Friday, November 30, 2007

Volume Two: Conversations With the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Part Six)

... changing the world through humble acts... the value of calm ... growth in holiness...

September 1, 2003

I am with My children. My presence is silent but constant. I am directing many of the seemingly unimportant events in your lives, so that My will can be accomplished. My children are practicing faith, and that pleases Me. But My protection is so great that My children could have an infinite amount of faith in Me and still more would be justified. My faithful ones, who are struggling to serve Me and be holy, please trust Me for I am with you. I have pledged My protection to you and I will not leave you vulnerable. Offer me small little prayers when you are frightened or unsure and I will place My calming hands upon you, steadying and reassuring you. You will look back at this time of service to Me and you will be so grateful that you said yes to your God. My children, you will look upon so many souls sharing eternity with you who would be absent if not for your service. Can you imagine the joy you will share with these souls? So be brave and continue in My service, walking the path I have illuminated before you. It is there you will find your peace and your key to eternity.

For today, I want to warn you about a snare or a trap. My children often want to do big things for Me, and truly, big things are necessary and big things will be asked of you. But your holiness lies in the small, dear soul. It is in the small unseen tasks and duties that I whisper to your soul, that I mold a bit here, reform a bit there. You do not feel these changes because they are so subtle, but changes occur, My child, in the small things. So do not begrudge Me the mundane. Complete small, humble acts with love and patience so that I may do My work on your soul as quickly as possible. Yes, We are going to save many souls, and bring the world back to the Light, but We are going to do that one soul at a time and right now, I am starting with you. So give yourself to Me that I may change the world. Together, you and I must perfect your beautiful soul, insuring that it reaches its fullest potential, both here and in heaven. Do you trust Me, My child? Trust can be difficult but this is one time when you can step out in complete trust and confidence because I will not let you fall. I am here, ready to save you. I have waited for this day, My child, for so long. My heart aches with love for you and watching you read these words creates an even stronger love in My heart. I will take care of you and you can close your eyes and rest in My heart. You have suffered because of the distance between Us. Often you did not know where the pain originated but I assure you, the pain began when you turned away from Me. Our standards must be high now, as I desire your happiness. I want you to remain in My heart, where I place you today. I will help, My dear child. You are infinitely precious to Me and if you show Me the smallest desire, I can keep you firmly joined to Me, despite the winds that try to tear you away. Have every confidence that the smallest bit of faith will be rewarded in these days of difficulty. Heaven is united with earth in this mission of salvation for souls. All assistance is available to each soul who seeks to be saved. Be at peace, now, My little soul. I am holding you tightly.

September 1, 2003

I want my children to be calm. Even in My service, My children tend to rush to and fro, as though this life were a race. My children when you are hurrying, I cannot help you to listen. I may want to whisper something to your soul, an instruction, a bit of encouragement, or a word of love if you are being maligned. Often, though, you are moving so quickly that your heart and mind are already on the next task, leaving the current task incomplete or improperly executed. So, slow down, dear ones, that your Jesus might be truly united in your work and in your recreation. I do not like to hurry, and you carry Me with you. There are times, My child, when I wish to work through you to guide or console a soul in distress. If you are hurried, you will miss My cue and the soul will remain without necessary consolation and guidance. Children, this is the state of affairs all over your world at this time. Do you notice that loneliness and despair are everywhere? Children, you will not find loneliness and despair where I am. In deed, even in the most wretched of circumstances, if I am present, you will see eyes that smile and offer kindness, and you will see great hope, even in the face of suffering and death. So what is missing in your world? I am missing. Few souls allow Me to work through them. When I am allowed, you will see hope begin to flourish again. Faces will be more at peace and joy will flow naturally from one soul to another. I will put such joy in your faces that you will be unable to conceal your unity with Me. Crosses will feel lighter and hold great meaning. Children, I have so much to offer you. Both in these words and in My constant presence in your lives. So do not turn away, even for a day. Draw closer to Me, that We may proceed. What feels difficult to you, anticipating changes in your life, will come easily. That is another promise I make to you. Such will be Our union that you will consult Me on everything. Your life will reflect heaven. Souls will be drawn to you because of this and you will be equal to the representation of your God. Be joyful now because My plan has been set in motion and all creation awaits My coming. You will see changes in your world and you will understand and welcome these changes as a sign that your Jesus has heard the prayers of His children and is responding in love. Be calm, My child, in the face of all difficulties because I am steering the direction of the world now. I want My children practicing a quiet and thoughtful approach every single day, and every hour in that day. Your thoughts, of course, should be turned to Me whenever possible. A small prayer, a sentence in your heart, is enough to ignite the faith and trust in your soul, which returns calmness to you. In this way, when upsetting events occur in your life, you will be comfortable confronting troubles in unity with Me, your Jesus. How different you will find life. How peaceful and joyful. I want the times when you are hurried to be rare. So much so, that you will note the rushed feeling and immediately seek to alert Me that you are not recollected. I will then restore your quietness so that you serve Me thoroughly.

September 1, 2003

My child, with such gratitude I view your efforts. I am here, waiting in the tabernacle to thank you and encourage you. You are trying to serve Me in your life and it is not always easy to do this. Until a complete union or surrender occurs, you continue to wrestle with the pull of the world and worldly attractions and distractions. This creates conflict in you because I am calling you in another direction. This conflict makes you feel discouraged, dear one, but you should not allow this feeling. There is not growth without some bit of discomfort. So, when you feel unsettled and you long for old habits, remember that you used those habits to console yourself in emptiness. I am now filling that emptiness for you so you do not need to rely on these things anymore. Worldly habits or addictions did not make you happy, My little soul. You felt unrest and bitterness without Me. Now, with Me, you are beginning to experience true peace, the peace which comes from heaven. This is a sign that your soul is directing the movement and action of your body, which is how man is intended to live. The body is under your dominion, or the dominion of your soul, and the soul, your precious and irreplaceable soul, is under My dominion. In this way, in this small corner, the world is as it should be. You belong to Me, My child, and I have defended you fiercely, despite your temporary indifference to Me. We will keep moving forward now, with Our movement toward unity. You may feel as though you are moving quite swiftly in these spiritual matters. Do not fear this haste as I am personally determining the speed at which I need you to ascend. In days past, perhaps your conversion would be more gentle and leisurely. I do not will that now and it is not what I require. I need My soldiers prepared quickly. Because I am God, and all created things bow to Me, I can do this with a soul like yours, who seeks to assist Me and please Me.

My child, never be afraid of holiness. When you doubt, look to your duty and remain calm until I desire to erase your doubts. You will carry small crosses of fear and doubt at times, but that is, again, more practice, and these little exercises are good for your soul. Make small acts of faith to Me and the doubts will lose their power to distract you from My service during your days.

I am with you, My little souls, and We have discussed exactly what I mean when I say that. You are with Me and We move purposefully through your life together. Look for opportunities to serve Me in the people I place in your path. If you sense that I need you to assist a soul, let your spirit go quiet while I place the proper inspirations in your heart and mind. Then you may respond to the need in this soul for Me, and My word, My presence, will have been achieved. Dear little soul, so willing to serve Me, can you imagine your world if even a small number begin to live this way? Your world would change and that is what I am seeking to accomplish. Be at peace. Your God is pleased.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

I'm thinking tonight about the history of my career path, if you can call it that.

When I was nearing college graduation and everyone was asking me "what I wanted to do," I usually told them "I want to be myself." They probably thought I was being a smart aleck, or just evasive, but that was the honest truth. I looked in newspaper want ads and realized that 95% of jobs offered struck absolutely no chord of interest in me. I was an English major, so most people asked me if I wanted to teach. I actually had this big wrestling with myself, the end result being me "asking God's permission" to never be a teacher. I hated the one education class I took. My father before me became a teacher under the pressure of choosing a respectable career (I know he would have far preferred to play trumpet in a band), and I'm fairly sure he hated it as well. Then like one week after I got so bold as to assert that I really, honestly, didn't want to (if it's ok with you, God) become a teacher, a visiting evangelist at my Fellowship pronounced a prophecy over me that I was called to some kind of academic teaching. Beware of prophets prophesying against the very grain of your heart!

My education trained me for my early jobs very well, in that I had lots of mindless grunt work to do, and I did it without complaint, and very efficiently. (I highly recommend David Albert's excellent commentary explaining how modern education prepares students for emerging jobs of the modern era -- the top three of recent years being Wal-Mart checker, McDonald's employee and Burger King employee).

While in Japan, I felt the need to get serious and move beyond making copies, answering phones and the little bit of writing and editing that had made up my work of the past five years. I decided that essentially I wanted to be a catechist, being a new Catholic at this point. My "highest" aspiration, as some might measure aspirations, was to become a seminary professor.

But deep down, all this time, I was screaming that I wanted to get married and have children. But I was never really able to act on that desire in a logical way. I didn't have a clue how to proceed. My life was a process of jumping from thing to thing as a way to survive, keep myself fed and housed, while I waited for my future to fall on me out of the sky.

