Sorry that it turned out to be a very long blog, but I realized that I had to present it as it came to me for this major conversion of my heart. Repetition is a technique that God used to transform my heart. This is why the same concept was repeated so many times. May the Holy Spirit bless you for the patience to read it up to the last phrase!
I must reiterate one more time that every month I get surprised by how much I learn to help out my simple spiritual life. I will try to report it as it came on this daily learning process without too much commentary on my part; that is, I will share what I jotted down in my journal. You will be the judge and see if it will help you as it has done to me. It is the same general topic than last month and for the month before that… However, this time and in hindsight, the stories seem to gather together more important points and they look more pragmatic. But again, I will let you pass that judgment.
Thursday, April 28. On this day I was anguished with the national news. Tuscaloosa and later, Birmingham in Alabama were attacked by furious tornados. Of course, all this type of news bring much pain wherever it happens in the world, but this time EWTN was in the middle of the storm, plus I have a son living in the area. I kept turning my TV to the EWTN channel and not precisely to listen to the specific program as much as to verify if they were still in one piece, and every time I had a sigh of relief and thanked God. If the creation and founding of this religious network, the largest in the world, was a huge miracle from beginning to end, these tornadoes by sparing this site seem to me to prove that this miracle was even larger than the original. One hour north, the area of Hanceville was affected with electrical problems, and the direction of these winds were northeast, from Tuscaloosa to part of the city of Birmingham. So, how is it that EWTN in Irondale, a suburb of Birmingham, was spared? God was making a statement. Prayer and His own Word (Eternal Word Television Network) sandwiched with His mercy, showed us a big sign and wonder… Hmm! My son turned out to be attending a medical meeting in Vegas while part of the city was destroyed…!!! I must say that God is good, and His mercy endures forever.
Friday, April 29. I discovered on this day that I was suffering the same malady I had in my left eye in 2006. At that time, I felt some moving shadows in the eye and consulted a retina specialist in Toledo, OH, someone who seemed to be a very accomplished man in his specialty. These shadows were minimal compared to the ones that I noticed on this April 29th… In October of 2006, I was diagnosed as having an obstructed flow of the ophthalmic vein that carries the blood out from the ophthalmic artery that irrigates the retina. His diagnosis was followed by this warning, “This condition had no cure and eventually, I would lose my eye.” He warned me to call him immediately within 24 hours of losing my eyesight, because he could treat it somewhat to retain a little vision in the eye.
He said that I had to lose weight and keep a good control of the blood pressure, which was not that hi (systolic of 140); yet, those two things contributed to lose the eye faster. This unpleasant young man seemed to be upset because my weight was not perfect, nor my blood pressure. In times like this, I always have to be so patient with human beings… Discrimination is so prevalent in so many ways. With any kind of obesity, people in general think that one overeats, binges, etc…In my case, never has a family member found me eating too much or hiding food to eat behind their back… I simply have a genetic predisposition to gain weight and it has to do with special hormone levels specifically in charge of regulating our weight. It is a long story but there is science backing this statement. He wanted to see me every 3 months… Of course, since the disease was fatal for my eye, I did not go back; plus the idea of seeing his face again was too much. He seemed also upset that I did not blink when he said that I will become blind for sure. This is why I avoid and the best I can, the so called allopathic doctors (MD’s). He kept repeating it over and over like trying to make me get out of my mind, or maybe he thought I was just too dumb to understand the problem. There was no compassion of any kind. Well, if I ever get cancer, I do not want to imagine the face of the doctor when I will say, “Praise the Lord.” No one wants to die. I do! I cannot wait… As I said before, I am detached from my own life, but I still have problems with the possibility of ever being confined to a wheel chair.
In July 2007 (some 8 months after), by God’s grace I suddenly decided (or was led by my Lord) to lose weight with a program which started in Germany in the 1960’s. I ended up losing 60 pounds. In April 2008, once I had received permission from the Lord to put my house on sale to come to California, I made another appointment just to be sure that there was a recent check up in order to look for a retina specialist here, and if something happened to the eye, he could have in his hands my Toledo clinical records with the original diagnosis and the latest follow up. To my surprise in 2008, I was found cured by the same Toledo retinoloigst… When I asked him why was it so since the disease was incurable, he said, “I do not know.” Hmm… Well, since he is Jewish and even that I have Jewish genes, I could not say, “There goes Jesus again, since for God all things are possible.” So, on this day when Prince William and Kate Middleton were getting married, I had this same left eye with shadows and this second time around, I have lost at least 30% of my vision…
Saturday, April 30. Early in the morning in this area of California, we could watch in Rome the Live Vesper’s celebration for the Divine Mercy Feast and prior to the ceremony that made my great friend in heaven, John Paul II, a Blessed in his process of canonization. We said the Rosary and each decade was assigned to be led by the people in different shrines of Our Lady in the world. I almost danced for joy when I found myself Live in front of the image of Mom in Tepeyac, MX. This painting made in heaven of the woman clothed with the sun and showing her feet over the serpent, is so majestic and Biblical. What a show of universality of this Church that He founded. I used this Rosary to thank God for protecting EWTN and prayed for all affected in the area.
I needed to go to confession in this particular day in preparation of the Sunday Feast of Divine Mercy. After my confession, I spent some time in His Presence in the Tabernacle and for some reason, I started thinking much on this call that I received in 1985, to spread the message of His Mercy and to write a book on the subject matter. The question since has always been, “But how? When?” I wrote a book on the matter which I finished in 2004, but could not find a willing religious company to publish it, and that was the end of that, and I am very glad because everyone seems to write books… I would not want one penny for a book that can be read today and forgotten tomorrow. The problem is that we are soo inundated with books of all types, religious or not, that our brains cannot truly choose one and live the Truths in it. In centuries past, it was ideal to write books. There were not that many and the minds of readers were not distracted with information overload like we have today. I now believe that the book was written just for me to start jotting down what so far the mercy of God had done in my life. It was probably a training course for writing these blogs…
So, on this day and after confessing my sins, I found myself throwing in the “yes” trash can, all these questions about how to answer the call of 1985. Those who read the last blog will remember what the “yes” trash can is. For those who do not know, it is a way in images (which my right brain believes as real – a scientific truth), to place all my needs in this trash can in front of the Tabernacle in my parish; or said in other words, it is a symbolic way to say yes to His Plan for my life (although in my brain is a real thing, not a maybe), denoting that I trust His love for me to the point of refusing to entertain any personal involvement in resolving them without His assistance and guidance. Since trust is indispensable to obtain His mercy, this act turns to be a way of summoning His mercy over me and those that I pray for, plus the sacrifice involved can be used to atone for my sins and the sins of the entire world. It wins twice a common spiritual battle or it kills two birds with one stone: I say yes to His will and at the very same time, I recognize and expiate my sins.
Suddenly, I had a big answer about my call to spread the message of mercy. I understood that the more I worry about how to spread this message, that much more I interrupt the work of His mercy in my soul to spread it… Ouch! But why? Because my worry simply stands as a lack of trust that He is in charge and out of love for me… I was back to the “Sí de María”. She was curious as to how she would conceive a child without knowing a man, but the explanation by the Archangel Gabriel was enough and plenty. She said yes and forgot about herself and what could happen to her, precisely because of a pregnancy without a human father. Well, in my imagery style, she placed everything in the trash can, in His hands, representing her most perfect YES to God. And we know that she forgot herself when she took off to El Kareem to help Elizabeth. She could have spent some time and not responded to the Archangel immediately. But not her!… She believed that God loved her so much that He would not play tricks with this message and she chose serving others before she worried about herself. She also believed that she was pregnant despite that she had no other proof than the words of the angel… Amazing!
But some may say, “Well, she was already chosen right from her immaculate conception for this call of being the Mother of the Messiah, and therefore, she was full of grace to act as such.” I would say (and this is my own perception) that God is sooo JUST, that she had to emit a personal yes to the plan of God, regardless of all the grace given to her to be the new “ark” of the covenant, in order for God to proceed. Her consent was hers, and not pushed by God in any sense… and she passed the test with flying colors… Alleluia! What a woman, so full of grace on her own right.
