Note: “Most of the time” just so that you know, the blog will posted on the last weekend of the month simply because I need to use the help of my son to do the posting. It has been getting soo complicated that I simply rather wait for him and on weekends he has more time.
The main topic will be discussed after I give you a few stories of my encounters with the mercy of God during this past month! I must confess that this month of August of 2010 has been sprinkled with so many blessings and signs of all kinds. But again, and again and again, Our Lady was all over… You shall see! EWTN helped me much because they went full blast to honor her in so many ways since the founding of this miracle of the airwaves had one more anniversary on August 15…
I. I had to embark into a new realization of what to do to cooperate with God in order to become the best evangelizer, and I mean the best according to His will. So, my Lord decided to teach me things about His will and how to implement them in my life, in order to speed my metanoia for the sake of becoming a better witness of His love. Like any car having to travel for a long distance, we must check the oil and the pressure of the tires and fill it with gasoline to start the trip. So, how could I accelerate my metanoia…? Here is the sequence of events:
July 17: Notice that this happened even while I was writing my last blog regarding evangelization! After Communion I was thanking Jesus for my Baptism (on this date) and for His Mom… She has just mediated the miracle that diagnosed what is wrong with my health (in her feast day of July 16). And suddenly, I remembered that some friends were going to visit Central Europe and felt called to ask one of them to pray for me when and if visiting the Infant of Prague so that I could understand what to do regarding this topic.
Since childhood I was always very close to this devotion to the Infant Child of Prague and we had relatives that used to spread devotion to Him in His Infancy. I promised my friend to make a continuous novena to the Infant of Prague for their well being while traveling. I came home from Mass to look for the novena prayers hoping to find them because since my arrival two years ago from Toledo, I have in storage most of my books. I went to a box in the garage and what I got was the whole story, novenas, etc. of el Divino Niño. Yes, the same that spoke to Mother Angelica in Bogota, Colombia. So, I decided to start one of the Novenas, and remembered that also in storage, I have large statues (one foot tall) of both, the Infant of Prague (which I had bought some 20 years ago in Cleveland, OH) and the Divino Niño… The latter was a gift for Christmas from a friend given to me around 2005.
July 20: Well, re-reading the story of Baby Jesus in Colombia and His many miracles, I remembered how I had sent for all the novenas and other material to a Hispanic bookstore in N.Y. City (Librería San Pedro Claver) and how I received them in Spanish. He is venerated by crowds in the hundreds of thousands at a special “barrio” or township, in a suburb of Bogota called, BARRIO 20 DE JULIO. And I was exactly living the date of the name of this barrio, 20th of July… Wow!
The call to witness to others was bugging me much because every month I throw a tantrum trying not to write these blogs anymore. It is a pure act of pride… I have been persecuted sooo much, that I fear the moment that some “good” people in “good faith,” may decide to attack because of temptations from the evil one. And it is precisely on this July 20th when I started to understand many things about doing the will of God in our lives and at all cost. What I learned will have a separate section in this blog.
Thursday July 29 – EWTN — Fr Dubay in a 1989 series on Contemplation said that for prayer to be effective, it is not the length of time but the quality of our presence in His Presence… Hmm!
Saturday July 31: On this day, a medal of the Infant of Prague appeared on top of my bed!!! Ouch! I later remembered that many years ago I had it in my hands coming in the mail from some organization asking for money for some charity on His behalf, but to appear on top of my bed was impossible, especially after moving so many things to the West Coast. It was tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack. SIGNS, SIGNS. Obviously, I took it as a sign from Him. I knew that I was going to be shown some good teaching regarding my desire to enter this profound metanoia that the Encyclical on Evangelization speaks of, and that He, the Divino Niño would be the go between my Dad and this poor sheep that I am.
Well, in this particular Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola we had our monthly healing Mass. Three Priests and one Deacon were there to minister to us. One of them said that we should ask for a physical healing but be opened to expect a spiritual one. Hmm! After Communion, my Lord said, “Go to pages 111, 315 and 715 in your Bible at home. I will help you decipher what I want you to understand.” I even made the effort to repeat the numbers of the pages over and over in case I would “forget” them (I still have memory problems…) So, I came home and did my homework…
Luke 7. John the Baptist is working overtime baptizing many and telling them to repent. He is making enemies at this time from Jewish religious groups. He is tired! So, he sends two of his disciples with a message for Jesus…Verse 19 reads, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus receives them as he was curing the sick, making the blind see, etc. So, Jesus sends to the Baptist the following message: Verse 22: “Tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”
St. Paul sends word to the Thessalonians in 1Thes 2 where he thanks God for them and mentions that they are suffering persecution as well (like he was). He wanted to know how they were doing and that he had great desire to see them and he said to them in verse 18: “We decided to go to you – I, Paul, not only once but more than once – yet Satan thwarted us.” In chapter 1Thes 3 he writes that he sent Timothy instead to strengthen and encourage them… Finally, Timothy comes with great news of their faith and love, saying that the Thessalonians think kindly of St. Paul, who in verses 7 and 8 writes to them, “Because of this, we have been reassured about you, brothers, in our every distress and affliction, through your faith. FOR WE NOW LIVE, IF YOU STAND FIRM IN THE LORD.”
I realized that I had the same scenario in both readings: we have two giants of the faith of the New Covenant and both were tired, persecuted, and all that they needed was a “witness” that God was doing great things among His people. Why? Because shared witness of the power of the Gospel is a source of encouragement for others and the Baptist and St. Paul needed it! Jesus could have sent word to His own cousin answering his question in straight words, “Yes, I am the Messiah Who is to come…” Yet, He chose a more powerful means: that is, to hint John regarding the same actions that the Prophets of the Old Testament had already talked about regarding this expected Messiah King. I can even imagine the Baptist getting soo excited that finally those prophesies were fulfilled and I wonder if he continued to work even harder…I also understood the love of Jesus for His cousin. It was this answer that would give the Baptist the most courage even to censure Herod the tetrarch of Galilee and to endure imprisonment and death, while enthused with the idea of the Messiah King being already on earth!
Proverbs 14: 25 a – “The truthful witness saves lives.” (Same meaning)
I immediately realized that ministerial Priests are in the same category of these two men. They are overworked and in need of our witnesses of faith…Here is a good example of what a witness is all about. I heard of some Catholics who recently visited Central Europe. In one village in Hungary they found out that there are no Catholics anymore and they celebrate Mass once a year for the parish feast day. In the Czech Republic, in one church the attendance for the weekend Mass was minimal. Most churches in Prague are used for concerts or have been turned into museums. They also visited Cracow, Poland and on Sunday, the numerous churches had multiple Masses, each one filled with standing room only. All of these nations were occupied by Hitler or experienced the Communist domination. My opinion on this is that Poland had “recent” witnesses with heroic life styles who evangelized the masses with their holiness… St. Faustina Kowalska and Pope John Paul II…So, even today, their witness of faith keeps the Holy Spirit very busy. Of course, if we add that their message was to make the mercy of God known to all of us, well, there you have the fruits! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!
Corollary: What a God we have! My spiritual healing was evident after this Mass. I was given a major teaching on how important is to go and give personal witness… I also understood that in the present times in our Church, she needs us to witness to everybody as a source of encouragement. Of course, it works both ways, and since we are one Body, one Body in Christ, the fingers need the hand and the eyes and ears need the brain, etc. After this healing Mass, I couldn’t go to my Lord ever and ask Him to let me stop these blogs because it is “convenient” for me to do it; so, now, I need to wait until He decides I should stop or my friend the Bishop says to do so. Again, here is another topic related to the will of God in our lives and the main topic for this blog.
Also, I started understanding that some of you were truly praying for me…Thanks! This formidable answer, something I could never find in a book already written for my particular case of spiritual childish behavior, was being mediated by powerful intercession. At the very same time I saw three priests, my pastor and two visiting Salesian priests from India doing what they gave their lives to do, that is their vocation to be mediators of grace in His Church. The same Saturday, my Lord insisted that I had to write to my pastor and thank the three of them. I was reticent… Again? We took two hours of back and forth pros and cons… I called the Holy Spirit over and over to convince me that I had to do so. I must also share with you that for years all emails I send (although they are not many) are prayed over and over and over while writing them, asking the Holy Spirit to help me with their content since we can write too much from our flesh and little from the will of God. This wonderful healing also attested about the Church and what she stands for… That is, to help us to be missionary in nature like she is. So, the answers were clear. Priests need the witness of the fruits of their work and I ended up writing a thank you letter to all three priests mediators of my healing…
Even more, I understood that there are three types of witnesses by word or action. 1) One that is powerful and denotes our living the Gospel values and only the Holy Spirit knows hearts, and only He can lead us to give effective testimony in each case. 2) One that is lukewarm in nature. This kind of witness can produce a lukewarm reaction in the other without stirring a profound excitement. 3) The last kind is a negative witness, when my words and actions deflate the hearts of others because they are not the “way, the truth and the life” lived in our lives. I wonder if St. John Bosco was into all of this through the priests of the Order he founded! I grew up near the Salesian Order in my country and EWTN often shows the movie of his life; in fact, I will have some other words about him later. BUT REGARDING OUR DUTY TO GIVE powerful WITNESS to others, I will never raise ever a question about it. I am my brother’s keeper and it is part of my missionary vocation as a Baptized Catholic.