So when I washed up on shore once again at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I began to ask God to direct me to those people He desired to be part of my life. Within weeks of arriving in town, I met my future husband (we started dating a year later, and got married about a year after that), and my next employer, Scott Hahn, for whom I did the most satisfying paid work to date.

I fast forward to today. Watching my son settle in to sleep tonight, I thought of my aspiration to become a seminary professor. I longed to pour my heart into the formation of men who would serve God and the Church. And here is my little boy, my vulnerable little tinder box/joy bomb of a boy. The task of his formation is with both of us, and my husband, 24/7, for the next many years. Last night my daughter asked me to tell her the story about Mary. At least once a week before she goes to sleep I tell her all about the old couple who longed for a baby girl, and how God had a special vocation for her, which she said yes to with all of her heart.... And then there is my dear hubby, who would stop at nothing to provide security and stability for us. Is there a way that I could possibly be happier than in this reality which God has willed for me? This reality which fulfills my desires, leaving me nothing but Heaven to long for?

And now, finally, I may even learn to fully be myself, as well.

Deo Gratias

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If It's Worth Doing at All, It's Worth Doing Badly

Scott Hahn used to say that a lot. Isn't it actually a Chesteron quote?

I have lots of thoughts and very little energy to meditate on them with my fingers to the extent I'd like. So, I'm going to just going to aim low this evening.

Here are some random thoughts of late:

My friend Suzanne at Come to See (not to mention physically residing down the street from me!) posted this awhile back which touched on the words in the Our Father, at least in one translation, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". This has really revolutionized the way I think about the Our Father. I say "think about" rather than pray, because I really haven't taken the time to sink down into the words so that when I am praying with others the standard "trespass" phrase, I'm actually thinking of this. If that makes any sense. But the idea of our "debt" to God encompasses everything He has given us which we could never deserve or repay. And we are to forgive others their debt to us, so that we don't consider anyone, or life itself, "owing" us anything. This speaks to me. I'm not good at recounting individual sins for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with not having any. But I can feel "debt" naturally. My heart knows what that is.

Ok, next. I've been working on a post for ages now on foreignness and communication, and today in sharing my grand revelation with a friend at School of Community, he says "oh yes, that's the analogy I started using years ago" to describe his experience as well. So reassuring when someone knows *exactly* what you are talking about.

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Andrew, who is, of course, the patron of Scotland. Even though I have to go back to my 6th great-grandfather, Thomas McNeal (or beyond: he was probably born in New York), and my 9th great-grandfather William Prindle to get to my Scottish roots, I am going to celebrate my Scottish ancestry tomorrow. I love bagpipe music, so I am going to claim all the Scottishness I can and rejoice! (I like polka music too, to honor the 50% of my heritage which is German, but it doesn't quite make my soul sing like "Scotland the Brave" does.)

When I dug out that tape with "Daughter" on it, I also dug out a variety of music I once spent a lot of time listening to. It was so fun to listen again to some of the music that was the soundtrack for my journey into the Church some 15+ years ago. John Michael Talbot was prominent. A woman who lived upstairs from me in my ancient apartment building alternated between him and Billy Idol. I often woke up on Saturday mornings (well, noons lots of times!) to the sound of JMT wafting through my closet. It was wonderful. Other favorites were Rich Mullins, the beauty of whose songs can make your heart ache, and Charlie Peacock: funky, and extremely human. These still appeal to me a lot, however I am left with cassettes which sat in my car during one too many sub-zero winters.

Ok, still really needing sleep, although I do have this need to write as well....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eating Right for Everyone's Type

What surprises us when we look at Jesus? "Where they had been unaware and confused, they were enlightened, for Christ was the only one in whose words they felt their whole human experience understood and their need taken seriously, clarified." What surprises us in Jesus is this gaze, full of compassion for humanity, for the happiness of the individual, for each one, for every one who has a first and last name.

--Julian Carron, with quote from Fr. Guissani

Reading this tonight I went to thinking about Scripture, and particularly about Ezekiel chapter three. What did the messenger tell the prophet? Take the Word of God and memorize it? Take the Word of God and do laborious intellectual study over it? Quote it at length to non-believers? Put it on bumper stickers and t-shirts? No, he said "Take the Word of God and eat it."

Of course, all of the above actions may have a part to play in our devouring, internalizing, the Word of God. But tonight I see that what the world needs to witness is persons transformed into the image of Christ -- they need to see Christ in us. What a huge difference there can be between becoming Christ and merely talking about him. If I am transformed, or to the degree that I am, then I have Christ's compassion for others. I respect and, to the degree I am able, understand their needs. I then become an agent of attraction, and when I speak of Jesus, it can become clear that He is why -- He is my Why.

So I see that I am called to feast on Scripture to fuel the transformation of my soul. As a Lutheran I spent quite a bit of energy memorizing Scripture, which is a very valuable practice which can backfire. It has helped that these days I rarely use or hear the translations from which I memorized, so my tendency to glaze over on the too-familiar is diminished. For fresh daily nutrition, of course, the Church is way ahead of me by holding out to me the Liturgy of the Hours and the daily Mass readings. What I see tonight is my need for a renewed appreciation for meeting God in His Word through these sources which don't require me to come up with some meditation plan of my own.

A little metaphorical tangent here... I've been reminded yet again about how for proper health I really do need to "Eat Right For My Type". I've gotten off the band wagon of trying to proselytize others to this dietary change, and maybe I am still working on really convincing myself when I feel perfectly fine that if I indulge in a huge amount of whatever food I should not be eating, that there will be consequences in the following days. But, back to Scripture, it makes me think of the adage that "we are what we eat." How much self-discipline does it take to not feast our minds on things incompatible for our soul's Guest? How often are we (as was suggested in Fr. Richard's homily today) sacrilegious with ourselves -- treating as common that which is set apart for the sacred? How frequently do I presume that it doesn't really matter what choices I make, everything is always fine for my soul in the end? It makes me think that God had a pretty ingenious idea to give His chosen people extensive dietary restrictions. Eating differently from others around you does force you to constantly think about why you are doing it, and to find ways to pull it off. There's a parallel, I think, with our need for spiritual feeding...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not-So-Happy Unschooling Day

Ok, since I glowed last week about how wonderful our days had been, it's only fair that I share the flip side of the story. Today was One of Those Days. Almost from my waking moment I felt pummeled, and I'm not sure it has stopped yet. I knew it was a bad sign when my son switched off the really cool music I had playing and snapped "I don't wanna hear it." We had some laughs and read some science books, but it seems every two or three hours we had to stop for a fight breaking out. I found myself right down at my son's level in trying to break up the fights. He persistently complained of boredom, or insisted on orchestrating his sister to play in exactly a certain way for him to be happy, or just irritated her and me on purpose. We had some good talks in response to all this earlier in the day, but towards dinner I just concluded we were all much shorter on sleep than I had accounted for, and talking was not going to do the trick anymore.

I had a brief peaceful, prayerful moment at Mass (before I carried my daughter out in an uncharacteristic screaming fit) as we sang the opening hymn:
Be Thou my Vision Oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence, my light.

Regardless of how life feels, I long to hold firm with the Lord who pulls me from one day to the next.

And speaking of "waking or sleeping", I need some extra shut eye tonight! Goodnight!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Volume Two: Conversations With the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Part Five)

... healing... speech... humility...

August 29, 2003

The love I feel bursts out from My Eucharistic heart. I cannot contain it. For such a time now, I have watched My children falter and err. I have seen them behave in such a way that they bring great pain and damage to their souls. Because they do not turn to Me, I cannot heal them and counsel them as I long to do. Thus they stumble on through their lives, repeating the same patterns, and falling deeper into sin. Because of their pain, they inflict pain on others. Children, if I am describing you, I tell you now, it is time to stop. I am calling a halt to your destructive behavior, and I am giving you a unique opportunity. Come back to Me now, My little lost soul, and I will lift all punishment due you. Repent and throw yourself into My arms. I will forgive you immediately. I have already done so. But in order to heal and to be comfortable in heaven, you must repent and seek My forgiveness. You must come to Me to seek My forgiveness. You must come and get it from Me. I am here, in the tabernacle. Come to Me here and I will forgive all sin. I will make you as pure as if you had never sinned. My children, all in heaven are awed at the scope of this promise. I want you to consider that this is an opportunity you should take advantage of. You will not have forever to do this. You do have eternity on this earth. You have made mistakes and left the path to heaven. I implore you to return to Me now, before it is too late for you. You must understand that your soul can be lost If you linger too long in mortal sin, My child, you will take to it as a child takes to a bad habit. The time to return is now. I come to you in these words because My love can no longer remain unrequited. It longs to comfort and console, and you, My child, are in need of comfort and consolation. If you let Me tell you of My love for you, you will begin to understand how irreplaceable you are to Me. Your gifts, strengths, skills, were given to you so that you could further My kingdom on earth, as an obedient and loving child looks after the interests of their father. But for some time now, you have not done that. You have looked after our own interests, either through the slavery of addiction, or through the quest for worldly goods and sensual experiences. My child, I know you feel this is your business and perhaps you feel you hurt only yourself. I tell you now that you are My child, I love you, and I take it very personally when you hurt yourself. I am telling you now to stop. Stop any behaviour that is separating you from Me. Are you unsure what those behaviours are? Come to Me, here in the tabernacle, and I will tell you exactly which behaviours I refer to. You know already, as you read these words. You must not trade these behaviours for your eternal life, My child. You must not. That is the second part of the reason why I compel you to return to Me. The third reason you must change your behaviour is because I need you. I am your God, the God of All, and truly, I say to you, I need you. There are souls in your world that only you can save. You must be working for Me to save them, because I have to tell you how and you have to e listening. So please, little souls of My heart, come to Me now because the first part of the reason compelling your return is that I love you and separation from you is making My heart ache with loneliness.

