Category Archives: Prayer

Finding God in “The Young Eyes”

As I was on my usual walk today with my dog, I was praying with the Lord. I had thought to pray the Rosary, but I was enlightened by the pleasantness of His Holy Spirit. My prayer was to Him to know Him when He is near. Then He said,

Find Me in the young eyes.

What do you find in “the young eyes”? Here’s what I think: You find youth, life, wonder, receptivity, joy and innocence.

Interestingly, this brings urgency to the fight against abortion. We may even find God in the eyes of those en-wombed infants whose very existence reflects the youth, life, wonder, receptivity, joy and innocence of our merciful God Who is Love Itself.

But even more, it is “the young eyes” of the spirit, that spiritual lens through which babes observe and judge. “The young eyes”, having yet to be bent over and corrupted by “the world,” have a clear eye through which goodness is seen in its true glory and evilness is seen as clearly as a Just Judge can see it. But, it is through “the old eyes” that those, injured by “the world,” having angrily forfeited or refused recourse to God now see goodness as evilness and evilness as goodness. “The old eyes” have grown dim, scratched and useless, and “the body” follows suit. Do not seek to find God in “the old eyes.” For as the Lord did say,

…but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [Matthew 6:23]

Make no mistake, even the elderly who lean on God in prayer and works can have “the young eyes.” For as the Lord did say,

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light...[Matthew 6:22]

As a babe can be “full of light,” so too can the elderly who are receptively filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in humble obedience and producing the fruits of the Spirit which are:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. [Galatians 5:22-23a]

Seen yet another way, we may look for God in the eyes of the holy and virtuous nuns and brothers who are fruitful in all of their ways and who do not go after titles and power and money and other things which seem desirable to the worldly and which bring corruption to those who abuse them for self gain. For as the Lord did say,

But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now,
    for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who are laughing now,
    for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. [Luke 6:24-26]

Yes, look for God in “the young eyes.”

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Why Jesus Waited 30 Years to Start His Ministry

While I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the the Rosary yesterday (17 April 2018), I began meditating on the divinity of God in such a humble, helpless, undeveloped form of a tiny infant in the arms of His barely 15-year old Mother Mary. Why does He come as an infant and then wait 30 years before starting His ministry?

It seemed that He, as a 12-year old boy was going to start His ministry when He was lost for 3 days and then showed up in the Temple – “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” [Luke 2:49]. But, no; that seemed to be a test for whether His parents could handle it. They were clearly not ready at that time, for “When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.'” [Luke 2:48].

So, why wait until age 30? Understanding and loving His Mother dearly, He was waiting for His Mama to be ready. She had to tell Him when to begin, and she did, at the Cana wedding:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” [John 2:1-5]

Mother Mary was there, and it was then that she signaled her readiness for His ministry by almost literally directing Him to perform a miracle – immediately. Mother Mary did so boldly and without hesitation. She knew who He is, what He must do, and why He was waiting. And so, with her approval, He knew that the time had come.

My sweet, tender Mama is ready. Let the Redemption begin…

Lenten Appeals – Is Jesus Embarrassed?

Today, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our pastor reminded us about the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, an annual exercise where pastors are required to direct their parishioners, while sitting in the pews, to actually fill out annual financial pledges for the Diocese.  He briefly reminded us about the pledge cards (from last Sunday) before he began the homily this morning.  I really appreciated the brevity, as it is our desire at that time to learn a lesson of God, not to be lectured on the needs of our very, very wealthy Diocesan church.

Resurrection and WoundsInterestingly, during he Liturgy of the Eucharist, with my eyes closed, I saw in my mind our resurrected Jesus Christ dressed in a common, dirty and dingy one-piece ankle-length tunic, as if atoning, standing behind the priest and deacon at the altar, inaudibly exhorting,

Come, all you who are thirsty and hungry! Come, take, eat, drink for free!  I give it freely! 

