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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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Love communicates;

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It is not exhausted.

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It is oft exhausted.

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It’s source is holy God.

Money is created;

It’s source is fallen man.

Intense desire for true love

Is well-directed and virtuous.

Intense desire for money

Is mis-directed and vicious.

To be hated

For lack of money and things;

To be sought

For glut of money and things;

How miserable a life can be.

To be loved

For joy of virtue and communion;

To be sought

For sharing gifts of consolation;

How pleasing a life can be.

Without money

I will never lose Love.

Without Love

Money cannot help me.

The Lord: “Me, Look to Me”

God the Father and Holy SpiritLast Sunday, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I was praying and had a dim vision of the Lord sitting in His Throne.  He looked tired and His attire was a red and bronze-gold colored robe of  thick, ornate fabric – kingly and manly.  Looking at me, He simply said (inaudibly),

“Me. Look to Me.”

I did not understand the vision at first – it was short and to the point.  Why did He say that to me?  What is the context?  But, as we drove out of the parish parking lot, I looked up at the license plate of the car in front of us and it stated,

“TRNTOHM”

I had NEVER seen that plate before in my life.  It took me a few seconds to get that “eureka!” effect – when I realized that the plate means “Turn To Him.”  When it came to me, I thought how strong a confirmation this is that He really is serious about getting this point across to me.

Lord: “Me. Look to Me.”

Lord’s Messenger: “Turn to Him.”

So, here’s what I think happened.  Earlier that morning, I was viewing the recent Medjugorje message, and I had decided that I should begin reading ALL of those messages and take them seriously, and follow them.  But, then I had this vision of the Lord directing me back to Him instead.  Okay.  I totally got it.

So, how do I look to the Lord?  How do I turn to Him?  I have begun to pray more directly to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I have also started praying seven Our Fathers / Hail Mary’s / Glory Be’s, but with more of my heart, meditating intently on what I am saying, and then stopping when I get an inspiration and then expressing praise or thanksgiving or remorse for sins and asking for His grace that I might be made holy and merciful as He is holy and merciful.  I am trying to draw closer to Him as my real father-father, and love Him as my super-superior father-father, especially since my Dad went to Him in September.  I am trying.  May He help me achieve His intentions for me.

And, now, I feel motivated to open up my heart and soul to greater faith in His total presence and love, not only for me, but for you.  I want to believe more deeply and talk to the Father and totally depend upon Him, in honor of His great love and total fidelity.  For as His Son, our Lord Jesus said:

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?  Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [Luke 11:9-13]

I want to be a good and holy child.  Maybe, all that I need to do is ask Him for the help of His Holy Spirit?

Thank You, Father.  I love you and am very, very grateful.  I feel you in my heart now. Thank You.  I love You, Abba.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Cleansed by Spirit and Fire – Make Me Holy, Lord!

Early this morning, I was contemplating the chaste holiness of God.  It was a delightful experience – similar to what it might be like swimming in crystal clear springs of Total Goodness and Truth.  But, then my thoughts began to corrupt the experience, and it left me.  I was made acutely aware of my state of being compared to the most holy God.  I was acutely aware of the Lord’s expectation, and my and your duty:

I-am-the-Lord-your-God-I

My prayer from this morning was this:

Lord, cleanse my heart with the breath of Your Spirit and with Your Thoughts, that I may become one with You, purified through You, in You and with You. Without You, I am broken and coarse. But, You can make me whole and refined if You will it. This is what I desire, because I love You. Amen

Then, today, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the readings and homily were exactly in line with my early morning contemplations.  This is what happens when the Spirit is moving us.  We are being prepared even before we see and hear; we may even think about what the Pope will speak about even before he speaks at an audience, for example.

At Mass, we were at the point where the Priest begins the Eucharistic Prayer, and I began to imagine the Lord working in me.  The Eucharistic Prayer begins like this:

Priest: “Lift up your hearts.”

People: “We lift them up to the Lord.”

Priest: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”

People: “It is right and just.”

