Once more, I sit to jot down my experiences of these past weeks, and in this particular message I want to share a few reflections and questions that I have encountered in this Year of Faith.
My health status continues to be the same. And this is good because I am writing under the heavy cross of having a hyperactive immune system with the allopathic medical profession that has no answers for it. Yes, there are many drugs to quiet it down, which at the same time can kill with secondary effects. And yes, this is precisely the best place to be at. It calls me to a high level of trust that God is in charge… I must report that the grace to trust in God in these weird circumstances is abundant. Do I say it with pride? Of course not. It is simply the truth that I live right now. I do not know how it happens except to say that God gives it to me. And why do I report it? Because I want to make sure that everybody knows that God is alive… SUPER ALIVE… Otherwise, how could I manufacture such circumstances of a very brutal illness and yet, easily dismissing it as the will of God with great trust that it is so and that He has a plan for this cross and all while swimming in the waters of peace and joy?
Deep in my heart I know that I am alright. All day long I keep saying yes to these circumstances and feel a sense of super joy coming from some place but not able to know from where. Day after day, unable to drive most days except to very near places for a few things needed from the supermarket, carries a smell of the goodness of God, which is very hard to explain. I will share a few experiences lived on certain dates and will be only reporting the most important ones because I do not feel well enough to write too much. I must announce to you that this Year of Faith left me with answers that make my heart yearn to practice them. You will be the judge.
EXPERIENCES OF PAST WEEKS
Sunday, November 3.
I wrote in my journal, “What is happening in the world is beyond understanding. But why? Where is God in all of this? Of course, He is allowing it but what does it mean? Also, I sense that something needs to be changed in the Church which I cannot pin point. This gives me a sense of mistrust but only at times. I get very confused when I see so many programs repeating over and over, like the pagan media all the possible things that need to be changed, plus many giving so many opinions and reasons as to how to do it. What a waste of time! My confusion grows when they all end saying that we must call the Holy Spirit to enlighten us but they run to give more advice as to how to do it. Hardly anyone comes up with the joy of the Spirit in their faces and professing that whatever it is, God will provide if we TRUST THAT HE CAN DO IT. Instead, the advice they give should be about how to grow in this trust in our God… Yes, we can ask Him to do it, but at the same time, we have to clean our inner temples of so many plans, and pray and fast and believe that He is the owner of this universe and that His Spirit will guide us. This is not to say to rest in our laurels waiting for God to work. No, this means to be ready with enough oil in our lamps (enough holiness in our souls) to do what He needs each one of us to do: to witness with our lives that He is not only in charge but super capable of fixing the problem. My call is to ignore what is wrong since I am not a manager. I am a daughter of this Church and my work is to suffer for her by offering my present health issues for her sanctification. But the most important is for me to understand that THESE TIMES NEED GOD’S MERCY and in a hurry. His mercy can only be obtained through trust, LIVED, and NOT JUST LIP SERVICED. Therefore, my life should be one of trust that He is in charge even of every hair of my head and that He has a plan. But, how can I live this attitude of trust until I get the grace of automatically trusting in His love for me and all of us? What do I have to do from present moment to present moment that will guarantee such trust in God’s mercy and regardless of the circumstances around?
My position in this matter should be one of servanthood. I must tell him often, “I am the servant of the Lord. Do with me as You will” and mean it… I cannot say such words and keep worrying about the state of the world and our Church, which still cannot see many baptized members coming back at least on Sundays. I need to live a moment at the time with the certitude that His mercy will do the rest. There is no question that even a yes to His will but full of worries for the problems I see, is a yes that is worse than mediocre. I am sure that this Year of Faith has brought me to realize that I am part of the problem. If I say that I have faith, I have to show it in my daily actions and thoughts, minute to minute. And this decisive yes must be accompanied by constant prayer of adoration, worship and thanksgiving. And what else do I have to do besides saying a yes as a servant, in constant prayer and expecting the Holy Spirit to give me all I need to live a resurrected life? Under this umbrella, I must seek to love my neighbor in whatever big or small ways I am sent by God to do it. Anything else, any worry, any fear, any attachment to myself trying to figure out what is next, will be very easy to combat and to win each battle.
My Mother reminded me of something. She sent me to page 555 in my Bible. These were the last chapters of the Book of Job. Then she said, “When you find yourself worrying or with fear, just think of Job… You will remember that God told Job how He created so many things, the hippopotamus, the alligators, the crocodiles, the moon, the sun, the earth, the entire universe, etc. So, He could do great things in your life as well. This will make you repent in dust and ashes as Job did for spending time thinking on what has to be done. God knows what to do and your work is to believe that it is so.”
Here is where I started to “see” what my job is: to be a servant, and servants do not worry about what is next! They live seeking to comply with the orders given by their employer. We all are employees of the Kingdom! Also, servants do not seek to advice their employer. They only are expected to do a job directed by the employer and following his/her rules.