August 1. I reminisced on this day that I received the Sacrament of Confirmation at age 5 at my Cathedral in the Archdiocese of the capital of my country.
August 2. This very important Feast of Our Lady Queen of Angels and as said before, it is always very special for me… I did not feel well that day but I went to Mass, of course. I have never said much officially in this blog about this country where I was born. I believe I never mentioned it by name. Yet, I have to tell you why my country is so Marian… As I said before, a special tiny statue of Our Lady appeared in a little mountainous area on a rock and was found on August 2, 1635 by an Indian girl, Juanita. I was recently reminded by a childhood friend that each time this statue of Our Lady (who never spoke) was taken to the local church with permission of the Bishop, she would disappear and to be found in the same place. So, after discernment, the local Church understood that a temple in her honor had to be built in the spot under the title of Our Lady Queen of Angels because she appeared the first time on Aug. 2, and we now have a Minor Basilica! She has been a source of hundreds of miracles of which we are reminded in a large area in the basement of the Basilica where they show the story of thousands of healings.
Well, I was born in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica (between the countries of Nicaragua and Panama) and our patroness is Our Lady Queen of Angels because of these apparitions. She appeared in what we call Cartago, the capital city of the province of the same name. Her minor Basilica (in Cartago) is about 30 minutes by car from San Jose.
Our Marian spirit grew since 1635 and the capital city of San Jose has a cross made of 5 churches right in the middle of downtown as follows:
1. In the very center where the two bars of the cross meet, we have the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located on a numbered street in front of it and a numbered avenue passing on the side of this cathedral. In San Jose, avenues run east to west and streets run north to south.
2. In the same street of the Cathedral and 3 blocks to the north, we have Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
3. In the very same street and 4 blocks south of the Cathedral we have Our Lady of Sorrows Church.
4. To the east of the Cathedral and 5 blocks away on the same “avenue” we have Our Lady of the Solitude (Soledad in Spanish) Church.
5. To the west of the Cathedral and 6 blocks away on the same avenue we have Our Lady of Mercy Church, where I was baptized…
Well this country is very small, especially about a century ago when these churches were erected. Yet, the capital city is simply a witness of the Cross and of Our Lady… How about that? Right now we have 4 million people. This country has remained a unique place in the Latin America. We do not have an army… We only have a police force. Our saying has been that our army is made of teachers because education is what we are about and not fighting. When I came to do my senior hi school year as an exchange student in Manhattan Beach, CA, I was very confused to see the poor education I was receiving. In hi school in Costa Rica it was mandatory to study one year of geology, zoology, physics, anatomy and French, 4 years of English, history, math all the way to trigonometry and “religion” plus our Spanish language. We could not choose… It was an established curriculum for everybody, private and public hi schools.
In the late 30’s and early 40’s we had a period of about 10 years when we were flirting with communism/socialism and the idea of forming an army per se. And then God sent a man who was born in Costa Rica from immigrant parents from Spain and he was into the agriculture business. His name was Jose Figueres and in 1948 he organized a revolution using plain citizens as soldiers, and he took over the government and converted it again into a true democracy, one that we were used to. We have been called the Switzerland of Latin America.
However, I thank God for no living in this my country of origin. Crime became the law of the land due to many Colombian and Mexican (Sinaloa) drug cartels, which operate from there. My childhood friend who lives in the suburbs of downtown San Jose, she cannot go out during the day except by taxi cab with a “known” driver… 6 PM is the safe “self imposed” curfew for all citizens in the capital city, San Jose, which is 3,773 feet above sea level with an average temperature of 68.5 degrees F. Weather wise it is a dream and since I was a kid. In the outskirts and far away provinces, yes, it is idyllic to live there with less crime, but not totally free from it.
Well, our Queen of Angels may also be behind this democracy and every August 2, about a quarter of a million people go and visit her in Cartago and walking all the way there. YET, low and behold, this year the Holy Father had declared a Jubilee year for Costa Rica celebrating the 375th anniversary of her apparition… starting this past July 16 and ending on August 2, 2011. And so, this Aug. 2 they had about one million people going to see Our Lady. But it was on this her feast day that I also received many ideas of how to become a true servant with details of how I can miss doing His will by pure blindness on my part. Again, all details later.
Now, some more good news: on this same special day Aug. 2, our local paper published that our Oakland Diocese’s St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, just south of here, will have for 2010-2011, a total enrollment of 113 seminarians and the number of new students coming in are the highest since 15 years ago when it took a dive. They expect 34 men to start their priestly formation. In the entire U.S., Proposition 8 took the reins of the news, and yet, they failed to proclaim this extraordinary moment when God is calling and young men are listening and responding to His call. They are at maximum capacity and starting to plan the raising of funds to expand the building housing these men. I cannot wait to see this class graduate some years from now with hopefully 34 priests. Please keep them in your prayers.
It is interesting that when I arrived in this Diocese and just about two weekends later, we had a big call from the Diocese and this is what I learned: there was a plan called Our Call to Holiness – Diocese of Oakland 5-Year Pastoral Plan 2008-2013. As it turned out, this Bishop in Oakland was transferred shortly after (January 2009) to become the Archbishop of Detroit Yet, now we are seeing 34 new vocations for this Diocese under another very holy Bishop united to a group of lay people who in years past came together to make plans for holiness of life and going on right now, or so I assume. I had to put this in here because vocations are coming, especially in this example in Oakland with both priesthoods getting together seeking holiness. Even more, this is California, but for God nothing, nothing is impossible since His mercy endures forever… Alleluia! If you want to read more about this plan, you may consult with the Diocesan website at http://www.oakdiocese.org. People who know my email, you may ask for a copy of the plan that in 2008 I was able to obtain in the Internet.
On a personal note, it was also on this August 2 when I had the realization that I had to pray even more for my own ongoing metanoia to be a true witness of the Gospel for the sake of evangelization, and my Mother Mary on this her feast asked me to recite every day at 3 PM, the prayers that I have put together for my 33 day preparation for consecration to her. In other words, not do it just before some of her feast days but every day. Some months ago, I posted on a page what those petitions consist of asking for graces of all kinds and each petition followed by an Our Father, Glory Be and prayer to the Holy Spirit. The “page” is titled “Consecration to Our Lady.” She also suggested that I continue my Novena to the Child Jesus (of Prague and el Divino Niño from Colombia) but prayed also at the 3 PM hour with the same intention. I have done so since.
Aug. 12: Via Internet, I found even more information about POTS (my health problem) or the imbalance of the autonomic system, and many people sharing their life with this illness. All ages, all U.S.A. States, European countries, and their extraordinary experiences with doctors who tried very hard to treat their symptoms and to no avail. In many cases, they were unable to even get out of bed for months at a time. I thanked God at Mass for allowing me to know the diagnosis of my health problems without having to visit a doctor, for giving me the opportunity to read the testimonies of so many people and for me not to be one of the worst regarding symptomatology…
On this extraordinary day I also found in FaceBook a marvelous message on forgiveness… I must report again that I still do not feel comfortable at all with this site … In my personal profile, I posted the birth date of my mother instead of mine and no other stories about my education. Yet, I am finding that it is fun to keep up with relatives, 2 sons, a daughter-in-law and family in Costa Rica. Well, a friend of a relative of mine wrote the following in Spanish. I will write it in that language and translate it. It merits to be done twice!
Perdonar es la oportunidad que me doy de sanar. Especial regalo nos da Dios por medio del perdón. Perdonar no es una meta; es un proceso de vida.
Parafraseando a Unamuno: “Perdonar me permite ser padre de mi futuro… No hacerlo, es ser el hijo de mi pasado.” No perdonar es una de las peores formas de esclavitud.
To forgive is the opportunity that I give myself to be able to heal. God gives us a very special gift through forgiveness. To forgive is not a goal but a lifetime process.
Paraphrasing Unamuno, “To forgive allows me to be the father of my future. If I do not forgive, I become the son of my past.” Lack of forgiveness is one of the worse forms of slavery.
(For your information, Miguel de Unamuno – 1864-1936 –was born in Bilbao, Spain and was a controversial figure in his philosophy of life and religious themes, but he also was a distinguished essayist, novelist and poet.)