August 29, 2003

I wish to speak to My children about their speech. My children, does your speech accurately reflect who you wish to become? I want you to desire holiness. And I want your speech to be the conversation of a holy soul. My child, I know that you struggle and often do not feel holy. We allow this to protect your humility. But I want you to speak as though you have achieved the level of holiness I desire for you. Jesus what do you mean, I hear you ask. I am with you, and you are with Me. Your speech must display or illustrate Our unity. Do not think that you have gained this unity but must keep it hidden. My child, that would threaten part of Our goal for you, which is that other look at you and see Me. Others must also listen to you and h ear Me. As a holy exercise, and in that same spirit of practice We have adopted, I want you to listen to what you say. Listen to your voice. And understand that I am also listening with you. Pay attention to your words, of course, but also to your tone and the inflections you use. Are your words, tone, and inflections mean to convey love? Do they accurately represent God, whom you carry within yourself? You will find, I am certain, that at times you are not happy that your speech reflects Me. Do not be upset by this, little learning soul. That is why We are checking. We are leaving no stone unturned to secure your beautiful reward in heaven. So when you identify something in your speech that you feel I would not approve of, ask Me how to say that thing differently. My child, you have been reading My words and hearing them in your heart. I wanted this for you because I wanted you to know Me. After all, I am your Saviour. It is fitting that you be intimately acquainted with Me. So now that you have listened to Me, I want you to speak to others as I speak to you. Let Us review. I speak the truth. Always. Children, do not tell lies. To lie is to sin and remember that sin requires repentance. I speak with great kindness. I am gentle, but I do not withhold the truth, My child, because I fear your anger. If you are called upon to correct someone, do so. Counsel a friend or loved one in moral matters if you feel they are mistaken. Ask Me if I want this from you and I will tell you. Often I prompt a soul to correct a loved one. I understand that this calls for courage but I will see that you do not lack courage if you are following My will. Speak with great love and gentleness and speak the truth. Often, hearing the truth will anger a soul. Remain calm and loving in the face of this anger and know that people were and are often angry with Me.

Children, do not spread unpleasantness about others, either factual or not. Say nothing unless you speak to protect another. Usually you should remain quiet about the sins of your sisters and brothers, as you have enough of your own to be busy about. Speak of kindnesses, sacrifices, and loving acts that brought you joy. Focus on the many, m any good qualities of others. Remember that if a soul is not united to Me, that soul feels a gaping emptiness, a loneliness, and a sadness. Dearest children who are close to My heart, have compassion and mercy as I have had compassion and mercy to you.

I am your God. For every kindness you show to others, you will receive a personal kindness from Me. Guard your speech well, little one. Let your speech bring only Me to others. I will help you. Together we will be certain that your speech profits heaven.
August 29, 2003

My children, would you like to know how to please Me? Would you like to know what consoles Me and comforts Me in the face of widespread disobedience and hatred? Humility comforts Me. Humility consoles Me. Truly, the humility of My chosen souls softens My heart and deflects punishment from a cold world, undeserving of the mercy of its God. My children, the closer you come to Me, the more you recognize My goodness. Your intellect will automatically compare your holiness to My perfection and the result is humility. This is good. Do not fear the knowledge that you are imperfect and must improve. That is the journey, My child. When I walked your earth, people called Me teacher. I am still a teacher and I am teaching you now. Like many teachers, I teach by showing you how to do a thing. My child, when you read scripture you will become familiar with how I lived. You must do this daily and through scripture you will learn about Me. You will watch your heart be moved with pity for humanity, as Mine was moved. You will accept hurts with dignity and understanding, seeking no revenge. Yes, you will change. And change is what We seek together. You cannot stay the same and become holy. That would be impossible. The very call to holiness, and I know that you, My little soul, understand that it is to you I speak, demands change. You are in the process of becoming a saint and that is what I have predestined for you.

My child, you must not be jealous of the holiness of another. I have given each of My children different, gifts, suited to the tasks I require from them. It would hardly do for Me to give you the spiritual gifts of your neighbor, and then expect you to complete tasks that require different gifts. My way is perfect. My plan is perfect. I am perfect. You want to be My friend, My little soul. I am the only way for you. Soon you will realize this but I want you to realize and accept this right now. Heed My words and take My hand and I will put you on the path I have laid out for you. It will feel right to you as it has been designed only for you by your God, Who knows you with a perfect and complete knowledge. My will for you includes peace, and peace will settle upon you as you begin to follow Me. My child, I have many enemies and few friends. May I call you My friend? Will you stand by Me during these days of disobedience? Please, join your heart to My heart and join your will to My will. Together We can save souls. My gratitude flows out to you and you will never understand the power of a grateful God. Truly, I am a slave to My children who serve Me, despite difficulty and ridicule. If I were dragging My cross through your town, surrounded by angry mobs, would you watch from a safe distance? Or would you stand with Me, taking a share of the weight of that cross? My child, do not fear if you answered from weakness. If you come to Me and let Me change you, I can make of you the most loyal and courageous servant. I am with you as you struggle to detach from the world and join My loyal followers. I am putting you together so that you may draw strength from each other. Be at peace. I am G
od and I call My world back to Me.

My Patron for 2008

I am excited to announce that my 2008 patron is St. John Vianney. My husband was chosen by St. Peter Julian Eymard, so two patrons who are very concerned with the priesthood and evangelization. Well, duh, I suppose every saint is concerned with the priesthood and evangelization! My son's patron is St. Walburga, who I now know was a princess whose father, uncle, and three brothers (one of which was St. Boniface) were all saints. She was an abbess and lived in the 8th century in Germany and is considered the first female author of England or Germany. My daughter's patron is St. Monica. So, we have sort of an inverse of last year; my son's 2007 patron (St. Luke) was the only one of our bunch I'd ever heard of before our matching.

If you'd like to be chosen by your own patron for the new liturgical year, just go here.

Is Joy Nerdy?

Several days ago as my children and I were headed to the chiropractor, we passed by an older woman with gray and pink hair. She stood outside another shop with a tall, younger man. I smiled towards them, but something was holding their attention, whether it was something visible or something internal I'm not sure. I focused on the woman. She looked not the least bit happy.

Something about that exchange sticks with me. Now, if Ms. Gray and Pink is reading, let me state up front that I'm sure my thoughts about this have nothing to do with the reality of her life. I'd be more than happy to sit down over a cup of tea and get the real story from her.

But I started to wonder about joy, nerdiness, a sense of "cool," and the masks humans find security in.

I have to say that when I'm not having my virtue stretched to its thinnest, I am pretty joyful. No, strike that, even in the midst exercising patience and being pulled in three or more directions at once (sometimes literally) by my family and our needs, or while I'm setting aside something I really want to do because someone else is asking for my attention or my labor -- even in the midst of these I really am joyful. But I feel joy more when I'm not in stretch mode, and I can then express joy if I just have the presence of mind to go with it.

So I wonder, might some people look at me like a nerd? I'm long past the stage where I really worry about looking nerdy (if ever I worried about things like that). I think of satirical stereotypes of joyful people; don't they seem like they are a bit dotty, a bit out of touch with reality?

Hmmm... the relationship between Reality and joy. Is there a shred of hope to have joy without openness to Reality? And what of this posture of "cool". This is sort of how Ms. Gray and Pink struck me. She was aloof looking; she was intent on her attraction to the point that my children and I didn't seem to exist. "I'm lost in my world. I don't need to acknowledge you, thank you."

Masks are generally used to cover what we feel is ugly. Is there anything more ugly than our own loneliness, our own fears of going unloved or of being deemed unlovable, our own failings, our own inadequacies? If I don't mask these things, what do I look like? I think I am left with my desires showing. I left with my dependencies showing. I am left with my need for the Infinite staring me in the face.

I'm left eligible for joy when the Infinite stares back at me, and smiles.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

If I Could Sew...

... which I can't, I would make dresses from this website. I especially like the 1910 tea gown with the pink sash.

Friday, November 23, 2007

St. Cecelia, Pray For Us!

Yesterday my family attended Mass at our parish, and I was delighted to find that, despite it being Thanksgiving, our priest chose to celebrate the memorial of St. Cecelia. I consider her a special patron.

