Exactly six month ago on December 25th I went into much detail about evangelization and how we still were not too successful in bringing many back to the Church. I had found many Internet resources with information regarding our past efforts, teaching and methods of evangelization, and yet, I thought at the time that we still came short in bringing solid change about membership numbers for Sunday Masses. This month I was given the topic for this blog and one more clue to help resolve the puzzle of evangelization. On December 25th we celebrated His coming to earth and this event seems to have a common thread with the present message, because I am sharing it with you on the feast day of a man who came to announce the coming of Jesus, the little baby who at St. John’s the Baptist time of the announcement was already 30 years old.
This is the new clue: if I were asked, “Why is it that many Roman Catholics do not even attend Sunday Mass,” I would answer, “Because they do not know that God is crazy about them.” Of course, I mean totally nuts, absolutely out of His mind, and desiring that each of us would feel His love EVEN if He would never be loved back…!” To that extent, He has tried all kind of formulas to let us know that He is truly in love with each one of us and exactly in the same amount, regardless of any sin baggage. So, we know that He became a human being like us in order to try to convince us of how much He loves us. In other words, He did not send any more teachers or prophets and the Baptist was the very last one , because He came Himself.
All the reasons explained last December are logical, science based and uses models and methods as recommended by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. I wrote about the need for witnesses which according to Pope Paul VI has more power than words per se. But what apparently it does not re-enforces is that such witness should be based in the experience of the love of God on a personal basis. One thing is to say that we know that God loves us, and another one, to act in accordance to this truth, one that forces us to run and tell others about it. In my new look at this topic of evangelization and after my experiences with God during this month of June, if we “know” His love as a matter of fact in our hearts, and not just as a concept in our heads, we cannot resist the impulse to tell it to the whole world, even if in the interim, we look like crazy people.
Said in another way: if my experience is such, one coming from a plain human being without a formal theology formation that could have brainwashed me to say these things, if we do not have an spectacular process of evangelization in the entire world is because we are not believing and feeling and dancing with joy that He loves us but in a super crazy way… Not just here and there, but every second of every minute, and in my case ever since I was created in the womb of my mother. It means that I have not allowed the Holy Ghost to put me to dance as He did John the Baptist as a 6 month old fetus.
I would argue that the easy way to evangelize without even trying comes by tasting His love for us, or said in another way, by falling in love with Him. If we experience His love, we become a showcase for others. So, why isn’t that we do not do something about it? Because of the feast of the Sacred Heart, this feast that is all about His love for us… with a Heart that is on fire for each of us, I want to bring a sort of spiritual/medical work-up of our souls, just like I did with my patients in my doctor years. So, there are many ways that can expedite this process of telling others, of convincing others, of re-wiring the brain of all of us about the Gospel.
But medical workups are not the medicine itself. They only lead to the treatment. So, I will pass on “a few highlights” of what I lived this month as little signs and wonders that catapulted me into tasting His love for me even further.
Medical work-up to be applied to spiritual illness/blindness: I was trained to see a patient and his/her face and body, and without even talking to the patient start a list of signs and symptoms. Pain was obvious in the face of the one suffering. Depression was obvious in the face of anyone. Anxiety would be present in the demeanor of a patient as he /she talked back to me. Color of the skin would tell me if severe anemia was present. Dryness of their skin during the original handshake would spoke of dehydration or very poor nutrition at a cellular level, regardless of body weight.
So, just seconds after I saw a patient I knew many things. It is the same with any soul. They tell you if they know the love of God. You see it in their faces. They have a peaceful appearance. They engage you with a smile. They are respecting you with a profound reverence because they know you are an image of God. The soul that lives in the Presence of God (the one who knows God loves him/her) is very easy to diagnose. I would add another symptom: if we do not show our becoming out of our minds every time that Jesus is “made” at the Altar, we have not met His love the way He wants us to experience it; that is, REAL, happening right and there. So, we ourselves have ways to tell if inside of us we truly know that He is totally crazy about us, or if we just simply suppose it is so because the Bible or the catechism say so!
Let me give you an example: this past week, Life on the Rock (EWTN) presented Leah Darrow, a 25 year old who went into fashion and modeling. She had a major conversion and out of the blue and pretty much like the one of St. Paul of Tarsus. When she was talking about Jesus, in her finding of Him in the road to the world of fashion and modeling, her eyes teared, her face glowed and her expressions were angelic. Chastity was her main theme… What a valor of this young woman!
She was so articulate… Wow! As a public speaker, she got an A+ in my book. She said that we should become a “billboard and or a microphone for Christ,” and that we have to have very good working definitions of our terms. She defined modesty as decency! – “If in the morning you find yourself dressed in something provocative, not decent, just change again.” And she was so right. Indecent clothes are an affront to the dignity of anyone who sees it, or said in another way, against the dignity of a son/daughter of God called to be holy as our Father is. Our clothes can become a billboard of indecency! Ouch!
She also felt that we have to have a true definition of love. Love should be defined as, “DESIRING THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE BELOVED.” And there you have the Sacred Heart and what it means for us. Whatever it took God to do it, He did it all to give us the greatest good for each one of us… Shouldn’t we do the same with or brothers and sisers in order to comply with the second most important commandment?
If I had a teen ager at home, I would buy this DVD from EWTN and the number of the program is LRD681. Short of that, watch it in www.youtube.com/ewtn. These are saints in the making, and we cannot miss to be part of their lives at least through the message of chastity that she is promulgating with her soul – not just with words and more words! Was this a commercial for you? You bet it is… and I am not paid a penny for doing it. Yet, as a mother, I believe that this DVD could bring holiness to another teenager or young adult.
I will share now some of the important aspects of my month in spiritual terms, some of which revealed His crazy love for me.