Aug. 16: Homily by my pastor on this daily noon Mass: “Faith is not just the legal observance of the Gospel, but as in the case of the rich man, it is also to leave behind all our possessions.” How proud I was of him when I heard him say those words with an attitude of belief in them. At the time for petitions he said, “Let’s pray that we detach from possessions and attach to God and to Him alone.”
On this same day at 4 PM we heard the results of the decision regarding Proposition 8 in the Courts of California regarding same sex marriages and the next step in this process, but with no immediate lift of the stay to marry many who are waiting. I had asked 16 people (and five priests were among them) to pray for one week with me for the process and those involved including Court Judges. I promised myself not to mention this topic in this blog… Enough is enough with the media rehashing nationwide this subject matter, but the Holy Ghost insisted and insisted that I gave you the following story. Eventually I believe that it was truly the Holy Ghost moving me because it is a positive one. I am sure that you will not regret what you will read. However, if it bothers you, then pray for me for giving you a sour taste…
I had summoned people to pray because Jesus defined what marriage is all about, as we know it and I am sure you all know that. Other parts of the Bible speak of the sin itself of living this life style (Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians7) but Jesus addressed the core of the controversy.
Matthew 19: 3-5. Jesus is asked if divorce in a marriage was allowed since in the times Moses it was. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever? Jesus said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.’”
Isn’t that a definition of marriage? He could have said that when two human beings join together in marriage, they become one flesh and even more, He defined this union from the very beginning as of a man and a woman… I, personally, cannot ignore His words… and therefore, after much discernment, much, because my first intention was to pray for this issue by myself, I remembered that we are one Body in Christ, and He encouraged us to get together in His Name to ask for help. But there is more to this story.
God is always miles ahead in His will for us. He knew I would end up in California and precisely at this time in the history of this topic. Years ago, I met two people who shaped my views, people that I was able to love without condemning them even that I have always followed the Church’s position in this topic. The first person I found at a retreat, and at the time I did not know I went because God had arranged an appointment with another of His sons. As soon as I met this man we became instant friends, a friendship which lasted 12 years. He called me once per week and we would talk about God. He was a learned person with a wife and kids and who exhibited since his youth a same sex attraction, yet unknown to anyone around him. I became his surrogate mom, sister, friend, and as such, he confided his struggles. They were tough…
He used to say that he needed me because my faith would help him live this cross and indeed, I observed him enter into the “mystery of embracing his cross for the good of others.” He was a very holy man. I saw him grow year after year. He was answering Vatican II’s call to be holy! Amazing grace! He never tried to defend those with the same feelings or to consider a same sex marriage to be the answer for the natural need for love that we all have, since my friend knew already the real love, his personal relationship with the Crucified. After all these 12 years, I knew that it had to come to an end. And of course, he was a man of much prayer and I am sure that he was getting the same message. May be it was time for him to get rid of my help and start riding “solo” with God alone! So, the calls came to be once a month and finally, one day, there were no more calls. I had peace and I am sure he did too. In a way, I rejoiced because the pain of accompanying one’s brother to Calvary because of this apparently innate need was a hard one… “To suffer with” or to be compassionate is very hard, especially knowing the sanctity of this man. Again this story illustrates that for God nothing is impossible when we love Him…!
Also later in my life, God placed in my path an operating room nurse who in my experience in the business, was the best nurse I ever met in any operating room. We loved each other and respected each other. We were both perfectionists and we were very devoted to protect the patient at all cost. She was in a very happy same-sex relationship. These two friendships prepared me for today. In the one hand I know what my Master said on the subject. In the other hand, I saw one of them growing in holiness despite the issue… The other one, despite her lifestyle, she was a good human being and an above average patient advocate. And in these past days I have come to re-affirm my belief that we are “called” to be holy despite the baggage we carry, despite our sins. Hopefully my friend will find the Truth and the courage to follow Him. St. Teresa of Avila used to say that God is in the pots and pans of the kitchen… meaning that even those nuns who were cooking could become holy. The same with any state of life if we live and act according to His will.
As I did with my male friend, I wish I could tell all men and women with same sex attraction that God is alive and that obedience to His will is all that counts because it takes us to a personal relationship with the Son, and this Jesus fills us with a love much superior to any love and that it can suffice and replace the need of any other human love…
II. Here I will consider the title topic: THE WILL OF GOD.
I want to remind you and as I have done before, that all what follows is my personal experience of the many aspects of what it means to do the will of God. Therefore, take it with a grain of salt and keep the Holy Spirit’s advice regarding its content. At this point I am working at refining my “yes”, my fiat, by understanding those things that can negatively affect it. These are examples of what I mean.
1. Imperfect “yes”:
I have been called to do something more for the Kingdom of God and I’ve known it for a few years, and I truly do not want to do it. Of course, I say yes to it but it is a yes full of reticence and hopes that it never comes to happen. My call involves working with other specific people for a specific goal and I hope that either I am wrong or that God changes His mind. Well, this yes is very imperfect. But for years God keeps sending me signs and over and over to reassure me that it is His will and not my flesh or Satan’s will. But still, I do not like it. I know that because it includes the will of others with their respective “yes,” it may never happen. However, it really does not matter if it comes to be or not. My duty is to say a yes that is ready for whatever and never ever expecting not to happen… Even more important, it is to detach and never even think of what will be if ever. My work is to remain in God’s Presence in the active duty of self-conversion for the sake of other souls. He will handle everything else. More on this topic later.
HERE I have more TEACHINGS RECEIVED to explain to me how to improve my imperfect “yes.”
A. So, as I was preparing notes for this blog, again I put my hand into the same box in the garage with papers from Toledo, and here is what I found written in Spanish, but I will translate it first and then give you the Spanish version as I found it…
June 30, 2002
The silence of Mary has only one word: “Yes”…
The Yes of Mary is complete, without questions, without answers, without fear or complaints…
But for my self-denial to be based in a silence like hers, it must rest in the following:
1. Constant prayer in my inner temple of adoration, praise, thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity within.
2. Constant repentance for my sins with a firm purpose of amendment.
3. In the service to my brothers through:
a) Intercessory prayer and offering sacrifices for their salvation
b) My love for them in the midst of the scandals and pain that they give me, silencing at the same time all the memories of their mistreatment, without fear of what they could do to me or what they are already doing.
c) Without complaining for what they do
d) Forgiving them as Jesus would have done.
4. I must remember that the sacrifice, the holocaust of self-denial is a very heavy interior cross, the heaviest of all and that I have to embrace. Also I must remember that many of the external crosses result from the contradictions to my willful “I”. But when I deny myself, all those crosses disappear… through His grace
Junio 30, 2002
El Silencio de María solo tiene una palabra: Sí…
El Sí de María es completo, sin preguntas, sin respuestas, sin miedo y sin quejas…
Pero para que mi negación a sí misma sea basado en ese silencio como el de María, mi silencio debe reposar en lo siguiente:
1. En mi oración constante en mi templo interior a la Santísima Trinidad de adoración, alabanza y acción de gracias.
2. En mi arrepentimiento constante de mis pecados con firme propósito de enmienda.
3. En el servicio a todos mis hermanos a través de:
a) Oración de intercesión y sacrificios por su salvación
b) Mi amor por ellos en el medio de los escándalos y dolores que me producen, silenciando al mismo tiempo todos los recuerdos de sus maldades, sin miedo a lo que me puedan hacer o a lo que me están haciendo.
c) Sin quejas por lo que me hacen.
d) Brindándoles todo mi perdón como Jesús lo hubiese hecho.
4. Debo recordar que sacrificio, el holocausto de negarme a mí misma es una cruz interna muy pesada, la más pesada y que debo abrazar. Muchas de mis cruces externas consisten de contradicciones que recibe mi yo voluntarioso. Cuando me niego a mí misma, todas esas cruces pues desaparecen… por gracia de Dios.
B. But again, here we have a God and Mother who are sooo loving and engaged in our sanctification that they orchestrated another little reminder on this subject matter. In this past month and for three weeks we had our liturgies in the school gym in order to renovate the interior of the church itself. Because this gym had one only entrance and exit opened, instead of 3 like the main church, one would bump with people more often than not and this led me to end up conversing with a man, Tom, who serves the noon daily Mass three times per week.
One day as I came out of the gym from Mass, we met and started talking for the first time in these two years that I have come to this parish. Out of the blue he offered to bring me a DVD that had been taped from EWTN. He also offered to put it in his car and whenever he saw me, he would lend it to me. Two weeks later, on Friday August 13, and while my son was out of town, our general area would have no electricity from 8 AM to 4 PM in order to change a street pole. I went into a major planning for this day. I would open all the windows at 4:30 AM in order to let the outside cool air come in and allow the house to drop the temperature and help avoiding major high temperatures.