The Lord our God exhorts us that He does not charge us for His love.  He does not require from us a tithe to Him for what He offers.  It is offered freely, out of true love.  And, He gives us a symbol of personal atonement and embarrassment, on our behalf.

I sensed His embarrassment about the calls for funds, calls which seem to constantly emanate from the ambo in the sanctuaries of our parish chapels during these times.  The message is, “If you pay us, we will serve you and ourselves, too.”  This is not the Lord’s message, though, and He wants to make that clear.  For-pay permanent deacons, heed this warning.

I sensed His atonement for the sins of the Church Hierarchy.  The Lord is embarrassed at the many scandals which have been revealed – scandals at the hands of cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, teachers and parents – and instead of the Hierarchy contritely atoning for sins, it continues – administering daily routines – focusing on the money that can be gathered in from the hands of the Faithful during this season of alms-giving, fasting and prayer.  But, who is atoning besides Jesus?  That is, who is making amends, in their hearts, for the wrongs that have been perpetrating on the Church by its own Hierarchy?

Perhaps, during Lent, the Church Hierarchy should be atoning with Jesus Christ and alms-giving, not project-promoting and wealth-begging.  Certainly, projects are necessary, but, perhaps, now during Lent is a very good time for atoning.  For as it is written and as it was read at the Ash Wednesday Liturgy of the Word,

Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'” [Joel 2:17]

The Lord Jesus makes Himself present and known, “I Am here!  Know Me. I Am not leaving you.”  But, the Church Hierarchy sometimes makes Him seem less present, less real, more like Money, less like Love, less like He Who Atones and Redeems.  If priests participate in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, then priests should be moved, internally, to offer more outward signs of atonement for the sins of the Hierarchy.

At the end of the Mass for the final blessing, our Lord Jesus stood behind the altar, in front of His Tabernacle, and, with eyes closed,  I only saw His blessing.

 

Jesus and Jacob’s Joseph – Similarities?

Several weeks ago, while I was on yet another Rosary walk and praying the Joyful Mysteries, I had an inspiration.  This occurred as I was getting ready to meditate on the 5th mystery (Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple).  I’m finally writing it now because when I get an inspiration, I must write it.

In my mind I was prompted to think, “What happened to Jesus?  Why was he lost and his parents had no idea where he was?”

Here is St. Luke’s account of what happened:

188012-mary-and-joseph-find-jesus-learning_smWhen the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. [Luke 2:43-47 NRSVCE]

The Navarre Commentaries on the subject states that when the Jews would travel to and from the Temple for the Feast of Passover, the men and women of Nazareth would travel in two different groups and the children were allowed to travel in either group.  So, it is likely that there was a miscommunication between Mary and Joseph on whether Jesus would travel with her or with him.

The inspiration was that Jesus, because he was such a good and virtuous child and because the “legend” was likely known, or at least rumored, that he was born the “king of the Jews” and “Son of God, was not well-liked by his cousins who were jealous, and that one of Jesus’s cousins deceived Mary and Joseph into thinking that Jesus would go with him, instead of Mary or Joseph, on the trip back to Nazareth – either with the men or the women, but then deceived Jesus into thinking that Mary or Joseph wanted him to wait at the Temple for them to pick him up.  After neither of them came, he stayed at the Temple, where he was found 3 days later by his astonished parents.    [Now, what made this so believable was the memory of Jacob’s son Joseph, whose story is told in Genesis 37 – 47, whose 11 brothers tried to kill him because he was so good and favored.  But I will take that up later.]

This theory becomes evident here:

When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”  He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. [Luke 2:48-50 NRSVCE]

His parents had no idea that he would be at the Temple, and Jesus thought that they knew he would be at the Temple because of his cousin’s mischievous lie.

On the way home, Jesus said nothing about the cousin’s mischief.  Jesus decided, in virtue, to keep the matter between him and his cousin, to see if Jesus could impress upon him why what his cousin did to him was wrong.  Jesus showed him what he had done – what might have happened and what would still happen similar to the story of Joseph son of Israel [Genesis 37-47].  Then Jesus, in his great love and mercy, forgave his cousin who was sorry.

