No Mary, No Jesus…Know Mary, know Jesus!

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This is a quote that I heard on the radio this morning from Tim Staples.  He explained that it is often attributed to the Blessed Mother Teresa, but she did not in fact ever say it.  Blessed_Mother_Teresa

However, he says, “She should have.”  As I sat in the chapel waiting to participate in the Mass, I realized that Mary was right in front of me.  At least the statue of her was directly in front of me.  I thought about going up to the statue before I started the first reading today, but quickly realized that everyone who was attending Mass with us today in the chapel would not understand what I was doing.  I just felt so grateful to Mary for saying yes, and reminding me that I can say yes too. keep calm I feel so grateful to Mary for being the first disciple of Jesus by accepting the gift of grace that came to her in the form of a message from an angel, so that I can accept the message that comes to me from my guardian angel that says, “Be not afraid.”  Mary is the ultimate form of human example of following Jesus, and I hope that through her I can see Jesus as my Savior and Redeemer, and as my Brother.

As I waited to receive the precious blood during the reception of

Behold Your Mother!

Behold Your Mother!

Communion at Mass, I realized that I was standing next to the statue of my Mother Mary.  I felt peace knowing the John the Apostle stood next to her too as he waited to receive the message from Jesus to behold his mother.  Finally, it was the reception of his mercy that I received when I drank the wine that was really transformed into Jesus for me.  I went back to my chair and dropped to my knees to say, “Thank you Jesus…I’m sorry Jesus…I love you Jesus!”  I know that it would not be possible to say this and feel this close to Jesus without my Mother first showing me how to say yes to his grace and mercy.  So, thank you Mary…I’m sorry Mary…I love you Mary!

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My guardian angel is calling me by name…

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The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have looked for a validation for calling my guardian angel by name, and I was told that I should be more concerned about the name he knows me by, and not what I call when I pray.  The name that came to me was John, and at first I wanted to accept that this was my guardian angel’s name.  However, I was troubled by the fact that I felt like that was the name that I thought I would take, if I was ever to be blessed with joining a religious community that accepted me under a new name.  Still, I felt called to use that name until I read the gospel for yesterday’s Mass and heard in the naming of John by Zechariah that I am called to be like John the Baptist, a herald of the one who is to come.  Then today, I read in a post by an inmate in jail in prison in New York, that we are called to be like John the Evangelist, to “Behold our Mother!”, who is Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.

After completing the Consecration to Mary last year and completing the retreat of “Consoling the Heart of Jesus“, with the direction of Father Michael Gaitley and the spiritual direction of some amazing Saints, I have known that God is calling me to so much more than just a head knowledge or even the interior conversion that I have felt so wonderfully happening to me since taking on these two wonderful gifts of “do-it yourself” retreats.  This past week, our Advent Mission was directed by Father Philip Scott and I was directly told that I must make my life a complete gift to God and he is waiting for me to start the mission that he has for me.

As the writer of the blog from prison, These Stone Walls,  related happened to his companion, when he knew that God was calling him to greatness, and changed his name to Max, after Saint Maximillian Kolbe, I feel like from today on, I would like to be called John.  I would love to be known as the herald as the one to come, and I definitely want to be able to identify myself as a child of the Blessed Mother Mary, who is interceding for me now, as I write this post.  You can take this for whatever it means to you, but I think it is important for my guardian angel to know that I have made the conscious decision to be called by the name that I was given from heaven to be called…

I, John, do solemnly pray…Angel of God, my guardian Imagedear, to whom God’s love commits me here…Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!

I don’t know about the day drawing near, but this world will not last like this!

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The Madonna in Sorrow

The Madonna in Sorrow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

 

Reading:  We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.  We should not stay away from our assembly,* as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.  (Hebrew 10:24-25)

 

Observation:  Last night, I had a meeting with our Catechists at Saint Alice Catholic Church.  We discussed some Marian apparition information from Our Lady of Good Help, just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  We discussed how our Mother Mary‘s admonition to Sister Adele Brise is still so applicable to us today, over 150 years later and maybe I convinced them that this message wasn’t meant for the immediate spreading like wildfire, that we saw with the apparition in Lourdes, France around the same time.  Her message to Bernadette was urgent about healing, not just physical but serious spiritual wounds that existed in the church back in the middle of the 19th century in France.  However, the church in our country was flourishing under the protection of religious freedom that was afforded to us by the Constitution.  Fast forward to today, our culture is being over-run by secular humanists that have designs on cutting God completely out of the public square.  Our Mother Mary’s message of educating our children in the faith is so important now, before they get rocked to sleep by the onslaught of media that is literally at their fingertips.  When I heard this reading at the all schools Mass at Marist High School this morning, the last part of the 25th verse was what caught my attention.  So, when I went back to read it again, I caught the thing.  Something one of our Catechist’s husbands said at our meeting last night shines a bright light on how we open ourselves up to changing our hearts and thereby being  vessels that can bring that change to our children.  He said, we should always remember to be charitable and show love to others.  One more time, our Mother Mary said that it was good that Sister Adele had received Communion that morning,  but there was still more work to do.  We need to be honest about our own conversion, which will lead others to trust us when we tell them about Jesus, and recommend Confession to our brothers and sisters in Christ, after we seek it ourselves, and keep looking for new and different ways to teach the children about our faith in this wild world that we live in.

