You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and…Catholics: Fake and Real
There are many reasons that I could give to explain why I haven’t written a post for such a long time. However, this is what sums it up:
The facade of my life that I unknowingly created in my own mind was demolished. This devastated me, and I am still processing what it means to be me.
I thought that I dealt with each life event as they happened…but I didn’t, all the way back to my childhood. What I did was put all of it on the back burner, thinking that I could go on with my life without actually feeling the pain, confusion, disappointment or anger that was simmering inside of me, just below the surface. Because, I have so many wonderful blessings in my life…why couldn’t I just focus on those blessings? What was wrong with me, what was that gnawing feeling down deep that there was more to me than I was willing to acknowledge?
The last few years were extremely difficult for me:
My sons and their wives moved across country…something I never, ever envisioned happening to our family.
My mom passed away after living with my husband and me for over ten years. The stress of being responsible for her health and happiness, and then sharing in her dying process through hospice in our home, was overwhelming. As I started to grieve for her, I realized that I never truly grieved or faced the death of my father years ago. And both of those grief processes are very complicated.
Making the decision to move cross country to be near our new grandson, and my oldest son and daughter in law. That meant leaving friends, family, and our beautiful home in Virginia. Which also meant downsizing about 75 percent of our belongings, and moving into a much smaller condo in California. As I sold and gave away so many things that had been a part of my life for so long, I kind of put blinders on, and pushed all my feelings to the side. I did the exact same thing regarding my friends and family that I would be moving away from. How else could I have made that move? I literally numbed myself without even realizing it.
Then I started a job at an assisted living community. I work reception, and have fallen in love with many of the residents and their families. Although I love the people, and the relationships, something else started to happen to me. I started suffering anxiety/panic attacks, and I did not understand why.
Evidently, God isn’t through with me yet. More and more dark layers are being peeled away from my heart. I am facing demons that have lied to me for many, many years. And once again, Jesus is helping me to heal gently. I want it all to be gone NOW, however, He knows the timing…He knows what remains hidden inside of me.
One of the reasons that I haven’t posted in such a long time, is that I don’t have all the answers. However, I know now that it’s ok not to have the answers. Jesus has been there each and every minute of my life. He knows The Truth…He knows my true soul and my true self. My life is in His hands, and I trust where He is leading me.
He is there for all of us…in our joy, sadness, sin, anger, confusion, grief, and pain. When we truly accept that, we can stop trying to control everything and everyone in our lives, and we can rest in the love of Jesus. And we will come closer and closer to understanding “what it means to be me.”
Each day, we are bombarded with darkness in the news. Story after story of atrocities are being revealed and exposed to us by the minute. We are allowing ourselves to be guided into a sort of numbness and helplessness by the stories that are purposely chosen to be released to us through the media.
We are not being told the whole story.
Yes, this world is filled with darkness. And in my opinion, it is a good thing that we are becoming more aware of the sin and evil that always existed in the shadows. Now, we don’t have to look too far to discover evil…it is right in front of our faces twenty-four hours a day.
However, grace, kindness and mercy also flows around us each day. We only need to search for goodness and ask that our eyes be opened so that we may see it.
A few months ago, I started a job at an Assisted Living Retirement Community. The facility where I work is beautiful and offers much in the way of life enrichment. I have fallen in love with the residents, and also with the beautiful staff that cares for them, and shows love in so many ways.
Let me share a few of the moments I have witnessed…
Wonderful exchanges between friends, where one is hard of hearing. Watching as the one friend patiently repeats, slowly and loudly, until the friend can understand. This happens over and over throughout the day, and I have never seen impatience or mean-spiritedness in the interactions.
One resident in particular, is a blessing to all by her calmness of spirit, and her willingness to help. Not only does she greet and speak with each person she encounters, she has also been extremely patient and helpful with me, while I was training for my position.
Residents that are filled with pain or with bent bodies, refusing to give up. They face each day as it comes and push forward one step at a time. They refuse to give up.
Family members that visit their loved ones almost every day. The daily struggle of their own lives, plus the concern and emotion they feel regarding their family members that are living at the Assisted Living Community, are very evident. They are feeling many different emotions as life pulls them in different directions. However, they are there to share love and comfort…they are there to share themselves. It is a beautiful thing to witness.
