Mary Undoer of Knots

Christ came to bring JOY;

Joy to children, joy to parents,

Joy to families and friends,

Joy to the sick and elderly,

Joy to all humanity.

In a true sense, JOY is the keynote message of Christianity,

And the recurring motif of the Gospels.

Go, therefore, and become Messengers of Joy!

~ Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Open Letter: To Everyone I Know Who Does Not Yet Know Jesus

        First of all, let me say, I love you. I love you all from the bottom of my heart. I can not even begin to express what great love I have for you, because in my life, I have learned not just to love by my own will, but through you, I have learned to love you through the eyes of God. And let me tell you something---As much as I love you, He loves you waaaaaayyyyy more than either of us has the capacity to imagine. And so this leads me to the reason for this letter.

        Over the past few years, you know what it has meant to me to give my life to God to become a nun. That has not happened, and I accept that as God’s will. But let me tell you, He has used everyone of you and every bit of this journey to bring me closer to Him. And I still want to give everything I am and everything I have for Him, which is why I want to give Him you, in whatever way I can. I want to bring you to Him in whatever way you and He will permit me. Truth be told, YOU have brought me to Him many, MANY times, when you probably are not even aware of how many times your love, your prayers, your kindness and goodness shown to me have brought me, along with you, right to the center of His Sacred Heart. This is why I want to tell you a few things, common sense things that you probably already know. But sometimes it is good for us to hear them over and over again, at different ages and stages in our lives, as we perceive them differently after experiencing life and walking this journey toward heaven.

        The first thing I want to remind you, is that Jesus is a known man in history, both written history and oral from the time He walked the earth. He was not just made up out of thin air in the past few centuries. While I believe by faith that He is both fully human and fully divine, let us not forget the fact that some things require absolutely no faith. Jesus was and remains a human being recorded in the written history of the world. His life and death were recorded as fact, regardless of whether someone wants to believe that He was resurrected or not.

        The second thing that is important to remember, is that the first followers of Jesus were so convinced of the reality of His life, death and resurrection, that literally thousands died in His name. This continues to this day, even though almost 2,000 years have past since He was crucified, died, buried and rose again in three days. But let’s not jump ahead. Let us ask the question first, would thousands of people willingly give up their lives in the days and weeks and months and years that followed Jesus’ death if he was just any old ‘good person’ or ‘good teacher?’

        Who do you say He is? I know you believe in God, but who do you believe Jesus to be? A good teacher? A good man? A prophet? Well, think about it for a minute. If your answer to the question of ‘who is Jesus’ is that you believe He is a good man who existed in history, then you simply must believe that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior and Lover of your soul. Why must you believe this? Because if He is not all that, then He is a LIAR.

Do you understand what I am saying? You can not be a good man, a good prophet, nor a good teacher, if you spend your entire adult life actively deceiving the Masses into believing you are the Messiah. So He must be one of two things: Either He is who He said He is, or He is a liar. When you put it like that, there can be only one answer. He can not be a good teacher, a good prophet, or a good person unless He is also the promised Savior that He presents Himself to be. A good teacher, a good prophet and a good person could not be considered good if they spent their lives trying to make people believe they were somebody they weren’t. At best, such a person would be considered mentally ill, and at worst, a liar.

        So if you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, then what must you do with that belief? You must follow Him and do what He says. Scripture is filled with His instructions for a good life lived in love. How do you know where to follow Him and what to do? Love God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies. LOVE.

There are many ways to get to know Him and develop a new, deeper relationship with Him. If I could suggest something, begin by getting back to Mass. Learn what is (really) happening in the Mass, and you will never be bored again. All of heaven is there! Listen to the readings (there are more scriptures read in the Mass than any other church I know), listen to the homily and don’t let it stop there.

Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and tell you what to think, what to do. God loves you more than anyone on the planet loves you. Can you begin by offering just a few minutes of every day to Him? He won’t intrude---Are you listening? He WON’T intrude. If you ignore Him, He will let you. He waits to give you everything, but He will not force it on you.

If you give Him your heart, even a few moments of silence directed toward him every day, your life will change forever and you will honor him by your act of love. If you don’t have enough desire to do this, then ASK HIM FOR THE DESIRE to spend time with Him. Ask HIM to increase your love for Him. Ask HIM to wake up your soul to a new understanding of Him so that you long for Him and for Mass and for more, More, MORE! Start today….just open the door to Him, invite Him in and take a step out in faith. Even baby steps overwhelm and move the heart of a Father who sees His beloved child stumble and walk toward Him for the first time in a long time. You have a Daddy Who loves you more than any other you have ever known. He will run to your arms, if only you will let Him in.

        Our life on this planet is just a blip on the radar screen of eternity. We are mere visitors on this planet. This is our chance to get to know God and love God so that we can have eternity with Him in heaven. The evil one (satan) has deceived people into believing the devil does not exist. The evil one has deceived people into believing there is no hell. But if you believe in Jesus, then you must believe what He said. There is a hell, and the path to it is wide and there are many who enter it. But the path to heaven is narrow. When it is your time to end your life on this earth, believe it or not, your own soul will not choose heaven if it has not given it’s life to God. It will not be comfortable to be in His Presence. It is OUR CHOICE to live the way we live each day, whether good, bad or indifferent. Don’t let indifference to God now lead you to fear His Presence in the life to come.