In my case, it was so obvious that my own inquiries are foolish. My only work is to say “yes” to whatever God wants, and in the interim, I must serve others in whatever ways He calls me to do it. But in order to hear God’s guidance I must keep my inner temple in top shape and truly make it a place of worship, as He suggested in the Bible. And this requires sacrifice, the sacrifice of my ego who wants to know and to be in charge, even if partially. . I also did tell Him that if I lost my left eye, it was totally alright. Of course, I had already started to realize that I had to start some wt. loss to see if it did the trick again. At this point after this revelation in His Presence, I was given a page to review in the Bible when I got home. I also understood that all of this awareness and teaching was a fruit of my confession. When we repent, we become God’s friends again… In a way, we are tacitly saying yes to His Presence and governance of our souls
At home, Page 785 turned out to say, “A just man’s hope God does not leave unfulfilled.” Sirach 16:13b. (I felt that my trash can scenario is an act of hope in His leading me to my Father’s home, and it will be fulfilled.)
I was led to check another page, 165 N.T, and this is what I read,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, ‘unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if dies, it produces much fruit.’” John 12:24. (No doubt that my will must fall to the ground, die, disappear and from it, much fruit will come as God has a free hand to produce such fruits.)
Page 165 O.T. – It talks about holocausts offered to God at Passover and Pentecost, New Year’s Day and the Day of Atonement, etc. (I immediately understood that I had to die like the grain of wheat and this in itself was a holocaust. So, I should never try to know much about what is next, not even about my left eye. I have to die to my wishes, and this is a sacrifice that I can offer constantly at the feet of the Throne of His Mercy…(What a precious fruit!)
What a day I had had… So much direction, so much mercy on His part…! 1) This day was full of other important events. My 3 week old grandchild was baptized in Omaha, NE… 2) I also received a clear understanding from the Mother of God that the next day at Mass, and on the Feast of Divine Mercy, I should consecrate myself to a resolute “Yes” for His will in my life regarding the spreading of this message of God’s infinite mercy, and no matter what the cost would be. I went to bed as early as I could in order to get up and see Live, the ceremonies to make my JPII, a Blessed in the Church, and so I did.
Sunday, May 1.
I had the greatest Feast of Mercy possible. I watched the events in Rome in four different TV stations. EWTN was as always very complete. CNN only presented one hour and poorly covered. FOX had the complete presentation and had the best sound… During Communion, they brought guests to explain the whole process of canonization. One Hispanic channel also transmitted it all in Spanish… I could not complain. The ceremony in itself was uplifting. About a million (?) people present and more than 500 priests moving in the crowds with the Risen Lord to give Communion, was a sight to remeber… Wow! I made it to 8 AM local Mass. At 10 AM the big celebration started at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in the US, which was covered by EWTN.
Osama bin Laden was found and killed on this day in Abbotabad… It was easy for me to remember the name of this city because it is made of two words that mean the same in two languages: Abbot in English and abad in Spanish… It was painful to see how many, many people in the world were so happy about the death of this man… Killing in all its forms, even of a man like this one, bothers my conscience.
Monday, May 2, 2011. Dr Mehmet Oz presented a piece about the Dukan diet. Dr. Dukan is from France and appeared talking to Dr. Oz in Paris. It was interesting and I prayed to see if my Lord wanted me to lose wt. to begin with, on account of my eye problem, and if to use the Dukan diet.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The O.K. to start the Dukan’s diet was received after Communion.
May 4, 2011. This was a good day to start this diet, which eventually I realized was a form of fasting… and it came at this particular time, when I feel (do not know nor want to know how or when) that the Lord is moving me into a more sophisticated effort for the spreading of the message of Divine Mercy. The date was crucial because of the story I have told in these blogs and to many people, and also one that I repeat to my own sons from time to time. As the Israelites were reminded by Moses of their crossing of the Red Sea, I also have to remind them of our change of plans and residences and jobs as we kind of crossed the Red Sea in route to another land…I want my grandchildren to know that even in our times, He can help us do unthinkable things according to human standards… and flourish.
The story again: on Ascension Thursday, May 4, 1989, while resting in a Marriott Hotel in Houston, TX while I attended a medical meeting, and having been at noon Mass for this feast, I decided to read the Bible which is in every hotel. I have done that all my life even that this is a Protestant version. I was led to Joshua chapter 4 and it tells that when he led the Israelites to the crossing of the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, the river just parted in order for them to do so. Although this move should have been led by Moses, the latter could not enter because of his lack of trust in God’s love for Israel. As you remember, when they were thirsty God sent Moses to tap a rock for water but he did it twice, instead of once. I love that story. It always reminds me how superficial we can be in our faith, even in the case of Moses, the hero who believed in God and fought the Egyptians to start the journey from slavery to freedom. The Red Sea had already parted and allowed them to escape from Pharaohs’ chariots and charioteers, and yet, he doubted that one tapping of the rock would be enough… Lack of trust that God is in charge and that He loves us like a mad Being, completely blocks His mercy upon us… I also wonder if not obeying His will is a form of blocking His mercy for the very same reasons… since we are stating that we do not trust that His guidance is the best for us… This also illustrates how important it is to stand always in His Word and say “yes” to everything until proven otherwise by His own intervention, guidance and wisdom.
Well, I was told on this date but in 1989, that just as Joshua had crossed the Jordan River and nobody had gotten wet, our family also would do so and that jobs were to be offered when I arrived in So. Bend and to take them and move. I have given a previous account of how we had just bought a home in the area as this message was received, and I had even finished the basement so that each boy would have his own room. On my arrival, on Sunday May 7, the job offers for my husband and for me came via phone in order to transfer the practices to Kaiser Permanente in Cleveland… We had left this city 3 years prior after my first major professional persecution.
Moves like this are monstrous enterprises. We had 6 different human beings in our family who needed different paths for education and jobs. I was to become the chief of the Anesthesia Department and prepare for the upcoming review from the Joint Commission Association, to happen in short two months after our arrival. My husband would work under me because my experience in the specialty was longer than his, since he had been a pathologist at first and had re-trained to become an anesthesiologist years later. We did move and I found that there was nothing to prove to Joint Commission that the operating room had a process in place 1) to protect patients from mistakes; 2) to detect those mistakes when they happened and 3) to have an ongoing review of protocols to avoid them at a later day, 4) plus a plan on how to police the whole scenario from year to year. Since God had trained me for this work precisely in the hospital in So. Bend where I moved from, and only because this hospital was one of 17 hospitals in the entire US. which was chosen by the Joint Commission to try their new method of implementation of safety for patients at all levels, I was able to explain to the reviewers that I had just arrived and what my plans were and that I knew very well their brand new plans that had been implemented nationwide just that year… We were given 2 months to write down the plan for this particular hospital and they were very glad to see the fruits rendered by one of their famous 17 hospitals by training me well for this work. Two months later, I had everything in paper and they were happy to pass us and trusted that we could now achieve the implementation of this method of patient safety.
The move helped everybody in my family and it changed the future of some of them. For example, my third son found the Jesuits again, same hi school than his older brothers, and this led to his decision of studying theology. Of course, Franciscan U. of Steubenville was just about 4 hours away from Cleveland!… and he chose this university for his undergraduate studies. My fourth son went to this same hi school, a very academically acclaimed secondary school, which took him to an Ivy League university, Columbia in upper New York City. He lived near the parish, which welcomed Thomas Merton to the Catholic faith. He signed up and became Sunday morning CCD teacher. Of course, the famous monk Fr. Thomas Merton had died in 1968, but he was very important in our lives because in the mid 1980’s we used to visit the Abbey of Genesee near Rochester, NY, an abbey that was born from the Abbey in Kentucky where Thomas had been a monk. So, Cistercian spirituality and retreats with the Monks were part of the will of God for us. Personally, I started taking great interest in silence.