Monday, Nov. 4
I wrote in my journal: “I went out to the nearby Target to buy some Evian water and a few other items and returned super exhausted as if a train had run over me. However, I was so happy!” It is at these times that I know that I know that God is REAL, within me, around me, in my brother and sisters, in the Tabernacle, etc. This certainty in the midst of this exhaustion but full of peace and joy brings me to pray more and to believe and hope more, and at the end, to love more, my God and my neighbor. His ways are soo easy!
Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The Holy Spirit surprised me by asking me: “What do you want to know?” I had no idea what He was talking about. I immediately said that I truly did not have to know anything… Then, suddenly, He gave me a page in the Old Testament. Much later I understood that this answer of detachment was all He wanted to teach me something, since I was not attempting to get information on how to handle my present crosses.
Deuteronomy 28: 1-6. (THE BLESSINGS OF OBEDIENCE) “Thus, then, shall it be : if you continue to heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and are careful to observe all His commandments which I enjoy on you today, the Lord, your God, will raise you high above all the nations of the earth. When you hearken to the voice of the Lord, your God, all these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you:
“May you be blessed in the city and in the country! Blessed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks! Blessed be your grain bin and your kneading bowl! May you be blessed in your coming in, and blessed in your going out. “(It is followed by the curses of disobedience verses 15-19)
Deuteronomy 29. In this chapter Moses brings up the past favors received (exodus from Egypt), warns them against all idolatry and the punishment for infidelity.
Deuteronomy 30: 1-3; 11-14. (Mercy for the repentant) “When all these things I have set before you, the blessings and the curses, are fulfilled in you, and from among whatever nations the Lord, your God, may have dispersed you, you ponder them in your heart: then, provided that you and your children return to the Lord, your God, and heed His voice with all your heart and all your soul, just as I now command you, the Lord, your God, will change your lot, and taking pity on you, He will again gather you from all the nations wherein He has scattered you. For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘who will go up in the sky to get it, that we may carry it out?’ Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”
I was able to clearly understand that obedience to God cannot be discussed over and over and over; instead we are called to carry it out by obeying His commandments.
Wednesday, November 6.
The world is in chaos, and of course we know that. However these are a few examples of TV programs that are running daily in front of many children and young adults. There is no doubt that we HAVE a super URGENCY TO TRULY TRUST IN GOD… We talk about trusting God and do we do it? I suspect we do not… We think we do because we agree with the concept but rarely do we examine ourselves to see if we do… (As it turned out, the most important item I learned in this Year of Faith was precisely HOW TO TRUST GOD – to have faith in Him without any fears – and for real… and not just in words.) I will speak of three examples of moral chaos because they represent what we are living with, and such examples did call me to seek God’s mercy through my decisive trust that He loves us all and that He will take care of it, once He finds faith on earth. As you remember, Scripture says that in one particular town, Jesus could not make any miracles because He could not find faith…
1. The popular daily T.V. program from this cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz showed something that almost gave me a heart attack. A Christine Carter, PhD, discussed this new science, the science of HOW TO BE HAPPY… She says that this science proves what a happy life depends on and it is filled with a number of emotions like instant gratification and the gratitude that comes with it. She finished the topic by saying, “The true road to happiness is the one which spreads love. Your kindness apparently increases your serotonin production.” (Serotonin is a hormone that when lacking makes one depressed.)
I was so surprised to have this new science… when all along we Christians know it and well. I thought of Pope Francis and his request to be kind to the poor and the sick. I thought of Jesus Who came to die for us out of pure love…and how He asked us to love as well to the point of death if necessary. How is it possible that we now have experts on a science of which is written about from Genesis (the love of God for Adam and Eve) to Jesus coming to this earth to instruct us, save us and dying on a cross out of love for us? We know that we were created in love by God and that He calls us to love each other. I will repeat what I have written before, “At times I think I live among mentally challenged people…”
2. A few days later some other program of this same Dr. Oz, showed me not only the confusion of this pagan world but the amount of sins that are even paraded in a morning and afternoon show from this surgeon. There are certain women called “squashers,” women who become morbidly obese on purpose in order to sit down on a man’s chest for pleasure of the latter. On purpose they gain weight to the tune of 300 to 400 pounds. Dr. Oz showed them and their clients how dangerous this squashing is. One of their customers came to this show and said that he gets pain with the squashing but this gives him pleasure. Dr. Oz explained to him that his lungs are suddenly compressed more than they should be, he cannot breathe, and for a short moment the blood flow to his brain is minimal, all of which brings a decline in oxygenation. This apparent loss of oxygen in the brain gives them a feeling that is very pleasurable.
For the woman there is a payoff, and not only of money for doing it, but they say that they do it for themselves because they are in control!!! A psychologist came to say that they actually do it because this much weight protects them from any relationship. Sure enough, one of the women said that she had been touched by her dad as a child. From then on, this person only wanted to keep other men away and obesity was the answer. As you can see, mental illness seems to be present!