On Christmas Eve, 1991 I was sitting in St. Anthony of Padua church with my friend Keith and some of his friends. Keith was then a recent revert, having left the non-denom fellowship where I'd met him. Even though I had decided it was time for me to bite the bullet and attend a Mass, I was still very uncomfortable with many of the external trappings of Catholic churches, like statues. Too physical for my spiritualist leanings. His friends that night asked my birthday, and tried to remember which saint fell on November 22, but could not.

At that Mass, and in the hours following, grace forever and completely changed my life. I'll have to tell that story another time...

But then it was the feast of St. Stephen, and I was on my way to my grandmother's funeral, which was why I was not with family over Christmas that year to begin with. I was absolutely compelled, however, to first go to the Catholic bookstore and purchase a breviary. I had heard there was this neat book by which everyone in the Church could pray together several times every day, and I WANTED ONE.

And while I was there, I was drawn like a magnet to the corner of the store with all the saint stuff in it. I searched.... who was that saint whose feast is on my birthday? When I found her, tears welled up in my eyes, and the words burned in my heart: "My life is not a mistake!" St. Cecelia, the patron of musicians! Music ministry was my life at the time. In that corner of the that Catholic bookstore, I felt like I was being hugged and welcomed by my special patron, and by hundreds or thousands of the court of heaven. It was like a little party broke out to welcome this lost and strayed soul who was now turning towards the Church.

Thank you, Lord, for all your gifts.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Saint of the Year

A quick heads-up: last year I requested from A Catholic Life names of patron saints of the year for all in my family. These saints (St. Eligius, St. Agnes of Monte Pulciano, St. Luke and St. William of Vercelli) have accompanied us with their prayers throughout this year. It is interesting to me in retrospect that my patron, St. Eligius, is the patron of metal workers (and those needing to be refined, a pretty good summary of the year for me!)

But this year, the owner of A Catholic Life is in a seminary where he is under holy obedience not to blog. The task has been taken up by Angela Messenger. But, if you would like to request to be chosen by a saint for 2008, you need to do so by November 25. Check out this link!

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yeah! It's my birthday!

I asked the Blessed Mother for a specific thing for my birthday, and I received it. Thanks, Mom!

Taking a short break from my blog-o-rama today to celebrate, and to digest turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Unschooling Days

I don't know if it is simply the contrast with spending a week with sickness last week or what, but we have had some very nice days here at home lately. I had a true naru hodo moment several days ago when I realized the difference in our interactions (less fights among kids, less whinyness and boredom), and the creativity level of our activity, all due to having the MUSIC playing! How do I forget things like this? We've had more games, more creative projects, more sharing, more independent play. I admit however I've had a harder time focusing on what is being said to me by my children as I almost literally do not hear people talking if I have music in my brain. It gives me some sympathy for how my son tends to be without music.

Homeschoolers don't tend to admit to the general public that sometimes days are not happy. It's that defensive thing, of course. Who wants a lecture about how it could be so much easier if the kids would just be in school. Unschoolers perhaps are even less likely to discuss feelings of irritation at whatever can irritate us about our unschooling days. But I'm very grateful for Unschooling Catholics, where we can discuss ups and downs and realize that doubts about our course of action are part of life.

What I find key to this round of ups for me, which gives me some insights into the down times, is that I have a sense of our connectedness being strong. We all want to be with each other. Which of course doesn't mean that we spend every moment of the day interacting. But I have found a few times when both children were doing their things that didn't require me that my feeling about it leaned more towards disappointment than relief. My children are small, so there are those days when I just want to use the restroom alone, or think about how to style my hair without any companionship.

Maybe another happiness key, or indicator, is that I find myself saying yes throughout the day. To me, "no" is for safety, health, and sanity. But I discover I have finally moved away from using "no" for a sense of control.

If I am happy, I have a good sense that my children are, too. And that makes for the best learning environment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reduction of Desire

Recently I read the book

God at the Ritz by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete. It is a very good read, especially for the type of person who in the mood to consider truth in terms more rooted in human experience than in traditional theology. The premise of the book was to respond to hard questions put to this highly educated physicist-priest by secular interviewers for whom belief in God by intelligent people a bit of an oxymoron.

Anyway, I regret that I got my copy from the library and could not mark it up, so that I could go back and think about much of what he said. But one particular point of his has stuck with me nonetheless: his discussion of what he calls the reduction of desire. He gives an example of being delivered by car to his overnight guest lodgings, a residence for priests. He tells how his driver went right passed the perfect parking spot right in front of the door, because of a sign stating "Reserved for Residents," and drove quite some distance away. He tried to argue that as a priest who was to reside in that place over night, with only luggage to drop off, surely they had a right to park there! He states that the fact that his driver was not even attracted by the spot shows she suffered from "reduction of desire," when what our hearts long for is so pummeled out of us that we no longer question what the world around us tells us to accept as a given.

Then he tells another story about watching an interview on TV with a famous writer who had since died. His companions watching with him were thrilled by the interview; Albacete was depressed. Neither had the faintest reason why the other felt what to them was obviously the only fitting emotion. His companions were inspired by this man's heroism to do this interview while knowing he was dying of cancer. Albacete was depressed because the man died and his writing career would never again produce a new brilliant work.

He states:

...if we suppress the desires of the heart, then there is no hope of ever coming to resolve some of the great differences that divide us. Moreover, if we suppress them, we are opening ourselves to manipulation by powers that are otherwise threatened by those desires of the heart.

I think this concept of his has stayed with me in part because I take issue with his examples, but also because I resonate strongly with his conclusion. The whole issue of the parking was answered for me when I saw him in person and realized that his physical circumstances make walking more than a few yards a significant challenge. Accepting the fact that people die and are finite does not seem a spiritual problem to me, either. However, it's intriguing -- suppression of desire destroying hope for resolving differences. Suppression of desire leaving me vulnerable to manipulation. Those are very compelling thoughts.

I'm going now to my mental photo album, and looking at "desire" snapshots of my life. There's that poem I wrote in my late teens. The opening lines say "A longing leaps within my soul, and I run to crush it..." This was once so synonymous with my life that, I hate to say, I spent my late teen years thinking about suicide almost daily. Yeah, I know all about suppression of desire. Then there were the baby steps with which God led me. In college the Lord told me "Don't only notice your need, but seek to fulfill it." Then after I came into the Church, about five years later still, I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I saw a beautiful t-shirt in a gift shop and reflexively (and uncharacteristically) gasped, "Oh! I want one of those!" My tone of voice must have been childlike or hesitating, because one older woman responded with deep care, "Honey, you just go right ahead and get it, then."

My, my I am going on tonight, am I not.

All this pondering is just to ask myself, how much am I really allowing the desires of my heart to serve as wings lifting me into God's plan for me? How equipped am I to model self-mastery of desire for my children? Do I know how to generously and joyously say yes to the desires of my heart for all that is good?

Anne and Fr. Guissani

Last fall, the Lord began to impart two special gifts to me. First was a local School of Community through which I discovered a lively fellowship and the writings of Fr. Luigi Guissani. Shortly thereafter was the messages given to "Anne," a locutionist from Ireland. Communion and Liberation and Direction for our Times. The latter had the quicker impact on me while the first receded for a time, then over the summer the situation reversed for a time. And now I find myself holding both, and being very joyful and peaceful.

And I find myself in a sort of hall of mirrors. What does Fr. Guissani tell me? We need to live total dependence on God, aware of His presence with us as what determines everything in life. What does Jesus say through Anne? That He wants so much for us to be aware that He is not aloof, but with us, and that He desires for us to turn to Him frequently, offering our days, asking for direction, asking to know God's will. And that He promises peace to those who will search for Him in this way.

Both truly are the basic call of Christianity, but both seem to be expressly tailored to the needs of us moderns. For me specifically, Fr. Guissani's writings appeal to an intellectual need I have, to grow, to stretch, to work hard with my mind and my consciousness. Anne's messages appeal to a practical need I have to get the point viscerally, and to remind me of the basic tools I need to use daily for Christian life. I just love how God provides for what I need! I have so many needs, and if I could only see the lengths to which God goes to help me! Now there's a cause for Thanksgiving.

Volume Two: Conversations With the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Part Four)

... Jesus' continual presence with us... Jesus' tenderness for us... marriage...

August 28, 2003

My children, I am with you. You have heard Me say that many times before. Perhaps I have said it so often that you do not really hear it. Today, I want you to both hear these words, and understand them. I am with you. Does that mean I watch you from heaven, hoping all goes well with you? Does it mean I gaze out over My whole world, seeing only the large events? No. I am with you. I am with YOU, my child. That means I see the world from your eyes. I walk your walks and I experience your experience. I am there when you are hurt. I feel the sting of human unkindness when you experience it. I feel the weakness and pain in your body when you are sick. My compassionate gaze, so filled with love and understanding, rests upon you every minute of every day. I forgive you any sins even before these sins are committed. But you must admit to your sins and ask forgiveness. My child, do not think you have been abandoned. I say with divine solemnity, I am with you.

