more of an invitation. Jesus’ seems to be asking her, “are you ready to really really jump into their mess? Going public will change everything.” For Jesus was looking for Mary’s steadfast cooperation with His mission. She is an essential part because her cooperation brings communion between heaven and earth. At each point she is asked, she says yes. Her answer to this question, “do whatever he tells you.” She has not waivered.
And, of course, we know who stood at the cross with Jesus. Mary was there. I believe too it is significant that one Apostle was there, because I believe John ran away originally, but that he ran away to get Mary. And here again we see her intercession, this time for the Apostolic line of the Priesthood. John was able to stand with her and they both stared at our sin on the Cross as the church was being birthed from His side.
Louisa Picarretta wrote in the 17th hour of the Passion that all of heaven, including Mary, and all of hell, were shouting crucify Him. While hell thought they defeated God, Mary knew that His taking on of our sin, would open heaven for us, so she wanted what the Father wanted. His death. It is in His death that resurrection can take place. He conquered death, which was the consequence of the wages of sin. Just as Jesus, the divine person gave all for us, so too did Mary, the human person, enter into our mess to give her Son for us as a sorrowful Mother. She emptied herself out cooperating in our redemption. Mary didn’t try to fix the situation, she, like Jesus, let the Father decide what needed to be done in order that we might be healed. Fixes are usually short term and try to alleviate suffering. Healing is long term and it alleviates sin. Healing often and usually involves suffering.
After the resurrection we see an interaction between Jesus and Simon Peter. Simon Peter has gone back to fishing and John recognizes Jesus on the shore and tells Peter. Peter dives in and goes to the Lord. This exchange is the undoing of Peter’s denial, but the English translation doesn’t capture all of what was happening here. Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him, but the first two times he uses the Greek word agape. Agape is a Divine Love and Jesus is asking Peter do you have Divine Love for me? Peter is hurt by this. He answers back twice that he Phileo loves Jesus, Phileo being a brotherly love. Peter is not understanding something that Mary did understand. Peter knows Jesus is Lord, he knows Jesus gave him mercy, but he doesn’t yet know that Jesus is big enough to elevate Peter to Divine Love. The third time Jesus asks, he steps into Peter’s mess and simply asks him if he Phileo loves him. Peter responds that he does. Jesus sees where Peter is. It isn’t until Pentecost, where scripture tells us n Acts 1, “All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.” It isn’t insignificant that scripture mentions the Mother of Jesus by name as being in the upper room. Mary must have known the disciples well, including Peter, and all he had done. Yet she enters into his mess praying, interceding, and it is here we see, the immensity of God that Mary knows, come down upon Peter and the disciples as well elevating them to glory from out of their mess. For Divine love is a gift poured out for those willing to take the journey. And we see a different Peter, unafraid, baptizing 3000.
This way of life, this Divine Love poured out wasn’t just for the Apostles long ago. The love between Mary and Jesus is a pathway for us all. When I look at what took place, I grow in awe of what God did for us. He entered the earth as a baby, much the way we begin our spiritual life. Mary stared at her baby, the way a new Christian stares at creation as if seeing it for the first time. If you’re baptized as a baby the growth physically and spiritual growth should take place along side one another. But the difference between new Christians and Mary is we get side tracked from the journey through temptation and concupiscence. Concupiscence, a consequence of the fall, is our strong desire to commit sin. Mary remained steadfast on the journey with Christ, never taking her gaze off of Him, because in knowing Him she knew the Father. She took the entire journey from cradle to grave with Him and it brought redemption to mankind. We tend to fall away when things get hard.
But it isn’t the whole story, because again, restoration is the goal. There is hope for us. Our Creed speaks about this hope when we say we wait for Resurrection of the Body. For Mary, it’s why her Body was already assumed because she is God’s complete Queen of creation.
To be fair, she had no concupiscence or sin, so she wasn’t drawn to do the wrong things. But that should not stop us from entering this journey that is meant for us. We have a God who came among us and a Mother who intercedes for us on this journey. We are on a spiritual journey from wounds to healing. Baptism gets rid of our original sin, and the rest of the journey is a struggle against concupiscence, sin and temptation. I am so thankful, we were left a way. We must gaze at the infant and watch him grow in our hearts enough to take up our crosses and follow him. This is where living Mary’s fiat comes into play for us. Like her we too can say yes to the will of God. It is harder for us, we need God’s grace which we are not full of like Mary, thankfully Our Mother Mary is the mediatrix of all graces and we receive sanctifying grace from Our Mother the Church. Each time we go to Confession we come out after absolution in a state of grace. When we walk out of the confessional, we are more like Mary. Both Mary and the church invite us to receive these graces. All are invited, few respond to the call, so few are chosen. Don’t be too prideful to take your sin to confession.
