One more time I sit to write the monthly blog although my poor health is in the way. You know the entire story from the previous two blogs. And if you do did not read them, well here it is in short words: I have 4 gastric ulcers. They bled this past August in two separate occasions and was hospitalized. At the end of August I was sent home after being transfused with seven units of blood. Apparently, my already super active immune system was surprised with not only the DNA of 7 people but with their toxins and other chemicals as well present at the time of collecting the blood. So, I became allergic to everything on earth that I put in my mouth including medications and beyond the previous 54 foods and most artificial colorants. So, every time I eat, I have to suffer another attack from the immune system and my knees hurt much. This sends me to take narcotics around the clock, which make me feel like a zombie. I wanted to stop writing more blogs until this situation is somewhat better, but my Lord said to proceed and that He would be with me. In the other hand, by chance I had left in the section where I file all my documents the blogs from October 2010 and 2010. I read them. I went to the site and read the one for October 2011… All of them say basically the same thing. So, there is so little that I have to add. Therefore, the only thing I can write about has to do with my experiences with the love of God for this particular past month, and there will be repetition of some basic topics. My first blog was posted on November second of 2008. Time flies!
There is no question that this moment in my life where I have been so ill, has become a superb show of graces for me. I have been sent to stay home without daily Mass (since driving with drugs is not the right thing to do unless there is an emergency) and with ample time to SEE, to HEAR, and to UNDERSTAND so many things as if I were in a convent. The most important one is that I have received a clear call for a radical conversion… I would say that we only think of the conversions we have experienced and normally, at least in my case, we never think of the ones scheduled by God for our spiritual growth, nor do we think that every day is a preparatory day for our next conversion, which usually involves some sort of purification. Not only that, but we neglect to always know that all our conversions have a communitarian value since their respective graces are to be used for others as well. Again, let me repeat it: we hardly think of every present moment as part of the next conversion, although we may run to tell others about our previous experiences with God and get distracted with past stories, instead of always doing what it is necessary to be prepared in mind and spirit to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit for the next phase.
We become so distracted writing books and taping DVD’s, and all for the good of others, yet, just imagine if some of us had to read most of those books and watch most of those DVD’s! What do you think would happen? We would simply get bored or confused since it is the same subject matter seen from different angles. And yes, thank God for the “Story of a Soul,” and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross and the hundreds of saints who left so many teachings in writing, but we forget that it is more important to just go to the main menu of their conversion and click on what were their main practices that made them saints and start doing what they did! Reading and reading would only postpone our own journey of conversion… BUT I MUST EMPHASIZE SOMETHING ELSE: it is alright to read books and watch DVD’s but only if God send us to do it. He uses those modes of communication to open our eyes. Yet, each present moment must be used in doing a couple of things that maintains us constantly alerted to do what He tells us for that moment in order to become an instrument of God. He does the rest. More on it later.
Eventually I was led to understand the following: books including those who teach how to study the Scriptures are written in good faith but what is needed is a plan to work on our own conversion following what the saints and the Catechism say, aided with the Truth in Scripture and clear as to what is indispensable to do in each moment of our lives. However, we cannot simply take over this routing on our own… We have to let God direct our transformation. These tactics of auto transformation may have Satan around with temptations to seek God in our own terms. They take our time and send us to opine about what we have read and since time flies, we end up going year after year through Advent and Lent and our change for the better is not obvious. We do not have a personal plan according to our daily duties to just sit still, “pray and obey” (most especially the commandments of Love), being indifferent to everything else, and under this tent we will experience many resurrections because our relationship with God is growing and the fruits will be obvious and many. The idea of a personal relationship with Jesus started to become a center piece for this blog.
II. STEWARSHIP AND RELATIONSHIP
These two words are deeply connected. If I am a good steward of all blessings and graces received, it will help me growing in my personal relationship with Christ.
Let me start with the definitions of these words.
What is stewardship? The dictionary calls it: the act of managing or the way someone organizes and takes care of something. In spiritual terms: what is it that we have to manage, organize or take care of? Many things but faith, hope and charity are at the top, in order to grow in our relationship with Christ.
What is a relationship?
1. Connection: a significant connection or similarity between two or more things, or the state of being related to something else
2. Behavior or feelings toward somebody else: the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with one another, especially as regards the way they behave toward and feel about one another.