So, begin to focus on the fact that every minute of every day, your Jesus is present. Talk to Me, dear child. I have so much to tell you. I have the answers for your difficulties. I have explanations for things you do not understand. I have love for people that you do not feel. So if you focus on the reality of My presence, you will begin to rely on Me. My child, then the transition can begin. Once you begin to rely on Me, your life will get easier and less stressful. You will walk away from even the most difficult situations and leave them behind, instead of carrying that worry wit you into the next area of your life. You will find this to be so liberating that quite quickly it will become your habit. And then child, it will be Me working through you. And when that goal is reached, there is no limit to what you can do. Again I say to you today, you must practice for something to become a habit. So today, concentrate on My continual presence. Ask Me what I would like you to do. Ask Me what words I would like you to use. Then listen to My answer. My Spirit will speak to you and you will hear the words, resting upon your soul. In this way, We can communicate all day long. Have faith. I give you faith today, as you take these first steps to unity with Me. There is no situation where you should leave Me. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, call upon Me. Even in sinful conditions, or should I say especially in sinful conditions, cry out to Me. I am there anyway, My child. You cannot hide your sin by ignoring Me and hoping I have gone away. So speak to Me. Say, Lord, help me. You will not be disappointed. I will help you. I bring you these words today so that you may understand that I am with you. I will never leave you. I await your notice and stand by, ready to assure you that you are cherished by Me and that I did not put you on earth to do work that was too hard for you. If you life is too hard, My little soul, it is because you are trying to accomplish it alone. You need Me. And I am here for you. So let us waste no more time. Jesus, your Jesus, is asking for your attention. Once I have your attention, We can proceed. You will never regret having returned to Me. Do not hesitate. Come and sit before Me in the tabernacle and We will begin.

August 28, 2003

I want to draw souls into My Sacred Heart. This is the place of safety for you, My dear ones. It is here, in the security of My love, that you can rest and begin to see your world with clarity. Just as I told you that I see your world through your eyes, because I am always with you, I want you to see all through My eyes. In this way, gradually you and I become one. When you look at a situation that troubles you, I want you to think, What would My Jesus say about this? If you are unsure, simply ask Me. I will tell you. In the same way, when you look at a situation that causes you joy, ask Me if I also feel joy. We can then exult together. And there is much to be joyful about, My little one. I am joyful, for example, about you. I see your struggles and do you know why seeing your struggles makes Me joyful? Because you are trying to be good. We, in heaven, observe this struggle for improvement and We sent you all manner of little rewards and assistances. We are with you in your struggles, more than you can imagine. My heart beats with such tenderness for you when you struggle. My child, you must not take this struggling as a sign that you are failing, but rather as a sign that you are succeeding. There is little struggle in badness, you see. There is a quiet, ominous acceptance or acquiescence. So do not be afraid. As long as you have the desire to serve Me, I will meet you there, at that initial desire, and I will bring with Me everything you need to succeed. My child, I will make it easy for you. It is not in My nature to confuse, so you must believe that confusion does not come from Me. Fear, anxiety, restlessness, do not come from Me. Bitterness, hatred, deceit, do not come from Me. Does that mean you will never experience these things? No. It is part of your earthly cross that you will encounter these things. What I am telling you is that you must bring these things to Me. I will then take them from you and you will be free of them. You may encounter these things again, perhaps within the hour. Come back to Me, in your heart, where I remain, and I will take them from you again. You see, My little dear one, your struggles are Mine now. I am stronger, wiser, more able for these things and I want to remove any negative thoughts from you. I seek to heal you and renew you. I can do this if you will let Me. I do not make this promise for now, this moment. I make this a lifetime pledge to you. When you experience a difficulty with your emotions, you bring it right to Me. And that’s where it will end. I do not want My children troubled by obsessions. And because you belong to Me, and seek to serve Me, this is a right I bestow upon you. You may think of it as an advance on your eternal inheritance. I intend to give you a portion of the peace We enjoy in heaven. This is My gift to you and is a special concession for the difficult times you are living. Bring your troubles to Me, little soul of My heart. I, your God, wish to bring you relief.

August 28, 2003

On this day I cry out to all families. How my Sacred Heart mourns the loss of so many families. My dear ones, We must work together now to strengthen the Sacrament of Marriage. It is on this sacrament that I base the family. There have always been cases where a family is without one parent. This can sometimes be My will, as when a parent dies. I have My reasons for allowing this to happen. But in most cases, My will involves a man and a woman, united in Holy Matrimony, bringing up children. My dear ones, I have so many reasons for structuring your lives this way that We could speak of nothing else for days. Let Me begin our discussion of families by saying this. I have not changed My will in this matter. Your world would have you believe that both parents are not necessary. Children, this is not the case. A father brings to the family formation that a mother can not and a mother brings things to a family that do not come from a father. I understand all. As God, I do not require explanations. There are so many cases today where one parent is forced to accept all responsibility. In some cases, this is My will and I do this because I have decided that one parent is damaging to children. You are responsible for the moral and physical safety of your children and if your children are in an environment where they are unsafe, you have My permission to remove them, either by leaving an abusive parent, or removing a child from a place where that child’s innocence is being destroyed. I am with you and give you every guidance in this very serious matter. I want your children protected, and I will help you do this.

There are also cases, though, where a parent simply refuses his or her responsibility. These souls want to be children themselves and seek an extension to their childhood. Dear ones, your childhood is a time of formation. When it is over, you must understand that I expect you to put childish things behind you and spend your time doing My will. If I have gifted you with children, I expect you to parent them with all love, patience, and responsibility. This is your holy duty and your duty comes first. It is in this way, by the completion of your duty, that you obtain heaven. I want the family supported. I want each one of My souls to focus on their family and always put family interests first. Be attentive to your earthly spouse. Consider your marriage as the primary consideration for every decision you make. I have given you your spouse so that you can lead each other to heaven and help each other obtain a higher degree of holiness than you could have obtained without the participation in this sacramental union. So always view your marriage as a holy covenant, in which I participate. If you do this, My children, I will have no more concerns about families, because your children will be honored and loved, as I intended them to be.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Curly Girl: The Update

I am happy to report that the Curly Girl routine is working well for me. I have been dutifully avoiding shampoo and brushes, have scrunched and gelled, and here we are in coldish weather and I generally have in-tact curls instead of frizz. So far, so good. I've remembered why winter is tricky, though. It is no fun to have thick, wet and cold hair! From year to year I forget that my hair dries exponentially quicker in hot weather, long before my curls get all flattened out by the amount of time they spend being all wet. (Call me silly but I have limited space in my brain for storing practical matters such as this.)

The theory works, but I'm still in search of products that also work. Our town's water is also a culprit, I believe, because when I wash my hair while on the road, my curls manifest themselves in a much more orderly way. I've given up Pantene for curly hair, my potion of choice for years. I'm trying Kiss My Face brand products now, but I'm not completely impressed with them, especially for the price. The gel is nothing special, doesn't have much "grab" to it. I do need to try some of Massey's tips for adding moisture and shine. If you have tried some of her recipes and liked them, please leave me a comment about it!

It's all about embracing my humanity in its beauty....

Preparing for "Christmas"

I went shopping tonight for a birthday gift for my dh, who turns still-three-years-younger-than-me-just-up-a-notch tomorrow. It was inescapable that stores are in full swing for "Christmas".

Ok, let me explore those quotation marks a bit. I struggle with cultural vs. Christian Christmas. We are still in Ordinary time, and the mall is playing Christmas songs and everything is decked out and people are starting to wish each other "a happy holiday" (which makes me want to yell, "could you please be more specific?!"). And I am moving more and more towards a desire to celebrate Advent as Advent and to begin celebrating Christmas on December 25, not to wrap it up then. I feel the need to instill into my children that the Christmas we celebrate is not the Christmas celebrated in the culture at large.

Now, it is not that I am being an anti-incarnationalist here. Been there, done that. When I was in college I was vehemently opposed all of the festivities and trappings that I saw a polluting the true Christmas. I had a skinny, bendy Santa with no head (have no idea where this item came from). I hung him in effigy on my dorm door, upside down, with large black letters "DEATH TO SANTA." Several people found it so disturbing that my RA finally took it and refused to return it.

It took my conversion to Catholicism, whose climax came at the Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve, 1991, to truly open my eyes to the Incarnation of Christ and Its millions of beautiful ramifications. I remember the first time I went to Mass on the feast of St. Nicholas. The priest spoke movingly of how St. Nicholas, or the traditional Santa Claus, mirrors God's loving generosity. I have had a great love for good ol' St. Nick since then. And I love the beautiful decorations, the music, all of that.

I just wish it would all happen at the right time.

I would love to walk out in public on the Feast of the Holy Innocence and still see the beautiful decorations and still hear whatever music one might hear to commemorate Christmas. This year I am determined to go Christmas caroling during the octave of Christmas (and before, as well, because alas that's when my parish is going out). We want to try celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with our family. I am pretty lame when it comes to celebrations, anyway, so it will be a stretch. But I just feel this need to be counter-cultural. Yes, I want to embrace all that I can of what is good in the cultural "holiday season". But I want to build and preserve a Catholic Christian celebration as well, for myself and my family.

