Stages of the Spiritual Journey

This blog is written in honor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

One more time I post this message although a little later that I usually do it but I am sure that God wanted this way. It took me a long time to put it together since the subject is again, slightly difficult to explain … These stages have little to do with what I have read in the past. In fact, I was surprised to see how from the day of our birth to the date of our death, the plan of God for each one of us has been put together and the rest has to do with how much attention and devotion we show to follow it as the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. I am super sure that somebody else has already written about this, but of course, I have not read most of the Christian literature. And yes, I know about the inner castles of St. Teresa of Avila and how she let us know the stages of growing in intimacy with God and contemplation of His Majesty. Well, the topic of this blog is different and it has again more to do with the plan of God for each one of us, and how we may stay forever in one stage if one does not adhere to the Truth of the Gospel, while trying to be vigilant and OBEYING what God wants of us every day of our lives.

I will share first some stories by the calendar sequence. At the end, I will have a final view of the topic.

Thursday, August 28

I needed more Tramadol (the pain medication) since my knees continue to ache as bad as ever. Please read the beginning of this story in my last blog on the date of August 27. My primary physician had ordered the medication but a different one, 100 mgs. tablets versus 2 tablets of 50 mg. as the gastro-enterologist had done, and it was not covered by Medicare or the supplemental insurance. On this August 28 at 8:15 AM, I called Walgreen’s and they said they were waiting for a response from my primary lady doctor. However it turned out to be a lie…

Friday, August 29

On this day, I found out that the fax from the pharmacy requesting a new prescription (since I had a refill but the new law of August 18 required a prescription written in a narcotic pad form), had  arrived at her office at 9:15 AM on the day before, that is, one hour after I had called the pharmacy, which indicates that they had not sent the fax before and even that  they claimed they were waiting for an answer!.… At 9 AM I started calling the doctor’s office but no one was there and I had only an automatic response from the answering service! At one point, I thought that the entire office was off on account of the upcoming Labor Day and I only had 3 pills left! At 9:30 AM, I called the office of the doctor again and by now they were opened and had already submitted the new prescription but electronically, and Walgreen’s computer refused to take it!!!! Of course, the computer already had a prescription for the wrong form of Tramadol and could not accept another one… Yet, notice how the office of the doctor never did anything as to why the new prescription had been refused. They did not call me. Walgreen’s did not call me either!  I called again the doctor’s office to make some noise regarding the issue and asking them to do something about it, and then, the office girl offered to call directly to delete the wrong prescription and for Walgreen’s to accept the new one… This long story can prove to you that Satan can really be nasty creating one of his favorite acts, “confusion,” and that it was generating a major bout of resentment within me. But yes, I was able to get the Tramadol later that day.

Wednesday, September 3

On this day I saw a wonderful program of evangelization of Catholics who have abandoned God and the Church. It was very good… However, I was given some understanding about this work. It does not matter how we bring others to Jesus; what matters is if they come and stay… This is so important because we do not just need to bring others to God, but to get the graces necessary for them to stay and not to do the same sooner or later. This work can only be done by the Holy Spirit and depends very much on our faith. If I work on my own conversion, day in and day out, which means that I am doing God’s will no matter what, not only the Holy Ghost will send me the clients, but at the same time, He will work in those hearts for them to fall in love all over with the Crucified and never leave again. This is a very important point that must be emphasized over and over. Evangelization of our brothers and sisters has two parts to it: bringing them in and keeping them in through our trust in God by decisively doing His will from moment to moment!  

My faith can move mountains or so He said… I have to live with the yes to God’s will in everything I do, personal life and work for the Kingdom, in order to show Him my faith in His plan for all of us and this way, I not only help others to come back to the Church but open the doors wide for the conversion they need! I wrote in my journal, “Evangelization starts with oneself! It starts with my ‘yes’ to God’s will and as our Mother did, while fully trusting  that it will work wonders. He will give me the words, the love, the type of care that each soul needs at that moment. This is the key for the Holy Spirit to finish the evangelization of each soul. The power is His. The ‘how to’ is His. I am just the servant of the Lord who needs to be impregnated with Jesus in everything I say, do, write, etc., and the rest is His work just as it happened 2,000+ years ago! It is actually such a simple plan!”

