Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

In my last post on charisms I wrote about my experience at the Life in the Spirit Seminars. Today I would like to write about my experiences at Church and home concerning the "words" that I speak about on my blogs and in my daily life. As I said in an earlier post I can't seem to find good definitions for these gifts so I am just calling them as I see them. One day during Mass, I was reading about Samuel and Eli [1 Sm. ch. 3]. When I read the words, "Here I am" and "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening", the Holy Spirit flooded me so powerfully that I started crying. This kept happening over and over again with various Scripture passages at Church and at home. Each time, I would cry as the power of God's Word flowed through me. There was a passage in Jeremiah that would scream through my being:
"But do you gird your loins;
  stand up and tell them
  all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
  as though I would leave you crushed
   before them....."               Jeremiah 1: 17-19

I began to understand through the continuity of the words that the Lord was preparing to give me a prophetic gift through words as well as dreams. What I failed to grasp at the time was that he was also preparing my heart for another gift, which is not quite as pleasant. I'll get to that one later. I mention it because it seems to have a connection to the words of knowledge that He gives me. Words of wisdom and words of knowledge are different from two of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom and Knowledge. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are necessary for salvation; charisms are not. Charisms are important, however, as they help others and build the Church. A word of wisdom is spoken (or written); it is the ability to understand a supernatural truth; to pierce through, simply and easily, something beyond earthly understanding. These words may just pop out of a person's mouth without any prior reflection because they come from the Lord. The word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are similar . One is communicating wisdom, the other is communicating knowledge. Both are from God. The word of knowledge is when the Lord gives a person knowledge about a person or situation that they couldn't have known unless God revealed it. This can be useful if you are ministering to someone and are unsure of the nature or the root of the problem being addressed. God also can give words of knowledge about others that are uplifting or knowledge about happenings in the spiritual realm that cannot be seen and that humans are unaware of. Another area in which they are helpful is during intercessory prayer so that you know what to pray for.

Early after my conversion I had made a life offering to the Lord, especially for those caught in the grip of mortal sin. I also offered my life as reparation for the sins and blasphemies committed against His Sacred Heart. The Lord takes these offerings very seriously. I believe part of the reason that I was given certain charisms were because of this. At the time, I did not know how much suffering these offerings would entail. I do now. Though the first words given to me were from Scripture, this soon changed. The Lord began giving me words of knowledge and prophetic words about people and the times we live in. Along with some of the words came another unpleasant gift which shocked me at first. When I was in the presence of certain people, my head would be bombarded with terrible images and sins. I was horrified, this had never happened before my conversion. I kept apologizing to the Lord until I realized that He wanted me to offer these sufferings in union with His for the salvation of the person's soul. This didn't happen with everyone, only some people. Sometimes I would be driving down the street and would pass a stranger and would get blasted with images. I quickly learned that this was a call to prayer. At other times I would get a word and temporarily suffer some weird illness or interior suffering that corresponded with the other person's suffering. I wrote about one of these experiences in an earlier post. Suicides really bothered me and the Lord often called me into intercessory prayer for those who attempted to take their own lives. In His kindness, the Lord would occasionally give me glimpses or knowledge of how powerful our offerings for others are. That is why I write regularly on the power of prayer and uniting our sufferings with Jesus.

During this time, the dreams also continued. When some of these began to actually happen I was not very surprised; I had learned that if you trust the Lord completely, His words are good. He is not out to fool people but to help them. When one of my dreams [which was very detailed] came true I was very saddened because I love this person very much. I only spoke to one person, my mother, about it. I often tell her about them and I share a lot of the words I am given with her, too. She understands because she also gets them.  The funny thing is that the Lord gave me a word many years ago that I would write on the computer for Him. This was laughable because at the time we didn't even have a computer nor had I ever used one .

I will write more about this in a later post, it is getting pretty late and I am a one-finger typer. By the way, what happened to spell check?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two Hearts Entwined - new blog

I started a new blog called "Two Hearts Entwined" http://twoheartsonesong.blogspot.com/ . It is a combination of my poetry, prayers, and quotes from some of my favorite saints. I am still in the middle of copying poems but there are quite a few posts up for those who would like to check it out .  Please don't hesitate to leave prayer requests on any of my blogs, I  love praying and would be happy to bring anyone's intentions before the Lord.

Adding to the equation

3 sick people  + 1 bathroom = big trouble   :(

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Add it up

1 husband home with a stomach bug + 1 child home on school vacation = no time to post  :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aridity

"Aridity is the fruit of our defects."                  
               St. Padre Pio

This quote made perfect sense to me. God is pure love and we live in His love. His love is always the same - infinite and unchanging; therefore it is our love that changes. If we were always aware of the constancy of His love I don't think we would have problems with prayer. It is our heart fluctuations that cause difficulty in prayer. God never walks away from us....we walk away from Him. The easiest way to overcome aridity for me is to remember to focus on Him. When I am caught up in my own problems and lose sight of Him, this is when my prayer life seems to suffer. I like to meditate on his love and truth when I am having prayer trouble. This seems to be a quick cure :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Check this out!

Check out this post, it is absolutely beautiful. You can find it here: http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/2009/12/gods-most-beautiful-word.html . Thank's Colleen!

"For a child is born to us..."

"For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
    upon his shoulders dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Councelor, God-Hero,
    Father-Forever, Prince of Peace     (Is 9:5)


Merry Christmas to all!

The Fruit Of Her Womb

Hail! Full of Grace
Heavenly Rose
From thy Fiat
Salvation arose

Unto thy womb
The Spirit flew
And sowed the seed
Of life anew

O Beautiful Dove
Star of the Sea
In the cradle of thy womb
Dwelt Divinity

Flower of Carmel
Enfolded in thee
The Word made Flesh
Nestled peacefully

Salvation poured forth
One silent eve
A signal for men
That all might believe

On this holy night
In the fullness of time
"The woman" gave birth
The child...Divine

                Mary N.  2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"If anybody tries to lay their hands on me, I'm outta there!"

In my last post I spoke about the dreams I began having after my conversion. The nights were great, but during the day I wanted to talk to people about God, but ,with the exception of my mom, nobody wanted to talk about Him. I thought about God day and night and started getting depressed due to the lack of people willing to talk about Him. "Lord, you don't have many friends here", I would tell Him. This wasn't true... I just couldn't find them! One day, after Mass, I saw a pamphlet in the back of the Church that described a seminar called Life in the Spirit. Having had bad [horrendous really] experiences with the Charismatic Movement as a child I was very wary about attending but I was desperate to learn and talk to anybody about God. I understood, by that time, that what I had undergone as a child was a form of "toxic religion" and didn't really mean that every charismatic christian group was like this [after a period of counseling, I had mostly come to terms with this part of my past]. It was on Tuesday night from 7:00 - 9:00 and my husband was asleep at this time since he worked third shift back then. After some prayer, I decided to go. I figured that I could stop attending if I didn't like it.

The first meeting was great, everyone talked about God, prayed, and someone gave a talk on the Holy Spirit. The people were kind and you could tell that they really loved God. "This is cool", I thought to myself, "I can handle this."  The second meeting was a little different; after speaking about God, people started praying in tongues. "Here we go", I said to the Lord, "The bizzare stuff is coming next." I didn't know how to speak in tongues, but I had known people who had this gift and the thought didn't thrill me.  " Lord, if I did that I would probably accidentally blaspheme you or something. You probably shouldn't give me this gift."

I skipped the next week. The following week I felt the strong urge to go. "Okay, Lord, but if anybody tries to lay their hands on me I'm outta there!" I went and no one laid a hand on me but the meetings were getting stranger and stranger. At one point a bunch of people got up and started singing to the Lord, all in different languages! The harmonies were spectacular!  "Wow!", I said to God, "that's pretty awesome."  After the singing, people started standing up and giving " Words of Knowledge". These were all passages from the Bible. I remember praying very hard and saying, "Please, Lord, don't give me one of these words. I'm too shy and afraid to stand up in front of all these people." At that moment, someone stood up and said, "My strength is made perfect in weakness."  I giggled... I knew this one was for me, I could feel it. Luckily, the Lord never called on me and I relaxed and enjoyed the seminars in the weeks that followed. Until, that is, the final week. When they explained that teams would be praying over all the newcomers I got really nervous and started to panic. Though I knew this group wasn't like the ones from my childhood, by the time it was my turn I had a panic attack. My body was drenched with sweat from head to toe and my hands were icy cold. I tried taking steady breaths and tried to relax. The team started praying over me and.....nothing. Nothing bad happened. I didn't know what I was expecting, but the only experience that I had ever had with charismatic groups in the past were the kind who thought there were demons behind every cough and sneeze and the devil's minions were lurking about in every corner ready to pounce on us if we were not good. By the time I was 16,  I had stopped going to church because I was terrified of God the Father - He didn't seem very loving to me, or to my brothers and sisters. We all left the church, though our pain had nothing to do with Catholicism. Luckily, we were all confirmed, but that was about it. But I am digressing [or maybe I should say: regressing ], nothing bad happened while I was being prayed over and it was fine. One of the ladies even had a vision of me in heaven at the Lord's table and he was anointing me with oil .
Did I ever have vivid dreams that night! With the exception of this seminar I have had no involvement in the Charismatic Movement [except for the childhood stuff]  but I do know a few people who have charisms. I am not sure why I didn't join this group. I think part of it is that I love peace and quiet. The Church that I attend is very traditional and beautiful, this Christmas we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1st Mass celebrated here! The architecture is incredible and Catholic to the bone: I love it here. And it was here, in this quiet, old, church that I first started receiving "Words of Knowledge".