We need to recognize that we are broken, we need healing and we need help. We need to embrace our Baptism calling to mind that we are a child of God. We need to recognize the sins we have committed and confess them. And we need the Eucharist to purify us.
Going back to the prevenient saving of Mary, by applying the Passion, death and resurrection to her before her conception, we can glean from this that the Triduum holds within it all of time. This means for us, within these three days is a way to make progress towards healing. Our story is encapsulated in the Triduum if we are willing to go the distance. This immensity of God makes Calvary present for us at each Mass. We step into eternity, into God’s true presence, able to walk as Mary walked with the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist within us. Confession is an essential part of this journey. Admitting when we sin and asking for mercy.
Once we recognize that we actually need healing, grace has penetrated and we can make our way on this journey with Christ and his Mother at our side.
For me, as I am sure for many of you, the journey has been long. I spent the first 30 years of my life in stagnation, comfortable being a grocery store Catholic. I pretended to be good enough for God to love me and I had one foot firmly planted in the things of the world. I hid the bad I had done from the Lord and I even, in pride, refused to believe some of what I had done was wrong. It left me in a pit of depression and anxiety. At one point in my life, I even wanted to kill myself. And it was a moment from Mary and turning to the Rosary that began my ascent out of the pit. She brought some actual grace to me in the moment I needed it most. My sister was also praying for me at the time, so never ever think that our prayers don’t matter. When we commune with the Lord in prayer our intercession reaches way further than we can possibly imagine.
Many of you know that it wasn’t until after the murder of my friend Veronica that I really began to speak to the Lord about all my mess. And God stepped in my mess and changed everything. It was as if a blind fold was taken off of my eyes and the love of God was revealed more fully to me, no longer an intellectual acknowledgement, it was a movement in my heart. I was all in. I knew God was beyond what any medical doctor could ever do for me and I knew confession healed me more than any of the counseling sessions I had gone to (which were good, by the way).
I began to pray very differently. I stopped telling God what I wanted and started asking what He wanted. Sometimes what He wants is difficult but I knew my way of doing things didn’t work. I did it my way, as the song says, and my way left me with panic attacks. Now I also knew enough to know that Jesus did not come to eliminate suffering. He entered into it, so did his mother. And in doing so we had heaven opened up to us so we can experience a love like we have never experienced before.
Besides Confession I began to hunger for the Eucharist. I wanted to consume God. We live in a world that consumes everything except God. We consume so much media that we have been trained to think by it, not by God. And trust me, demons use media. We must be careful how we use technology. I just knew I wanted to consume God alone. I knew that in doing so I can become a better woman than I was before.
Still following the Lord is hard. In the early days of my Spiritual journey I argued with God a lot. As time has progressed, I argue less. Hopefully one day I will be as immediate with my yes as Mary.
I asked her to be with me on this journey. I consecrated myself to her. In the early years, when an infant in my spiritual life, I was more wounded so for my consecration I did the 33 days to Morning Glory by Father Michael Gaitley. In later years after some maturity in the spiritual life, I did total consecration to Jesus through Mary by Saint Louis de Monfort. I make the distinction because I sometimes think people who are very wounded are not ready to yet face some things that need to be faced. Healing is a slow progression not an instantaneous fix. Wounded people feel not worthy, St Louis makes it known you are not worthy. You have to be healed enough to understand the spiritual life and not be offended by that. You have to have forgiven yourself to take on the harder mortifications of our faith. The goal, to be so secure in God’s love for you that you make willing sacrifice and are not wounded by things that are true. That’s most of our journey here on earth, learning to not be offend by truth. The only thing that should offend us is sin. Not people, but sin. If we equate people with the sin they offend with we tend to dehumanize and judge.
When dealing with our own children we need to realize where they are too. I sometimes think we expect an understanding from them that it took us a life time journey to understand, speaking too much often pushes them away. Listening, relating, praying ardently, can do more for a child than any of our pontificating and lecturing about the things we have learned.
At 51 years old, I know I am not the same person with the same understanding that I was at 14. I should not expect my child to understand all that I understand now.
