One Thing Is Needful

Mary and Martha by Harold Copping

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her Luke 10:42

I have written before about the fact that the present situation we find ourselves in as a society has to do with the fact that we have broken the first commandment. It’s about worship.

As if the Lord wants to hammer the point home to me, I have had experiences in both worship and in prayer of late. The Lord talks to me a lot about the wedding feast of the Lamb. And it seems I am being taken in a more traditional direction.

Before everyone gets upset about this or comments I want to say a few things which I have probably said before, but it is worth reiterating. I am not against Vatican II. I am also not a scholar on it. There are some things from that council that I believe were necessary, not the least of which is being able to bury our loved ones who committed suicide with a church burial. This is personal for me. I am grateful for that change.

Most of the documents I have read are beautiful to me and I don’t think say anything that cannot be read through the lens of upholding tradition. And I am not here to say that the Extraordinary Form of Mass will save us. God will save us.

I also don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am flinging poison arrows at specific people or the way things are done. I am grateful for the path I have been taken on, all of it. I don’t think 10 years ago I would have viewed things through the same lens I view them now. God accompanied me to where I am. And one thing he speaks to me about a lot is not judging other people or their interior.

With all of that said, I want to share a moment of prayer I had the other day.

On Tuesday of this week we had a tornado warning where I live and work. I was at work at the time and the sky turned ominously dark and our phones began alerting us to the danger.

I went to the chapel. If a tornado was going to plow through our church, like it did at Church of the Assumption, I wanted to be where I could get to the Eucharistic Lord. As I sat in the chapel praying, I began to feel the Lord speak to me about, of all things, architecture.

Before I explain what He said, I should preface it with what I had previously been told by Priests about the architecture in the churches (for the most part) where I live. Most of the churches where I live have some combination of the tabernacle off to the right, the ambo to the left, the altar in the middle – though some even have this moved slightly to the right also. Many churches had no actual crucifix, at least for a time, but of late they have been brought back.

The Priests back then would explain to me the layout, and it was always something like this;

“The tabernacle to the right – which houses the Eucharist.  The ambo and lectionary highlight to the left.  Showing the equal value of the word and the Eucharist.  Both the word (Scripture) and the Eucharist of equal importance.”

I accepted that explanation as logical and didn’t think too much about it, though innately, I always thought the tabernacle in the center was prettier, and I always had a desire to just shove it over to the center. But I never could explain why.

So as I was praying during the tornado warning looking at the tabernacle off to the right, the Lord simply said to me, “I AM the WORD.”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shine in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:1-5

And then it was as if the Lord explained to me about marriage – and God’s creative power – and the Mass.

The Priest is front and center during the consecration – but he should be facing God (East) away from the people because His offering is towards the Creator who wants the Priest participating in His creative power.  The Priest is speaking the WORD – during the Consecration – partaking in God’s creative power to bring the sacrifice.  The Word becomes flesh – and it dwells among us. It is the offering of us all as one Mystical Body with the Priest acting as the head of the Body.

The Tabernacle should be front and center as well – veiled because it is a marital act of covenant.  When the Word becomes flesh the Priest has a key to the tabernacle to house the Word/Eucharist.  Peter also has the keys to house the Word/Eucharist within the church itself.  Thus impregnating the tabernacle/church.  The Word and the Eucharist one in the same union – never meant to be separated – housed in the tabernacle like a living sanctuary.  Mankind restored to partaking in the creative power of God – the way it was meant to be in the garden before the serpent separated.  The church too a tabernacle.

When the tabernacle is unlocked and the Word – the Eucharistic Lord is distributed – we become the tabernacles of life.  That should bring the light into the darkness of the world.

Separating the Word (as just the bible which does contain the Word but is not the full essence of the Word) from the Eucharistic Lord as if they were two separate things to highlight them as “equally important” actually bore fruit that made neither seem important. It is like separating the marital act from it’s pro-creative power on purpose – like a contraception.  Thus rendering impotent the full meaning of what God wants to do within us and thwarting the union and life giving power he desires for us.

This experience coupled with my experience of rest in the Latin Mass, made me think of the story of Martha and Mary.

Mary is worshiping at the feet of Jesus. Martha is busy preparing a meal. Martha is mad Mary isn’t helping, but Jesus reprimands her and tells her Mary has chosen the good part.

Did you every wonder what would have happened if Martha sat at his feet too? Martha probably thought that the meal would have been horrible. That she was needed to be busy and work to have this meal with our Lord. But I think Jesus would have provided an even better meal, after all He was known to provide miraculous food. What if Martha too had just rested, and let Jesus save her?

And I believe this to be about worship. What if we just rest in Worship and receive Him in reverence and awe? What if we don’t try to save ourselves and we let the creator save us?

Don’t mistake what I am saying to be about not working for the Kingdom. We should all be working and cooperating for the Kingdom. I am simply talking about in worship specifically, what if we just rest and receive? Perhaps our brokeness would be healed.

I know forever I was a very broken daughter. It wasn’t until I handed it all to God and let Him come in fully, that I became a confident daughter. I feel like I have been walked into the deep, to greater reverence in worship, out of the depths of love for my soul that the Father has for me.

I am also grateful for Him walking me there. This means that – I am grateful for all of the Masses I have attended. I am grateful for the path along the way because again – 10 years ago – none of this would have made sense to me.