Sunday, May 29. My son and I visited the storage place where I keep many things that came from Toledo. There are many paintings, books, and a handmade Louis XVI living room set that I bought many years ago in Costa Rica but originally from Colombia! It cost me $2,500.00. It is French Provincial, and it was my favorite style in furniture when I was making tons of money. I wanted to get rid of it before I came but the price and style demanded a careful marketing by a professional, something that I did not feel like it at the time. Besides, I did not want to dispose of it very early in order to keep the house in the best shape possible for selling purposes, since the economy was down (early 2008) and homes would take months to sell. Of course, mine sold in 4 months because I waited until God gave me permission to sell, against any human logic and for which I looked like a total crazy woman.
Three years later, I know that this wait was soo important so this present home would be emptied by other two friends of my son, plus he was in between jobs which would have prevented him taking over the expenses of the house on his own; if I had not obeyed the Lord and resisted the shame of doing something so crazy, I could not have come to northern California. My son in L.A. had said to go live with him in an apartment. I was considering returning to Costa Rica altogether, since I had given away all my monies as God had led me to. So, the future of this blog was part of the plans of God; I needed this son here to set up the site and of course, I did not know I was going to write a blog until 4 months after I arrived and after God sent the idea and my son put the site together. I was also sent to my present parish, also chosen by God. Well, as we visited this storage place with all these things reverberating in my mind, a terrible darkness overcame me because it reminded me of so many things… But God as always has His own ideas to guide us and teach us. I also kept thinking that I was so much of the world; I had studied interior decorating and it was a pastime for me. However, in hindsight, there was never an attachment to this lifestyle… None! I gave it away and hope to never have these luxuries ever. But notice how this darkness as Abraham experienced at one time, was redeemed by what happened shortly after.
We came back and it was time for the Live Benediction from Hanceville, AL via EWTN that airs here at the 3 PM hour… The hour of Mercy!!! On this day, still with a dark feeling in my mind and soul from just having visited this place and remembered so much, as I was present with the rest of people in the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament for this half hour in Alabama but towards the end, He (Eucharistic Jesus) seemed to be sending a long list of items (17 in total) with guidance for the near future. I even took a pen to write as fast as I could as Fr. Joseph Wolfe was blessing all with the Monstrance at hand. It left me wondering about the timing, the occasion, etc.!
God has used this method in past years and announced major changes as I have shared before. However, the big question is always, “But what about the devil in this plan? Is he behind it?” Unless major signs come to prove God’s will like it happened when I received a change for my life while at a medical conference in Houston, TX, the wondering continues… It is always the very same topic: my humanity seem to forget that He loves me so much that I will not be deceived, as long as I seek Him day and night willing to obey His commandments, and not just willing it, but actually practicing such abandonment to His divine providence. But I always tend to lose trust in such love! In the next pages, you will read why I am stating so.
Monday, May 30. Memorial Day
At 3:30PM, there I had the first of many answers to my fears, or said differently, His love showed up to settle me in the Truth…
Deuteronomy 1 : 1 and following. The Lord told Moses that they had stayed long enough at this mountain (Horeb). He said, “Leave and go to the hill country of the Amorites, to all surrounding region… Then continue to Lebanon as far as the Great River (the Euphrates). Verse 8: “I have given the land over to you… Go now and occupy the land I promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” In subsequent verses, Moses complains to the Israelites of how difficult it was for him to “bear the crushing burden that you are, along with your bickering! “ He reminded them that he gave them elders that they chose themselves and started the journey to the country of the Amorites, but how even that the Israelites had been sent by God to occupy this land, they were afraid… They wanted to send some to recognize the land. Moses also told them that they had chosen one member from each of the 12 tribes to go and find out, and that the news were good.
However, how they refused to go up (verse 26); they defied the command of the Lord and went to murmur in their tents, complaining that “out of hatred for us (big lie), the Lord has brought us up out of the Land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites and destroy us.” Moses said to them in verse 29, “I tried to dissuade you. He goes before you. He will fight for you, since you saw Him carrying you as a child.” Verse 32: “Despite this, you would not trust the Lord, your God, Who journey’s before you.” Moses also reminds them that they repented and decided to go and fight by themselves and God said, “Do not go unless you end up beaten. You defied the command of the Lord and the Amorites chased you like bees… On your return you wept before the Lord but he did not listen.” Ouch!
I UNDERSTOOD ON THIS DAY that this was the best reminder of my fears for this list I had received the day before. It is obvious that Moses was depicting exactly what happens to many of us. We are told to do something and we are afraid… Worse, Moses reminds them of the love of God for them since their escape from Egypt, but they lacked trust in His love… And God did not like it… Even worse, they took it upon themselves to take over their lives… and this is pretty much what is going on in our world… In short order, I realized that my visit to the storage place was really a reminder of all the things God had done for me… So many things… are depicted in so many paintings and area rugs and the famous Louis XVI living room set. And shortly after the reminder, He came at the hour of Mercy and as He was presented worldwide Live from Hanceville, to give me directions, to remind me of His great love for me… What a God!
I felt like a jerk! But you will read that these fears kept coming back of and on, since the list of “possible” upcoming events had given me a little belly ache because it contained doing things that I rather stay away from…What truly threw me off was the fact that it seemed as if I was back in Toledo, OH, in 2003 when I was told to stay put in a home and without a job at the time, with huge bills and my sons providing as they could, which converted the experience into “hell on earth.” There is a shame at times that is very powerful when one is confronted with doing what the “world” does not approve of.
