The last four weeks have been very strange and yet I can say that I have learned sooo much and have seen a miracle. I started receiving ideas about this blog on February 28. Meanwhile, I have been torn and still am about the SIGNS OF THE TIMES! They are huge… What is God trying to tell us? I hate to give you my opinion because it counts for nothing since God knows what is going on and that suffices for me, regardless of what I think. Yet, it does not stop me from asking myself this question: Am I ready? Do I have sufficient oil for my lamp in case He delays His coming? Have I gone in haste to tell everybody to buy more oil? But what is the oil for? I would say, “To light my lamp.” But what does it mean to light my lamp?
Well, these odd moments in the history of the world require that I shine in the darkness, and I can only shine if my lamp (my soul) shines with the Truth! But how can I shine with the Truth?…Well, our Lord was clear and told us how we could become salt of the earth, light to the world and able to lit fires in the hearts of others by our witness. However, I cannot be a witness of His until I moment by moment participate in the plan of salvation of the entire world just as He did while on earth. And to do that I must become His follower in the most extensive form possible… So, since it is Lent I realized that I must “repent and believe in the Gospel…” This was said to me by a visiting priest and friend who came from Oakland to help out on Ash Wednesday and as he placed ashes on my forehead… I MUST, THEN, BELIEVE IN WHAT HE SAID AND do whatever He tells me in His Word and through His Church!!!
This is when I was able to realize that I needed a change of heart regarding my “yes” to God’s will… Last year I was living the same disaster and as I wrote it in the Feb 2010 blog (it will be quoted later). Of course, at this moment I had not yet checked this old blog, but did much later… It turned out that it is a reminder of my lack of growth in this aspect. As always, God had everything planned. A friend from Costa Rica had ordered a novena of Masses to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be said for me (March 1 to March 9th) on the occasion of my birthday… Hmm… After being summoned on Feb. 28 to work on my “yes” to His will, from March 1 and on I was busy offering my own Masses in atonement for my sin of not saying a “yes” that is once and for all decisive and as perfect as I can render it. It was also on Feb. 28 that God had led me to a page in the Bible where I found Wisdom 11:23 – “You have mercy on all because You can do all things.” Wow…
Of course, it was time to ask for His mercy and stand on His Word that tells me that He can do all things through it, and therefore, He can purify my yes… Period! I was reminded that I do not get because I do not ask, and I do not ask because I was not paying enough attention at what could get me ready for these times!!! And bingo, I finally understood what makes sufficient oil for my lamp to be always lighted. Of course, it is my yes to His will in every present moment with a heart that is repentant for my previous frivolities in this subject, while I bug Him (like the widow to the judge) to send me the grace to do so through His mercy. It is then that I will be the servant who has enough oil for these VERY STRANGE TIMES IN THE WORLD…
At the very same time, it was obvious to me that reading about the 10 virgins who were ready with enough oil and the 10 who did not have enough, by itself would never produce oil. In other words, these times are very serious… and we have to stop and think: opinions, reading the Bible, passing the beads of the Rosary as a routine, are good things but not drastic measures to become ready to witness to His Presence in this world and bring many to Him and ASAP. More will be written about this subject later.
By March 3rd, the anniversary of the death of Venerable Conchita Cabrera de Armida, I was running with this plan for this Lent… I was asked to use this time of repentance and atonement for my sins but also to pray for all Roman Catholic Priests… Every single Lent I suffer so much… My precious Priests have to hear innumerable confessions… I doubt that we truly think deeply about this sacrifice of these men for us lay people… I personally could not do it and of course, it is obvious that God gives them the grace; yet, it cannot be easy to expose yourself to hear stories and more stories (recently I heard a priest say, “garbage and more garbage” and very true since all sin is garbage for the soul), and they have to concentrate in the content of the stories in order to give direction to these souls. Ouch! Well, if any priest reads this blog, please know this: I love you wherever you are and I thank you for your ministry. God will repay you because your sacrifice for us is redemptive 1,000%. So, I was summoned to never forget and to bring all Priests to the Altar of Sacrifice through my common priesthood, and to atone for their sins asking for God’s mercy for them to be faithful to their yes to God’s will through the power of the Consecrated Host, Christ the King, mercy Himself.
On March 4th, the First Friday of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and still while in Costa Rica Masses were being offered for my sake, He and I sealed the deal understood on the previous days. After Communion, I was asked if I was truly ready to say the “yes” that had no questions, no fears, and no wishful thinking that I would end up not having to do what has been announced to me in the last 8 years or so as a future work for the Kingdom, and to go and personally tell others about His Real Presence and love for us! Notice how patient God is! He is patient for my own sake. He can send and He is sending many other laborers to the vineyard, but He wants me to reap the fruits of a yes to His will that seeks the salvation of souls.
In my Holy Hour prior to Mass, I had been sent to read a page in my little Bible and it was about the cleaning of the Temple by Jesus Himself. The Gospel for this daily Mass turned out to be the same…Wow! Of course, this was very much related to the cleaning of my own inner Temple… Hmm! And again, the question of saying yes to go and tell others about Him in person represents “lack of freedom” to do whatever I want, just like right now… I also clearly understood this: “The fasting of your will and desires is all what it is required of you! It is the price to light the path of many.” So, I promised over and over that I would work very hard to work on this plan of purification of my “yes” to His will, which it is equal to say, “In order to buy oil to have enough to keep my lamp lit.”