In recent years my husband and I took on the beautiful cross of caring for my aging parents. Dad passed on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in 2021. We still have mom, who cannot walk, and who has dementia. It is a daily struggle. I can’t even describe this cross. I find that only those who have been through it know the grief of these difficult years. It is beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
But I won’t lie, I will say this cross has sometimes left me feeling tested beyond my strength. My cousin and I laugh that last year was the Eyore year…. I have called it, “the crushing”.
Recognizing that Mary is the best human person example of how to live the Divine love Jesus calls us to, I prayed a prayer last year on February 21, 2022. I wanted to be more like Mary. I wanted to live Mary’s fiat, but I knew that there was something I had besides sin that Mary didn’t. I had concupiscence. That morning at Mass I prayed as hard as I have ever prayed. I pondered Mary’s purity and I asked God to crush my concupiscence and yes I used the word crush. I asked God to make my desires His desires. I asked God to infuse me with His Divine Will the way Mary was infused with the Divine Will. As I closed my eyes I pictured many images in my head. But the one image in my head that gave me much hope was beautiful Mary, she wore a navy blue velvet mantle with a red silk underlay, her eyes were piercing and she was looking straight at me. She cupped her hands around her mouth and whispered, “Let it be done.” Waves of blue light came out of her. I then saw an image of a wine rack with cob webs on it, the cobwebs were blown away and I heard “new wine” in my prayer. The whole experience left me in tears sobbing after Mass. I had no idea what was in store for me then.
Within 74 days, I injured my back so badly lifting my mother that I couldn’t walk right. It seems my disks were crushed and torn. Not exactly what I had in mind when I prayed to be crushed. God’s ways are definitely not our ways. The doctor wouldn’t give me narcotic pain medication because he didn’t want me to get addicted. I slept on the floor and cried incessantly. I remember grabbing the picture I have of the Face of Jesus in the Shroud of Turin and just staring at it begging God for mercy. I began to ask friends to give me someone to pray for so I could try to not focus on my physical pain. I was trying to get outside of my misery by thinking of others as my faith has taught me. But it was hard and I complained a lot.
In addition, some things came to light in my family that I won’t share here because they’re not my story to tell, but I will just say there was an emotional heartache that I have never ever felt before. Crushed is again the word that comes to mind. I actually wondered if I could still love in a situation where I didn’t know how to love or even where to begin to know what to do. I ended up getting Covid again and because of my worn down state and stress it was difficult to recover. And my sweet little dog Rosie died from an unexpected illness. Because of all these circumstances both physical and emotional I had to give up a lot of what I had been “doing.” I didn’t know that crushing my concupiscence would be so incredibly humbling. I was left in a state of just accepting what was, desiring to do the will of God, though at times I was confused about what that was. The Ministry work I loved was pulled back to the minimum, almost to a halt. My days became like a hamster on a wheel, stuck at home, waiting to heal. I felt abandoned by God and I clung to what I knew to be true instead of the feelings I was having. I melted down many times and thank God I have good friends and family to put me back on the Way. I clung to a lot of the sweet memories I had with God because I no longer felt His presence. I felt forsaken. During this time there was an onslaught of thoughts coming at me, like hell itself was screaming at me. The voices screamed, “you’re a bad mother, you’re a bad daughter, you’re a bad wife, you’re a bad ministry worker. A bad cousin, a bad friend. God doesn’t love you. You should just give all this up.”
I knew those thoughts were lies. I knew this because of the journey I had taken already. I remembered all the goodness of God. In times like these I think I know why scripture calls us back to remembering. All I knew to do was to keep turning back to His Holy Face – for scripture promised he would not test me beyond my strength. I asked Him not to turn His Face from me.
I started to realize that even in all the spiritual things I was “doing” I had a lot of pride. Nothing strips you of pride and control like a health crisis or family crisis. I went through the Litany of Humility and realized I was living much of it. And somewhere later in the recovery a still small voice whispered to me, “can you still love even though you are wounded? Can you look past your wounds and love?” I looked at Christ on the Cross. And I had a realization that He was letting me share in His Passion. My crushing should really be called “the compassion” for that means to suffer with. I was suffering with Christ. My human will, out of necessity, was being nailed to a cross. The question remained, did I believe He could fill me with His love? Or would I like Peter believe He isn’t big enough to work in me.
Yes, Lord, I believe, I love you. Fill me with Divine Love. Do it on your own timeline, not mine.