3. Friendship: an emotionally close friendship with Jesus.
4. Connection by family: the way in which two or more people are related by birth, adoption, or marriage, or the fact of being related by birth, adoption, or marriage (we are adopted kids of our Father in heaven) (End of definitions)
In general, it seems that in the Church, we do not emphasize enough the fact that God has a master plan for our conversion through the power of the Holy Ghost and that it is related to our growth in our personal relationship with Jesus after our Baptism and Confirmation, which simply means that an ongoing conversion is necessary, plus a definite plan of what to do in order to take care and protect all graces received in order to execute such plan.
After these 3 months of severe crosses related to my health, I MUST SHARE THAT God is truly alive… and that my relationship with Him has produced many fruits. I say it because to this date I have not felt even one second of loneliness or fear. On the contrary, I have felt much joy day after day in the midst of the pain caused by the allergic reactions to all what I eat or drink. It is also obvious that some are praying for me and big time… Thank you. My periods of oppression from Satan, so common in past months, are also gone.
So, the greatest spiritual stewardship (managing) on my part is to protect my relationship with God, the Holy Trinity. We do not have to run and read and watch and understand why the world or the Church is where they are. Yes, we must be informed and know what is going on but without generating anxiety because God is in charge. Since only God has the answers, I should be trying to become a malleable piece of potter in His hands in order for Him to use me if He desires to do so, for these chaotic moments in the history of the world. Therefore, all of us must be always reminded of our need to grow in this relationship. So, my work of managing my spiritual life is to do many other things conducive to be always in His Presence and deepen such relationship. Then He shows me His love in the little and the big things, some of which I will expand when I develop this topic further.
III. BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD and each other:
1. There are many examples: Moses, Abraham, and even Adam and Eve had a relationship with God. But I was sent to read about the prophet Elisha and the Shunammite woman in 2Kings: 4
The story tells us that (verses 8-10) “One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine. So, she said to her husband, “I know that he is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.” (This is a tremendous witness of love of neighbor, the pure one, disinterested.) The story continues and Elisha ended up asking the Shunammite woman what he could do for her. She declined by saying, “I am living among my people.” (Her answer emphasizes the importance of relationships and friends, which were enough for her). Eventually, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, told him that this woman did not have children and her husband was getting old. So, Elishah called her and told her that the next year she would be the mother of a child. Indeed, it happened.
A few years past and the child became ill and died. The mother took the child and laid him on the bed that Elisha used when visiting and left to personally look for him. She was in deep anguish. When she arrived, Elisha said to Gehazi as she clasped the feet of the prophet and Gehazi tried to push her away, “Let her alone , she is in bitter anguish; the Lord hid it from me and did not let me know,” and sent Gehazi with his staff to lay it upon the dead child. But the mother did not free Elisha’s feet and he went back with her. Gehazi arrived first but the laying of the staff did not resurrect the child. Elisha eventually got there and prayed for him several times and the child became alive and healthy.
Here we have an example of a deep relationship in all its angles based on love of neighbor. Notice how God had hid from Elisha what was happening with the child of the Shunammite woman so that she would go and personally ask him for help. In the other hand, she was not content with just sending a servant with the story and requesting him to come. It was so obvious to me that our spiritual life should reflect this kind of love. Elisha represents God in our lives. We prepare a room in our home for Him to be with us. God blesses us to remind us to call on Him when we have problems of any kind. Then, when we are in trouble, we should ask the Lord to help us but with a radical personal call and certitude that he would help us in whatever way is necessary and He will come and let’s free from what is wrong in our lives. It is clear that this whole story was based in a very personal relationship or a give and take affair between two people: a prophet and a married woman, later a mother as well. The main sustenance of this relationship was disinterested love among the parties. The same should be for us. When we go through life, we should serve the Lord with all our heart and might just for His glory; then our trust will grow and His mercy will show up when we need Him. Running around saying prayers and being distracted with the world affairs, does not constitute a relationship of love.
2. The story of Jonah is superb. Jonah 4 – “Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil He threatened against Nineveh,”
1) Notice how Jonah had no love for neighbor. He had tried fleeing from the Lord’s command to go and preach in Nineveh precisely because he wanted them not converted so God would punish them.
2) So, he went and preached and the Ninevites changed their hearts in just one day, when it was expected to take 3 days.
3) How many of us have lived many years with total indifference to the sin of our brothers and sisters. Yes, we are quick to point them out, but have no sincere desire to rescue them because we do not love them as we should or consider ourselves inadequate or poorly prepared to do it.