I prayerfully lifted up my heart, my very soul, in sorrow for my past errors and present unholiness and brokenness compared to God.  For He commanded this to be said to the congregation of the people Israel,

“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” [Leviticus 19:2]

The holiness of the Lord is so great, that is, He is so chaste and true and unerring in thought that even the Seraphs, hiding their faces, exclaim:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…”! [Isaiah 6:3a]

He is not one degree of holiness, but He is root of holiness.  We are called to be holy as He is holy, but the gap between our meager attempts at holiness and His actual holiness is huge.  We cannot scale the gap without His divine help, and we must certainly try.

But then I saw in my mind,

Jesus breathing His Spirit on my heart, and sparks flying from it like impurities being burned in a fire.  

After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, I heard,

You have received mercy today.

As our homilist suggested today, it was like being baptized again, for as the words of John the Baptist are written about the Lord in Sacred Scripture,

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” [Luke 3:16b]

I felt the Lord was helping me today – saying that He can, does and will help me, but He is the one who must do it in me.  And, I must protect what He gives me.

One of the things I struggle with, today, is defining my life of service.  I am married, and I do serve my wife as best I can, and improving on that as I go, there is a fuller service to which God calls me.  I hear,

Serve!

Serve God, but where and when and how?  And I hear at times of true prayer,

Marry me.

Marry God, but where and when and how?  I understand, but not fully since this marriage must be supernatural and in the spiritual realm.  There is a future meaning to it now: only a betrothal – a request.  I want to doubt it because my understanding is human, but then I believe it because I know that I do not understand the divine; how can I understand by myself?

But, this marriage cannot happen if I am not holy as the Lord my God is holy.  I invite Him to make me holy.

I adjure you, Lord. 

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

I desire this.

Have mercy; make me holy! 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

God’s Smile is Holy Spirit

I noticed the love of God in my heart today.  Have you ever noticed Him?  It is like a smile unfolding in the soul.

Making All Things New

New Earth and SkyAt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning,  I drifted away, thinking of the new Earth that God would bring about at the end of time.  It must have been a prayer or, maybe, the readings which set me adrift, or maybe the Spirit.  I’m not sure.

I thought of our current Earth and the things in it which seem fallen – like stinging insects, venomous snakes, poisonous plants and trees, viruses and plagues.

The Son of God, when He comes, will take all of those fallen creatures away.  Christ will fill all things with Himself, and all will be at peace, and happy in Him.

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” [Revelation 21:5]

I have known this peace that all will have – no worries, no unfilled needs, but only fullness of Life – contentment in Him.Jesus on the Cloud

Amen. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

Divine Life from Bread of Life

Jesus said, “Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” [John 6:57]

What is your purpose on Earth? Why is there life here, but not elsewhere? From where does life, your life, the life of a blade of grass or of a corn stalk come? Why do we eat of life that we may live on Earth? And when we die, because we only ate life which came from Earth, shall we also return to the Earth to be re-formed into a blade of grass or a stalk of corn?

Catholics believe, no, that we shall not return to the Earth, but that because we eat of the eternal Divine Life, He Who Is our Bread of Life, that we shall live eternally with God.

Bread and Wine, Jesus Hands

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.” [John 6:48-50]

When My Dad Died in September

Of course, no one knows that the reason I did not blog in September or in October was because my Dad got sick and died in September.  My brother and I were with him: his body would not respond to treatment, and he slowly slipped away peacefully, without any struggle, according to God’s will.  But, God was with us.

During my time with him, I had placed a Miraculous Medal on his bedside table to help him in the case he was going to go on a spiritual journey to God – and to keep him safe.  He was still an intermittent Episcopalian, and I had no idea about the state of his soul.  I figured that it would be an aid, in some way, a draw of divine favor from God if he needed it.  Interestingly, I found it about a month earlier laying on the ground.  I had no idea what to do with it.  I kept it in my pocket looking for an opportunity to give it to someone in need.  And this is where the need was fulfilled.

MIRACULOUS-MEDAL

Front and back of the Miraculous Medal; the back shows the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary

Two days before he died (it was the anniversary of his own Dad’s death), in the morning, we saw great signs which gave us hope that he would heal and come back.  Treatments were working, he felt better, he ate some, he walked around, and he had lucid conversations with us.  He looked deep into my eyes twice and told me how much he loved me – the sincerity was firm – he was filled with Love.  It was a true blessing which we will always cherish.