I told the Lord I did desire to be like Him. I told Him that I am weak and I fail and I get frustrated and that I knew I had to rely on Him to be able to love like Him. It took me awhile, but eventually I began to thank God for the ordeal. I also recognized that this was necessary on my Spiritual Path. It was necessary to draw me closer to Him, to share in His suffering, to repair for what we have done. It is necessary to suffer for concupiscence to be crushed and to be shown how to fully surrender. This crushing is meant to make you emerge on the other side with a bold confidence in God, and with no false expectation of how and when he will do things. It is meant to give an understanding of loving God alone in a world that does not know divine love. I know He loves me wholly, I don’t have to do anything to earn it. My physical health, emotions, and inability to do anything, cannot stop God from loving me, even if the devil tries to convince me otherwise. My identity as God’s isn’t conditioned on the things I can do. He was taking me deeper into healing from my own ego than I ever imagined I could go. True healing let’s go of one’s own ego so you can be filled with Divine love. Mary had no ego. She wasn’t looking for glory for herself, but God glorified her more than any other human person. When we surrender to the Divine Will we can have full expectation that God will restore dominion that the devil stole. In John Chapter 14 Jesus promises the Apostles that they will do greater things than even Him. This is because God’s full power and glory descend upon those living the Divine Will. Pentecost displayed this. I personally still have such a way to go, but I have learned more to rely on the Lord to fill me and not myself and to accept the things that are sent my way. The Lord can and will save and restore me in heaven and he will do it for you as well – as long as we stay on the path returning always to mercy and doing our best to surrender all to Him. His mother lights the way.
You see Mary has the title Our Lady of Humility, she didn’t need breaking down like I did – and I still do. But the goal in the spiritual life is to put Satan under our feet. Romans 16:20 tells us that the God of peace wants Satan under your feet. And I discovered it isn’t all that I was doing that will get me there. It’s actually a complete emptying of all we hold onto that keeps us from God alone.
I began to see how in my relationships with others my view of them was often distorted. I wanted to “fix” them instead of letting God heal them. Often times when we go into fix mode we also go into judgment mode, judging a person in a way we have no right. I also feel less afraid to admonish a sinner because sin is not who a person is. If someone can’t distinguish themselves from their sin there becomes a huge identity crisis. We must help people know who they truly are. Today’s society is reeling from lack of identity in God. Mary knew exactly who she was and that made her a conduit of the Grace of God.
Another thing that happened is I often used to get scared of what my children could be doing instead of praying that He could change them the way He changed me, no doubt through the prayer of Our Lady and all those who prayed for me over the years. My life is a mess and He entered into it and so did His mother. Why would I think he wouldn’t do the same for my children. Do not walk in fear about your children. He loves them more than you do. He wants to turn me and you and anyone who is willing, into perfect love. To make us perfect as the heavenly father is perfect, and we in the world have really very little idea of what that kind of perfection looks like. We also cannot attain it ourselves by doing. Yes, we must guide them and act when He asks us, and we must follow the teachings of the church and try in earnest to steer them and ourselves away from sin, but we also sometimes need to be still and let Him fight for us. His power can be made perfect in our weakness when we surrender it to him.
There are so many things the Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us through her humble obedience, every day to the will of God. You see, the biggest thing I learn daily from Mary is that God is way way bigger than we know. We tend to put limits on what He can and cannot do. Have we learned nothing from the God who brought fire down on the mountain for Elijah? Or parted the red sea for Moses? Have we learned nothing from His conquering of death? We must learn to look up and think big.
Now, I try, when I face situations daily, to ask, how can I do your will? How can I best love in this situation Lord? I often find myself repeating simply, “Jesus and Mary, I love you, save souls.” And then I wait for him to act.
I would love to say to you that I rejoice in my suffering all the time, as Saint Paul stated for himself, but I am not there yet. What I do know is that true joy is real, and the place of rejoicing in suffering is a Divine Grace poured out by God. We by our simple nature cannot be joyful in suffering, for suffering in and of itself is an evil. But loving through suffering does actually bring joy and true charity, the charity of God. We must also know that God’s grace doesn’t come down to remove the suffering, that is a false Gospel. But I do believe that God’s grace is big enough and powerful enough to give us strength in suffering like He promised. It is the fortitude of love. Love allows that our greatest desire is not to end our suffering, but for God’s Kingdom to reign. A life in the Divine Will. One day, in heaven and at the end of time there will be no more tears or suffering, that is the Hope of God’s Kingdom and it is a promise.