4) This story points out the love affair of God with men, His creation, and that at times, despite His representatives, He insists in preaching the good news of His love and patiently He waits for their repentance.
5) It also shows us that God never gave up on Jonah as His evangelist for Nineveh… and the city repented in just one day. This makes clear that God is the only one that can change hearts. Jonah per se could not do it since he was adamantly against their conversion and worse, wanted God to chastise them.
6) God is able to remind Jonah of Who is in charge of the entire Creation!
This story points to Jonah’s relationship with God that is mediocre… to say the least. Yes, Jonah knew God as merciful… and so he said, but he was not merciful towards Nineveh… Despite of all of this, God used Jonah to save them because THEY REPENTED… This story is one of super mercy… on the part of God. The entire passage is screaming at us with many truths. Evangelization is a topic where we should understand that our present Nineveh is easy to convert… We simply have to pray for all of them and first of all for ourselves to love them where they are in order to serve as a witnesses, but short of that, we should pray that they can repent and in just one day, I could imagine the entire world becoming Christian, Catholic and holy. And by the way, conversion will arrive as well for all of our family members or friends who are lost. If we submit to the Holy Spirit, He will instruct us and we will be sent to do exactly what God plans, and this merciful God of ours, Who in the person of Christ has already paid for the sins of the entire world, can shower us with His mercy. If Jonah served as an instrument, what are we waiting for?
It is also very important to realize that our particular state of holiness or sin will not determine our success in evangelizing others. We all should try our best to evangelize without waiting to be better or holier to do so. This also proves that we are just agents, servants, representatives of God and He is the one Who sanctifies hearts and heals them. Yet, He needs us to announce His Good News. Of course, He does not need us but wants us to act as family and this way He allows us to practice love for each other.
IV. THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE ORIGIN OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
As I was handed on the knowledge that Jesus was present in the Eucharist at age 6.5 years, little did I know what this would mean through the years. First of all, He directed me to this brand new convent where Perpetual Adoration had begun with a few nuns from the Order of Oblates of Divine Love coming from El Salvador. The main focus was the story of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to her. The school’s name was “St. Margaret Mary.” So, at age 7 when I started my first grade, this particular devotion to the Sacred Heart became natural in my spiritual life. I remember how my Grandma placed a picture of the Sacred Heart in our living room, and I knew this was very important. Most likely, I was hearing at the time in school about the apparitions to St. Margaret. I still have such picture. I was faithful to celebrate the First Friday’s and receive Communion for many years after. I remember vividly when I was a teen that each first Thursday before a first Friday, I would stop at the Cathedral of the capital city of Costa Rica where I lived, San Jose, and stay in line for confession in order to go to Communion on the First Friday…Also, His Promises have been true for me.
The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Copied from the writings of Fr. Joseph McDonnell, S.J.)
(The original promises were eight and as Fr. McDonnell explains them.)
1. In behalf of those who labor for the salvation of souls. "My Divine Savior gave me to understand that those who labor for the salvation of souls shall have the art of touching the most hardened hearts, and shall labor with marvelous success, if they are themselves penetrated with a tender devotion to His Sacred Heart."
2. In behalf of Communities. "He has promised me . . . that He will pour forth the sweet unction of His ardent charity on those communities who honor Him and place themselves under His special protection; moreover, that He will turn away from them all the shafts of Divine justice in order to restore them to the state of grace, whenever they have fallen from it."
3. In behalf of people of the world. "As for people of the world, they will, through the means of this admirable devotion, secure for themselves all the help necessary for their state, that is to say, peace in the family, alleviation of their toils, the blessing of Heaven on all their undertakings, consolation in their sorrows. And it is especially in this Sacred Heart that they will find a place of refuge during their entire life and particularly at the hour of their death."
4. In behalf of dwellings in which the image of the Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored. " . . . Assuring me that he took a singular pleasure in being honored under the figure of this heart of flesh, whose image He wished to have exposed in public, in order, as He added, by means of this object to touch the unfeeling hearts of men; promising me that He would pour in abundance into the hearts of all who honored It all the gifts of which It is full; and that wherever this image should be exposed and specially honored, it would draw down all sorts of blessings on the place."
5. Promise of grace to those who consecrate themselves to Him. "I find myself, as it were, completely lost in this Divine Heart, if I mistake not, as in a fathomless abyss, wherein He discovers to me treasures of love and grace reserved for those who consecrate and devote themselves to the task of rendering and procuring Him all the honor, love and glory in their power."
