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Divine Intervention: Spiritual Exercise 11/8/21

Please join us Monday 11/8/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Blessings.

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

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

Divine Intervention

These days, many of us have a common prayer. That would be a prayer for some kind of divine intervention to halt the frightening directions our world seems to be headed in. And what would the ultimate purpose of that intervention be? Simply stopping evil isn’t enough.

When we seriously reflect on it, intervention is something God regularly does in our lives and has done throughout human history while mysteriously respecting our human freedom and entrusting to us a measure of power appropriate to our spheres of activity.  

The Old Testament is replete with examples of divine intervention dramatically recounted in stories like the Flood, the Exodus, the great stories of battles won by drastically outnumbered forces. The greatest of all interventions, the coming of Christ, of God in person into human history is again a striking indication of God’s will to be intimately involved without forcing us in anyway. 

Today we could also characterize the many approved apparitions of Our Lady as examples of Divine Intervention. Likewise, we can consider the Church herself as another example of a divinely inspired gift given to us for all the needs we encounter on our journey back home to the Father. (Pope St. John Paul II called Vatican Council II an intervention of God in human history. And many such events in the Church can be considered likewise.

But another way to look at this is to consider that each of us is meant to be a kind of divine intervention in the time and place in which we live. Each of us is tasked with specific work for the souls of our age, though this is not necessarily something obvious or dramatic in the eyes of the world. The classic Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” captures this quite movingly. George Bailey, the main character, is part of a terrible turn of events that brings him to contemplate suicide attempt on Christmas Eve. An angel, albeit a bumbling one (not that there is really such a thing), is sent to help him see the truth. George considers his life a failure because over and over again he has had to give up his dreams to help his family and the community he lives in. But Clarence, (the angel) shows him that he has actually protected and prospered the lives of all those he has served. George is shown what Bedford Falls would have become had he never lived, or if he had made other choices than the ones he did. He sees a town, and his loved ones, shrouded in depressing darkness and oppression, one that did the opposite of prospering. This revelation breaks the grip of his desperation and despair. He rightly comes to understand that he is fulfilling the meaning of the life given to him though till now it has been hidden. 

The measure of our impact is mysterious because what counts in God’s eyes is so different than what we think matters. Mark Twain once famously said: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”  This same lesson was one that Esther from the Old Testament learned and lived in the midst of the threat of the extinction of her people. By Divine Providence, she alone was in a position to intervene. She was encouraged to be faithful to this fearful responsibility by her Uncle Mordecai who reminded her that she herself would not escape the fate of her people if she failed to act. He stressed that it was likely that “for such a time as this” she was born.

In our fears and anxieties for the present age, it is worth remembering that God knew, when He gave us the breath of life, what we would face, both individually (family difficulties, matters of health, etc…) and communally (civil unrest and nations increasingly at odds with each other). Yet He chose this time nonetheless for us to make a difference. The question we must ask ourselves is what that difference is, and how we are going to live it out.

Please take 5-10 minutes for silent reflection

1. The fact is, the impact our lives make is not measured by the difficulties we face or the situation we find ourselves in. God’s grace is not dependent on these kinds of things. In fact, sometimes the worst situations end up bringing down the greatest graces. Can you think of examples of this?  

2. What kinds of positive impact do you think you’ve made in your own life?  God has placed us in many different situations where we have the potential to change things for the better by our presence. What do you think is the key to having a positive effect on others?

3. What is the greatest kind of impact you can have in another’s life?  And how does that affect your own life?

4. Have you ever felt that your life was not meaningful in any important way? How does God want you to see your life?  What does He expect of us really?

May your heart fill with immense love as we journey through November, a month of Holy devotion to all who have passed before us.

Our next session will be during the Blessed Advent Season, on December 13, 2021.  It is almost unbelievable that we will soon embark on Christmastime.  God Bless you.

Love and Blessings

The Desire To Be Seen: Spiritual Exercise 10/11/21

Please join us Monday 10/122/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Thank you so much.