Every May 4 since, I remember that after we signed the contracts to move to be in Cleveland by August, I made about 5 trips on weekends (6 hours one way) from South Bend, IN to Cleveland, OH in order to work with a real estate agent to purchase a home. And all of this as I continued working in St. Joseph Hospital. I saw a total of 30 homes… By now I had owned 4 homes, but now I wanted a prayer room… and a house large enough not to have to finish a basement to make more bedrooms. I had my very first prayer room in the home in this area of So. Bend that we were leaving. I told the Lord to get me to a home where the prayer room would be in the first floor and to let me know if this was His will. And yes, it was. I found the perfect home and before I even entered, I heard the words, “This is the home.” The prayer room was at the entrance next to foyer, and did I use it…! Hmm. Now, as a widow, my own bedroom is my prayer room and I have two altars as of right now, with many pictures of everyone important in my life… Of course, Our Lady, Saints, Blessed JP II everywhere, the Divine Child Jesus… Who reminds me to be trusting like a child in order to better say my “yes” to His will.…
On this same May 4th, I started the Dukan diet and in due time, the realization came about the fact that I had started a fasting period… But for what? Now, some 3 weeks later, I have understood that this time was one where I had to understand so much about “El Si de Maria.” So much more… It has also comprised three consecrations to my Mother in heaven, since three major feasts have passed: Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady Help of Christians and Our Lady of Consolation. Also, I have learned so much about discerning the will of God for my life, and how to discern and combat the evil one… More on it later!
Still on this day, I had a long teaching from the Bible (Exodus 18, 19) where this God tried very hard to convince the Israelites of His love for them.
I read His love letter to Israel: Exodus 19: 4-6. “You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to Myself. Therefore, if you hearken to My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to Me than all other peoples, although all the earth is Mine. You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” — Wow… After this message sent with Moses, God asked the Israelites to sanctify themselves because in three days He would come to them, and He did in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night, and they heard His voice and He traveled with them thereafter… There is no question that He was trying to teach them to start a personal relationship with Him…How can you relate to another if you do not spend time together?
It was also a call to me to get busy and review as often as possible all the ways that He has chosen to be present to me, to bless me, and to remind me that He does it in five ways: in the Tabernacle, in His Word, within my soul through my Baptism and Confirmation, in the soul of every Christian around me and the ultimate, for some 15 minutes within me when I “EAT” Him at Communion time… I cannot complain… I, a gentile woman but with Jewish roots, have much more of His Presence than the Israelites did in the desert… Shouldn’t I, then, have a very personal relationship with Him, which should be honored and thanked for, by saying “yes” to all He wants of me and doing it with great pleasure?
First Saturday, May 7.
After going to Mass, I found myself understanding a topic that I had not really looked in detail in my spiritual life.The question that came to my mind was: “How do I know that when I have a knowledge of any spiritual theme, it is from the Holy Spirit and not from Satan?” For years I knew that peace and consistency with the message, was part of it. Again as an example, since 1985 I have known that I am called to spread the message of God’s mercy, but the how and when has been obscured. Through the years, He sent huge signs about people that could help me or lead me in this enterprise, and it was a very consistent message, besides the signs received. But on this day I understood so much more on discerning if ideas in my head were from God or not. BEFORE I CONTINUE, always remember that this is not from the Catechism or from a homily by a priest and that I have zero theology studies… Therefore, pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit if you should accept what was said to me. He will tell you!
DOING WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WANTS comes
1. With a strange deep inner power to go ahead. It is not impulsive nor just here and there. It is consistent and serene.
2. It comes in the midst of great peace, and again, not here and there, but absolute and continued peace of mind and heart.
3. There is complete detachment from what is to be done; there is a readiness to change it or not to proceed at all. It is a form of living true servanthood. The servant does what she/he is told but has no vested interest in knowing why or if…
4. After understanding the message, there is serenity even if the doing of what it is understood means that it will take us out of our human comfort zone, and our heart agrees fully with what has to be done or said or written despite what pain may come with it. One embraces the possible cross of the consequences of the deed ahead of time without fear and/or regret.
5. One recognizes that what has been understood is not our personal agenda or opinion. It has a newness in its nature that cannot be a product of our flesh.
6. Finally and most importantly, the idea written or understood or heard 1) touches our heart as it teaches us the Truth, 2) it agrees with the Truth of the Bible and 3) for us Catholics, it agrees with what the Church has taught as well.
As I wrote these notes on the spot, I was sent to a page and it was John 17 where Jesus is described as praying for us. I felt that if I believe in Him and want to follow Him, He is constantly praying for me at the right hand of the Father, and therefore, the above ideas had to be protected by His prayers exactly as I was understanding them and writing them. I understood that I should not be overly concerned about receiving His teaching or not receiving His direct reaching like this one, since He is not only in charge but His prayer is a safeguard against Satan. Of course, PROVIDED that I am resolute about doing His will at all times. It is a relationship of love after all, and my servanthood lived as best as I can, allows Him to teach me as I need it and without getting confused.
Again, this entails that I have to live a life of radical obedience, and self will and pride, worldly ideas of success must go when they show up to mess up my inner temple. What I should remember is that if my heart is inclined to be obedient, He is praying for me day and night so that I can live such a radical obedience. I do not have to worry if I can do it, or how hard it is to obey. I only have to be disposed to do it and His prayer, His death and resurrection and His mercy will take care of the rest.
Sunday May 8th. Mother’s Day. I saw a program regarding a book on how to raise children, do’s and don’ts. Every time I hear this theme and there are hundreds of books, religious and from psychologists that give advice in this subject. Regarding girls I hear the same: in religious terms: “We have to lead them to ‘authentic femininity’”; or in pagan terms: “We have to give women a sense of self worth, validation, “ and I add,with reason since women are discriminated everywhere because of gender. However, I know for a fact that God Himself is our Nanny… At least He was my nanny. Am I saying that we do not have to guide our children in the ways of God and leave it all to God? No… What I am saying is that do’s and don’ts are really not followed when we are actually raising our kids. You need grace to do it and the grace will give you the wisdom to give each child their proper nurturing according to their own needs, and we do not know them… Only their Maker knows what they need!
And just being a good believing Christian who understands the work of the Holy Spirit is not a complete package. In my personal view of raising kids, especially in my case where I had to juggle motherhood with a busy exhausting practice of anesthesiology, with calls that could place me in the hospital setting for entire nights and working hard, one has to LET GOD DO IT as long as we honor Him day and night by living a life of love for God and others, inside and outside the home. Of course, I did not know this… I am telling you because in hindsight this is what happened to me.
So, I had been led through the years to live in Him, for Him and before anything else, or at least I tried and I am sure I never did it perfectly, but the fruits were the same since He wants us to at least try and make Him the center of all. Examples: when I could, I quietly prayed the Rosary in the operating room (using a small 10 beads chain) and surgeons knew that vulgar jokes were not part of the menu during surgery. Interestingly, most of them did not mind it. A few actually counted with my prayers for the success of the surgery. One great extraordinary holy orthopedic surgeon especially in joint replacements, a lay member of the Legionnaires of Christ practicing in Toledo, always came to me if I was assigned to his operating room, and asked to be blessed before he washed his hands. I also made a point of treating my patients with great dignity and mercy for their moment when they were giving their lives to me in order to be anesthetized, which is not an easy moment. I even found a way to pre-treat post operative nausea and vomiting for about 5 % of the population who vomits no matter what… God taught me how… Plastic surgeons always wanted “to kiss” me (figuratively) because I would not disrupt their “tummy tugs”, which with retching could break the sutures since the abdomen is sewn very tightly. I treated nurse anesthetists with love and served them by not demanding to do what I told them (and I had to power to do so), since they were images of God, but kindly giving reasons why we needed to make changes in the anesthetic plan.
Every weekend off, somehow the grace came to do what my boys liked: to go eat lunch after Mass to their short list of favorite restaurants.. We laughed and I indulged them with their favorite foods. When it came time to stop their interest in football (to protect their brains), I found music teachers and in the late afternoons, I would take them for their lessons. By the time they went to hi school, they played during football games in the band and one even at the University of Notre Dame band …! This demanded that I would have to attend hi school games on Friday or Saturday late evenings because they needed a ride home! So, they did not miss the fun and I learned American football!… For all of this, please understand, that it was God Who gave me the ideas… At the time, I thought they were my ideas… Of course not… When it came time for college, I would study all the possibilities and attended parent meetings to learn how to help them and even visit some campuses. I was a very busy PTA mom in grade school. I would sew some costumes for their little plays. And I must say here and repeat to no end: I never knew what I was doing, except that I engaged myself or tried to,in keeping my relationship with the God of Israel and the Crucified and His Mom, and I never heard a child talking back to me or my husband. They never complained. Their teen age years were eventless.