Also on this day I had my third intra-ocular injection. As always it was a pleasure to deal with a Christian doctor, one that has no qualms to let the patient know where he stands… It is so consoling! I pray for this doctor every day and often thank God for placing him in my path for something as serious as my eye sight. And yes, since the previous injection there were demonstrable changes for the better of this left eye. Afterwards, it was a tough day because I had much pain in the eye that lasted much longer than the other previous times, in 2013 and 2014. I wondered if I had become allergic to the medication injected.

I had to go to a 7Eleven to get some money from the ATM machine, and as I entered, the employee that was on duty, Hope, turned to me and kept saying, “You are so  beautiful.” Of course, this was very strange since I had a red left eye and I was not truly feeling well. Later on, I realized that may be the Lord was giving me the title for September’s blog. Much later, He said, “No. Hope meant for you to always hope in the perfection of My care for you, and you should not even worry about the pain or allergy to the medication. Remember, I am in charge!” (Hmm)

Thursday, September 4.

During my Holy Hour, I told him how much I loved Him. As of late, very often I have this profound feeling of my love for Him. Yet, I also told Him that probably I did not love Him enough. He answered, “My love for you cannot be contained in all the buildings and mountains in the entire earth.” I cried. I felt this Truth invading every cell of my body, and yes, my love for Him is so little in comparison!

Friday, September 5.

Of course, He was ready to show me how much He loves me, and recently, He keeps doing this over and over in different places. I did not feel terribly well but after Mass I made it to Target Department Store and found the Evian water on sale for the second week in a row. The difference in price is worth to buy more even that I had enough at home. Immediately, a woman was passing by with her cart and came to me as if someone had clicked in her heart to offer help. She did bring down 6 packs of 6 bottles. There was one left but she could not reach it. An older man appeared and got it for me!

I went through the cashier and paid for everything and suddenly my cart got stuck. Of course, it was very heavy due to 42 large Evian bottles. The next door cashier had not clients and she turned her light off and came to help me. She could not fix it. So, she ran and got me a new cart and changed the “cargamento” to the new one. Then, she offered to help me out to take it to the car and ran to her supervisor and asked for permission. By now, I told her she was an angel sent by God… She helped me out and we had a very good conversation. It turned out that she is a non practicing Catholic. As of 2 years ago, she was homeless. Then, a year ago she started working at Target. I realized this event was all coming from God…I offered to pray to our Mom in heaven for her well being. By now, she was soo happy! Sandra wanted me to pray for her husband and son as well. I knew that God was trying to show me how much He loves me, just as He had described the previous day! But also, He revealed to me how I was not only buying water that was cheaper, but that I was also on evangelization mode and did not know it.

Hint: we are always evangelizing, and the opportunities come more often than not when we also are on the “yes” to God’s will mode… One goes with the other. If I say yes to everything, His Holy Spirit will guide me to those in need of coming back to the faith and create circumstances, like a heavy stuck cart exactly next to Sandra’s cashier’s lane… which happened to be empty of clients. I also required that she would be paying attention to my problem and that she felt the inner urgency to help out! I also wondered how many times I missed an appointment because I was on my “own will” mode, and obviously, acting not as a disciple, but as one who is in charge of her destiny! Triple ouch!

In the late afternoon, I realized that I had left in the bathroom of the church after Mass, the preparatory consecration prayers to Our Lady that I use daily in order to re-consecrate myself to her in her feast days. I immediately realized that the following morning I had to go back to the church very early before the 8 AM Mass, and look for these prayers. I carry them in a nice plastic folder and with my name and phone number in case I lose it, which does not guarantee that it will be returned to me, as it happened before with a folder with my community Rosary intentions left right in my pew… Some parishioner took it!

Saturday, September 6.

I found the envelope right where I had left it!!! I then understood that this event had to do with a special call to stop watching sports and news that are actually very repetitive, and instead, pray more Rosaries per day. The world is in a stay of chaos and probably worse than ever, and therefore, I must pray and ask for my Mother’s help with as many Rosaries as possible… My time needs to be re-arranged for the sake of the Kingdom. With this realization came the pain of my lack of true love for all my brothers and sisters. If the Holy Rosary was able to win the battle at Lepanto, why is it that I insist in praying just a couple of Rosaries a day? This is not only stupid on my part but shows God my lack of faith and love. Ouch!