God truly works all things for the good of those who love him.

In the times we are living in now, the Lord needs us to rest in Him and trust Him fully and completely. And we, as one of my friends always says, just need to take the next right step, when he calls us to action. We will be walking blind, so it’s one step at a time, resting in God when we need to, and working when he calls us to.

Sometimes we even need to be still because God will fight for us. We are not in control, so let the one who is in control fight for our purification.

May God Bless you all. Stay safe out there.

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Confident Daughterhood

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Ephesians 5:1-20

I gave a talk at a Retreat for the Goretti House today on Daughterhood. It was the Feast of the Passion of John the Baptist and 10 years since Veronica’s murder. It was an outdoor venue so hopefully you can hear okay. You can listen to the talk here;

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Repetitive Sin and the Soil of Our Hearts

underlay of Face of Christ by Akiane Kramarik

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom* all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear. Matthew 13:41-43

BY: ASHLEY BLACKBURN

In Sacred Scripture we hear often about weeds. Jesus uses this analogy to teach us about God’s Kingdom because we can see reflected and experience God’s Kingdom in the created world around us. All is made by God, the Creator of the universe, and thus is a reflection of His Divine Image. So what is it about weeds that is such a good tool to teach us about His Kingdom? 

There is a pattern and rules that govern the life and death of weeds on this earth; thus they react in the same way to the same triggers because God created weeds in a particular way and they do not have a choice to do anything other than what they were created to do. Weeds often sprout up really quickly, almost as if out of nowhere. They catch us off guard and for gardens that are not actively working to prevent and get rid of weeds, the weeds will quickly take over and swallow up the plants. 

This being said, weeds also have shallow roots at first. If the soil is loosened up and not hardened, the weed is very easy to pull and uproot if noticed early on. Conversely, if the soil is hardened and dry, the weed will break off, leaving the root stuck in the ground. When this happens the weed will sprout up again since the root was not removed.

Here we see that hard soil, unwatered & untilled, will make it difficult to remove the root of the weed. Without removing the root, we know that the weed will simply grow back. Even though the roots of weeds can go unseen underground for some time, when they break forth from the ground we then notice the weed that was there the whole time. Conversely, if the soil is well taken care of, if it is watered just right, if it is tilled over, the weed will be easily uprooted and thrown out. 

These truths about weeds are also true of sin. This is why Jesus used the analogy of weeds to teach the people about sin and His Kingdom. By looking at the truth of sin that is also reflected elsewhere in God’s creation, we can view it from a detached perspective. When it becomes personal to our own sin, we oftentimes can reject the truth in order to try to preserve ourselves from judgement. 

In relating sin to weeds, Jesus helps us to notice the similar pattern and rules that govern the weed, which in turn also rule and govern sin in His Kingdom. Sin can sprout up really quickly and it seems as if it comes out of nowhere. But in reality the root of that sin has been dwelling underground for quite some time. It has begun sprouting beneath the surface, within our hearts, lying wait until the time of its first breaking forth from the ground. The root of sin underground are the fiery suggestions, the bitterness and anger, the temptations that nag us, the hidden resentment and all other evil thoughts we may have. These roots of sin are dormant in our hearts until we act upon them. 

Due to our concupiscence, our human nature will find it very hard to keep these roots from sprouting up in sinful behaviors. This is why it will never work to simply try to suppress all of our sinful roots because the only way to true healing is to uproot the sin altogether. The weed will always sprout back up until the root is removed.

The Sacrament of Confession can be a very useful tool in breaking off the weed and even uprooting it if the soil of our hearts is good and loose, or open to God. A hardened heart, much like hardened soil, will grasp tightly to the sin. So much so that it will be very hard to remove the root sin from it’s grasp. By going to Confession, we are forgiven for our sin, for the action we took based upon the root of that sin, but the root sin may still lie within our hearts when we leave the confessional. Each and every Confession does in fact break the weed off, it forgives the sin and we start clean again. But the root sin can remain lying dormant in our hearts until we act upon it again, much like the root of a weed lies underground until the weed sprouts forth from the ground once again. 

This can really get us down on ourselves, to continue to go back to Confession time and time again for the exact same sins, especially if we are going to the same priest for Confession on a regular basis. But what happens in regular Confession is that through our going back again and again to confess the same sin, the soil of our hearts is being tilled and watered. The grace of God is nurturing and nourishing the soil of our hardened hearts, the part that has such a strong grasp on that particular root sin, so that eventually the sin can be uprooted and removed forever. With each Sacramental grace conferred upon us we are forgiven and the weed is broken off. But what also happens is the soil is tilled a little more, loosening the grasp on the root, so that our heart will be softened and ready for the sin to be completely uprooted. 

The other option for uprooting a weed amidst the hardened soil is to dig it up with a shovel, to which the entire patch of ground around it is also removed. The grasp of the soil surrounding the root also goes with the root, leaving a gaping hole in the ground. In these instances, we typically have face to face with the truth of our mortality in one way or another. This could be from a critical diagnosis, a sudden or chronic illness, tragedy, a near death experience, or another such event that uproots our entire lives and the root of our sin along with it. These situations, although painful and sometimes traumatic, do in fact remove the root, albeit in a more painful way, and it leaves a gaping hole in our hearts. This hole, can be filled back with sin and destruction or it can be filled with the healing power of the Holy Spirit, which can mean life changing effects on our life. 

