Nineveh 90

Today begins the Nineveh 90 challenge.

Do you remember the story?

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah 3:3-10)

We live in chaotic and dangerous times.  (If you doubt this, simply watch the news on any given day.)

The spiritual battle is powerful, but make no mistake.  The One who trains us for war is infinitely more powerful.  Remember that we were not born into this age by accident.  Indeed, God did not create us to be simple spectators, but to fight valiantly alongside Him to see the fulfillment of what we ask in the Lord’s prayer – Thy kingdom come!  If we truly long for that day, then we must train and we must fight!

Even while chaotic, our modern age is also an age of plenty.  It is all too easy to grow content and turn a blind eye to the battle raging around us.  Too often, we have a tendency to find our “security” in things of this world and we forget…

…the world and its enticement are passing away.  But whoever does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:17)

So in the days, weeks and months ahead, we will pray.  We will fast.  We will clothe ourselves in “sackcloth” (as we don the Brown Scapular).  We will work hard to take on new and healthy habits that can sustain the Body of Christ in difficult times, both physically and spiritually.

This is the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal.  We remember her words, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.

We must answer Our Lady’s call.

It is not too late for us – for our country and for the world – to turn away from evil and back to God.  It is not too late…  for God to see what we do and how we turn from our evil ways.  As at Nineveh, we pray that God will relent and not bring upon us the destruction he has threatened.

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

 

Let the Children Come

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Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  (Matthew 19:14)

I was blessed to spend the day at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and, as I prayed and reflected upon the Luminous Mysteries of Our Lord’s life, I stumbled across this image…

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3rd Mystery:  The Proclamation of The Kingdom

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I was suddenly reminded of my family and of God’s call in my life.

God has entrusted me with a wonderful husband and precious son.  In His mercy, He has also given me a strong faith.

As the day draws near for the adoption to be complete and our son to receive the first sacraments, the spiritual battle for our souls has intensified.  There are days when I am tempted toward great despair… Tempted toward fear that my husband will never know the fullness of God’s love for him and that our son will pull away and refuse the love of a Father who will NEVER abandon him.

LIES!  The enemy lies… and I will NOT listen.

God does not make mistakes.  My husband and I are married for a reason.  We are called to walk with one another home to Heaven.  In truth, the many trials should come as no surprise, as I am greatly in need of God’s mercy and healing in my life…

I will bring the one third through the fire; I will refine them as one refines silver, and I will test them as one tests gold.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “The LORD is my God.”  (Zechariah 13:9)

God has entrusted this precious boy to our care and He WILL help us to guide him in His ways.  I pray now for the GRACE to do nothing to prevent him.  Long before he was our son, he was God’s son and the kingdom of Heaven belongs to him.

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

Taking the Veil (a new “front”)

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One day, I really do need to write the backstory for what you’re about to read.  A cry of the heart (post) written to a “closed” group on FB…

Just curious…  Where does the teaching come from that we veil solely because of the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist??

I remember – during the darkest time in my life – hiding (literally) in the church, night after night.  I had grown up Catholic and yet I did not know that was JESUS there in the tabernacle.  (Sadly…  I probably couldn’t have told you what a tabernacle WAS!)  All I knew was that I was SAFE there.  It was the one place he would not come and could not hurt me.

That man tried to take everything from me and by that (and other worldly avenues) the enemy had ALMOST convinced me that I had NO worth and that there was NO HOPE for my salvation…  It was only by God’s GRACE that I heard a still, small voice deep inside that whispered, “It is a lie.  Don’t listen!”

That was 25 years ago.  It would be 11 years before I underwent a radical reconversion to my Catholic faith and another 11 years before I felt a call (again that still, small voice) to veil…  But it was NOT my gift to God.  It was HIS GIFT to me.  By the veil, He reminds me, “THIS is how precious you are to me.  Don’t ever forget.”

The True Presence of Jesus Christ remains VEILED in the Holy Eucharist, whether I am able to veil in that moment or not.  Even if I am out hiking or somewhere I never expected to encounter Our Lord and don’t have the ability to veil in that moment, still…  I will (I MUST!) fall to my knees for love of Him!

There have been moments when I’ve felt alienated by SOME of those who veil, as if I MUST veil or I am not showing Our Lord proper respect somehow.  My heart breaks for them.  😦

Does our veil indicate Jesus is truly present?  It can…  But even if we have no veil (or can’t veil in that moment) Jesus is STILL present and He loves us SO much!!  By the veil – just as Our Blessed Mother, the tabernacle and even the sacred vessels – WE are reminded that we, too, are PRECIOUS and SET ASIDE for Him!