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

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 Desire to be Seen

Drawing attention to ourselves is not often viewed favorably. And yet, it is such a prevalent human activity that it moves one to reflect on the deeper things at play.  There is something fundamentally necessary about being seen. Many people today suffer because they feel unseen, invisible, unwanted, unable to belong anywhere.  Unfortunately, even when others do see us, it is only superficially satisfying because we are not seen in the depth of the mystery of who we are in God.  Often, we’re put into a box, associated with some stereotype, and dismissed.

If we go back to the beginning, we see that before the Fall, Adam and Eve experienced joy in seeing and being seen by God.  As their relationship unfolded He revealed many things to them.  One can imagine what they must have learned about creation, themselves, their work, God Himself, and His dreams for them.  But in betraying that relationship, shame compelled Adam and Eve to hide not only from God but from themselves.  In an anguished and tragic way, they became incapable of recognizing themselves as they once knew themselves. Thus began man’s struggle to reclaim things that were now hidden from him.  

An essential reason we need to be seen is because we are now mysteries to ourselves. We need someone outside ourselves to tell us about ourselves. The Church often reminds us that it is Christ who reveals us to ourselves. The monumental mistake we make today is to let other people tell us who we are, others who themselves don’t know who they are.

Jesus shows us that we don’t want to look to others to tell us who we are. He asks the disciples who people say He is. They respond with a variety of answers. “But you, who do you say I am?” When Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus points to a powerful truth! “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven has.” Who can reveal us to ourselves, tell us who we are and why we have the attractions, reactions, desires, and destiny we do? God, our Father, and Creator. We can only find ourselves in Him.

St Joseph and Our Blessed Mother are a beautiful example. They appear quiet, and one may think, almost so holy as to be abnormal according to the way most of us live.  Yet they know and live this secret to true happiness!  They live in the presence of God at all times.  When you live this way, you come to know not only God but yourself as well. You have the strength to go through all things and even to experience joy in doing so.  St. Paul says a cloud of witnesses surrounds us.  Chief among them is God Himself!   This is Who we want and need to be seen by.  This is what we had in the beginning. The Father is the one who takes our shame away in Christ, sweetens our existence with His presence, His affirmations, His revelations, His directions, and protection. He shows us who we really are.

To strive to live in the presence of God at all times is one of the most radical and fruitful things we can do for ourselves and the world! If we all aspired to be seen by God and not by man, the holes in our hearts would be healed, stretched, and made capable of loving the whole of the cosmos and everything in it. Seeing God and being seen by Him pulls us out of hiding and restores our hearts to their original integrity. That is what we honestly long for: to see and to be seen as God intended.

Please relax in silence for 5-10 minutes, awaiting the Holy Spirit’s guidance. In group, please allow each person to share their reflection without interruption. Afterwards we will enjoy a group conversation.

Questions For Reflection

  1. In what ways have you experienced being a mystery to yourself?
  2. Self-knowledge is essential in the spiritual life bur we often resist it and like to settle for superficial flatteries. What do you think we are afraid of when it comes to self-knowledge?
  3. Living in the Presence of God at all times is not easy. But the idea is that we should always be oriented to God, always be aware of when we are drifting away or hiding from God or ourselves. We were not created to live in the bushes but rather to be engaged with God in life.
  4. In what ways does God draw you out of hiding? How does He reassure you and strengthen you to open yourself and to surrender without fear.

Our next spititual exercise will take place Monday November 8, 2021. We pray that you have a Blessed All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

sou

Our Refuge and Our Help: Spiritual Exercise 09/20/21

Please join us Monday 08/09/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Thank you so much. 

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

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

Our Refuge and Our Help

I have always felt that the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima has far deeper significance for us than we tend to understand. Let’s look at it in light of current events.