In all circumstances, whether sin is uprooted over time or in one fell swoop, once a weed is removed, the hole that remains in our heart must be filled. When we are seeking the Lord, he will in fact fill it with His Spirit, who alone has the only healing salve to renew and mend our wounds. Oftentimes we try to do this step first. We pray and ask for healing, even though we are not willing or able to uproot the sin that is causing the wound. Without first asking the Holy Spirit to convict us and reveal to us what root sin needs to be removed from our hearts, we will continue to remain bound by sin. Where sin remains rooted in our hearts, we will be bound to it, until it is uprooted. The root of sin will always stand in the way of our healing, almost as a mask over our wound. Not until we remove the mask, remove the root, will we be able to truly heal. 

So how do we uproot sin?  It is only when we humble ourselves before the Lord in prayer, opening our hearts before Him as we stand vulnerable before Him, will we be able to identify the root sin. Then and only then, will we be able to work toward uprooting it. Regular Confession and a good examination of conscience are the tools the Church gives us to work on uprooting the sin that has a hold of our hearts. Deliverance Ministry or Spiritual Direction are other options that can bring a tremendous amount of healing. Working with a spiritual guide one on one to unpack your story and help you move forward in faith is what discipleship is all about. 

But most important all of us must be grounded in prayer. We must allow ourselves to be personally discipled by Jesus. He is our true King and will lead us to freedom and fullness of life. Our wounds, that sin has filled in and is covering up, are keeping us from true freedom if we don’t let God heal the soil of our hearts. Through prayer we will cultivate the soil of our hearts, creating good fertile ground for the Spirit to bear good fruit, while always keeping watch over our tendency to sin and the roots that may lie deep within so that we may uproot them before they break ground. 

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Mother of God, Mother of the Church

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

I told you all in my last post that I would expound on what happened on my drive home from the funeral I went to. I will be posting the journal entry I wrote as a result of that trip, but before I do I wanted to add a few things that happened since I have been back home.

First, like many of you my husband and I have started some home projects. When you are stuck at home you start to see where things need to be changed. We had dropped our oldest son off at college, a joy and a sorrow for me, and our youngest daughter, who is a tween mentioned she is wanting to not be in bunk beds anymore. My husband and I set out to disassemble the beds and get her a new one.

As we were taking the beds down, part of the frame of the bed slammed on my left ring finger; right on my wedding band. My finger began to swell and I immediately removed my wedding band so as not to have to get it cut off from swelling. Though the pain was great, my heart hurt more removing my wedding band which I never take off (except when I was pregnant because of swelling then to.) I iced my finger and I am waiting for the swelling to go down so I can put my wedding ring back on.

I went to a low Latin Mass today instead of the regular Novus Ordo I usually attend. I figure what a better day to go than on the feast of Our Lady of Knock. I was excited. It is only my 4th Latin Mass ever. I wasn’t expecting what happened to me. I don’t know why I wasn’t. You all know how I feel about the Latin Mass and I see the Mystical Body in the Liturgy.

To be clear, I do not think the Latin Mass would solve all of the church problems, but there is definitely something about this Liturgy that transcends. I sobbed my way through. For the first time in a while I felt totally spiritually protected in worship. I felt like I was in the womb of the church surrounded in mercy. Though I still don’t know the Mass, I did not have to lead, I did not have to save myself. Christ was clearly the head saving me. I felt totally surrendered and in that felt freedom, which was a respite from the oppression of the world.

As I looked down at my swollen, wedding bandless, finger, I felt as though I myself was a representation of the church – the Body – and swollen with Pride and Idolatry, I was not prepared for the wedding that was meant for my salvation.

Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:8-14

The world has gotten into the church instead of the church changing the world. We really don’t look very different from everyone else. This time period is a time period where we all must focus in prayer on our own purification so we are prepared for the banquet.  Confession, humility and prayer are so key.

I will leave you with what I recorded in my journal after my ride home and these experiences. As always, if the church came out and said what I have written in wrong, then the church is correct and I am wrong.

Beloved Lily of the Father,

Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.

Everything, all of Creation, is in and through me. I AM.

My mother held all of creation in her womb as she held me in her womb.

Union.

She is Theotokos.

The Glory of God’s creation is meant to be housed in you. It is meant to be housed in the church.

The church holds all of creation in its authority because the church holds ME the Eucharistic Christ.

The way the church goes is the way creation will go.

When the church worships my Glory, the church and creation are glorified.

When the church worships idols and brings scandal and sin, she walks the path to crucifixion.

Creation, like my Body on the cross, grows ugly and dark. 3 Days of darkness.

The air turns to poison like sulfer.

But the Mother of God is the Mother of the Church.

In her Immaculate Conception, her ever-Virgin purity, her Divine motherhood, and her Assumption she becomes the Ark through which the faithful are guided Eucharistically, because I will it. Mediatrix of Grace. Sharing in redemption.

I will send an Armada of Angels, equipped like warships to guide the barque back to where it belongs, between the pillars of my Sacred Eucharistic Heart and her Immaculate heart.

Endure and persevere in suffering with a trusting and grateful heart.

The breath of God will feed the air you breathe surrounded by a refuge of angels.