Now, not stated in Sacred Scripture is the realization that this event was a symbol for what would happen in the future – that Jesus would be deceived by one, be killed, but then be resurrected a true King and Savior in 3 days.

As I stated early, if it can happen to Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), then it could happen to Jesus for many of the same reasons, too.  For, as it is written of Jacob’s Joseph:

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words…So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. [Genesis 37:5-8, 11]

Further, his brothers tried to kill Joseph and mislead his parents, too:

joseph-in-pitSo Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits…[Genesis 37:17-20 NRSVCE]

Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They had the long robe with sleeves[c] taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. [Genesis 37:31-34 NRSVCE]

Joseph then is sold into slavery, rises to power as governor over the lands of Egypt, and is discovered there years later by his brothers who had tried to kill him.  Joseph, knowing who they are, does this:

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. [Genesis 45: 1-5, NRSVCE]

Joseph, realizing what God had done to and for him and why, accepted God’s will and forgave his brothers.  Jesus, knowing his Father’s will and plan, also forgave his cousin for his mischief.

The story of Jacob’s Joseph made it clear to me what had happened to Jesus, how and why he had been lost for 3 days.  He was not well-liked as a child – he had the heavy burden of being not only virtuous and favored in every way, but having already the title of “king of the Jews” and “Son of God” as a child.  This was a hard burden on him – waiting until his mother, Mary was prompted to set in motion his mission and ministry at the Wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

The Living Music that Calms, Sustains

Pretty Singing FlowerThere have been times during my personally-sung Morning Prayer (Lauds) that I have heard a beautiful form of what I can only believe to be divine music which, in a mystical way is alive – living.  I hear what I imagine could be music which comes from living creatures who know their music and who must cooperate with an unseen director or choreographer to blend their music into a soothing rhythm which is beautiful, sustaining the spirit.  I become like a hidden spectator – there, but not there, a temporary spectator of a hidden place and event, hearing music in parallel to my own sung melodies.  The tones are low and rumbling, the beat is enlivening and energetic but moderate, and it seems to be a combination of winds (large woodwinds and things with expanding skins – like one would find in a big bullfrog but which looks more like a big air-breathing mushroom), soft drums, and “shish-shish-ing” shakers – things which are natural in their construction, perhaps even alive, and all harmonizing in low, soothing tones.  flowers-from-alice-in-wonderland-disneyThere are no metallic instruments at all – no sharp tones – no humans or humanoid creatures holding and playing anything artificial.  It’s all organic.  It’s all comforting.  It’s all phantasmic.  I hope it’s true.  I hope I hear it again when I sing Morning Prayer again.

Scriptural Authority of Mary, Mother of Jesus

When praying the Mysteries of Light (aka, Luminous Mysteries) last week on my Rosary walk, I had this “eureka” event where a truth suddenly became as a light in my mind.  I love it when these inspirations happen. It’s no wonder that it would happen while praying the Mysteries of Light!

Luminous-MysteriesThe Mysteries of Light include meditations on five historical and mysterious revelations found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These are:

  1. Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River;
  2. Christ’s self-manifestation at the wedding feast of Cana;
  3. Christ’s call to conversion via his proclamation of the kingdom of God;
  4. Christ’s Transfiguration; and
  5. Christ’s institution of the Eucharist as sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

Now, when I was praying, I realized a strong connection between the words of Mother Mary at the wedding feast of Cana (Mystery 2.) and the words of God the Father at the Transfiguration (Mystery 4.)  At the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus performs the miracle of turning water into 180 gallons of good wine – at his Mother Mary’s prompting, Mary tells the wait staff, “Do whatever he tells you.”  [John 2:5]  She states this with an authority which is understated here, yet fully effective.

the-transfiguration-of-jesus

Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

Likewise, at the Transfiguration, an epiphany where the divinity of Jesus is made evident to the Apostles Peter, James and John, God the Father tells the apostles,  “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” [Matthew 17:5]  Of course, God the Father is gently speaking with authority here.