I can speak in tongues, now, but I rarely do so. Only in emergencies :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Confirmations in the spirit and holy dreams

http://www.markmallett.com/blog/?p=1480

Some may wonder why I often leave links to Mark Mallett's site. There are a number of reasons. The first is that I believe that he has a true prophetic gift. Second, the "words" he receives come to him in a similar manner as mine do and when I read certain writings of his I get a witness in the spirit. A witness in the spirit usually comes to me when the Lord wants to confirm another person's words to show me the truth in them. This doesn't only happen to me on Mark Mallett's site, the Lord often uses it whenever He wants to draw my attention to something in particular. The Holy Spirit floods me and it feels as like a mixture of heat and electricity, waves of it. He does this when He is giving me "words", also. If the word is particularly strong my body sometimes shakes. It has just been in this past year that the shaking has started and I was concerned at first until I heard that this is not uncommon. Another reason that I believe that his charisms are real is that some of his "words" and dreams have been the same as mine.

I often use the terms "word of knowledge" and "prophetic word" interchangeably but they are actually two different things. There is also "word of wisdom" which is slightly different. I will attempt over the next couple weeks to explain what I know about these charisms, as well as prophetic dreams, as simply as I can. Many people only believe what they can see with their eyes and forget that there is a spiritual world, also, and we are not simply matter but spiritual beings. There is a certain snobbery that exists today that says charisms are no longer needed; we are too enlightened for that. I say:
They are needed now as never before in history. The Holy Spirit didn't stop giving these gifts, many people simply don't want them or are unaware of them. Some of the Christian sites that I have read will not have anything to do with charisms or private revelations, apparitions and miracles. I cannot understand why. The Spirit gives these gifts to build the Church, they didn't suddenly stop existing. People don't trust them, but they can be extremely helpful. At least that is what I have found in my own life.  Almost every personal prophetic word the Lord has given me has come true including the birth of my baby which came with a time.  Well, except for one, which was just given to me and a few that will take some time to fully play out, but I have faith that God's word is good.

It is very hard to get information in books or over the internet about charisms, especially among Catholics, so I am just going to try to explain in my own words what little I have learned about some of them. I do not have all the charisms so those might be a little harder to explain.

I'll start with the gift of dreams since this was the first charism that I noticed outside of prayer charisms. The dreams started almost immediately after the Lord brought my soul into the presence of His Mercy http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/06/heart-of-jesus-infinite-in-mercy.html . I called them "Holy Spirit dreams" for lack of a better word. I didn't know much about the spiritual life at this point; I was like a baby cradled in the arms of God, one who couldn't even walk yet. The first dreams consisted of knowledge being poured into my head while I slept. I was aware that this was going on, I would "catch" the Lord at it many times. In the morning I would wake up knowing things about God that I had previously not known. One day I woke up with the words "indoctrination of the Holy Spirit on my lips", other times I would be given things. In one dream Jesus put an old coin in my hand [ I wrote about this one on one of my blogs], in another, I was in a room reading beautiful ancient scrolls in another language. These dreams continued in this fashion for a period of time, it was as if the Lord was preparing me for something. Meanwhile, I started attending daily Mass and became a daily communicant [after a long confession, of course]. I also started reading the bible, praying the rosary and reading about the saints. I was bowled over when I heard about St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy. The first time I saw the Divine Mercy picture, I said, " Lord! That picture reminds me of what happened to me, the rays which pierced my soul, the mercy and love emanating from your Heart. That's what You did to me!"  I  bought her diary not too long after that and was fascinated with it. I started praying the Mercy Chaplet and this is when I started waking up every single night at 3:33. It was strange. I would go to sleep and would get woken up at 3:33, never 3:32 or 3:34 but always 3:33 on the nose. I took this as a call to prayer and started praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the middle of the night. I later read somewhere that 333 was the number of the Trinity. Once, I got a word of knowledge that this was a call to the prayer warriors and God was waking up many Christians at this time to pray for the world. Some people get woken up at 3:00 instead and almost everyone that this happens to takes it as a call to prayer.

I have posted about some of my dreams on my blogs including one in which I was given a glimpse of hell. In some I was battling demons and losing until St. Michael came to help me. The minute St. Michael stepped into the picture they were done for. I think this one was to teach me to call on St. Michael whenever I needed help, so I started praying the St. Michael prayer. The dreams continued and still do. Some have been prophetic dreams, many have been spiritual battles and some are just conversations with the Lord. These dreams are unlike regular dreams, they are extremely vivid and filled with power.

I'll have to continue this in another post, I just realized how long it was getting :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunday Snippets

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly meme hosted by RAnn where bloggers can get together and share their favorite posts with each other. I have found many wonderful blogs since joining this meme and have read some great posts. I didn't really post much this week so I am going to share a couple of older posts:

  1. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/truth.html
  2. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/fiat.html 
The first post is about prayer, the second about the power of one person in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, I will be able to post more frequently next week!

Sabbath Moments


Colleen at Thoughts on Grace http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/  hosts this weekly meme and I am joining her once again this Saturday. Sabbath Moments remind us to live in the present and just be. Each and every day is a blessed gift from our gracious Lord and there is beauty and wonder in each one if we look with the eyes of our soul.
This week was very hectic for me but even with all the activity there were a few moments that reached into my heart and touched my spirit. One of these moments came as I was doing some Christmas shopping and was driving to a store. I decided to do the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as I was driving and I felt flooded with God's grace. He even gave me a personal "word " that filled me with joy and thanksgiving. I am waiting for Him to fulfill this word in me and I have faith that He will do it because His words are always good.
Another moment that filled me with love and joy came upon me this morning as I was cuddling with my daughter. She was sick during the night and crawled in bed with us. After my husband left for work I simply held her and prayed while she slept. When she woke up we snuggled and gabbed for half an hour before getting out of bed. Every time I hold her little hand I feel a touch of heaven on earth. God simply overwhelms me with love for this child, even the thought of our time together this morning brings a smile to my face. God is good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An interesting article on private revelation

http://www.markmallett.com/blog/?p=1295

If it's paper...

I haven't been posting as much lately because I am trying to transfer all my poetry onto one blog. This might not seem like a very big task, but I have poems everywhere. On my blogs, in notebooks, and on scrap paper all over the house. There are half-completed ones tucked in my desk, my purse and my car and I am trying to find them all. We have a lot of papers because my husband knows better than to throw out anything  that can be written on. This may include envelopes, the back of junk mail, etc... I think you get my drift.
          Have I told you lately that I'm disorganized?
     

Monday, December 14, 2009

Prayer - The Gift of Praise

As far as prayer charisms go you would think the gift of praise would be the first one given. Maybe, for many people, that is the case. Not for me. This was one of the last prayer gifts I received, only God knows why.

For many years I had trouble praising God. Oh, I praised Him. Often. The problem was: unlike the rest of my prayer life, it didn't seem to come from the heart. I would force myself to do it and I would even pray Psalms of praise to Him. I loved Him dearly. Why couldn't I praise Him with my whole heart? It was as if I was somewhat blocked when it came to praise. So... for years I praised and thanked God and then I would apologize to Him. "I'm sorry, Lord. I want to praise You with my whole being but it just won't come out."