Many family members live too far to visit a lot. On Mother’s Day, I watched love and pride radiate on the face of one mother when she first saw her family walk in the door. Then my heart was pierced, along with hers, as I saw her goodbye embrace with her son, that she doesn’t see regularly… Love is such a beautiful, powerful force, that is so hard to even comprehend. A mother’s bond with her child is unexplainable.
When someone is having an “off” day, I watch as community members try to guide their friends to socialize and participate in events. I do not see judgement in play. What I see is an inner knowing and understanding of the difficulties that others may be experiencing, and their concern for that person.
A hand on a shoulder, a hug, a warm smile, an invitation, a conversation, validation, acceptance, service, love…these wonderful expressions of love are all around us each day. You may not have the opportunity to see the same love moments that I do, but I can guarantee that they are happening no matter where you are.
Look for those moments. For when you find them, you will find Jesus.
Sometimes it is the simplest of words that can jump out and touch our minds and hearts.
Often, those words convey truths that already live inside of us, however, we have never fully comprehended the potential or power of that truth.
Today I was hit by a zinger by none other than Mother Angelica. I am reading one of her books, “Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality.” This book is filled with page after page of wisdom, written for all Christians…not just Catholics…in case you were wondering.
“You may be the only Jesus your neighbor will ever see.”
Wow…an extremely simple and powerful thought.
How do we portray Jesus in our daily walk? When we cross paths with the homeless, when someone is rude to us, when we are feeling triggered by words or actions, when we are stressed, when we are suffering, when someone doesn’t understand our intentions or beliefs, when someone aggressively disagrees with us, when things aren’t going our way???
We have all gone through those situations. There are many times that I have been angry, disrespectful, apathetic, and unforgiving. How blessed we are, that we can ask forgiveness from God, and not only be forgiven, but blessed in a way that helps us to repent from our hurtful thoughts and actions.
How can we show “Jesus” to our family and all those that we cross paths with?
For me, the most important step is to pray that the Holy Spirit works through me, and touches those on my path with His love…whether I am aware of it or not. Meaning, that even when I fall short, or don’t handle a situation as well as I would have liked, He would bless those I encounter with His love and mercy. And that He works through me in my daily life, helping me to be a transparent person and a true Christ Follower, so that those who happen to see me without my knowledge, will hopefully see the goodness of God working through me.
There are many ways that we can reveal the Jesus that lives within us to the world. I am thinking of a few, however, know that in your creativity, you will find many other ways.
You may be the only Jesus your neighbor will ever see, when you choose to:
Make eye contact with all those you meet, including the homeless, or less advantaged…introduce yourself, initiate conversation, and if you are able, either share some cash with them, or ask if they need a meal or maybe a cold drink or a warming cup of coffee. Allow Jesus to touch them through your kindness. Let them know you SEE them…that they matter to you.
Share your smile liberally. You would be amazed if you truly knew how your special smile can affect a heart…and someone’s day.
Give people the benefit of the doubt when they offend or are rude to you. Take a moment to think before lashing out, and then pray for them.
Give honest compliments. You know the kind…the thoughts that run through your head all the time. “What a beautiful family you have!” “You were wonderful giving that presentation.” “You look amazing in that outfit.” “You have the most beautiful eyes, or hair, or spirit.” “What a sweet dog you have, what is his name?” “I admire your strength.” “You are an awesome teacher, and I appreciate what you do.” “You are great at your job…thanks for the wonderful service.” The list goes on and on. Don’t be afraid to pass on the good that you notice or feel about a person.
Allow yourself to be human. When you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize. When you are feeling down or depressed, reach out and share your feelings with a trusted family member or friend. Most of the time, they will already know you are going through a struggle and will be happy to understand why you are not being yourself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that allowing Jesus to shine through you means that you need to be “perfect.”
When there are tasks that need done, and you don’t feel like doing them, whether at home or at work, ask Jesus to work through you. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of your blessings and offer it to the Lord. Because, at that moment, the task at hand is God’s will for your life. Learn to find joy in that knowledge.
Listen to the voice in your heart when certain names pop up in your mind. That is the voice of the Holy Spirit, prodding you. Make that visit or phone call, send a card or text to let the person know you are thinking of them and praying for them, fill a monetary or any other need that is an issue for them…always look for a way to share love. Oftentimes, it will be a small gesture, and sometimes you will be called to share something greater of yourself.
Learn to look for Jesus in each and every person…look past their weaknesses and flaws and look for the good. If it is just a little flicker, focus on it and help them to understand the flicker (goodness) that lives within them.