So, we see here a type of shared authority and will which Mother Mary has with God the Father in regard to their Son, Jesus Christ.  With authority and will, they both direct all to follow the commands and counsels of Jesus Christ.  Do you see?

Yet many, especially in Protestant Christian circles, and even believing in Sola Scriptura, tend to down play Mary’s role in the kingdom of God.  Some say that the Holy Spirit purposefully kept her quiet.  Okay.  But, God the Father does not speak much either.  Yet both command authority over our Lord, Jesus Christ, and both  – knowing who Christ is and the power and mission he has – knowledgeably direct our attention to Jesus Christ, and this is certainly scriptural.

It is no wonder that, in her great wisdom and understanding and in light of anti-Catholic resistance, that the Church also formally proclaimed the Queenship of Mary in the encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam.  Even Sacred Scripture refers to Mother Mary as a queen:

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. [Revelation, 12:1].

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mother Mary’s Coronation, Queen of Heaven

A Blessing on My Niece and a New Springtime is Coming

Pierre van Dijk - Little girl with rosesOne of my grand nieces, I’ll call her “Trinity”, turned 14 the other day.  I have only seen photos of her.  But, whenever I see those photos, I always see an aura of peace about her and a pleasant grin – never a big smile.  She reminds me of the still, sky-reflecting water on a pristine lake.

I am touched by all of my nieces and nephews in some way (I have very few nephews compared to nieces – one former autism afflicted nephew stands out…a high quality young man, talented, and a natural leader now).  There are three of my nieces who seem to have been given much, much grace in their lives.  I have one grand niece whose father was a deadbeat, and now she is joined with her mother’s new family as the oldest of 2 more sisters and a new brother – an A student, she is qualifying to be a Rhodes Scholar and wants to be a pediatrician.

I have another niece who is the middle child of her family – the quiet one – but oh so richly blessed with a full measure of talents within the arts and sciences; she was the top in her state in French and is extremely intelligent in mathematics, a great singer, and now involved in acting and producing plays in college – an A student.  I keep reminding her that she has all of the talents to be a good mother, too.

And, finally, I have this grand niece, Trinity who is like calm, humble, meek peace.  TCrown of Flowersoday, I offered my Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for her to be abundantly blessed.  Antique Religious Cincture for AlbAnd the Lord blessed her and showed her to me in a beautiful white lacey gown, a flowery crown, and a golden cincture around her waist, and she was joyful – even giggling.  But, I have never met her.  She is peace and hope.

Fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts – pray for your families to be healed and renewed in the Lord.  The Lord is renewing the face the earth.  Though the weeds have crowded the fields, Humanity is beginning to sprout new, pure, natural flowers…a new Springtime is coming, I can sense it.  Pray that the new Flowers overcome the weeds and set the fields afire with grace-infused virtue and a pleasing perfume rising up to the Lord.  Pray, pray, pray!

Flowers in Summertime

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” [Revelation, 21:5]

Virginal Love of God

On 2 December, as I prayed my Rosary while walking, I was enamored by the contemplation of Divine affections, a beautiful presence who whispered my prayers back to me as I prayed them, our lips touching and our breath exchanging, and holy, youthful smiles. I was blessed.

Statue of Hildegard of Bingen, Eibingen Abbey

Statue of St. Hildegard of Bingen Eibingen Abbey, Rudesheim, GE

Before I set out to walk and pray, I had listened for the first time to St. Hildegard of Bingen’s song, “O dulcissime amator” (O Lover Sweet) from her “Symphonia virginum” (Symphony of Virgins). St. Hildegard of Bingen lived in the 12th century and is a Doctor of the Church now. I invite you to read the words here: http://www.hildegard-society.org/2017/05/o-dulcissime-amator-symphonia-virginum.html or listen here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lkjODhUgrVs

I also contemplated the virginal love of God and how that might be. It is true that God, who is Love, desires to marry humanity. This is not just through the Incarnation; His desire is to indwell us with Holy Spirit, as we are all expected to be as building blocks of His Body, as holy temples suitable for His holy Presence. But what is the fruit of this glorified marriage, and how can this be?