We have witnessed a variety of calamities in these last weeks: weather, war, natural and manmade catastrophes, and escalating strife on myriad fronts. When tribulation hits, it can be easy to forget essentials. It’s almost impossible to anticipate every possibility, and so we are often unprepared for the kind of trial that ends up hitting us. But once it does, fear and panic can become so powerful that all our speculative, premeditated plans of behavior are drowned out in the tsunami of those emotions. The apostles witness this during Jesus’ Paschal sufferings and death. They are so traumatized by what is happening, so overwhelmed by fear and grief, that they cannot move except to run away. 

Jesus tells us on several occasions to be vigilant and pray that we can withstand the test that comes to all who follow Him. It’s best, therefore, to have some simple yet powerful reminders to anchor ourselves with so that spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically we have an interior refuge ready ahead of time. One we know works. 

The special refuge Jesus has given us in these end times is Our Blessed Mother. The Beloved disciple John recognized this during Christ’s Sacred Passion, and it is the only reason he was able to go back to be with Jesus amid His indescribable tortures and brutalization at the hands of the Roman soldiers. John found the courage and the grace in Our Lady, and with Her, was able to return and withstand the martyrdom of the spirit that came to both of them.

In all of her many apparitions, the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima is perhaps the defining moment for trust in Our Lady’s intercessory powers. Imagine the sun starting to spin and fall toward the earth as you watch. Imagine, for that matter, seeing an approaching comet in the sky, knowing it is headed for direct impact with the earth. Imagine watching missiles light up the sky in aggressions unleashed by foreign powers. Imagine the direst scenarios and what possible hope one could have in the face of forces so beyond our control. 

But then remember Our Lady’s interventions, aside from Fatima, just in this last century. Both Austria and the Philippines experienced liberation from powerful oppressive forces which inexplicably withdrew or were peaceably removed, without a drop of blood being spilled, after the people united and committed to praying the rosary for said intentions. 

It took three years for Russia to inexplicably pull out of Austria, a strategic location for them, and one year for the oppressive dictatorship of the Marcos regime to dissolve. And perhaps the only difference in timing was the number of people praying the rosary (70,000 in Austria and millions in the Philippines.). As we’ve said before, the events in the Philippines inspired a Marian year for the whole world. A short time after the conclusion of the Marian Year (1988), the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union dissolved, events the secular press still cannot explain.

As our world shows deeper and deeper signs of spinning out of control, we know who has been entrusted with our care in a unique way, who has been telling us the remedy to all our evils, and who will hold a space open for us in her heart no matter what comes. If we haven’t listened to her counsels yet or have failed to live the life we are called to by Her Son, we yet have a place to run to, even though it be the eleventh hour. May we remember that, especially if we find ourselves on the verge of losing hope in the face of some unthinkable happening. Our Blessed Mother is our sure helper, advocate, refuge, and hope!

PS (I was alerted to another example of Our Lady’s intervention in the past century in Brazil in the early 1950’s.  Russia attempted to infiltrate and push communism in Brazil but the women of Brazil recognized the danger and organized massive street Rosaries which were attended by  hundreds of thousands of people.  Needless to say, Russia’s attempt was no match for the power of the Rosary and Our Blessed Mother’s intervention.  Their efforts failed before taking root.) 

I feel there is no more important relationship to develop and be close to at this time, than the relationship with Our Lady.  Many prophecies hold dire predictions of what awaits the world.  Yet the enduring promise though all of it is that Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph and, through her intercession, the world will be saved and brought back to a vibrant Christianity.  This does not mean that we do not need to prepare for the exceptional trials that await us.  But to have the strength of faith to go through them well we need to stay very close to Her and follow her counsel.  How do you do that in your own life?  Is your relationship with her living or pietistical habit only?

How might you introduce others to Our Lady’s special love for them?  How would you help them to understand her as a refuge for them especially in times of great suffering and fear?  And what might your prayer to Our Lady be like for them?