But I repeat this topic because the call of God is always PERFECT, and not only because He is perfect and just, but because He loves us so much that He would not allow anything that is harmful to us. Again and again: His love for us would prevent it! We simply have not been trained in trusting His love and understanding His modus operandi… Example: His coming and His death and resurrection and the entire Bible is all about His love for us! Hmm…And all the while, every time He calls us to do something that seems difficult, He is doing it to benefit our own transformation and salvation and of those around us. It is usually His mercy correcting the deviations of our path of salvation, but in general we do not get it!
Tuesday, May 31. Feast of the Visitation.
During the morning I went back to the great teaching received the day before, and how hard it had been the visiting of the storage place that brought the memories of the people around me at the time who failed to encourage me with compassion, with wisdom and merciful love. So, my dear Mother in heaven reminded me of this, “Do not recall the past because you then sin against your brother or sister! Concentrate on being present to God asking for His mercy and trashing all that can disrupt your purity of heart and mind.” I wrote in my journal, “Wow”… ¡Qué mamita más linda que tengo.” ‘ “What a beautiful Mommy I have.”
Thursday June 2. After saying the Rosary I was led to a page in the Bible. It was Deuteronomy 11: 1-4. “Love the Lord, your God, therefore, and always heed His charge, His statues, His decrees and commandments. It is not your children who have not known it from experience, but you, yourselves who must now UNDERSTAND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, your God; His majesty, His strong hand and outstretched arm; the signs and deeds He worked among the Egyptians, on Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and all of his land, what He did to the Egyptian army and to their horses and chariots, engulfing them in the water of the Red Sea…”
Verse 8: Keep all the commandments, then, which I enjoin you today that you may be strong enough to enter in and take possession of the land into which you are crossing…” Notice how He was clear… We should obey because He has proven to us His love in so many ways, just like the Israelites, and our strength to do what He wants of us depends precisely in this relationship of love… To take possession of the Promised Land meant to me taking possession of this His love for us, to feel it, to experience it… It was another lesson that I needed. But as the Israelites did, I still feared what may come next for my life, especially after the list received the previous Sunday.
The Live Mass of Installation in Florida of Bishop Felipe de Jesús Estévez, a Cuban/American, was aired around 10 AM my time. He reminded us that our present Pope when he visited the U.S in 2008, he had prayed for a new Pentecost for our country…! Awesome! My great moment was during the Communion time when they sang the “Pescador de Almas…”
Friday, June 3rd: I started my novena to the Holy Spirit, one that in 2003 I had put together from many sources. After Communion I was told to offer it for my Pastor as well.
Saturday, June 4th. It was raining hard for the 8:30 Mass and my left eye continued to have these shadows, which get in the way in days where rain and wind surround cars in the middle of a busy expressway! It is scarry.
Sunday, June 5th. After I had received Communion, I saw Jesus showing me His Heart which He had in His left hand and as He said, “I give you My Heart. Go and give it to others by showing them My Love.” It was a clear mandate for me. In later stories I will explain how I interpret what (rarely) I “see” after I receive the Eucharist.
I saw an encore presentation of the World Over with Bishop Gassis from Sudan speaking about the July 9th upcoming separation of Sudan in two parts: North and South. He spoke of the fear they have for the safety of the Sudanese Christians who live in the North, soon to be Moslem country. In the mean time, in much of Sudan many are dying of hunger, contaminated water, malaria, tuberculosis and gastrointestinal infections. Let us keep in prayer all Christians living in this country, and for July 9th not to become a worse scenario than it is.
I thought of this injustice which is lived in many parts of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. I thought of myself, with so much! My greatest possession is His love, knowing Him as alive and truly present in the Eucharist. I thought that may be the fact that many Catholics remain away and have not found solace in His great Eucharistic Love, means that we are still in Egypt. We need to get out of that land and move on to the Promised Land when we all go to Sunday Mass because we know Him personally. We have to fight and displace the Amorites, those who deny His Presence, but for that, we need to trust in His love and mercy ourselves… and that He can do it for us because He loves us.
For the last few days I had severe symptoms of my illness of POTS but just in the early morning (since, I have been much better). It has a scientific reason and one day I will talk about how I am getting cured of this imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. In the other hand, I started wondering if Satan was also showing up and oppressing me, now that I have a new call for my future. Of course, all these enlightened moments are coinciding with the novena to the Holy Spirit!
Monday, June 6th. I went early to do my Holy Hour before the noon Mass. I discussed with God at length my reticence about my future work with pros and cons (if it is truly from God as received on May 29th.) I questioned and questioned the veracity of the list, just trying to be in the side of caution. After the noon Mass I stayed for some time, left and turned within the parking lot, and suddenly I encountered a car right in front of mine with someone who seems to be part of the team suggested in this same list of May 29th… Was it a sign? How many times in your life you have such meeting and exactly minutes after you have asked for veracity of a given message?
In the other hand, I did not know at that moment that I was being taught a lesson, which I did understand better as time passed. The truth was (later understood) that I am not on this earth trying to figure out things. I am here to love my God with all my heart and soul, and because He is in love with me and I should be in love with Him and so much that I trust His guidance, He will show details later on, in His time and according to the best for all. The lesson learned later: I must trust Him day and night and shut up otherwise!
June 8th. Many years ago, I had received my first Holy Communion on this date. I spent a long time just thinking about it. I meditated on the fact that I could not imagine my life without Him! Thanksgiving kept coming out of my heart, and repentance from all sins that negated our encounters ever since!
June 9th. I was given the topic and title for this blog. Prior to this date, I was wondering if I would not write any more blogs since I had not inkling on what to write about!
Friday, June 10th. Two firefighters died in San Francisco as they tried to put down a fire. They were Catholic men, one Hispanic and the other one not. So, the funerals were celebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral with Archbishop Niderauer present. The main celebrant was the priest/chaplain of the San Francisco Firefighters. The Mass was also celebrated using the two languages and brought LIVE by the local ABC and other TV stations. Interesting that prime time (3 hours) was set apart (interrupting afternoon soap operas) to air the funeral Mass of these two men and in the heart of San Francisco… I wondered if God was trying to reiterate His great love for us in order to diminish the recent scandal of an ex-governor who happens to be Catholic!