God is pure love and mercy and no one who reaches out to Him will be turned away if they die in His friendship. You never know when your last day will be. You could breathe your last breath after reading this letter. Only God knows the days you have left, and He longs for you to find your way to Him before it is too late. Come back to Him, with all your heart. It is not enough to say you are saved. Every step you make is either a journey toward Him or a journey away from Him. There is no standing still in the spiritual life. If you are standing still, then you are moving away from Him. Period. You must move forward. You can not save yourself. Accept this and make a decision for God. He longs to be a part of your life. He longs to be a part of your family. He longs to help you make decisions and inspire you to every good thing He has planned for your life. Please let Him in, more and more each day.

        Have you ever seen the picture of Jesus knocking on the door? There is no doorknob on His side. If He is to come in, it will only be because you answered the call and invited Him in. Come to Mass. Receive him in the Eucharist. Give Him your days, hours and minutes. Give him your love. Give Him your life.

Will you answer the door?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Consoling Our Beloved

I would like to share with you, an idea for meditation on the Sorrowful mysteries of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I try to pray the rosary every day.  For me, the prayers are like a mantra, supporting and intensifying the mysteries that are brought to mind, bringing peace, inspiration and answers, praise, thanksgiving and petitions.  Sometimes, I have to admit, that it has been hard for me to pray the Sorrowful mysteries, as there have been times in my life when I have chosen other mysteries that I felt more fitting to my situation, for example, praying the Joyful mysteries when I am struggling, looking for inspiration on how to say yes to the Lord and to surrender and accept everything He permits to happen in my life the way Mary did at the Annunciation.  Those were times when I was just too sad to add insult to injury by adding the Lord’s Passion to my plate.  But I was wrong.  It is in the Lord’s Passion where we find comfort and understanding and all things good.  And so now I try dutifully to pray His Passion, at least on Tuesdays and Fridays.

About a month ago, I was preparing to pray on a Friday, and I drifted into my old thinking for a minute, wondering if I was up to the intensity of pondering the agony, the scourging, the thorns and the Cross.  And then I thought, if our Beloved can endure it, I can at least think about it for a few minutes, pondering the mystery of it all.  But I did not want to simply think about it, pondering what it meant for me in my life.  I was feeling selfish.  Then the thought came to me of how there is no time in eternity, that all of time as we know it, is always present before the Father, whether past, present or future.  The nativity, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the future are always a part of the mind of our all knowing God and Father.  It made me imagine that I could console Jesus on every step of His Passion today, even in in 2012.  I could meditate on what I would say to Him if I was there with Him, what I would do and how I would feel.  I believe that this type of meditation truly does console the heart of Jesus, whether in retrospect as a meditation giving Him glory, or even in real time as He suffered, since He knew all of us when He gave His life for us, and knew how we would receive Him in our lives, in our time on Earth.

You may try this and find yourself standing away from Christ, looking at Him and praying your words of thanksgiving or sorrow or repentance to Him.  Or you may do whatever comes naturally to your own personality.  But for me, I imagined what I would say to Him if I saw Him suffering in the Garden, and I said these words in my heart and in my soul as the Hail Mary’s were spoken by my lips.  I caressed His holy and tortured face, I ran my fingers through His hair and I told Him I was sorry.  I told Him I wished he did not have to do this for me, and that I would do anything for Him, whatever He asked. 

When I saw Him about to be scourged, all I could say is, I’m so sorry.  Forgive me.  I begged Him to hold my glance so that I could offer words of Love as He Himself was tortured by hatred.  I tried to endure the emotion of seeing such a horrific offense being perpetrated against the One Who is my Beloved, so that I could stay with Him for every painful stripe He received.

After He was crowned with thorns and taunted as some counterfeit king, I could only fall to my knees and kiss His feet and hands, reminding Him, that to me and many generations to follow, He is true King, the King of our hearts and the King of the world.  We know the Truth.  Long live Christ the King! 

When I later saw Him, the heavy cross dropped onto His back, I could only mouth the words, I LOVE YOU.  I am here.  When He fell, I could see the wounds on His shoulder and His knees, as the weight of the cross pushed Him heavy into the ground.  I looked Him in the eye and kissed the wound on His shoulder, saying, You are loved.  I wish this didn’t have to happen, staying with Him for His journey to Golgotha 

Finally, when He was nailed to the Cross, I met His eyes with tears in my own, and I stood with Mary, John and Magdalene, comforting the human Jesus the best that I could, with my presence and my understanding of Who He IS, all the while knowing that this fully Divine Son of the Living God already knew.

What does a meditation like this do for God?  I believe it did comfort Him in the Garden.  What does a meditation like this do for us?  It brings us even closer in union to the Lover of our Souls, as we express our deepest feelings for Him, aided by our blessed Mother of the Holy Rosary.