One day my daughter was watching TV and fiddling with the remote control. She got bored and left the room to go do something else. I started cleaning the living room and paused to dust the top of the TV. As I was dusting, a televangelist on the TV said, "Something BIG is going to happen in your life!"  Fire went through my body.  "I don't know if this is for someone in the audience or someone at home, but something BIG is going to happen in your life."  The fire of the Holy Spirit engulfed me and I was given the gift of praise. This is a true story, despite how weird  it sounds. God has a great sense of humor and if He wants to heal or give gifts to someone through a television set, that's exactly what happens. All power is His and who are we to say otherwise. After that I was able to praise Him with my whole heart. I was even waking up from dreams with praises on my lips. It was really strange, but stranger things have happened. God is a God of miracles!

Thank you, Lord, for this precious gift!

Oh, by the way, pip, it gets a lot weirder than this but I guess you're right, I can always offer it up as suffering if people think I'm crazy ;)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival This Sunday I am joining RAnn for her Sunday Snippets Meme. We are a group of bloggers who meet once a week to share our posts with each other.
This week most of my posts were about prayer. A life without prayer is like trying to breathe underwater, there is not enough oxygen to sustain us. Without prayer the soul drowns in worldliness, it becomes less sensitive to things of the spirit. This week I'd like to share these two posts:

  1. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/12/intercessory-prayer.html  
  2. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/12/just-pray.html

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Praise!

Praise! This Sunday I am joining Jennifer at My Chocolate Heart in praising God for His goodness and unfailing kindness to me :

I praise God for His infinite mercy! What would I do without this?

I praise you, O Lord, for the graces you have showered upon me!

I praise you, O Lord, for my husband and daughter - may you bless them abundantly and guide them always.

I praise you, O Father, for sending us your beloved son to save us from our sins.

And Father, I praise you for all things, for I see your hand upon my life and I trust in your eternal wisdom.

But most of all, Father, I praise you for life itself, without which, there is nothing.

" I will praise you , Lord, with all my heart;
   I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
 I will delight and rejoice in you;
   I will sing hymns to your name, Most High."             Psalm 9: 2,3

Amen

Sabbath Moments



This Saturday I am once again joining Colleen at http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/ for her Sabbath Moments Meme. Sabbath Moments can be planned or may come by surprise.

No surprises for me this week. I planned to attend the Rosary at my church Wednesday and then attend the Noon Mass. I have Wednesdays off from work and was hoping to spend a little extra time with the Lord in prayer during the course of the day. The best laid plans often go awry, however, and this one certainly did. We had a lot of snow and there was no school, so intead I played with my daughter for most of day. I count this as a Sabbath Moment because I was able to spend quality time with my daughter and our days have been kind of hectic since school started. After she went to bed I was able to do the Rosary and my evening prayers. This brings me great peace :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory prayer is "standing in the gap" or bringing others to God with your prayers. Anyone can and should intercede for others, especially those who are in trouble spiritually and cannot or will not pray for themselves. Everyone, as christians, are called to pray for their brothers and sisters in this world.

There is also the charism of intercessory prayer. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of powerful, intense prayer to the intercessor. It is a burning prayer, forceful, and impossible to ignore. Well...a person could ignore it I guess, but why would they want to? The Holy Spirit will bring the person that He is calling you to pray for to your heart and mind along with the overwhelming urge to pray for this person. It seems as if you are before the Mercy Seat and the Lord shares with you His love and mercy for the one you are praying for; it may often bring you to tears, as the Lord's mercy is a thing of incredible beauty. It is a deep all-encompassing prayer, it feels as if it is being pulled out of you. You are left feeling awestruck at the depths of God's mercy. This is completely the Holy Spirit's work; the person praying is simply the vehicle as a member of the body of Christ. This charism, as with any, grows stronger when the person cooperates with the Spirit.

Oddly enough, God may bring total strangers to you before drawing you into this prayer. The Holy Spirit moves the person's heart to open up to you and they will often pour out their life story even though they do not know you. It's actually kind of strange when this happens, as it is unexpected. Other times you may be just praying in general and the Holy Spirit draws you into the intercessory prayer. Sometimes it is out of the blue, but it is enough to understand that He is doing it for a good purpose and it can help others immensely.

One of the reasons that I think the charisms are important is because they do help build up the Body of Christ on earth. You can't take charisms with you when you die, but you can sure help others by accepting these gifts, that is their purpose.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Event of the Year

I, Queen Ree, had the honor of attending "THE EVENT" of the year. Along with Tinkerbell, my fairy friend, we attended the Pixie Hollow Grand Ball. I must say: It was a smashing success. Tink was dressed in the latest haute couture evening wear created by Hello Kitty and Co. All the fairies and sparrowmen were dressed in their finest. I wore a sparkling tiara and glittering fairy jewels with my pressed flower fairy gown created by Sue Fine, a sewing talent fairy. After much dancing, dining, and laughter, Tink and I departed in our flower coach pulled by eight chipmunks. A truly great party attended by the elite of fairyland!

Can you tell it was a snow day and there was no school? :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prayer - The Rosary

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception so I decided to do a post on the Rosary in honor of this feast day. I am mentioning the Rosary on its own because it combines vocal prayer, meditation, intercessory prayer and praise all rolled into one prayer. The Rosary is Christ-centered, essentially scriptural and intensifies our union with Jesus, through whom in the Spirit, we are one with the Father. The only way to the Father is through Jesus, He is the Beautiful Gate all must enter through. Mary helps draw us closer to Him through her prayers as Mother of the Church. Just as she was Jesus' mother on earth so she is the Mother of the Body of Christ on earth [us], given to us by Jesus himself on the Cross.

The seed of contemplative prayer is often sown during the Rosary. It "preps" our hearts to receive the gift of contemplation and sometimes the Lord draws us into contemplation during the Rosary. If this happens, let go of the prayer. God pulls your attention away from the prayer and you  feel caught up in intense love and joy - encompassed by Him; it could last for minutes and sometimes it can last for weeks. Sometimes He infuses knowledge into us during the Rosary, too. You may find that you have a knowledge of God that you did not previously have. These things can happen anytime, not just during the Rosary, but I have noticed that many people seem to have these experiences while praying the Rosary. Personally, I think it is a grace Mother Mary obtained from God for those who recite the Rosary faithfully and pray with their hearts. Consolations are common during the Rosary, also.

Mother Mary was the greatest contemplative of all times, she always pondered things in her heart. She is also a great intercessor and as our spiritual mother she would like to help us deepen our prayer lives. What is necessary on our part is good will and the intention to pray well, with love; she can help us with the rest and turn us into powerful prayer warriors because she is great at obtaining graces for those who entrust themselves into her care.

St. Thomas Aquinas mentions that 3 levels of attention are possible during vocal prayer such as the Rosary. The first and lowest level is our attention to the full and proper enunciation of the words of the prayer. The second and higher level is our attention to the literal meaning of the words. The third and still higher level is reached when, leaving the literal meaning aside, our attention rises to thoughts on the Mystery or to particular praise of God. This third level may rise to the point of contemplation.

My thoughts are:
In Mary, we find the perfect model for contemplation and union with God. Mary shows us what complete abandonment to God is.   " Let it be done to me according to your word" and "Do whatever He tells you" are perfect examples of this. She was filled to the brim with grace and it is through grace that we too become like Jesus.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just pray!

Prayer is a gift from God given to all His children, no one is excluded. Basic prayer is something anyone can do, God made us that way. It is the raising of one's heart and mind to God in it's simplest definition. God calls us tirelessly to prayer, but it is us who must respond. We can turn our backs and refuse this gift or we can eagerly respond to His call. We come to know the Lord through prayer; He reveals himself to us. God already knows us fully and completely. He doesn't need to get to know us better; He wants us to come to a greater knowledge of Him, so that we may begin to understand the infinite love He has for us. Who wouldn't want to get to know God better?

Jesus prayed. This in itself shows us the immense importance of prayer. If the second person of the Holy Trinity prayed and knew it's necessity; how much more, we, with our fallen natures, need prayer. He taught his disciples how to pray and when He ascended to the Father He sent the Holy Spirit to help us. " As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out,  'Abba, Father!'  So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God."      Gal. 4:6,7

Since we are His children and heirs to the Kingdom we become closer to God through prayer. Just as our bodies grow physically so should our prayer life grow over the course of our lives. The beginnings of prayer is usually vocal prayer [though many children are natural contemplatives but often lose this gift]. Vocal prayer is prayer performed by means of a given formula, they are recited alone or in community with others. Mental prayer is prayer without articulation of words and is generally called meditation. Vocal prayer and meditation are often mixed as the person is thinking about God while praying with their voice. If you are thinking of a baseball game while praying, you are simply mouthing words. Distractions are common when someone begins praying. When you catch your mind wandering, simply draw it back to God; eventually distractions become less common if you ignore them. Don't fight the distractions, just gently push them away. This is also a good idea for those practicing the Presence of God; when you become aware that your mind is caught up in things other than God, gently draw your gaze back to Him. Actually, I am getting a little ahead of myself here as I wanted to post on an awareness of God's constant presence in a later post on prayer, today is just supposed to be the basics so I will end it here:

The most important thing to remember during any kind of prayer is to pray with your whole heart. When you are not in the mood to pray it sometimes helps to listen to music, read your bible or think of things that you are thankful for to perk up your heart. Throwing your whole body into the prayer often helps, too. For myself, listening to inspiring music often does the trick as does asking for Our Lady's intercession to help me pray well.