Our biggest struggles often come when fear and anxiety overwhelm us.  Yet God does not want us to be fearful.  In our natural lives, we often ran to our mothers for comfort and reassurance and counsel on what to do.  The Beloved disciple had many singular graces the others didn’t precisely because of this kind of closeness to Our Lady.  One can’t do better than imitate Jesus in entrusting themselves to Her.  If She were to appear to you right now, what do you think She would ask you to do personally to be strengthened for the trials that await everyone who follows Her Son?

As a mother, how do you think Our Lady sees those who have given themselves deliberately over to evil?  How do you see them? Is your attitude toward them compatible with Our Lady’s?  

Session Rescheduled To 08/20/21

Peace to you,

Our zoom call is rescheduled for Monday September 20, 2021. Please accept our sincere apologies. Please lift up your prayers for Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, for her sweet brother Chris is nearing his time of moving forward into God’s hands.

I have been exhausted from physical issues. I am so sorry to reachedule our call. Peace and God’s Grace to you.

Denise Archuleta

The Original Vision: Spiritual Exercise 08/09/21

Please join us Monday 08/09/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Thank you so much. ❤️

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

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 Original Vision

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and brought man and woman into existence in His own image and likeness, He gave us a direction, a vision for existence. He said: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” This call refers to the whole, broad expanse of human activity.

We can only imagine how this might have been fulfilled if sin had not intervened and narrowed the possibilities to a mere shadow of what God intended. Our minds, unaffected by sin, would have retained a sharp capacity for explosive intellectual development and efficacious progress. Our wills would not have lost their orientation to the good, nor the firm commitment to pursue it. Our emotions, completely ordered, would have served both mind and will in such a way as to effect greater and greater progress. In short, we could have reached a point where we could have begun peopling the 200 billion or so galaxies in the universe in a benevolent exploration of the outer reaches of space and the mysterious fulfillment of God’s plan for the universe.

Alas, sin has its own “fruits.” What we see instead of this expansive vision of creative involvement with God Himself are the crippling effects of sin, the narrow, life-sapping selfishness that leads instead to a vision that is the antithesis of God’s creative plan. Today powerful forces speak not of being fruitful and multiplying but of depopulating the planet, sterilizing ourselves and all creation, and aborting fruitfulness wherever it is found, both in ourselves and in the plants and animals around us. Plants that do not produce seeds are hailed as breakthroughs, while the younger generations speak of whether or not it is moral to have children anymore because of the burden to the planet. They consider the needs of a child “environmental vandalism.” They applaud those who deliberately choose not to procreate while attempting to shame those who willingly bring life into the world without reservation and with anticipation of the many unforeseen marvels that always unfold from God’s gift of the more abundant life.

The sober wisdom of Proverbs 29:18 becomes apparent. “Without a vision, the people perish”. Without the vision that God originally gave us, we end up inventing our own reasons for being and our own understanding of the meaning of existence. It is evident that in our fallen nature we get it massively wrong. Instead of flourishing in all we do as God intended, we begin to deconstruct ourselves (witness the craziness and incoherence surrounding gender identity and sexuality.) It is a short step from there to self-destructing altogether.

Creation and its marvels have their source in God. The anti-creation narrative, well-disguised as concern for the planet, also has an origin, deeply connected to the antichrists who are already at work in the world.  Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen points out:  “…some (people) live twenty or sixty years without knowing why they are here or where they are going.  When life is meaningless, it is dull; the absence of a goal or purpose begets worries, anxieties, psychoses, and neuroses.  What is the use of living unless we know the purpose of living?”  Unless we reclaim the vision given to us in the Garden, we will end up fulfilling the maxim from Proverbs instead of participating in the glorious unfolding of God’s designs.