 

Personification:  Generosity  If I am not willing to give myself completely to this ministry and I am holding back anything, who am I saving it for?  By the grace of God, I will breathe my last breath in this world knowing that I have given all that I could have to follow Jesus and tell others about him.

 

Prayer:  Lord, as you allowed the flood waters to invade Lourdes in October of this past year in anticipation of the visit of the relics of Blessed Pope John Paul II, allow the flood of your mercy to flow through my heart to everyone that I meet to show them that your presence is in me and working through me to bring them closer to you.  Come Lord Jesus.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

 

How does Mom remember the story?

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Madonna by Raphael, an example of Marian art

Madonna by Raphael, an example of Marian art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. (Luke 4:22a)

Observation:  As I read the gospel reading from the Mass readings for today, I remembered that I had heard that Luke had gotten part of his gospel from listening to testimony of Mary, the Mother of God.  It should not surprise us then that in his gospel we hear of how people spoke highly of him and were amazed at his gracious words, before they got irritated at the fact that he was just the son of Joseph, the carpenter, and they could not accept what he had said of himself.  It is true for me, that my mother would usually tell a better version of my story than even I remember from growing up, and for that I am truly thankful to have her for a mother.

Personification:  Love  I hope that I can remember to focus on my mother version of the events that make up my life, and only see the bright spots of where God was trying to form me into a disciple.  As for Mary, I hope that I can see her as my spiritual Mother, so I can start to understand what pure love is and how to put the fruit of love on display to the people who I meet today.  I have to give my testimony again tonight at Saint Peter Catholic Church about how I suffered through my girlfriend’s abortion, without having any say in the decision, and as I finish this post I will call my mother to ask her to pray for me.

Prayer:  Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

 

In Joseph, we see our salvation…

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Saint Joseph by Guido Reni, c. 1640.

Saint Joseph by Guido Reni, c. 1640. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, an epiphany about what Joseph means to our salvation.  As much as the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God heralded her role as the first image of heaven on Monday to me, today’s Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus shows me that Joseph reveals to us the name of our Savior.  This may not sound like much, but without his compliance with the word given to him by an angel about the name of Jesus, his foster son, we would not have his name to lead us to the Father in heaven…Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

 

 

Should we walk like him or live like him?

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English: Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus

English: Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:e whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived. (1 John 2:5b-6)

Observation:  What would Jesus do?  As I am sure I have said before, I think the question should be, what would I do, in light of all the Jesus has done for me?  The first translation that I read in the readings today, said that if we claim to abide in him, we should walk as he walked.  It reminded me of all the times that I wore my sandals and felt like somehow I was walking like Jesus.  I think John is speaking more about walking in the light of truth and not letting sin lead your life.  If I am going to follow a life, I feel like I might have more chance of following Mary, since she was not begotten by God.  I am called by my Sacrament of Confirmation to be led by the Holy Spirit, and that same Holy Spirit makes a dwelling for the Lord in my heart, it is still a whole lot different than what Mary was called to do.  I go back to what I said earlier, I think it is less about me following their example literally and more about living my life in a way that pours out for others, like Jesus and Mary did.

Personification:  Generosity. If I am going to display the fruit of generosity in my life, I must continue to ask for others to help in our ministry to the youth in our parish, and be willing to do whatever is necessary to help them feel comfortable with leading the next generation to a better understanding of our faith.  This generosity is not allowed to hold back because of embarrassment from past sins or even present sins for that matter, if we are going to take part in mentoring young people to be the next leaders in our church.

Prayer:  Lord, let me be an example that leads people to an authentic relationship with you that is based on truth and not the illusion of faith that too often exist in our church today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Dear God, am I to be a fisherman or a hunter?

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Rembrandt - Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction...

Rembrandt – Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem – WGA19091 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift: Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:   Therefore, the days are coming—oracle of the LORD—when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt”; but rather, “As the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of the house of Israel up from the land of the north”—and from all the lands to which I banished them; they shall again live on their own soil.  (Jeremiah 23:7-8)

Observation:  The title for my post today comes from the scripture that is referenced at the bottom of the page where this scripture is found.  It referenced Jeremiah 16:14-15, which said essentially the same thing as we find in today’s first reading, but it added in the next few verses an explanation of what it called the double punishment.  I was left wondering if God was calling me to be a fisherman, or was he asking me to hunt down the offenders of his will.

Personification:  Faithfulness  I am focusing on the fruit of faithfulness today, and I prayed to hear the way I should carry out the message that I heard this morning.  I heard the message at Communion Service that I need to be willing to say, “Yes”, like Joseph did when the angel told him to bring Mary into his home, even though she was pregnant with something that was not his fruit.  He was asked to name him, and thereby become his earthly father, even though he did not have a part in his conception.  There is no Canticle of Joseph that I know of, but you see that he just followed the will of God by doing exactly what the angel told him.

Prayer:  Lord, may my family and I fulfill your calling by doing exactly what we are told by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  If it seems that we are not being inspired by the Holy Spirit, may you send us an angel in our dreams.   I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.