I suspect that Our Lady was behind all these moments of great understanding! It coincided with my associate Pastor who last month surprised me with a CD of the Rosary in Spanish (Luminous Mysteries)!!! He recorded it with other Hispanic members of the parish and the format and music were simply a dream! I pray for him as Padre Rubensito… We, Costa Ricans, make names for others like no other culture and use the diminutive of the name of people more often than not. Well, P. Rubensito helped me so much because I was able to remember how to say the entire Rosary in my own language. I had lost it… Also, this rosary was like water for a parched piece of land that accompanies me in the car.
Besides, this priest is Mexican and I have Mexican roots… My maternal great, great grandfather came from Mexico… And something else: when I was growing up in Costa Rica, our music was Mexican music… Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, and the Caribbean countries, all had styles of music that were and are very different. But for me, Mariachi style music was my childhood radio music… So, now if I am done with this beautiful Rosary going on while I drive, I am connected to a Hispanic local radio station, “El Recuerdo” because it plays old Mexican music, and it reminds me of my yesteryears… What a treat! It is also interesting that all along this process of taking the purification of my Yes very seriously, the title of a book of years back kept coming back to me… “El Sí de María.” It was written by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga. I have it but it is lost in a box in the storage place where I keep many things brought from Toledo! NOTICE as well that at this time I had totally ignored the upcoming date in our religious calendar: March 25!!! Apparently, God was preparing me for a major upgrade of my spiritual life and chose to do it precisely near this important date.
WE ALL ARE CALLED BY BAPTISM (as priests, prophets and kings) to lit our inner lamp with the oil of our most perfect “yes” to the will of God and with this Yes… to become pregnant with His Presence in order to take Him every place the Spirit leads us, and the same Spirit will do the rest for souls to encounter Him… And we cannot know Him by pure words and stories… We know very well that we need to have a personal encounter with Him… Yes, we need His Word and the Sacraments to enable us to understand the Way and the Truth, and to clean our Temples (souls) to live the Life necessary to become impregnated (the encounter) in order to take Him to others, but He cannot proceed without our consent. The simplicity of the plan is tremendous. The present times are urging us to run this race much faster and better!
First Saturday, March 5. What a day! What a day! Another day for me firmly connected to the Mother of God by being the First Saturday. On this day, the Presence of God was out of this world, especially during Mass at His coming to the Altar. At the time when Fr. Ruben announced that here it was “The Lamb God”, I suddenly saw a new born Baby in the raised arms of the priest. It was surreal! After Communion, I understood one more time not to try to visualize what is to come tomorrow, but only to accept each moment as full of grace in the tapestry of the perfect design that God has for my life, and to follow this Truth with a resounding Yes to all that He wants me to do. I was all for it and begged for His mercy to do so.
I came to the parking lot to start my trip home, turned the car on, and the radio had “El Recuerdo” playing the beginning of the song, “El Pescador de Almas” (The Fisher of Men)or another name for it, “La Barca.” At that moment, my life changed 360 degrees. This parish is about one mile from the entrance of this busy 680 expressway. By the time I got to it, I was screaming, “I love You too” … Did you hear me out? I was screaming! Yes, screaming because the LOVE within me for the Crucified had broken my heart in a way I never expected or felt before, ever… Have you ever experience love for a human being? Well, it was the same but felt in a way that was crushing my entire being. Even the love I experience for His Eucharistic Presence was almost nothing compared with this feeling!
Once in this busy expressway, I have to move four lanes to the left in order to get to my city since eventually it divides in two and the right branch would take me to a different area. I did it but screaming and screaming because His love was too much for me. All the while, the song kept playing. The song if you know it deals with His call to each one of us. And yes, this song is one of my favorites, and yes, every time I hear it, I feel wonderful… Yet, I feel also moved by other favorite songs and there is no question that this was not the normal reaction I always have. I can say that the actual words of this song were a call to me to leave everything behind and to follow Him with the greatest yes to wherever He was calling me to. I thought of the Apostles who when He called them, they dropped everything and followed Him. There was no doubt that the love that inundated my soul was pure grace and I presume it was also a new Pentecost!
In the days that followed I finally realized that I had encountered Jesus in a new way… And it was also very clear that my previous focusing in repenting and wanting to do His will in the most perfect way, had obtained this encounter with Him like never before. This was such a great hint to understand that the oil in my lamp coming from my firm desire to say yes to His will as perfectly as I could, had ignited a fire within! I then wondered if Our Lady was under this fire when she took off to visit Elizabeth and serve her…
But this day was not done with surprises. EWTN showed the life of German Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, a Redemptorist priest. As a seminarian he chose to come to America and he was ordained here. He spoke three languages and was sent to areas with a high German population. His life was centered in the Eucharist and Our Lady. Yet, he was a much persecuted man. He had been serving for 7 years at St. Philomena parish in Pittsburgh, PA, and his own confreres lied about him and he was thrown out of this parish to go back to the mother house in Baltimore. Eventually he wanted to go to New Orleans and predicted his own death one year later. There is a Shrine dedicated to him in this city. His story comforted me a lot! Yes, Satan must do his part in tempting others to persecute innocent people, but in the other hand, it is God’s will for each of us. These crosses are essential for the general purification of our souls and I only wished that we had a club of those who have been persecuted for the sake of His Name, so that we could help each other; even those gone, can help out. Their stories are very important for some of us in order to understand our persecutors and even love them for their important work in our spiritual lives.