The framework the world constructs for life in time boxes us in and makes us sterile and stagnant. It saps the energy right out of us and creates scenarios so depressing that it is no wonder more and more people consider suicide as the one way out of the dead ends and the pain this generates. “Without a vision, the people perish.” This is why people have the need to deify something, anything (creation, animals, etc.). The vision for their life has no absolute transcendence otherwise. Yet, this quickly becomes full of contradictions. We effectively sterilize creation, ourselves included, while attempting to exalt it at the same time. We cease to find fulfillment because we have lost the original vision.

Please relax in silence for 5-10 minutes, awaiting the Holy Spirit’s guidance. In group, please allow each person to share their reflection without interruption. Afterwards we will enjoy a group conversation.

Questions For Reflection:

1. What might be some of the untapped possibilities for greater fruitfulness in your life?

2. What does fruitfulness look like when you are sick? Is it always possible to be fruitful no matter what?

3. What kinds of fruitfulness do you see in your own life?

4. What do you think God values as the greatest kinds of fruitfulness?

Our next session takes place Monday, 09/13/21 at the same time.

Peace and Loving Blessings,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh and Denise

🙏🏻❤️🌸🙏🏻❤️🌸

Offering A Sacrifice Of Praise: Spiritual Exercise 06/21/21

🌻 New Date: We need to move the date from June 14th to the 21st. Thank you for your patience. 🌻

Please join us Monday 06/21/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

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

Offering A Sacrifice Of Praise

People are quickly and almost universally captured by stories of unrequited love.  Who hasn’t loved someone and suffered when that love was not returned?

In an article by Lisa A Phillips on the great unrequited love stories of literature, mention is made that even the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schultz “links its characters in chains of unreciprocated adoration: Peppermint Patty loves Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown loves the Little Red-Haired Girl, Sally loves Linus, who loves his teacher, Miss Othmar. Lucy loves Schroeder, who wants nothing more than to play Beethoven on his toy piano.” Charlie Brown sums up the experience by saying: “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”  

June is the month the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the most famous revelation of the divine love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, the complaint that comes forth from Jesus is a complaint of unrequited love. Speaking of His revelations, St. Margaret Mary says:

“It was then that He made known to me the ineffable marvels of His pure love and showed me to what an excess He had loved men, from whom He received only ingratitude and contempt.

“I feel this more than all that I suffered during My Passion. If only they would make Me some return for My Love, I should think but little of all I have done for them and would wish, were it possible, to suffer still more. But the sole return they make for all My eagerness to do them good is to reject Me and treat Me with coldness. Do you at least console Me by supplying for their ingratitude, as far as you are able.”

Jesus is so much more than anything we could hope for in a secret admirer. He loved us while we were yet sinners, while there was nothing lovable about us, He who is the most powerful, most beautiful, most benevolent and sensitive, most unwearied in His love for us.  How do we continually fail to notice?  If those are not things we yearn for in our lives, then what are we really looking for?

We profess our love for God when prompted, but we don’t often act like people in love.  How should we respond to the incredible ways God loves us?  Scripture tells us a sacrifice of praise honors the Lord. (Ps 50:23) 

But what do we mean by praise?  How do we praise the Lord without feeling self-conscious?   Here’s an easier way to think about it.  Think about what it’s like to be in love. The gaze of the lover is always on the beloved. The speech of the lover is always singing the praises of the beloved.  Where there is true love, there is no forgetfulness of anything having to do with the beloved.  On the contrary, everything is filtered through thoughts of the beloved to the point where one sees the beloved in everyone and everything. 

An excellent way to praise is to simply think of things you know and love about God and start thanking Him for them, His patience, His attentiveness to you, His willingness to die for you while you were nailing Him to the Cross with the rest of us, His perfect goodness, beauty, mercy, benevolence, etc. Tell Him how much you love and are grateful for the sentiments of His Heart which has rescued the sinner in all of us and continues to do so every time we take the life-line He is constantly tossing to us.