Now, having gone back and found this draft, I am amazed to see that I have now visited the Shrine of St. Hildegard of Bingen without even remembering that I wrote this

Eibingen Abbey, Rudesheim, GE

Eibingen Abbey

inspiration, and without any real plan to visit her shrine.  I and my wife visited her sisters’ abbey (Eibingen Abbey) and also her relics in Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany on 23 December (just a few days ago).

 

It is wonderful to invite God to visit with you and then follow His inspirations and to take in the surprises which come with them.

 

Relics of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Relics of St. Hildegard of Bingen in her Shrine

 

Hurricane Nate: Psalm of Warning and Calling

This came to me early on the morning of 8 October 2017 when Hurricane Nate was making landfall on Biloxi, Mississippi in the vicinity of the gambling casinos there. Much harm of hurricanes (and other disasters) can be averted through the true loving prayer of God’s chosen ones: they have merit with God because they have chosen to respond to His graces and be obedient to His Word.

A psalm of warning and divine calling.

Looks like Hurricane Nate
has been a friend of most;
A reminder not to boast;
A gentle chastisement;
A worthy appeasement.

Give thanks to God
For those who prayed
Against his strong hand
which He did stay.

Another time will come
For those sins he did forebear,
To turn hearts of sinners
Back to God;
To give to God what is
His fair share.

God does listen
To those who remain close.
He hears your prayer
When obedience you chose.

But go on sinning
If you must.
Rely upon your own strength
When it is not God in whom you trust.

But beware that you are
Mere creature, mere dust.

The wind shall blow!
The waters shall rise!
Your fate will be sealed!
And then in whom will you trust?

You were not obedient.
You did not remain close.
You did not love God
Who you should love the most.

Despair overcomes you;
Hatred thickens.
You blame God for your own choices.
Your anger sickens.

But God will not be outdone
In his strong love for you.
He returns again and again
And he asks, “When you come to…

“When you come to your senses
I will be there.
I will hear your confession;
I will treat you with tender care.

You only need to choose right
To listen and obey Me.
For I will only what is good,
What is right, that you may see.

Come back to Me child
With all of your heart,
and I will bless you.
Never again shall we be apart.”

Amen.

To Be Surprised by Children 

Sarah, in her old age, chuckles at God’s promise of a child (art by Bethany Vanderputten).

My wife has not yet turned 50, but she is well on the way beyond her childbearing years.  As I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary this morning during our walk together, I was thinking about how it might be possible for us to still have children, if God wills it, even at this late time in our lives, even given the scientific probability that “it just ain’t gonna happen.”  In fact, I dedicated my Rosary to my wife and to the good health of our child if God so wills it to happen.

Now, when I got back to the house, I saw a reminder on my IPad that I was to be Lector tomorrow morning at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Having forgotten that completely, I immediately found the readings for tomorrow, and imagine my surprise, given my thoughts and prayers, when I saw the first reading.  Here it is:

Reading 1 from 2 KGS 4:8-11, 14-16A:

One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her.  Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine.

So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”

Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.

Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?” His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.”

Elisha said, “Call her.”

When the woman had been called and stood at the door, Elisha promised, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”

Well, when I read that, it touched me because of 1) the coincidence with my thoughts and prayers, 2) the coincidence that I will read it tomorrow as if a witness to the miracle, and 3) the realization that God was speaking to me through this situation.  He knows how I feel about children.

Now, that stated, I have accepted that I may never have children, and I am okay with it.  This gives me room to live life more for others doing things that regular fathers would not ordinarily do perhaps.  But, if the Lord wants to bless us with a child, then I will give Him all of the Glory, and very happily.

When Spiritual Souls Atrophy

Those who exercise their spiritual soul in prayer to God, in the obedience of worship and the sacramental life, and in right action will be able to understand better the “technology” of the spiritual life.