In the afternoon of this same day I spent some time in the Internet looking for ways to buy a CD with the song “Pescador de Hombres.” I was able to find many artists singing it, and all in YouTube. One thing led to the other and I found many interpretations of the Ave Maria… There was one which marked my brain on this particular extraordinary day. The famous multi Grammy award winning artist and composer Bobby McFerrin had a song titled, “Ave Maria.” I decided to look at this video and I almost passed out… Mr. McFerrin was singing to a full house in Barcelona, Spain… He has played classical music with many orchestras in the U.S., and so he asked the audience to sing the Ave Maria as he was humming a prelude from Bach!… It was heavenly… Look it up… Just Google, “Bobby McFerrin Ave Maria,” and I bet you that you will agree with me. Of course, remember that I was still under the influence of the fresh encounter with the love of Christ my King, just hours before.
I showed my son Ernie what I had discovered and he had a brilliant idea. Shortly after I arrived in California in 2008, the I-phone appeared and Ernie switched to it and put away his I-pod. Well, he offered to give me this older gadget and to legally (paying for it) unload as many songs as I wanted to. I promised that I would make a list of them. So, 10 days later, I had in my hands this I-pod with different types of music. In one section I have 18 songs… “El Pescador de Hombres” is sung by many different artists, including one in Croatian and another sung by a Mariachi group… The Ave Maria is also sung by several artists like Luciano Pavaroti, Michael Bolton in duo with Placido Domingo, Celine Dione and by a 5(?) year old girl, Kaylin Maher. Ernie also added “How Great Thou Art” with Carrie Underwood. “Purifícame” (Purify me) which is just perfect for my main topic. “Házme un Instrumento de tu Paz” (a.k.a the prayer of St. Francis, “Make me an instrument of Your peace” but in Spanish… An awesome rendition!). “Hosea” with John Michael Talbot. “Dios está aquí” (God is here) with the group Mojado.
He also placed in another section 18 Taize songs… In 2003 I visited Taize in France but have been enjoying these songs since 1998. In a third section I have the Rosary but in English. In a fourth part I have songs in Spanish for the beatification of a Spanish nun, Sor Angela de la Cruz. So, in this hand held little gadget, I now have a powerhouse of spiritual themes with which to praise and love this God-Man. He called me anew on this First Saturday to leave everything behind, the boat of my self-will, and to follow Him by saying the most pure yes to His will possible. I also now understand and clearly that this call to radically drop whatever pleases me and go to tell others about Him, will allow me to encounter His love in new ways, similar to the one described…
In the Internet I also found a beautiful meditation on the Our Father but in Spanish which I will translate. It goes well with this time of Lent where we are called to change our ways.
Seamos sinceros con Dios. Decimos siempre el Padre Nuestro pero en realidad ¿somos sinceros con Él? (Let’s be sincere with God. We always say the Our Father but in reality, are we sincere with Him?)
No digas Padre si no te comportas cada día amándolo como un hijo. (Don’t say Father if you do not behave daily like a loving son)
No digas “nuestro” si vives aislado en tu egoísmo. (Do not say “our” if you live isolated in your self-seeking).
No digas “Que estás en los cielos” si sólo piensas en las cosas terrenales (Do not say “Who art in heaven” if you only think of earthly things).
No digas “santificado sea Tu Nombre” si no lo bendices y honras de corazón (Do not say “Hollowed be Thy Name” if you do not bless and honor Him from the heart).
No digas “Venga a nosotros Tu Reino” si lo confundes con el éxito material (Do not say “Thy Kingdom come” if you confuse it with material success).
No digas, “Hágase Tu voluntad” si no la aceptas cuando es dolorosa (Do not say “Thy will be done” if you do not accept it when it is painful)
No digas “Dános nuestro pan de cada día” si not preocupas for la gente con hambre, sin casa, sin amor, sin protección (Do not say, “Gives us our daily bread” if you do not care for the people who are hungry, without shelter, without love and protection).
No digas, “Perdona nuestras ofensas” si aún guardas rencor y no piensas perdonar a los demás (Do not say, “Forgive us our offenses” if you still resent and do not plan to forgive others).
No digas, “No nos dejes caer en la tentación” si planeas seguir con tus vicios y pasiones (Do not say, “Lead us not into temptation” if you plan to keep your vices and passions)
No digas, “líbranos de todo mal” si no combates la violencia y la injusticia a tu alrededor (Don’t say, “Deliver us from evil” if you do not fight to stop the violence and injustice around you)
No digas “Amén” si repites como un loro la oración de Nuestro Señor. (Don’t say, “Amen” if you repeat like a parrot the prayer of Our Lord)… Wow!
March 8 and on: my illness (POTS) has switched scenarios. The imbalance now is giving me very high blood pressures. The normal amount of treatment do not longer bring the blood pressure down to safe levels… There is no doubt that this cross is heavy. The carnage in Libya started and I am offering up this new phase of my illness for them all.
On March 8th, Oprah presented an old show which I had partially watched. However, this time I was called to pay attention. Two hundred men who had been sexually abused were there with her. A handful was chosen to give details of their ordeals. A set of twins, two brothers now in their 30’s, came to tell their story and it was so painful for me to know it. I had missed this part in the original showing. Since age 8 they had been abused by one priest for 13 years. During these years and when they were still very young, they were gang raped by other priests. They were paid handsomely and with this money they bought alcohol and drugs… I will have a few words of my own in the next segment.