It doesn’t take much to console Jesus when one considers all He has done for us. Simple awareness, acknowledgment, thanksgiving. Even little signs hearten those who love. In fact, to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus carries with it 12 promises of even more extraordinary graces to come.  Take the time to look them up in the writings of Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque.  It seems impossible that “Love is not loved.” And yet, that is the complaint of Jesus. Let not that same thing be said of us when our own accounting before the Lord comes. 

Questions for reflection (please reflect in silence for 5-10 minutes 

  1. Have you ever experienced unrequited love?  What did you learn from it?
  2. Do you think you have ever been on the other end as one who has not recognized or returned God’s amazing love?  Why was that?
  3. How do you understand the prayer of praise?  Are you comfortable with it?
  4. Scripture says God inhabits the praises of His people. (Ps 22:3)  Bp. Barron said we become most fully who we are when we engage in praise of God. What do you think he means?   

Our next session will take place July 12, 2021 at the same time. Blessings and Love.

Sr. Anne Marie and Denise Archuleta

“Sacred Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke thee, have mercy on us. Amen”

Leaving The Shallows For The Deep: Spiritual Exercise 05/10/21

Please join us Monday 05/10/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

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


Leaving The Shallows For The Deep

As I sit at the deathbed of a dying brother and question the mystery of life that God gives to each of us, I cannot help but wonder how many of us never leave the shallows of our life to put out into the deep. Aspergers was not diagnosed in Bill’s day, but, because of it, he never knew some of the earthly joys most of us take for granted: marriage, children, enduring friendships. Yet, I think his life was far richer in significance than many of the lives we “normal” people choose to live.

Bill is one of the Anawim, the poor and lowly ones, possessing the innocence of the guileless and dear to God. He is one of the many who are hidden gifts among us because, in the economy of redemption, his suffering, empowered by Christ, acts as a lightning rod for the grace the rest of us so desperately need.

At the same time, suffering and death call all of us to confront the shortness of life and make a definitive decision about the destiny God has willed for us and the difference He wants us to make with our own lives. Death never leaves us indifferent. It demands a response. For many of the saints, the encounter with death compelled them to make heroic life choices which actually lifted them to the heights of sanctity. There are positive reasons many of them recommended we meditate on death and what awaits us, every day.

The choice to move out of the shallows of our lives and into the deep is no small thing. It is the difference between mediocrity and greatness as measured in the Lord. It demands courage and determination to persevere no matter what comes. Sr. Ann Shields says it powerfully: “I am finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace. My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus.”

When we look at the face of the suffering Christ in our loved ones, how can we respond in any other way if we too are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Questions for silent reflection:

1. Where do you find yourself today? Playing around in the Shallows or moving out towards the Deep?

2. What fears hold you back from the deeper waters of God’s invitation, His love?

3. What price do you pay for not leaving the safety of the shallow waters in your relationship with God?

4. God wills to redeem every life, no matter how well used or how wasted. Nothing is ever lost to Him when we turn to Him. The Good Thief shows us that in no uncertain terms. Ask St. Joseph to help you live the kind of life that is pleasing to God and draws you into the depths of His great plan for the salvation of souls. Many souls are asked to offer their suffering in order to further the mystery of God’s plan. What do you do with your own suffering?

Prayer To St. Joseph

Guardian of virgins, and holy father Joseph, to whose faithful custody Christ Jesus, Innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were committed; I pray insistently and beseech you by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary, that being preserved from all uncleanness, I may with spotless mind, pure heart, and chaste body, ever most chastely serve Jesus and Mary all the days of my life. Amen. 

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Pray for us!


Our next session will take place Monday June 14th from 6:30 to 8:00 MDT.

Feast Of St. Joseph, The Worker

May 1, 2021 is the Feast of St. Joseph The Worker

Source: USCCB: https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/litanies/litany-of-saint-joseph

Litany Of St. Joseph

This litany is ordinarily enriched with a partial indulgence (Manual of Indulgences, conc. 22). During the Year of Saint Joseph, however—which lasts from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021—the use of the Litany of Saint Joseph has been included among other prayers to St. Joseph enriched with a plenary indulgence (see Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary issued Dec. 8, 2020, section E), which may be earned once a day subject to the usual conditions: sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and a total detachment to all sin, including venial sin.