My plans (my way): I would have breakfast before 8 AM because after I could not use the microwave oven or make coffee. I wanted to have any major electronic devices turned off and some disconnected from the wall, in order to avoid major electrical influx coming into them when the electricity was turned on again at 4 PM. I needed to pull my car out so that I would not have to struggle manually opening the garage door. And I planned to go to 6:30 AM Mass and wondered where to spend the rest of the day to avoid major heat since my status with POTS makes me very intolerant to it… At one point I thought of going to the adoration chapel in my parish and spend some hours in there, but my POTS symptoms do not allow me to do it for too long (long story).
But the night before when I was reviewing this magic list (since I am a perfectionist and with my memory problems that are not as bad but still there, I make lists for everything), my Mother in heaven said, “No, go to Mass at noon. It would be better for you because the windows could remain open until 9 AM to cool the house even more, instead of closing them at 6 AM before going to Mass. I’ll be with you.” Well, of course, I followed orders and magically, at 6:28 AM, I had parked the car outside the garage, had eaten breakfast and done everything in the list. At 6:30 AM, the electricity went off… I laughed and laughed… What a mother! The electrical company had lied… (In fact they just sent a letter excusing themselves for the error).
I left home at 11 AM and it was still very comfortable inside since the windows were opened till 9 AM. And this day, I found Tom at Mass and he came to me with the DVD. This DVD was produced by EWTN in 1997 and its title is: “In the Footsteps of the Magnificat.” It was a musical program about the different events that happened in Ein Karem, the place where St. Elizabeth lived. One of the narrators was no less and no more that actor Michael York, a little older than when he played the role of John de Baptist in the 1980’s movie “Jesus of Nazareth.” This man was so joyful, so full of the Holy Spirit. I even wondered if this role had changed him.
But during the morning hours before I left for Mass and out of the blue, I found the MapQuest directions to the local Olive Garden restaurant, some 20-25 minutes from here. It is a very complicated geography for me to get there but then I realized that I needed to buy their salad dressing, the favorite of my son and he had used the last drops before he left for his job related conference in Seattle. So, finding the directions was like a sign in order to waste time driving in my air conditioned car before I came back to my home. I thought of eating lunch at the place to use so more time, and yet, I did not feel like it because I did not feel well. But after Mass and when I arrived at the Olive Garden around 1:15 PM, my Lord said, “Have lunch here.” So I did since my plans had changed and had been so perfect because my Mother had changed my schedule. I left this restaurant about one hour later and stopped at the post office and came home exactly at 3 PM, and the garage opened; the electricity was back, which originally was supposed to return at 4 PM. The house was not terribly hot and in one hour’s time, the central AC gave me very comfortable temperatures… Our Lady’s advice had been a total success and I had suffered zero problems with the lack of air conditioning.
Yet, I did still not comprehend that this change of plans had other consequences for my soul. I decided to watch the DVD on Saturday Aug. 14, and to my surprise, the Gospel reading for her Feast of the Assumption of Aug. 15 was precisely on the same Magnificat… Huh!
Well, if you think this was miraculous because God was emphasizing the “yes” of His Mom being so perfect versus my very imperfect “yes,” wait for the following addendum. I was typing this story in this blog on Sunday, August 22… This is her feast as Queen of Universe, the title under which I enthroned her in my home in 1985 and also under which she has done great miracles for others. In fact, in all my computers, my son has placed her image in the screen (from the Internet), so when I turn on the computer, there she is…!!! The time when I started typing was 2:15 PM. At 3 PM P.T. and the hour of Mercy in California, I stopped to be present LIVE at the Benediction in Hancesville, AL (EWTN). And the priest who was conducting the service was one of the Order of the Society of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity and the reading he chose was the Magnificat!
The story of her “yes” to be a Mother to the Messiah and to run in haste to serve her cousin was emphasized to me three different times in just one week’s time, and it was obvious that my Lord wanted me to reflect on it. So, let me repeat that her “yes” was perfect, full of love of God because she instantly obeyed as she trusted in His love, and full of love of neighbor as we already know… She becomes the first evangelizer of the new covenant. In the Magnificat she gives us a homily of what the mercy of God is all about but also in the context of her perfect “yes.” Had she said it without her witness of walking (70 miles?) to Ein Karem to serve her cousin Elizabeth, the spiritual impact of the words of the Magnificat would be very different.
C. Other possible ways of saying and imperfect “yes” were brought to me in prayer:
We may say yes to God for a particular vocation (whether Holy Orders or the married life) simply out of our own psychological and sometimes needs of the flesh for satisfaction or position in life but without truly doing it out of love of God…. Example: In the case of females, we may want to get married because this pagan society does not look well into an unmarried old woman, as if saying, “She could not even find a man who wanted to marry her.” Or we get married because we like children or to marry into money or prestige even without being sure we like the man we marry. In the case of men, they may want to marry money as well and more so than to truly commit to a one particular woman. I also must admit that for many years I have worried about priestly vocations in third world countries, like my own. How many times the young man has a call from God but his yes is imperfect because he sees in this vocation a way to get a free education or to leave poverty altogether, etc.
2. On July 29 I also began to understand other aspects of the importance of obeying the will of God for our sanctification and concluded that, I must purify my “fiat”.
I also understood that many times we say yes to a big call (e.g.: marriage, Holy Orders) and we think that we are done and that we have done it… Nah… We have just started… I was then able to reflect in other possibilities!
a) He keeps calling us to do other things – some major and some minor, in order to train us to practice self-denial for our earthly sanctification and use it for the sake of other souls as well. His will is ongoing and dynamic and we need to pay attention to it at all times.
b) We also tend to spend time looking back at when we said yes and feeling very satisfied for it. Yet, we may be missing what He is calling us to do in each present moment as part of the original call. He may want us to pray more, to seek purity of heart for this ongoing yes to His will, and we become distracted with our original yes.
c) We can also become distracted with the graces received during our first call and yes to it, and not realize that those graces need to be nourished with ongoing “fiats” until we die. If we answer the call to marriage, we may become lost in the joys of motherhood for example, and place God to the side…
3. My answering the will of God also demands that I believe that His call comes with the whole package, and that He provides all people, circumstances, help, etc. and I only have to say this “yes” as Our Lady did, but proceed to cooperate, to obey it! Nothing different! He will provide for the way… without my worrying about how to do what He asked me to. I want to prove to you why I know so in Psalm 23 as follows:
Psalm 23 summarizes how well cared of, we all are. I am quoting the words of the Psalm from the Catholic New American Bible translation.
The Lord is my shepherd (That’s Relationship!)
I shall not want (That’s Supply!)
In green pastures You let me graze (That’s Rest!)
To safe waters He leaded me; (That’s Refreshment!)
He restored my strength. (That’s Healing!)
You guide me along the right path (That’s Guidance!)
For the sake of Your Name (That’s Purpose!)
Even when I walk through a dark valley, (That’s Testing!)
I fear no harm for You are at my side. (That’s Protection!)
Your rod and staff give me courage (That’s Faithfulness!)
You set a table before me as my enemies watch; (That’s Hope!)
You anoint my head with oil; (That’s Consecration!)
My cup overflows. (That’s Abundance!)
Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; (That’s Blessing!)
I will dwell in the house of the the Lord (That’s Security!)
For years to come. (That’s Eternity!)
I want to give you a personal example about guidance, about how His call comes as a package and how we may miss it.
As said many times before, I knew at age 5 that I wanted to be a doctor (physician) and a secretary. There it was the will of God for me right and there. Because I was very good in math, in my junior year in high school in Costa Rica, my math teacher advised me to continue this career at a university level. My Spanish teacher told me that I should become a lawyer because I did argue very well whenever she asked us to do so about different topics. I have never forgotten those two women… Excellent teachers!
When I did my first year of Pre-Med in the country of Panama, the philosophy professor asked us to write an essay on the differences in thought between the Greek philosophers. I received an A+ and he then asked me to consider changing my idea and becoming a philosopher. In this same year, my physics teacher wanted me to go into physics. In my second year of Pre-Med, the math teacher seriously encouraged me to study math (another call to Mathematics). Yet, at no time did I found myself bewildered or confused with those voices. Why? Well, even on those days I was in love with the Crucified and sought Him a lot… I would go to Sunday Mass at the Church of San Juan Bosco with the poor since my own parish of Christ the King would attract more of a wealthy crowd and called in Panamenian parlance, “rabiblancos.” …. Rabiblancos meant “white rich people”…Hmm. So, Psalm 23 was a promise that my Lord was keeping up: “You guide me along the right path for the sake of Your Name”
Even more: In Medical School per se, a classmate of mine wanted a serious relationship with me and I stayed away from it in order to please my mother who believed that any relationship would interfere with my grades, which needed to be the highest so that I would not have to pay tuition! Well, he is still in Panama and I am a U.S. citizen because God had a plan that He protected. He supplied wisdom, obedience to my mother, success in all my studies so not pay tuition (we could not afford it), etc.