6. Promise of salvation to all those who are specially consecrated and dedicated to Him. "He then assured me that the pleasure He takes in being loved, known and honored by His creatures is so great, that, if I mistake not, (1) 1. This expression, "if I mistake not—- se je ne me trompe," is very frequently used by Blessed Margaret Mary, not as indicating any doubt on her part, but as having been enjoined on her by her superior, Mother Greyfié, and as the natural outcome of her own profound humility. See also Commentary on Promise, further on, answer to 6th objection. He promised me that no one who has specially dedicated and consecrated Himself to Him will ever perish."
7. Promise of a happy death to such as go to Communion on the nine first Fridays of consecutive months. "One Friday, during Holy Communion, if she is not mistaken, He addressed these words to His unworthy slave: ‘I promise thee, in the excess of the mercy of My heart, that Its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Communion on the nine first Fridays of consecutive months the final grace of repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure nor without receiving their sacraments, (2) 2. "Its ne mourront point . . . rerçevoir leurs sacrements." Obviously, this does not necessarily imply the reception of what are called "the Last Sacraments," in cases where they are not needed. For such persons their Confession and Communion were "Last Sacraments." See also Commentary on 12th Promise, answer to 2nd objection. My Divine Heart becoming their assured refuge at that moment.’ "
8. Promise of the reign of the Sacred Heart. "Fear nothing, I will reign in spite of My enemies and of those who endeavor to oppose me. This Sacred Heart will reign in spite of Satan and of all those whom he raises up to oppose it."
Later, the promises were expanded to 12:
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life. (He did in my case)
2. I will give peace in their families. (Notice how our families have been divided and the Church is working to reestablish the importance of the family. True Devotion to the Sacred Heart could answer our present chaos of the family unity!)
3. I will console them in all their troubles (It was evident when I was bleeding much lying on the floor of my room and felt joy and peace…)
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and Infinite Ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored. (In the mid 1990’s I enthroned the Sacred Heart of Jesus in my home following the world-wide known format written by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, a priest born in Peru, son of an English Protestant father and a Peruvian mother).
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
This explains how my life was touched as explained in the promises and directed in many different ways from the beginning of meeting Jesus as alive in the Eucharist; also, how I came to the U.S. and have continued to grow in this friendship/personal relationship. Every time that I visit this topic, I end up realizing that it is so fascinating to know that He is real in the Sacred Host and remember my love for Him as a first grader. I have never wanted to visit the Holy Land where He lived and died, because it never made any sense to me. I rather stay home and be with Him in the Tabernacle in the now.
V. EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS RELATIONSHIP MANIFESTS ITSELF IN MY DAY TO DAY LIFE!
He is always showing up with special gifts besides His Eucharistic Presence. Examples:
1. Here I was very sickly and needed to go out and nearby to purchase the only few items that give me the least allergic reaction when I eat them: sweet potatoes and avocados. I had planned this trip for mid morning when the traffic is the least crazy and busy. I had taken adequate amounts of a narcotic and waited long enough to be fairly comfortable to drive, get out of the car, walk into the store, buy what I needed, pay and promptly come back. It was 9:30 AM. I went to start my 2009 car from a Japanese maker and it did not start. I could not leave this problem to my very busy son, a data base engineer who works 12 hours a day. After praying for a few seconds and saying yes to such mess, I decided to call the dealership’s service department in Walnut Creek (where my parish is and some 10 minutes away via expressway). They asked me to describe what I saw when I turned the key on. I did and they said that it was probably the battery. They promised to send someone to test the car. I was thinking of calling AAA for a free transport of the car to this dealership garage but they would come to first diagnose the problem.
To my surprise, in just 15 minutes I had an old man (mechanic in his youth as I learned later) and tested everything, including any light that might have been left on or turned on its own. He jump started the car without any problem. He consulted with the garage in Walnut Creek and they said to take the car for further check of the status of the battery. I could see the bill growing by the minute. He followed me in case the battery would die on me… We took the expressway and shortly after we were there. He thanked me for being so nice and gave me a big hug. Strange then, but later it was part of God’s plan. A mechanic immediately came to work on it … Yes, the battery was dying after 4 years of use. They would replace it in 45 minutes… Indeed, it was done and all the mechanics I dealt with were ANGELS OF GOD… Love was all over. By 11:30 AM I was paying the bill. I was expecting to be some $300 to $400 minimum. Well, no, I only paid for the cost of the battery and this one with a discount. The total was $119 plus tax, or $129…!!!!! NO LABOR CHARGES! No charges either for starting the car at my home… and the service was quick… I am still wondering what happened! These men would look at me as if I were another angel. Yes, I had mentioned that I had driven Cadillac’s and three Mercedes Benz but in the early 90’s I had switched to this particular brand because the servicing of the cars were famous for being excellent.