If we do not exercise the spiritual soul, if we do not faithfully and deliberately open our souls to God and His protecting presence, then our spiritual souls may very well atrophy like unused muscles.  

Our atrophied spiritual soul becomes like a dried wine skin which, when tested, cracks and leaks, being unfit and unable to hold the richness of God’s life-giving presence, and letting in the decay of parasitic, life-killing presence which weakens the soul, making it look more like the parasite which feeds upon it.  [ See Luke 5:33-39 for context ]

  • The praying soul is the healthy, healing, living soul.  God is allowed in to give it life and to sustain that life.  Think of wine which continually renews the wine skin which holds it.  The skin becomes like the good, new wine it bears.
  • The God-less soul is the sick, rotting, dying soul.  God is prevented from entering in.  Think of a wine skin which is dry and cracked where water, mold and mildew enter to eat the skin, and the skin looks like mold.

The atheists will not understand this until that day when they are on the verge of spiritual decimation, when God intervenes to offer to save what is left before it is too late – an intervention required and allowed when the spiritual soul is too weak, too damaged to help itself.

This is the spiritual soul of the one lost lamb who ran away from the Good Shepherd, but who fell into the crevasse, and after much time without food and with broken legs, could not help itself.  The Good Shepherd did not do this.  No.  The rebellious little lamb ran away. [See John 10 for context]

The fate of the lamb rests in the willingness of the lamb to be saved. 

 May all such lost lambs set aside pride and anger and say, “Yes” to true Love, even if it hurts to be healed.  

I Make All Things New

Passion Fruit Flower

Passion Fruit Flower with Trinitarian Stigmata

As I was praying the Sorrowful Mysteries the other day, something happened which has not happened before:  I began to see flowers blooming from the Holy Wounds of Jesus, most especially from the palms of His Wounded Hands.  Blooms were unfolding from Blooms and Jesus was happy.

This reminded me of Sacred Scripture, the Apocalypse where St. John writes:

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”

[Book of Revelation, 21:5, NAB Holy Bible]

 

 

Mother Mary Smiling in Me

 

“My dear Son, i adore you”

Yesterday, I took another Rosary walk, and I was praying the Joyful Mysteries.  For the second time in a month, when I meditated on the Presentation, I saw Mother Mary holding her infant son, Jesus.  

The first time, she was in a heavenly place, all white with a translucent, opaque, frameless sort of window behind her and standing on a multi-stepped white platform and dressed in a flowing, floor-length white gown with a light blue mantel draped over her head and flowing downward (similar to the statue in my own parish, but much more elegant and realistic).  She looked at me, and she offered the infant Jesus to me to hold in my arms.  She was trusting me with her baby Jesus.  I took Him and cuddled Him in my arms and then gave Him back to her.  This was a precious experience, not only because He is Precious, but because I have no children of my own.  Most often, when I contemplate God, especially in the Holy Spirit, I know His Preciousness…so very, very precious and sweet to my soul.  This sentiment has been foreign to me all of my life until these most recent years.

 

“You make me so very happy”

 The second time, yesterday, I saw Mother Mary, wearing a royal blue mantel this time, standing and holding the infant Jesus in her arms.  But, this time, she was standing next to St. Joseph I presume, and they were waiting outside the Temple in the bright sunlight.  Mother Mary was cradling and swinging Jesus back and forth in her arms while looking down at Him.  She was very happy, and the day was very bright.  And then she looked directly at me, from about 30 feet away, and she smiled at me.  It was a huge smile, and I felt this smile in my heart, and it was like a welling up of joy.  And she did it again, and I could not help but also smile and laugh in joy with her.  

If anyone saw me at that time, they would have no idea why I was laughing!  I can imagine that they would think that I might have a mental health issue; I even considered that myself – “Here I am laughing out loud spontaneously, but just walking along by myself with my dog.  I must look crazy!”

 I needed this.  How merciful and delightful this vision was for me.  May you also receive them, and more.