4. I also understood that the will of God is like a Rosary made of many beads. The majority of beads (Hail Mary’s) are things He leads us to do without major suffering. The larger beads (Our Father’s) are the major crosses. All are linked to each other under His guidance and purposes. If we revel against His will, the particular links of perfect events of the will of God Rosary for each of us are broken and we may miss appointments!!!
5. But to do the will of God, we must know what it is… Discernment could be difficult or easy. It all depends in our purity of heart and our disposition to hear the Holy Spirit. The latter has several possibilities:
a) I must have a heart without resentment and full of forgiveness..
b) I must follow the Commandments to have the wisdom to discern His will on a continuous basis. Sirach 6: 17…
c) I must trust God’s love and plans for my life, and His love will make sure that I know what His will is from hour to hour. In other words I must have FAITH, or the Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him!….
d) The Holy Spirit is the instrument that mediates our discernment of the will of God. Our Jesus made it clear to His disciples about His own need to die and ascend in order to send His Holy Spirit to guide them. But pay attention to this hint: when Pentecost took place they were gathered at the upper room and DEVOTED THEMSELVES WITH ONE ACCORD TO PRAYER with Our Lady! Hello… Are you reading this? They were devoted to prayer but in community, not each one in a corner of the room… and Our Lady was there, to mediate as always, because she already had had her Pentecost when she housed the Spirit within her womb!
So, our inner temple, our soul should most of the time be a house of prayer with one accord with all members of the Church and very dedicated to want to do the will of God. This propitiates the grace to hear the Holy Spirit, or to see the signs around for a particular job, or not to miss a divine appointment, where I must execute a visitation as she did at Ein Karem, etc. I certainly know that this month between Aug. 15th. and the 22nd. the hymn of the Magnificat was drilled in my spirit. Of course, the topic of this blog had already been chosen by the end of the month of July.
6. I also realized how my adherence or not to the will of God, affects others. I would like to hide the following stories, afraid that I may tempt you into thinking that I want to broadcast my sons’ successes. Worse, if any of them read this blog, they may get angry because they hate notoriety and big time! But I also did the same… One time, my mother came to ask me why I had not told her about some great thing I did in high school for which I was recognized. She found out through another mother who came to congratulate her!
So, after much “discernment,” I realized that if I do not tell you about what the providence of God has done for us as a family, I am wasting a chance to draw your attention to His mercy for us. Here are the stories:
As a mother who saw no rebellious teens and now very good sons, I must conclude that it was not because I was home with them all the time. What I did was to distribute my time as best as I could but my profession robbed me of most of it, and yet, because of having met the Eucharistic Jesus so early in life, I sought Him in every form possible as time allowed. He, in turn, took care of my human affairs, especially of my family. I was not recognizing at the time that my adherence to seek Him first and foremost and by pure grace would affect so much the lives of these men. And in this constant seeking Him, He revealed His will and equipped me with the courage to obey it… and the latter was also key for His mercy to pour over them.
I also must clarify that I am not in favor of mothers getting to practice their professions versus staying home. What I am saying is that whatever the will of God is for each one of us, staying home or working outside, it is our obedience to God’s will that will help our children the most. Staying home per se will not help if God is not at the center of our hearts!
In those days, the Church preached to me the good news but in a softer way: “Be a good example to your children. Pray together. Never miss Mass on Sundays.” I now contend that all starts within my heart, with the health of my soul and its compliance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety. Just parts of it, like getting involved in the parish and praying here and there without realizing that my true vocation is to obey God even in the smallest things, will not guarantee holiness for others around me.
There are so many programs and books regarding how to raise children. How I would like to shout from the roof tops that all our children because of their dignity as God’s kids, have a DIVINE purpose in life, which is officially given with the Sacraments of initiation. My work is to facilitate God’s work by helping out with the sacramental initiation and later, witnessing to them how I obey His will in everything. Graces from my obedience will make me as well, patient, wise and just in my relationship with them, and in His time and through the power of His Spirit, He takes care of the rest. I saw it with my atheist husband and have seen it with my sons.
So, the correct strategy to raise children is to be clear about the core of this job: my personal TOTAL obedience to Him regardless of how tough the crosses may be. This allows the Holy Spirit to strategize everything else in our own families. Of course, we should know our faith and pray constantly and be a good example, etc. etc. etc… But until I get rid of my “I” who wants to plan what to do and how to do it interrupting His plans, God will not be able to win “all” our battles with our children. He created them in His image; He divinized them through the Sacraments; He left a thick Book with all the instructions on how He will win all our battles, and yet, we do not get it. The world’s voices are too strong and have “wired” our brains to think we can participate as equals with God in governing what it is divine in nature. Ouch…
Yet, the big question remains: how to convince others of this fact? Again and again and again, we must become witnesses of this truth but TO GIVE HIM GLORY and let Him take care of the rest. So, not only I do His will and regardless for the sake of my family and my own sanctification, but for the use of others and this is evangelization… when we turn around and “try” to become little children ourselves… regardless if the rest of the world is doing something else. We have to become masters at the “fiat” of Our Lady but in the way she did it, as servants of the Master… and the Holy Ghost is always patiently waiting for us to allow Him to use us to “fire up” the entire world! O yes we can (Sí se puede), but we go through life ignoring the power of our own Baptism! Hmm.
And now I want to give you some examples in my own life of how we can affect others when we “try” the best we can to adhere to God’s will hour by hour which also includes all that He commanded in His Word and the commandments of the Church. Examples:
1) The experience I had with my two friends as I explained above.
2) Or had I not sought God’s will for what hospital/city to come from my country to do my training as a physician, I would have missed Detroit, a place where I found the husband He wanted me to have in order to heal my childhood learned racial bias; or the Bishop who would allow me to write in the Internet with his supervisory wisdom and theological knowledge as a protection. I could have gone back to Costa Rica after one year of internship and marry the man whom at the last minute decided to propose but just four days before I left my country for Detroit, and I would not be writing these blogs for His glory… Hmm!
3) Had I ignored my orders in 1989 at a Marriott Hotel in Houston, TX to accept the offers of jobs which would be offered to us when I went back to So. Bend, IN, I would have intercepted His will for my kids… He was merciful enough to produce a “sign” and announce that the offer was coming, and moved the doctor who made the call to us to do it as I came back home and not two months later… And yes, the offer was heard and accepted precisely because this God of mercy produced a SIGN so that we did not hesitate… (“You guide me along the right path!”) Of course, we had plenty of reasons not to obey, like selling our home just purchased one year before… and interrupting our jobs that were giving us plenty of money to pay for universities and hi schools, having to find schools for the younger boys all over again, etc.…! But look what I would have done to the will of God for my sons if I had done it “my way”:
a) Oldest son: he had abandoned a famous university in Michigan because he found drugs around him and all over… Hmm. He hates alcohol as much as I do, genetically speaking. My father also did… This son came to So. Bend where we were living and joined “Indiana University at South Bend,” but did not like it. By moving back to Cleveland, he did his last two years of college at John Carroll University, so today he has a college degree.
b) Son number two had transferred from St. Ignatius in Cleveland to do his senior year of hi school in a “nationally recognized” wonderful private religious school in So. Bend, and a mixture of Catholics and Protestants. When we left the city, he moved out of our home to his own apartment since by then he was a student in Notre Dame. He only applied to this University because it was his dream…And one of his teachers from this private high school took his application personally to the University of Notre Dame, probably to attest he knew this young man. God has ways to protect His kids and Psalm 37:4 is true…God had led us to So. Bend and he transferred to this school where God touched hearts to be sure he would get the desires of his heart!
c) Son number three upon arriving back to Cleveland attended to St. Ignatius High School. Of course, it was too late for him to be admitted in the freshman class of 320 students from a 1,000 who had applied (with a football team first in the State of Ohio in those days); but this prestigious school got him in since his brothers had been students there. This led him to choose his career in Theology… Up to this point we had never heard what he wanted to study in college… Besides, Steubenville was very close to Cleveland, and I was very used to go to their summer conferences. The rest is history… He is a staunch Catholic dedicated to the work for the Kingdom. As of recently, he started a blog on religious topics with the following address:
d) Son number four upon arriving from Indiana did his eighth grade at our old parish Gesu School in Cleveland and then moved to St. Ignatius High School. After having received an outstanding education, was able to pass national exams (SAT) with ease and it helped him to enter an Ivy League University for undergraduate studies. Later, this also helped him to be admitted to a school of medicine, since it was hard at the time to get admission. With the same great over all foundation, he graduated first in his class and made it to Massachusetts General Hospital associated with Harvard, for his post graduate general training in medicine. But because all of these accomplishments, when he was looking for a place of specialization, Massachusetts General wanted to keep him and not to move to another University Hospital. So, Harvard offered to give him free of charge studies to get a Master in Medical Research, which he did.