Stumbling in the dark here. Any good suggestions to share?

Volume Two: Conversations With the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Part Three)

... no reincarnation ... God's obedience ... living heaven now...

August 25, 2003

Our work continues. I remain a prisoner in this tabernacle. I wait for every soul who is absent from Me. My children must understand that I am drawing souls to Myself. I can no longer stand by and watch so many souls lost for eternity. In days past, there would be a small number of souls who chose to remain parted from Me for eternity. This caused Me suffering, it is true. In these times though, My presence in the world and dominion over this world is treated so casually that many souls choosing darkness are led to believe this is almost a meaningless decision. They do not understand the impact. Indeed, some of My children are casual about their eternity because they believe they will have several attempts at life in this world. I tell you today children, this is a Godless notion created and perpetuated by the evil one who would like to downplay the importance of what you do with this time. There is only one life allotted to each soul. There can be no question about that. Do not believe that you will come back to earth again for another chance. It is this life you are living that will determine your eternity. So, My children, now that We all understand the importance of this day, and this series of days allotted to you, let Us make a decision on how you will spend the remainder of your time. I would like you to help Me. I know exactly how many days are left before you appear before Me in the next life. I have special work that needs to be done. In deed, I have special work for each one of these days remaining to you. If you will say yes to Me, I can rest more easily, knowing those tasks will be completed and souls, the certain number attached to your work, will be saved. Additionally, I will have the joy, the happiness of knowing that My immeasurable love for you is returned. My child, come to Me and do My work. You will find no greater joy on this earth. Ask My true followers. They know the ecstasy of feeling My smile in their soul. I want that for you. Let Me assure you that in most cases, My work for you involves you remaining in your current role. I simply want you to be at peace. I want you to know you are loved. I want to be with you as you struggle and I want to keep you safe. You will experience your days differently when you united them to Me. What formerly caused distress for you, will be barely a ripple against the great peace I am offering. I can take even the smallest, humblest, acts of love and obedience and use them to rescue a soul. So instead of merely surviving your time here, you will be using your days, already and always finite, to rescue souls who are living without Me, and in some cases, living against Me. We must have hope for every soul, My dear one. Rest in My tremendous grace during this time as I continue to reveal My great secrets to you.

August 26, 2003

Children, I want to speak with you about obedience. I, as your God, am obedient to you. I protect you when I am asked. I render assistance when I am prevailed upon. I created a beautiful world for you to learn about love so you might earn your heaven. I, your God, am doing My part. I am asking you now to do your part. I speak only from concern, My children. Your world, distorted as it is, seeks to confuse you and make you think that obedience is a negative thing that weakens you. I assure you, My child, I am all powerful. I am Jesus Christ and if you look at My time in your world, you will see that I was obedient to all whose obedience had call upon Me. I was obedient to God. I was obedient to the laws of that time set forth by the governing rulers. I was obedient to the religious authorities. I was obedient to My parents. If you study My life you will see a life of Holy Obedience and meekness. And yet, a man with more power never walked the face of your earth. There is great strength in obedience, and I want to show that to you. Come to Me in the sacrament of the Eucharist and I will teach you about obedience, revealing its beauty and the strength that lies with this misunderstood virtue. What am I asking of you, you might wonder. I am asking you to obey your church, first of all. My church has suffered in this time. Many children have taken this passion time of the church as a license to be disobedient. Children, this must cease. You are called on to be obedient to your church and in this way you are obedient to Me. I do not seek your destruction, My child. I seek your salvation. That is why I have given you this church with all of its wisdom. Many souls say that the world has changed and because of this, the church must change. Well, I assure you today, I have not changed. Heaven has not changed. You will discover this first hand one day. The changes have occurred in your world and I am coming to you today through this prophet to tell you that the changes are destroying mankind. Change is not always bad, of course, but you world has deteriorated to an Age of Disobedience and too many souls are being lost. I am intervening in a significant way not to resent the course and direction for you. Heed My words this day. I come to you in love, My children. I bring you unlimited graces. Do not be afraid to change your life, even though it means admitting you have made mistakes. A wise man does not fear mistakes because he knows they are inevitable. Indeed, it is through these mistakes and through the study of past mistakes that we learn for the future. I want your future to be glorious. I want only good things for you. I have the graces necessary to insure that you succeed spiritually. You need not fear that you are not holy enough to follow Me. My child, I know all. I call you because your destiny lies with Me. I am your God and I call you by name, into My heavenly service. Do not disappoint Me. Begin by the smallest acts of obedience to your church and I will lead you to the heights of holiness, for which I created you. Fear nothing. Sit with Me in silence and I promise to direct you. You need only come to Me and the changes will begin. How you will welcome these changes. Your world does not offer peace. Peace comes only from Me. Make haste to return to Me for My graces are waiting.

August 27, 2003

Today I wish to speak to My children about heaven. Heaven is real, dear ones. It is a place and I am there. Most of your deceased family members are here along with all of the saints and many others whom you have not met. There is great fellowship in heaven, particularly among souls who served Me in particular ways. You will feel no pain for fatigue here, but, at times, you will rest in ideas and concepts so that you can learn them. You see, My children, your learning continues and the quenching of the thirst for knowledge is a part of heaven because anyone is able to learn about any topic that sparks their curiosity. You can then build on that and graduate to even deeper levels of knowledge and knowing. This does not feel like school. It is joy and wonder. It is innocence and love. It is coming into the mystery of your universe in such a way that you then help to direct the universe. My children, because of your limited understanding, which is necessary while you remain on earth, I cannot tell you everything. But I wanted to share this glimpse of heaven with you and I will continue to part the curtains, as it were, so that you understand where you are going. It is good to know your destination so that you know how to prepare. I, your Jesus, am helping you prepare. If you listen to Me, and prepare well, you will be ready for heaven when it is time to come here. In this way, the day of your earthly death will be the best day of your life. Believe Me, My children, when I tell you that all of Us here in heaven await your coming. We are linked to YOU. My children on earth like to think that holiness is someone else’s call. If you are listening to Me now, you understand that holiness is your call. If your destination is heaven and of course it should be, then you must begin your preparation now. You would hardly travel to a foreign country without learning at least something about what you will want and need there. So take heed when I tell you that you will want to practice the virtues while you remain on earth. Try to view it as learning to speak the heavenly language before your arrival here.

I want to tell you, My children, that the saints, everyone here, clamours to assist you now. You are living in dark times and many of you have fallen into a spiritual sleep. I am preparing to make a loud noise, in a manner of speaking, to awaken your world. Better for you, My child, that you open your eyes gently now and begin to serve from love and obedience, as opposed to fear. If you follow Me now, you will nearly eradicate fear from your life. I felt stabs of human fear for fleeting moments, as in the Garden and when I was condemned to death. But My faith and knowledge assured Me that man could hurt my body, but My soul remained intact, belonging to God and this heavenly world. It will be the same for you, children. You will fear nothing. Additionally, if you follow Me, you will receive extraordinary graces to deal with anything that frightens you. I will manage any fears that you have, both now, and in the future, and this is another solemn promise I make to you. Also, I give you permission to be like small children, often saying to their parents, You promised!

Separation of School and State

Here's an idea I like very much. Check out the website of The Alliance for the Separation of School and State to learn more.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kyrie Eleison

Could you please say a prayer for our Bishop and our diocese?

This week it was publicly announced that a priest in the next county has been accused of sexual assault of a then-minor girl (some 16 years ago). The priest protests his innocence, but by policy the Bishop still must remove him from active priestly service pending criminal investigation and inquiry from Rome.

Also, it was announced in parishes this weekend that the much-contested plans to build a cathedral are going to be scrapped, and a new plan of action drawn up. The Cathedral project has been a major element of division and pain, especially in our town which is the seat of the diocese. And in my opinion some Catholics have badly embarrassed themselves in their public attacks against the Bishop, in both the Catholic and secular newspapers.

I am reminded of words I just read of Fr. Guissani:

The poor man is he who is certain of a few great things, so that–certain of a few great things–he builds the cathedral and lives in a hovel, a hundred thousand times more a man than those whose ultimate horizon is a totally comfortable apartment and then, if that desire is fulfilled, goes so far as to give an offering for the Church. Poor: certain of a few great things. Why does poverty mean being certain? Because certainty means abandoning oneself, overcoming oneself; it means that I am tiny, nothing, and that the true and great thing is an Other; this is poverty. This is the poverty that makes us full and free..

We are a materially poor diocese, relative to the rest of the country, but I fear we lack in this Great Poverty as well.

I appreciate your prayers for us, that Christ truly would shine on us in His grace, truth, and healing.

Volume Two: Conversations With the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Part Two) unity.... silence.... the longing in the Heart of Jesus....

