Cancer Retreat, Monthly Presentations, Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group, Posts and Updates, Updates

Video: Facing Our Immortality

Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry

Facing Our Immortality is a cancer outreach ministry for those affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly. We desire for you a sense of community and renewal through Christ, supported by monthly virtual support groups as well as specialized retreats. Peace and Grace.

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Updates

Our New Book “Gathering The Light: Treasures Out Of The Darkness”

Announcing a new book by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, Society of Our Lady Of The Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). These thoughtful reflections have been most helpful to our cherished monthly support group participants. Now these reflections, along with other treasures, are all together in one book to help you on your spiritual journey.

“Gathering The Light” is a collection of articles, reflections and poetry. Many of the articles have appeared in various Catholic publications. It is set up in such a way that it can be used for personal reflection, book studies and support groups.

We have been using a reflection from this collection every time we meet as the “Facing Our Immortality” cancer support group. In the midst of serious illness, or perhaps because of it, the desire to know the deep things of God becomes even more active and especially efficacious.

The format of “Gathering The Light” offers focal points of light meant to help us see what perhaps we have not seen before. Each article, with a few exceptions, hovers around one-thousand words. It is very manageable for busy persons trying to go a little deeper in their relationship with God. At the end, some questions for reflection are provided if needed.

This book is available for purchase from Amazon, please link here – Gathering The Light: Treasures Out Of The Darkness.

In The Heart Of The Blessed Mother,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

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Updates

The Measure That You Measure With: Spiritual Exercise 09/14/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call

Monday 09/14/20 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at uberconference.com/facingourimmortality

Opening Prayer:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. 

Amen.

The Measure That You Measure With   

It is an observable fact that when judging, many of us apply the justice of God to others and the mercy of God to ourselves.  The very things we become indignant about or scandalized by in others, we often dismiss in ourselves with excuses we do not grant to others. 

Jesus plainly tells us the measure we measure with will be measured back to us. (Mt. 7:2) That is most powerfully evident in Jesus’ admonition to Peter: “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

On a less lethal level, perhaps you have had the experience of feeling disgusted by a particular behavior in someone, and maybe even commented on or judged them for it, only to soon find yourself struggling with the very same difficulty.  That is a real consequence of judging others. The Lord humbles us with the very struggle we despise in others.

To be clear, this does not mean that we are to move through life without judging.  We are required to make all sorts of judgments.  But as far as judging the hearts, motives, intentions, past or future of another, Jesus has told us that’s not our work.  Our work is to love as He loves.  And He’s been clear about what that means.  Love your enemy, do unto (all) others as you would have them do unto you; Bless your persecutors, do not curse them.  Imitate the Father Who rains on the just and the unjust alike. Forgive 70 x 7…etc.

Watching the ugliness of the political contest these days, the character assassinations, the spirit of accusation and contempt, the unforgiveness which keeps people chained to their past mistakes and forever identifies them by them, the crass language, the manipulative jockeying for advantage and the greedy maneuvering for power, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. bear witness: “hate distorts the personality of the hater.”

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  

He adds: “there is a final reason that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.”

The civil life of this country could use a double dose of this medicine because, as St. Paul reminds us, if we go on biting and devouring one another, we will be consumed by one another. Gal. 5:15. The measure that we measure with!

Instruction: Please remain in silence and reflect on the material for 5-10 minutes. After this period of silence we can share that which is revealed to us. It is after we have shared our personal reflections that we can begin our group discussion. Thank you.

  1. Have you ever experienced an awareness of operating out of a double standard in your life, whereby you hold people accountable for things you do not require of yourself, or dismiss in yourself?
  2. Has Jesus ever let you be judged by your own judgments?
  3. What is really happening in a situation when you go against your instinctive reactions and follow Jesus’ instructions to disciples to “love your enemies?”
  4. Do you think it might be easier to love an enemy if you can recognize that hatred and negativity have disguised the real person?  How would you pray for them?
  5. The spiritual life is about coming to the full measure of the mature Christ.  Can you identify specific areas in your life where you need to work on measuring up?  