It is imperative in these times that we live in that we do not put God in our box of how things can get done. Just look at all God did for Mary and how she cooperated with Him every day of her life. Have faith, it can move mountains. The great I AM wants us to have true joy, in the middle of this mess we are in. Live Mary’s fiat by saying yes each day and loving in each situation as best as you can. Don’t expect worldly political and economic systems to solve the heart crisis we are having as a society. Pray and intercede for others, even and especially if it is hard. God will heal in His time, trust in that. He wills that all men be saved. Yes, many turn away, but God’s will is bigger than any other, so pray for lost souls, receive the sacraments to purify you with an open heart, ask for mercy, love as best as you can, and most of all trust.
If you haven’t consecrated yourself to Mary, please do so. She will bring you closer to Him.
And lastly, be not afraid, let the God of the universe be the one in control of your life. I know the news is scary and we shouldn’t be ostrich’s with our head stuck in the ground, we should be aware of all that is happening. Scripture tells us to stay awake and to be wise like the serpent but peaceful like the dove. But we shouldn’t take on a spirit of anxiety. The devil feeds on fear. The key to that again is knowing that God is in charge so keep your eyes on Him and not the storm that is raging around us. Mary’s eyes were always on the face of the Savior from cradle to grave and after. Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us! Our Lady of Victory, pray for us! Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us! Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. John 21:15-17
I have spent the past several weeks thinking about how Our Blessed Lord choose a man to lead the church who messed up over and over again. It would seem by human standards that Peter would not be a good leader. He doesn’t always quite get it. But we know that God’s ways are not our ways and Gods thought are not our thoughts. Another thing we know is that God is way bigger than we ever give Him credit for. We always seem to think that our problems are too big for Him to make good of them. We are wrong.
You can see this in the exchange at the charcoal fire, after the resurrection. Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him, a chance for Peter to undo his thrice denial of the Lord. And Peter answers in the affirmative. We see the mercy of the Lord. But this exchange in English doesn’t give the full extent of what was happening here.
In Greek the first two times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, he uses the word Agape. Agape is divine love. Peter answers Jesus by using the word phileo, a word that essentially means brotherly love. Peter is hurt in this exchange, and so the third time Jesus asks about Peter’s love he too uses the word phileo, stepping down into the mess of the place where Peter was. He prophesies of Peter’s death – a death in which Peter is elevated to the Divine Love of the Cross.
I have to imagine that Peter answers with brotherly love instead of Divine Love because Peter knows what he has done by denying Our Lord. He knows Our Lord has forgiven him. He has accepted the Lord’s mercy, but Peter still doesn’t get the greatness of the Lord. He doesn’t understand yet that the Lord can lift him into Divine Love. Sure, the Lord can give him mercy, and sure, the Lord loves Peter unconditionally, all these things Peter understands. But Peter feels weak, unable to love the way Jesus does, knowing he screwed up so many times. He doesn’t believe his weakness can be elevated, so he is hurt by the questions. Peter is still relying on himself and he recognizes his limits but he doesn’t understand that he is putting a limit on God. Peter doesn’t understand that God’s power can be made perfect in His weakness and that the Lord Himself can elevate Peter to a higher love, even though Peter has done nothing to earn it. It is a surrender of oneself that allows Divine Love to fill you. It is a realization that you are in fact unworthy, but God gives it anyway and even your own weakness cannot stop Him as long as you turn to His mercy.
God did not give up on Peter. He ascends to heaven and Peter hides praying with the Mother of the Lord. God knows exactly who Peter can be. God knows exactly how to elevate Peter. Peter surrenders in the upper room and Pentecost comes. This is truly Good News for all of us. The Gates of Hell came screaming at Peter through the Passion and death of Our Lord. Even at the resurrection He struggles. But it was upon the Rock of Peter that Jesus made a promise. And God elevated Peter to Divine Love at Pentecost and 3000 were baptized in one day. Why would we doubt our Lord now, even if the Gates of Hell seem to be screaming at us?
God can take a man as weak as Peter and God can make of Him something better. Peter realizes his worth as a leader comes from God alone and not from his own strength, and the spirit dwells within him. God accomplishes these things in Peter and through his Blessed Mother’s intercession, the church is truly born.
So what does this mean for us? It means that no matter where you are today, how weak you feel, how many of your loved ones seem lost, it means God has a plan. God has a plan to elevate us to Divine Love. There are things you just can’t control and don’t need to worry about, you only need to pray and trust. There will be many crosses on this path. Each cross is meant to be another layer of surrender. God takes His time for healing to be complete. There is nothing warp speed about the way God works. Speed is the antithesis of steadfastness. Speed burns out. Steadfast love remains. The demons are operating at high velocity right now, but it won’t be the end of the story. Wait on the Lord like the Lord waited for Peter’s surrender to make Peter everything he was meant to be. God has stepped down into our mess, he is present in the Eucharist in the mess. God will elevate us to Divine Love in His time, if we let Him, because His promises are true.