My next post will be on the Rosary since tomorrow is The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Rosary is an important part of a Catholic's prayer life. After that, I'd like to post about intercessory prayer and the prayer of suffering.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prayer

The little break from blogging was good for me. I was able to spend some extra prayer time with the Lord in the evenings. Though I pray throughout the day in various ways, I seem to need the intense quiet of the evening after my daughter is in bed to really spend quality time with God. I go in my bedroom, close the door and try to pray with all my heart. This is much easier to do when there is no noise. I like peace and quiet, always have. [Music is an exception.] My family has supersensitive ears; with the exception of one, we all wear earplugs to bed. I barely ever watch TV, go to the movies, go to malls or any loud places unless I have to, the noise bothers me. Natural noises don't make me feel this way, manmade noise does - electronic equipment, horns, alarms, trucks...
Sometimes I wonder:  If the world wasn't so noisy, would we hear the still, small voice inside easier? I think the answer is yes. I know that the Lord can make Himself heard in any situation but silence is best. Noise is distracting and can keep us from focusing on the spiritual by contantly drawing our attention to the world. Every person needs quiet time, even children. One of the best things a person can do for themself is to put aside some time each day to spend with the Lord in silence. The past few days I have been pondering prayer and have decided to do a few posts on prayer. These will be mostly personal observations of the different types of prayer that I have experienced in my own life, including some prayer gifts of the Holy Spirit. All prayer is a gift from God but certain types are charisms given by the Holy Spirit. I will touch upon vocal and mental prayer, intercessory prayer [ both basic and the gift of intercessory prayer], the prayer of suffering [ the charism], the prayer of silence, and contemplative prayer. Why do I call some charisms? Because, they  are begun by God, not the person. God draws the person deeply into them, sometimes out of the blue when they least expect it. Praying the scriptures is another one I have in mind.
Hopefully, with the Lord's help, I can explain them simply. Every person is unique, therefore every prayerlife is different but sometimes common threads run through them, so I thought it would be a good thing to write about. Prayer and charisms walk hand in hand, so I will blog a little about both. At least the ones I know about, I can't write about some of them because I don't have them. I am not a member of any charismatic group, the charisms that I do have came upon me unexpectedly. The Holy Spirit blows where He will for reasons only He knows.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If I blog too much....

Is it just me? If I blog too much, I miss my poetry. If I write poetry too much, I miss my blogging. If I blog and write my poetry, it affects my prayer life. And if it affects my prayer life, I need a little break from blogging and poetry. There! That was simple to work out! See you soon :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

If you think that you are holy - be really worried!

A while back I wrote a post about being nice and what a problem it could be if the sweetness was simply a mask or surface quality that hides the truth about oneself. I am always amazed at how human nature likes to hide and protect itself from the unmasking which we all must go through to be healed by the Lord. This was a big problem for me because people often commented,"She's so nice" or "What a sweet girl you are." These are terms I've heard all my life because by nature I am basically a gentle person. Or was; I'm a bit more fiery now. The truth was:
For a long time, I was nice and sweet and filled with interior rot. The sweetness was a facade that hid a multitude of sins. Even worse, was my lack of awareness of how deep this ran. I moseyed along through life thinking I was doing pretty good and thinking I was at least average on the goodness scale. I'm sure you can guess what happened next. The Lord came along and quickly disabused me of this notion. Wham! Like getting hit with a ton of bricks. After my conversion I was in shock at the actual state of my soul. And the Lord was being gentle!
Why do I write about this? Because I believe there are many people out there who, like me, would be apalled at the true state of their soul. Trust me on this one, please. What? You think my name is Nicewarner for nothing? C'mon, the Lord has too great a sense of humor for that. [lol]
Seriously, though, what I am saying is true. We are not as good as we think we are. If you think you are holy- be really worried. Trust me on this one too, please. Most human beings are masters of self-deceit. This is why we are so in need of God's grace and love. Only He understands the depth of our fallen nature and He loves us anyway. But we must be honest with Him and ourselves so that He can do his healing work in us. He not only wants but deeply desires to do this for us if we will let Him. It's not always pleasant but it is freeing. There is one catch: to be forgiven and healed....we must first believe that we have sinned.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sunday Snippets

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly meme hosted by RAnn at this This That and the Other Thing where bloggers can share some of their favorite posts with other bloggers. I have found some wonderful blogs that I now follow through Sunday Snippets. Those who would like to join in can find more information at the link above.

As a pro-life blogger I occasionally write posts about why I am so set against abortion. This week I am posting a link to a short, 1 minute video which shows the greatest reason for my pro-life stance. It is one of the sweetest videos that I have ever seen: http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/beautiful-babies.html 
The second post I'd like to share is:http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/wicked-saints.html  These sinner-saints give hope to all the people of our times, although they lived long ago.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and a nice weekend!

Sabbath Moments

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme:  Colleen has a lot of company, but I am going to have my Sabbath Moment ready just in case. Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme where you can share special God-moments with other bloggers. You can find out more about this meme at Colleens blog which is linked above. I planned my Sabbath moment this week. On Thanksgiving, I went to an early Mass by myself and then spent an extra hour praying. I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to spend with Him and to thank Him on this special day. I knew the rest of the day would be fun, but busy, so I put aside a little extra time in the morning to spend with Him and I am glad I did. The Lord has truly blessed my family and I.

Thankgiving was especially nice this year because the entire family came, my brothers and sisters and their families were all there. We get together often throughout the year but usually someone can't make it. This time everyone made it. We gather at my parents' house and everyone brings something. Michaela had great fun playing with her cousin who is close to her age. Our next family get-together is Christmas, I'm already looking forward to it:)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beautiful babies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcP2mdnYbcw   I don't think anyone could be pro-choice after watching this video :) The cutest, funniest, sweetest thing that I have ever seen!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Michaela's thanks!

Dear God,
Thank you that we are here today! Thank you for moms and dads! Thank you for holidays and thank you for kittens!     from Michaela

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you, Lord, for my wonderful family!
Thank you, Lord, for your infinite love and abundant blessings!
Thank you, Lord, for Jesus, without whom, there would be no salvation.
And thank you, O Lord, for the Holy Spirit who dwells within us!

I praise and thank you, Heavenly Father, for all things!


Wishing all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wicked saints

I love reading books about the saints. The more wicked they were before their conversions the more they interest me. That is why some of my favorite saints are St. Mary Magdalene, St. Paul, and St. Augustine. St. Augustine was really rotten, even when he knew God was calling him, he still held back. St. Paul needed a hard knock on the head before his conversion; it reminded me of my own experience. These saints give me the greatest hope for my own salvation. The wicked ones who were forgiven the most were the ones most passionately in love with the Lord. They became full of zeal. I often ask for the intercession of these sinner-saints. I can relate more to the sinner-saints than the ones who never fell very far.
Suffering-saints are another favorite of mine. Whose heart wouldn't be moved by the intense sufferings of St. Padre Pio? Actually, most saints fall into these two categories. There were a couple of saints who were practically perfect from birth but don't ask me who they are; I've already forgotten their names :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Living your faith

   Michaela is still very young but I am trying to teach her the difference between simply going to Church and mouthing prayers, and living your faith. I wasn't certain how well this was getting through to her until the other week at Mass. She brought her religious education book to church with her and during Mass I felt a tug on my sleeve and she pointed to the corner of a page in her book. She whispered to me, "Mommy, you do this." I looked down to where she was pointing and read the words,"Living my Faith." I smiled at her and inside thanked the Lord  that she is beginning to understand the difference between being a lukewarm Christian and true Christian.
  Children love action. Rather than give money to the local food pantry, I brought her to the grocery store and let her help put together a Thanksgiving meal for a family in need. I explained to her how blessed we were and that we needed to share our blessings with others so that they too may have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Michaela had fun browsing through the aisles, finding the foods, and crossing them off the list she was holding. She picked out the pie for the family and helped me remember everything that was needed. It was a good lesson for her and she had fun doing it. She wants to do it again for Christmas :)

  Please remember all those in need this holiday season by helping out your local food banks, soup kitchens, and charities, it is a very tough year for many. Those who can't afford to help out can always volunteer their time.When my daughter is a little older I hope to get her to do some mother-daughter volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

  Thank you, O Lord for all your gifts and blessings!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly meme hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing. You can find out more about this meme at the link above. Sunday Snippets gives bloggers the chance to share some of their favorite posts with others. This week I would like to share these two posts:
  1. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/god-knows.html
  2. http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/beyond-measure.html
The first post is on the omniscience of God and how freeing this knowledge can be. The second is about the Infinite Mercy of God. Come and take a peek at RAnn's site and read some great posts by other bloggers!