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Pray for Us.” God Bless you from Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT and Denise


Gospel for September 14, 2020: The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

JN 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group, Updates

Marginalizing God: Spiritual Exercise 08/10/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at uberconference.com/facingourimmortality

Opening Prayer:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Marginalizing God   

The marginalization of peoples has been a social justice concern for decades now.  Sometimes the lightning rod is women, sometimes immigrants, sometimes black or brown or minority peoples, as is currently the case, sometimes the working class, sometimes the poor. These issues evoke strong reactions in people, but not always in a right order that is constructive. Cardinal Robert Sarah points out we can quickly multiply sin when we succumb to the temptation to satisfy “our little egotistical or revolutionary passions.”  Further complicating this is our tendency to oversimplify by looking for the nearest possible scapegoat.

A hard truth would resolve all this if we, as a people, could live it even though we have failed to do so for the last two-thousand years. The truth is our problems come first and foremost not from marginalizing others but from marginalizing God, pushing Him to the peripheries of our lives.  God has the answers to everything we need: peace, justice, progress, the true development of peoples, breakthroughs in science, medicine, etc. 

What profoundly influenced the lives of the Saints and made them powerful was an unwavering belief in the words of Jesus Christ: “He who abides in Me and I in him will bear much fruit.  Apart from Me you can do nothing.”  Jn. 15:5 That really means, on our own, we can do nothing!  Absolutely nothing!

“Someone who is close to God becomes powerful; he can conquer the evil that corrodes the world, and he is capable of integrating it into his prayer of intercession.”  Cardinal Robert Sarah 

God not only has the answers to our problems but also to our potential as well.  Imagine man traveling intergalactically, peopling the universe.  Imagine him conquering the riddles of disease and deformity.  Imagine the forces of creation, of science, working for the good; imagine man working with and in God!

C S Lewis noted that “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this world.”

The best possible outcomes are found only in God.  The Israelites of old show us what happens when we look for success, advancement, and happiness solely through our own capacities and vanities: plagues, war, pestilence, chaos, famine, and exile.  Sound familiar?  The most dangerous borders we erect are the ones which fence God off from our lives.  Those are the real walls that need to come down!

Please silently reflect on the questions below:

  1. One way to tell the level of marginalization of God in our lives is to review your day and to note where you were even conscious of the presence of God during the day.  So much of the time we may have a general awareness of His presence, but do we really engage with Him and consult Him throughout the day or do we just go through things on our own?
  2. Have you ever experienced God leaving you to yourself to show you how much you can really do without Him?
  3. Do you know people you would consider powerful in the sense that Cardinal Sarah speaks of it?  What is their relationship to the Lord like?
  4. Has suffering or dealing with illness brought you a closeness to God you might not otherwise have found?

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Updates

Garments Of Grace: Spiritual Exercise 07/20/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at uberconference.com/facingourimmortality

Opening Prayer:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Garments of Grace   

In the classic fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” a vain ruler is tricked by two weavers into believing he has a set of new clothes.  He parades before the people for their admiration.  The people are afraid to say anything until a child blurts out: “But he’s naked!”

There is a similar deceptive force at work that tries to reclothe believers, and therefore the Church, in unbecoming ways.  Here is one example:

Some circles hold that the Church has become feminized and that is the reason more men don’t participate.  Pope St. John Paul II would surely be surprised by that assessment.  He spent a great part of his pontificate trying to bring the authentic gifts of women more fully into the Church and the world.  His call for the “feminine genius” was as much a call to women to wake up and recognize their real gifts, as it was to men to accept them.  In a word, live the Marian dimension in the Church more deeply and it will go a long way toward sanctifying her.  The call to men is similar.  Live the Christ life heroically and the Church will flourish in a powerful and beautiful way.