St. Anthony described the Peacock as purified by tribulation, then adorned with virtue.
Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” Luke 23:18
As our world descends deeper into chaos and lawlessness, I cannot help but think that we as a people are shouting, “Release Barabbas”, as truth gets persecuted. The interesting thing to me is that the name Barabbas, it means, son of the Father. It is one more way we know that God is totally in control, even in what looks like chaos, even in the midst of the suffering and sorrow. In this act of releasing Barabbas, we are made to know who we are, sons and daughters of the Father. Barabbas’ release represents all of us who were and who are about to be delivered. Prisoners to our sin, the cross frees us when we embrace it, that is, we repent and receive the love the Father has always offered. The love He granted to us by gifting His Son who was obedient unto death. He didn’t have to do this, but He did. They shouted release Barabbas and he was released while the innocent God took the penalty. He did this personally for you too.
As we watch the church be crucified in so many ways today, we can know that this too is necessary. We are the bride of Christ and God is trying to reveal to us our true identity. Currently, our world is confused about identity. We put labels on everything and everyone. We market everything and speak words of tolerance and equity. But God doesn’t speak like that and doesn’t label us like that. It is a twisting of truth. God simply loves us. And so we must be purged of anything that isn’t love, purged of all these untruths. This purging is extremely painful. As what we have become is revealed to us, it becomes increasingly harder to watch. Most of us feel like running away. The story sounds familiar.
I was reading the Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Servant of God Louisa Piccarreta. In hour 17 she states, “the Angels, the Saints, and hell as well, all cry out in unanimous voice: ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ in such a way, that there is no one who wants you alive. And O, O, to my greater confusion, pain, and astonishment, I find myself forced by a supreme power to cry out as well: ‘Crucify Him.'”
You see, without this crucifixion, we remain prisoners like Barabbas was before Jesus came along because we are all guilty of sin. We all deserve death for continuing to offend the infinitely good God who wants us to trust in His love. Suffering feels like hell and at times can try your faith, make you feel like you’re losing it. Don’t let hell defeat you and steal your faith. At the crucifixion, hell thought that they were defeating God. Heaven knew this was the path to salvation. But God wants even more than just salvation for us. He wants restoration.
As scared as I often get, glancing through the headlines, I turn to the Lord and shout, “crucify me.” I want my sin purged out of me. When my sin is revealed and I can see it, it is a great mercy. This always hurts. It is a great suffering, but like Louisa, I feel compelled to shout, “crucify me.” That is to say, “show me my sin and glance at me with your mercy, like you did to Peter.” One glance of mercy makes me turn back to love. Because of the Sacraments, particularly confession and the Eucharist, I have come to know love. It is only this love, born of sanctifying grace poured out from the Father, through the Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, that will change our society. Love is what our identity was made to be, all else must be purged.
As the world has turned away from the Sacraments, confusion about identity has grown exponentially in the world. The devil spews lies about who you are. He spews them so you will reject your intellect, your body and even your good memories, leaving you in a heaping pile of bitterness and resentment. His ultimate goal, for you to lose your soul. The devil tries to convince you that you are your sin. When you cannot separate yourself from your sin, you become like Judas, lost to pride and eventually to despair. God knows exactly who He made you to be. He does not conflate your identity with your sin.
The tale of Peter and Judas is the tale of two betrayers. Both become confused about the plan of God. One turns back to mercy, and with a glance, Peter was crucified, wept bitterly, was saved and restored. He regained his identity. But Judas, he lost his identity. Scripture tells us it would have been better that he not be born (Matthew 26:24). Losing your identity as a loved son or daughter of God, well it’s like burning your insides up with the fires of hell. Though we don’t ultimately know where Judas ended up, for God decided that, we can know that Peter chose the better path. I often think about how many times Peter screws up in the Gospels. There are more stories of Him doing wrong than any of the others. And yet, he was chosen to lead. Peter leads us because his acceptance of mercy, over and over again, gave him His true identity. God had bigger plans for him than he had for himself and God’s plans were realized because of the acceptance of mercy.
When we ask God to crucify us, our sin is revealed and mercy pours out. As we head into the Easter Triduum, try to wrap your head around the fact that all of time is held within these three days. The story of Salvation history is your story. God wants your story to be one of resurrection and so He asks that you embrace your cross and follow Him. That act on the cross 1990 years ago, is here for you now in these three days. It is represented everyday in the Mass. There is much to weep bitterly over these days, but weep with hope in the resurrection. God is love and He is forming you into love, if only you will let Him.
