2 Timothy 2:20-21 “In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.”
As you may remember from my May 12 post, my beloved husband of 42 years passed away on May 11 this year. There were many graces around the time of his death and since then, some of which I have mentioned on this blog. Two of those graces came in the form of dreams.
In the last few months I have had a several of dreams that I feel came with a message. I learned long ago to view dreams primarily as calls to prayer. Perhaps that is why I keep receiving them. Dreams and their interpretation can be risky. However, if we view dreams as calls to prayer, it is less likely that we will be misled, so I caution you not to see more in the dreams I will share in the next few blog posts. I ask you to see them only as calls to prayer.
Blessings dear friends. Since the 1980s, when I first learned about the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, I have felt drawn to make a pilgrimage there. It has taken over 30 years, but this autumn I am going! Our Lady seems to have had a hand in the arrangements as it all came together quite quickly and easily. There is even a pilgrimage group leaving from the city I just moved to, so what can I say but thank you Mama! Fiat!
Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
In the army, everyone has a duty to fulfill. Some are strategists, some are foot-soldiers, some are mechanics, some are medics, some are support staff. All are important. All are needed. This is the time to discern carefully where we are called to serve in the spiritual battle that is escalating all around us. We don’t have to do it all, but we are, each of us, made for these times and entrusted with a unique mission and the grace needed to fulfill it.
Certainly in this battle against “principalities and powers” penance is needed more than ever. Our Lady has told us so herself in every modern apparition, how urgently it is needed. As a reader of this blog, it is safe to assume that you too feel called in some way to answer Our Lady’s call to do spiritual battle through penance.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (The trials of St. Paul) Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.
One only has to read the trials of St. Paul to put their own trials into perspective. It seems that lately I am beset, not so much by trials, although there have been some of those, but it is the day-to-day vexations that are getting under my skin. For instance, our house is for sale* and the market is rather stagnant here, so there is the elation/disappointment roller-coaster I ride every time we have a showing. There are the vexations of waiting for a showing, of waiting to move, and waiting for someone else to move.
And there is the vexation that comes in my dealings with others, when I fail to act as I should or when my expectations fail to materialize. I once heard about a person complaining to another about someone who was always pushing their buttons. The wise reply was, “Well, what are you doing with buttons?” Touché. As someone who is trying to live in God’s will, sometimes all I can see is how far I am from it.
Thank you all for your prayers, kind words, and good wishes since I my husband passed. The Lord has given me super-abundant consolations, both temporal and spiritual. I feel the strength of your love and prayers. It has been a bit of a wild ride lately. Since the death of my husband barely a month ago, I have moved to a new city to be nearer to family and have helped my sister to move my 92 year old father to an extended care facility. God has been with me and mine every step of the way.
After a great deal of prayer and consultation with others (including my spiritual director and my realtor who both said, “Go!”) I felt I had the green light to move BEFORE my house was sold. I was going to be renting anyway. Finances would be a bit tight but it was doable. I felt the Lord wished me to trust him on this. So I went forward in faith.
The movers were still loading the truck when my realtor called and said he had an offer on my house! It was a decent offer with only one easily surmountable condition. I am confident the deal will go through. That was yesterday. I am still pinching myself. It feels like a dream.
The the good Lord gives, even as he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever!
Dear friends, as providence would have it, less than a week after my blog post on praying for those who may die suddenly or unprepared, Jim, my own dear husband of 42 years passed away after a chronic illness. The fingerprints of God, his graces and blessings, are all over this event. I am so grateful for those graces, most especially, the following…
+ That I had time to pray a Divine Mercy chaplet in his presence at the hospital unaware that he would not be coming home the next day.
+ That even thought he was not Catholic, in the months leading up to his death, we prayed almost daily together the prayer to St. Joseph and anointed our foreheads with St. Joseph oil from Montreal.
+ That I woke early that morning and, as I often do when I wake early, repeated this prayer several times: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, spread the effect of grace of Thy Flame of Love over Jim and over all of humanity, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” As it turned out I was praying this prayer in the final hour of his life. Blessed Mother! Oh Mama! What a gift and sign!
+ Not least of the graces was the grace of those of you who prayed for the souls who would die suddenly or unprepared. You helped my husband in the hour of his death. God bless you!
God is with us, little children! Let us place all our trust in him. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20)
Being “fishers of people” can take many forms. One does not have to be a vowed religious to be a fisher of people. We are all called to be evangelizers. We can evangelize with our words, our actions, and our prayers. We can evangelize the living, but we can also work for the salvation of those who have already passed, the holy souls in purgatory, or for those who will die suddenly and unprepared, and it seems the numbers of those increase daily.
(Note to those who are new to the Joy of Penance blog…I started this blog in 2014 as a place to post past newsletter articles I wrote for the Franciscan lay association I belong to, The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis. As providence would have it, I am nearly caught up on past articles with just a few more to go. I’m not sure what form this blog will take in future, only it will be as God wills. I will continue in the same vein until things change. Fiat!)
Luke 9:59-60 To another (Jesus) said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’
Sentiment. The world is bursting with sentiment. Social media especially thrives on it. When a cause du jour goes viral and you examine the outcome of all the social media “activism”, what is really accomplished? Very little usually. That is because sentiment, in the romantic or nostalgic sense, is a fraud, a flimsy counterfeit of the agape love taught and lived by Jesus Christ. One is a marshmallow, the other is a rare and tender cut of steak. I say rare because with agape love, there is a cost, and often the cost is blood.
Blessings all. Some of you have requested the prayers and novenas that I had on the other blog so I have added a page under the “Pages” menu. If any of the links don’t work, or if I have missed any that you would like to see added, please contact me.
Of course one does not have to be a prophet to say that we live in perilous times. As the most recent Now Word from Mark Mallet indicates, the chronology is impossible to deny. I was particularly struck by this line in the final paragraph of Mark’s post from Our Lady of Zaro allegedly to Angela; Ischia, Italy; April 8th, 2017:
“My children, the weapon for facing these moments of darkness and pain and for ensuring that all of this is mitigated, is prayer, and staying before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament: it is there that you will draw the greatest strength!”
This seems to be in line with the perceived call to withdraw in silence and pray.
I had been wondering how to introduce this prayer that came to me earlier today, given the sensitive subject matter. But I see this as a confirmation to go ahead and post it here. Our Blessed Mother has been calling us unceasingly to pray. This week she put this matter strongly on my heart.
CAUTION: MATURE SUBJECT MATTER
The abominable sin of pedophilia has made the news again this week. I praise God that he has rescued even a few of these holy innocents and brought the slaves of satan to justice. Often the police say after months or years of investigations leading to rescues and arrests, that it was only the “tip of the iceberg”. The following prayer formed as I was praying for this intention.
Jesus, in the Divine Will, in the name of everyone from Adam to the last man I ask the mighty army of St. Michael as well as all holy guardian angels of pedophiles and their victims, and my guardian angel, to rush in and rescue these poor little ones who are being viciously used by the slaves of satan. Mama Mary please shine the Flame of Love on every child so that they may be found, and tenderly bind their wounds in the swaddling bands of your sweet Son, Jesus. May your Flame of Love miraculously guide the work of those whose excruciating job it is to search for and find the perpetrators of these horrible crimes. Please heal the wounds they suffer in the course of their work. Then, Mama Mary, may the Triumph of your Immaculate Heart crush the hideous iceberg of this sin and all sins into miniscule pieces, to be dissolved in the infinite ocean of Divine Mercy. Holy Spirit of love, may your kingdom come and come quickly. Amen.