3. Birth control pills. Many of us have known what they can do in women’s bodies. I am posting this topic and science in the “page” side of this blog site under the title of “birth control,” in order for you and me to easily find it and read it and remember that not only we are called as Catholics to pay for the insurance of drugs that kill babies already being conceived, a huge sin, but we are asked to contribute to the death and serious illnesses that can come from the secondary effect of these drugs. A young woman died because of her consumption of birth control pills, those taken not the day after but through the woman’s cycle. If this is not an assault in our faith and morals, I do not know what it can be.
After hearing these moral atrocities, I was called to seriously take the path of discipleship. And…. I CANNOT CALL MYSELF a disciple just because I believe that Jesus is the Son of God… I HAVE TO ACT ON IT… People have to see me and know immediately that I am His disciple. And yes, what I learned in this Year of Faith takes me to practice what I must in order to bring the Holy Spirit’s gifts to my inner temple so that I get equipped to go and preach the Gospel in and out of season, talking or just acting my trust in God. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SHOW THAT WE TRUST IN GOD… And it is in the Bible to be discussed at the end of this blog…
I must add that several people that have learned about my crazy immune system, have said to me, “You will do O.K. You just have to be patient! Everything will be alright.” In every occasion and without I thinking about it, I answer with a huge smile (one that I am not making up, but a smile full of joy that comes from within), “It is God’s will for me and He has a plan and I cannot wait to see all the miracles He will do for me.” Those hearing it have immediately opened their mouths wide and smiling keep looking at me with great tenderness. It is then that I realize that the Holy Spirit had just punched their souls with the Truth and they are rejoicing with it but without knowing what is going on! I then recognize this evangelizing moment and realize that only God can change my neighbor… I am just an announcer of His mercy over me with words of trust in His love twined with the joy coming from within (all orchestrated by the Holy Spirit), and His mercy jumps and possesses these souls at least for a few moments. It is fun and it teaches me His techniques and tools!
Thursday, Nov. 7
Still feeling very exhausted when I have to shop for food in nearby places, I arrived at Lucky, one of a chain of supermarkets around here. In the parking lot, a young woman employee was putting away some shopping carts and had one in her hands as I parked and she came to give it to me. I thanked her because it is easier for me to use the cart as a helper to walk with less effort on my part, that even using the cane. Her name was Barbara and spoke Spanish as well. After I was done and paying to the cashier and by now feeling more exhausted, sweaty and suddenly, Barbara was passing by and offered to help me out to the car since by now the shopping cart was heavy to travel with and I had my cane to help myself, plus she even knew where I had parked it.
We talked as she placed everything in the trunk. I told her that God had designated her as my human guardian angel and told her that I was very religious, Catholic and in love with Jesus Christ because of having found out when I was a child that His Presence was real in the Host, etc. She seemed very interested. I asked her if she attended any church and she said, “I belong to St. Mary’s in Walnut Creek.” Huh! I realized that we belonged to the same parish, told her about it and she was very happy! God had truly placed her as my guardian angel and I had shared the Good News with her. This simple event was another reminder of how the Holy Spirit can guide us to proclaim the Good News. He arranged the perfect timing for Barbara to be near me as I came out of my car and with a cart in her hands to offer it to me. He also placed her in my path exactly as I was ready to exit. This meeting generated love between strangers although members of a parish family and seeded her with the reality of the true Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist!
Monday, Nov. 11
The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops was meeting this week. I went out and did some little shopping and again became very tired. I was asked by my Mother to offer this tiredness and to pray for them and their decisions, but to be careful and be sure that I held no resentment against anybody who may remind me of past scandals not caught on time, and worse, covered up. I may add that one scandal that is always very painful to admit is that of those priests who have Consecrated the Host as the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus while abusing children. My pain always takes me at the state of holiness of their seminary professors… Had these men and women showed the signs of a true personal relationship with Jesus, perhaps these men in formation may have felt inadequate for the ministerial priesthood and would have left. Where was the Holy Spirit in those with the responsibility of forming these seminarians who are obviously very sick? I also end up asking myself, “What is my responsibility in all of this?” Each time, I pretty much surmise that I was not vigilant with my prayers for the sanctification of all the members of our Catholic Church!
I said two Rosaries for myself for any resentment still wondering around and to feel a profound love for all of them; I also offered my Rosaries for all the Bishops. By 11:15 AM I felt much love for all of them. Now I knew that my prayer was complete and powerful and one that God will answer with His mercy as they shepherd this U.S. Catholic Church, and simply because it was said with love for them.
Thursday, Nov. 14.