I want to speak about this topic because it touches a different subject matter. We are inundated by books for everything: plans for the spiritual life; plans to find God; plans to guide others to Him. And yes, the classic books must be read from the great Saints, like the famous writings of the Cloud of Unknowing, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, St. Augustine of Hippo’s Confessions, a summary of the Suma of St. Thomas Aquinas, the autobiographies and teaching of the great Carmelite Saints and you know who they are, or important encyclicals or teaching of great Popes, etc.…BUT – I must say that we do not decide what to read and when. Each period of our spiritual life is different and it needs overhauls and the Holy Spirit should be the One guiding us in this process. To read books just for information will never have an impact in our souls. We read books seeking inner transformation and only the Holy Ghost could guide us in when and what to read. However, anything based in the psychology of the last 60 years, I would ignore big time. Even if one knows the entire subject matter and understands the mind of everybody, without God’s grace one cannot achieve anything. And to get His grace, a.k.a. His mercy, we must first of all seek Him day and night and obey Him moment by moment, with total trust that He is in charge, and again, that Jesus is praying to the Father for us, second by second.
The day before, EWTN had shown the life of St. Therese, the Little Flower, and while she waited 3 months to enter Carmel, she said, “Sacrifice consists in giving up my will in the little things without anyone noticing it.” Late this Sunday of Mother’s Day, I remembered that St. Teresa of Avila spoke of being a blank page for God to write upon it. I thought that daily I should sign a blank check and give it to the Lord and He can fill it out as He wishes with expensive sacrifice or just a few tough moments.
Monday, May 9. I was not feeling too well after 5 days of being on a strict diet to lose weight to hopefully help my left eye sight. I was given many Bible stories that helped me, but one that I want to mention here is about the story of Noah. God made a covenant with him and set him apart in an ark and protected him and his family from a deadly flood. He told him about how it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights and to build the ark and take his family and a pair of animals of each kind. It took 150 days after the rain stopped for the waters to start receding, but the whole process took 7 months. In the first day of the 10th month, the top of the mountains appeared… 40 days later he sent the first dove and it came back. 7 days later the dove was released again and this time it brought in its peak a green olive leaf. 7 days later, the dove was released again and it never came back. Still, it took more time for the land to dry up and for Noah to come out of the ark.
What did I learn? That everything in life is a process. The Bible did not have to give so much detail about the timing… Yet, the Holy Spirit wanted in this lesson to show us that TRUST in God was the winner of this adventure. And this trust came from a personal relationship that Noah had with God based on his righteousness, and this faith made him obey and have patience for the process to start and finish. Likewise, God has a plan for all of us… We may have major floods or setbacks or times that God chooses to change our lives 360 degrees as He did the life of Noah. Other lessons that appear in the Bible are the same with the great stories of Abraham, Moses, the prophets who were so ill treated. All of them allowed God to be God… They were obedient servants (something that Jesus and Our Lady came to show us to perfection, in case we had doubts). A servant does not have to know too much of the process and only serve every present moment as asked to.
After this great reminder, I was sent to Mathew 10. I gathered a list of counsels:
1. Disciples must go and proclaim the Kingdom
2. Stay away from material possessions as you travel.
3. Always expect to be “kept by God” in all you need.
4. Go like a sheep among wolves.
5. Expect to be persecuted and rejected.
6. Yet, never fear because every hair of your head has been counted!
7. Always love God more than humans
8. Carry all sufferings as an important cross in order to be a follower of Jesus.
Then I heard this, “Like Noah, live in the ark of God’s will. The waters will rise but so the ark… Noah through obedience to God saved his life and of his family, but it started with trust in God’s love for him. In this story, God and Noah were united by a covenant. Covenants are made between friends, but this friendship was developed by Noah living a good life and this allowed him to spend months of strict follow up of God’s plan for him within the ark. Noah never complained. He only obeyed until the moment when the dove never returned. It is the same in your spiritual life.”
Tuesday, May 10. As time passed and in day No. 7 of this strict protein diet (this phase of first 10 days is called the “attack” phase…Ouch), I suddenly realized that of course, I had entered a phase in my life that needed fasting of food and prayer and the “fasting of my will” to obey God in everything like Noah did, even when not feeling well and offering Him the loss of my left eye and the effects of the diet, and I wondered, why has He chosen this time to be so essential? Is there a change of venue for my life in the proclamation of the mercy of God’s message?
Under the previous scenario, I was doing my Holy Hour before 12 noon Mass and I felt that my Lord present in the Tabernacle wanted to say something. I wanted to pray the family Rosary and I felt called to listen instead. I heard, “Many do not know Me (referring to some people coming in.) I asked, “But how can we change it?” I heard these words very clearly and started taking notes in a hurry. I do not trust my memory 100%, although with hi doses of Vit D3, I am getting back in a hurry my short memory.
“Preaching about My Presence in the Eucharist will not change the masses; just a few will do so. It is the transformation of the ministerial Priesthood into priests like Blessed John Paul II that will bring evangelization to its peak. (But how, why?) Because Priests will preach not just in words but in action. When they witness to the their sheep a life style of a personal relationship with my Eucharistic Presence, people will believe and they will come not as routine, but because the presence of their pastor moves them to seek the same relationship. Priests are the heart of the Church. Nobody can exist without a heart that pumps blood with the oxygen needed to survive. People will come to them for Mass and you do not need any more committees to know the faith. They will become the light, the fire to ignite hearts through My Spirit. Offer the prayer of the Mass today and as you fast your will and food, and ask for a new Pentecost over Priests. Ask that they can go to My Mother for help and she will intercede for mercy at the Throne of my Father. In this way, the Spirit will pour My mercy over them; then their entire lives will entice the Body to meet God in the same fashion.”
Wednesday, May 11. I went shopping to the city where my parish is and came back home, unloaded the car and took off again to be there for 12 noon Mass. Because of my “attack phase” diet, I had planned not to go back for Mass, since buying frozen goods and keeping them in the car to wait for Mass with temperatures over 70 degrees, would not work at all. Well, because of the previous day message, I had this powerful energy, ambition, resolution when I came home with the market goods and I went back to Mass as if nothing. I then started my 3 day preparation for consecration to Our Lady of Fatima. Due to my health I became distracted to start the preparation 33 days before her feast; however, in previous times when this happened to me, I have repeated the preparation 11 times each day to end up with 33 before I do the actual consecration, and at one time in 1994, a huge miracle occurred in my family, one that I was not in particular praying for. This is how she intercedes and His mercy just pours, as it happened at the wedding of Cana.
By 2 PM I was exhausted and somewhat empty. I started thinking that I must ask for mercy when I feel down. His mercy is the key for me to conform my will to His in difficult moments, and once I live “El Si de Maria’ over and over through the grace of His mercy, He does the rest! He will guide me, He will advise me and I will hear HIm; He will accompany me as He always does, but I will experience His Presence. Whatever has to be done for the Kingdom and His glory, He will arrange and use me as needed, and just like this day that under a major fasting of food, I ran all day. So, if we all work to “say yes” to all that God allows in our lives, we laity can pray for a New Pentecost for all Priests, and the new evangelization would be as fecund as the one in the first century when one sermon would convert 3,000…after the Apostles had experienced the blessings of the first Pentecost!
During Holy Hour before Mass, I had understood that Satan will do whatever it takes to disrupt my life through others. Yes, we have to make contact with God daily and follow the commandments, and I am sure that many lay people in our Church are doing so. However, why is it that we all are not totally excited with Jesus Presence waiting for us every day to see us, to love us, to give us His own Body and Blood? I will sound like my 3 year old granddaughter who at age 2 kept asking constantly, “But why?” I believe that what we need is to begin to ask for His mercy to help each of us to say a big “yes” to His will, and the power of God through His Holy Spirit will do the rest.
I have to say that this is an answer simply because in the XX C, God in His great love for us, sent us two saints to remind us of His mercy. How can we take this hint or sign with triviality, without trying very hard to will to say yes to His will but begging for his mercy to help us? His mercy will turn us in the best servants possible, and the whole world, other religions and all atheists would take the time to admire our faith… and light… and many will come. Then, if the end comes, He will find us with enough oil in our lamps… The oil that feeds the flame to give light to many is our servanthood, but one that is a true one, one where we obey the Master in everything.