On this day I would learn about the Philadelphia Priests cases. This latter story shook me up. Satan is so mad at all of us that he tempts and attacks precisely the Achilles tendon of the Church, the ministerial Priesthood. A few days later we had the Jesuits in Oregon also in the news for the same malady. In three days my heart was aching pretty badly because Blessed Seelos was also persecuted by his own. I never wanted to bring this subject matter of the scandals of the Church to this blog, but I realized I was cheating you and myself from owning a piece of this disgrace. We have what we have because you and I allowed it… Have we spent enough time in offering penance, penance and more penance with the many crosses we all bear, and offered them up in atonement for those sins, and pray Rosaries to Our Mom in heaven to win this battle of Lepanto for us? Are we that stupid…? Now, read the next segment!
I was led to a page in the Bible, and it was Mark 6. Jesus provided the food for the disciples to themselves feed the crowds to the tune of 5,000 people. He then sends them ahead to cross the lake while He dispersed them. A storm developed and terrified them, but He appeared and told them in verse 51, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” He got into the boat and the storm disappeared. They were astounded. Mark 9: 52. “They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.” Every time I read this verse I wonder of the many times I have been in the same predicament… He has provided for me since I was a little kid but I act as if I had not understood all these graces and provisions that He has splurged me with. Instead, every time I tend to worry about what is next…? Or if I found myself in the middle of the storm, instead of trusting in His love and mercy, I may have become too inquisitive about that particular storm, like the pros and cons and whys… My present storm is my illness, and it will die down if only ask for His mercy and accept and embrace each present moment with a huge Yes to His will. I wrote in my diary, “When shall it be that I may sit calmly and wait for His provision since for Him all things are possible. In the mean time, when shall I understand that these crosses are sooo good to offer them up for the many odd things going on in the world and for my Church?”
But the Bible lesson received above also helped me enormously with the subject of priestly infidelities. The storm keeps raging over His Church and yet, He is alive, He is in charge, and we have to pray for this Church and to do penance… I was able to understand and very clearly that these priests were tempted to abuse children because for the celebration of the Sacraments even that they were acting in “Persona Christi” under the unction of their Priestly Ordination, they had never had an encounter with Christ… But more, if you truly encounter Him in your daily duties of life, no matter what temptation comes along, you can deal with it… The question for me then came and it startled me… How many of our Priests are missing this personal relationship with Jesus? Slowly but surely, “El Si de Maria”, the Yes of our Mother was becoming more and more central in my soul. My yes will never be like hers, and yet, it can be like a Tomahawk cruise missile strike against Satan and helping as well in obtaining many graces for Priests.
I realized that part of my prayer for them should be asking my Lord and King to grace every Roman Catholic priest on this earth with a personal encounter with Him, and they may not know what it is… until they are swept by the tsunami of His love but on a continuous basis…”Aha!” moments are not enough… They need a renewal of their yes to the will of God for their lives: like a big yes for the tiredness of a hectic ministry where everyone wants a piece of their attention; a big yes for the sacrifice of sitting in a confessional year after year; a big yes for every cross of any kind. I suddenly became aware of my lack of attention to the spiritual health of all priests. I can do so much… St. Therese went to Rome at age 14 and you know the story of why. Yet, she became scandalized by what she saw in the lives of priests… So, she made it her business to pray for them.
Are we as a Church taking responsibility for this malady of the scandals I mentioned above? Had we being Nineveh, we would have converted in ONE day even that Jonah preached for 8 days… And now, we have someone greater than Jonah in every Tabernacle and a huge Church and we do not get our arms together and fast and pray for the health of the ministerial Priesthood? Are we deaf? Satan will not stop unless we stop him. But the shame is ours as well because many of us in our Church should have acted and truly use the power of God to exterminate this grave scandal. It tells of how little we trust that for God all things are possible!
On this day of March 10, an 8.9 and later categorized as 9.0 earthquake occurred nearby the shores of Japan with an accompanying Tsunami…
March 11… On this date I had a confirmation about the power of my yes to God’s will. I attended the 6:30 Mass. Very soon I will have to move to this early Mass because the heat will increase soon and Walnut Creek, the site of my parish becomes soo congested at the noon hour. I offered this Mass for all sins of trying to escape the work for the Kingdom by the many times I said a very reticent yes to God’s will in this aspect. During the mid morning hour, I heard a knock in my door. I was in the second floor and decided to check through a window who would be knocking… I saw an elder African American lady and a younger white woman emerge from the main entrance of my house. Then I saw other teams knocking at doors. Of course, Jehovah witnesses were doing their rounds in this cull de sac. The last time I had them visit me was in Toledo. It was a young man who decided to test my patience and knowledge of God. The poor man became incensed when he could not find any success… but he was successful at irritating me very much!