The landlord of this rented home had announced his visit with an appraiser since his mother had recently died and needed the appraisal for tax purposes, and of course in order to know the value of this home that he had inherited. I had not been able to do any cleaning in months since my hospital visits in August. When I came in 2008, I hired a house cleaner to come every two weeks, but I was not comfortable with their work. I have used them before in the Midwest and many times they stole things. Now I knew that between my son and me, we had to dust and vacuum and pick up bunches of stuff. I said to my Mother, “Mamita (in English Mommy), I have much to do. Help me.” She answered, “And you have a lot to trust. I will teach you how to do it. 1) Constantly, thank God for this new trial. 2) Agree that it is important for your inner conversion and say yes to it with great conviction that it is so. This conviction means that your yes is said as a follower of my Son, loving Him and not just out of duty to obey the commandment to love God. It should mean that you want to follow Him at all cost and follow His example. 3) Then, proceed to do the picking up of books, papers, etc., but always in His Presence, praising and thanking Him for this opportunity to give Him your love as if walking to Calvary. Sure enough, all was done and the house was ready for the following Monday. The landlord left with a big smile in his face. I kept offering the trial for Priests as I do with any crosses.
Sunday, Nov. 17.
I was in the middle of the major cleaning of this home when I attended the 8 AM Sunday Mass and my body felt as if a train had just passed over me. I understood that this weekly meeting with my God had more spiritual blessings if I did it from the cross and saying yes to how I was feeling… We still had the whole day to work and finish up for the following day, but I was totally trusting God’s love for me.
Monday, Nov. 18. After the landlord’s visit, I was led to a page in the Bible à Matthew chapter 7. There, I found the depiction of the last four days: the importance of prayer, love of neighbor, what is discipleship and the narrow gate. Sure enough, the gate had been very narrow but prayer and my desire to give glory to God as I offered this sacrifice for all Priests came with the graces necessary to finish the job. This was one more time that He signaled how close He is to all of us.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
I heard a topic discussed in TV regarding the theme of being intentional disciples and how we should take discipleship as a very serious choice in our lives; it is called intentional or constantly seeking to become disciples. Here, there is a major disagreement on my part regarding this subject. Of course, we must be intentional disciples and seek this state of life. But we have a tendency to try to organize our lives as disciples, to be the best disciples according to the definition: to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and to follow Jesus. But I know of the best disciple ever: our Mother and she did it differently. At the end of this message, I will touch this subject matter again and will underline the fact that before we are intentional disciples, we have to be intentional…..? Again, it is at the end of this blog. By now I had understood many more things in the last days of this Year of Faith.
Saturday, Nov. 23
Our Lady: “Promise me something. Do not worry about your left eye sight and the writing of the blogs. You have enough recent proof of His Presence in your life (your recent hospitalizations that did not mark you with despair of any kind; your good son who took an excellent care of you and who managed the situation full of graces for such moment; a nice home where you live with great peace and joy, etc.) THE MORE YOU WORRY, that much more you become deaf and blind to the guidance and instructions from the Holy Spirit. Trust in God requires indifference to the outcome of the things that need your attention, whether for daily personal living or spiritual. You just obey and say “yes” accepting what you are called to do in each moment with a big smile, knowing that He is all around you and within you. You do not need anything else.
“Remember when in 2002, Joint Commission was going to visit your surgery center and there was nothing written or to be followed for this three year review of the safety of the place? The work ahead of you was formidable, almost impossible in human terms. Remember that in one of your 5 AM Holy Hours that you did daily as He was perpetually exposed at Christ the King Parish, while waiting for the 6:30 AM Communion service before you left for work, you brought this topic to my Son and you also had done so before? You wanted to know what to do to pass this surgery center successfully through this review and He always told you, “I am with you. You will know what to do.” Remember? And yes, you passed it with the highest score ever in the history of surgery centers and Joint Commission reviews in the U.S. So, worrying is not only disobedience to God’s instructions not to worry and that you find all over the Scriptures, but a form of rebellion that will only bring spiritual blindness.
(Let me add that I was hired precisely to help with this review because there was not a system of checkups for these services in order to avoid possible errors while caring for patients. Joint Commission had changed the format for these reviews and did it in the late 80’s in 17 hospitals in the entire U.S. I was in the staff of one of these hospitals and learned of it from the very beginning. This is 2002 and our policies were still outdated and incomplete in content. Worse, the nurse administrator and other personnel had zero knowledge of what they were supposed to do! I was by myself and this is why I was worried. I normally would get up at 4 AM to be in the Chapel by 5 AM and later receive Holy Communion. So, this time was precious to bring these matters to Him, my only hope).
“And now you worry about your eyesight. In one hand, about the left eye because at any moment it could be totally gone, as at times you experience a transitory diminution of some of the vision still present. In the other hand, you worry about the right eye because it is your only way to read and write and drive, etc. And yet, you do not sit down and think of the things that can produce spiritual blindness. The latter is more important than the first one. Just imagine if you would have your two eyes in perfect health while you are sad and lonely, and without any of the joy you have had in recent months? In the first instance, the physical vision will cease when you die but the state of your spiritual vision will decide your “eternal happiness.” That is what WORRIES and fears could do in your life. Since fear is the antithesis of faith and TRUST IS FAITH WITHOUT FEAR, without trust, His mercy is impeded to allow you to secure your salvation and that of many others.