Take part in this cross and God’s glory will shine in a way the earth has not seen since before the fall.

Be grateful, even in the sorrow.

The contrite and pure heart is the key to the Kingdom.

Sing Praise.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever.

John 14:6

Your Divine Spouse

 

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Long Suffering

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the America’s looks down upon the American Flag draped coffin of World War II Fighter Pilot, William Edward Ferris, Jr.

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” John 8:58

The past few months since COVID started everyone is experiencing an uptick in suffering.  These are difficult times.  Times to cling to God.  We lost my sister’s father-in-law Bill, on August 6, 2020, just a few weeks shy of his 98 birthday.  You may remember we lost his wife Reba back in September.  I had taken my own mom and dad with me to Reba’s funeral, but due to COVID, my mom’s stroke, and her diagnosis with vascular dementia, I was unable to take them this time.  My husband and children, due to many varying circumstances couldn’t come with me either.  I made the ride alone.

As always when I write about my conversations with God, if the church came out and said it was wrong, the church is correct and I am wrong.  Know that as you discern what I am about to write.  You may remember awhile back that I posted about 3 Days of Darkness and about the vastness of God and how sin can permeate all of creation.  Taking a 7 hour car ride alone to the funeral, I had much to talk to God about, a continuation of our previous conversations.

God has continually been speaking to me about being grateful in all things.  I have heard the Saints speak of this, and have often tried to be grateful about things, but more often than not I find myself complaining.  After all, suffering is hard, how in the world can one possibly be grateful when your mother looks at you and doesn’t remember who you are?

I told God this was hard.  And during this long journey he began to speak to me about many things, on the way to the funeral he mostly spoke to me of suffering, and I gained a new perspective.

We know that when sin came into the world, that original sin was passed to all of us, and we know that it is sin that brought death and suffering.  Prior to the fall there was no death and man was in union with the will of God, a place where there was no suffering.

I asked the Lord about my mom.  He said that all suffering is from sin coming into the world, but not all suffering placed on an individual is because of their own personal sin.  This I already knew, but He expanded my view.  We are a Mystical Body that was created at the beginning of time and we are all connected.  The Lord showed me how generations of sin resulted in diseases over time.  We were never meant to have diseases, but as the rift of sin grows deeper, the further we get as a Body get from the Divine Physician, the more we get sick, and the more we rely on ourselves to heal.  We are at a point where things are exploding because of the culmination of thousands of years of sin.

Jesus came to pay this debt of sin.  But he didn’t come to do it and be the only one loving.  He came to do it to show us how to love, how to pay back the debt.  We could never pay it without him, but he does seek our cooperation in it.  This is because God is Glory.  But He doesn’t just want the Glory for Himself.  He wants it for us.  He wants to divinize us.  God is Love and He wants us to be Love too, but not the fake mimicry that Satan says is love, God’s love is self-sacrificing.

He showed me two biblical stories in this regard.  And then he showed me my own personal story.

The first was the story of Job.  We all know the story.  Job was a righteous man.  In fact in the beginning of the book of Job we see him offering sacrifice for the sins of his children.  A father’s love does that.  And here we see the devil ask God if he can basically go after Job.  And God says yes, which to all of us may seem so cruel.  Why would God allow the devil to go after the righteous man?  What I felt the Lord show me was that because Job is part of the Mystical Body, he was participating in the expiation of sin.  And the amazing thing about this is that he was doing it before Christ came in time.  We see Job complain, we see him curse the day he was born, but what we don’t see is Job turning away from God, who Job knows is good.  Do you see that?  All that suffering, and Job clings to God.  When Job is taken into the whirlwind he puts his hand to his mouth at the immensity of it.  And what I felt like God showed me was that God in showing Job His Glory, also showed Job how Job himself was glorified, how Job had really made reparation for sin, how the Lord would restore him and his family, both the ones he lost, and the ones to be born.

The next story is the story of the man born blind in the 9th Chapter of John.  Jesus is clear in this story that neither the man, nor his parents sinned, but we can know that eyes are supposed to see, so that fact that they didn’t see we can deduce is borne of sin – just not his sin or his ancestors – it had to be the sin of another in the Mystical Body.  Jesus says he is blind so the works of God might be displayed in him.  And then Jesus uses clay and tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam.  Jesus uses the materials of creation to heal the man born blind.  It shows not only the Glory of God, but it glorifies the man and the physical things of creation itself.

It was here that the Lord took me to my own story.   My post-partum depression was a time of immense suffering for me.  I wanted to die.  The Lord showed me how I made a choice to cling to him and how in that clinging to him I was repairing for generations of sin, repairing in a way that would even spare my own children suffering.  And I cried, and I was so grateful.  I was grateful for my post partum depression.  And I praised and thanked God for it that my children could be spared because of my own suffering.

We have two choices when suffering comes our way, cling to God, or fall away.  When we fall away the darkness gets larger, creation gets sicker, suffering becomes more.  When we cling to him, the light becomes brighter, the grace fills us up, we partake in the cross, and Resurrection awaits.