But, on the evening of that day, he began to see the spirits of beloved relatives at the foot of his bed – those who had loved him and had since passed away – a few aunts and a first cousin.  He told me when he was seeing them, and I asked him how that made him feel.  He said, “Comforting.  It gives me comfort, son, a lot of comfort.”  A few hours before that, he had expressed an ambiguous feeling of fear – “I’m afraid!” – as if, perhaps, his soul had felt a certain slipping and uneasiness. I reassured him of my presence, and then came heavenly help which made all of the difference.  Oh, what a blessing for him, and for us, that God was with us and sent him comforters to ease his anxiety.

Dad was a truly good man, and I love him very much.  He was caring and merciful, and as Jesus promised, Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy [Matt 5:7].

My brother, a nondenominational Christian, asked me what should be done with the Miraculous Medal.  I told him to keep it, for it had been in the presence of the holy event of Dad’s passing away to God.  Brother kept it.

Requiescat in pace, Dad. 🙂

 

 

“Heaven is Here”

Today, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I distinctly heard during my personal, mental prayer while the liturgy was unfolding, that “Heaven is here.”  I could also sense others, in my mind’s eye, who were there praying and adoring, but not physically there – that is, there only as spiritually sensed.

Pope FrancisI thank God, and whoever He sends – perhaps my guardian angel – for revelations like these which remind me of the reality which is there and here, even though veiled.

One day, many shall be transformed and awake anew in that state of heavenly reality which will show us that we are not in a “place” as much as we are in a “state of being.”

For, as St. Paul and St. John promised:

Listen, I will tell you a mystery!  We will not all die, but we will all be changed…[1Cor15:51]

and

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  [1 John 3:2]

God Walking With Me?

Recently, I am often startled by the feeling that someone is constantly beside me. It makes me think of Christ: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)

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

Is Little Samantha an Angel?

Yesterday, in the early morning before getting up for work, I had a waking dream – a vision of sorts.  It was very simple.  It was as if someone had immediately and abruptly planted an image directly into my mind of a little girl – probably no older than kindergarten age.  I had no thoughts in my mind before that – it was like, “Woah!  Oh, hello!”  She was grinning at me with her dark blue-green eyes.  She had a fair complexion with blonde hair, was wearing a simple dress of multiple, conservative colors, and she had a slender gold band around her forehead.  She said nothing, but only sat and gazed at me.  The vision was brief – maybe 5 seconds.

I asked myself, “Who was that little girl?  Why did I see her all of a sudden and now?”

My first thought for a name was “Amanda.”  But, then I thought, “Well, isn’t that the name of the song from the group, Boston that I listened to the other day?” and I left it at that.  Later in the day, after noon-time Mass, I knew that her name must have been “Samantha.”  But who is she?  Why was I gifted with her presence in my mind?  My wife believes that it might have been a little saint from heaven, but I don’t know of a saint who was as young as this little girl appeared to be.

St Therese Liseux - Little Flower

Little St. Therese Liseux – The Little Flower

This is not the first time I have had a vision like this one.  Over the past 13 years since being received into the Church, I have seen visions, like this, of a handful of children – mostly static visions.  Their faces persist somewhat in my memory after having the vision.  There is one of whom I think about fairly often – I think of him when I think of my guardian angel; but I do not know for certain that there is a relationship there.  He is “Jeremy” to me.  I think of him as my son, though I and my wife have not had any children except for one child who was miscarried very early and who my wife says she has seen in a vision.

At Mass – His Sacred Heart Exposed for All

Two weeks ago at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we were well into the Liturgy of the Eucharist and, after we welcomed the Most High Lord in the Sanctus and just before the Words of Consecration, I imagined the Glorified Lord, Jesus Christ standing below me dressed in light-colored liturgical attire with his bright, glowing Heart exposed.

When the priest uttered the Words of Consecration, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it,” Jesus touched His Sacred Heart and rays of light immediately poured forth from It – His very Light, Life and Love rushing forth to feed us.  This was a great gift.  It helped me to understand how He operates and why, when He was Resurrected, His Wounds remained.