Lord, have mercy.Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.Lord, have mercy.
  
God our Father in heaven,have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,pray for us.
Saint Joseph,pray for us.
Noble son of the House of David,pray for us.
Light of patriarchs,pray for us.
Husband of the Mother of God,pray for us.
Guardian of the Virgin,pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God,pray for us.
Faithful guardian of Christ,pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family,pray for us.
Joseph, chaste and just,pray for us.
Joseph, prudent and brave,pray for us.
Joseph, obedient and loyal,pray for us.
Pattern of patience,pray for us.
Lover of poverty,pray for us.
Model of workers,pray for us.
Example to parents,pray for us.
Guardian of virgins,pray for us.
Pillar of family life,pray for us.
Comfort of the troubled,pray for us.
Hope of the sick,pray for us.
Patron of the dying,pray for us.
Terror of evil spirits,pray for us.
Protector of the Church,pray for us.
  
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,have mercy on us.
  
God made him master of his household,And put him in charge of all that he owned.

Let us pray.

O God, who in your inexpressible providence
were pleased to choose Saint Joseph
as spouse of the most holy Mother of your Son,
grant, we pray,
that we, who revere him as our protector on earth,
may be worthy of his heavenly intercession.
Through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

Please find space in your heart to seek the intercession of the most beloved chosen one: the chaste spouse and devoted husband of Holy Mary, ever virgin and mother of Jesus; and to St. Joseph the adoptive father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen

Claiming The Divine Mercy For Ourselves And The Whole World! Spiritual Exercise 04/12/21

Please join us Monday 04/12/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

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

Claiming The Divine Mercy For Ourselves And The World!

How deeply the Divine Mercy penetrates into a life that claims that mercy! In His Divine Mercy, Jesus freed Mary Magdalene from the demonic in her life, forgave her sins, had a singular relationship with her that was so special he appeared to her in Resurrection even before the Apostles, and made her an Apostle of the Good News of Resurrection!

The Lord’s mercy has no restrictions on His part. We only have to ask for it. Here are some important things to remember about Jesus and the Divine Mercy:

From the diary of St. Faustina:

1. “’Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.’” (No. 301)

2. “’My daughter, have fear of nothing; I am always with you. All your adversaries will harm you only to the degree that I permit them to do so. You are my dwelling place and my constant repose. For your sake I will withhold the hand which punishes; for your sake I bless the earth.’”  (No. 431)

3. “The Lord said to me, ‘The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness.  You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.’” (No. 1397)

4. “Jesus: ‘My child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for my kingdom. But fear not, because you are not alone. I am always supporting you, so lean on Me as you struggle, fearing nothing. Take the vessel of trust and draw from the fountain of life – for yourself, but also for other souls, especially such as are distrustful of My goodness.’” (No. 1488)

5. “All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us. Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person’s sins were as dark as night, God’s mercy is stronger than our misery. One thing alone is necessary; that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest.” (No. 1507)

6. “Today the Lord said to me, ‘Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.  The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.’” (No. 1602)

7. “’Oh how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness. Even the devils believe in My Justice, but do not glorify My Goodness. My Heart rejoices in this title of Mercy.’” (No. 300)

8. “I realize more and more how much every soul needs God’s mercy throughout life and particularly at the hour of death. This chaplet (of Divine Mercy) mitigates God’s anger, as He Himself told me.” (No. 1036)

9. “Then I heard the words ‘I am glad you behaved like My true daughter. Be always merciful as I am merciful. Love everyone out of love for Me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.’” (No. 1695)

10. “When once I asked the Lord Jesus how He could tolerate so many sins and crimes and not punish them, the Lord answered me,‘I have an eternity for punishing [these], and so I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize the time of My visitation.’” (No. 1160)

Questions for reflection (please reflect in silence for 5-10 minutes)

1. How have you experienced the Divine Mercy in your own life?

2. Where do you see the Divine Mercy at work in the world?

3. How can you help people to understand and accept God’s mercy in their own lives? 

4. What challenges you most in showing mercy to others?

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love is everlasting.  