And be sure to look for Jesus in yourself, and to focus on the goodness of His love inside your heart. Bask in the mercy of his love, and your heart will overflow!
When I started this blog, I named it “Somebody Loves Me.” I chose that name, because for many people, they need to know “Somebody Loves Me,” before they can start to believe that “God Loves Me.”
Be that “Somebody!”
My husband and I look forward to watching the “Jesus Christ Superstar” movie, among a few others, each year at Easter time. I know that there are different takes on this film, and many even believe it to be blasphemous. I understand these thoughts and opinions and respect them. There are many scenes that make me wince.
Because, on the surface, the movie does indeed look to be disrespectful and blasphemous to Jesus and his divinity. That is the intent…being that the characters are human, as we all are human.
In my opinion, the music and the casting of characters is absolutely heart touching and as perfect as worldly art can be. When losing myself in the words and feelings communicated through the music and lyrics, I am drawn inward…to how we are connected to these characters, no matter what their flaws and sins happen to be.
For the last couple of days, “King Herod’s Song” keeps playing over and over again in my head. Much of the lyrics jump out at me and pull me in.
Maybe you will understand my take on these words and how they help to enlighten my spirit and draw me closer to Jesus and his mercy.
Here are the lyrics:
Jesus, I am overjoyed
To meet You face to face.
You’ve been getting quite a name
All around the place.
Healing cripples Raising from the dead.
And now I understand You’re God……
At least that’s what You’ve said.
So You are the Christ
You’re the great Jesus Christ.
Prove to me that you’re divine
Change my water into wine.
That’s all you need do
And I’ll know it’s all true.
C’mon King of the Jews.
Jesus, you just won’t believe
The hit you’ve made around here.
You are all we talk about
The wonder of the year!
Oh, what a pity If it’s all a lie…
Still I’m sure that you can rock
The cynics if you try.
So if you are the Christ
You’re the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that You’re no fool
Walk across my swimming pool.
If You do that for me
Then I’ll let you go free.
C’mon, King of the Jews!
I only ask things I’d ask any superstar.
What is it that you have got
That puts You where You are?
I am waiting, yes, I’m a captive fan
I’m dying to be shown
That You are not just any man.
So if you are the Christ
Yes, the great Jesus Christ
Feed my household with this bread
You can do it on your head.
Or has something gone wrong?
Why do You take so long?
Come on, King of the Jews!
Hey, aren’t you scared of me, Christ?
Mr. Wonderful Christ..
You’re a joke, You’re not the Lord!
You are nothing but a fraud!
Take Him away He’s got nothing to say
Get out, You King of the get out
Get out, You King of the Jews
Get out, You King of the Jews
Get out of my life!
“King Herod’s Song (Jesus Christ Superstar/Soundtrack Version)” by Josh Mostel
Wow…what a deluge of ideas to cover. So many thoughts and emotions are triggered by the words themselves, and also the delivery by King Herod. The actor, Josh Mostel, certainly portrayed the part to a tee…filled with the arrogance of the life he has immersed himself in.
However, there is the faintest glimmer of hope and curiosity about the man, Jesus. Could he really be God?
King Herod has heard about the miracles that Jesus has performed, and he is aware that there is something special about him.
He wants Jesus to be God…in the way that he wants him to be God. He wants Jesus to perform miracles for him, on command, to prove Jesus’ divinity, in a way that will appease his doubts in the tangible way that he desires.
All the time King Herod is asking for miracles, he is still enmeshed in the ways of the world…in his sinful life. While he would like proof that Jesus is Lord, he refuses to open his heart to the Truth, by keeping it shut tight within the company of perversion and worldly pleasure.
When Jesus does not perform on demand, and there are no evident miracles, the last line is very telling for all of us…
Get out, You King of the Jews… Get out of my life!
When we don’t want to change, or things don’t go as we think they should, we don’t want the “burden” of having Jesus in our lives. We don’t want the guilt of admitting we are sinners. We keep him at arm’s length, and even banish him completely, in order for us to stay “comfortable” in our current life choices.
We are living in a time of great delusion, perversion, and immorality. We have lost the ability to love each other, and in many cases, do not even have a clue as to how to have a real and true relationship with those that God places in our lives.
We are engrossed in our own circle of diversion that blind us to the Truth…which is Jesus.
In times of trouble we beg God to change our lives and perform miracles for ourselves and our loved ones.
All the while, surrounded with our arrogant and sinful lives. We have the audacity to ask for miracles, for God to prove he is God, at the same time that we refuse to even consider changing our lives.