When we suffer with a grateful heart, it looks like Maximilian Kolbe singing praise as he was starved for 11 days and just wouldn’t die until they gave him a lethal injection.  People in that concentration camp knew there was something different going on, and the man he saved they protected after his death.  Franciszek Gajowniczek was saved not just by Maximilian, but by others who saw what Maximilian did for him and protected him afterwards.  He lived to see the Saint be canonized.  God’s glory spread.  Reparation was made.  Maximilian was glorified by God but so were countless souls for whom he partook in the Cross of Christ that was given to him.

 

So I went back to thinking about my mom in her stroke and memory loss and my dad who has suffered severe back pain and I thought about what I see them doing, even through memory loss, even through back pain.  They are praying.  They are taking all of it to God.  Dad even prays the names of people outloud and offers up his pain for them.  Mom in her memory loss hasn’t forgotten the Rosary.  And I remembered that long suffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and I knew why.  It is reparation in a world that so desperately needs it; a world that is steeped in sin, generations of sin.  And many of our elderly are the praying kind of people because they learned long ago that someone else is in control.  Our elderly right now, dying alone of COVID, and locked down in isolation because of it, they are making reparation when they hand it to God.  In a place where those of us who love them have so little control, we can ask the Lord to Bless them and keep them all the days of their lives.  And we can be grateful, so so grateful for them, even in the suffering of all of us.

As I went to the funeral for Mr. Ferris, a man who was like second dad me, I was sorrowful and joyful, this made me understand the heart of our Blessed Mother whose sorrows were also her joys.  In Bill’s own long suffering, surviving two plane crashes, the war, and several other life altering and changing situations we saw a life well lived.  A man that while he was capable never missed Mass.  A man who prayed the Rosary with his family while his wife passed away.  You can be grateful in the sorrow.

 

Requiescat in Pace Mr. Ferris, we will be praying for you, please pray for us!

In the next couple of days I will be posting about what the Lord and his Mother spoke to me about on the way home from this trip.

Saint John of the Cross, pray for us!

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Build me a Temple

Shrine of the Mostt Blessed Sacrament

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama

The evil of which Christians will render themselves guilty by persecuting the Holy Church, will bring her honor, light and the perfume of virtues. After the tribulation and distresses, God, through a means unforeseen by men, will purify His Holy Church, and renew the spirit of His elect. Such a reformation of the church of God and such a renovation of holy pastors shall ensue that the sole thought of it makes my spirit exalt in the Lord. The spouse of Christ is now, as it were, disfigured and clothed in rags, but then she shall be resplendent in beauty: she will appear adorned with precious jewels and crowned with a diadem of all the virtues. All the faithful people will rejoice to see her endowed with such holy pastors. As for the unbelieving nations, they will be attracted by the good odor of Jesus Christ; they will return to the fold of Catholicity; they will be converted to the true Pastor and Bishop of their souls. Return, then, thanksgiving to the Lord, because after the tempest He will give to his church peace and joy which shall be extraordinary. – Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) from the book by her Spiritual Director Blessed Raymond Capua – The Life of Saint Catherine of Siena.

I came across the quote above from Saint Catherine of Siena the other day.  It’s hard to believe she wrote that in the 1300’s, hundreds of years before the Reformation, and before our modern day scandals in the church.  I knew her prophetic words to be true and it gave me great hope.  A church resplendent in beauty and holy pastors.  I also know here we are some 600 years later and her vision of the church has still not come to fruition.  Christ’s bride is still disfigured and in rags, more so than it was even in her day.

I had been feeling the need to have a respite of late.  I don’t have to tell all of you, but it’s hard out there.  Maintaining even prayer can be difficult, but it is most essential during these times.  Pray whenever you can.

I was awakened in the middle of the night the other night with a picture in my head.  It was this one;

incense below monstrance

This picture was taken in April when we had no public Masses here.  The incense never rose and just sat in a straight line below the Monstrance.   Our prayer not rising to the heavens, as if God was saying, “no I cannot hear you, you have removed worship of me.”  In my startled state of being awakened, the Lord simply said, “it’s about worship.”

I have spoken before about how we have many idols and we have broken the first commandment.  Time and again all throughout biblical history curse is brought upon Israel when they violate the first commandment.  It is no different for us.

Over the years I have heard many leaders tell me many things.  One of the most egregious was that Jesus can take care of Himself.  We don’t need to worry about the Eucharist because He is God He can take care of Himself.  I have heard some even have gone as far as to say He hops in and out of the Eucharist as He wills it.

Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, [and] come down from the cross!  Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.  Matthew 27:39-42

For those of us who are blessed enough to be able to go back to Mass, we have seen hand sanitizer put on the altar at the third elevation and vigorously rubbed on hands as a display for all to see.  A distraction from our Eucharistic Lord, as if to say, “Behold the Lamb of God and Hand Sanitizer.”

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25

I have even been told that an unmasked “Amen” will cause droplets of virus to spread.  The proclamation of “truly” I believe in the real presence of Our Lord is cause for suspicion of sickness.

And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.”And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:57-58

To be clear, there is sickness, it is real and it won’t go away until we get to the heart of the matter and turn back to God in repentance.  We can use the means of men, by using masks and hand sanitizer but they are not Our Savior, and until we admit our wrongdoing we keep the Savior from saving.

We have seen abuses for years, it just becomes more pronounced now, and many faithful are left feeling like this;

Mary and Mary Magdalene 2

Trying to be reverent and repair for the abuse.