Suddenly and out of the blue while standing at the window, I fell in love with these “teams of two” roaming my street. I went down and opened the garage door and went out. I wanted to meet them. The same team who had been at my door came out of another home and came to me. I kindly told them that I knew all about them and truly did not need any more information but I had come to tell them how much I love them because they are images of God. These two women were transformed in front of my eyes. They also assured me how much they loved Jesus and did not bother me with any information. My love for them had done the trick… I was also astounded to see the power of the Holy Spirit. Later on, I also realized that as I kept working hard at purifying my yes to His will, I had not only encountered the love of Jesus in a magnificent way, but I had been able to act like Him and make a point under the Spirit’s guidance to seek my sisters and to love them… I had stopped their tsunami of literature and ideas like I never had been able to do before. Three days later, a pamphlet with their teaching appeared in my front door. I decided to read it (first time that I do so). I was amazed at the errors and heresies I read…
On this same strange day, I understood what a New Pentecost truly is. Is the Holy Spirit coming again? Nah… A new Pentecost will happen when the Holy Spirit already within my soul, could reign freely and take over every aspect of my spirit. And it happened to my soul as I sought my Jehovah witnesses to love them as children of God. The question remained if my attitude of total oblation of my will and embrace of His will was the power behind this mini Pentecost…! The obvious answer was yes… A new Pentecost happens when I do whatever He tells me! Isn’t this what happened to Our Lady? Our personal encounter with God is essential for everything in our spiritual growth. But to truly encounter Him I must keep my inner temple dusted, clean, in top shape! The best ingredient to get the grace to do it is my holocaust – hour by hour – moment y moment – and this sacrifice of giving myself to Him through a radical renunciation of my wants and desires all day long, will make my spirit contrite which He will not spurn. This is the highest form of purifying my “yes” and it brings the grace to follow Him as the littlest servant, but one who rejoices with God, my Savior. Today, all my resentment for the Jehovah witnesses encountered in years past is gone! Alleluia!
Sunday, March 13.
On this Day of the Lord and one more time, without thinking too much about it, I turned the television on and my finger slipped and moved the channel from 229 (EWTN which had left on) to 230, a Protestant station. I started hearing a talk from a separated brother which had much to do with the “yes” of Our Lady. You be the judge.
“TRUST is to say yes to God before you know what it is! It is a blind contract where we do not even read the fine print. You just sign the contract when you go to God’s office (prayer). You sign and tell Him, ‘Whatever you want’.” The preacher referred here to Proverbs 13:5 – “Lean not on your own understanding.”
“However this is what we do: what I think I ought to do. Jeremiah 10:23 says, ‘Let me be your mentor.’ So we must trust God to be our mentor and follow Him as our model. God will only reveal His will to a heart which is committed to obey. You should put yourself in a position to hear God’s will by trusting Him and you will be able to be guided. Isaiah 42:16 – ‘I will lead the blind in their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.’ “
“However, we find ourselves saying one of three things, ‘1) I do what I want (free choice). 2) I do what I think I ought to do (think of others as well). 3) I do what God wants me to do.’ At the end when you rest in the cemetery, your life had only two important dates, birth and death and your soul will be where the subtotal lies of all the choices and decisions you made between those dates.” Ouch! (End of quote)
Well, God was still at it on this Sunday, March 13. In this same station, they would later show a movie from 1968, “The Shoes of the Fisherman” with Anthony Quinn and Lawrence Olivier. I was attracted to the title and to the good actors. I did watch and further understood what it is going on in our Church today. This was the story of a supposedly Russian Pope, Kiriel I…!!! This Pope was elected after many, many ballots were casted at the Vatican. The movie seemed to be partially filmed in Rome but with Hollywood, we can never tell. It was unprecedented to elect a “foreign” Pope in 1968… Yet, our JP II had not arrived at St. Peter’s Chair! The sad part: this Pope tells a priest whom he found working at the Vatican precisely because he was under surveillance for writing heretical books, that they (priests) were condemned to live a solitary pilgrimage until death! This part descended on my heart as a brick of stones…
This is 1968 and Vatican II had just finished…Was Satan entering the Church via movies like this one? If you have encountered the Christ, loneliness as we know it is impossible… Actually, there is a loneliness but different than the one people refer to. We feel lonely because we find very few who understand this lack of “loneliness.” We become strangers in our parishes out of fear of persecution in little or big matters. But the worse part came when one Cardinal opposed Pope Kiriel in many matters and at the end of the movie it was said that he was competing for the “love” of Kiriel, since the latter had protected the heretical priest because he needed him for love reasons… This cardinal was jealous. And finally Kiriel preaches that he can only change himself and not others (like the heretical priest) and offered all the expensive paintings and treasures of the Vatican to give to the hungry and poor.
I am sharing this summary of Hollywood’s entertainment because I want to make a point as God made it to me on this wonderful Sunday of March of 2011. We all need to convert and fast. Satan is one step ahead of us…
Monday March 14. While I was getting instructed in how to purify my yes and the urgency of such measure, I realized that the previous changes of my health were extraordinary opportunities to exercise my yes to this cross with great vigor and excitement since in itself it was and is allowing me to encounter Jesus more often than previously and able to pray for myself and others with more power than ever. What a great Lent this one is turning out to be when I can offer sacrifice and fast my will in atonement for my sins and of the members of our Church. The movie seen the day before was a very painful reminder of Satan’s powerful influence. Japan and the earthquake/tsunami consequences continue to be another reminder of possible SIGNS… But are we listening?