The Church is neither patriarchal nor feminized in the negative sense of those words. What we struggle with today is secularism. Secularism wants to tell us who we are by clothing us in its own garments and dividing us from each other. It would reclothe the Church in rags before the masses who are dying for even a glimpse of the stunningly beautiful Garments of Grace that are her incomparable treasures.

“All of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:26-28.  

Our authentic shared identity is as brothers and sisters in Christ, beloved children of the Father!  We cannot let the world “clothe” us in any other way.  If we live out our identity in Christ our relationships become familial, not based in race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic levels, education, etc., but rather in “graced friendships” which should form the basis of all our interactions with each other.

There will always be attempts to refashion the Church. But the garb of Christ who is poor and glorious at the same time is our true raiment.  We must remember that so we do not end up exchanging our eternal beauty for the glitter of false gold!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are the treasures, riches, jewels the Church offers that the world cannot give?
  1. One example is given in the reflection.  What are some other ways the world tries to “reclothe” the Church, or believers?  
  1. What is the meaning of worldly and what is the motivating vision of those who are worldly?  And what is the motivating vision of those who follow Christ?  How does one move in this world without becoming worldly?
  1. We are called to see every person in the goodness of the Father.  This will ultimately heal the divisions we have between ourselves, between peoples and nations, and between generations.  How do we concretely live that?
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IMMACULATE HEART OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

IMMACULATE HEART OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Source: iBreviary

The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospel itself invited this attention with exquisite discretion and delicacy. What was first excited was compassion for the Virgin Mother. It was, so to speak, at the foot of the Cross that the Christian heart first made the acquaintance of the Heart of Mary. Simeon’s prophecy paved the way and furnished the devotion with one of its favourite formulae and most popular representations: the heart pierced with a sword. But Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the Cross; “she cooperated through charity”, as St. Augustine says, “in the work of our redemption”.

It is only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (De duodecim stellis).

Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and also in the large book De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent.

In St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1302) the devotion had two earnest adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of the first spiritual children of St. Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary, and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget’s Book of Revelations.

St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the Second Nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his Theotimus.

In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to St. Jean Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses.

In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were first of all the revelation of the “miraculous medal” in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless graces. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church.

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Finding Answers: Spiritual Exercise 06/08/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at uberconference.com/facingourimmortality

Opening Prayer:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Finding Answers   

Men and women with brilliant minds have peopled the ranks of science for centuries.  It is rarely mentioned that many of them have steadfastly acknowledged God as the source of the mysteries and marvels of creation they study.  One wonders why the false dichotomy between science and faith persists.  Science explores many things. But it is not the origin of its discoveries.

Little Jacinta Marto, one of the newly canonized shepherd children who received the visitations of Our Lady at Fatima, did not live long after the apparitions. She caught the Spanish flu which was the pandemic at the time, and suffered greatly, offering everything up before dying, to save souls from hell. She remarked that “doctors do not treat their patients with much success because they have no love for God.”  She perceived that too many did not ask Him for help, and discounted the power of His intervention.

Padre Pio, when asked if we would ever find a cure for cancer, is said to have responded that we would, and that it would be so simple that people would question why it hadn’t been discovered sooner.  It makes one wonder if a genuine, humble, heartfelt prayer from a physician or scientist could finally bring an end to one of the most dreaded diseases of our time.

One of the truly great scientists, George Washington Carver, understood this connection well.  Born a slave during the civil war, he lost his immediate family early in life.  As he grew, the scientific bent of his mind along with a living faith in God, became clear.  He revolutionized agriculture in the South, particularly taking crops like the peanut, which was used only for animal feed, and increasing its marketability by researching the multitude of other possible uses.  The beloved staple, Peanut Butter, is one of 300 different uses he proposed after asking God to teach him about peanuts.  (The Aztecs were actually the first to make a peanut paste.) He did the same for crops like sweet potatoes, pecans, soybeans, cowpeas, wild plums, and okra.