I wanted to be present with them at the Cathedral from my TV set, and of course God was still trying to convince me of many things… There were about 6,000 people and many came from other States… Obviously, you had to be of the family of firefighters to get in. For the offertory, they sang the Ave Maria. For the long Communion time while feeding so many people, they sang in two languages … El Pescador de Almas. Huh! What a treat for me and another hint that He, my God, was moving the entire world to serenade me with these songs with which I adore Him at Holy Hour.
Saturday, June 11th. I kept behaving like the Israelites in times of Moses. I kept bugging my Saint friends in heaven and mostly my Mother about this list of things… Was it truly from God?
So, she gave me a page of the Bible to read, # 999!!! Ezekiel 28:10-19.
Paraphrasing the story: the Prince of Tyre had it all (wisdom, intelligence) and even thought he was god. He made a lot of money using those two gifts and he was stamped with real perfection, complete wisdom and perfect beauty… (Wow!) He was in Eden, the Garden of God covered with every precious stone – topaz- onyx, jasper, sapphire, emeralds, etc. Verse 13b – God is telling him through Ezekiel, “Of gold your pendants and jewels were made on the day you were created. Verse 14-15. “With the cherubs I placed you. Blameless you were in your conduct from the day you were created, until evil was found in you.” Verse 18b – “I have reduced you to dust on the earth in the sight of all who should see you. Verse 19b… “You have become a horror, you shall be no more.”
She suggested that I was acting like this Prince of Tyre. Your sin is different but potentially equally fatal. You are questioning God’s ways and showing rebellion to His will. (I said, “I am sorry.”)
She said, “Never, ever more, refute or doubt God’s will for you. He loves you too much and will not confuse you. If this were not His will, He will protect you from doing it. Your only concern is to be present to this reality and accept it as His will, knowing the He is in charge of every detail.” I surmised that probably Mr. Satan was trying his best to seed me with fear and rebellion to doubt that I have been so loved and continue to be, that whatever God wants will be done because He will help me and equip me with patience, peace and joy…
Sunday, June12. – Feast of Pentecost. My Pastor was the celebrant. His homily was probably the most interesting I ever heard. Ever ! He did not repeat the scenario in the Gospel just read. He went to the meat of the subject matter with practical insights.
1) He first called our attention to the miracle of everybody understanding everybody in different languages. – My take: I personally pondered on this fact which year after year I hear but not marvel about it. It is one of the greatest gifts of Pentecost; that is, to understand each other within His Church in terms of love. I wondered if the love perceived in their souls after the Spirit had penetrated their hardened hearts (and remember that many of them had lived with Jesus for 3 years, and yet were still unable to capture the wisdom and truth of the message,) if this love was the bridge to understand the other. They felt complete, filled of love and understood it as a message, which in turn the Holy Spirit translated into their own languages.
2) My Pastor went into the best part of his homily. He said and paraphrasing, “Most of us come to God with an agenda. We have plans. Instead, we must say, ‘Holy Spirit, guide me in this decision. If I have to be uprooted, so be it.’” I add that uprooting can mean many things, but there is one universal spiritual definition: when I have to change my ways in different aspects, my way of life, my preconceived ideas and even what others expect of me, in order to do God’s will; this is an act of faith very much with Abrahamic radical tones and in my experience, I have lived this uprooting several times in my life. In fact, I am used to them.
It helped me realize that I had a list of 17 items of guidance, over which I had been agonizing for two whole weeks, and here I had the word uprooting… That was exactly the medicine to treat my malady. After Mass, the Holy Spirit surprised me since I suddenly encountered my Pastor and was led to kiss his hand as we Hispanics do with great normalcy. In America, it is not a common practice. All these stories can pretty much prove that this Pentecost Sunday was a true coming of the Holy Spirit into my heart, and once more, my God used my Pastor to move my soul to obey God.
I want to add here that in light of the last phrase, had I not come to St. Mary’s Parish, I would still have so much antagonism against Indian nationals as I have shared several times before, and a product of poor relations in my past with Indian anesthesiologists. Forever and ever, and until I die, India is no more a far away country and with the history that some of its people had given me terrible experiences. On the contrary, it has become part of me in so many ways. This is how the Holy Spirit works in our souls and uses instruments that we would have never even dared to expect the miracle from. Of course, we are One Body in Christ… We belong to each other. And I must report that my memories of these difficult doctors from India are warm. I have no negative feelings either towards them. At times I can hardly believe the big change!
Monday, June 13. The feast of St. Anthony of Padua, the Saint after whom I was named. After early Mass I ended up in a nearby 7-Eleven Store where my bank has an ATM machine. This day I found a very young Indian and very good looking employee named Paulson… Of course, in my parish, the name Paulson is very familiar… I asked him if Paulson was a common name. He gave me a little story about how the British occupied India and how this name came from them and it is found in Christian Indians. He was Catholic… Wow! We became great friends since no customers were around… Again and again, I had an encounter with another Indian person and felt at home with him. What a blessing! Three years ago this could have never happened!
Tuesday, June 14. I kept bugging my Mom about the immensity contained in the list received two weeks before. I told her never to leave me alone. She usually answers the same, “I am here, I never left.” Sometimes she is very funny. But I kept bugging her to pray for me to her Son so that I would do understand well the call, and do all what I had been told. She brought me to a part of the Bible, to 2 Samuel 6. King David danced in front of the Ark of the Lord when the latter entered the city of David. He danced with abandon. In other words, he was making a fool of himself. Saul’s daughter, Michal despised him in her heart because David had exposed himself as a commoner. My Mother seemed to say, “Always remember that the call of God to do some things in life is at times a call to become a fool for Him in the eyes of others. (I thought of St. Francis of Assisi when he took all his expensive clothes off!!!).