Please visit the link below to participate in the Divine Mercy Chaplet, in song. Our next session will take place May 10, 2021 

The Good Shepherd: Spiritual Exercise 03/08/21

Please join us Monday 03/08/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET)

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

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 Good Shepherd

Reflection taken from “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller

Book of Psalms

Psalm 23

23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 

Douay Rheims Version of the Catholic Bible

“All of this (Psalm 23), is summed up here by the psalmist in one brave but simple statement: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”! The sheep with such a shepherd knows of a surety that his is a privileged position. No matter what comes, at least and always he can be perfectly sure that goodness and mercy will be in the picture. He reassures himself that he is ever under sound, sympathetic, intelligent ownership. What more need he care about? Goodness and mercy will be the treatment he receives from his master’s expert, loving hands. 

Not only is this a bold statement, but it is somewhat of a boast, an exclamation of implicit confidence in the One who controls his career and destiny. How many Christians actually feel this way about Christ? How many of us are truly convinced that no matter what occurs in our lives we are being followed by goodness and mercy? 

Of course, it is very simple to speak this way when things are going well. If my health is excellent, my income is flourishing, my family is well, and my friends are fond of me, it is not hard to say, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” 

But what about when one’s body breaks down? What do I say when I stand by helpless, as I have had to do, and watch a life partner die by degrees under appalling pain? What is my reaction when my job folds up and there is no money to meet bills? What happens if my children can’t make their grades in school or get caught running with the wrong gang? What do I say when suddenly, without good grounds, friends prove false and turn against me? 

These are the sort of times that test a person’s confidence in the care of Christ. These are the occasions during which the chips are down and life is more than a list of pious platitudes. When my little world is falling apart and the dream castles of my ambitions and hopes crumble into ruins, can I honestly declare, “Surely—yes, surely—goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”? Or is this sheer humbug and a maddening mockery? 

In looking back over my own life, in the light of my love and care for my sheep, I can see again and again a similar compassion and concern for me in my Master’s management of my affairs. There were events, which at the time seemed like utter calamities; there were paths down which He led me that appeared like blind alleys; there were days He took me through which were well-nigh black as night itself. But all in the end turned out for my benefit and my well-being. 

With my limited understanding as a finite human being I could not always comprehend His management executed in infinite wisdom. With my natural tendencies to fear, worry, and ask “why,” it was not always simple to assume that He really did know what He was doing with me. There were times I was tempted to panic, to bolt, and to leave His care. 

Somehow I had the strange, stupid notion I could survive better on my own. Most men and women do. But despite this perverse behavior I am so glad He did not give up. I am so grateful He did follow me in goodness and mercy. The only possible motivation was His own love, His care and concern for me as one of His sheep. And despite my doubts, despite my misgivings about His management of my affairs, He has picked me up and borne me back again in great tenderness. 

As I see all of this in retrospect, I realize that for the one who is truly in Christ’s care, no difficulty can arise, no dilemma emerge, no seeming disaster descend on life without eventual good coming out of the chaos. This is to see the goodness and mercy of my Master in my life. It has become the great foundation of my faith and confidence in Him.”

Questions for reflection. Allow 5-10 minutes in silence for this section of the exercise.

1. How do you see the goodness and mercy of God present in your own life?

2. Where have you been challenged in believing in the Lord’s care for you?

3. As the Good Shepherd, how would you say the Lord has led you through your life? Always through sunny pastures or sometimes through dark valleys?

4. Do you really allow the Lord to manage your affairs?

Group Discussion: During this time we talk about our responses and share how these are seen in our lives.