I have waited a long time to post this because I was trying to find a picture which appropriately captured how He looked – the light clothing especially.  As of this morning, I have that picture below.  This likeness is it (very close), and I had never seen it before today, except in my imagining of Him during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Now, there was also a complication which I could not figure out.  When I saw the Lord in my mind, I was above Him and to His right, and looking down at him over His shoulder.  So, look at the little Cherub in the upper left of the picture.  That could be how I was viewing Him – through the “eyes” of a Cherub there witnessing Him.  This would be fitting since Angels are the special communication interface between the human and the divine.

Teaching:  When we go to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, we should meditate on Who we are receiving and His Gifts to us in that receiving. At the Words of Consecration, see His Sacred Heart opening and the bright, penetrating rays of His Divine Power emanating therefrom. Think of His meekness, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness, compassion, healing, hope. Think, “Fiat” and receive Him.

May God bless you in this reading, now and forever.  Amen.

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

 

Nurture the Child Jesus in Your Soul

As we approach Advent and Christmas, think about what you need to do to nurture the life of Jesus in your soul. Consider the Annunciation, Visitation, Birth of Jesus, Presentation, and Finding the Child in the Temple. Open your hearts to receive this Jesus in your soul, and nurture His Life in you. Avoid sin that He May flourish in you unharmed and cause you to grow in holiness, in Him, and He in You. When your soul becomes as a proper Temple for His Presence, then you are succeeding in your love for God.

Spiritual Struggle, Work are Neccessary for Consummation with God

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday, I had an inspiration – an image of little yellow life forms twisting and turning and reaching upward and gaining form as they grew.  This was pleasing to God.  (Now that I recall, I suppose the little yellow life forms were like the “Minions” but in a more primitive state.). The image had a meaning: struggle is necessarily good for all life.

In the midst of our struggles to grow, what if we, a beautiful life form made in the image of God, just decided to quit?  What then? We are meant to live eternally with God.  How can we stop our growing if we must reach for union with God?!  We cannot stop.  It is beneath us to give up in a state of incompletion.  For, Love never stops loving, and we miss our calling if we stop reaching ever upward to God to become capable of realizing the fullness of His Love for us – for ever.  We must reach upward and grow for the sake of obtaining ultimate consummation with our Creator.

I have prayed for the Lord to remove from me my sinful thoughts.  But, He literally tells me that my mind would “rot” if I was not burdened with this personal struggle.  I must struggle in order to grow.  I must be challenged.  I must do work to help perfect Creation, including myself!

We are to be like athletes training for holiness.  I get that, and now I do not worry so much that I have sinful thoughts.  No, that is not the problem.  Indeed, it is very good for me to struggle to overcome them in order that I may build a better habit and a better way of thinking.  I am being perfected because of them.  

But, woe to me if I do not struggle, but choose instead to embrace and rest in these sinful thoughts!  Rotting in sloth, imagine the disgust God would have for me – for you.  

Are you rotting in your sloth?  Or, are you blooming like a cornucopia of continuously-sweet flowers, grains and fruit?  

Baptism of Jesus: Betrothal to Humanity

While praying the Mysteries of Light of the Holy Rosary on the way to work this morning, and meditating on the 1st Mystery of Light, the Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan River, I got a distinct inspiration:

Our Lord considered his Baptism as a betrothal of himself to us, in and accepting all of our misery.  In this deeply loving gesture, his Father was very, very pleased.  

What love!  What commitment!  What true integrity!

“Manifest Me. Magnify Me.”

The Lord’s intimate words on how to be His “Pearl of great price.”  Mother Mary is the proto-Pearl of Great Price.

Lord Jesus, En-Salt Me With Purity in the Eucharist 


Why does Jesus say, “You are the salt of the earth”?

He says that because it is in you, us to be good and to resist, prevent evil just like salt prevents infestation and decay.  We promote societal health through acts of virtue (charity). We become an agent of immortality.