Have a Happy and Holy Easter Season. God Bless you all.
For me, prayer is a burst from my heart, it is a simple glance thrown toward heaven, a cry of thanksgiving and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy. Frequently, only silence can express my prayer. – St. Therese of Lisieux
We are in the middle of our Parish Lenten Mission with Father Bill Casey, CPM, of the Father’s of Mercy. The beginning of the first video is the Rosary, prayed for Covenant School in Nashville, TN.
The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause the Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. Catechism of the Catholic Church 677
I find God amazing in the plentiful ways he speaks. Something can be true for an individual person but mirror the larger church. I was pondering the passage above, 667. It is speaking of the end times, but written within it, you can see the life of any Saint who endured tremendous suffering, minus them descending from heaven, that’s the part we have to wait for. God is wanting to triumph over evil in the human heart, when all hearts have this triumph, when all hearts mirror the Immaculate heart, her heart will triumph, God’s heart will triumph.
One thing I know for sure is that God’s timing is not our timing. We usually fast track what God is patient about. Unlike us, he is slow to anger, and rich in kindness. We often get angry at Him when suffering drags on, we fail to see His kindness in the middle of it. For if He acted too soon, we may not be purified and He wants our glory to be great.
Why am I speaking about all this? Because I see the intensity of suffering increasing. I see mental and even physical anguish among individuals increasing. Especially as the Church herself can seem like she is abandoning her teachings, particularly on the moral life; the teaching lived and loved by so many Saints. Those of us who see the train wreck of more pain that this abandonment of teaching will cause, feel rejected, abandoned, and forgotten. These spirits are rampant. It’s like all hell has broken lose.
For an individual the path of the Spiritual life is long and winding. It begins with a recognition that you are a sinner and you realize there is someone who loves you anyway. This compels you to change. It is a love story. God chases, man finally sees, man responds to the love by changing His ways. I feel certain many in the church haven’t actually encountered Jesus, if they had, they wouldn’t dig so deep into their sin claiming to be proud of it. Encountering Jesus changes you and you finally understand that the teachings are for your good. If only we realized He is truly present in the Eucharist and we can encounter Him everyday.
This love affair with God, when it is new, it is amazing. Your eyes begin to be opened to all that you didn’t see; the reality of your smallness; the greatness of God. You even witness miracles. This is where you begin to despise the world and the things of the world, you want to reject them, the vanities, the lust, the foul language, the greed. You feel called higher. You want to be better.
This is like when the Apostles first met Jesus and walked with Him. This is where you meet your redemption. Most people are content to stay here. But the trajectory is always a forward motion, both for the individual and for the church. If you stay on the path, you will eventually find yourself in a Passion.
The Passion is where the facade of all that man has built both globally and inside one’s heart is really torn down by God in order to bring something greater. Saints understood this. This path veers off from you despising the world and wanting to reject or forget it, to a path where the world despises you and wants to forget and reject you. You feel abandoned. The demons of rejection and abandonment scream at you. This is where you find out if your journey with God has transformed you into love or if you are still addicted to ego. If all hell breaks loose and is unleashed upon you, can you still speak that God is good? When the world hates you, do you hate in return? This isn’t just walking with Christ, this is crucifixion with Christ. Can you set aside your own will, surrender it, in order to let God fill you with His?
This is a necessary path. The first path, the walking with Christ, it brings redemption. The second part, the crucifixion, it brings restoration, full glory and full healing.
I read the other day from the Diary of Saint Faustina (268) a conversation between Jesus and Faustina.
Saint Faustina: Jesus was suddenly standing before me, stripped of His clothes, His body completely covered with wounds, His eyes flooded with tears and blood, His face disfigured and covered with spittle. The Lord said to me:
Jesus:The bride must resemble the betrothed.
Saint Faustina:I understood these words to their very depth. There is no room for doubt here. My likeness to Jesus must be through suffering and humility.
Saint Faustina understood the path to full glory.
For us, it is a question of if we are willing. Are we willing to go there?
Many think they are willing. Peter certainly did. But in the end, he didn’t go the distance to the Cross. He turned to his sword and denied His Lord, a reaction not born of love. But God is so good He redeemed even those who denied Him, because after they fell, they accepted His mercy and He gave them the opportunity to bear much fruit and merit glory. Peter would later be handed another Cross. This time he faced it. Peter was restored. Only Judas didn’t turn to His mercy. Judas was overtaken by despair.