Thursday, September 9

Early that morning, I received a call from my fourth son in Birmingham, AL, telling me of the birth of their daughter Elizabeth Victoria. Well, daily, I seem to visit this city as I watch the LIVE Mass from EWTN! I have consecrated her to the mercy of God by ordering an engraved little stone with a message that will be placed in the John Paul II plaza at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Massachusetts. She will be prayed daily by the Order of Priests who care for this Shrine and especially in the yearly Mass of October 22, the feast day of our great Pope, St. John Paul II. And of course, I am praying that she becomes a saint and like I do for my other five grandchildren, her brother and four cousins in Omaha.

At 3 PM, the hour of Mercy, I received the topic for this blog. My Mother asked me if I wanted to know the title of the blog. Of course, I said, “Yes”. It is always interesting to find out what topic to zero in… She asked me to call the Holy Spirit and ask for direction in the Bible. I was sent to the story of how the Israelites moved from city to city in their 40 year journey to the Promised Land. They moved from Egypt to Sinai and settled down and camped. From Sinai the proceeded to Kadesh where they settled down and camped. From Kadesh they went to Mount Hor, etc. I then understood that the title will be, “Stages of the Journey.”

Then I wrote this as I understood more on this subject matter.

“There is a tendency to settle down in “X” city or parish or job and camp thinking that it is it. On the contrary, whenever we settle down, we only know that we are in route to the Promised Land with the stages being decided by God for each phase according to the growth needed in our spiritual formation and to bring other souls to love God. We only should think of that part of the journey at a particular time, and instead of seeing far ahead or what we left, our work is to obey the Commandments with great fidelity and the best we can! The journey is towards the Promised Land which is our final destiny and where we will see the face of God and live with Him for all eternity.”

In hindsight, I was able to see the different stages of my journey and actually, when this month Notre Dame football team (which we follow because the son who houses me is an alumnus of this university) played in Ann Arbor against Michigan, it reminded me of that stage. The stadium houses some 105,000 potential visitors and we lived about 2 blocks from this stadium. Actually, every Saturday that they would play at home, I had to re-arrange my shopping plans (I was working full time and had to buy what was needed on the weekend) because it was almost impossible to leave my home or come back later as needed. Also, I had lived near So. Bend and knew the University of Notre Dame campus quite well. And yes, this was just part of the stages of my journey, where I was a busy practicing physician raising four beautiful sons.

It was then, as the game was going on, that I thought of the great love of God for our entire family. And we had to move from Indiana back to Cleveland, OH, precisely for my third and fourth sons to attend a Jesuit high school like their older brothers, and for my third son to be able to get closer to the campus of the Franciscan U. of Steubenville, where he received his first degree in Theology. All these stages were absolutely precious moves where we settled and camped for a while! And yes, we prayed the Rosary at night, not every night, but often. And yes, our family was growing to be guided and become the rock for the four boys to be good citizens and two of them, good fathers and husbands. In all stages of my life, God gave me great gifts, from getting to know His Real Presence as a child, to become a very good student and get me to graduate from medical school at no cost for me. I had to become an anesthesiologist in order to find out how I could reverse my loss of memory, while all along, be submitted to powerful persecutions, all of which refined my spiritual growth at each stage.

However, no one told me that each stage was so important for the next one. I now wondered if I had changed many things by FULLY  understanding that God was right next to me, winning all the battles in the persecutions that I endured while leaving me without any resentment for my persecutors. 1) How wonderful would have been to see in each persecution an aid to move to the next stage and growing in holiness at the same time. Of course, had I understood it, faith would not have been present… I had to live it all hoping in the power of His Resurrection and trusting Him no matter what, all of this to have His mercy bless my entire family to become what it is today. And all along, growing in faith to finally realize that my “yes” to His will was important in these stages. When He said, “Move (from city to city),” by grace I moved regardless.2)  I could also have sharpened my attention in discerning the soft voice of the Holy Spirit and say “yes” with great gusto and to all He wanted of me at each moment. 3) All of this would have alerted me to the importance of living while trying to witness the love of God in all I say, think, write or do, as I journeyed and set camp in another place! But on the contrary, each move I hoped it was for a long time. In my profession as a hospital based physician, changing jobs do not look good! Yet, again, no one alerted me to this in a homily or by spiritual friends, or sometimes from nuns around.