Sabbath Moments

Thoughts on Grace: "Sabbath Moments Meme"

Sabbath Moments is a meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. Those who would like to learn more, or join us in this meme can find more information at the link above. Sabbath Moments are moments we rest in God, when we take time to be with God and absorb His love for us:

The power of prayer is unimaginable. Because we don't always see it's immediate effects, many people don't understand this gift from the Lord. The Lord hears every prayer, even the merest whisper of prayer - vocal prayer, wordless prayer, contemplative prayer, community prayer and  the silent prayers inside us that we are not even aware of; even the Holy Spirit within us prays. Prayer pierces heaven and we should have complete confidence that our prayers are heard and answered....every single one. I came across this quote that really made me think of the power of prayer:

   "Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. Christ has willed that it should work no evil, and has given it all power over good.
   Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains. Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, bring travelers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, over-rules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.
  All the angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee...The birds rise and lift themselves up to heaven...
   What more need be said on the duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To Him be honor and power for ever and ever. Amen."
                                        From the treatise On Prayer by Tertullian (d. 259)

Amazing, isn't it? Meditating on the power of prayer was one of my Sabbath Moments this week :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apparitions

http://www.spiritdaily.com/bishopsversusseers.htm   I thought this was an interesting article regarding apparitions and seers. When the Church asks people to refrain from visiting certain sites that have been condemned, we, as Catholics, should listen. People are in an uproar over a few seers whose messages have been condemned over the past few years, but no one should lose their peace of heart over such things, including the seers themselves. Our faith is in God, not in a specific site or visionary. I believe that Mary is appearing to many people around the world and some of the messages I read are very helpful and uplifting. All the apparitions cannot be false, but it is likely that a number of them are. If the messages are in line with Catholic teaching and it bears good fruit then I cannot see the harm in following it until the Church makes a decree on it. I become concerned when the visionaries and followers are outraged  when the Church makes a negative decree. Where is the humility in this? God is omniscient, we should trust Him completely and so should  the followers of the apparitions that are condemned. I really don't understand when the seers themselves get upset as that just shows that they haven't abandoned themselves completely to the Lord. If they had, it wouldn't matter either way...right?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is our best friend. He is always with us to help us, inspire us, lead us, heal us, console us, and He even prays in us. For many years I neglected praying to the Holy Spirit. I would say an occasional prayer or do a novena once in a while,  but that was about it. In general, I'd have to say that the Third Person of the Trinity is the most neglected by Christians. When I listen to people talk about their prayer life, I rarely hear people mention Him.

I now pray to the Holy Spirit often each day and this has helped me tremendously in my daily walk with the Lord. Sometimes I just talk to Him, other times I pray formally. I ask His help in everything that I do. Here is a simple prayer to the Holy Spirit that I often pray:

O Holy Spirit
I humbly implore You,
be with me always
so that in all things,
I may act under the influence
of your holy inspiration.    
                  Amen

"Now we direct our attention to the principal conditions for the gift of God par excellence. This gift is precisely the Holy Spirit, whom, we know,"breathes where He wills." But He does not reject the longing of anyone who waits for Him, calls on Him, and welcomes Him.....What are these conditions? Let us simplify a difficult answer by saying that the ability to receive this "sweet guest of the soul" exacts faith. It demands humility and repentance. Normally it requires a sacramental act. In the practice of a religious life, it requires silence, recollection, listening, and above all, invocation, prayer, as the apostles did with Mary in the Cenacle. It is important to wait and to cry out: "Come, Creator Spirit; come, Holy Spirit."
                               Pope Paul VI

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God knows

God knows all hearts. He knows us better than we know ourselves. This thought used to bother me, but now it makes me laugh. Sometimes I am tempted to try to pull a fast one on Him that I know just won't fly, especially when I don't feel like doing something that I know He wants me to do. I can immediately feel my brain begin thinking up reasons to get my way. For a woman of average intelligence, I can be a genius when it comes to self-justification. It amazes me sometimes. The thing is:
It is a total waste of time because He knows every thought I have.  This is what makes me laugh. I usually just throw up my hands and say, "You win, Lord", with a big grin.  I am not saying that I always do His will. I'm just honest with Him to the best of my ability. I have come to realize that this total knowledge that He has is actually freeing. The nicest thing of all is that:
He loves us immensely and if we trust him, we get to focus on His perfection and not our imperfections. True freedom is in Him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beyond measure

We should never be afraid to approach the Throne Of Mercy, rather our fear should be in not appealing to God's mercy. Sinners who know they need mercy and forgiveness are always welcomed with open arms, no matter how great the sins. Those who should be afraid are those who refuse the healing of the Divine Physician or don't believe they need healing. This quote from St. Faustina's Diary helps show the depth and breadth of  Our Lord's mercy and I thought it might help those in grave sin who want to turn to God but are afraid:

"My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of My goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace."*

I pray for everyone who visits this site. I may not know who you are, but God does :)


* The Diary of St. M. Faustina Kowalska
   Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception
        used with permission

Monday, November 16, 2009

"I have given you the king you have requested."

" I have given you [America] the king you have requested." This word came upon me last month and almost daily since then. I kept ignoring it but the more that I ignored it, the more it would come to mind. Therefore, I am printing it so that I can move on to other things. That's the way it seems to work. What comes to mind when I have mulled over this word is 1 Samuel ch. 8. The people hounded Samuel for a king and God granted their request, with a warning attached. The Lord also told Samuel, " It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king."

Because we have free will, people often make choices that are not good for them and then we reap what we sow. There is a difference between God's permitting will and God's perfect will. What have we sown, America? And what will we reap from this harvest? Justice and mercy walk hand in hand. A world without justice would be utter chaos. The Lord is allowing us to see the consequences of our actions or so it seems. I have to say that I have yet to see positive "change" come to our country. Most of the change that I have seen lacks wisdom and some of it is downright evil and is harming millions physically and spiritually.

Please pray for our country and it's leaders. Pray that the Lord's wisdom may come upon them and that they may turn from the paths they are walking on. I am praying for America and our president and government officials that God may send them the light to be true leaders who serve us well, not self-serving leaders.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mark Mallett

This post by Mark Mallett is a good one. I often receive words similar to his and when I read his writings, many times the Holy Spirit gives me a confirmation of his words: http://www.markmallett.com/blog/. For those who have not yet read his site - I highly recommend it and believe that his writings are of God. Personally, I think we are in a preparatory stage for a coming period of correction. I use the word correction because I believe, as children of God, that He disciplines us as any father would try to correct a child who has gone astray. We are already being purified,  the Lord is strengthening our faith and pouring His Spirit on those whose hearts are open to receiving His gifts. God is good :)

Thank you, Lord, for your patience and kindness !

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sabbath Moments

Thoughts on Grace: "Sabbath Moments Meme"
This Saturday, I am once again joining Colleen at Thoughts on Grace for her Sabbath Moments Meme:
A way of taking time to live in the present moment and just be. Sabbath Moments can be planned or may just come upon us. I try to plan these moments but have noticed that the ones that stick in my head most often tend to be unplanned.

Moments of grace can be found and noticed every day of our lives. Even during illness these moments can strike and catch you off guard. Some of these moments occurred this past week while Michaela was ill with the flu. She has been sick quite often lately; the viruses seem to be hitting one right after the other.