The kind of surrender to the Will of God that can face the Cross, is exemplified by the Blessed Mother, and John who took her into his home. Much of what Mary did was hidden. Mary stood in the confidence of God. Mary didn’t fight against being rejected or forgotten by the world. This is something she was willing to accept, for she totally knew who she was because of Christ’s love that saved her.
Mary didn’t just say yes at the beginning when the miraculous angel appeared to her bearing good news. She said yes every single day in all the hidden ways she loved that we don’t know about. And when the Cross came, though Jesus felt forsaken, she didn’t abandon Him. She didn’t abandon God at the Cross. She was so filled with love that she trusted and believed when it felt and looked like she shouldn’t. Is there a suffering you feel you cannot bear? A suffering that makes you rage at God? Consecrate yourself to her Immaculate Heart. She will help you to go the distance.
Perhaps our church will look like Peter did. Denying the truth, then repenting, then hiding, then being restored by the Power of God. Whatever the case, the more of us that can stand at the Cross coming our way, the more restoration awaits. If we become like Peter, we must return to mercy. We must not become like Judas giving into despair.
We humans are made up of our memory, our intellect and our will. Our intellect helps us to know what is true. Our will, we want to surrender it to God, but we need our memory to do this. Our memory helps us to savor those sweet times when we first encountered Christ. We remember the love, we remember the miracles. It’s how we can know God’s promises are true and we can surrender our will to God’s Will and not abandon God at the Cross. We remember Resurrection. Lord, remember us.
Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory. Collossians 3:2-4
Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:19-20
Over the past few weeks the Lord changed my plans. I was not able to leave my house. I was not able to go to a daily Mass. I was not able to go to adoration. I was stuck at home. Satan pummeled me with thoughts of rejection. “God doesn’t love you,” he screamed. “You’re worthless.”
I knew these were lies. I looked at the news – a new edict that Latin Mass can only be approved by the Holy See…. I felt…. abandoned. A spirit of rejection, a beastly Leviathan, no doubt Christ saw this spirit as He was nailed to the Cross. I cried out to God. I heard an answer, “Do not cling to me.”
“Lord,” I said, “you spoke those words to Mary Magdelene. But that was because you had not yet ascended and sent the Holy Spirit. Why would you say this to me? You have Ascended. The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles at Pentecost! Why Lord?“
The following is what I recorded over several days beginning on March 5, 2023. If what I have written the church says is wrong, then the Church is correct and I am wrong.
Beginning March 5, 2023 – through March 11, 2023
Beloved Lily of the Father,
I AM the incarnate WORD. I walked on the earth, suffered, died and rose. I ascended to the Father and sent down the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, the church, born from my side at the Cross. The place where the human will was nailed so the Divine Will could reign. My mother, the women, and one Apostle stood with me at the Cross. They faced what needed to be faced. I did all this to put the devil under your feet so you become the LOVE which was meant so from the beginning.I am not a brand to be marketed. I am not a political system of equity. I AM LOVE.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part, but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
My Mother walked this path with me, knowing the complete. The Immaculate Conception, outside of time, birthed from two becoming one flesh and from my side at the cross preveniently, created whole, singular. A new Jerusalem who died of love, assumed into the heavens. Thus began the time of tribulation. Throughout time I have sent her back with her spouse the Holy Spirit to reign a mini-Pentecost like a lighthouse on a map. She brought you back to Adoration. A Eucharistic Revival. The time of Justice fast approaches. She will show you my cross where she stood at the foot, she will show you the King of Mercy, because I will it. All light in the heavens will be extinguished. From the holes in my hands and feet I will Illuminate. You will look upon me as my Mother did standing at the cross. You will see who you are. She knew who she was at all times, even in her suffering, never doubting My goodness. Take up your cross and follow me. You must give your FIAT, like Mary, and like Joseph. This is the Epoch of Mary and the Holy Spirit, like a dewfall. Embrace your identity as a daughter or son of the Most High King as it was in the beginning. Repent and believe in Me. This illumination will bring the promised peace and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, a new Pentecost. When you know who you are, peace reigns. The Mediatrix of Grace ushering in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the protection of the Father. There will come a time when she will descend from heaven, a new Jerusalem, a perfected bride, with all God’s people, so I can dwell among them. My church perfected. I will be their God, they will be my people. I will wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain and no more death. Heaven and Earth will be new.
I AM the Alpha and the Omega. Be not afraid. Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.