August 20, 2003

Today I speak to you about unity. There is great disunity in the world. This disunity has permeated most modern life but I speak in a particular way of disunity within the family. I intend to return a sense of unity to every family that will allow Me to do so. My children, when there is family unity, the members experience a steady flow of love. My peace, always available, draws the family through the inevitable times of difficulty and members of such families possess as calm and steady bearing. Prayer will bring unity to a family in a swift manner. If a family makes a decision to make family prayer a priority, I can bestow many graces to that home. Families devoted to Our mother already understand this connection between prayer and family unity. I want this for all families. Make a firm decision on when your family will pray together. If something interferes with this time, do not take that as a sign that your prayer commitment was a mistake. Simply reschedule to a more suitable time. I, your Jesus, am watching. I understand all. If you tell me that your family never has enough time together to pray, I will help you to find that time. It is possible you are all too busy and should eliminate certain activities. My children of this busy world must understand the very significant difference between entertainment and duty. An obligation to meet with friends is not as important as an obligation to family prayer, and it is possible that your priorities require examination. Do not fear this examination because I will help you. Together, We will examine your life and see where We can schedule time for you to draw your family together in prayer. Believe Me when I tell you that you will be abundantly blessed in this decision. I will put unity in your family.

Unity is also important for the purpose of identity. Children, in particular, must understand that they are expected to view life and respond to live differently because they are Christians. This begins in your home. My youngest children of this world do not understand their inheritance. With many of My adult children, it is more serious. They have rejected their inheritance. So our goal is two-fold. We must educate Our youth and call out in love to Our adults. Look at your brothers and sisters in the world. Many are experiencing disunity in their families and walk in bitterness. They do not appeal to Me for help. They simply accept that this is how people behave. I assure you, My children, Christians do not behave this way. I intend to bring families together. From this secure love source, children will learn responsibility to others and to God. I intend for this to be the norm again. Will you help Me? Let us agree today, that each family will respond to this message by praying together. Start small, if you must, with one Our Father. Then advance gradually. I would like families to pray the Holy Rosary. Let that be your goal. Devotion to My mother will advance a family to Me very quickly. Devotion to My mother will heal many deep wounds. My mother is united with Me in this work and brings many, many souls back to Me. Pray now, as a family, and rejoice, as I restore unity to your home.

August 21, 2003

Today I wish to direct attention, once again, to the hectic pace of this modern world. Children, come and sit with Me in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I am in every tabernacle throughout the world. Think of one now, and picture Me there. Do I have a television? A radio? Of course not. Yet I am truly there. What does He do, you might ask. I tell you, My child, I am not bored. I think about you. I worry if you are far away. I suffer if you have chosen worldly paths and you are endangering your soul. I am sad each day if there is no hope of a visit from you. I ask My father to have mercy on you. I direct My angels to watch over you in the hope that someday you will return to Me. My child, how often during your day do you think of Me? You are thinking of Me now, as you read these words. So while your mind is resting upon Me, let Me tell you that I love you, I want only your happiness. I can help you in everything. I can solve your problems and heal your wounds. My child, come and sit before the Eucharist in any tabernacle. My graces and blessings will flow out to you. I want you to sit and soak in the silence. You may close your eyes there and I will fill your precious head with a stream of heavenly thoughts. I have so much to share with you. I have seen every injury you have experienced. I longed to comfort you. Let Me comfort you now.

Again I entreat you to eliminate as much noise from your life as possible. Noise is not conducive to holiness and while you might have to tolerate noise in the world, you can diminish noise in your home and in your car. In silence comes peace, little ones. You will find Me in silence. I am waiting for you and I have never once turned my gaze away from you. You must know that I forgive you for everything. I want only your love.

Souls find this concept difficult because your modern world has scoffed so often on selfless love, that souls are suspicious. Why does Jesus love me? I am not very lovable, they think. Indeed, many souls in this world do not like even themselves. So they find it hard to imagine that anyone, particularly the God of All, could desire their well-being, and love them completely. I tell you, dear child, that the Truth cannot be denied. I am the Truth. And I love you beyond anything you can imagine. My only wish is to bring you back to Me, where I might protect you. Do not be afraid. You will not be punished for your misdeeds. Come back to Me now and I will pardon your sins. We will proceed together as though these sins had never been committed. Sins leave a certain residue on a soul. Come to Me now, My beloved child, and with a heavenly breath, I will blow away the residue of sin so your soul proceeds in joy and newness. I am your God. I love you. That will never change.

August 22, 2003

The love in My heart gushes forth upon your world. In an unparalleled manner, I lavish graces on souls. My children, My love is such that I can no longer contain it. I see so many in need of Me, and truly, they shall have Me. Bring My words to those who suffer. My words will be the balm you will use to nurse souls back to wellness. Like heavenly nurses, you will apply My words to every wound and you will see miraculous results. My children, I am working through you. I am using you as healing instruments. Your world is sick and suffers from a disease far worse than any disease of the body. The very soul of your world struggles now, to find the source of healing it requires. And I am here. I intend to heal your world. I want you to be joyful representatives of your Eucharistic Jesus. The Eucharistic Jesus calls out to His children in firmness. I call you each by name and I say to you, It is time to return to Me. Come to Me, waiting in the tabernacle, and I will reveal Myself to you in such a way that you will have no doubts. You will be glad in your heart and peaceful in your soul. Rest near the Eucharistic heart of your Saviour and you will be granted everything you need. Faith is a gift, My dear one. I wish to give this gift to you. But you must turn to Me so that I may. My heart beats only with love for you. I can promise you that I will not reproach you. I will help you understand that only joy and light is suitable for a child of God. You will return to Us one day. Let Us make that the most joyful day of your life. Come to Me, My child, and I will show you how. You say, Jesus, I forget how to pray. My child, does a small one forget how to cry when he is hurt? Of course not. Come before Me and cry out your pain your hurt, and your fear. We need not do it all in one day, but take the first step to Me by coming in front of Me. Put yourself in My Eucharistic presence and I will do the rest. The work will come from Me. I will move you back swiftly to that place that has been reserved for only you in My Sacred Heart. You see, My child, if you have been away from Me, that place has been empty. I, your Jesus, have felt the emptiness terribly as I waited for your return. My heart aches with waiting for you so do not let Me suffer another moment. Do you begin to understand? I love you totally. You were meant to be with Me. Do not let anything hinder your return. I am your God, the God of All. The world wants to trick you out of your inheritance, but I hold it for you. It is safe with Me, My child, so return to Me now, that I may begin to heal you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I Found It!!!

I found the song I mentioned several days ago, "Daughter"; the lyrics are in this post. This is the only recording of this song anywhere in the world, I am guessing. Please humor me by listening to it, despite the extremely rough recording. Take into consideration that this comes to your speakers via my digital camera recording off a humble boom-box, off a nearly 22-year-old cassette (which survived a mauling by one child), recorded on an even more humble boom box that was on the floor of a high school auditorium, at a live performance.

What I wouldn't give for a professional rendition of this gorgeous song.

Volume Two: Conversations With the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Part One)

This is the first of several installments of Volume Two of the messages given to "Anne" as Direction for our Times. This does not include the introductory comments contained at the beginning of each volume, but you can read more about Anne and Direction for our Times here and you can read the statement from Anne's Bishop here.

The title of volume two is "Conversations with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus."

August 17, 2003

My children, I am speaking to you from the depth of my Eucharistic Heart. My dearest little souls of this world, you must come back to Me. I want your love now, as never before, and I want to protect you, as never before. Because Our time is not like your time, I can communicate with you in a timeless manner. This is what I wish to tell you. I am going to share My deepest secrets with you. I am going to remove the veil from the Tabernacle as never before. I want you to know Me. I want you to know Me in My miraculous form of the consecrated host. I am the Bread of Life. Yes. And I am your Jesus, also. I was a humble man, who walked your paths of difficulty, want, and hardship. Many treated Me badly, so I understand the pain of hurt. We had little money, so I understand the pain of hunger. I was different, so I understand the pain of isolation. Little ones, I am with you. I want to teach you things that souls of past times did not learn until they came to heaven. I am doing this because I am rising up a tidal wave of Christians to wash over the shore of badness that has taken control of this world, so lovingly created by My Father. This process will cleanse your world, making it safe once again for God’s children. I am going to bring you knowledge, wisdom, and love. I am going to introduce you to the divine to make your hearts burn like furnaces of divine love. You will be given the opportunity to work with Me. Children, come with Me now. Walk this walk of the divine with Me, your Saviour. Together, We call out to others to join us. In this way, We rise up against evil and reclaim goodness for the world, for its people, and for God in Heaven. I am omnipotent. By cooperating with Me and working with Me, you share in My power. You will learn to love in a way you have never known before. I am revealing Myself in a new way, such as I have never done. Come, let us together pay homage and pledge obedience to God the Father. It is He who decrees this work. Thank Him often and deeply for these graces, for with these graces, you will help Me to save the world.