“But if salt loses its taste…it is no longer good for anything.” [St. Matthew, 5:13-16]

If we don’t do good, we add to the problem that Jesus came to fight. We advance societal decay through acts of vice (viciousness). We become an agent of mortality.

This is precisely why we need Jesus in our souls, to keep us “salted” against evil, and “salty” like medicine for each other.   

This brings out the reality of the promise which Jesus made to us, and that many do not accept:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” [St. John, 6:54]

For if we are really salted by our Savior, His own spiritual flesh, we can not die. We will live joyfully through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

En-salt me with purity, Lord Jesus, in the banquet of Your sacrificial Love, the Eucharist.  Thank you for Your Life which is our life, in and through Your Life.

Mary, Our Chief Cosmologist

St. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her joyful greeting, called Mary the mother of my Lord [Luke 1:43] and St. Gregory Nazianzus called Mary “the Mother of the King of the universe,” and the “Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world” [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #11]  Ven. Pius XII sums up the corpus of theological writings and traditions when he states, The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #22].

coronationofmary_velasquez_cropped

Coronation of Mary, by Velazquez

Now here’s my experience.  I was out on a Rosary walk on Sunday, and while praying the Glorious Mysteries, and upon meditating on the 5th mystery, Coronation of Mary, I realized something immediately, and I chuckled because of all of the heartache surrounding cosmology in the Church during the 16th and 17th centuries:  Mary really is and has been the Queen of the Universe for nearly 2000 years now!  Because Mary is Queen of the Universe, then the Earth from which she and our Lord King of the Universe first appeared, must actually be at the center of the Universe, and all of the controversy surrounding Copernicus and Galileo must be just an unfortunate mishap!

Recall that Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Ptolemy (100-170 AD)  had their theory that the Earth is at the center of the Universe; this position was well-validated by the Book of Joshua which implied that Sun and Moon move in the sky around the Earth according to how God commanded:

‘Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai′jalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. [Joshua 10:12-13, RSVCE]

 

aristotelian-ptolemaic-universe

Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Theory of the Universe (Earth is center, circa 150 AD)

Copernicus then published his helio-centric theory in 1543 which placed the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the Universe.

copernican_heliocentrism_diagram-2

Copernican Heliocentric Theory of the Universe [Sun is center; circa 1543 AD]

Galileo then picked up that theory, and began to teach and write about it in the early 17th Century.  In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition to answer for his conduct and writings, having inadvertently embarrassed Pope Urban VIII, and being severely reprimanded and censured as a result.

galileo_facing_the_roman_inquisition

Galileo at Roman Inquisition, circa 1633

Note, however, that Galileo, who embraced the Copernican helio-centric theory, was never officially branded as a heretic by the Church.  Essentially, there was just a nasty misunderstanding.

So, all of this time, we should have known that Mother Mary is the Chief Cosmologist of the Church.  We needed only look to her, and to her title as Queen of the Universe, since her son is King of the Universe, to know where planet Earth truly stands in all of the Universe – in the center where God, the King of the Universe is ever-present to us, with her, the Queen of the Universe.

our-location-in-the-universe

Where the Center of the Universe is Presently Present to Us

 

 

 

 

God Achieves Peace By Healing the Miserable Blind

When God requires something to happen, He achieves his purpose. And so peace will come, but it will be so in accordance with the Will of the One who knows everything, not the will of those who know nothing.  
Justice and mercy will kiss, and then kindness will flourish in the land.  
But, justice means uncovering the eyes of the miserable blind so that they can see goodness in others, and then know the errors of their own ways.  
This is the treatment for the ones who see the splinter in everyone else’s eyes but not the huge log in their own eyes.  
This is the treatment for those who forsake God and his helping grace, and run the streets in fear of others who they perceive to be without virtue, like themselves.  
They say, “If I am bad, they are bad.” This is because their selfishness turns them inward to see the world through the lens of their own sickness.
What if people had the grace of Jesus Christ working in their souls? Then, they could be healed and see the world through the lens of Jesus Christ, the lens of “healed,” the lens of humble love, the lens of hope, the lens of “you are good,” the lens of “we are one, together,” the lens of “eternal family,” the lens of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the lens of “judge not, lest ye be judged.”