I left the place half surprised and half smiling… Here I had driven to the dealership via the expressway half drunk and was coming back trying to wake up from this strange episode. God knew my health status and moved these men to love me for no particular reason. I suspect that my Lord knew that I was writing this blog about a relationship with Him, and wanted to let me know that He was there in our midst, making things work very well and to my advantage, something unheard of in these our times where everybody is shooting everybody. In fact, just a few days before, my Mother had said to me: “The moment you deal with your brothers and sisters, you are dealing with my Son, Jesus Himself. If you do not love them, you are denying love to Him.” There it was… My brothers at this garage served me as Christ would have done it. What a truth so well proved to me. It was at this moment when my Mother had told me these things that I understood that my conversion must focus on giving my full attention to my neighbor as I give full attention to Jesus in the Eucharist. What a lesson that was underlined by this event! Wow.
My “neighbor” has always being honored but kind of on the side of my life. My day did not revolve on loving them in whatever way… It revolved on my needs, pains, what to do, when to go to Mass, etc, etc. Yes, my brothers and sisters, Catholic or not, where there in my prayer life and I offered my crosses for them but never with the attention and care that these mechanics gave me… Throughout my life, I even have had the audacity to resent many people who have persecuted me or simply those who have scandalized me, especially in the Church. These mechanics evangelized me and made me think twice as to how I treat others on a daily basis. But they could not do such thing without the Holy Spirit being behind their extraordinary behavior towards me. In other words, they proved to me that God exists alive and in the now, and further than that, they gave me shot on the arm to try to love my neighbor with a special care as they did love me! Therefore, I should never resent anybody. Those men will be in my memory for years to come, reminding me never to resent anyone! Worse, knowing Jesus in the Eucharist since my childhood, how have I had the guts to resent anybody? Jonah did not care at all… And with this strange event in the middle of so much pain in my knees, Jesus did not want me to be another Jonah…
It also means that these blogs must be written with my neighbor in mind. I must pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance (and I do) but with a special emphasis in meeting the needs of those reading this blog. Ah, but there is more to it. This has become a call for me to excel more and more to say “yes” to God’s will but having in mind that my obedience to Him is part of my love for my brother and sister, since I can share the fruits of such “yes” under the cross for their edification and ultimately, salvation. Around this time, I received a special call to offer my present heavy cross and all crosses to come for the ministerial priesthood, especially for all Priests to see in the laity, the face of Jesus, as I saw these mechanics looking like Jesus would have done when coming to serve me.
So far, I had in front of me a major topic to be meditated upon. In a recent program it was said that Jesus is calling us to a living relationship with Him and that prayer was a living relationship with Him. Well, I would go much further. Dealing with our brothers and sisters on a day to day basis and in whatever place and circumstances, we are called to grow in this living relationship with Christ as we consider others my family, my “little Christ’s” and act accordingly. It could be with my thoughts or personally. This call to a living relationship is not just saying it or pretending we have a great or mediocre one. I can know the Bible backwards and forwards; I can know all the theology of the world but if I do not see in my brother and sister Jesus Himself, I am a joke and the sad part is that nobody even realizes it.
These particular experiences led me to remember that publishing the book explaining the way I cured my dementia, and how to prevent some depressions that carrageenan can start in some of us, is to act on this relationship of love between myself and those around me whom Jesus loves them as God did the people of Nineveh… Until I enter and accept this mystery of love among my Christian family members and even those who are agnostics or atheists, I can pray all I want and call it a living relationship, but the latter one is very feeble.