When my daughter was younger, I used to rock her every day in my favorite rocking chair, but these precious moments have become fewer and far between as she is growing older. She is still a cuddler, but we don't tend to sit in the rocking chair very much. This has changed the last couple of weeks. She has crawled on my lap and asked me to rock her almost daily. Some days we just chat, other days I read to her. I  have been looking forward to these moments because ....I am blessed to even have this child after so many years of infertility. In the summer of 2002, the Lord gave me [and my mom] a "word" that I would have a baby in one year. I knew that the word was good so I went out and bought a pair of baby socks and pinned the word to it. I still have that pair of socks :)  Whenever I look at them, I am reminded of the Lord's goodness and whenever I rock Michaela, I reflect on what a miracle and a blessing she is.

Thank you, Lord, for my beautiful Rose.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can anger be our friend?

"Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case."
                                         Catechism of the Catholic Church  # 1768

All human beings get angry, it is part and parcel of being human. Anger, in itself, is not a sin, it is simply an emotion. Unfortunately, because of our fallen nature it often leads us into sin. We have all heard the expressions: blowing our tops, flying off the handle, or hot under the collar. Anger becomes sinful when we dwell on it and get carried away by it; we fail to bridle our tongue and scream ugly things, yell at our children and act in an unloving manner. Road rage, revenge, and murder....these are all things that begin with anger.

Does anger always have to lead to sin? Of course not. Anger can propel us into positive action, also. It can stir us into taking steps to correct an evil and with God's grace can even be turned into a great zeal for justice. Look at Saint Paul. There are situations where we must, as Christians, use our voices; especially when something or someone is causing physical or spiritual harm to others. This is where anger can turn into a powerful force for good in our lives; when it lifts us from apathy and moves us toward justice. By the grace of God, anger can be a useful tool for positive change. Tempered [lol] with love, it can stir us into speaking up firmly in the face of injustice.

" We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reign of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of justice."
                                                        Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A silent void

Truth is very important to me. By this statement, I mean the great truths of life. I have noticed in our days that truth has been replaced by grayness. Nothing is black and white anymore. If you speak the truth you are considered judgmental. Since when is speaking the truth judgmental? Aren't we all called to live in the truth?
If I call abortion, murder, I am judging or so I am told. Who am I judging may I ask? I am simply making a truthful statement: abortion kills a baby, therefore it is murder.

If a person robbed a bank and I said, "Wow! That person just robbed a bank!" Am I judging or just stating a fact? I am not judging the person, I am speaking the truth. Speaking up is not politically correct anymore. Well, since I am not politically correct I might as well take this one step further:

Abortion = murder. Jesus and his apostles were quick to speak up about injustices. When we don't speak out about injustices and evil [such as abortion], our silence speaks volumes about ourselves. The silence on the abortion issue is deafening and in this case :  Silence is deadly. 

"Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth."   Jn 17:17-19

O Author of Life, please heal our country and the world. Pour your light into all hearts that abortion may be seen for what it truly is. Grant the grace of repentance to all who have committed this sin that they may be forgiven and receive your healing touch. I cover them all with the Precious Blood Of Jesus and I ask this in His Name. Amen

Utterly Thine O Lord!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing. Sunday Snippets is a weekly meme where bloggers can share their favorite posts with other bloggers.This week I'd like to share a post on sin  http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/world-is-concerned-with-virus-h1n1.html . The second post I would like to share is about Our Lord's Agony in The Garden. I often meditate on His agony; it is a great reminder of a love that has no limits: http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/olive-press.html

Thank you,Jesus, for your infinite love and mercy!

Sabbath Moments

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme: "Sabbath Moments Meme" hosted by Colleen is a weekly meme that reminds us to live in the present and just be, to live in God's grace and love. These moments can be planned or may just come upon us by surprise. Saturday is a great day for this meme, it prepares our hearts for Sunday and calls our attention to the beauty of life.

My Sabbath Moment came upon me unexpectedly. Wednesday was a grace-filled day for me. I felt the Lord's presence in a powerful way from the moment I woke up until I went to bed. I started my day as always with my morning offering. I have a statue of The Sacred Heart and in front of it I put a little sign:
"It is not the intensity of the trial itself that expiates sin; rather it is the intensity of the love for God with which the trial is accepted . Love is what matters most." This is part of a quotation that I read on one of the blogs I follow, Elena Maria Vidal's site http://fountainofelias.blogspot.com/2009/11/all-souls.html. [Thank you, Elena] I put up the sign to remind me to do all things for love alone and that early morning reminder has helped me immensely. I washed dishes with the Lord, cleaned with Him, joined my fellow parishioners in the Rosary, went to Confession and then to Mass. The entire day I felt the Lord's finger on my soul. The Holy Spirit drew me into intense prayer at various times throughout the day and I tried to perform all my actions with love. I ended my day with the Bible and my evening prayers. It was a glorious day :)  I would like to say that every day is like this but, unfortunately, this is not true. Reading that little sign in the morning has been a great blessing though; I find it coming to my mind often throughout the week.

Thank you, Lord, for each and every day. May we all grow ever closer to you and learn to live for love alone. Amen!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Olive press

At the base of The Mount of Olives lies Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus suffered in agony. An intense spiritual agony beyond human comprehension. The word Gethsemane means "olive press" and it was in this garden that Mercy was pressed to the fullest limits. An interior crushing so severe that Our Lord "fell to the ground and prayed if it were possible the hour might pass by him". And so begins the ultimate struggle with darkness as the weight of humanity's sins fell upon Him. A seemingly endless parade of human sin and corruption closing in upon Him. Pressing. Crushing. What did He see in this dark hour? Did He see the very depths to which human nature could sink? The pit of depravity, perversion and vice upon vice? Likely He saw this and worse, for the pressure grew so great that He sweat blood. Hematohidrosis.

Jesus suffered in his humanity, because it was human nature that needed redemption. And yet, despite the intensity of suffering He still prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done." And Our Lord drank the cup of staggering to its very dregs, knowing that by the acceptance of this chalice even greater suffering would come upon him . Then, strengthened by an angel, He stood up  and went to meet his betrayer.

In my eyes, the two greatest sufferings of Jesus were His Agony in the Garden and on the Cross when He felt completely forsaken by the Father and endured what one might call, "a living hell", for love of us. He became sin and took on all the sins of the world for our sake. That is why it is so horrifying when someone refuses the salvation that He gained for them; it's like a slap in the face of Pure Mercy.

Most merciful Jesus, I thank you for everything you suffered for us all. May all souls open their hearts to receive the mercy you long to pour on them. May your sufferings in Gethsemane obtain the grace of repentance for all souls caught in the grip of mortal sin. Amen.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prayer request

I cut my last post short because Michaela came home sick from school. We received a note from the school last week saying the H1N1 flu has been going around. Today, Michaela is running a fever, has body aches and the chills so it is likely that she has contracted this virus. Please say a prayer for her quick recovery, she has been sick a lot lately and is pretty run down. Any prayers would be greatly appreciated :)

The Two Gardens

The fall began in the Garden of Eden; our redemption began in the Garden of Gethsemane. Adam and Eve fell through the sin of pride, "...you will be like gods". They went against God's will. In  the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, in his humanity completely surrendered his will to the Father, bitter though this cup was. After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, he did not hide. Rather, he handed himself over in complete conformity with God's will. Both gardens contained betrayals. In  Eden, Satan tempted Adam and Eve and they betrayed God. In Gethsemane, Judas betrayed Jesus [God] with a kiss. It is in  Eden that Jesus and Mary are mentioned for the first time in Gen. ch.3:15.
"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."

In both gardens was a rejection of God by humans, but in the second garden was also the ultimate acceptance and abandonment to the will of the Father - the beginning of the atonement that ends on the cross, where Jesus, the new Adam,  returns the fruit stolen [an act of pride and rebellion] from the tree by giving his  human will to the Father in the greatest act of humility ever seen on this earth. It is  under the cross where Mary [the new Eve] unites herself intimately in this act of humility by giving the beloved Fruit of her womb to the Father, never asking why....just suffering with her Son.

To be continued...