I was feeling tired and beaten down.  I was trying to be grateful, trying to be thankful, but I was failing.  The worlds darkness seemed to be taking over.  And as if the Lord knew what I needed he sent a messenger to reignite my hope.

My friend Brad Schepisi from Laudare.org sent out a message inviting people to go to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.  It was just what I needed.

For those of you who don’t know, the Shrine was built from a Mystical experience Mother Angelica had with the Divine Child.  He told her, “Build Me a Temple and I will help those who help you.”

Divine Child 3

Statue of the Divine Child outside of the Shrine

Anyone who has ever been there knows Mother listened to the Divine Child.  This is a place of beauty, reverence and awe.  Adoration takes place throughout the day.  Confession is offered daily as is Mass.

I was always struck by the fact that it was the Divine Child who held out his heart to her.  But in these days we live in it makes complete sense.  You see, those people who say that Jesus can take care of Himself are correct, He can.  But that isn’t how He chose to come here and do things.  He came as a vulnerable child and placed Himself in the hands of Mary and Joseph, who would never have expected Him to take care of Himself as an infant child.  They did their part in caring for Him and making sure He was not abused, fleeing to Egypt when His young life was threatened.  He came to teach us to cooperate with Him, to cooperate with true love, not so He could be the only one loving.

We too can treat the Eucharist like they treated the infant, or we can treat the Eucharist like Christ was treated on the cross.  It’s the latter that makes Mary’s heart sorrowful that we see so much of today.

I arrived at the Shrine around 10:00 a.m. and just prayed in adoration.  I prayed for our Priests, our country, my family and friends.  I just prayed in the silence.  The silence only broken by the Poor Clare’s reciting the Rosary from behind the cloistered wall before Mass.

During the Consecration at Mass I had a moment.  A moment in my head where I felt as though Jesus showed me a timeline as seen through the lens of the Passion, in relation to the Mystical Body of Christ.   The Passion of the Church, the Bride of Christ was how it was relayed to me.  I felt as though the Lord was showing me all of the times that people professed his name and were members of the church, but they were harming His body.

The early church heresies were like the scourging, Arias and others ripping chunks from His body.  His eye pummeled and beaten by Henry VIII.  Luther pulling his arm from the socket.  We’re now entering into the suffocation of sex scandal and idolatry.

But soon the Lance will pierce our hearts and living water and blood will pour out over all of creation.  We will be converted to the true Pastor and Bishop of our souls.

And so I sat grateful looking up at God instead of down on humanity.  I got up to leave Mass and ran into Mary Pat, Joel and Ann and their friend who are in my Diocese and are lovely faithful people.  It is so edifying to see the light of faith in others.  I headed off to lunch.  I ate lunch with new friends Brad, Blaine, Marge and Cody, and again was strengthened by these people of faith all around.  After lunch as I was headed to the bookstore I ran into Jesus;

Jonathan Roumie

Actor Jonathan Roumie who plays Jesus on The Chosen 

For those of you who don’t know, there is a new series called The Chosen.  If you haven’t watched it you should.  It is an actual series based on the life of Christ.  It does of course take liberty with the story, but remains as true to the historical context and scripture as it can.  It has brought me to tears and made me to know that miracles are real.  I told Jonathan I had binged watched the series twice.  He opened his jacket and his shirt said, “binge Jesus.”  I laughed out loud.  Indeed, if we binge on anything we should binge on Jesus.  I was like a star stuck geek.

What a blessing to be reminded of Jesus Christ by the actor who plays him.  Who knew Jesus was Catholic? lol.  He speaks openly of his love for the Eucharist.

After meeting him I went outside to head to the Crypt Church where Mother Angelica is buried.

Mother Angelica's grave

As I headed outside I could see a wicked storm brewing.  Lightening was flashing all over.  I headed down to the crypt quickly.  Because of COVID almost every activity has been moved to the upper church so when I arrived at the Crypt, no one was there.  I went and sat down and prayed alone.  The storm was so wicked the lights in the crypt were flashing on and off.  I felt like I was truly in a tomb as a storm raged outside.  But I also felt safe in this tomb, totally surrounded in an armor of protection and knowing that a perhaps future Saint in Mother Angelica was there with me.  Being in the tomb, the place where we die to self and hand everything to God because He is the keeper of the storm.  I trusted.

As the day came to a close I said goodbye to friends and I drove away knowing that God is good, all the time, even when we can’t always feel it.

Mother Angelica sure did build a temple, and she definitely helped me.  Mother Angelica, pray for us!

Be blessed out there.

 

 

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Justified

wheat

photo by Bridget Touhey

Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat Luke 22:31

As Catholics we know we are sanctified by Jesus Christ, but we are justified by our works and not faith alone.

See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  James 2:24

Today I want to talk to you about how one of these works is to admit our wrong doing.  We often try to justify why we committed a sin. When we do this we actually block the salvific work God wants to grace upon us.  Our justification of our sin actually blocks Jesus from saving us.  I want to tell you a personal story in this regard to help demonstrate the point.

Probably about 4 or 5 years ago I went to confession to my Spiritual Director.  I was listing my sins and I told him, “I told a white lie”.  You see, I wanted him to know the lie that I told was venial because my intent was good.  I told the lie because I didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.  He just looked at me and said, “don’t do that.”  I said, “don’t do what?” He answered, “sugar coat your sin.”  I left a little stunned and had to ponder what he said.