2. GOD IS INTO EVERYTHING… I needed a special tape to secure some magnets around my knees as I sleep (since they are old and do not stick well on their own), in order to decrease the inflammatory response to my immune system chemical attacks. I went to Rite Aid Pharmacy where I normally buy it and they did not have it. Of course, there are many other kinds but they do not stick well enough to last me a few days of use. I visited a CVS pharmacy and it is a huge building. I asked for help and a pharmacy employee sent me to the place where all tapes were displayed. In the mean time, I was under a narcotic and using a cane just to avert a fall. Of course, I still have some discomfort since the narcotic just dulls the pain. I found something very similar (from the 3M brand) but not the 3M product that I like. It took good 5 minutes to inspect the area and other similar products. When I was at the pharmacy counter buying more SVL #3, the probiotic, a lady came at the same time and said to the employee, “I found it.” She had in her hands the kind of tape I wanted. I asked her and she told me where to find it, in a totally different area… Immediately I knew who was behind this answer needed… I had to be at the counter in the same instant that she came to spend 5 seconds and to move on. It meant that I we had made the same decision of stopping in this particular place. I had just come out of a healing Mass and went to this pharmacy which is very close. And yes, God used a sister of mine to show me where the tape would be found!!!
This is the type of relationship that is alive and available… Ah, but in between these clear signs of love I have to constantly say yes to this cross, not wanting to end it unless it happens in His time and offering it up for others but out of true love. There is no doubt that all these weeks of major health problems were planned to make me enter into my further conversion of spending each moment with the sole purpose of giving glory to God and service to my brothers and sisters. I had to further be trained to see Christ in each of them. This is why I am taking your time to give you this example. The mystery of His love is too much for us; however, this love is always around us and within us. It is up to us to “watch and pray”, the famous command that Jesus gave his three chosen disciples as He went to live agonizing moments waiting for His apprehension. Every time that He came back, he found them asleep. Nothing has changed since!!! I have been asleep as well!
VI. A FEW OTHER STORIES BY DATE
Saturday, September 28.
As I watched some college football games, I saw huge crowds, in some cases, more than 100,000, all cheering and using handkerchiefs as the games went on, I did see the faithfulness of these people to watch a very violent sport. I thought of all the babies and young children who every weekend through television are exposed to this violence as the crowds cheered. This is a huge communal sin… It invites these little ones to consider violence a very good thing to do… because you are liked by others and cheers are abundant. The following day it was the NFL that would present the same games but this time for money making. On this particular Saturday, I felt sad that I engaged my four boys in learning music and playing instruments in their respective hi school bands, so that they would not destroy their brains and bodies with this violence and have fun going to the games. Yet, I never truly thought much about other younger teen’s exposure or the people (fans, colleges and owners of NFL teams). It is obvious that their souls and physical bodies were not that important to me… As a steward I had failed big time. As a member of the family of God who created all of us, I was a joke, and most especially because I have had this relationship with Him forever.
On October 3, It became clear that I must answer my call to be a missionary and always ready to run and proclaim the Gospel, with love and more love first and foremost as the mechanics did for me, and that I must write the book explaining important health issues that have remedy in order to help many with these common and serious illnesses.
Friday, October 4.
At 5 PM on this day, my Mother said, “Remember to finish writing the book. Do you want a proof in the Bible that it is urgent that you act on your love for others by explaining these things to help many?” I said, “Yes.” She answered, “Call the Holy Spirit and follow His instructions.” I did and was led to open the Bible and not in any particular page. And there it was, Daniel 12:4. “As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end of time; many shall fall away and evil shall increase.” Wow! And it was interesting that in this verse it spoke of our times! I also thought of San Francis of Assisi and how he probably would have found a way to write the book just to help others. Of course, the book will not only have very important science but out of respect for none believers I will use the last chapter and dedicate it to God Himself, and how our relationship ended up teaching me these truths of science for my own body. It will be a means of evangelization as well.
Friday, October 11
My Mother said, “Use these moments of extreme suffering for your own conversion. The more the suffering received with trust that that it is perfect and necessary, that much more you and others will receive His mercy. For these present times, there is nothing else more powerful than laying down your life for others. Whenever pain becomes unbearable after you eat or take your medicines, stop and offer it up with a clear sense in your heart that you are laying down you life for your brothers and sisters! Write the book a little each day as another proof of merciful love for them. Great miracles will follow.”
Tuesday, October 15.
I asked my Mother what to do regarding the things I need to do and being unable to drive far away and walk to supermarkets, etc. She answered, “Pray, pray, but only to stay in each moment totally indifferent to what is needed to solve your problem! What it is needed is total trust that all is well in His perfect plan of salvation for you and others. Ignore everything else. It is very simple: your trust united to my intercession will do great things for you, for them and for the Church at large. ALWAYS THINK BEYOND YOUR NEEDS. Your health problems are much easier to remedy than the dissipation you see around regarding a personal relationship with my Son.