Personally, I did O.K. But 4) I could have done more to evangelize my brothers and sisters! 5) I missed many possibilities and times for dealing with resentments to love my brothers and sisters or friends and strangers, not realizing that any sins against love slows down our zeal to save many other souls that God placed in each phase of the different stages. Just recently He said to me, “Deal with your resentments since they destroy love, which in turn impedes spiritual growth.” Also, 6) I did not act (most of the time) with a true “catholic” mind, or one living as a true disciple who is in the world to bring others to Him, especially 7) through my crosses that could have been offered for them instead of wasting them. 8) I would have seen the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist as important acts to keep my soul enlightened with zeal for souls for x stage of the journey. 9) Then, evangelization would have been at the top of my daily chores. At times I wonder how many souls running today are running a good race to the Promised Land and bringing others to God? Is it because we do not have a clear understanding that our entire lives are divided in stages by God’s will and full of blessings for evangelization purposes as we graduate from one to the other?

Friday, September 12

After my Holy Hour and praying 3 Rosaries ( plus I had prayed the Family Rosary at home) I suddenly became depressed. I understood that this feeling was allowed even after not eating anything that could bring the depression in order to remember how it feels and how important is to finish the book and divulge the fact that the food thickener Carrageenan can cause it in many people like me. During the Mass the depression disappeared but very slowly. I needed to visit a Home Depot and get some lights for a bathroom. I left for last, going to nearby small post office, a branch of the main post office in my city. As I entered, no customer was there (2 PM) and the lady employee started crying loud… I met this woman when I arrived in this area 6 years ago. I witnessed to her the greatness of our Lord. I had encouraged her to say the Rosary. Some 4 years ago, she disappeared and I asked where she was. I was told that she had been sent to the main Post Office.

Since her transfer she has suffered much. This situation and my old talks made her to pray more and love the Lord more. Yesterday morning, she was covering for the employee on vacation and prayed a Rosary before going to work and asked the Lord to send me there… Of course, when I entered she almost past out. Also, a computer in the background started making noises… She took care of 3 people who arrived after me, just to have time to tell me how the Lord has triumphed in her heart and that the love of our Mother is real as well. I gave her my email address just in case she needs me with any religious question. She cried even more. I left and suddenly I realized that yes, God keeps sending me signs that I am in the right track… He also was showing me how He had a plan for both of us and wanted me to go to this post office on this very day just to remind me how much He loves all of us.

 

Monday, September 15

 

I received a note from the Walnut Creek City Traffic Department and they found me guilty of parking in the wrong place and as told in the previous blog… They sent an explanation citing a law they have that did not reflect the truth at all. In fact, I am petrified of driving in this city. I parked in a space that had no painting of any kind or any sign to say that this was a “pick up” area only. Several other vehicles also parked there in other days during the work inside the parking areas of the parish, and I did not notice any envelopes in their front window indicating that it was a ticket. Discrimination has been a reality in my life. I do not complain much about it because it has been allowed by God. Yet, three times I have been mistreated by police and without reason.

 

I remember when in 2007 I was stopped in Sylvania, a nice city in the outskirts of the city of Toledo just because the policeman thought I was driving alcohol-impaired… It was 10 AM and the man would not believe me that I had not drunk alcohol, nor that I drink ever… In fact, I do hate alcohol with passion.  Of course, nowadays, everybody lies whether in politics or in commercials, etc. He detained me for 10 minutes trying to be sure that I was not lying!!! He also let me go but as a kind of favor… The latter infuriated me the most! In another occasion, I was driving in the expressway between South Bend, IN and Cleveland, OH. It was slippery with some ice. We all were driving carefully and with good distance among ourselves. Somehow, a car in front slipped and produced a fast stop of us behind it. Two cars behind me, two policemen in plain clothes were driving with very little space in front of their car. As we all stopped, they could not but hit the car ahead and the latter hit me. At the end of the story, these men talked to the traffic police first and they made me the reason for their problem. They impounded my car. The car behind me belonged to a very nice man who took the entire thing to the courts and told them the truth…But they believed the words of the policemen. I had enough space in front of me and I did not hit the car in front. So, the man behind me had to pay the repairs to my car and to the policemen car… What an injustice. But no matter what, I had to pay some money to get my car back in this rural town in Indiana!!!