But then I was led to a reading in the Bible that taught me an important lesson. I was sent to the readings for the Mass of June 28! Genesis 19: 15-29. In this story the Lord sent Angels to lead Lott, wife and two daughters out of Sodom, which was ready to be punished and he and his family would be swept away as well. But Lott wanted not to leave Sodom and convinced God to allow him to hide in a small nearby town. The Lord promised to protect this town and said to Lot: “Hurry, escape there! I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Instantly I knew what it meant for me. How many of us are given gifts of all kinds, which allow us to escape spiritual death, but we take our time to comply with God’s will and in this way we lose the sense of urgency for the use of our gifts… Ouch!
And worse, God CANNOT DO MUCH MORE for other souls because we have not arrived at fully obeying God’s will for us. Yes, we are willing to obey but in our own time. This was a very important topic for later on when I realized that all along, the Lord was chipping away the ambivalences that I show in my Yes to His will. Just thinking of the list for guidance of May 29th, still was slowing me down… I was still considering my well-being but not truly hurrying up to do His will as a matter of fact… I was tying God’s hands… and did not understand my fault…
Of course, Lott had also orders not to look back at the destruction of Sodom, but his darling wife (a curious woman, of course) disobeyed and she became a pillar of salt… Wisdom 10: 6-7 alludes to it as well. In this story we have three different examples:
1) God wants a total yes no matter what, in order for Him to proceed to help others, and as Our Lady did.
2) Lott wanted to take his time…
3) Lott’s wife refused to obey God’s directions and never made it to the adjacent small town.
We can choose one of these models. No doubt that the first model rendered the coming of Messiah King to our world to makes us kids of our Dad… What about if Our Lady would have taken her time to say yes to the Archangel Gabriel? No doubt that this teaching was fine tuning my own yes… Look at the guidance of the Holy Spirit explaining things so well! Wow!
In the afternoon, at the hour of mercy, I was led to one more reading. Maccabees 4: 1-25. It describes one of the battles that God won for Israel after Judas Maccabeus had asked Him for help. I understood that our spiritual lives are a battleground where fear will reign due to our poor knowledge of the love that God has for us. Judas, on the contrary, knew his God and asked for help and got it. This was one more example of the definition of God’s mercy in Sirach 18:11-13. Man may be merciful to his fellow man, 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.” Likewise, since May 29th, He had taken the time to reprove me, to admonish me and to teach me the truth of His mercy… which wins all our battles with Satan, with the world and with our flesh.
Thursday, June 16. I went to 6:30 AM Mass and felt so drawn to thank my Dad in heaven for so much care of my soul in recent days. And voila, I felt so much love coming from Him. I was reminded during the family Rosary before Mass that I needed much improvement in my yes to what had been revealed some 18 days before. It was still very incomplete. So, during the Consecration, I asked my Father, in the Name of His Son, to change me. I wanted Him to help me say yes to His will but purely and sincerely, regardless of the tall call I had received. I told Him how much I loved all His kids and how I was willing to lay down my life (my self-will) for them with all the activity necessary to proclaim the Gospel with my life (my yes), first and foremost, and then with my lips.
I was very surprised that even the Gospel was how Jesus was teaching us how to pray to Our Father in heaven… So, at the time of the Our Father – I said it with great love and honor and glory for my Dad Whom I know loves me so much. After Communion, I repented for being so laxed in my yes to His will when it looks so complicated from a human point of view. I asked the Holy Trinity again to bless me with the grace necessary to comply with my duty as a daughter of my Father.
I kept praying also for the members of the USCCB, who were meeting nearby in Seattle, WA. I felt more accompanied than ever with them not in D.C. or Florida, but right in the Pacific side of this U.S.A.!!!
Later that evening much teaching came to me, again, to suffocate my still wondering about what may be next. In Matthew 13, Jesus is clear about how we have to sell all that we have to buy the pearl of great price or the land where the treasure is buried. So, me too, I have to sell my plans, my preferences, my comfortable surroundings, what people may think, and even dance like King David did, making a fool of myself.
I turned again to my Father in heaven, in this glorious day when His Presence was simply overwhelming and prayed what St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), left us: “Dios mío, yo no quiero conocer Tus caminos. Para eso soy tu hija. Eres Padre de sabiduría y un Padre también para mi, y si me llevas a través de la noche, sé que me llevas a Ti”
“My God, I do not want to know your ways. That is why I am Your daughter. You are a Father of wisdom and also a Father to me, and if You take me through the darkness of night, I know You are taking me to Yourself.”
Later on I called Him again. I heard clearly these words, “What do you want?” I said to Him, “Nothing else but to love You, to do Your will.” I heard this, “Then do whatever you have been told to do.” I asked Him, “Please use Your Word to explain it better and help me out more.” I was given a page and there it was, Luke 9:23. Conditions for discipleship… to deny myself, carry my cross and follow His Son… I heard, “This is how you sell everything to buy the land where the treasure is. The treasure is to do My will no matter what! “
It was a clear message.
1. A lived discipleship will buy the land with the treasure of being always faithful to His will. So simple!
2. And being faithful to His will, will reveal more and more His love for me!
3. And finally, equipped with this total trust and knowledge of His love, I can go and truly become an effective evangelizer.