Tuesday, March 15. On this date, my son brought me the old I-Pod filled with the songs I had requested… God knows how to raise your sick body from the dead! By now, cough had been present for some days and I thought it was a cold, or actually, another H1N1 type of virus. Now at the time of posting this blog, I add that this cough is totally related to allergy to foods… The time is coming when either I only eat the few things that I am not allergic to, or not eat at all… Even going to Mass becomes a chore in order to suppress the cough. I suspect that I have become allergic even to the medication for my blood pressure… Ouch! In the mean time, my problems become nothing compared with the devastation seen in Japan and the destruction of human beings by Gadhafi…
Friday, March 18. I was able to make it to Mass and offered it in atonement for my sins, the sins when I said yes to God’s will and meant, “hopefully not yet if at all.” I also atoned for the sins of the ministerial priesthood and the entire world. Before Mass and during Holy Hour, I was led to read, Acts 25, and the trials of St. Paul were a reminder to me of the cost of trying to say “yes” to God without excuses or questions.
It was on this date that I realized that I had to look about the date of posting the blog. I found out that it would be the weekend where we celebrate the great feast of the Annunciation! Wow… So far, I had not thought about this feast not even once. God knows what He does. It gave me great hope to realize that as I publish these simple writings about the purification of my yes to God’s will under a heavy cross, we will celebrate as a Church her yes under a heavy cross… the one of not being married and having to say yes to have a baby…
Saturday March 19. St. Joseph’s feast day. Again and as I have said before, I was born in the city of San Jose and St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of my country of birth. He was the saint who mediated the very first miracle in my life at age 9 when I had lost a Schaffer ink pen just bought by my grandmother with great monetary effort… On this date, I asked St. Joseph to help me say the yes that he himself had to say… We talk much about our Mom’s YES and forget a lot about his yes… He had to tell people that he was taking Our Lady and the baby as his responsibility because of a dream? Or did he tell others at all about the why of his actions? He had trusted God and signed a contract without knowing the fine print, like having to look for a cave for the birth of Baby Jesus, or having to travel to Egypt… for the sake of the that same baby! Wow! On this date I clearly understood that all our crosses are similar to the crosses of these two, Joseph and Mary, always having to do things that demanded great TRUST in God’s love for them, and both are renowned by their fidelity to God’s will…
Tuesday, March 22. I made it to Mass but not feeling well at all. Rain has been our daily companion for this region and it is not helping me much in the sense of going out while taking tons of products to stop my cough, and eating only safe foods to be sure I do not cough more. I used the music in my IPod for the Holy Hour. I realized that it has been rather easy not to wonder about the treatment for my illness or what is next in God’s agenda for me. There is a peace inside me that assures me that all is well. I can easily say yes to the present moment and go on with my cross as a wonderful tool for doing penance. He also sent me to a page in my Bible. It was John 9: 2-7 about the story of the man born blind. “His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the One who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When He said this, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him ‘Go wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So, he went and washed, and came back able to see.”
A huge light came to my mind. Of course, this short passage had so many answers for me.
1. Many of my trials or all of them are necessary so that the work of God may be visible in my life.
2. Immediately after answering His disciples why this man was born blind,He added that He came to do the works of the One Who sent Him. It was like saying that He also needed to cure the man in order to make visible the works of God the Father.
3. He could have cured the blind man with just a word or by simply touching him, but Jesus chose to make clay with the soil and His saliva. His own saliva touched the man’s eyes and yet the man still could not see. And this clay required to be cleansed. So, he first had to go to wash in this pool. Just imagine if this man would not have done whatever Jesus told him!
After Communion He asked if I was ready to pay attention to the writing of this blog as the main occupation for this day regardless of coughing and allergies. “Of course,” I said “I would do that with all my heart” So, I understood that I had to come home and get busy. As always, I had the theme and notes but that is not as important as to how He wants me to tell them to an audience in Cyberspace and with zero background in theology. Sure enough, I did spend many hours constructing the theme and then starting to write it, until 4:10 AM the following morning, March 23, and I had no tiredness, nor sleepiness at all.
Wednesday March 23. I woke up again at 8:45 AM and I was able to watch at 10 AM the movie in ETWN: “Karo. Part II.” As always it is very difficult to see the many trials that he endured even during his Pontificate, and how the Communists used a Turkish man to try to assassinate him. At the very end of the movie He said, “Wars will not stop until there is a revolution in men’s hearts.”
There is no doubt that what we need right now is to become new in the Spirit, and this requires a revolution in our hearts. In fact, before the movie I was praying an asking God what to do regarding the world’s present chaos, where every Arab nation is exploding with a revolution and while Nature is breaking the earth into pieces. I did understand that there is something very powerful I could do: “my total oblation as a sacrifice when I cease to will and live His will to the fullest.” At the time, I received the Scripture verses of Luke 13:22-28. He speaks about choosing to enter through the narrow door. Later He tells the parable of how those who had been at table with the Master and eaten and drank with him and heard his teaching were not allowed to enter his house later, because he had locked the door.
I then thought how many of us go to daily Mass and eat and drink at His Table and hear His teaching via the voice of the priest, and yet, it will not guarantee that later we will find His door opened. Hmm! I suddenly realized that this was a hint tied to the main topic of this blog. I could be the best Catholic in every sense and do everything right and eat and drink at His Table, but if I do not submit to His will as a matter of fact, when I die I may find locked the door of the Master’s home … Ouch! And He was soo clear about it. He also said that His mother and father and brother was the one who did the will of His Father.