 

As of late, we have had many stories of policemen acting in an aggressive way. It could be that crime has skyrocketed and they are afraid. Personally, I fear them very much. Now, when I have to get a new driver’s license in March 2015, my records will say that I committed a traffic violation. Last time, I was given the license for only 2 years… because of my poor left eye vision, and this after a horrible persecution from the lady officer from the DMV… She was soo mad at me…Of course, Satan must have been around. Yet, we Christians often do suffer many injustices, and even from lawful sources! If you remember, please keep me and the members of this particular Contra Costa County DMV department in your prayers for what it is to come in February of 2015, as I work on getting a new driver’s license. Thank you!

But why is it that that I am telling you this big story of other encounters with policemen? BECAUSE… I will never forget this latest incident plus the old ones and what it is worse, I still RESENTMENT THEM. I am suspecting that this recent problem with the so called parking violation ticket was a form for God to remind me that I do have many resentments accumulated some place in my brain and in my heart and that I must ask for His mercy to forgive as He has forgiven me… He never misses a chance to allow us to see our sinful state and that repentance is so necessary with a sincere desire of amendment. Repenting in words is easy. Repenting and changing our resentment into love requires our sincere repentance and our prayer asking for the grace to love our enemies, in order for the mercy of God to change any lack of love into love! I subsequently paid the $45 fine and wrote that I was praying for them since I did not even understand the reasons they gave me to call me guilty as charged. And the check had the “fish” and the big words in the background, “Rejoice.” Of course, as you may remember, these checks were ordered by my Indian Hindu friend at the bank when I ordered them and unbeknownst to me! One never knows if God will use it as a tool of evangelization of those who will open the paper with the note and the check!!!

Tuesday, September 16

I received a thick book with the new drug plan for 2015 from my Medicare supplemental insurance via AARP’s plan, United Healthcare. Now my physician will not be able to order enough pills for my blood pressure. I am only approved for less than I need. This is Satan’s work directly from hell. So, my son is looking in the Internet for another plan in order to make the change at the end of the year when I am allowed to do so. Here we have another nice work for me, not to resent those behind this decision… and I am still resenting them big time. AS YOU CAN SEE, this is a stage of our journey when we have to fight for our duty to love others no matter what… And with these examples I am sure that God uses them to train me in the art of dealing with resentments ASAP. Satan keeps us tied up to sins like resentments in a very quiet way. We have to become more active in our lives to deal with all resentments as they come in.

Wednesday, September 17

The program presented by Dr. Mehmet Oz (previously mentioned, a cardiac surgeon and for the last 3 years a daily presenter of TV health topics) explained all about depression in the present days. A psychiatrist was invited to shed light on this topic and Dr. Drew Lipinski said that today, depression is the most common mental illness and that stress and trauma can trigger depression. Who is most at risk? Women twice as much as men from ages 45-65. What to do about it? They offered a questionnaire at Dr. OZ’s Internet site to find out if a person has depression. He also said that people with heart disease has more chances to suffer of depression!

Once more, I felt so guilty for not having published this book where I already have discussed this problem with carrageenan.

On this September 17 I also found out that we have a nude camp in a city very near to where I live, in Los Gatos!!! Ouch!

Thursday, September 18

At 11:30 AM I was questioning the many changes we have to do in our lives. My Mother said, “You are worried! Never be afraid of what is next. It is a normal stage where you should never wonder. No one hair will fall from your head without God knowing about it! Remember? The more you believe in His Mercy and love for all of you, that much more you will grow in discipleship, and denying yourself and accepting all crosses becomes easier and easier, and following my Son is carried out by the graces of being a serious true disciple!”  Then, she led me to read:

Isaiah 43: 15-21 – “I am the Lord, Your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. Thus says the Lord, who opens a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, Who leads out chariots and horsemen, a powerful army, till they lie prostrate together, never to rise, snuffed out and quenched like a wick. Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. Wild beasts honor Me, jackals and ostriches, for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink, the people whom I formed for Myself, that they may announce My praise.”