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

It is the first time I’ve ever shared my story.

(to be continued…)

Broken Beautiful

(I sat down to write this morning and found this *draft* of a post I wrote over the summer.  Apparently, in all of the “crazy busy” of this Adoption process, I forgot to publish it.  Yes…  You read that right.  We are trying to adopt a little boy.  PLEASE pray for us!  We are hoping that he will have his “FOREVER” home soon.)

How on earth can this…

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…inspire  me so??

 As you can see, we bought a camp stove and I am SO looking forward to getting outside more often this summer.

My husband believes in taking good care of things.  I agree, but as we put the stove away (after enjoying some yummy s’mores this evening), I was struck by this thought…

A camp stove is MADE to be beaten up and worn out.  It is, in a sense, made to be “broken.”  If it serves its purpose well, it will be loaded and unloaded countless times, set up in camp or on the tailgate of the truck and it will have more than its share of dents and scratches.  It was not created to stay in the box.

Neither were we.

It seems an odd jump – from a camp stove to one who is made in the image and likeness of God – doesn’t it?  But…is it??

If we serve God well, we too will find ourselves beaten up and worn out.  We too will be “broken.”

There is a song written by E.llie Hol.comb, a Christian singer/songwriter, entitled, “The Broken Beautiful.”  Its lyrics speak powerfully…

Would You remind me now of who You are?  That Your love will never change, that there’s healing in Your name and that You can take broken things and make them beautiful.  You took my shame and You walked out of the grave, so Your love can take broken things and make them beautiful.

Her song speaks beautifully to those wounds that this world and our fallen natures will inflict.  Some may be visible.  Others not.  ALL can give glory to God…if we will let Him transform them!

Even after we are, by God’s grace, firmly in His service, we hear Him say…

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.  (John 12:26)

Wow!

If we are to truly serve Him, then we must go where He went…to the Cross.  We will be broken as He was broken.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there…

If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.  (Romans 6:8)

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

Today

Today

Today is a GIFT.

Today is all that we have.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Today, life is tough.

I can’t see tomorrow, but I KNOW that God is already there.  He has already dried the tears that will fall.  He has already drawn straight with some VERY crooked lines.  What today seems like a canvas of splattered paint will tomorrow become one of His greatest works of art!

Ad Jesum Per Mariam!

Family

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.  (Genesis 2:24)

What is family?

Well, that depends.

In my case…

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If I were a religious “Sister,” then the other members of my religious community would be my family.  If I had been called to the single life, then my parents and others (as God wills) would still occupy that primary place in my heart.

Is there another definition of “family?”

Sure.

My parents, brothers, sisters, cousins and so many others will always be “family,” but in a much different sense of that word.  They are extended family.  Within each of them can be found a part of what makes me who I am today and for that I thank God every day.  But remember…

My husband is the one whom God has called to walk with me in a special way now.  It is through and with one another that God will accomplish His greatest work in our lives.  It is (primarily) through and with my husband that God is calling me to become a great SAINT!

This might seem like an odd topic to be brought up on this beautiful Christmas morning, but is it??

As a family, my husband and I have been called to take some huge steps together over the past year and a half.  (Much longer than that, really…)

After almost ten years of wondering at God’s will for our family, He answered our prayers in a powerful way…  and we welcomed home our first son.

After a couple of years of discernment, we took a huge step this past Spring and moved away from the town in which I’d grown up.

(both reflections for a different day)

Today, we took another huge step and one that was long overdue.

We chose, as a family, to spend this Christmas Eve and Day here at home – creating our own family traditions.  Truthfully, I didn’t realize just how much we really needed this quiet time.  There has been so much going on with the adoption.  It has been a bit of an emotional overload, I’m afraid, for both our “Little Man” and us.

While it was never our intention to hurt anyone – nor to withdraw from others – we must set healthy boundaries.  Right now, we need this boundary.

Family…

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gift of family, both immediate and extended.  From the ones who gave us the gift of LIFE and helped to build a strong foundation in us to the gift that my husband and I are to one another, You have blessed us SO much!  We pray for the grace to be a blessing to our own son.  Help us to give him a solid foundation – built on LOVE – that will prepare him to fulfill the mission to which You are calling him.

Please heal the wounds in us and in our extended families.  Let us not pass these wounds down to the next generation, but surrender them to You.

Amen.