“Remember that all the time Satan is after you. Please pay attention and look at the federal law for health services. Who would imagine that in these times of great technology and many other sites being also huge and well run, this particular one would fail? Is this not a hint that God can win any war despite human sapience? And Satan made many in the Church very anxious about this subject and with human reason but these worries could have stopped God’s mercy to work its way through. However, in recent months the entire Church prayed for this upcoming law which contains unjust religious liberty points and the prayer was heard in heaven, and the site could not work. It is a clear hint from God that the process can be at least delayed because He can do all things; so, your work is to pray and TRUST that He can intervene with justice for all. The amount of success for this battle with this health law is in the hands of Christians because if faith is practiced like never before, that is, faith that God can win all your battles, He will!
“In the mean time, anytime that you worry, you are also sinning against God. Be proactive and attack your worries. When you worry as part of your human frailty, turn around and say yes to the cross without trying to change it or modify it and pray. Call me and call the Holy Spirit to give you the courage and wisdom to stop worrying! When Job was very worried about his life in chapter 16 asking God to understand what was wrong, He allowed his so called friends to come and make his life even more miserable… Have you ever wondered that God could have come much earlier to explain to Job that He was in charge of everything happening to him because He was the owner of the universe? Satan was around and giving his friends extraordinary words to convict Job. However, God never left Job. He only allowed him to pay for his worrying by being mistreated by his friends.”
I suddenly found myself writing in my journal, “Worrying is the most stupid thing I can do.”
Our Lady continued: “Jesus was clear about it and He said so in the Scriptures. Worrying does not solve anything. And when you pray while worried, you are not really praying, but actually telling God to bring a solution to your problems and at the same time insulting Him, since He is in charge, knows about it and only expects a yes to what is going because it is perfect and necessary for you and others. Instead, when you pray while worried, just do it to assert the truth that He is in charge and ask for the grace to trust in His mercy. With conviction, tell God that you need to SEE… It is then that the Holy Spirit will change your heart and you will understand that EVEN all that causes your worries gives you the opportunity to show Him how much you trust in Him. Also, repent in dust and ashes as you recognize your fault.” I immediately was able to connect this teaching to Romans 8: 28, which declares that the Lord takes all bad things and turns them into good for those who follow Him.
Sunday, November 24
After Communion and as I was offering the Mass for all the persons present in the church, I heard the Lord say, “In three days, counting today, you will have a surprise.”
Tuesday, November 26 (The third day!)
My Mother said that she had to tell me something. I was about to pray the Rosary at 8:30 AM with EWTN, and she asked me to call the Holy Spirit to give me three Bible readings. However, to first pray the first decade. During the second decade, to ask the Holy Spirit to take me to the first Bible reading, by opening the Bible to X page. Then, to do the same in the third decade for the second quote and in the fourth decade to get the third quote, and then in the fifth decade, to thank God for the teaching to be received. I suddenly remembered that this was the third day to receive the surprise. Would this be the one?
1. I prayed the first mystery of the Rosary and during the second one, I opened the Bible and found these stories at the end of Luke 2 and beginning of chapter 3, which obviously I did not read or contemplate until the Rosary was completed.
In Luke 2, we have Anna who had been married for 7 years. After becoming a widow up to her present age of 84, she NEVER LEFT THE TEMPLE and worshiped day and night with fasting and prayer. And Anna was able to encounter Jesus as a babe… Just think what it took for her to find Jesus. She never left the Temple, prayed and fasted.
After the story of Anna, this page related the story of the young Jesus after getting lost and found teaching in the Temple out of obedience to His Father, and that He did it despite of knowing the pain He would be causing His mother and step father for three whole days…
In these two stories one can see the fidelity of a widow to the only God she knew, and how she was blessed by meeting the Messiah King and being able to recognize Him…With her constant worship and fasting she was faithful to the commandments, to love God with all her heart and mind. The fruit of this type of life was the ENCOUNTERING OF THE MESSIAH. This is a big hint for us. Fidelity to God’s commands takes us to encounter Jesus. In the other story, Jesus chooses to do the will of His Father by going and preaching the Good News at the Temple, and in this way to show us how He loved God, His Father with all His heart and mind and soul, despite the great love He must have felt for His parents.
In Luke 3, John the Baptist tells the crowds that they had to produce good fruits as evidence of their repentance. Otherwise, like any other tree without fruits, they could be cut and thrown into the fire. He was very clear as to what that meant; that is that they had to share their clothes and food with those needing it. To tax collectors: they had to stop collecting more than prescribed by the Law. To soldiers: no to produce extortion; not to emit false accusations and be satisfied with their wages. He clearly explained to them that his baptism with water was one signifying repentance, but the one coming after him will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire. NOTICE that John the Baptist who had been filled with the Spirit in the womb of his mother and also, one who fasted and prayed for many years before he was sent to share his wisdom (similar to Anna and to Jesus who fasted for 40 days prior to his public life), makes a clear point: it is the Holy Spirit Who will take over their lives… Shortly after, Jesus is baptized by John to make a point of what John had said or to give us an example of what it was needed: to be filled with His Spirit and become children of God the Father. Three points are evident: need of repentance, fidelity to God in prayer, and the coming of the Holy Ghost in our lives to give us the fire (the power) to announce the Good News.