Thursday, May 12. I understood that today I must continue my accelerated consecration preparation so the following day I could consecrate my servanthood to my Mother, and then she could protect me from the evil one more than ever, and from those that Satan can seduce to distract me in this work of inner transformation for the glory of God and the salvation of as many souls as possible. I felt that the time for the final chapter of my life is to be lived, and I must become the best servant possible with 100% detachment to my will/ desires and worries of any kind.
Friday, May 13. Before I went to Mass I started thinking on detachment of my own will in order to do the will of my Father. I asked myself, “How to detach?” Some would say that you pray to get detached. I would say this:
1. I would get up every morning absolutely resolved to obey the will of God in everything. I would say that this represents my cooperation with God to change me.
2. I then would ask for His mercy so that I live all day in His Presence. This does 2 things:
a) It will advance my over all personal relationship with the Triune God.
b) This would advance my prayer, since prayer is not made of words. Said in other words, in prayer, the words come later because the heart comes first, and He is interested in my heart, my feelings towards Him, more so than in words, which may be empty of love. Prayer is everything that allows me to hang around spending time with my friend, since Jesus called me FRIEND. In His Presence within He can remind me of moments where I am about to commit a sin (like passing judgment on brothers/sisters or spending too much time in worldly activities; one being watching too much TV). By the way, I have experienced this fruit. My attention to His Presence sharpens my soul and I can feel Him correcting me right on the spot.
3. As the relationship grows, Trust is the fruit or baby of this friendship that eventually becomes deep love. And this love, suffices. St. Teresa said, ‘Que nada te asuste; que nada te espante. A quien Dios tiene nada le falta. Solo Dios basta.’ In English: “Let nothing give you fear; let nothing frighten you. Whoever possesses God, lacks nothing; only God suffices.” I learned it as a child of 4 or 5 from my grandmother. However, it has taken years to fully comprehend it and partially live it.
4. Detachment then will come as a grace, as another baby of the relationship. Detachment is first for material or superficial things. Eventually, our ego also becomes non attractive. Our human self esteem becomes obsolete. It means nothing. We finally learn that our self-esteem or worth comes from our relationship with God. He gives it to me when I finally catch on and feel as a daughter of my Dad in heaven, and this is a product of the relationship with the Son Who promised to reveal His Father to me. It is all in the Bible if I only allow His Word in starting with a big Yes to His will.
The detachment continues and we find ourselves detached from human beings, not all, but most. I personally know this because at the death of my mother (I was an only child and she died of cancer at age 58), of my father, of my maternal grandmother who was like a mom to me, plus husband, friends and relatives, I never missed them once. On the contrary, I felt an extraordinary happiness that they had finished their temporal walking on earth and were bound to their eternal mansion. I did offer plenary indulgences for their coming out of Purgatory. Of course, I must say that I have no lost a child as yet.
So, to help in this detachment from my will and my desires in order to free me and more readily to do God’s will, asking for detachment is not enough. We have to submit to a purifying process in order to develop a friendship, and then He proceeds to detach us. Remember that all my experiences were recognized after the fact. I am trying to make sense of what I have lived by the grace and mercy of God, since I had no idea of the details of the process at all. The most radical detachment is from our own temporary life on this earth. We actually feel like strangers during this slow process, but it helps us finally feel free of our own body; free at last… Free at last!
When everything is said and done, here we go back to square one: “El Si de Maria.” It all starts with our yes to cooperate with God’s will. We seek no comprehension or understanding as to why God wants us to do in every present moment. We only have to show up at every present moment to be in His Presence within or even from afar in front of the Tabernacle in our parish and say “Yes” like she did; it also entails continuous repentance when we insist in not obeying His will. Then, grace pours out from this yes that presupposes trust in His love for us, and His mercy shows up to change every part of our sinful being. It corrects it, it guides it.
My favorite Bible passage that illustrates this process says, “The sum of a man’s days is great if it reaches a hundred years; like a drop of sea water, like a grain of sand, so are these few years among the days of eternity. That is why the Lord is patient with men and showers upon them His mercy. He sees and understands that their dead is grievous, and so He forgives them all the more. Man may be merciful to his fellowman, but the Lord’s mercy reaches all flesh, reproving, admonishing, teaching, as a shepherd guides his flock; merciful to those who accept His guidance, who are diligent in his precepts.” Sirach 18: 7-13.
We have to share this treasure that we have in our earthen vessels, and to do it most effectively, we must become students in the school of the “Si de Maria.” We must teach by example so our lives become icons of trust that tap God’s mercy; in this way we become super servants and the latter is more powerful that 1,000 lectures on the subject matter. The grace in the lyrics of a great lecture is never the same or even get close to be, as it is the grace of God acting freely in the heart of the one who says day and night and mean it, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” ; and a heart not cluttered with plans, desires, questions, fears. We become like birds that the wind of His mercy sends to other places announcing the spring time of the Church. Alleluia. The Risen Christ becomes risen in our hearts and His “Sacred Heart Promises” can then be examined up close in our lives and not in a book or lecture.
I must add here that one of our greatest temptations come from our flesh in these times of instant results. Therefore, we want to lock ourselves in the ark of God’s will like Noah did, and under this yes, patiently wait for the process to work out and for the waters of this temptation and any sin to lose power and to recede. The summary at the end of this blog was received on this great feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Viva el Sí de María. Long live the yes of Mary.
Also on this May 13, I arrived in Church at 10:30 AM. At 11:45 AM I recited my consecration to my Mother. I offered myself in the paten and chalice for the work of the message of God’s mercy. My heart was still totally in awe of what I had learned early that morning. I did offer myself united to the fasting of my will, dietetic fasting and prayer. Little did I know that later I would learn the significance of these things in my spiritual life.
Saturday, May 14. I went to morning Mass and since on Sunday, the area would be with much rain and cold weather (low 60’s), I felt that I should go to 4:30 PM Mass, instead of Sunday. The diet was rigorous and still in the “attack” phase, and although my illness of POTS is about 80% better, it is not easy to abstain from any food so that I could go to 8 AM Mass in peace because nausea and sometimes a slight diarrhea still comes in early mornings (due to POTS). Little did I know that it was a plan from God for something else.
Sunday, May 15. The weather was perfect. The weather reports failed to be true in this part of the Bay area. I started suspecting that God had a plan and duped me as well as the numerous weather reporters. At 7 AM after the 5 AM Mass of EWTN, I found a program from Dr. Charles Stanley, a Baptist Protestant pastor whom I respected and liked very much when I watched him in the early 90’s, and he did teach me a lot in those day, or so I thought…He was an important figure for me to accept my separated brothers and sisters where they were at, even that I never wanted to worship with them. It is interesting that at 8 AM, it was repeated in another TV station and then I took notes. How did I get to another station and find him again with the same lecture can tell you that God had a mission for me on this Sunday, and this sign made me believe that I better listened carefully. In hindsight, I am sure God wanted me to think on this subject. Dr. Stanley said, “Once I accept God as Lord and Savior and try to follow His footsteps and live a righteous life with prayer, He automatically will work His will in my life…” So take very seriously your salvation.
He quoted Philippians 2:12. “So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. “
Stanley continued saying, “If He can place a desire in you, He will be there to work it out for you to do it. He makes it a reality (apparently regardless of my consent?). So, it is not up to us. If you say, “I cannot do it,” you are saying, “Lord, You are a liar.” But He Who wills it, works it out. Whatever He requires of you, be confident that He will equip you to do it. And what He works out, will give Him pleasure. We have to put our salvation experience in the operation mode. We have to work it out. Read the Bible and God with His Holy Spirit will do it. Share your faith with others. We live out what is already there for us. Our character and conduct should be a show case of the life of Christ. “
Romans 8: 28:30. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined He also called; and those He called He also justified, and those He justified, He also glorified.”
“If we acknowledge His lordship over us, this gives pleasure to God.” He then discussed Romans 3:20-28 about justification apart from the Law. Galatians 2: 16. Justification by faith in Jesus and not by works of the Law.
I was so amazed to hear this heartfelt dissertation by a good man and with a total different meaning of what I have lived for many years. I thought that this entire exposition was a salad of Truth with his personal opinion. I then recalled that since the XVI C, we have had a number of denominations who have interpreted the Bible in so many different ways. There are so many voices out there that can truly keep the Body of Christ apart. Still, I did not feel anything against Dr. Stanley… What bothered me was the question: why is it that we still have so many people offering different explanations to the same verses?