“Everything that has to do with your crosses if embraced will be solved and with miracles besides. But things within the Church and outside, where Satan is ignored as a busy worker behind the scenes and souls are cold, divided, confused and spiritually blind regarding Satan, there is where your crosses are needed but not dragged or even with you worrying what to do about them.
“The work of evangelization has nothing to do with preaching alone, since preaching has been done in the last decades and worldwide to the ends of the earth through television. So, yes, preaching is necessary but you know that the results have been mediocre. The time has come when the mercy of God is needed to shower the earth, For that, we need evangelists whose power and success depend on the Holy Spirit and therefore, evangelists must start living attentive to the Holy Spirit within, doing what He leads them to do. Also, evangelists must not be worrying but trusting that God is in charge (as in the case of Nineveh) because His love is constant and full of mercy. So, when crosses arrive, evangelists must be glad to receive them as an opportunity to LIVE SUCH TRUST and open faster the doors to God’s Spirit to in turn open the hearts of many others. Any desperation or fear closes the door and the evangelist’s words cease to be powerful.
“Yes, prayer asking for holiness is also essential in the life of the evangelist, but such prayer must be accompanied with a perfect yes to God’s will for their life and especially yes to all suffering. This is essential to open the hearts of those in need of evangelization. This trust in God by the evangelist can move mountains, part the Red Sea and the Jordan River. This trust must be sincere, constant and exuberant. Faith is at the root of trust, yet love is the key to all this mystery of evangelization of souls. The more you practice this form of life, that much more you can call yourself an evangelist.” I then remembered how the love and service of the mechanics who changed the car’s battery truly touched me and deeply.
Saturday, October 19
My third son sent word that his first book had been published, The Urging of Christ’s Love, about the social teaching of the Catholic Church. If you are interested in the topic discussed in the book and as practiced by several Saints, I am passing on the information that appeared in the Internet, so that you can know him a little more.
“Omar F. A. Gutierrez works for the Archdiocese of Omaha as the Manager of the Office of Missions & Justice and as the Special Assistant to Archbishop George J. Lucas. He has worked for the Church since 2001 and has written on the social teaching of the Catholic Church for several years. His articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, the Catholic World Report, The Catholic Answer, CatholicVote.com and he has a regular column in The Catholic Voice, the paper for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His series on the social teaching with Kris McGregor of DiscerningHearts.com has received international attention for its clarity, accessibility and orthodoxy. Most importantly, Omar has been happily married to his wife, Miriam, with whom he has several beautiful children.”
I ordered the book and by Friday October 25 I had a copy in my hands, which will have to wait until I finish this blog…. Here I want to emphasize the importance of reminding everyone that if we parents truly (at least try) LIVING THE YES OF OUR LADY and PRAYING FOR OURSELVES TO BE LOVERS OF ALL and act on it, this is what feeds our personal relationship with Christ and God takes care of everything else, including the fate of our families.
Friday, November 1
Anniversary of my consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepeyac in 1992.
We cannot claim that we have a personal relationship with Christ, or better said, a personal exchange of love with Him if we study the Bible and do not act on what it says; or if we preach the Gospel without our obedience to what we are preaching. Or attend Mass weekly and even daily and forgetting Who is in charge the rest of the day. Here is where stewardship becomes an important issue for us to comply with.
We come up with great terms in our Christian lingo and “living under the Lordship of Christ” is even very common among our Protestant brothers and sisters. But we cannot be under His Lordship unless it is through the Holy Spirit, according to St. Paul. And this Lordship assumes that we are living under His authority. Our stewardship is the act of keeping our souls surrendered to His will as we manage our prayer time, our talents and treasure, our time for everything we do, our human relationships but always under the Yes to God’s will regardless, which starts with love of God (obedience to Him) and love of neighbor in all its facets, plus time daily to reflect in His love for us. His Lordship over us depends on our yes to have Him as the center of all we do and not just as a concept or nice phrase.