I also saw much more in these Biblical stories. How many of us truly believe in the Holy Spirit beyond accepting what the Church teaches and explains? How many of us walk through life totally sure that our work is to keep our temples clean, as John the Baptist was explaining to the crowds and that he had done with years of preparation? He also referred to the importance of the Holy Spirit. How many of us realize that much prayer, fasting and repentance go hand in hand for us to hear the Holy Spirit and become powerful evangelizers under the intercession of Our Lady? Our inner temples must be prepared and cleaned up and kept cleaned in order to walk with the Spirit and produce good fruits…
At times I wonder if the prayer and fasting of Simeon and Anna at the Temple were bringing the graces necessary for one of us (Our Lady) to be conceived without sin in order to become a living tabernacle of God the Son? Otherwise, how was it possible that they were the only chosen to recognize Him? Therefore, intercessory prayer, fasting, repentance, seeking to produce good fruits, that is to change our sinful lives for lives of service and love of God and neighbor, they all are clear items with great importance in our spiritual lives for the evangelization of the thousands… But still, I was left with the question: but how could we help ourselves to do all of that without Satan, the world and our flesh getting in the way?
2. During the third decade of the Rosary, I was led to open the Bible in the Book of Revelation chapter 2. After I finished the Rosary I went to explore what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me.
Rev. 2: 8-10
To the angel of the church of Smyrna write this: The first and the last, who once died but came to life, says this, “I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich. I know the slander of those who claim to be Jews and are not, but rather are members of the assembly of Satan. Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
The commentary on this reading says that “the letter to Smyrna encourages the Christians in this important commercial center by telling them that although they are impoverished, they are nevertheless rich, and calls those Jews who are slandering them, members of the assembly of Satan. There is no admonition; rather the Christians are told they will suffer much, even death, but the time of tribulation will be short compared to their eternal reward, and they will thus escape damnation.”
This message was one of consolation for the times we are living. It was interesting for me to be reminded that Satan is not only around but has worked in so many people around me and since childhood in order for me to resent them and even hate them for what they have done to me, but to my amazement, it was great to realize that God had been there with me and Satan could not lead me to brake the second most important commandment. I cannot complain. There is no doubt that I suffered and immensely and yet, I survived. The Lord God won all my battles and even kept me praying through my entire life and no matter where I was working for short periods of times (locum tenens after the major professional persecutions). If that is so, He is alive and with me wherever I am. Therefore, shall I lack any trust in His love and mercy for me? Impossible! And He is with each one of us regardless of our sinful state, but if we let the Holy Spirit guide us, we will be poorly treated but with zero negative value for our spiritual life. Therefore, whenever we doubt or are worried, we have to look for Satan who uses people, and at times very good people, but nonetheless if those persons are not guided by the Holy Spirit from breath to breath, Satan will come in and make them misguide us or mistreat us.
It was with this reading that I understood how careful we must be to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with the Holy Spirit every minute of our lives because we need to constantly discern the presence of the devil and we need wisdom to fight him back. The question is, “But how can we relate to the Spirit of God in a way that He can give those gifts as needed?” Ah, that is what I found out and believe is the only answer, but you must wait until I share the third Biblical theme that I was given on this day.
3. Romans 4:1-3; 18-25.
For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due. But when one does not work, yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. He believed hoping against hope, that he would become “the father of many nations” according to what was said, “Thus shall your descendants be.” Did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body already dead (for he was almost a hundred years old) and the dead womb of Sarah. Did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what He had promised He also was able to do. That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” But it was not for him alone that it was written that it was “credited to him”; it was also for us to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification. (End of Scripture passage).
We could re-write this passage and say, “Mary believed God and it was credited to her as righteousness. She believed hoping against hope that she would become the mother of the Son of God. She did not weaken in faith when she considered her youth and her single status. She did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief, rather she was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what the Angel had promised on behalf of God, God also was able to do. But it was not for her alone that it was written that it was “credited to her”; it was also for us to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification.”
There it was clear as water… We as a Church go over and over of the things to do or not to do; we emphasize the importance of the reading of the Scriptures, prayer and love of God and neighbor. Yet, at the end, 1) the outside pagan world grows in the wisdom of Satan to distract us. 2) Our Church gets shaken by scandals also organized by Satan and 3) we add to this menu our lack of attention to the history of salvation since Adam and Eve to Revelations that warns of what we could experience 4) plus we lack guts to do exactly what the Bible tells us to do.
There is a common plan for our evangelization:
1. Faithfulness to God (Simeon and Anna)
2. Abundant prayer and fasting (Anna and John the Baptist and Jesus for 40 days before His public life)
3. A call to repent from our sins with a serious effort to amend those sins (St. John the Baptist),
4. The need a) to produce good fruits and b) avoid sin, c) never forgetting the presence of Satan all around us lying, confusing us, dividing us, accusing us and using other human beings to make it possible, d) but counting with His Holy Spirit to find the right road and never deviate to the right or left; e) with total trust that Satan cannot do anything to us if we remain faithful to God (Smyrna).