Friday, June 17. Many memories came to my mind and probably from God Himself. I arrived in this area on July 8th of 2008. We had departed on July 5th. After going to Mass to St. Clement in Toledo, where my old pastor was at the time, in order to avoid the parish I was leaving, since many would come to ask questions about my departure and I was too tired to even say goodbye to this old Pastor. Yet, the Mass was of great importance when you have to drive two vehicles, my car and a U-Haul with still tons of left over’s across country for 3-4 days, and literally emulate Abraham’s journey.
After I arrived, I started going to St. Catherine of Siena Church for daily Mass here in the city where I live, but a distant church since I live in the actual periphery of the city. At the time my memory was gone. I could not remember any streets and since I have two memories, complete memories but two of them, I had to change them constantly just to see if I could remember where to turn. My heart was never at St. Catherine. We started visiting other churches but on Sunday’s and my son driving, because I had no memory to find Lamorinda parishes, three cities called as such for short, instead of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda. We also visited Piedmont and one Concord parish. I do not remember how I ended up in St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek, but the moment I arrived, I knew this was my home.
In the other hand, on this day I also realized that after 3 years, this God of love has blessed me in so many ways.
1. My memory is almost all back…
2. My illness of POTS is 95% improved.
3. My spiritual life has grown with no doubt about it.
4. I became a blogger in cyberspace.
5. I have almost become an Indian national since for God all things are possible.
6. My left eye is not doing well, but God is in charge of guiding me in regards to what to do about it. Besides He knows that this blog may have to stop if my sight gets worse! Please keep me in your prayers for the will of God to reign in this issue.
But I still was wondering about the list of things given to me on May 29th. Little did I know that I needed one more lesson…
Saturday, June 18th. Mass was to be at 8:30 AM. At 6:30 AM, the Holy Spirit convicted me about something: I had to offer this Mass for myself for resenting the Church… I was led to believe that I was not totally wrong about my assessment of the dissipation I see everywhere, but that my job was to forgive her humanity. Period. I insisted that she sometimes looks lost in the realization of the Presence of Christ among us. I was corrected big time. “No, she is not lost. She could never be lost. Some members are confused by the world agenda that Satan pushes day and night. It has been a subconscious work of the evil one in her members, but you all have failed to act on it with prayer and fasting. You have used worldly methods to spread the Faith, while all along, her illness was not properly diagnosed nor treated properly applying spiritual means. But as for you personally, your work is not to blame the Church but to forgive those who scandalize you while offering sacrifice and prayer for her, and doing it day and night. Be very patient with a Church that allowed you to meet Christ alive when you were just a child. Without her, you could not have been guided to experience God’s love in this way. It is your time to pay back and grow in patience. You are spiritually fairly mature and your responsibility is to become a mother to some in the Church, especially Priests. Work at her redemption as you work at your own conversion for her sake as well. Be patient – forgive and offer your illness for her sake.”
I then said, “I want to forgive the Church.” (At this time I was finally aware that I was carrying resentment for her although I did not think so, since I had previously dealt with this sin and had repented! Hmm!)
I heard, “Do not say that you want to forgive the Church; rather say that you are determined to do so by asking God for His mercy to be able to do it.” (Here I remembered that I still love Mr. Barack Obama so much… and without trying too hard… So, it will be possible to change my resentment into love for the things I see in the Church that show dissipation). I was directed to the prophet Micah.
Micah 6:8. “You have been told, O man, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you; only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Then I was reminded how God feels for His Church, and how I have to do the same…! Micah 7: 18-19. “Who is there like You, the God Who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency. And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.”
Again, this is God’s mercy doing its job…reproving, admonishing, teaching (Sirach 18)… Wow! At Mass I had so much joy and peace. And that afternoon I was led to go to the 4:30 PM Mass. And as soon as I arrived I realized that I had to go to confession. The Holy Spirit was finishing the work of purification of my soul. That is super mercy… My Pastor was firm with me recommending that I should let go of this resentment and have Jesus take care of His Church, and also for me to pray for her. I was asked to pray in a very special way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Huh! He did not know that it was my topic for this blog…
Our celebrant was a visiting priest who came to us from India for a few weeks. A very beautiful man. He made a point about how the Holy Spirit chose people in the first days of the Church after the Resurrection. This coincided pretty much with some of the points received in May 29. Yet, I needed to clean my temple through repentance… since my sin stays in the way of my understanding the Truth behind the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The other important point was to accept this plan as most likely representing His guidance for the future but not be terribly attached to it. If it is from God, it will be protected by God Himself. If not from God, it will self-destruct. Pretty much what Gamaliel advised the Jews who were persecuting the Apostles, in the first days after Jesus’ Resurrection. Amazing what God does!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 – Feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ.
This day was another great gift from God. You never know with Him. He can go all the way and we simply become lost in the ocean of His love. As I arrived at 6:03 AM and parked, I had the Hispanic radio station on and out of the blue, I could not turn the car off because the music of the “Pescador de Almas” started…I sat there listening and thinking, “What is going on? That is our music.” I finally entered but very touched by His saying hello on this morning in sound before we even met face to face moments later. I tried to say the Rosary for my family members but to no avail. My God and my All had much to let me understand… He asked plain blank, “Do you love Me?” I was mute… I was wondering what He was trying to tell me! He asked twice more… a la St. Peter’s story. (Keep this in mind for later). He proceeded to say, “Every time you do not believe in My love for you, you are denying Me, although in private, and not like my Apostle did during My Passion… Nonetheless, you are as guilty as he was…”
Let me explain something before I continue: the plan received on May 29th has some strong hints for me to start some form of campaign (I hate to say the word ministry…) to talk about His crazy love for all of us, which is His mercy. It just did not look logical at all in human terms and this explains why I have expressed my concerns to God and His Mother. I normally love to retrieve into my nothingness and claim that I better do not know too much, which is good, but at times, He wants us to know! Period. Since so many people are carrying on all kinds of “ministries” to explain everything possible, I questioned my own calling over and over. In other words, what I am really doing is doubting His love for me… And again, the core of this message is that I have to keep my temple clean with repentance and confession, and trust Him; but His mercy was abundant in this month and I was given ample teaching as to what to do…
He continued before Mass started and said, “Do you want to be with Me more often than not?” (Yes, I said). Do you want the spiritual and material health of your family? (O Yes, I said.) Then, believe in what I have told you over and over. Yet, your response is always, FEAR. Are you willing to leave behind the boat of your preconceived ideas about what I have asked you, and all your fears about it and false information regarding My love for you?” Hmm… There it was the explanation of the song Pescador de Almas as I arrived and which conveys this idea of leaving everything behind to follow Jesus…. This is when I know that He is crazy about me… He had it all ready… I found myself crying and thanking Him for the gift of knowing Him since I was a kid. I thought, “What would have done without that revelation?” In the other hand, guilt came to roost in my soul, since for someone who has experienced Him for sooo many years, I still try to play the games of fear, or doubt in His love for me.