In 1924, Carver spoke to over 500 people at the Women’s Board of Domestic Missions:

“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way are revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain, I would be helpless.”

Perhaps this is a secret we need to rediscover again today!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. George Washington Carver was a man of deep faith in both his work and his relationships. What lessons can we learn from him for our own lives and the situation in the world today?
  2. Why do you think science and faith are presented in opposition to each other?  What is the underlying premise for this and is it true or false?
  3. Do you pray for your own doctors and their faith life? Has God ever used you as a witness or channel of grace in relating to them?
  4. What do you think the mission statement of science and medicine should be?

The following Excerpt on George Washington Carver is taken from An American Minute by William Federer.  It is a wonderful witness for today!

“My beloved friend, keep your hand in that of the Master, walk daily by His side, so that you may lead others into the realms of true happiness, where a religion of hate, (which poisons both body and soul) will be unknown, having in its place the ‘Golden Rule’ way, which is the ‘Jesus Way’ of life, will reign supreme…”wrote George Washington Carver to Jack Boyd, a YMCA official in Denver, March 1, 1927.

Carver continued:”… Then, we can walk and talk with Jesus momentarily, because we will be attuned to His will and wishes, thus making the Creation story of the world non-debatable as to its reality. God, my beloved friend, is infinite, the highest embodiment of love. We are finite, surrounded and often filled with hate. We can only understand the infinite as we loose the finite and take on the infinite. My dear friend, my friendship to you cannot possibly mean what yours does to me. I talk to God through you, you help me to see God through another angle … Most sincerely yours, G.W. Carver.”

George Washington Carver was invited to be on the staff of the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington.

Booker T. Washington wrote: “It is now long ago that I learned this lesson from General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, and resolved that I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

With God’s help, I believe that I have completely rid myself of any ill feeling toward the Southern white man for any wrong that he may have inflicted upon my race. I am made to feel just as happy now when I am rendering service to Southern white men as when the service is rendered to a member of my own race. I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice.”

George W. Carver wrote to Booker T. Washington, May 16, 1896: “I am looking forward to a very busy, pleasant and profitable time at your college and shall be glad to cooperate with you in doing all I can through Christ who strengtheneth me to better the condition of our people. Some months ago I read your stirring address delivered at Chicago and I said amen to all you said, furthermore you have the correct solution to the ‘race problem.'”

In 1939, George Washington Carver was awarded the Roosevelt Medal, with the declaration: “To a scientist humbly seeking the guidance of God and a liberator to men of the white race as well as the black.”

George Washington Carver was born a slave during the Civil War, possibly around the date of JULY 12, 1865, but there are no records. Within a few weeks, his father, who belonged to the next farm over, was killed in a log hauling accident.

Shortly after the Civil War, while still an infant, George was kidnapped along with his mother and sister by bushwhackers.

Moses Carver, a German immigrant, sent friends to track down the thieves and offer to trade his best horse to retrieve them. Told to leave the horse and come back later, the thieves only left baby George lying on the ground, sick with the whooping cough. George never saw his mother and sister again.

Illness claimed the lives of his two other sisters and they were buried on the old Carver farm. George and his older brother, Jim, were raised on the farm in Diamond Grove, Missouri, by “Uncle” Moses and “Aunt” Sue Carver, who were childless.

In poor health as a child, George stayed near the house helping with chores, learning to cook, clean, sew, mend and wash laundry. His recreation was to spend time in the woods.

George worked his way through grade school, high school and college, eventually joining the staff at Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts.

In the fall of 1896, George surprised the staff by announcing his plans to give up his promising future there and join the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama which was founded by Booker T. Washington.

The staff showed Carver their appreciation by purchasing him a going away present, a microscope, which he used extensively throughout his career.

At Tuskegee, George assembled an Agricultural Department.

He visited nearby farmers and taught them farming techniques, such as crop rotation, fertilization and erosion prevention. Carver noticed that the soil was depleted due to years of repeated cotton growth and produced very poorly.