A few weeks later while visiting a church on vacation I went to confession to a Priest who was known to be particularly harsh.  Remembering what my Spiritual Director told me, and having told another lie with “good” intent, I simply said to this Priest, “I lied.”  This Priest bellowed at me, “nobody likes a liar.”  Indeed.  I actually started laughing.  And I knew he was right.  I know a lot of people would be wounded at the harshness of these statements to me in confession, but I was not.  I was grateful, super grateful, because I left that day intent on never lying again.  Because of these Priests I became a woman of my word and I learned how to operate in life without incorporating this sin as part of it which made my life more peaceful and joyful.

It is the job of our Priests and Bishops to help purge us of sin.  When we look for justification for what we are doing we never get better.  We circle the drain of temptation and sin, never elevating beyond to be uplifted to Sainthood.  What I had been doing was justifying my sin.  When I justify my sin I am trying to save myself and God cannot step in and save me.  When I admit my sin, I disarm the devil, who is trying to accuse me and keep me stuck in guilt and shame.  “You’re a liar”, he says, but I can now respond, yes I did that and I handed it to My Lord.  This is when the Lord can step in and stomp on the head of the accuser.  His power made perfect in my weakness, but only when I humble myself enough to allow him to.

Throughout these past several years with all of the sex scandal that has surrounded the church, I have looked for the Bishop who simply says, “We were wrong.  We covered up.  This is our sin.  Please forgive us.”  If this happened we would see the saving power of God come down like He saved Ninevah who repented in sack cloth and ashes.   We would see sin purged.  Instead, generally what I see is the cover up, the lack of transparency, not releasing investigative work, the circling of lawyers and the pointing of fingers;

The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Genesis 3:12

Did you ever wonder if Adam and Eve had just said I did it and I am sorry I was wrong, what would have happened?  Would God have kept them in the garden?  Even in their hiding and justification of their sin, God was still merciful to them.  What if they had just admitted it?

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. Revelation 22:14

God will make everything transparent so it is just better for your soul if you recognize this and are transparent yourself.  That’s when grace can pour into you.  The church institution would do well to understand this because if they don’t God will make them understand.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13

On an individual level you can only purge yourself of sin.  The more of us that do this the more God will raise up Saints.  Stop being offended by Priests who try to better you and instead listen to them.  Do not try to justify your sin.  Instead admit your wrongdoing in the name of justice, and let God pour salvific grace and mercy into your soul.

 

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Cause of Our Joy

Photo By Bridget Touhey

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls 1 Peter 1-8:9

I had the privilege this evening of being interviewed by Joe Ott who has a radio show in Massachusetts called Cause of Our Joy. You can listen below.

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Divine Mercy, The Great Illumination of Conscience and the Mark of the Beast

Photo By Bridget Touhey

Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. Revelation 7:3

I am always hesitant to write things like what I am about to write today. I am not schooled in eschatology, nor do I pretend to be. I am simply a woman who prays and writes down my thoughts. What I am about to share, if the church came out and says it is wrong then the church is correct and I am wrong. Everything I write is for your own discernment and prayer and I submit fully to the authority of the church. What I am about to share came from a conversation where I was lamenting to God. This is not a conversation about masks. I do not seek your medical advice, I am simply sharing my thoughts and feelings. I will not allow comments through that seek to push an opinion about masks on other people who are capable of their own discernment.

I hate the masks.  I wear them because of my close proximity to my elderly parents. But I hate them. I feel as though they remove real relationship and we treat one another as lepers. I do not judge what others decide, it is between them and God and I am not here to control people.

I was speaking to the Lord about the masks and he simply said to me, “if I could show you all the harm your past words have caused and who they caused them to, you would want to wear the mask.  Though you are forgiven, you could never repair the harm that was done, that is why you need me.”  And I had a flash in my head of all the words I screamed at people in anger – and from long long ago.  One instance in particular from when I was 10 years old and spoke hurtful words to a classmate. Though I had confessed the sin and know wholeheartedly that I am forgiven, the words were already out there waiting for a demon to attach to them and carry them out. When the Lord showed me this the other day I knew I could spend all my days trying to repair – and it would never be enough.  It was like a ripple from my mouth into the lives of others that brought judgment, despair and loneliness to them.  If I didn’t know of His mercy and healing power I would have caved at the weight of it all. His mercy and healing power are my only recourse. So I handed it to Him. I trust in Him to heal it.

I decided then and there to look at these masks as reparation.  I cannot tell you how much my words have hurt others.  It made me never ever want to complain again and I am asking the Lord to hold my tongue and bring praise and joy to the world.  It is still hard though, concupiscence is deeply ingrained. 

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. Matthew 12:36

And this moment brought me to the realization that there will be a great illumination of conscience. And I saw just how hard it would be for even the most faithful. When we see ourselves how we are and the ripple effect of what we have done, it will be astonishingly hard. It will be hard to accept His mercy because we will realize just how much we don’t deserve it. It may seem impossible that anyone would reject His mercy, but after this experience I know some souls will reject it as a lie because they will not be able to accept how sinful their own actions were. And either through shame and despair, or pride and envy, they will reject him.