He continued, “Every time you question what you understand, that often, you deny Me, which means that you deny My love for you. The more you believe in My love for you and act accordingly (without fear), that much you become ready to tell others about it. You cannot teach others about something that you yourself doubt. The power of My Spirit will be lacking in your testimony. When you allow fear to reign in your heart, ask for My mercy to destroy it! This is how you improve your trust in the love of my Sacred Heart. My mercy will come and heal you, transform you, till you abhor denying Me with your quiet fears of what is to come; fears also about how equipped or not you are to tell others what my Love and Mercy mean in your soul! It is not how much theology you know, but how much you love Me by never fearing, which is equal to doubting/denying My love for you. The mystery of the love of My Sacred Heart resides in reminding you that I love you!”
At this point I knew that I had to offer the Mass for myself to be blessed with perfect trust in His love and mercy for me. During the Mass He was willing to give me another sign… His BRUTAL PRESENCE…And how do I know? Because I had a joy that was too much… I did not know how to handle it! When He was presented by Fr. Joe Fernandez, SDB, as the Lamb of God, I wanted to scream, so great was the joy!
After receiving Communion, I saw a boat. I must clarify that I have extremely rare visions, and this was not one. Visions for me are those that come normally in Church but when I am not thinking on anything in particular with my eyes opened, while I am praying, and suddenly, I see like a photo picture of somebody or of myself, or combination of, and they are accompanied by great peace and there is no movement. It is a static image. It represents a sign of some sort.
When it is after Communion, I often find myself understanding something while I am in union with Him; at times and rarely too, there is a picture about it but there is movement. This time it was a boat, and Jesus, I and another person were in this rowboat sailing but close to the beach. He was standing. The other person was doing the rowing and I was sitting watching Jesus. At the moment, this meant that Jesus was in charge of the boat of my life, and that I was also helped by someone else.
In this moment I was asked, “Are you willing to leave your boat behind and sail in Mine? (Same as in the song: Pescador de Almas). I said a big “Yes.” I had had too much Presence and Love and teaching to do otherwise. No fear was present, and of course, this is precisely what the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus does when we receive Him: He is the Good Shepherd, the gate to our Father, the Living Word that takes possession of our soul, and all this great preparation for this particular Communion, had rendered me healed of any fear. His Truth had prepared me for the healing with His own Real Presence. This is how important the Roman Catholic Church is for all of us… Make no mistake about it! He is a good salesman and sold me the Truth before the Mass started, but my Yes to that Truth was part of the process. I was in need of His healing in order to say YES without fear, without denying him… and trusting in His love for me. THAT IS MERCY…!
So, what do you think He kept doing the rest of the day? Well, loving me more and more. I had to get Evian water which it is not stored in supermarkets in high quantities because it is very expensive and must be bought early in the week to find enough supply. I went to a Safeway supermarket in downtown Walnut Creek and they only had 3 packs. I bought them. I was led to go to another supermarket in route home and found more. At this latter place, I was offered to have a young woman come with me to the car to unload them. I declined since it was not much that I had bought, plus my POTS is so much better, that I can do many more things than before. Well, I arrived to my car and an employee (maybe 40ish) was coming from parking her car (probably to start the day) and ran to me and said, “I will unload it for you.” I became suspicious that the Holy Spirit was running crazy and He wanted to impress me with His love…
I turned the car on and the same radio station was playing this tune in Spanish, “Quise motivarte con un nuevo motivo para vivir juntos. Quise dar mi vida para vivir contigo.” – “I wanted to motivate you with a new motif/topic in order for us to live together. I wanted to give my life away in order to live with you.” Immediately I knew that He was right and there reminding me of His love and what He had done all morning… He had created a saga of events to motivate me to want to live closer to Him, and had revealed to me that I must trust in His love in order not to deny Him. He reminded me that He had died for me in order for us to live together right and there, in this parking lot! So, I started yelling in Spanish, “Te amo mi vida, te amo.” It is very common for us to say “mi vida” – “my life”, and I will translate it a little different, or what we mean, “I love You, my love, I love You.” BUT, the radio station started another tune that I applied to Him! “Tú eres un espacio de luz que sólo Tú llenas en mi vida.” – “You are a space of light that only You can fill in my life.”
This story was long. For many of you, this could sound ridiculous… Perhaps! This also could sound like a true love story. It is! He also loves the detail that the human lover has for her beloved. In our humanity, we can show love in so many ways… and most times without even saying it. And we do it because we were made in His image and He taught us how to love and show this love. He does the very same thing and has done it for all eternity… He has revealed it to us over and over, century after century, and He is still doing so in every Tabernacle in the world. The treatment for the malady of not knowing His love for each of us is to ask Him for His help, for His mercy. In the mean time, we must love each other to sort of hint to each other what it is waiting in His Heart in every Tabernacle. This love is not a dream… Is not a fantasy… It is not Hollywood’s make-believe story. His love is real.