August 18, 2003

I want to show My children the great devotion I have for them. I reside in tabernacles all over the world. I do this because I desire My children to have a living Christ in their midst. Such holiness is available to souls who visit and venerate Me in the Eucharist. I am the cure for every ill. I am the calm for every storm. I am the comfort for every sorrow. Because I intend to lead My children in a more enhanced way, I am going to show you the Life that is enclosed in each tabernacle. My dear ones, if you but knew the value of each and every visit that is made to Me here, there would be crowds all through every day and every night. It is this crowd of souls I invite now. Dear children of this world, I, your Jesus, am not limited by the laws of nature. I can do anything. My powers are unimaginable to souls who have not seen the heavenly Vision. In other words, to souls who remain on earth. Much is said in your world about power. This one has this power and that one has another power. Children are being deluged with images of occult or magical powers. I want this to cease. There is an obsession with powers that are NOT heavenly powers. My children, even some of My children of Light, say these are good things, or at least harmless. I tell you now, In all of My Godly Majesty, that if a power is not from Me, it is evil. Search every day for these impostors and remove them from your life. You do not see the damage being done, but I, your Saviour, assure you that this opens a door to your soul that you do not want opened. Your children must be protected from entertainment or games that feature "powers".

I wish to guide you in this specific manner. I wish to warn and correct you. I wish to teach you. Most of all, I wish to love you. Have you ever loved someone passionately but been rejected? Was your love ever tossed casually back at you? If this has ever happened to you, then you understand how I feel. I am rejected by the majority of humanity. I gave My very life for this humanity, so that their sins would be overlooked and forgotten. Humanity, poor foolish humanity, flings this gift back at My feet, as if to say, "Your gift is worthless. It has no value anymore." Dearest children, this is ignorance in some cases. Many of these children do not understand that the gift they toss aside is their Eternity, their Salvation. They do not understand this in many cases because they are not being told. I will rectify this situation shortly when I reveal Myself to your world, leaving no room to for doubt that Jesus Christ lives and that Jesus Christ saves. At that time, souls will know Me and will be free to make a choice based on knowledge. My little one, how consoled I will be by the souls who make the choice in advance of that day, based on faith. I am sending My Spirit into the world now. The Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is resting upon every soul who welcomes Him. My words must be spread and when these words reach a soul who is housing the Spirit, that soul will light up in a spectacular manner. Truly, the light of each of these souls will reach heaven, where the Triumphant ones will rejoice to see another soldier returning to the cause. Be alert, dear ones, to My every whim. Practice responding in obedience to My requests. You will walk in peace, I promise you that today. Adore Me in the Eucharist as I teach you about love.

August 19, 2003

I wish to speak to you today about love. I am all love. All love is Me. My children of this world must learn about love again, because, for many, the essence of love has been so distorted, they do not recognize it as valuable, or seek to obtain it. Love is quiet and stead, My children. Love can be relied upon. Love does not diminish in the face of temptation. There are many kinds of love upon earth and all genuine love has its place. I want My children to examine the genuine opportunities for love in their lives. Certainly a family is a primary source of love. But many families have failed in love and their members drift away in bitterness. Children, the obligation to love someone does not mean you will not be hurt. On the contrary, often, and I must say usually, this obligation to love insures that you will be hurt and it carries with it another obligation and that is the obligation to forgive. If you would like to see an example of someone who has been hurt, look at Me. You did not deserve to be hurt, little one. I understand and I see everything. I also did not deserve to be hurt. I tell you now, dearest ones, that you have hurt Me many times. Your neglect alone wounds me terribly. But I love you. I understand you are not perfect. I look upon you and truly, I forgive you. Please accept My forgiveness and let Us begin Our walk together anew. Please, dear wounded child, take My forgiveness into your heart and let it make a home there. If a guest is welcome, a guest causes little trouble to His host because a guest who feels truly welcome will make Himself at home and not cause His host any trouble. A welcome guests sees to His own needs and seeks to help His host. Isn’t that true, dear one? I am your Guest. I am a Guest in your soul. Make Me welcome and I will heal, nourish, and recover your soul. Your heart will beat only with love. I will cleanse the bitterness and permanently remove the hurt. I will leave such a surplus of forgiveness that you will have plenty to lavish upon those who have hurt you. Dear children of this one true God, seek out people who have hurt you, especially in your family, and offer your forgiveness. You don’t need to look for it. Ask Me where it is, dear child, and indeed, I will hand forgiveness to you. If you do this, you will heal. You may say, Jesus, it is too hard. I cannot do this as I have been hurt too badly. My child, again I counsel you to practice. Say these words of forgiveness in your head. Then say them aloud. Becomes used to the sound of them. With My graces, it will not only be possible, it will be easy. Trust Me, who loves you with a genuine love and seeks your peace. I want to barrier of bitterness between Us. I want to heal you. I want to heal families Do not be afraid. If someone rejects your forgiveness, that is their loss. You will heal, and you will be rewarded. It matters not to Me what a recipient does with a gift you have given when I examine your life. So welcome Me as your Guest, My beloved one. I will put so much love and forgiveness in your heart that you will not be able to give it away fast enough. I am your God. Believe in Me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Trisomy 21 and Jerome Lejeune

I came across this article this evening on the life and work of Jerome Lejeune, who discovered the chromosomal pattern known as Trisomy 21, or Down's Syndrome. He was willing to risk his professional reputation in order to speak in defense of those born (or rather conceived) with this condition, when he saw that his discovery was being used for selective abortion. I love the quote, written to his wife after he blasted a high-profile abortion-favoring group of medical professionals, "This afternoon I lost my Nobel Prize."

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul?

Civics Quiz

Do you know more about American History than Harvard seniors?

Find out: take the quiz here.

Of Viruses and Vitality

Most of my household has undergone a stomach virus attack this week. I have been the most recent contestant in the battle. Every illness feels like the worst thing, I suppose, but I would take the hacking cough and aches of the flu which made up my last significant illness, when I was 8 months pregnant no less, to throwing up 25 times in the space of seven hours.

And yet, who am I to complain? Today I was privileged to hear, at least 5,000 times, that beautiful word "Mama." It is hard for my children to be deprived of the normal rhythm of their lives, as well it should be. Whether their sickness or mine, or worst -- both at the same time -- it is an extra challenge for them to not find the comfort within themselves or within their Mommy that they are used to. It is a gift to be used to good things, but it is also a gift to stop for a moment and realize you are used to good things. And it is a gift beyond compare for me to realize that I am a source of good things for my precious littlies. I know too well that it could all be very different.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

For the Love of Submission

One of my stranger memories, which gets even stranger in the re-telling, is of laying on the floor in my non-denominational fellowship, something like 18 years ago. What was I doing there on the floor, you ask? Being prayed over, of course. I don't remember the details, but I imagine that I had been "slain in the Spirit" and two women known to have gifts of prophecy were praying for me. One of these women, who had quite the headstrong edge to her, suddenly exclaimed, as if she had just gotten some strong spiritual whiff arising off of me, "Oh! You have SUCH a submissive spirit!" She was really overwhelmed by whatever reality she mysteriously encountered.

I don't claim to have the ability to explain anything I just wrote theologically. But I can attest that I have always been a person in search of a proper place to submit myself. I was just reading an article in Traces tonight (May 2007) entitled Obedience: A Matter for Reasonable Men. I found it very affirming in that it discusses how obedience, or submission to proper authority, is the first act of reason, and that which preserves reason.

Personally, the crux of my conversion to Catholicism was in seeing that God had intended and given a charism of authority within the Church in the role of the papacy through Peter. I remember Scripture lighting up as I read Acts and saw Peter's role, not created by him or resting in his personality or his talents or even his faith, but bestowed upon him by the Holy Spirit. As I read Catholic and Christian and the documents of Vatican II and saw the teachings of the papacy, apostolic succession, and the authority of the Magisterium, I was both delighted and terrified. God had established authority, given as a charism. How wonderful.

I had experienced submission to human authority and found control and corruption. I had also had the experience of desperately trying to prop up a few well-wishing words offered me and make it into a shelter of authority that might protect me. For years I had what I can only call a longing for true authority, to submit myself in true freedom.

I was confused, at first coming to the Church, that Her authority was by no means heavy-handed, controlling or specific. These had been my images of "good" authority. I found I had more freedom under the Church's authority than I knew how to handle. But I quickly found that I could flourish in this environment. My humanity heard the call, like Lazarus, to "come forth"!

The Traces article made a beautiful point, that "obeying the Church", or "submitting to the Church", are simply other ways of saying "loving the Church". Oh, and I do. This is so misunderstood by many outside the Church (and perhaps even more within the Church!), but the last thing the Church's authority is is coercive. If my Bishop tells me my parish is closing, I might have some hard moments, but I will go with his plan, even if I don't see the wisdom in it or like it, because I choose to express my love for Christ and His Church by being united with my Bishop.

I absolutely love having a rightly-established authority that I can submit to. It is my freedom, my protection. Even if my Bishop were a corrupt man, or, heaven forbid, our Pope were, I can still trust that the charism of the Holy Spirit operates through them for me. My heart absolutely leaps with joy at this.