We surround ourselves with distractions…movies, music, books, fashion, politics, culture, spiritualism, fleshly desires, and miss what has always been right in our grasp. Just like Herod, and his “posse.”
Did you notice the line, “I’m dying to be shown that You are not just any man.” Yes, our spirits are dying, and in need of Jesus’ saving grace. Our souls are longing to be saved.
If we only dare to break away from the deceit and sin that we have surrounded ourselves in…and humbly ask Jesus into our hearts and lives. To choose to believe, and then pray that Jesus blesses us with the gift of faith.
And we must be willing to walk away from the ideas and things that are holding us captive in our self-imposed desolation.
Only then will we realize full relationship with Jesus…by trusting him and his ways in our lives, even when we might not see our prayers being answered in the way we think they should be.
My prayer is that in the midst of our confusion and the deceit that the world is surrounding us with, that we allow Jesus to shine his light into our souls and illuminate the darkness that resides within us.
And that we take that crucial step of faith toward the mercy and grace that Jesus is offering us…and allow him to start peeling away the layers of deception that have kept us from him.
Only then will we understand the miracles that are happening around us each and every moment. Even when we do not “demand” those miracles.
Jesus replied, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Matt 4:7
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
While I was praying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, my mind was overtaken with some of my past sins. The kind that fill me with shame…the ones that linger in my mind every once in a while.
After a moment or two of feeling that guilt and shame, a vision that I had a few months ago (while saying the rosary) filled my being.
In this vision, I was the guilty one, and just about to be punished for my sins. I deserved it, for my sins were many. Jesus was bent over me, with his eyes firmly and lovingly set on mine. The whip started flying…I could hear the sound of the cords cutting through the air and feel them ripping into Jesus’ body. I could feel his spirit, smell his scent in the moist air and feel his body wince with every connection of that whip against his flesh. I felt tremendous fear, however, Jesus never broke His loving and merciful gaze that pierced straight into my soul. He lovingly protected me from each and every blow, and my body was never touched.
At that moment, I understood the amazing love that Jesus offers to me and all of us. He came to Earth to save us…to suffer in our place for the sins that we have committed and are still committing. He has placed Himself between us and our deserved punishment…and is still there for us.
He covers us in His love, mercy, and in His blood.
We must always remember, that when Jesus was beaten, blasphemed, mocked and crucified, these atrocities were not forced upon Him. He offered Himself for us. His life was not taken from Him…He offered His Body as atonement for our sins. His life was given.
Freely, and without reserve.
What are we willing to offer Him of ourselves?
That is something that we must all think about on this precious Friday, and on every day that we are blessed with.
What are we willing to offer Him?
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:19-20
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
Wow, after all these years of reading this excerpt from “The Velveteen Rabbit,” my heart still fills up and overflows through my eyes.
This beautiful story was one of my favorites since I was a little girl. My sister, Patti, used to read it to me over and over again. Sometimes I have to wonder how much I understood…which words reached out and grabbed my child self…how much did I truly understand?
Sometimes we don’t need to understand. Sometimes love touches us in ways we can never explain.
This world that we live in, is always attempting to teach us that real love is easy, always sexy, and beautiful…according to the “world’s” standards.
We are led to believe that we all need to be “sexy” and are bombarded with companies that want to fill that need. With skin care, cosmetics, hair products, books, health drinks, drugs, clothes, plastic surgery…the list goes on and on.
We are also led to believe that the moment our marriage (or relationship) is no longer the way the world deems it should be, in order to be fulfilled and happy, we must leave that marriage.
Don’t believe the lie.
True love is not always pretty. True love is not always “sexy.” True love is not always easy.
However, true love touches us and fills us like nothing else. It is the one thing that we are looking for and is always there right before our eyes.
We just need to open our eyes…
To see the beauty of a couple working through struggles that are piercing their hearts like daggers…but they refuse to give up on each other, or their marriage.
To see the beauty of a family, engulfed in pain and grief, surrounding their dying loved one with love, peace, and comfort. And to see the beauty of a soul detaching from this world, and being drawn to another.
To see the beauty of aging, and to realize that those “old” people we are seeing, and sometimes ignoring, have a lifetime of wisdom and experience that they could share with us…if we would just take the time to listen.
To see the beauty in those with open hearts, and no matter what they are experiencing in their own personal lives, always have the time to give something of what they have.