It is up to you, and I refer to a reader who has not felt this deep love most of the time; you are the owner of your soul, but if I were you, this coming July 1, I would “enthrone the love of His Sacred Heart” in your own heart. Remember as well that fear is a symptom of denial of this love. The gate will be narrow. He calls us at times to do things we rather stay away from, but the salary we get of living this life together, He and us, is out of this world, and I mean it. For example: joy in the middle of the storm; peace when you least expect it; a sense of belonging that fills all our expectations; a family of friends who gather daily in the Temples where He resides. A romantic encounter in a parking lot!
And to think that you could be evangelizing right and left by telling others of this His love but with great power! You tell it and His Holy Spirit will penetrate hearts and change them, but it is your fiat to this love, which at the end it is the Yes of Our Lady, or the yeast that will make flour into bread, and also the one that will invite the mercy of God to those hearts. So, you are probably smiling and saying, “This is wishful thinking. We cannot do it that easy. We have to learn more about it. We have to have instruction beyond our capabilities. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS and pass it on digested to others.” But history will refute you in big terms.
1. Abraham only needed to trust God’s love for him and he did… This trust made His faith get soo fat in content that he left all and was so just and again trusting, that even allowed his nephew Lot to choose the better pastures for his sheep… Did you notice that story in a previous Mass readings?
2. Moses took a whole country across a desert and made it… God provided His very Presence during the day and night to guide them; provide bread (Manna) and water and won a few wars and they made it, despite that at times, they had fear and did not trust the Love of God for them!
3. Jesus came and nobody understood Him, and just a dozen were left in charge and that happened 2,000 years ago… So, the Holy Spirit did the work mixed with the crosses they lived.
4. Jesus’ Mom, landed in Mexico in 1531 and 10 years later nine million Aztec Indians had converted! Hmm… Isn’t interesting that the Yes of the woman clothed with the sun to do the will of the Father, has made her a formidable evangelizer since she conceived the little baby in her womb…
5. Many Saints have come and have changed the world by their yes to God’s will that entered them into God’s hall of fame, where we experience and taste His love… You know who they are! Yet, we talk about them but have not decided to bug Jesus for His mercy to do what they did… We all can do it… All…
OF COURSE WE CAN DO IT… Yes we can… but again and again, our mantra will be always and everywhere, “Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner. Come, Holy Spirit, come, enlighten my heart to see the things that are from God. Come Holy Spirit into my mind that I may know the things that are of God. Come Holy Spirit into my soul that I may belong only to God. Sanctify all that I say and do, so that all will be done for the glory of God.” Amen and Alleluia. Then, sit down and wait for the firecrackers of His love to exterminate your doubts and fears that we must have methods and processes to do it ourselves. Yes, we should have guidelines but after we beg God to give us total trust in His love, so that we can become credible witnesses.
Spiritual medical work-up: our illness is that we talk about God’s love but do nothing to experience it. This illness also gives us this fear that we may not be qualified to experience His love anytime, right now and here. It also has symptoms of attachment to sinful patterns that gives us temporary happiness, and symptoms of self love where we want to teach others the little we know before we work diligently in doing God’s will only, and not our will, even partially. Or we want to do God’s will only if we know ahead of time what it is in order to truly say our final yes to the plan and forget that we do not have to know anything. He knows it and that should be sufficient for all of us… regardless of the cross involved… Or we learn what His will is and we do not like it and try hard to oppose it or question it like I have done all month!
Treatment: the only thing we must do is to recognize our sin of denying His love for us and it what it means, go to confession, and bug Him day and night to give us His mercy in the power of His Spirit. We will never be perfect for sure. We will never win the whole war, but experiencing his Love and mercy on this earth in so many ways, is worth the trouble. The teaching course of His love for us is complete… We have proof of it. If only we give ourselves to do whatever He tells us!
Final comment: I wish you a happy and Spirit filled celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The Consecration to the Heart of Jesus is not made of words only! It is a radical statement that we make as follows: I believe in His love for me so much that I only have to accept His will at every present moment, in all the re-routings and uprootings in life as He wishes, because the love of His Heart for me is so crazy that He will never allow any harm to me, and no matter how the storms of life threatens the boat where He sleeps, while I enjoy His protection next to Him ! This presupposes that I deal with my self-will once and for all, united to my fears, worries and doubts and leave them behind.
Once I do this consecration, I will know that when my yes to His will needs repairs as my will becomes tempted to stand up and count, I only will have to identify my sin, repent, confess it and ask for His mercy. His love will be there for me, and I can say, ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You’ and mean it. No more lip service! My trust will keep the ocean of His mercy coming into my soul, and evangelization will become a well known art as directed by the Holy Spirit.
All in all, we must grow in the belief that we can do a better job at bringing our brothers and sisters to Sunday Mass and to the Sacraments. It started with 12 Apostles and the power of God. What stops us? I suspect that our main job is convincing each other that we are loved by God 24/7 and something that He is willing to show us with signs and wonders, just as He did to Israel and to twenty centuries of Christianity. A friend of mine in Costa Rica was sharing with me just the other day, how she finds herself treated like a queen when she shops or uses a taxi cab, and she is not rich… Therefore, we should follow the lead of the saints, all the hints in the Bible and pray constantly to become a new creation, so that we can become yeast for others. The sky is the limit. It is matter of wanting to do it and His Spirit shows up ready to dazzle us…!!! In fact, that was the whole idea about Jesus needing to go to send His Spirit, and precisely to show us the way to our Father!