5. Finally, the story of Abraham in the Old Testament and his nemesis, Our Lady in the New Testament who show us and very clearly what does it take to encounter God as a personal friend (of Abraham) and savior (Jesus through His Mother). They both believed God without any doubts…
WHAT DO WE NEED TO COMPLY WITH FOR THE PLAN OF EVANGELIZATION?
Many Saints have proclaimed the need to go to Jesus through Mary. But what does that mean? It means to do exactly what she did and at every moment of our lives. She became a partner of the Holy Spirit of God in order to bring Jesus to us… But the Spirit of God could not do anything without her yes to God’s will. When I was talking about intentional disciples, it only means to become intentional servants as she was. Or that we only have to say “yes” day in and day out to everything that is in front of us as part of the will of God for each one of us.
At one point in this passing month, I saw our Church as the Titanic… or a monstrous size ship whose chairs became disorganized as it sank. We will not sink because God promised us it would never happen. In the other hand, we are losing souls right and left and we serious religious people must do something about it. What about preaching about the Good News? Well, yes but Satan has created a social media frenzy that sinks our efforts. As we say in Spanish, “nos entra por un oido y nos sale por el otro, which means that we hear it in one ear and it leaves us through the other ear, and simply because we are bombarded with so much information coming from everywhere! Have you noticed how everybody in the news in television speaks very, very fast? Nowadays, silence is next to impossible. Reading books, saying many Rosaries without perfectly trusting that God is in charge will not take us too far. I always think of this POSSIBLE scenario that DID NOT OCCUR, and yet it is important to consider it: Our Lady hears the Angel Gabriel tell her that she is to conceive the Messiah through the power of the Holy Spirit. And then she said, “So be it” and inside her, she is waiting to see if this could really happen. Her yes would have been very conditional. Ah, but instead she answered, “This is the servant of the Lord. Do unto me as You will.”
And what about if we always think that the will of God for us WAS to become a priest or a nun or a married person and go and tell others about Jesus… Of course, it most probably was the will of God. However, the yes to God’s will covers a multitude of topics and events throughout our entire lives, and because God has no past or future, He simply is in the now, our yes must always be in front of Him and also in the NOW for whatever circumstances, suffering, etc., in order for our obedience in each present moment to be considered righteousness, and it is then that we can show everyone the Presence of the Messiah in our lives, in our words, in our churches, because the Holy Ghost will come and fill us with much wisdom, love for God and others and courage to do what it is asked of us as God’s will for each part of our lives on earth; and besides, we do it with joy and peace. WE CANNOT SAY A CONDITIONAL YES to God’s will. We must accept the fact that it is not Biblical… The Word of God does not say so. But if we do not feel up to say the yes of Abraham and Our Lady, we just ask for the grace to do so. Didn’t Jesus say that His Father would give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asked for Him?
So, if God wants us sickly, we answer yes and blessed be His holy will.
If God wants us to die tomorrow, we answer yes and blessed be His holy will.
If God wants us in a wheel chair half paralyzed, we answer yes and blessed be His holy will.
If God wants us poor and hungry, we answer yes and blessed be His holy will.
If God wants us to do huge things (and I think of our Popes who have had to be in office with advanced age) and we do not feel that we can, due to old age or need to rest at the end of our days on earth, we answer yes and blessed be His holy will.
If God wants us persecuted and carrying any kind of unjust crosses, we answer yes and blessed be His holy will.
Many will say that it is not easy to do what God wants of us… I say that the best way is to test this plan because it does work…
This is my argument and personal experience: when we are constantly determined to say yes to everything God wants of us (as Abraham, Our Lady, all the saints did) we get the grace to say yes without conditions…It is very simple: this determination means that we love God with all our heart, mind and soul, which also means that we TRUST IN HIS LOVE FOR US. If we trust in Him, He simply rains His mercy over us… and suddenly we become “full of the graces” necessary to say yes as our Mother did. And when she did it, the Holy Ghost came into her and a BABE was formed, and this baby is still alive in every Tabernacle on this earth…This means that she chose to walk with God’s Spirit and gave Him permission to proceed and treat her as His servant. This FAITH IN ACTION cannot be produced by us; it is a gift that comes from our intentional servanthood and the action of the Spirit of God Who will give us the gift of faith and all His other gifts to win this battle against Satan, the world and our flesh. The end result is that we encounter the Baby Jesus, as our Mother did. She encountered Him in her womb. We encounter Him in our souls. We are not true disciples until we act as the most perfect disciple did: Our Lady. Sometimes, we can call ourselves disciples of Jesus but actually, a disciple must have no will of its own, pick all the crosses and follow the Master, or do what He did…and He loved His Father and us. But in order to get to that point of true discipleship we have to become servants and act as servants by telling the Holy Ghost “Yes” to everything He wants of us.