With horror I realized that the main problem is our dissipation as Catholics. We need Apostles (Bishops), Priests, and some disciples (laity) to go to the Throne of Mercy and place our wills at God’s feet. We need a few valiant souls that can lay down their lives for the Church and the world, and the fruits of this holocaust will transform us in credible attractive lamps. Some of us have to wake up and go and convince the rest with arguments and a life style that can fire the entire Body, and not just Catholics…!
This program with Dr. Stanley plus the furious signs of tornadoes in our country and clashes in the Middle East, where death is probably as common as births, are calling me to write these words about our flagrant dissipation, even when they may really upset the clergy. Again, some of us must go and tell the whole world that He is alive in the Eucharist, in His Church for 2,000 years with so many saints, and in His Word, and that all is a product of His great mercy, and that we can attest to these Truths by our new lives that shine like the sun at midday. But for this we need a New Pentecost in our lives. And the latter depends on our yes to His will through the death of our own will.
Notice that after the first Pentecost, the Apostles left everything: families, friends, jobs and also THEY LEFT THEIR WILLS behind. They preached always ready to lose their own lives, but obeying God’s will since Jesus had sent them to take the Gospel to the whole world… Normally, no one wants to be persecuted, killed, hated, incarcerated or stoned. Before the coming of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus dying for all, they had fled and left Him alone during His Passion. One of them and already the head of the band, denied Him not once, not twice, but three times. But since their own wills were intact, they ran for their lives, and even denied knowing Him to save their existence… As soon as the Holy Spirit entered their hearts, they took off leaving their wills behind.
Well, we think that we do not deny Jesus like St. Peter did…And yes we do when we choose to be one of the world with no association with religion, or religious in name,but not showing lives that reproduce the image of Jesus. We want to blend with others as Peter did. The last case scenario is the worse. We receive Him ALIVE on Sunday, and we deny Him from Monday to Saturday by the way we conduct ourselves. Read what Jesus said to St. Faustina in Poland on November 19, 1937.
1385: After Communion today, Jesus told me how much He desires to come to human hearts. “I desire to unite Myself with human souls. Know, My daughter, that when I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay any attention to Me; they leave Me to Myself and busy themselves with other things. Oh, how sad I am that souls do not recognize Love! They treat Me as a dead object.”
1767. “My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone. I want to see you as a sacrifice of living love, which only then carries weight before Me. You must be annihilated, destroyed, living as if you were dead in the most secret depths of your being. …. And great will be your power for whomever you intercede. Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this: silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer. “
1777. “My daughter, know that My Heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy, graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away not consoled. All misery gets buried in the depth of My mercy, and every saving and sanctifying grace flows from this fountain.”
1578. “Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy, because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy. I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust in My mercy. I Myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls… The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is – trust. The more the soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts.”
Again, we need a new Pentecost, but it does not consist in calling the Holy Spirit with just words. We must call Him by self denial and with a great desire to do will of God so that our hearts can open wide to His action. Yet, in order to be able to do the latter, we must beg for His mercy especially after Communion. This was the state of mind and heart of Our Lady when the Holy Spirit landed on her to conceive the Messiah. I had understood so many things on this Sunday and I am sure that fasting and prayer with a consecration to Our Lady was the gasoline behind it.
Monday, May 16. Fr. Joseph Wolfe in the EWTN Mass had a precious homily, and read a letter that Archbishop Michael Sheehan from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM had sent to his sheep for Lent 2011. It defined the state of grace necessary for reception of the Eucharist. I looked it up in the Internet and read it in their Archdiocesan newspaper. How beautiful it is to tell the Truth to our Church, and not just ignore it with respect to this truth.
So, this homily meant so much to me because millions of people heard the rules… It also touched me because if Jesus gets so sad when He is received without any attention to His love as He told St. Faustina, imagine how He feels (and He is human as He was 2,000 years ago; therefore, able to truly suffer) when He is received in the state of mortal sin! I wanted to fly and go to Santa Fe and hug this Archbishop. In the other hand, I was delighted that EWTN read this letter since it went to millions of people worldwide…
On this day also, I cooked standing for 2 hours without any problems. My illness of POTS which precluded such activity and forced me to sit down in a bar stool next to the stove, has been treated with naturopathic techniques and again, God’s infinite mercy not only diagnosed it on July 16, but has treated it when the disease has been declared incurable by Mayo Clinic. My memory which was soo bad some two years ago, is now also very much back, at least 80% as well…
Tuesday, May 17. I had shared with my sons an update about my health and wanted to share it with a local priest, since I know he has prayed for me in the past. However, I never write to people before checking with the Lord. Yet, I had a big desire to do so. Then, I understood in prayer at the 3 PM hour that if I remain faithfully fasting my will and trying to do His will in everything, my inclination to send it was from the Holy Spirit and not a temptation. Satan or my flesh have no power over my mind and soul when I am obedient to God in everything. This was another example of the fruits of trying to say yes to Him 24/7.
Saturday, May 21. I took a piece of paper and wrote what I should say every time that I start wondering about what is next in my life. I must use the Jesus’ prayer and give a little account of my major problems and say yes to them. I should ask also for wisdom to truly become the best servant possible. I wrote:
Prayer to be said often, and most especially when feeling confused, tired of running the race, afraid, etc. – “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. I am the servant of the Lord. Do unto me according to Your will. I say yes to ignore what is next for my life regarding blogs, or going to personally speak of the mercy of God in my life, or the future of my illness and left eye. I accept these crosses and passion for Your glory. Lord, please give me the wisdom, understanding and trust in Your love and mercy to be the best servant. Keep Satan away. Mother, saints and angels, pray for me. “
This last part of the prayer was answered with plenty of help on May 24, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, when I did another consecration to her after another accelerated preparation in 3 days. More on it later.
Sunday, May 22. In the EWTN Mass, for Communion they sang the “Pescador de Hombres” and possibly because one of the new transitional Deacons has Hispanic roots… I had fallen asleep a little (since the Live daily Mass comes in at 5 AM and (close to 6 AM) I became a little sleepy, but the song woke me up. Lo and behold, we arrived at 7:30 AM for the 8 AM Mass, and the cantor for the Mass, a wonderful charismatic retired policeman, he was rehearsing the Ave Maria. My heart totally melted … It was also used during the Communion time…!!! My two favorite songs that are in my IPod multiple times from different artists were played for me in two different parts of the U.S… and during the Communion time. Wow!
After Communion, I understood several things. For one, the celebrant had mentioned that we are in a treasure hunt in this life, just like the game he played as a child in India. My Lord seemed to show me that in the treasure hunt game of my life, my treasure will be found in my “yes” trash can, where I deposit everything I need at His feet, things that I do not understand, crosses, my entire will, etc. He loves to hunt for such treasure, the treasure of myself in a chosen state of death to my will… It is His favorite treasure so that He can work with my God given gifts and participate in the redemption of souls… It made so much sense.
I came home and I had had only a cup of tea in my body which I drank at 6 AM. I hate to do that because my brain is one of the organs I care the most for. I do not like submitting this important computer to extreme lack of nutrients. Around 10 AM, I had my all protein small breakfast and came to my room, and voila, a huge teaching came about.
I had heard a prayer not to be deceived in the recent past and the topic was enlarged on this morning. He started with a series of Bible readings.
Luke 9: 37-43 which led me to Mark 9:14-29. It is the story of a demon in a young man and his father asked Jesus to help him and said, “If You can” because His disciples had tried and could not drive the demon out. Jesus answered, “‘If you can!’ EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE TO ONE WHO HAS FAITH!” Later, the disciples asked Him why they could not drive the demon out and Jesus said, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” In other places, it is attributed to Him to say, “This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting.” But in Matthew 17:19, referring to the very same story, when the disciples inquired why they could not drive the demon out, He said, “Because of your little faith.” (Ouch!)