Again, I hope you know that I am not bragging about my sons and yes, I am bragging of the love of God in my life! And I also want to scare you (as I have scared myself many times)… and make you aware of how we could ruin God’s plans for the lives of others when we disobey His will. In fact, this last son now works in a University in a southern State even that he was offered to stay in Boston, and he works in research and part time in the clinical practice of his specialty. Is he going to discover something important for the sake of sick people? I do not know… but I could have ruined that possibility!!!
4) Even in the recent past,
a) Obeying the will of God and staying in Toledo for no “apparent” reason… gave my sons an opportunity to practice their fourth commandment to perfection…
b) But beyond that, my own spiritual path depended on my obedience to this strange waiting for God’s orders to put the house in the market. I thought about it many times that it was cheaper to sell this house for a ridiculous prize in a tough market (in order to sell it quickly), than to spend an enormous amount of money paying the mortgage, property taxes, lawn upkeep/snow cleaning plus the expense of electricity, gas, water, etc. The burden of looking ridiculous and even crazy for what I was doing was very hard. To let go of two permanent jobs because of they were not “clean” practices to protect my patients safety, was also very hard. Worse was when I thought that I may have been deluded and may be God was not behind my waiting plans! Obviously, this last one was Satan’s temptation… Yet, at the time it was a reality that I had to address with what? With the knowledge that He loves me so much that He would not allow me to be that confused (Psalm 23!)
c) Of course… The more we indulge our Lord with doing His will as best as we can through His grace, Satan gets very upset with the very act that he failed to do, and tempts human beings around us, when all we need is their understanding. Some of them never even realize they are tempted… There is an obstinacy that makes them blind and deaf. God has addressed this hardness of hearts even from the times of Pharaoh, expressly moved to have a hardened heart and for God’s glory to show off with signs and wonders through the leadership of Moses… In these circumstances, the Holy Spirit gives us the courage to shed tears but never to quit the post He has assigned us for that time.
d) Two of my sons had solutions for my departure from Toledo. The oldest offered to house me in Los Angeles. The youngest told me that he could procure for me an apartment in L.A, San Francisco or in Boston with him. In the mean time, three of them were giving me thousands of dollars to help me out! As this waiting on God continued, the two men who lived in this home with my second son, left to get married and he then had an empty house to invite me to live with him. This invitation came in February of 2007… and yet, I did not get permission to sell until January 2008… Of course, the sale happened four months later (May 2008) and at a good price. Why? Because this 7 year old ranch had all the amenities for a patient in a wheel chair, and a younger man, in his 40’s, had suffered a stroke in Feb. 2008… His wife was a very religious Methodist and she told me how she had begged God to find the right home since theirs was a two story house. This is an excellent demonstration of how we all can and through our obedience to God’s will, become our neighbor’s keeper without even knowing anything about it!
But there is another example of how our fidelity to do God’s will, can directly impact our neighbor.
e) Because I did as I was told in the power of His Spirit and this house was readied for my coming, I ended up with a son who is an specialist in computers, and four months after my arrival I had this web site and even monthly, he is the one doing the posting of each blog…Had I done my will and chosen to live elsewhere, I would not have been able to chat about His mercy to the ends of the earth!
7. The will of God is a dynamic process. Every detail of our lives has a plan for success as the end result. Every present moment comes to us with His guidance for our journey to eternal life. Missing this dynamic process from hour to hour can have disastrous results. I always keep this in mind: every hour on the hour, His will may determine my need to seed a soul with His Presence, and therefore, from supermarket visits to time for daily Mass, all is under His will.
8. I was reminded that St Peter was trying to dissuade Jesus from going through His Passion and Jesus turned to him and said, “Stay behind Me, Satan.” Mathew 16: 13-23. We may be compared to Satan if we disobey and try to escape His will including all crosses…
9. I must show fidelity to God’s will by opening my heart to Him and sell all my possessions, or better said, to detach from every material or spiritual gifts by being ready to lose them at any time. But at the same time, by doing His will, I will receive the graces and the courage to truly detach. The will of God when obeyed makes me see, hear, understand my own sins that attempts against my fidelity to Him. In the same way, lack of obedience to His will can harden our hearts, makes us blind and deaf to what we are do next, and we discern our future but we cannot “see” or “hear” out of our own disobedience… and worse, we do not even know we are not discerning His will with purity of heart… and therefore, we may miss altogether His will for us.
SO FAR IN THIS PAST MONTH I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO REFLECT IN SO MANY ASPECTS OF IMPORTANCE REGARDING THE WILL OF GOD FOR ME… and as I HAD NEVER before understood them all together. But here it is the most important reason to do the will of God as follows…
10. I am unique, unrepeatable, and therefore the will of God for me is unique as well. I was wonderfully made in His image and different to everybody else. Scientifically this is a fact: I have a set of DNA in my cells that belongs only to me, as well as a unique set of finger prints. I have a divine source and therefore I also have a God given dignity and I share my Father with all human beings. The only way to thank Him for loving me into being unique and wonderfully made is to do His will, not out of duty, but out of love, pure and simple love, and to trust that every present moment that He sends me is as perfect as it can be, and therefore must be obeyed with eagerness for His own sake, for His glory.
Words of our Holy Father Benedict the XVI – from the homily of the Mass of the Epiphany – January 6, 2006.
“The disciples of Christ must realize this: taught by Him to live in the style of the Beatitudes, they must attract through their witness of love for all men and to God. So, let you life shine before all men so they may see your good and give glory to your Father in Heaven… But how can this come to pass? By the absolute and total availability to the will of God.” (Wow!)
III. After all this sharing, I want to say one more thing: what am I doing to energize my personal metanoia for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for my sanctification and to be the witness He wants me to be? I am doing 3 things besides my normal routine of prayer, especially the Rosary and being present at the Eucharistic Table:
1. Daily at 3 PM, I present to my Mother the petitions as they appear in the prayers of the 33 day consecration format regarding what I have to change and ask for her mediation to stop the evil one … At this time I also say a continuous novena to the Infant Jesus as written and published in Colombia, with prayers from Fr. Juan del Rizzo. I am honoring His infancy and asking Him to be in charge of my ongoing conversion for the sake of being a witness of His love to save souls, and therefore to be the best evangelizer possible!
2. . I frequently review certain blogs to keep my soul focused in the matter:
a) Blog of Feb. 11, 2009. Here are a few sentences: After dealing with these policies, procedures and methods of previous blog to ascertain an ongoing performance improvement and therefore my spiritual safety, I realized in a new way that I was the CEO of my soul … My Lord is the owner but I am the administrator… My spiritual performance improvement refers to my cooperation with the grace of God to comply with the universal call to holiness (the standard of practice of any Christian church), not for my own glory, but for His, in order to be transformed into an instrument of salvation for others.
And what is the goal for this process of spiritual performance improvement? The goal is to encounter Jesus in a personal way, no matter at what age or where in our road to Emmaus we start from. What is an encounter with Jesus? It is an ongoing discovery of His love for us that will foster in time, our own response of love for Him and for our neighbor.
These truths give me courage to discover more and more His love for me and to try even harder to seek His will for everything!
b) In the blog of March 14, 2009 I wrote:
“6. Out of the blue, two days ago I received another sign. I found a tiny piece of paper lost in my Breviary and I had written what I had understood in Holy Hour on March 11, 2004: à“Born again in the Spirit is to understand the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and experience it, to in turn give birth to others… And I thought that it was exactly what Our Lady did… And also, somehow I ended up in this page of the Liturgy of the Hours for Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter, from the Treatise on the Trinity by St. Hilary. “The Father’s gift in Christ à Unless the human soul absorbs the gift of the Spirit, through faith, the mind has the ability to know God but lacks the light necessary for that knowledge! This unique gift which is in Christ is offered in its fullness to everyone. It is everywhere available, but it is given to each man in proportion to his readiness to receive it!”