I believe the message of Divine Mercy that was brought to us through Saint Faustina will culminate with this Illumination of Conscience. God prepared us through Saint Faustina because when we see the reality of who we are we will be profoundly ashamed. But the Lord doesn’t want that. He wants us profoundly healed. And when this illumination happens I believe in the interior of each soul he will show the image of Mercy that Saint Faustina had painted so that we will recognize His mercy and accept it. He sent a prophet to pave the way. A voice crying out in the wilderness.

Jesus I trust in you.

This illumination is not a judgment, but a gift of mercy, though it may feel like a judgment, hence why some will reject Him. This rejection is actually a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – the unforgivable sin. 

It is here that we will be marked.

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. Dairy of Saint Faustina 1146

It is important to understand that this marking is not a thing, it is a decision; a free will’s choice. We will have the opportunity to accept or to reject mercy. Could things be used in forming our decision, yes, but a thing cannot force us to choose something against our will. If someone were to force something upon you that was evil (whether it be a tracker or vaccine or whatever you hear these days), if it is forced, your will was not involved in that. It is a decision of our own will that marks us. We get to chose how we are marked.

We will either be marked as servants of God, or marked with the beast.

After this mark the battle will rage fiercely. But because of our experience with Divine Mercy, we will know for sure the loving mercy of our God, so we can enter the battle prepared, for He does not leave His children orphaned. We will all suffer, but we will know the loving goodness of our God which will help us persevere.

I see this marking with the acceptance of Divine Mercy as the beginnings of God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. He is purifying us. This will usher in the era of the Divine Will, and I see beauty, peace and glory, much like the Apostles experienced at Pentecost.

Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Acts 2:43

When we walk in the Divine Will, true peace on earth happens. I do not think this is the end of the world but the beginning of a better one. I see joy and hope in the future. A people who rely on their God instead of themselves.

I have no idea about timelines or how it happens or what exactly happens, and though I think we should watch and pay attention and be watchers, the most important thing is our cooperative effort to allow God to purify us so that when the time comes we accept His mercy and His will and His glory fill us.

He wants us resting in the bosom of the Father. Resting in the Sacred Heart, like Mary and Joseph are. Sacred. Immaculate. Guardian. Beloved (you).

until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet. Luke 20:43

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Focus on the Who and the Why

I will make a covenant for them on that day,
with the wild animals,
With the birds of the air,
and with the things that crawl on the ground.
Bow and sword and warfare
I will destroy from the land,
and I will give them rest in safety. Hosea 2:20

As I have stated before I write in my journal what pops in my head as if God is speaking to me. If the church came out and said what I have written is wrong, then the church is correct and I am wrong. Know that as you discern what I wrote. I have no commentary on this as I just want to relay what I feel was spoken to me.

Beloved Lily of the Father,

The wages of sin is death.  All of creation is affected by it.  From the beginning, free will’s choice echos throughout creation. 

Choose purity.  Repent and repair.

Sin makes creation a mere mimicry of what I intended. Everything a fraction of what it could be. A facade that comes crashing down when the human heart makes a god of itself by listening to the evil one.  The result is a synthetic mirror of reality.  Synthetic hormones and engineered plants, trying as you may to create what only the creator can make good and beautiful.  Cooperation with I AM brings genuine flourishing and union.

When man chooses sin – dark energy and dark matter expands, speeding up velocity of time.  A cosmic acceleration.  A war between dark matter and dark energy of destruction, and the gravity of union.  One expanding the universe in love and the other expanding destruction like a collapsing black hole.  Love in the human heart expands and unites galaxies.

I AM bigger than you can possibly comprehend.  You are connected in a way you do not understand or see.

My Will is love.

My Will is communion.

You ask yourselves how? and what?,  but the question should be who? and why? 

You sought the tree of knowledge.

Did you not know that if you sought the tree of life I would provide knowledge?  Knowledge of GOOD, Knowledge of purity.  It was always yours.

The answer lies inside the human heart.  I came to show you who I AM.

Your purpose is to glorify who I AM which glorifies you.  That’s why you were created.

You were created for me, LOVE, that’s the Who you were created for.

The violation of the first commandment hands your domain, all of it, to the evil one, who destroys what is good.  It’s a choice.

The time has come when there will be no celebration.  Your land will be taken. 

You will be stripped naked.

I will illuminate the depths of your souls because if I left you to your own accord you would decay like a rotting corpse.  It is not so with me.

This is the miracle of Divine Mercy.

It illuminates the dark so you can see.

Those who deny my mercy will cry out in vain.  Those who accept it will walk in the Divine Will.

Fire will fall from the skies.

You live in a world of fake mimicry.  The time has come to exchange the plastic string of pearls for the genuine pearls.

If you knew how far your sin permeated you would do everything you could to stop.  When you cooperate my power is made perfect in your weakness.  Purity spreads.

Dense darkness is accelerating and clouds the mind.

But repentance and confession allows me to pour into your soul.

I endured this darkness in the Garden, you share in my suffering.

Pray for My Will on earth as it is in heaven.

Everything is connected.

It begins in my Sacred Heart which illuminates your heart and extends Divine Mercy.  Mercy accepted will bring you, the beloved, into union with the Divine Will.  Resting and beating with the hearts of the Holy Family.  Sacred.  Immaculate. Guardian.  Beloved.

Peace I leave with you.

You will be amazed.

Be not afraid.

Hosea 2

Your Divine Spouse

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