Also, an insect called the boll weevil swept through the South, destroying cotton crops and leaving farmers devastated.

Farmers heeded Carver’s advice but soon had more peanuts than the market wanted, as peanuts were primarily used as animal feed. George determined to increase the market for peanuts by discovering and popularizing hundreds of uses for them.

He continued: “Years ago I went into my laboratory and said, ‘Dear Mr. Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for? ‘The Great Creator answered, ‘You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask for something more your size, little man. ‘Then I asked, ‘Please, Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for. ‘Again the Great Creator replied, ‘You are still asking too much. Cut down on the extent and improve the intent.’

So then I asked, ‘Please, Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?’ ‘That’s better, but even then it’s infinite. What do you want to know about the peanut?’ ‘Mr. Creator, can I make milk out of the peanut?’ ‘What kind of milk do you want? Good Jersey milk or just plain boarding house milk?’ ‘Good Jersey milk.’ And then the Great Creator taught me to take the peanut apart and put it together again. And out of the process have come forth all these products!”

Among the numerous products displayed was a bottle of good Jersey milk. Three and-a-half ounces of peanuts produced one pint of rich milk or one quart of raw “skim” milk, called boarding house “blue john” milk.

On January 21, 1921, Carver addressed the United States House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of the United Peanut Growers Association on the use of peanuts to improve Southern economy. George expounded on the many potential uses of the peanut as a means to improve the Southern economy. Initially given only ten minutes to speak, George Carver so enthralled the committee that the Chairman said, “Go ahead Brother. Your time is unlimited!”

He spoke for one hour and forty-five minutes, explaining the many food products that could be derived from peanuts: “If you go to the first chapter of Genesis, we can interpret very clearly, I think, what God intended when he said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb that bears seed. To you it shall be meat. ‘This is what He means about it. It shall be meat. There is everything there to strengthen and nourish and keep the body alive and healthy.”

The Committee Chairman asked Carver: “Dr. Carver, how did you learn all of these things?” Carver answered, “From an old book.” “What book?” asked the Chairman. Carver replied, “The Bible.” The Chairman inquired, “Does the Bible tell about peanuts?” “No, Sir” Carver replied, “But it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and He did.”

On November 19, 1924, Carver spoke to over 500 people at the Women’s Board of Domestic Missions: “God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way are revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain, I would be helpless. Only alone can I draw close enough to God to discover His secrets.”

On March 24, 1925, Carver wrote to Robert Johnson, an employee of Chesley Enterprises of Ontario: “Thank God I love humanity; complexion doesn’t interest me one single bit.”

On July 10, 1924, George Washington Carver wrote to James Hardwick: “God cannot use you as He wishes until you come into the fullness of His Glory. Do not get alarmed, my friend, when doubts creep in. That is old Satan. Pray, pray, pray. Oh, my friend, I am praying that God will come in and rid you entirely of self so you can go out after souls right, or rather have souls seek the Christ in you. This is my prayer for you always.”

George Washington Carver – His Life and Faith in His Own Words

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The Spiritual Contest And The Mind: Spiritual Exercise 05/11/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at uberconference.com/facingourimmortality

Opening Prayer:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

The Spiritual Contest And The Mind

The first, and undoubtedly the worst, bad decision ever made, was made in a battle between two superior intelligences before historical time began. Though we image the conflict with St. Michael dressed in armor and wielding a spear over Lucifer, the most beautiful of the angels now turned into a writhing, contorted, dragon-like creature, the battle was not physical but rather intellectual in nature. The arrogant supposition on the part of Lucifer, that he was greater than God in determining the “right order” of things, was resoundingly contested and conquered when St. Michael thunderously proclaimed: “Who is like unto God!” The power of those words suffused with truth and piercing light and rumbling through the far reaches of the heavens was enough to cast the demons from the seraphic realms forever.