To see the beauty of suffering. Yes…suffering will always exist in this world. The beauty comes in uniting our suffering with Jesus on the cross, looking past the pain and hardship, and seeing Jesus through it all.
To not just focus on the risen Christ, but on the real love and suffering it took to get to that place. Jesus did not save us by the “love” that the world teaches. It was not pretty, or easy.
What it was…was REAL.
What Jesus gave us is everything.
Do we understand what “real” and true love really are? Do we truly understand?
Real is the suffering, and the giving, that eventually show up as “most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.”
“Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Being real doesn’t happen all at once. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.”
Being real is the day to day infusion of God’s love, and the openness to truth and mercy.
Let us all strive to be real. That is what the world truly needs.
Last night my husband and I had the most entertaining and special time. We had our 23 month old grandson, Brayden, over for a sleepover.
What fun! We all enjoyed each and every minute that we shared together. You know what moments I am talking about. The ones that are completely special while doing nothing special.
Moments spent building houses with blocks, reading favorite books, giggling together while Brayden paraded around in our shoes and slippers, being with him as he pointed to all the interesting things he found, including snow globes that completely fascinated him, and wind up Santas and Snowmen that played music. Time flew by as we sang songs, cuddled, and were just plain goofy together.
When it was Brayden’s bedtime, I thought that it was the end of our beautiful night together…and we started his bedtime ritual. His jammies were on, his teeth were brushed, and his stories were read. I cuddled with him a little, and as I rocked him, I felt his little head nestle into my neck. What a precious feeling that is!
Sooo…I laid him down in his cushioned pack and play, in the spare room, for the night.
Now, I have watched him many times, and he is a good napper and sleeper for me. When it is at his house. But although he feels secure with us, he wasn’t so sure about spending the night in a different room and a different bed..even with his familiar sound machine and favorite blanket.
As I turned out the light, and started to close the door, I heard him whimper my name in the most pitiful little cry. All I heard was a faint “Gigi.” (his name for me…pronounced GeeGee with a hard G) He melted my heart, and I turned back to him.
His pained little face with tears welling in his eyes were all I needed to gather him back in my arms to comfort him.
I know at this point, many will “judge” me because I shouldn’t spoil him! However, grandmas are not bound by all the same rules as parents:-)
The best part of the night was the forty five minutes that followed, and will remain in my heart forever.
I laid the little guy down in his makeshift bed, and told him it was time for sleep. As I rubbed his back, I told him I would stay with him. I turned out the light, closed the door, and laid down on the floor right next to him. He was positioned in the corner of the playpen, and I was facing him, with only the netting between us. It was completely dark, so we could not see each other.
He was quiet, and I could hear his rhythmic breathing. After about fifteen minutes, I thought he was sleeping.
Then, I felt his presence close to me, and his warm breath breathing down on me. I heard a whispered “Gigi” and realized that he had popped his head up in the darkness to see if I was still there. I answered, “Gigi is here,” and he laid back down without a sound. We went through the exact same scenario about five or six times before he felt safe enough to fall asleep.
What really touched my heart, as his grandma, was the inner knowing…that he was looking to me for comfort, and trusted me in a way that allowed him to feel secure enough to “let go”.
He just needed to know if I was still there.
My mind turned to this Bible Verse:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4
Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
How can we humble ourselves like a child, so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven?
One way would be to follow Brayden’s example. When he was afraid in the darkness, in his innocence he called out my name…just to make sure I was still there. He could not see me, but he knew my voice when I answered him, and he felt my presence. He didn’t stop himself from calling out time after time. Once he felt secure that I was with him, he had no trouble falling asleep. He slept peacefully all night.
And when he woke up in the morning, and called out to me, I was still there for him.
We should never be afraid to call out to Jesus when we are afraid, hurt, or in darkness. As many times as we need to. In our darkness and despair, we will learn to feel His Presence and hear His voice. Sometimes, it will take many cries, of “Jesus, are you there?”
Once you feel the love of Jesus wash over you, like Brayden you will be able to finally let go. As you learn to recognize the voice of Jesus, you will find the peace and mercy that will allow your spirit to rest comfortably in the knowledge that you are loved, and you are never alone.
Always remember that truth…you are loved and you are never alone!
Somehow, the horror of the Las Vegas shootings sparked me to turn a corner in my faith life, in a way that I haven’t felt before.
More than ever, my eyes are opened to seeing a world filled with emptiness and confusion …allowing Satan to work through hearts without solid faith in Jesus and the protection of the Holy Spirit.