I was already on this strict diet to lose wt.. The Lord had insisted over and over that actually, this losing of wt. (which finally has slowed down) is not all for losing wt. per se, but to fast precisely in this particular moment, and if I do not lose wt. too fast after the initial rapid loss, all the better because my intention will be more towards an action of fasting than just losing pounds. In an epiphany of sorts, I understood that right now I am doing 3 things:
1. My diet is a form of fasting for food
2. Fasting my will and throwing all in my “yes to the will of God” trash can is an act of faith.
3. Prayer: this day I had planned to start a major 33 day preparation in 3 days for consecration to Our Lady Help of Christians… (May 24) as I did for May 13.. And there it was: the perfect plan to get Satan out of the way… with fasting, prayer and faith and another consecration to my Mother…!!! This is what excites me about God… He defend us against the evil one when we do not even think he is around. But this morning was also full of more teaching…
At 11:15 AM, this is what I understood and clearly:
How can I discern spirits around me…? There are so many voices out there… How to understand if the things that Satan or the world or the flesh of other human beings, which could crowd me, are from God or not?
11:20 AM – I understood that the force of the evil one can be brutal and most especially when it has to do with efforts to glorify God and to save souls. We can pretend that we can decide what is Satan’s temptation to others, but how could we tell the difference if it is from God or from Satan? How can we decide what is a deception on our part or on the part of someone else? How can I understand the moment and drive all these demons out?
For some reason, today the word deception hit me like a rock. I thought of Abraham. How many must have told him, “Abraham, you are deceived. You are crazy. How can you think about dropping your life as it is and take off to another land?” I understood further that we can pretend to be able to discern spirits, but ultimately, those forces are so powerful that we find ourselves in a boat in the middle of the lake, with a raging storm that is ready to capsize the boat and Jesus sleeping it off, or so we think… We know the story and Jesus was awakened in similar circumstances by His apostles who I presume were screaming with fear and anxious because Jesus did not care for them….!!! Ouch….
The truth is that we all can be deceived by even good people who are deciding for God and with good intentions. They are discerning for us the “plan of God.” My eyes opened wide. I could deceive others myself and try to change their course if I tell them what to do or not to do…!!! All of us can deceive each other. But there is nothing as effective to discern those ideas that seem sooo good and logical, and embark in things that God calls us to do as He did call Abraham in his old age, than prayer, fasting of food and of our wills and the absolute certainty (faith, trust) that God is in charge.
In these moments of turmoil, especially for major decisions and when voices are all over us, the best is to ask God not to tell us too much, but to give us more faith, like that of Abraham, knowing well that even it if the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains… He said it! So, it is true. It has nothing to do with asking to calm the storm per se. It has to do with our faith and trust that He is in charge and I am just a servant, and therefore, He will eliminate all demonic or human interference in the plans He has for my life. How could I be deceived this way? He will convict us of what it is right and at the end, however we do, it will be His will and perfect and necessary for my soul and the souls of others.
In Luke 7:30, the Pharisees and the scholars of the law were against the plan of God that the Baptist was preaching, since they did not go to receive his baptism of water. I always think that they did not go to John out of pride… They thought they knew it all since they were serving God…A great deception… Hmm… So, the plan of God was stumbled upon and rejected… If we examine this subject of discerning spirits, we can find out that the rock or foundation of such discernment is to follow “El Si de Maria.” He is too merciful to allow me to err if I remain in His love by obeying Him. If we are constantly aiming at doing the will of God, how can I go wrong and end up doing something that it is not His will?
This Yes covers it all: we are found by God in His Presence saying yes to every present moment (that is prayer, a relationship of love) and that is faith that He exists and that He is in charge of us… Well, in my poor theology formation, to me the Gospel of this morning becomes alive: He is the Truth, the Way and the Life. In the Truth of His love and teachings I say Yes to the will of the Father, which is the Way He showed us all the way to Calvary, and in the process it gives me Life and abundantly… As most homilies for today established, it was said that we must seek Jesus because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. However, we always fall short in telling or repeating the how to… I have become totally convinced that we should teach more and more on the how to! Once we try our best to practice this yes to God’s will, we start seeing and understanding so much that giving our will away becomes a simple pleasure.
My Lord kept at it and sent me to Mark 6, the case where Jesus liberated the Gerasene demonic, the one who had a legion of demons. Once he was freed, he wanted to follow Jesus and Jesus said in verse 30, “No. Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord has done for you.” I was then sure that on this Sunday I had a major teaching in order to be sure that I do not fall into deception from voices around me!
When I was sent to move from Indiana back to Cleveland OH and just because I was asked to do so in Houston, TX as I commented before, the question was: How do I know that it is from God, the offering of the jobs as foretold in Texas? I remember clearly that I was given a word of knowledge: “If you believe that God is the One, proceed and because you believe He is in charge, He will stop you before you commit to the move.” In hindsight, my faith, prayer and abandonment to God’s will in a situation that had no logical explanation in worldly terms, triumphed and brought many, many blessings to the entire family plus my second major professional persecution!!!
Monday, May 23. The news brought us the devastation of Joplin, Miss from the previous day. This tornado had winds of 198 miles/hour… It is the worst disaster in the last 60 years. A large 360 bed hospital was hit and I hurt to hear that some patients that were respirator dependent could not be moved out of ICU and they died…If they were very sedated or unconscious, they never knew what happened. However, some patients are in the process of coming off assisted ventilation and they go through some hours a day without it… So they are pretty alert. It was hard to digest these stories.
I went to Mass to 6:30 AM and the main celebrant was Archbishop Dominic Jala from the Archdiocese of Shillong, in north eastern India. The Lord asked me to offer the Mass for this His apostle.
At 10 AM, President Obama was being greeted by a great multitude in Ireland where his great-great-great grandfather was from. I started thinking that God is so alive in our lives. For at least a week or more, I have felt so much love for this man. And this is the most pro-choice US President ever. I never hated him but most definitely, I was not his admirer either. And from that to actually loving this man, seeing him with so much mercy, laughing with his jokes and finding him so O.K., it revealed to me that God had changed my heart, and that now I can truly pray for him, for his salvation, for his eternal future and get it… I also found interesting that when you want somebody to change on a moral basis, there is nothing like asking for God’s mercy but from a pleading heart who loves the brother… Wow!
These things give me so much enthusiasm and increases my faith and trust in this God/Man who did the same thing with the prostitute, and Who is changing my heart out of His mercy, because I am trusting in Him and throwing everything into the “yes to God’s will” trash can while fasting on food as well… I further understood that I may not be a prostitute, and yet, I could prostitute my soul by disliking or hating my brother. These are two different forms of prostitution, and the latter seems to me to be the most descriptive for my relationship with God. In the first case, we can prostitute our bodies. In the second, we prostitute our souls by denying a human being of his dignity of being a Temple of the Holy Spirit, regardless of his sinful state.
Tuesday, May 24. This was the glorious feast of my Mother under the title of Our Lady Help of Christians. She is so venerated in my country. We have a hi school of girls ran by an order of nuns that belongs to Don Bosco’s heritage, and of course, a hi school for boys, the Salesians. In Spanish we do not call her Nuestra Señora Auxilio de los Cristianos… We call her simply by the plain name of María Auxiliadora.
I did my second consecration to her in this month. Back at home, I had a formidable teaching which actually re-enforced my status as a daughter of my Father and redeemed by His Son.
1. First of all I was reminded that Jesus is constantly praying for me in a very personal way and all the time. John 17:9-10
2. Then, I was taken to Luke 6 and reminded of my blessings.
a) I am blessed because of being persecuted in the past. At the time, I did not take it as an actual blessing.
b) I am blessed because I am materially poor. (All my money was given away, and I presume about half a million dollars and maybe more)
c) I am blessed because I love my enemies (like Mr. Obama who agrees with the slaughter of the innocents)
3. Then I was taken to Ephesians chapter 2.
a) One day, I will be raised up with Jesus (verse 6)
b) I am His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance. (Verse 10)
c) Jesus came to preach peace for those near, as I feel when I receive Him, and through Him, I have both access in one Spirit to the Father. (12)
d) So, I am not a stranger, traveler or sojourner, but I am a fellow citizen with the holy ones and a member of the household of God (19), and Jesus is my capstone. (20)
4. Ephesians 3
a) I can become a minister to preach like St. Paul and according to the eternal purpose of God that He accomplished in Christ Jesus (11) in Whom I can have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in Him (13).
b) St Paul asks me not to lose heart over my afflictions as I seek a renewal in Christ as explained in Ephesians 4.