Intelligence, a God-given gift which makes us different from the animals, and gives us a likeness to God, can be cradled in either pride or humility. Humility recognizes the gift; pride glories in the gift without acknowledging the origin. Humility generates light; pride is blind to it.

We do well to remember spiritual warfare is not out there somewhere. It takes place inside of us, in the understanding and the will, the mind, and the heart. Jesus tells us the Kingdom of God is within, and “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” Matthew 11:12. You cannot run from this battle. Every man is put to the test within his very self.

We may feel at a distinct disadvantage in a battle where our foe knows every weakness we have and has a superior intelligence with which to fight against us. And yet, our victory is had beyond the limits of purely human reasoning and strength. When the mind, the intellect is filled with the light of faith, we are able to see things and assent to things we do not fully understand, and thus to be victorious. And when the will is informed by charity, by the love of God, it moves easily to that which is shown to it by faith.

When Jesus contends with the devil in the desert, he does not engage in dialogue, because what the devil says, is technically true. He simply reverts to the love and providence of the Father and manifests His determination to wait on Him, even in suffering, rather than follow any direction coming from a creature who has willfully cut himself off from infinite good.

All temptation follows the pattern of the first sin in the Garden. The devil attacks the understanding: “Did God really say that? That’s not true! He knows if you eat this fruit you will be just like Him, and He doesn’t want that. So He’s keeping it back from you.” Once Adam and Eve allow doubt to be sown into their minds, their hearts lose trust in God, and they choose what they should have rejected.

The same thing happens to us in our personal temptations. A thought comes to us, and we toy with it for a while and then start thinking it wouldn’t be so bad to do the thing after all. God will understand, etc. Check for the tail of the serpent when you find yourself thinking like this about things you know are expressly wrong. Our pride and our inordinate seeking after pleasure can blind us to truths which God is very clear about.

It is sobering to observe that these internal battles can affect far more than ourselves. Lucifer must have been so persuasive in his argument that he swayed 1/3 of the angelic hosts to follow him. So too, do we see the same principle play out in human history. The last century has produced ideology after ideology (nazism, fascism, socialism, communism, radical feminism, liberalism, conservatism, traditionalism, modernism, and on and on, masses of people following an often diabolically compelling and magnetic leader set on an appealing but fatally flawed idea).

Jordan Peterson, a popular speaker and engaging thinker says this about ideologies: “Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know- it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”

― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

This certainly has been evidenced over and over again in the last century, with the resulting human destruction numbering in the hundreds of millions. But this is simply spiritual warfare on a grander scale. Someone takes the bait in a bad idea, which usually has to do with creating a better existence but hides a lust for power. The attempted implementation of the idea ultimately destroys everything in its reach. The followers, and surrounding people pay the price with their lives because they are deceived into believing that utopia, (a perfect existence), here on earth is possible and that people will change and be happy if they just acquiesce to the plan.

It is merely a re-packaging of the original temptation. The serpent whispers the same lie to the modern age: your life will be better if you do what I say, not what God says. This is the seed of corruption that ruins everything from individual lives to whole nations under the sway of contaminated ideas. Pope Benedict XVI noted that: “Wherever politics (read ideologies) tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.” Truth And Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions

Be aware of your thoughts. They have the power of heaven or hell in them.

St. Mark the Ascetic says,”Every thought has its weight and measure in God’s sight.” If we can sin in our thoughts, we can likewise do good in our thoughts, exercising faith and holding onto trust in God. May Our Blessed Mother help us to put on the mind of Christ that we may fight the good fight and be victorious in the arena of our own souls.

  1. How aware of your thoughts are you?
  2. How do you discipline your thoughts, if at all?
  3. What would you say is the general tone of your thoughts throughout a day? Positive, negative, distracted,
    curious and unruly? How would you describe your thought life?
  4. What does “putting on the mind of Christ” mean to you and where do you personally see the most prominent
    attacks against that in your thinking?

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