And our readiness depends in our serious yes to His will, to His crosses, to a prayer life that is done not out of routine, but out of a desire to know Him better in order to love Him more to give Him glory. Period! Then, we will see His signs that we may miss otherwise, that in turn give us more faith (it is a gift but needs to be understood and received with our cooperation), and faith will unleash the work of the Holy Spirit, according to St. Hilary…My question is: Are we full of signs everywhere, and lately, just getting up we hear news of more things that seem impossible to happen in this U.S.A., and are we ignoring those signs? What about if our Lord is sending them in all kinds of forms in order to shock us into praying more, into changing our life of opinions and discussion, into a life of radical holiness? What about it? To be holy is not our job… Our job is to obey the will of God for Him to makes us holy… And obeying the will of God implies that we love in all circumstances, regardless, and that we are happy wherever we are, in whatever state of life, with whatever crosses… and we never look around to see what others are doing…!”
3. Finally, I try to remember often the main topic of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, and that is “obedience to God’s will.” Adam and Eve established the theme, and Satan is brought into it from the start, as if God is saying to us, “Watch him because he will tempt you to disobey as he did with them.” The bringing of Israel from slavery to the Promised Land was all based on the obedience of the leaders and of the people. God could not have been clearer. But Our Lady and her Son make this theme the main topic of their lives to witness to us what we had to do. In the whole Bible, she speaks little, except for the Magnificat and later when she says to the servants of the wedding of Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” Hmm… Her Son makes it clear in words and with His witness that we must obey God’s will as the key to our own salvation.
So, every hour I am trying to make a conscious decision to do whatever He tells me. I make plans and submit them for His approval. I need the Holy Spirit to guide even the most menial actions in my life, since He already has made appointments for me to meet other people to learn from them or to be a “witness” for His glory. I do not fret too much about it. I just ask with the certainty that He will lead me in whatever ways He finds it easier for me to understand and of course, I “try” to keep my soul in top shape to “see” and “hear” His guidance. This is what His mercy is all about, this constant guidance in the desert of my pilgrimage on earth, with a sort of knowledge of the times that Satan shows up to confuse me or divide me with his lies and accusations!
One final synopsis of this long reflection:
Prayer from a heart focused on doing the will of God hour by hour, is a prayer protected from my “I” and my plans and my efforts to change the will of God for myself and others, and this makes it very pleasing to God to answer it, because it reminds Him of His own Son’s prayers on earth for us, as He obeyed His will all the way to the Cross.
I publicly confess my daughter-ship as a kid of my Father in Heaven when I do what the Son did, His Father’s will above all else.
Jesus is the answer, the solution, the supplier, but we have to be a follower, which means “to do whatever He tells us”. And what He taught us the most in Word and witness was to do the will of God above all else.
On July 27, feast day of St. Monica and before Mass, I was led to a page of my tiny Bible kept in my purse. It was Hebrews, chapter 10. Later at home it led to read more and related to this chapter. Here it is:
Psalm 40: 7-11. Sacrifice and offering You do not want; but ears open to obedience You gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings You do not require; so I said, “HERE I AM; Your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do Your will is my delight; my God, Your law is in my heart!” I announced Your deed to a great assembly; You, Lord are my witness. Your deed I did not hide within my heart; Your loyal deliverance I have proclaimed. I made no secret of Your enduring kindness to a great assembly.”
In case you do not know:
Sunday September 5 – it is the Feast of the Divino Niño (Divine Child) celebrated the first Sunday of September. Let’s pray for the “new evangelization” of America the beautiful!
Ponder over the words of Isaiah 1:2; 11-13; 15-19a; 26.
Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth for the Lord speaks: sons have I raised and reared but they have disowned Me! “What care I for the number of your sacrifices?” says, the Lord. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; in the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure. When you come to visit Me, who asks these things of you? Trample My courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to Me. New moon, and Sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
When you spread out your hands, I close My eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Come now, lets us set things right, says the Lord: though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool. IF YOU ARE WILLING AND OBEY you shall eat the good things of the land; I WILL RESTORE YOUR JUDGES AS AT FIRST, and your counselors as in the beginning; after that you shall be called city of justice, faithful city. (End of quote)
Before I close with some statements of our Saints regarding doing the will of God, let’s pray for the miners in Chile who are supposed to be buried inside this mine until Christmas. Their audible “witness” from this place today was simply a testimony of faith in our Lord Jesus… Amazing.
Remember this coming month the following feasts of Our Lady” and please pray for those countries:
1. Sept. 11 – Our Lady of Coromoto – Venezuela
2. Sept. 24 – Our Lady of Mercy – Dominican Republic and Peru
3. Sept. 27 – Our Lady of Maipú – CHILE!!!
IV. Examples of the Saints
But I could not leave out the teaching of the Saints on this subject matter. So, because this blog is somewhat long (again!), you can read this last part whenever you want to find out what they had to say…! I had all these quotes in the unpublished book I wrote in 2004. This is how your prayers answered my question as to post parts of my book in the section of “pages.” His answer was to use the book writings for topics that the blog of the day was referring to. Thanks again for your prayers.
1.Saint John of the Cross. The Ascent to Mt.Carmel Book I – No. 6 and 11
(This is a beautiful list of ways of how we can dispose ourselves to receive His mercy so that we can comply with His will.)
Endeavor to be inclined always:
Not to the easiest, but to the most difficult.
Not to the most delightful, but to the harshest.
Not to the most gratifying, but to the less pleasant.
Not to what means rest for you, but to hard work.
Not to the consoling, but to the un-consoling.
Not to the most, but to the least.
Not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest and most despised.
Not to wanting something, but to wanting nothing.
Do not go about looking for the best of temporal things, but for the worst, and desire to
enter for Christ into complete emptiness and poverty in everything in the world.
To reach satisfaction in all, desire its possession in nothing.
To come to possess all desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at all desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all desire the knowledge of nothing.
For to go from all to the all, you must deny yourself of all in all.
From the Ascent of Mount Carmel. Book II. Chapter 7 – St. John of the Cross.
"We ought to record carefully the words of Our Savior in chapter 7, verse 14 of Mathew: ‘How narrow is the gate and straight the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it!’
“A genuine spirit seeks the distasteful in God rather than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation. In the readings of Mt. 16:25 and Luke 9:24, the affirmation of these verses signifies: he who renounces for Christ all that his will can desire and enjoy, chooses what bears closer resemblance to the cross. His Majesty taught this to those two disciples who came to ask Him for places at His right and left. Without responding to their request for glory, He offered them the chalice He was about to drink as something safer and more precious on this earth than enjoyment. This chalice symbolizes death to one’s natural self through denudation and annihilation.
" ‘My yoke is sweet and my burden (cross) light.’ If a man resolutely submits to the carrying of this cross, if he decidedly wants to find and endure trial in all things for God, he will discover in all of them great relief and sweetness. If he aims after the possession of something, from God or elsewhere, his journey will not be one of nakedness and detachment from all things, and consequently there will be no room for him on this narrow path nor will he be able to climb it.
"I should like to persuade spiritual persons that the road leading to God does not entail a multiplicity of considerations, methods, manners or experiences – but demands only the one thing necessary: true self-denial, exterior and interior through surrender of self both to suffering for Christ and annihilation in all things. If one fails in this exercise, the root sum total of all the virtues, the other methods would amount to no more than going about in circles without any progress, even if they result in considerations and communications as lofty as those of the angels. A man makes progress only through imitation of Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life."
2. St. Alphonsus Liguori
Taken from “Uniformity with God’s Will.” St. Alphonsus Liguori
Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more – it means that we make one will of God’s will and ours, so that we will only will what God wills. This is the summit of perfection and to it we should always aspire. This should be the goal of all our works, desires, meditations and prayers. To this end we should always invoke the aid of our holy patrons, our guardian angels, and above all, of our mother Mary, the most perfect of all the saints because she most perfectly embraced the divine will.
The secret of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God’s will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God. St. John of Avila used to say: ‘One “Blessed be God” in times of adversity is worth more than a thousand acts of gratitude in times of prosperity.’ (I say, “Wow.”)
When the messenger came to announce to Job that the Sabeans had plundered his goods and slained his children, he said, ‘The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away. As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ He realized that the adversity had come upon him by the will of God. We must therefore consider the afflictions that come upon us as happening by chance or solely from the malice of men; we should be convinced that what happens, happens by the will of God.
God wills our good: O the supreme folly of those who resist the divine will! In God’s providence, no one can escape hardship. Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls.
"Who can resist His will." Romans 9:19.
"This is the will of God, your sanctification." 1Thes 4:3.
“Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction." Judith 8:27
In all that happens to us let us say, "In peace, I will sleep and I will rest: because Thou, O Lord, hast singularly settled me in hope." Psalm 4: 9,10
Spiritual writers tell us that though the desire of certain souls to please God by their sufferings is acceptable to Him, still more pleasing to Him is the union of certain others with His will, so that their will is neither to rejoice nor to suffer, but to hold themselves completely amenable to His will, and they desire only that His holy will be fulfilled.