Later, I heard stories about how to engage the youth in the work of God. I then understood and very clearly that JPII came to this world to engage them. He, as a good actor and filled with the Holy Spirit, had a one man act to engage the youth of the entire world…He had no plans beyond scheduling the first World Youth Day. Yet, the rest is history! We are preparing in Spain for the next WYD! I furthered understood that our beloved Pope was purified from day one. Losing his mother and brother and father; persecuted by Hitler’s men and later by the Communist Party; losing much of his small intestine after he was shot and finally so affected by Parkinson’s disease, he was hanging on a cross for most of his life. In the movie, he was found to spend all night in adoration in his chapel. His heart was always undergoing a revolution by saying “yes” to God’s will and living as a servant of all of us. This revolution was sufficient to attract the youth and the Holy Spirit did the rest…
This led me to remember how many other famous Saints have done the same thing. They had no particular plans. They only knew the will of God, or what God was asking them to do, and they did it… St. Teresa of Avila led a lose life as a nun for 20 years. She did all that was required of her within the convent and yet, she was distracted by the outside world… At age 40 she turned around and allowed the revolution of God’s love to sweep her off her feet. And she reformed a whole Order and traveled extensively in horse and buggy all throughout Spain and founded many other convents. She only had one plan: to say yes to God’s will through her superiors. Period. 400+ years later we know all about her… She had to get out of the way (her will) and let God do the job while she kept a love affair with Jesus. The Holy Spirit did the rest.
Like these two Saints, we have so many others. Yes, we can plan all kinds of ministries and they are very good… They save souls, they guide people, but they lack the universal URGENT spiritual metamorphosis needed right now… Souls are in jeopardy. If you were to see the Hispanic TV channels around here, you would die of horror! Pornography is subtle but present even in family programs… We should start praying and fasting as a Church, and turn this tsunami of indifference and immorality around. God can do it, if some of us would allow Him to transform us as we say yes to His will, and beg for His mercy to stop wars and the tsunamis that goes on in the womb of many mother’s to be…
Friday, March 25, 2011. I could not even go to Mass. It was raining and my cough was bugging me much. At 8:45 AM, I started understanding quite a few things. Our lives are planned to encounter Him every place. The Bible is full of stories of different encounters. The Old Testament and the New describe many scenes. Even Jesus encountered His own Father at His Baptism and at the scene of the Transfiguration. Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Moses were able to chat with Him. Disobedience and mistrust were killers for future encounters. We encounter Him in all the Sacraments and in His Word. I have encountered Him as a little child and in many occasions. However, this month of March of 2011 was special. I encountered Him with a force never felt ever, not even in front of His Presence at the Tabernacle. He used a song… a simple song, and one that I loved but nothing else. However, look at my words of a year ago and see that there has been progress. The same song was involved and yet, this year my love for Him exploded with a force not felt before. Read the next excerpts of that blog and I will have a final comment.
Feb. 2010 – After Communion on this February 17, He knew my heavy heart and His command to become a fisherwoman but of men and women. I heard Him asking, Q: “Who is the Head of the Church.” I answered, “You.” Q: “Who is full of Mercy, who loves all of you as a mom loves her baby” A. “You”. Q: Have you dropped everything, abandoned your boat (plans, lifestyle) and given yourself to me 100%, which means coming after Me wherever I go…” A: “No.” (I then knew what He was going with these questions). Q. “Are you ready to repent day and night for all your sins of omission, the time wasted when you did not seek to love Me for My pleasure? Are you ready to accept everything in your life, regardless if you like My plan or not?” A. “Yes, yes, yes.”
He then asked me to pray for myself for His mercy to clean me of these sins, for it is only my own transfiguration from glory to glory that can prepare me to be a malleable instrument or bridge/conduit of His peace, of His love, of His mercy, so to become the “jump cable” for many hearts to start their inner motors of love for Him. But again, here is the trick: I find myself so easily perturbed for not knowing what to do to incite others to yearn for this REAL Man/God and I tend to go the Martha way… I forget the Mary’s way. My work is to establish a revolution within, and I mean not just an awareness to change my ways, but to live in His Presence day in and day out… knowing that He will not rob me of this lifestyle and that He has the ways, means, power, love and MERCY to use me as He seems fit! What am I missing when I feel that I have to be a Martha? I am missing TRUST IN HIS MERCY… and out of this trust, I then remain at His feet in order to be transfigured for this job and precisely by His mercy. Of course, I will have to work as Martha in many occasions, but only if directed to do so and how and when directed to do so but fully equipped.
Here is another flaw on my part: I always have said yes to His will (words, words), but I give Him as much as I can and reserve a few ideas for my pleasure, just in case I can get away with it…For example: stopping these blogs ASAP…I know He loves me soo much but I hate to write blogs because I have to expose this love affair of ours… And by the way, this is a form of pride on my part… I need to “broadcast” His love and mercy in my life in every form possible, and it is not easy for a lay person like me. In the other hand, doing it represents a great exercise in humility, and for Lent this is a superb sacrifice of my will, and one that I can use to atone for my sin and those of the whole world.