It has been obvious for me for many years that at the base of this concept of having a personal relationship with Jesus, we may think that we have to have methods to do it. But on the contrary, we only have to say yes to His will, especially to our crosses and use them for our good and that of others, pray that we can do so, often repenting for our sins and trying to amend our behavior with Our Lady in charge of the evil one that will hound us trying to confuse us, divide us, lie to us, — and the rest will be done by God as it happened in Nineveh. Then, the Spirit of God will guide us to do things that will help us in our ongoing conversion, like reading a particular book or looking for ways to love our neighbor, and I had a great example when my car’s battery ceased to work! If we are part of a team of spiritual formation of the young, the Holy Spirit will direct our efforts and styles of teaching, but again, as long as we keep a big YES to what God wants in our lives, from suffering of all kinds to going to preach the Gospel in His terms, without money or food. Our efforts should be similar to those of the Shunammite woman: we ask for help to God and trust that He is in charge, and therefore, He will do what is best for us and others. It is His mercy summoned from His Sacred Heart by our deep trust in His love for us that can change the world.
As mentioned before, I have been summoned to offer all my sufferings of any kind and magnitude for the ministerial Priesthood until the day I die, in order for each of them to grow in such personal ALIVE relationship with Jesus and as never before. Our laity needs to see our Priests totally on fire for the Crucified … They will follow the trend, and many of us can be ready to save many souls through our way of experiencing such personal relationship. Retreats will not be sufficient for these times. We must say Yes as our Mother did and pray for our determined determination to do God’s will against all odds. We must love our neighbor in a vigorous and constant way, even if it is just praying for others but full of love for them.
As far as my expectations to heal my immune system: I have none, except for God’s cure. Our medical world does not have anything else to offer. The probiotic SVL #3 is fabulous in the sense that I have lost 19 pounds since August 22, and added to the 11 pounds wt. loss by the Omni Diet during the month of June and July, well, it is great. I hardly take any blood pressure medication anymore! My gastroenterologist Dr. D.V, saw me this past October 4, and said that he still believes that the probiotic SVL #3 will take care of all these allergies. Of course, my case is unique because of the reaction to the 7 units of blood. But what is great is to exercise my “yes” to whatever happens with my health… And yes, I must repot that the grace has arrived and I live a day at a time without worries and very indifferent to what is next. I am sure that what I have lived in the last 5 weeks have kept me 100% confident that God is in charge and therefore, to worry is a huge waste of time. But I am very grateful for Him showing up to give me signs as in the case of my car’s battery!
Let me close with a teaching I received from my Mother on All Saints Feast and a repetition of other teachings, and probably signaling its importance!
Our Lady: “Faith is to say “yes” to whatever is happening in your life but convinced that it is perfect and necessary to glorify God and for your salvation and of your neighbor. The most important prayer is to ask for the above to be so! Anything that interferes with your faith and prayer life should be identified, rectified and repented from, since faith lived as explained, expresses continuous trust in God’s love. And this attitude of your mind and soul will be needed for His mercy to make of you a diamond that sparkles and reveals to everyone that God truly exists.
“Evangelization with just words in these times of so much confusion, excessive communication and lack of love cannot win souls and keep them in your ranks. They state of unbelief is too far gone. They need you to witness radical faith, radical hope and radical love that will call their attention like a diamond does and become a proof to them that God not only exists but loves them. For you to become such diamond, you must partner with the Holy Spirit as I did with my “yes”, and my Son will be impregnated in their souls as a real presence. Give yourself to this type of partnership. Become small as His Words become part of your being. Use your crosses as powerful tools for your “yes” to transform you into an evangelist that shines and sparkles as a diamond. And always remember, God will transform the present Nineveh. You just say “yes” to whatever He calls you to do or say but without any particular plans of your own. He will provide the plans and the wisdom to do what is needed. Jonah did not have any plans at all when he preached at Nineveh. He was only used with God’s grace over him. You can do the same.
“As far as offering your suffering for Priests, do not do it as a general intention. On the contrary, every time that you suffer much pain as you move in between your narcotic treatments, loudly say: ‘I offer this cross for the sanctification of Priests.’ And at the same time, always remember that your vigilance to be a good steward of your graces, depends on this partnership of love where Jesus and you work together: He, empowering you to become a diamond, as you constantly say yes to Him by ignoring your own needs and pain, focusing your heart and mind on the need to save souls and as He did when He lived on earth. No other plan is necessary.” (End of message)
May you have a very blessed Thanksgiving.
P.S. This blog is shorter and I am happy for you as well, but it was still hard to put together since the narcotic keeps me somewhat sleepy. Excuse me if I have made many mistakes in my English or developed the topic poorly. I will try to find out if I should stop writing altogether, at least for the mean time. However, your intercessory prayer for this intention will be greatly appreciated.