Walk the walk

Some call this world a burden
Some call this world a curse
But I call it a blessed place
For trust me - there's far worse

I'll walk this earth anyday
No matter what the cost
I'll pray each and every day
That not one soul be lost

I'll walk the path of Jesus
With help I'll walk it well
For His way leads to heaven
The wide road leads to hell

So, if you see me walking
With grace I will not tarry
For Jesus is my light and guide
My cross He helps me carry

And if I see you on this path
Which every day grows steeper
I'll help you if you fall, my friend
.... I am my brother's keeper

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Facing the Truth

The world is concerned with the virus H1N1,  and rightly so, as any flu can be dangerous. However, there is a virus in the world that is far more virulent than the flu. This virus is called sin;  it's most virulent form is mortal sin which removes sanctifying grace from the soul. Love cannot live in a house that is completely overtaken by sin; there is no room left. We have become inured to sin but certainly not immune to it. Because we are so completely surrounded by sin in our world, we have forgotten what holiness is and the ugliness of sin has lost much of it's impact. We are so infected with sin that most of us still think we are good even if we are in a state of grave sin. God in his great mercy continues to pour grace and light onto this world. In fact, He is literally flooding the world with grace. This light is purifying many souls, but the majority of the human race continues to turn their backs on it. The loss of the sense of sin has caused great harm to souls. To be forgiven, you must first confess your sin. Those whose consciences have grown dull from many years of unconfessed sin often even fool themselves, " God is love, He wouldn't send anyone to hell."   Or,  "There are murderers out there, I'm a good person; I would never do that!" Well, maybe you would not go out and murder someone, but here is a question:  Would you vote for someone who supports abortion? Because if you do, then you are supporting someone who believes in murder. And yes, God is love but we do not have to accept His love; we have free will. Do you think that hell is empty? Do the Ten Commandments no longer apply to us? Are we so enlightened, then? Has our pride grown so much that we feel that we are above God and no longer liable for our sins?

We are liable for every sin that we commit. Better to face the truth about ourselves and be healed than to pretend that the world is just fine. It is not just fine. Open your eyes and look around you. Purify your hearts. Pray for mercy. The day is coming when the human race, great and small shall look upon the one they have pierced. Choice you have asked for and choice you shall be given.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Foot for Sorrow

On the endless road - Redemption Way
I thought I heard my Savior say:
For love alone, one step more
You can do it. I love you. One step more.
A foot for sorrow, a measure of pain
I lifted my feet, again and again
And the Lamb's voice echoed as before:
You can do it. I love you. One step more.
Though you may stumble, when you fall down
I'll lift you up; My graces abound
In my heart arose, Love so sweet
Grace set me once more upon my feet
His beloved voice shook me right to the core:
You can do it! I love you! Just one step more.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A few days off

I am taking a little break from blogging. Be back in a few days :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog Award!



Anne at Imprisoned in my Bones-Releasing my Inner Jeremiah has sent me this beautiful award which I somehow managed to copy [don't ask me how, it was a fluke].  Thank you, Anne! Your blog is one of my favorites! There is nothing that inspires me more than truth and a deep love for God, so I pass this award on to these bloggers:

Colleen at Thoughts on Grace http://colleenspiro.blogspot.com/ 
Allison at A broken Fortress http://brokenfortress.blogspot.com/
Mrs. Pogle at Mrs Pogle's World http://iamhisbeloved.wordpress.com/
Theresa at Carmelitemom http://carmelitemom.blogspot.com/

I would actually like to send this award to every blog that I follow. Each of you are unique and I enjoy all of them. May God bless you all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mine eyes have seen the Glory!

" May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon the earth; among all nations, your salvation. May the peoples praise you O God; may all the peoples praise you!"      Psalm 67: 2-4

I love this psalm, I can't read it without smiling. Today, this psalm is my prayer; that all nations may praise Him. That every single person on the earth becomes aware of God's infinite love and mercy. That the entire world would humble their hearts and kneel before Him. Imagine the greatness of such a day :)  And never say never. Our God is King!

I titled this, " Mine eyes have seen the Glory", because this song has become an endless refrain in my heart. It started a month ago when I was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration and it has never left me.I hadn't heard this song since I was a child so I looked up the lyrics. http://www.hymns.me.uk/mine-eyes-have-seen-the-glory-favorite-hymn.htm  What a powerful song! Two phrases particularly struck me:

"Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel."
"He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat."

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Utterly Thine, O Lord!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Holy, Holy, Holy

The world is caught in such a deep spiral of sin that only God can restore it.  And He will. The holiness of God is beyond our comprehension.Over the years, God has plunged me into periods of purgation so intense that if it wasn't for His grace, I don't know if I could have gotten through them. Each time that I come out of these periods of purgation I realize that His holiness is far, far greater than I could ever imagine. For a while, I used to dread the Lord's consolations because I knew what was coming next. Now I look forward to the purging and I look at the consolations as brief moments of rest. I have learned (the hard way) that the best way to get through the times of purgation is to totally abandon yourself and place all your trust in Him. If you fight it, it makes it much more difficult to get through. The blessing is that the Lord in his kindness reveals himself slowly (usually this is His way) so as not to overwhelm us. If we stood in the Light of Truth all at once, it would be very painful, depending on the state of one's soul. So...today I thank you, O Lord of all Truth, for your gentleness and great love for me and all my brothers and sisters in this world. Please continue to illuminate our hearts and minds that we might grow in holiness and become more sensitive to the inspirations of The Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

As a side note:
There may come a time when our consciences do undergo a complete illumination (other than at the time of death). Many saints have spoken about this illumination... which I believe will happen. Why do I believe this? Because the Lord loves us so completely that I think He will step in and correct a world gone so wrong. He is merciful.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme: hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace is a weekly meme that reminds us to rest in God and live in the moment, to enjoy God in silence and nature. This week, the moments which touched me deeply and reminded me of God's Love were both inspired by my daughter. When her bus comes up the street to pick her up in the mornings she covers my face with kisses. Every morning without fail. She jumps into my arms and showers me with love. And I am reminded of what a miracle she is. A gift from heaven. The Lord gave me a "word" the year before she was born that I would have a baby....and the Lord's word was good. She sat on the counter today while I washed dishes and chatted to me about God for half an hour and in that short time I learned more about love than 100 sermons could have taught me.

One of her little tidbits of wisdom was this:
Sins leave little black spots on a person's soul and the more a person sins, the darker their soul gets. If their soul gets really black, it's really bad and makes them forget how to be good because God can't help them as much. That's why forgiveness is important. 

Made sense to me :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the Name of Love

Do everything in the Name of Love. For God alone. Everything. Even if you are so ill that you can not get out of bed....breathe in the Name of Love. Unite all your joys, sorrows, work, prayers, sufferings and daily trials to Our Lord Jesus Christ. I even unite my heartbeat with His. He sanctified everything in His Name.

" I do not look at the act itself. I look at the intention. The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives me immense consolation.....I want only love, I ask for nothing else."
         Our Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez

Lord, I praise Thee and thank Thee for all things! You are the King of kings! Blessed be Thy Holy Name!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A pillar of salt

The Lord doesn't like it when I dig in my past. "But Lot's wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt."    Gen. 19:26.  We are to forgive always and live in the present. That is not to say that we shouldn't learn from the past, just that we shouldn't live there :)  The Lord wanted me to print this for some reason....so I did.

Utterly Thine O Lord

Lord, teach us to always look at you, for you are the Eternal Present.  I thank you and praise you, O Lord, for this precious gift! Amen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tekel

I questioned the Lord on the "word" I received the other day and He prompted my heart to open the bible and read Daniel, chapter 5. Of course, the Lord is funny and the bible opened to the exact page. Here are the passages that I was drawn to:
" This is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Tekel, and Peres. These words mean: Mene, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; Tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians."  Daniel ch. 5: 25-28

What caused the downfall of Belshazzar? He did not humble his heart. " You had the vessels of his temple brought before you, so that you and your nobles, your wives and your entertainers, might drink wine from them; and you praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence. But the God in whose hand is your life breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify."

Are we better than Babylon during Belshazzar's rule? Does America glorify God? What fruits has America brought forth over the past 50 years? "Either declare the tree good and its fruit is good, or declare the tree  rotten and its fruit  is rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit."   Mt, 12:33

Let's take a look at the fruit that America has produced lately:
materialism
broken families
adultery
rampant crime
pornography
child abuse
abortion

The list could go on and on. And so I ask these questions:
One nation under God? Indivisible? With liberty and justice for all?

The name of this chapter of Daniel is: The Writing on the Wall. We should read it.
                  
                  

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme

I am joining Colleen once again for her Sabbath Moments Meme. This meme is a reminder for me to focus on God and to live in the present. Or as Colleen puts it: to be still and rest in God. I have had many Sabbath Moments this week. The other day, after Mass, I was driving in my car and passed a restaurant. On a billboard in front of it was posted, " YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!"  I could barely drive home as this thought resonated throughout my being. You are what you eat. No wonder Holy Communion is the greatest treasure of the Church. We receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus comes into our hearts and transforms us .....we become like Him. We consume Him and He utterly consumes us in the fire of His Love.