Isaiah 44: 1:3 – “Hear then, O Jacob, my servant, Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you, your help, who formed you from the womb: fear not, O Jacob, my servant, the darling whom I have chosen. I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground, and streams upon the dry land; I will pour out My Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing upon your descendants.”

It was clear that God spoke to Israel and me, announcing to us that He has a plan and that He is mighty and merciful and can lead us to announce His praise under the guidance of the His Spirit! Therefore, any fear should be out of our minds and hearts.

Later, I was sent to review more Scripture themes.

Exodus 7.  Here God explains to Moses how Pharaoh and servants were made obstinate in not allowing the Israelites to depart, and to be able to see God performing acts of mercy among the Egyptians, that is, showing them that He was the Lord. He was giving them a chance to convert!

Exodus 10: 7. Every time, Pharaoh would place conditions to the Israelites of who could go and worship God, but at the end, he did not allow it!

Exodus 9: 30 – Pharaoh repented for doing these things to the Israelites over and over. However, the Bible says that his repentance was not good because he repented without fear of the Lord. I immediately understood the importance of repentance not out of lip service but recognizing the awe, the majesty of God’s love and repenting because of it. Fear of God as discussed some years ago in one of the blogs, means to contemplate God with awe, and then, repenting while considering His awesomeness. It seems a little complicated but recognizes that our heart is repenting for the right reasons. Not out of fear of what could happen but out of God’s beauty and grandeur.

Leviticus 25: 18-22 – (The Lord talking to Moses) “Observe My precepts and be careful to keep my regulations, for then you will dwell securely in the land. The land will yield its fruit and you will have food in abundance, so that you may live there without worry. Therefore, do not say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we do not then sow or reap our crop?’ I will bestow such blessings on you in the sixth year that there will then be crop enough for three years. When you sow in the eighth year, you will continue to eat from the old crop; and even into the ninth year, when the crop comes in, you will still have the old to eat from.”

All of this can explain very well not only our daily lives and our needs and be reassured that God is in total charge of every detail, but it also speaks of our spiritual life. Our growth comes from God and He will supply us with the teaching and love necessaries to never stay for longer than necessary in one stage of our spiritual growth, and despite policemen who persecute us! It only requires that we observe His precepts and keeping  His regulations, and our spirit will render the fruit necessary for our daily living and for the care of others. And for example, to repent in awe of His grace of love, provides the trust necessary to unleash His mercy necessary for our moving from one stage to the next one, in our route to the Promised Land. What a God we have!

I worked much in editing the book that I am writing.

Friday, September 19

People were making lines in New York City to buy the new I Phone 6. A couple had arrived on September 1st. and paid $2,500 just to be the first in line! This craziness (with new gods) is simply pathetic and worse, it shows us how empty they are inside. I have not bought an I phone, and of course, because I do not need it. Verizon gives me 450 free minutes per month and I hardly use half of it. And to watch games and TV programs I have the regular large TV, and even then, my Mother keeps telling me to save time for the Kingdom and to pray instead… I realized that these were stages of the journey for all of us, and those in love with the No. 6 version are basically stuck with attachments. And God can liberate us from them as He has done to me… Of course, for someone in the work place, these I phones are very important, but the new ones are soo expensive and they bend… Ouch!

Sunday, September 21

After Mass, my son and I went to Whole Foods Market (organic foods) where he buys his breakfast and salad for the week. I came out of the car and purposely left my cane in the car. The parking spot was far from the place where they keep the small carts, which I had planned to use instead of the cane. But within seconds, a very old woman was coming out and looked at me and smiled and said, “You need this cart. You can have it.” She got her only bag out of the cart and gave the cart to me. She knew I needed it and I am sure it was by the Holy Spirit. My Lord had supplied for me the cart since I did not have my cane. I would have expected this favor from a younger person, but how did she know I needed it? Again and again, I am in a stage of my journey where this God of ours wants me to be sure that He is around and wants to answer all my needs, just as He had reminded me some days ago at Target.