And I then recalled that just about one week before, one day I was coming to my second floor room, (I need to climb a stair with14 steps) and I found myself saying: “I am soo sorry for my sins” at each step and with great emotion and feeling, for half of the way. The other half, I FOUND MYSELF SAYING, “Have mercy on me a sinner.” This kept going on from then on… and I thought I had figured out a good way to repent often and to ask for mercy, knowing that repentance is key for His mercy to be released… Of course, unbeknownst to me, I was offering resistance to write this month’s blog, and I was full of pride, and He was treating my malady right away… What a merciful God we have… and just hours later I found the following:
By the afternoon on this the first day of Lent, I was kissing the Bible over and over and certain that as a particular song says, I had to leave my boat behind and run to Him… In fact, this song was part of a recent Mass in my parish and before Mass I wanted to dance when I discovered this coming attraction. The song was written by a Hispanic Cesáreo Gabaráin, and I knew it in its original Spanish, and it is simply “divine.” Here are some excerpts:
“PESCADOR DE HOMBRES – (The Fisher of Men…!)
Lord, You have come to the seashore,
Neither searching for the rich nor the wise,
Desiring only that I should follow.
O Lord, with Your eyes set upon me,
Gently smiling, You have spoken my name;
All I longed for, I have found by the water,
At Your side I will seek other shores…
It spoke to me in so many other ways… Am I ready, as He asked, to leave my boat behind and with Him, truly become a full time fisherwoman of men/women? I have been playing over and over in my car, the CD from this Scottish woman Susan Boyle, and she has three songs among the 12 that make me cry all the time: Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art and Holy Night… The latter takes me back to my Baby Jesus resting in my heart! Well, I have requested for several years to have 6 songs playing as I enter heaven after my purgatory: Ave Maria, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, The Fisher of Men (but in Spanish), Be not afraid and The Summons… And I have the hunch that He will do it for me! We Hispanics are big on “serenatas” or men serenading the women they are in love with… This would be my “serenata”! But, in the mean time, I have to pick up the pace of this race towards my Dad’s mansion. Later, on February 23, something else came in regards of this call to leave everything behind. I was led to a particular N.T. page and verse 11…
Luke 5: 11 – “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Him.” Of course, with a God whose Mercy is the most tender form of love possible, how could any of us resist abandoning everything to follow Him?
Final words: it is apparent that His mercy worked all year in my soul and that His mercy and grace have started to purify my yes to His will in a more substantial way… Once I did so and even that the job is far from complete, leaving the boat behind means that my yes to His will or to go with Him and do whatever He tells me without hesitation, fear, mistrust, is KEY to encounter Him in expressways and byways, in Church and at prayer any place, and that that the closest that my yes is to the yes of Our Lady, the more I encounter Him within and the more I recognize Him, because the Holy Spirit can then impregnate my soul with His love in many new ways.
Many teachers give us advice to keep seeking Jesus, living in His Presence and finding Him in others. The question remains, “But how to do it the easy way?” I found out that it is my “yes” if daily submitted to the process of purification since this job is until the day I die and running always to do whatever He asks of me, will transfigure my heart to the point that seeking Him and living in His Presence become ipso facto. I only have to do what Our Lady modeled for me. I need to be impregnated on a daily basis with God’s presence through the power of the Holy Spirit in order to live every day a new Pentecost, and to be able to serve others as she did. This brings the grace of discipleship and I do not have to work as hard to remind myself about living in His Presence. My yes to His will, His commandments especially that of automatically loving others, becomes a revolution within and this is when I find myself led to run and serve others.
It is “El Si de Maria” that turns out to be the greatest hint to bring Jesus to others, at least in my life experience. In my case, the temptation will always be there to run away or at least hope that He changes His mind and that I do not have to write any more blogs nor keep venting my private life. However, I must repeat that many souls will depend on each of us and that they are waiting for our witness. It is only in this state of submission to God’s will that our different ministries can be started, organized and expect to produce many fruits. The greatest temptation is wanting to work for God but in our terms. We tend to think that the yes is for whatever initial call or vocation and keeping the commandments fairly well will suffice. Nah! We have to be servants and act as servants of the Lord. He tells us what to do from moment to moment. Our main prayer should always be to get the grace not to ignore His graces and embark in whatever He tells us to do moment to moment!
At the end is all about the phrase of the Baptist, “I must decrease; He must increase.” But I suspect that many think that they have to work hard at getting there… Not so… I only have to undo in my soul what Adam and Eve did… They disobeyed… I must obey. Also, think about this: the first person on this earth who encountered Jesus was His own Mother! And this encounter came after her “yes”….! The same continues to be true today. The more I submit my will to His, that much more I find Him in small and grandiose ways… He is alive on this earth. He is present within my soul. Love is the only force that can give me this sense or awareness of His Presence that He manifests also as love, and this desire to love others whom I really did not like before… But my love becomes great ONLY when I give up my ways and follow Him. It is then that His Love can reign in my heart and it is also when I can live half on earth and half tasting the coming attraction: heaven forever.
If you have read this blog, please join me and start this journey with Our Mother… The Yes you said to God years ago is valid, but He wants more…We are His ambassadors and the times are such that working for the Kingdom successfully can only be done from our yes to everything He submits us to. Thousands of Catholics are only in name. Thousands attend Mass and still do not know Him as really alive and Present in the Eucharist. Our Priests need us as witnesses of faith… They deserve to see our lives transformed from glory to glory. Let’s us take everything that it is a cross in our lives and say yes to it… Embrace it. Then, let’s pray to the God of Mercy but fully living el Sí de María, which will represent the greatest form of Trust in His mercy… The rest is up to Him. Asking for His mercy in whatever form but not trusting in Him as able to do great things for us, will not render fruit!