Jesus Laughing in Me

 

American Bald Eagle in flight.

Yesterday, as I took my long Rosary-walk with my pet hound dog (7.5 miles), I was praying the Joyful Mysteries.  I was thinking about how and when to change my career orientation to be more Theology and service – focused.  I saw an eagle flying above after I had the thought of the choice that I would PREFER to make, but which would be difficult – which seems unlikely for me.  What does the eagle mean?  Anything?  Or am I placing a meaning upon it?

But here is the really good part.  Upon praying the mystery of the birth of the infant Jesus, I imagined the little infant in Mother Mary’s arms.  I saw his little feet and knelt and kissed His toes, and His feet recoiled, and He smiled and laughed in joy.  And then, my heart swelled, and I felt joy and also laughed in joy!

Joyful Infant Jesus

Now, it is not natural for me to think of something and then have intense feelings like this.  It was as if Jesus was there, in me, laughing and feeling joyful in me such that I could know His joy.  What a blessing it was.

How Mother Mary Hears Our Prayers

This is rather simplistic, but this came to me while praying the Rosary:

“…(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

[Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Luke, 2:35]

I don’t know what is meant by “sword.” 

We might think to take it literally to mean that she would die a death related to that of her Son, but that this must be so that she could be assumed into Heaven, wounded like her Son, for her mission as Advocate for poor sinners whose thoughts and prayers she hears.

We might think of it in another way.  We often hear of her Immaculate Heart being pierced with thorns.  This tells of her woundedness.  And so, in a spiritual way, we might take “sword” to mean that she would know the wounds of sin in her heart, especially the sins of priests and bishops, those who are configured to her Son, closest to her in daily activity, and who should be blameless before God.  And she will know who are faithful and blameless and who are not by their thoughts and deeds.  This may be why she calls us to always pray for her priests and bishops.  This must be a difficult burden.

Let us pray with Mother Mary for all priests and bishops, for their sanctity and holiness in daily activity.

Six (6) Moral Imperatives for Humanity

  When praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one can find six moral imperatives for humanity.  Inasmuch as these mysteries reflect upon the entrance of God into Humanity, these mysteries can also reflect the entrance of Morality into humanity.  

1. The Annunciation / Human Dignity:  All human life must be treated with the dignity commenserate with its potential capacity for charity, creation and innovation.

2. The Visitation / Human Freedom:  All human life must be permitted the freedom to pursue peace and prosperity.

3. The Nativity / Human Fullness:  All human life must be permitted to achieve fullness of natural life, become who it is meant to be, from natural conception to natural death.  

4. The Presentation / Human Fruitfulness:  All human life must be permitted to present itself for service to humanity, to be fruitful in service to each other.

5. The Finding / Human Truthfulness:  All human life must strive to be truthful in all its works.

6. Hail, Holy Queen / Human Compliance:  All humanity must comply with the aforementioned moral imperatives by obedience to that authority appointed for the good of humanity.

  

Pentecost:  God Reveals His Divine Language

 

Pentecost. God opens their souls and reveals the Divine Language which unites all souls in God.

 When praying the rosary the other day, meditating on the third Glorious Mystery, I had this insight about how it could be that the people gathered all of the sudden could understand each other in their own languages.  Here is what happened – the scene – during Pentecost:

And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? [Acts 2:4-8, NAB Holy Bible]

What just happened?  God was in their minds, enabling all of them to communicate via a universal language, deep in their minds, and only God knows how.  God is the Technician here.  AND, this is proof that there IS and will BE a universal language in Heaven and by it, we will all know each other’s thoughts as we will to communicate. 

But, why was this necessary at Pentecost, and why was this ability to understand the universal language underneath human languages so temporary?  And what were all of the people gathered there saying to each other and why?  These are mysteries.

Call to Holy Confession

 

Roses in your Heart

 
I was struggling to pray the Rosary this morning.  I just stopped and looked at Mother Mary in my mind, and she looked at me and said to pray to her Son, Jesus instead.  And then that is what I did, even with words which came to me such as, “Jesus, I am sorry that I have offended you” and more prayers of praise and jubilation.