Then I went to get some bananas and an employee appeared, a young man with whom I spoken some days before. He was smiling from ear to ear and said, “Now, every time that I get together with my friends, I tell them how important it is to eat well, and remind them of carrageenan and what it does to some people. They love it!” Of course, recently the media has exhausted the theme of depression since the tragic death by suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams. They have no answers as to why depression is so preponderant in our times. I imagine that it is consoling to them to at least have some answers as to why. And in these past days, I have worked daily on editing the book. There is no doubt that my God is reminding me of the importance of finishing and publishing it.

When I came home, I was guided to this Bible verse which re-affirmed this crazy love of God for all of us.

Isaiah 44: 1:3 – “Hear then, O Jacob, my servant, Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you, your help, who formed you from the womb: fear not, O Jacob, my servant, the darling whom I have chosen. I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground, and streams upon the dry land; I will pour out My Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing upon your descendants.”

Monday, September 22.

I was able to understand some of our modern plagues…We use 1.1 billion pounds of pesticide in our crops!!! Some plants succumb to the pesticide and science has created crops that are not affected by pesticides. They use a new pesticide to do so.

This is the story: genetically engineered foods have had foreign genes (genes from other plants or animals) inserted into their genetic codes. The Food and Drug Administration regulates production and labeling of genetically engineered foods. Some people have raised concerns that the genes from one food that are inserted into another food may cause an allergic reaction. For instance, if peanut genes are in tomatoes, could someone with a peanut allergy react to tomatoes?

You can’t really discuss genetic engineering without also addressing the chemicals these plants are engineered to tolerate. About 85 percent of all genetically engineered plants are herbicide-tolerant—designed to tolerate very high levels of herbicides, glyphosate in particular. According to the USGS, more than 88,000 tons of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2007, up from 11,000 tons in 1992. Since the advent of “super weeds,” the use of glyphosate (and other even stronger weed killers) has risen significantly. Three studies have linked glyphosate exposure with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Inhalation of glyphosate was observed to cause DNA damage after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to the 450-fold dilution of spraying most commonly used in agriculture:

Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise.

GMOs harm the environment.
GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.
PLEASE, KEEP THIS IN MIND… When possible, do not consume any product that is labeled to be a GMO food and favor buying those products that are labeled GMO free.

Tuesday, September 23

I had my visit with my primary lady physician and it was a very pleasant one. She did order all my medicines in quantities that do not need me to go back often to her office. Of course, I have her under heavy prayer by family and a dear local friend. Prayer works and battles are won.

Thursday, September 25

The sports media announced that the famous Yankee baseball player, Derek Jeter, would play his last game the following day and paid up to $855 per ticket to be present in this event…!!! He has been described as a very good man but this is not just love for Derek Jeter. I would call it a case of worshiping another god…

Also in the news they explained how a 12 year old girl was murdered by two girls of same age just to please some movie “make believe” figure… To this degree we are at the end of an era… The call is for us to pray day and night for these plagues to disappear.

Tuesday, September 30

I did not feel well and was ready to cancel going to Mass. Yet, I was not sure. Again, I have become much more aware of these stages of my spiritual formation and do not want to make decisions on my own. I then asked the Holy Spirit to help and send me the word “go”… I got it in Luke 14: 21. I still was not feeling well and asked Him to help the second time. He sent me to a page where I found four times the word “go.” Luke 7: 22-26. And yes, it was important and it led me to do some shopping again at Target Department Store which was not planned ahead of time. I found a parking space exactly in front of the main entrance. When I came out, as I was placing what I bought in the trunk of the car, another old lady using a cane came to me and said, “Take your time. I will take your cart back and use it.” So, I did not have to even walk and look for the area where carts are left. But this time, she took off with my cart and turned around and gave me my cane, which I had forgotten again… Hmm…