Direct all your thoughts and prayers to this end, to beg God constantly in meditation, Communion, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament to help you accomplish His holy will. Form the habit of offering yourself frequently to God by saying, "My God, behold me in thy presence; do with me and all that I have as thou pleases." This was the constant practice of St. Teresa. At least fifty times a day she offered herself to God, placing herself a His entire disposition and good pleasure."
(Story) "Incident in the life of a certain monk: externally his religious observance was the same as that of the other monks, but he had attained such sanctity that the mere touch of his garments healed the sick. Marveling at these deeds, since his life was no more exemplary than the lives of the other monks, the superior asked him one day what was the cause of these miracles.
He replied that he too was mystified and was at a loss how to account for such happenings.
‘What devotions do you practice?‘ asked the abbot.
He answered that there was little or nothing special that he did beyond making a great deal of willing only what God willed, and that God had given him the grace of abandoning his will totally to the will of God. ‘Prosperity does not lift me up, nor adversity cast me down,’ added the monk. ‘I direct all my prayers to the end that God’s will may be done fully in me and by me.’
"That raid that our enemies made against the monastery the other day in which our stores were plundered, our grannies put to torch and our cattle driven off — did not his misfortune cause you any resentment?’ queried the abbot…
‘No, Father,’ came the reply. ‘On the contrary, I returned thanks to God – as is my custom in such circumstances – fully persuaded that God does all things, or permits all that happens, for His glory and for our greater good; thus I am always at peace, no matter what happens.’
Seeing such uniformity with the will of God, the abbot no longer wondered why the monk worked so many miracles."
Acting according to this pattern, one not only becomes holy but also enjoys perpetual serenity in this life. Those who love God are always happy because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God. Afflictions do not mar their serenity, because by accepting misfortune, they know they give pleasure to their beloved Lord. ‘Whatever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad’ Proverbs 12:21. (End of this story)
(Story) The devout Father John Tauler (Fr. T) relates this personal experience. For years he had prayed to God to send him someone who would teach the real spiritual life. One day, at prayer, he heard a voice saying, ‘Go to such and such church and you will have the answer to your prayers.’ He went and at the door of the church he found a beggar (B), barefooted and in rags. He greeted the mendicant saying,
(Fr. T) Good day, my friend.
(B) Thank you sir for your kind wishes, but I do not recall ever having had a bad day.
(Fr. T) “Then God has certainly given you a very happy life.’
(B). That is very true, sir. I have never been unhappy. This is the reason: when I have nothing to eat, I give thanks to God; when it rains or snows, I bless God’s providence; when someone insults me, drives me away or otherwise mistreats me, I give glory to God. I said I have never had an unhappy day, and it’s the truth, because I am accustomed to will unreservedly what God wills. Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from His hands as what is best for me. Hence my unvarying happiness.
(Fr. T) Where did you find God?
(B) I found him where I left creatures.
(Fr. T) Who are you anyway?
(B) I am a king.
(Fr. T) And where is your kingdom?
(B) In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God.
(Fr. T) How have you come to such a state of perfection?’
(B) By silence. I practice silence towards men, while I cultivate the habit of speaking with God. Conversing with God is the way I found and maintain my peace of mind.
3. St. Francis de Sales:
1) Goal of prayer: To obey the command, “pray always.” Luke. 18:1
2) Principal petition of prayer should be union of our will to His will.
3) Final fruit of prayer: union with God though conforming our will to God’s.
4) Necessary conditions to pray well: a) Littleness (humility). b) Great hope (for salvation through the death of Jesus). c) Remaining grafted unto Jesus crucified (remaining at the foot of the Cross clothed with His blood, covered with the merits of His Passion)
4. St. John Bosco
In this month of August, EWTN showed us again the life of St. John Bosco. He became an instrument of peace for so many young people in Turin, Italy. He loved them and became so successful in his efforts to transform these teens and young adults, that Satan came to attack him by tempting his own confreres to say that he was not behaving with the decorum of a priest. I love the scene when he is ready to give up because he had a crowd of youngsters that on Sunday’s he gathered at a priest’s residence grounds. The latter wanted peace to rest and pray and with some reason. He had to find another place… So, he considered to quit the whole project and asked God that if he wanted to continue, then to show him the way. As he said it a man came to offer his place to bring all these youngsters, which were not liked because they were street kids with serious behaviors of thievery. So, he was able to found the “Oratory of St. Francis de Sales.”
Yet, through lies and confusion from Satan, his classmate and now Archbishop of Turin, was ready to close this place as well… But God had no problem in having the then Pope authorize his new Order… and keep the Oratory in place. In Spanish we have a saying and I wish I could translate it well because it depicts the life of this Saint: “Dios aprieta pero no ahorca.” “God squeezes our necks but does not hang us.” Seeing this movie again, convinced me that there is nothing most powerful to invite God to win our battles, than fidelity to His will every hour on the hour…
5. Words of wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ from his book “Abandonment to Divine Providence”
“The holiness of the Old Testament Saints and indeed that of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, come through their absolute obedience to God’s will.
“The duties of each moment are shadows, which hide the action of the divine, will. These ever-present duties conceal the fact that they are expressions of the divine will.
“If the business of becoming holy seems to present insufferable difficulties, it is merely because we have a wrong idea about it. In reality, holiness consists of one thing only: complete loyalty to God’s will.
“All our moments are made productive by our obedience to the will of God, which reveals itself in a thousand different ways, each of which successively becomes our immediate duty. Together they mold and perfect within us that “new-self” (Eph. 4:24) until we reach that complete fulfillment of ourselves which God’s wisdom has ordained for us. This mysterious growth of Jesus Christ in our souls is the end determined by God, the fruit of his grace and his holy will. As I have said, this fruit is produced, grows and is fed by the stream of duties put before us by God. We have to do nothing except allow his holy will to work within us and surrender ourselves to it blindly with absolute confidence. (And I say, “Yeees”)
“We may meditate, indulge in contemplation, pray aloud, practice interior silence, live an active life or one withdrawn from the world, and though they may all the valuable, there is nothing better for us than to do what God wants at any particular moment. We must regard everything else with complete indifference and as something worth nothing at all.
“What makes us holy is the presence of God through the dwelling of the Blessed Trinity in the depths of our hearts when we give them up to God’s will. Contemplation stands supreme, for it is the most effective means of achieving this union, if God wills it.
“We cannot enjoy true peace unless we submit to God’s will. If we do not concentrate entirely on doing the will of God we shall find neither happiness nor holiness, no matter what pious practices we adopt, however excellent they may be. There is only one-way to judge how holy we are: how closely we obey the will of God.
“Our holiness is measured by our love of God, and it increases in proportion to the growth of our desire to obey his will and his plans for us, no matter what they are.
“I am writing of people who lived ordinary lives in the world and of those specially marked by God. Let them both be aware that holiness means the eager acceptance of every trial sent to them by God. This is vastly superior to the enjoyment of all extraordinary experiences.
“Embrace the present moment as an ever-flowing source of holiness. There is never a moment when God does not come forward in the guise of some suffering or some duty, and all that takes place within us, around us and through us both includes and hides his activity. Yet, because it is invisible, we are always taken by surprise and do not recognize his operation until it has passed by us.
“Strictly speaking, the whole of history is nothing but the story of God’s activity. With absolute truth, the Holy Spirit has recorded a few of the moments in this vast stretch of time. In the Scriptures he has collected a few drops from this ocean of time and enabled us to see the hidden and unknown ways by which the brought about the appearance of Jesus Christ in the world. The whole of the Old Testament is only a small diagram showing innumerable and mysterious tracks, and contains nothing but what is necessary to lead us to Jesus.
“The Holy Spirit has kept everything else hidden among the richness of his wisdom. The Holy Spirit writes no more gospels except in our hearts. All we do from moment to moment is live this new gospel of the Holy Spirit. (I say, Wow!)
“We, if we are holy, we are the paper; our sufferings and our actions are the ink. The workings of the Holy Spirit are His pen, and with it He writes a living gospel; but it will never be read until that last day of glory when it leaves the printing press of this life. And what a splendid book it will be – the book the Holy Spirit is still writing. The book is on press and never a day passes when type is not set, ink applied and pages pulled. But we remain in the light of faith. The paper is blacker than the ink and the type is pied; the language is not of this world and we understand nothing. We shall be able to read it only in heaven.
“So teach me, Holy Spirit, to read in this book of life! I long to become your disciple and, like a little child, to believe in what I cannot see. It is enough for me that my master speaks. He talks and explains, arranges the letters of the book and makes it comprehensible. That is all I need. “
“My friends, you lack nothing. You would be ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are neither more nor less than blasphemies – though that never occurs to you.”