I am hearing and seeing pure hatred spewing from many mouths, from many different directions. This hatred is revealed through despair, bitterness, deception, immorality, and the inability or downright refusal to accept love, forgiveness, and the mercy of God. I am seeing much arrogance, pride and greed…which opens doors to the evil one.
No matter what laws are changed, or what the “experts” suggest we should do to stop the carnage, the hatred and evil seem to be exponentially growing.
Do you know why? Because the government, the thought police, and new laws will never have the ability to change the hearts of men. The only way to change the hearts of men is through God…the Holy Spirit.
Which leads me to what the Lord revealed to me last week while I was at Mass. Since the Vegas shootings, I have been trying to attend daily Mass regularly, and have been praying that the Lord show me where I need to make changes, and how I fit in to His plan. How I can be a vessel of His love, so that eyes will be opened and hearts converted.
When I attend daily Mass, I walk to the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The Mission is peaceful and reverent, and I feel encircled by God when I am there.
So, on this particular day, after I received the Holy Eucharist, I walked down a side aisle and passed the Tabernacle. Out of habit, I bowed. In a split second, I remembered that the Tabernacle was empty, because the chalice containing the Body of Christ was removed for the Communion distribution. At the same time I was having that thought, the Lord said to me, “I am not in the Tabernacle…it is empty. I am now within YOU.”
Wow, that thought hit me like a ton of bricks. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, each one of us is a Tabernacle. Jesus is truly within us. He is in us, and we are in Him at the same time. He sees through our eyes, hears through our ears, touches through our hands, and loves through our hearts. At the same time, we see through His eyes, hear through His ears, touch through His hands, and love through His Sacred Heart.
Doesn’t that fill you with joy? Doesn’t it also give new meaning to living in such a way that our lives glorify the Lord? He is living inside us…and we are responsible for all the places we take Him to…the images, sounds, smells, experiences, thoughts. Nothing is hidden. Nothing.
We, as Christians, need to stop living for ourselves, and make the decision to live for God. To be a blessing to our friends, family, and all we meet. To constantly confess our sins, repent, and accept the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy. To live in a way that glorifies GOD, not ourselves. To pray and make sacrifices for forgiveness of sins and the conversion of souls.
For that is the part we all play in the Lord’s Divine Will…each of us in our own unique way. We must be an oasis of light and love for the Lord to work through. One heart at a time.
That is what will change the world. Only the Truth and Love itself…Jesus.
Today, as I was sitting waiting for Mass to start, I was looking at my fellow parishioners, and asked the Lord to help me find the best in people.
As soon as I asked the question, I heard the words, “See ME.” Wow, the Lord actually told me to see him in each and every person that I come across.
Immediately, the commercial that is selling a prescription drug for a skin condition jumped into my thoughts. The tagline is “see ME”… instead of “see my skin issue.”
Aren’t we all internally desiring for our loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers to see who we REALLY are inside? Don’t we wish for them to overlook our imperfections, sins, issues, or flaws, and see what lies deep in our hearts? Sometimes, we don’t even know who we truly are, and can not comprehend the goodness or beauty that lies within us.
Actually, that goodness that resides in our hearts (sometimes hidden to us and others) is not us at all…it is the Holy Spirit. It is Jesus that pulsates in our hearts, filling us with his presence, mercy, and love… whether or not we actually feel it ourselves.
Today, I was reminded again, to see Jesus in each person that I meet in my day. To look past the “warts”…the flaws… and to focus on the Jesus that resides inside that person. To look into each pair of eyes lovingly, with the intention of drawing out the goodness. Not to focus and judge surface appearance or behavior, but to attempt to learn their story and what needs they may have, offering support and validation.
When we can learn to do that, we will be true vessels for the Lord to work through. Touching those in need (and we ALL are in need) with the love, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus.
As each heart is opened to the Truth of who lives inside, one by one…heart by heart…the world will be illuminated and changed.
Sometimes, a person needs to know that “somebody loves me” before accepting that “Jesus loves Me.” Let’s be “that somebody” that allows the love of Jesus to flow through us.
Dear Jesus, I ask that you fill my heart with your presence and love, and help me to look past all that is clouded by the darkness of sin, and focus on the Truth. That only You are the way, the truth and the life, and that you can be found in every human being. Please open our hearts and minds to the knowledge that all we need to do is accept and believe in your saving love and grace!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. John 14:6
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19
Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8