Well, two weeks ago, I also left my cane in a cart and did not realize it until I arrived home some 15 minutes later. I went back and by then, the cart was where I had left it, since a piece of newspaper was at the bottom and made me able to recognize it, but the cane was gone. It had my address and phone number but someone stole it and never called me. I even checked today if this cane was at Target’s lost and found, and it was not… So, I could have lost the second cane and God was there, sending me an angel to be sure I would not lose it. I am at a stage of my journey where God wants to truly keep me with eyes opened regarding His constant love and care. HE IS REAL… HE IS ALIVE… And today I told Him many times over that He makes me crazy with so much love… like preparing my arrival to the store with the perfect parking space plus sending an angel to remind me of my cane… Yes, I had to “go” to Mass in order to keep this appointment at Target for Him to show me His mercy one more time!

Conclusion

The stages of the spiritual journey refer to the formation of a soul to witness God’s Presence among us in order to bring other souls to Him!!!

In each stage we drop 1) attitudes that are not proper for a believer, 2) fears, 3) worries, 4) attachments to worldly ways of living; 5) we understand the graces in our crosses with 6) acceptance of the suffering they bring. Eventually, 7) we realize that these stages are leading to holiness of life, which in turn 8) it brings the preparation to bring other souls to God but 9) always through the gate of our “yes” to His will 10) under the umbrella of a deep prayer life that includes the Mass as often as possible and many Rosaries, asking our Mother to be our intercessor in this our formation to evangelize. 11) We also will understand that prayer of petition is heard and attended by God the instant we ask it, or even before we present it to Him and that it is answered in His time for the best of our spiritual well being and that of others. 12) We will clearly know that if prayer is said too fast, be it worship or thanksgiving, it is lip service and not a conversation with God. 13) We will realize that total obedience to the commandments, most especially to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, are key ingredients to give us the grace to say “yes” to His will for everything, regardless of any suffering involved. 14) At the same time, it is our “yes” to His will that will open our ears and eyes to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 15) We will further understand that in each stage, God will provide the particular crosses to graduate to the next stage. 16) Finally, we will end up fully trusting that God is in charge to win all our battles in His time but always with a perfect timing for our sanctification.

Yet, our eyes must never look to control or know too much about the journey. Suffice to understand that God loves us and very personally. He created us one by one with a particular finger print and even a particular magnetic field around the electricity that runs through our bodies. He could not have made us in a more personal way than it already is! So, we are beautifully made as the Psalmist wrote. Even more, God the Father sent His only Son to die for us and earn for us the merit of being adopted children of His. Our duty should be to say always “yes” to all He asks of us because His plan is so perfect and unique and personal. If we submit to such plan, we will be formed to be evangelizers but always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit

We cannot invent ways to bring others to God if not well discerned to be from the Holy Spirit, since it is only the Third Person of the Trinity Who will be able to enter their souls and bring them to the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are only servants, instruments of His, who are passing by on this earth and given the honor to collaborate with the Holy Trinity in order to save souls.

It amazes me how many ministries we have invented in all parishes but the fruits are not great. The Tabernacle continues to be ignored after a short genuflection towards it and not as the most important point in the entire building we call church. He is there, alive and waiting for us, but also expecting us to believe He is right there looking at us. At times I wonder if so many ministries are created to produce ways of socialization, more so than to journey together as we become true disciples.

At the end, we can be formed as evangelizers, not by our words or preaching or knowledge of the Bible without a true effort to do what it teaches, but by our obedience to God in everything He wants for us. Yes, we have to walk together and community is essential for this formation. Yet, ministries and socialization without the “yes” to Him in all He wants, united to a serious prayer life to be able to love those we resent, and receiving regularly the Sacraments, while always defeating resentments, will never be effective for us to bring the thousands to God. Yes, many will come but with no guarantee of staying near Him. When all is said and done, it is our strong faith, hope and love that will move mountains and hearts and convert the millions through the Holy Spirit, and a strong faith, hope and love can only exist by the graces coming from our abandonment to His Providence as we say “yes” to His will, moment by moment!  Understanding that our spiritual success, personal and communal, is part of a series of stages that are unique to each one of us because our sinful patterns all differ, is very important in order to cooperate our best with the plan of God as we travel to the Promised Land or heaven as we call it and make of our communities, amazing parishes with Satan tied up in a corner!

 


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