We had a conversation in my heart.  The most important thing He said to me was – and this is for you, too –

“Come before Me with roses in your heart.”

I could smell the fragrance of roses at that time, and I smell the fragrance even now as I write – a spiritual sensing of the odor of sweetness of a rose.

I think this means that we should confess our sins, often even, so that when we speak with Jesus – when we approach Him at the altar, we are pleasant to Him Who gives us His Very Life in His Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  This is a mystery.

But I do know He is present with me, as is Mother Mary.  How this can be is a mystery.

Jesus Returns, and the Holy Spirit Departs?

As I was praying the rosary this morning, the Joyful Mysteries, this came to mind:  Jesus said that if He did not leave, the Spirit would not be sent.  

St. John witnessed Jesus say, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you.” [Gospel of John, 16:7, NAB Holy Bible]

We know that the Spirit guides the Church in all truth in matters pertaining to faith and morals.  He has done so for over two millennia.

But as logic would have it, if Jesus is coming back, is not the Holy Spirit leaving?  Would not Jesus say, “But if I return, I will take Him from you, and I will be your sovereign King and ruler.”

Let us be prepared for the possibility of being adrift without the Holy Spirit for a short time…for a short time.  Let us prepare ourselves with frequent participation in the Sacraments. 

Mother Mary’s Thoughts And Presence During the Pentecost

Mary and Apostles as the Holy Spirit descends in tongues of fire

Our Blessed Mother Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and became Theotokos, the Mother of God.  When, after the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,  Mary was there with the Apostles.  

What might she have been thinking?  She must have been 48 years old at the time, when most women are approaching or are already in menopause.  I can imagine…I did imagine when praying the Glorious Mysteries…her excitement at the thought that upon the overshadowing again of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that she might conceive once again for God.  Remember the words of Sarah, wife of Abraham after hearing of her future motherhood:

“And she laughed secretly saying: ‘After I am grown old, and my lord is an old man, shall I give myself to pleasure?'”  [Genesis 18:12, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

In contrast, what was Mother Mary thinking?  Perhaps she thought as she did upon visiting Spirit-filled Elizabeth:

“And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”  [Gospel of Luke, 1:47, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

Mother Mary is one with the Holy Spirit

 As the spouse of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost must have been a wonderful event for Mother Mary, an event which, perhaps, sealed her future as the spiritual mother of all of God’s children.  Afterall, she did become the future mother of 3,000 on the first day alone.

“They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about 3,000 souls.”  [Acts of the Apostles, 2:41, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

As it was at Pentecost, is how it is today at each celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: at Baptism to give birth to us, at Confirmation to fortify us, and at Eucharist to nurture us for eternal Life.  She is there with the Holy Spirit.  How is this possible?  How can this be?  This is a mystery, but we know that…

“…Mary said: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord'” [Gospel of Luke, 1:46, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

Indeed, Mother Mary is one with the Lord, Who is the source of all life.  She and the Holy Spirit are the perfect union, for she magnifies the Lord as co-Source of our new Life in Christ.  This is not a priestly function; it is above the priestly function.  She is co-Advocate and co-Redeemer.  She magnifies our Savior.

Making Eucharist

Pure, Precious, Holy Spiritual Food for Eternal Life

Pure, Precious, Holy Spiritual Food for Eternal Life

When I was praying the Rosary on Monday, I had a wonderful inspiration when thinking about the wonder and beauty of the Annunciation and the Sacrament of Eucharist.

I imagined Divine Wisdom of God, which is flawless, informing the pristine Virtue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and presenting Spiritual Food for our souls.

Precious.

If our souls were not so hardened and encrusted with the tar of sin, we would more easily absorb the precious, living essence of the Eucharist, would we not?

Many do not think they have sin, and so they receive but do not seem to benefit ( noticeably or notably ) from receiving the Holy Eucharist, true?