Our Lady's Monthly Message
"Dear children! Nature is awakening and on the trees the first buds are seen which will bring most beautiful flowers and fruit. I desire that you also, little children, work on your conversion and that you be those who witness with their life, so that your example may be a sign and an incentive for conversion to others. I am with you and before my Son Jesus I intercede for your conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call." BVM, February 25, 2011 Message to Marija
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
It is always our actions that speak louder than our words....
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I had passed her many times before, we always smile at one another, but I had never taken the opportunity to speak to her. A small lady with soft gray hair, she couldn’t be any taller than about 5’1”. She has such a peaceful presence about her that you can’t help but take notice.
Like me, she walks everyday. And everyday, in her right hand, she holds a beautiful golden crystal rosary that sparkles magnificently in the sun, silently drawing the attention of anyone that might pass by. As she walks, her fingers work the beads as she lifts her prayers to the Lord. The sight of her silent witness moves my heart.
On this particular day, as we passed one another, I was moved to speak to her. “I can’t help but notice that every time I see you, you are saying your rosary. It always gives me such pleasure.” Gently, she lifted the golden beads to her lips and in a most reverent fashion she kissed them. “This one is for you”, she said. I felt so humbled, “thank you”, was all I could say.
We both continued our separate ways, no longer strangers, but spiritual sister in Christ , bonded through the love of our Lady.
"Dear children! God is allowing me along with
Himself to bring about this oasis of peace. I wish to call on you
to protect it and that the oasis always be unspoiled. There are
those who by their carelessness are destroying the peace and the
prayer. I am inviting you to give witness and by your own life to
help to preserve the peace. Thank you for having responded to my
call." BVM, Medjugorje, June 26, 1986
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I would like to share this beautiful post from a new member of the Christian blogging community. Please go over and check out her site.
Welcome Jek, "In Search Of" and God bless you!
"Above all the grace and gifts that Christ gives to his beloved, is that of overcoming self." ~ St. Francis of Assisi
I have often pondered this quote in thinking about my own trouble in surrendering to Christ. I've even asked priest, therapist, close friends, family, "what does it mean to surrender to Christ?" "What does it mean to let go and let God?" I guess in my blindness and desire to hold on to my will, I could not even conceptualize nor put into action these questions and thoughts.
I have struggled with anxiety for most of (if not all) my adult life. Having anxiety can be hellish. You are literally a prisoner of your own thoughts, that just keep repeating themselves, basically like a tape recorder. You worry about the future and if it will be like this or like that. You think that by worrying about, you have some sense of control, you can somehow get in front of it and fix it. However, that is a false sense of control. What happens is that, anxiety is incredibly habit forming and it can spread to almost all aspects of your life.
At the beginning of 2010, I decided to do something simple, yet in some ways profound, in order to help overcome some of my anxiety. I gave up caffeine. Now, I know this may seem trivial to some, but for me, it was a HUGE deal! I realized that by not having caffeine, I had to let myself be tired when I was tired. I always noticed a severe tightening in my chest not occurring as frequently. In a sense, a year and almost two months later, I feel a little more sober. I noticed that in not having caffeine to keep me pumped up, I was in a small way not feeding my anxiousness. I also noticed that my mind was a little clearer and other negative habits and behaviors of mine were brought to my attention. I could start to honestly look at myself and sort out where some of this anxiousness was truly coming from, now that I could not blame it on caffeine.
In same ways, I view giving up caffeine as a fast (one that will probably be a life long fast). Fasting is so difficult, because us humans are so incredibly weak, but, I am starting to see that the fruits of it are entirely worth it! In one of our Lady's messages in Medjugorje, Mary states to the visionaries, "Through fasting and prayer, one can stop wars, one can suspend the laws of nature." Wow! How amazing these rewards are! I think Mary means that through fasting, we can stop the wars also within ourselves, we can work towards overcoming our own self occupation and start surrendering ourselves to God. As Fr. Slavko Barbaric states, "it is by prayer, of course that we attach ourselves to God, but it is by fasting that we detach ourselves from the world."