SUMMARY: In Christ I can do all things and therefore I should never lose heart or worry how this could happen.
Wednesday, May 25. This is the feast of Our Lady of Consolation. The only Roman Catholic Basilica in Ohio is designated as the shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. It is one of some 60 basilicas in the United States. It is located in Carey, a little town between Toledo and Columbus, although much closer to Toledo. I have been there and in order to give more information about her history that brought her from Europe to Ohio, I have placed a “page” titled Our Lady of Consolation.
It was raining on this day and the expressway becomes a nightmare; therefore, I was going to bypass Mass altogether because I did not feel super well. Yet, I felt His push to go. Just to be sure this was from God, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me a page in His Book with the word “go” three times… And of course, I opened the Bible and yes, the word “go” was there three times… I then realized that I had to do another consecration to my Mother under this title of Our Lady of Consolation and honor her in the Mass.
In my Holy Hour I did the consecration and I understood that I should ask in this day for whatever I needed, and I felt that it would be a special moment after three consecrations to my Mother in13 days with fasting of my will the best I could, fasting of food and much prayer. I kept saying to my Lord that I only wanted the grace to do His will 100% and He kept insisting to ask for all I wanted or needed. Eventually, I had do what He wanted, and asked for everything that needs to be done to proclaim the message of God’s Mercy and the importance of the “Si de María.”
To my surprise, I was delighted with the words of the Gospel for this day. John 15: 7-8. “If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become My disciples.” Wow… Of course, if I remain in Him and I obey His Word, I will only ask what is agreeable to His will. I was glad to have given Him a list of items, which at the Consecration of the bread and wine, I had placed in the paten. He can truly lavish us with His graces in ways that are funny…
1. Doing the will of God is the key to enter the Kingdom of God. I suspect that in the degree of determination and purity of doing so, our lives will shine for others. I then can be used for the purpose that I was created and I can become an evangelist, whether an unsuspected one or a huge voice/light in the darkness. This part is up to Him…
2. But how to do it? How radical should we be at this endeavor?
1) The key to these questions is in the understanding that God has no past; He has no future. He is!!! (“I Am,” He said.) If this is so, I have to live my yes in every present moment. The question is, “How to understand what He wants of me every moment of my life?” Well, the point is that I do not have to understand much. I only have to be totally ready to do what He says, or accept whatever He allows in my life without questions or pros or cons or fears… He gave clear instructions about it. Do I want spiritual fruits in my life? Then, I must become a mustard seed that falls to the ground and dies…
2) The work involved is to agree EVERY EARLY MORNING to say yes to His will at every moment and to everything… This is a great act of trust in Him, and it will open the ocean of His mercy for the rest of the day. The rest of the day should be spent cleaning my temple of all the garbage in order to make it a place of worship… And what garbage? Well, precisely the garbage of my will, my desires, my plans for the day and for the future… I remember when I was asked by financial planners what kind of retirement I wanted, and advised me to plan early… At times this memory makes me laugh… At times I get scared that I could have fallen into his insane worldly custom. How could I have planned for a future that did not exist? In fact, I could have died years before my plan came to be realized… Can we all see this fact?
3) But why should I do that? I only have to say yes to His will because Jesus said it in so many ways, plus He and His Mom lived it… He was soooo clear… I hate to even repeat it these many times that He said it and left no doubts about it. He clearly established that to be His follower (to do His will) we have to DENY OURSELVES (die to our will…), PICK UP OUR CROSSES (Hmm… That is, to say yes to every single cross encountered every present moment and say, YES to it, whether is an illness, or persecution or tiredness or our ego frustrated because people do not understand us, etc.), and TO FOLLOW HIM, or to do what He did while on earth… Hello! Is the plan clear or not?
Once I give everything to Him by running to the trash can and drop in there hurts, worries, fears, desires not met, injustices against me, dreams and more dreams of what could happen or not, it is then, and only then, that I have cleaned my inner temple of distractions and all kind of garbage, even good garbage, and I can turn around and worship Him and praise His Holy Name. Gees… It is so simple. I also make sure that my sufferings are placed in the golden bowl next to the Tabernacle and that I talked about before, to be offered as sacrifice in my common priesthood for the sake of the Kingdom, especially for a Pentecost for the ministerial Priesthood, and for the salvation of souls, including my own.
3. Fruits of the death of my will and saying yes to His will are simply a dream…
1) I hardly have any difficulty in remembering and running to drop garbage to the Yes trash can
2) More and more and when in the midst of a difficult present moment, I find myself saying and with a huge smile, a big Yes to whatever. In fact, I relish it. I feel like I am a heavy weight boxer who has overcome the enemy. The peace and joy that come with it is something new in my soul. No human being had trained me to do this ever… Why? In the other hand, why didn’t I arrive to this experience until now?
3) It is sooo simple to understand. To say yes to His will represents an act of trust that opens wide the doors of my soul to God’s mercy and to the Holy Spirit’s action. He lives within but God respects my will first and foremost, precisely because He loves me… Once I open wide my soul with a trust that taps His mercy, the Holy Spirit takes over and reminds me all the time when garbage is accumulating or even diagnoses right away even garbage that appears insignificant. This starts a revolving source of grace, and it is what means to live His abundant Life… This is what it means to follow in His footsteps…
4) The more I do, moment by moment, what He wants with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, that much more the furnace of grace of doing the Father’s will becomes fire and this fire will lighten other’s paths. And lo and behold, I am an evangelist moment by moment.
5) Yet, there is another aspect of all of this: every present moment when I turn around and clean my temple with the understanding since early morning that I want to do my Father’ will, the Spirit becomes anew in my soul… Of course, He lives there but His action in my soul is tied up by my will. The moment I walk all over my will, the Spirit of the living God can guide me for the next present moment because my soul can hear the whispers of His advice, and the guidance is in all aspects: my words, attitudes, love for everyone regardless (like Preside Barack Hussein Obama), forgiveness, assistance to resist judgment or negative thoughts about others. And what is this? A new Pentecost! This new Pentecost (new not because is different since it is the same Spirit, but new because my soul becomes reborn with more graces) as it happened in the original Pentecost and even in the personal Pentecost of Our Lady, it will equip me to run and tell others about the Word, the Truth and the Life.
If I want to pretend to do evangelization, I should constantly do what our Mother did, and say Yes to God’s will. So this trust can tap His mercy and with His mercy, I can personally clean my inner self, my temple so that my prayer can raise as incense, and once there, the Spirit takes over the preaching of the Good News in my words or by my witness. And “Colorin, colorado, este cuento se ha acabado.” (The end of the story). I am sorry… that is written in Spanish, but it is the best common slang sentence that we use to mean that we have gotten it. It is hard to translate… I tried some months ago in another blog, but I will try it again and remember it is slang with a poetic rhyme to it… “Reddish, red, here the story ends.”
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION requires a NEW ME, and a new me needs a radical opening of my temple to the action of the Holy Spirit within, by opening the doors of my will to His, so that He can take over the process. Our Lady was the first evangelist. His Son came to us in order to empower us with His Spirit (as she was) in order to be sent to the ends of the world. I can pray all I want but if I keep my will intact with much garbage within, my temple will not be place of prayer… So He said… Then, God the Holy Spirit cannot work through me. I can ask for vocations to have evangelists every place and with great desire, but the fire that we need to be effective laborers, will be lacking. I imagine that at the present time, the laity looks sleepy for the Priests. They need our fire… like never before. Our prayer for them will not be powerful and transformative until we accept our need for our own new Pentecost and take action, following the example of our ancestors in the faith, and most importantly, our Mother in heaven!
I MUST CLOSE THIS TOPIC OF THE “Si de Maria” with my promise to you all: I have seriously started this journey of working very hard to say Yes to my Father’s will in the ways I have explained in the last 3 blogs, hoping that my temple can truly become cleaner than before and a place of true worship, so that I can ask and BE HEARD in obtaining a New Pentecost for all ministerial priests, where they can show us faces that are transformed by their falling in love with the Crucified, a by-product of saying afresh a radical “yes” to His will and moment by moment, and this way, allowing the Spirit to change them from glory to glory… It is the way to thank Him for His Church by cooperating with her sanctification. So help me God!