And all of the above if preached in pulpits will empty the parishes, but this could be avoided with time… Read more!!!
Then is when we have to become righteous, when we have to believe against any hope as Abraham did and let God take care of things. But usually we are organizing even our own ongoing conversion. The most difficult thing after being brain washed by the pagan media is to remain quiet and let the Spirit work on us. We think that we have to be proactive in converting ourselves since the world constantly ask us to become what we want if we try hard enough. It is hard to wait and pray and fast if called to do so, and do what Daniel and his friends did, and let God makes us walk on fire or be respected even like lions, as Daniel was, but praying and believing that God has a plan.
When God sees us with this kind of faithfulness, He will send His Holy Spirit and we all can experience a true new Pentecost, which means not that we call the Holy Spirit and then ignore His guidance in each present moment. A Pentecost is when we allow the Holy Spirit to reign in our wills and desires and needs, as we say yes to whatever we are called to do by Him. The new evangelization starts with the “yes” of Our Lady. We do not move a finger until we wait to be sent to do or say or write, etc. And when we produce fruits, then we know that we are in the right tract. But if we do not produce fruits, well, there is no problem. We repent and we pray that God will take over our will, and we ask for the righteousness of Abraham and our Lady. And fruits are evident when people look at us and see in us the joy and peace of a God that can manufacture it despite of us being poor servants of His.
How I wished that some of us would become a centralized center of power for this Church of ours and for this pagan world that does not have any idea of the beauty of God’s love and mercy. And until some of us trust in God by our constant yes to His will, His mercy cannot come to the rest of the world like oceans of love from Him to everyone. This centralized spiritually powered group must focus on the words of 1Cor 9:46, that is, to run this race as to win. And we run the race and win by our all day “yes” to everything, expecting the Holy Ghost to tells us what to do or say. If this group of Catholics keeps saying yes, this message could be preached from the pulpit and the power of the Holy Spirit will open hearts and fortify souls with His love and truth. Talking about it over and over has no value. Acting on it brings God to take over the evangelization of the entire world as He sees our righteousness, our hope against any hope that God can convert the entire world because our trust in Him will bring His mercy to do the job and like never before.
As I was heavily tested during this Year of Faith with my bleeding ulcers while I only encountered joy and peace with the grace to say yes to those very difficult moments of dealing with doctors who I do not trust too much, and knowing that I was very close to a possible demise, I CAN ASSURE YOU that this all came as I trusted (by grace) that God was right next to me at each moment, and this encounter brought so much faith and hope and love for Him. Nowadays, I can hardly stand for long periods and pain in both knees is still bugging me much and the question is on the medical side: How can I solve this problem and stop all these narcotics? How can I quiet my immune system? And always I end up saying, “I do not know and yet, I KNOW WITHOUT FEAR that God has a plan and that I want that plan for my life more than anything else…because He has helped me, His servant, ‘remembering His mercy according to the promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to His descendants forever’.” My Jewish roots seem to claim this promise.
May you have a very blessed Christmas celebration and I wish you the best for 2014.
Another related topic: the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it will take up the question of whether a for-profit company can refuse to cover contraception for its employees because of religious objections. The cases will be heard together, likely in March 2014, with a decision expected in June.”
Well, it is our time to PRAY, suffer and offer it up for the Supreme Court judges, for their salvation and OUR TIME TO SAY YES TO THIS TRIAL as perfect and necessary… because God has a plan and it is soo perfect that we cannot miss such perfection for our Church and our US. Our trust will bring miracles!
I close with the words from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of our Holy Father Francis:
“ 3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.
“Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”
“5. The Gospel, radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross, constantly invites us to rejoice. A few examples will suffice. “Rejoice!” is the angel’s greeting to Mary (Lk 1:28). Mary’s visit to Elizabeth makes John leap for joy in his mother’s womb (cf. Lk 1:41). In her song of praise, Mary proclaims: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk 1:47). When Jesus begins his ministry, John cries out: “For this reason, my joy has been fulfilled” (Jn 3:29). Jesus himself “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Lk 10:21). His message brings us joy: “I have said these things to you, so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). Our Christian joy drinks of his brimming heart. He promises his disciples: “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (Jn 16:20). He then goes on to say: “But I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (Jn 16:22). The disciples “rejoiced” (Jn 20:20) at the sight of the risen Christ. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that the first Christians “ate their food with glad and generous hearts” (2:46). Wherever the disciples went, “there was great joy” (8:8); even amid persecution they continued to be “filled with joy” (13:52). The newly baptized eunuch “went on his way rejoicing” (8:39), while Paul’s jailer “and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God” (16:34). Why should we not also enter into this great stream of joy?”
P.S.: The writing of these blogs continues to be difficult for my eyes and I will keep checking on a monthly basis if it is time to stop them. Thank you for your prayers to discern the writing of this particular one. I will discern from month to month and precede my discernment with a big “yes” to God’s will in the matter.