Part of my new goals for 2011 have been to start fasting once a week. Some weeks have been better than others, but I am determined to keep trying. I noticed last week, during one of my better fasting days, that it was very difficult, but I knew that it was a way to carry my cross that day and bare the slight inconvenience of hunger, a sacrifice for God that would turn into a later spiritual fruit and grace. When I awoke the next morning though, I felt a sense of peace, energy and I noticed later in the week when I was met with difficulty, I was a little more patient, my responses to others were more gentle and I even started in my prayers to take time not to speak, but sit in silence and listen.
Sometimes, I do not think we understand how are habits can keep us away from God and prisoners of ourselves. Again, Fr. Slavko Barbaric speaks of this when he states, "Fasting is a call to conversion directed to our body. And as we free ourselves from things outside of ourselves, we also free ourselves from the passions within us that are keeping our interior life in chains."
We all have things that we need to detach ourselves from. Fasting can help us, because it places are reliance not on us, but on Christ. I am starting to slowly see that this is part of the answer to how we can surrender. First we do need to die to ourselves and the practice of fasting, helps us to empty ourselves so that we can do just that.
Let us remember that this ancient Christian tradition is more needed in our society of individualism and self analysis more than ever before. Remember, fasting has the power "stop wars." With this, I encourage you to think about fasting for a spiritual gift, a family member, friend, or for a special prayer intention. Why not even fast for your enemies? Someone you struggle with in your life? You can even start small. This being said, I leave you with this beautiful, simple and humble prayer:
"Lord, as I fast unto You, replace the source of my joy, peace and gentleness with You. Purify my character so that I rely on continual surrender to Jesus instead of the contentment of the flesh." Amen.
Beyer, Richard. (1993). Medjugorje Day by Day. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press.
rsema, Kevin. The Value of Fasting: Spiritual Discovery
Friday, February 11, 2011
In the days of your prophet Deborah,
You saved Israel by the hand of a woman.
In quiet wisdom she stood beneath her tree,
Guiding the searching ones in your Law.
She saw the threat of tyranny to her simple people.
She came to you for help and you answered her.
Miryam of Nazareth, Woman of Strength & Wisdom, Ann Johnson, Ave Marie Press
Like Deborah beneath her tree, quiet time with the Lord refreshed my soul. Thankfully, we have a neighboring church close by that has an adoration chapel; I love to visit it often.
I can’t help but notice when I am there the number of women present, it’s a wonderful sight. Many have their rosary beads in hand, a few have open bibles, some just sit quietly with eyes closed, and others hold journals on their laps, with pen in hand.
Like Deborah, they bring their cares and their gratitude to the Lord. They come to Him for help, in their union with God, He hears them and answers. His gentle spirit embraces them as it does mine; together we are strengthened for what lies ahead.
I am thankful for the holy women that God has put in my life, especially those in my own family. Like the women in the chapel, their faith, courage and strength, have been such an inspiration to me. I only pray that I can pass it on.
Who do you have in your life to be thankful for? Who has been a blessing in your life? Please let them know, it is up to us to pass it on.
Friday, February 4, 2011
When the people became aware of Moses' delay in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him." Exodus 32:1
God of love,
How many times have you led us through the desert,
Your stars ever present to brighten our way.
In our hunger you feed us the heavenly bread,
We gather our daily portion,
We eat to our content.
You are the God of our days,
The God of our nights.
Never are we alone, for your spirit is ever present.
Yet, often we cannot see you in our midst,
For it is not your image we seek, but one more like ourselves
Change our hearts O God,
Let us never forget that it is you alone we seek.
"Dear children; You are gathering around me, you are seeking your way, you are seeking, you are seeking the truth but are forgetting what is the most important, you are forgetting to pray properly. Your lips pronounce countless words, but your spirit does not feel anything. Wandering in darkness, you even imagine God Himself according to yourselves, and not such as He really is in His love. Dear children, proper prayer comes from the depth of your heart, from your suffering, from your joy, from your seeking the forgiveness of sins. This is the way to come to know the right God and by that also yourselves, because you are created according to Him. Prayer will bring you to the fulfillment of my desire, of my mission here with you, to the unity in God's family. Thank you." Our Lady blessed everyone present, thanked them and called us to pray for priests. February 2, 2011 Message to Mirjana