"If you have received worthily, you are what you have received."    St. Augustine

Our Lord does not come down from heaven every day to lie in a golden ciborium. He comes to find another heaven which is infinitely dearer to Him - the heaven of our souls, created in his image, the living temples of the adorable Trinity."      St. Therese

Yesterday, I posted about New Age spirituality. I decided to post about the Eucharist today because it points to a Christ- centered spirituality  versus an I- centered  spirituality. The difference between the two is infinite.

Friday, October 16, 2009

If you play with fire, you might get burned.

We live in a world where instant gratification is king. I can't walk into a bookstore without finding New Age books everywhere. These authors make gods of themselves and suggest that others do so, also. Their eyes are blind and the blindfold is pride. Various celebrities have touted these books as being inspired. By whom?
Certainly not by the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of Truth. Whenever a book leads away from truth and draws readers to depend on their own fallen nature we can easily see where the inspiration for these books comes from: the father of lies. Lucifer, in his pride, cried out,"I will be like the Most High." Look at the apple dangled before Adam and Eve,"You will be like gods." New age books always give themselves away at some point or other, usually with some form of pride similar to that which caused satan's own downfall. They can be downright dangerous if they draw one to the occult. Certain doors are meant to stay shut for our own protection. Those who dabble in the occult are playing with fire. And they just might get burned.

Lord, deliver our brothers and sisters who are involved with New Age and occult practices. Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they do. Pour your mercy upon these souls that they may be released from the chains that bind them. Heal them and set them free. I ask this in the mighty and all-powerful name of Jesus, at who's name every knee shall bend. Amen!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Playing with fire

This is a good time to give your spiritual house a good fall cleaning. Simplify and toss whatever does not lead to God. The more room that you make for Him the better. After you get rid of unnecessary clutter ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. Everything matters and everything makes a difference. I keep seeing articles and books about being balanced and simplifying. When I peek at these I shake my head. No. The world is already balanced on the edge of a precipice and about to tip over. The suggestions I read are hilarious. Listen to this one: " Ask for help from the universe." Yeah, right. That's like asking a table to pray for you. I have a better one: Ask for help from the CREATOR of the universe. Here is another one that would have made me giggle if it wasn't so pitiful: "Cast a rune." No thanks. No wonder the True Rock is such a stumbling block for so many; they insist on playing with pebbles instead.

God first and then everything else will fall into place. This is the answer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nineveh and repentance

"When the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself in sackcloth, and sat in the ashes."           Jonah 3:5, 6

Nineveh repented and God forgave them. How simple the answer to America's problems. Repentance.
God forgave them. Sorrow for one's sins draws down mercy. Even the king humbled himself. Maybe we should learn a few things from the past instead of constantly reliving it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sabbath Moments

Thoughts on Grace: Sabbath Moments Meme

Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has started a Meme called Sabbath Moments. You can read more about this Meme at the above link. I liked  this one....a time to rest in God and live in the moment, to enjoy God in silence and nature.
October is my favorite month of the year. I live in New England and the foliage is spectacular at this time of the year. The world is aglow with color and God's canvas is the most beautiful of all. It never fails to fill me with awe. Even as a child this was my favorite month. Sometimes I think that God made October as a sign pointing at how we are to grow spiritually. Spring is a child just budding and beginning to grow. Summer is the adult  rooted deeply into the earth. Autumn is the elder, wise and crowned with inner beauty; harvest time, where the fruits of our life are ready to be reaped. After the fruit is gathered comes winter, which is death. If the fruit is good....eternal life begins.

Another reason October is my favorite month:
It's the month of the Rosary!
Some of my favorite saints have their feast days in this month.
My patron saint's feast day is Oct. 15 - St. Teresa of Avila
My birthday is Oct. 15

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Read the signs

Two months ago I had a dream: I was standing on the grass, looking up at the sky. I saw four fighter jets; they came from four different directions: north, west, east and south. They met above where I stood and flew in formation. A banner unfurled below them. It read, in giant letters:
AMERICA YOU ARE BEING WARNED!

Part of me does not want to write about such things. Sadly, I still care too much of what people think. I am printing it because I know the Lord wants me to.

Utterly Thine, O Lord.

Blest Insomniac

One of the blessings about being an insomniac is that it gives me a chance to read some great books. What am I reading right now? blest atheist by Elizabeth Mahlou. If you have not yet read this book I highly recommend picking it up. Why? So far it is the best book that I have read all year. I don't think anyone will walk away from this one unchanged. The hand of God is on this one.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Perfect Love

I' m writing a second post because I did not want to add anything to the last one. Let it stand on it's own. I didn't want my thoughts tainting it. Not to say that I'm not going to put in my own two cents now, though :) I had some difficulty with this "word". I struggled with it all week. Peace finally flowed over me this morning when I printed it. I want to give you my perspective on this "word":

God loves us immensely. There are some powerful prayer warriors in our world and many people love the Lord. Overall, however, the world has continued on the path of self-destruction. You can see it everywhere. A person would have to be blind not to notice. Take a good, hard look around you. After taking a good long look....read between the lines. God's hand is here. Purification is a flood of grace. Cars run on gasoline, people run on grace. The thing is: we have to turn on the ignition. Grace requires a response. Our Lord has been flooding the world with grace but overall the response has been lukewarm at best. Being a loving God, he pours more love down until we take notice. Will we turn to Him? That is the question.

One more thing to remember:
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love."              1 John  4:18

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The time is now

And so it begins. We are entering a period of intense purification. Turn to the Lord. The time is now.

"Say to them therefore: Thus says the Lord your God: None of my words shall be delayed any longer; whatever I speak shall be final, and it shall be done, says the Lord God."    Ezekiel 12:28

Utterly Thine , O Lord

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where did it go now, Lord?

In the head of Mary N:

Lord? Lord? Where did the holy mountain go this time? I'm onto you, Lord. I use to think that I was never making any progress spiritually because the holy mountain was always the same distance away. Then I realized that you kept moving it back a few miles. I know that you were being kind because you didn't want me to be overwhelmed by how deep the sin ran in me. But this time, Lord, it is only a vague outline way off in the distance. Good thing you left footprints to follow.

Utterly Thine, O Lord!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A stepping stone, not a stumbling block

Fibromyalgia affects the brain. They call it brainfog. A fitting term for it, as my brain feels quite fogged up sometimes. I look at some of my posts and can see how disjointed they are and yet my brain cannot organize my words properly. A few of my followers can probably relate to this. It has become the source of much laughter in our house and my husband and daughter are quite good-natured about it. Sometimes my husband may find the butter in the freezer or the ice cream in the closet :) I lose things. I write myself notes and then lose the notes. My niece always giggles because I'll drive off in my car with a tea or water bottle on the roof. When I was pregnant, I kept losing my pocketbook. Sweet husband that I have would often carry it for me. It takes a real man to do this ;) Along with the brainfog, comes muscular and joint pain and also a deep and chronic fatigue. My brother-in-law's nickname for me used to be "napster" because in the early years I would have to take naps after work each day. Fibromyalgia certainly has it's humorous side.

All humor aside, fibro is a very painful disease. Because it is misunderstood, it is often mocked and considered "all in one's head." I can assure you that this is not the case. Sometimes it hurts to even breathe because it can affect internal muscles, too. My bladder has been extremely affected by it. I used to get up anywhere from 3 to 16 times per night to use the bathroom. Medication has reduced this to 1 or 2 times per night. My immune system is affected by this disease, also. Another common symptom is thickened body fluids. This can make it difficult for some women to conceive. It can also cause a chronic thirst because the saliva is thick and doesn't keep the tissues of the mouth and throat moist. Many with fibro will wake up in the morning with swollen faces and eyes glued shut. I use cold , wet, cloths and icepacks to reduce this. The list goes on and on...

I am writing this post because I have friends, relatives and have met wonderful people online who are suffering. Some have fibro, some have other diseases that cause chronic pain. I just wanted to tell you that I understand and pray for you all. Someone else understands, too....Jesus. And he cares. He has walked in the shoes of suffering and suffering is highly redemptive when united with His. Use your suffering as a stepping stone to Him.

Jesus, this disease that scourges me so, I unite with your scourging at the pillar. In the garden of my suffering, I lay my head against you who suffered so much in the Garden of Gethsemane. Like you, I am mocked in my suffering and I place this too in your loving hands. Thank you for holding my hand while we walk this painful road . I unite my thirst with yours. When I am suffering internally and externally, I see you stretched out on the cross and  I feel a love so fierce and strong it gives me strength and hope for the journey. I know where this one ends. When my time comes, my final breath will be united with yours and your words will be my words: "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit."
Utterly Thine O Lord