Updates

Join us May 20th for an evening retreat about “Our Lady of Conquering Love”

In these times of uncertainty we need and crave what can be relied upon. If you are sick, or caring for one who is ill, stability can seem fleeting and elusive. The love given to us from our Blessed Mother is constant, stronger than we can imagine with our human minds and meant to bring us to her son, our Lord Jesus.

Please take a moment to gift to yourself an evening retreat where we will pray and join in spiritual exercises with Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT. Please share this opportunity with anyone who could benefit from a gentle reminder about Our Lady of Conquering Love.

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

April 8, 2019 – Hope

A Video Message From Sr. Anne Marie Walsh about Facing Our Immortality

INSTRUCTIONS: Tonight’s topic is inserted below. Please read about our purpose and why we pray ahead of time, if you can. Thank you for joining us.

Conference Call Instructions: (720) 735-7025 before 6:30 pm MDT to join us via Uber Conference. We gather at Denver’s Our Lady of Lourdes Classic School in the 6th grade classroom. Please join us.

WELCOME:

Tonight our prayer intentions are for Martha Bridgewater, Olga, Kyle Hunt and Sr. Anne Marie’s brother Greg.

PURPOSE :

The Facing Our Immortality Spiritual Exercise is an integral part of our monthly cancer support group. It is here where we form relationships with one another and in Christ.  We never walk alone.

We are a spiritual ministry, based on the principles of Catholic teaching, for those who are pained and aggrieved by cancer or serious illness. We meet once per month in a safe environment, which provides a loving atmosphere formed in the community of Christ. Mutual respect for the dignity, privacy and confidentiality of each participant is fully embraced. 

This Spiritual Exercise is designed to elevate conversation, understanding and support to a deeper faith-based perspective where our life-experience, especially at the present time, has God, and His plan/dream for us personally, at the center. This will involve working deeply with the mystery of suffering in our lives. 

The Holy Spirit will animate much of this unfolding and direction with each group. 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISE GROUP OVERVIEW:

We will begin with an opening prayer followed by the Spiritual Exercise. Our Spiritual Exercise was developed by Fr. James Flanagan of The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).

A: Opening Prayer

B: Spiritual Exercise Topic

 Silent time for reflection (5-10 minutes)
 Sharing of your personal reflection
 Say one “Glory Be…”

C: General Group Discussion

D: Closing Prayer

E: Updates

Cancer is not an individual experience. It is, generally speaking, a family experience, and so the family needs spiritual protection, healing, blessing, and just a general entrusting into the hands of God. Our Lives are relational. Cancer is something that intrudes into that, or is even sometimes, a consequence of long standing, unhealthy relationships. So it is never true that the person with cancer is the only one involved. There is always a context, and human relationships are always in deep need of the grace of God. Prayer is an essential way to bring that grace into these relationships and contexts. We are going to strive then to see things relationally, both in our human relationships and our divine relationships.

Why We Pray: There are three elements involved in spiritual exercise: The Art of Listening, The Art of Reflection and The Art of Dialogue.

1. The Art of Listening

If we are to “hear” God’s Word it is essential that we learn how to listen to the Word, the Spirit, others and even ourselves. We must be able to distinguish between these voices also. Most of your time spent in the Spiritual Exercise will be using this art.  We must not only listen to what is said, but we must learn to listen to what is not said. To really listen to one another we must empty ourselves of all prejudgments and biases. We must be open and receptive. We need, therefore, to enter the Spiritual Exercise with a spirit of humility. We must realize that we need others, and they need us to live the Trinitarian Life, which is a life of community.

2. The Art of Reflection

This second art is more directly related to the Spirit  In this art we learn to open ourselves to the Spirit who teaches us “all things”. The art comes in learning how to open yourself to the voice of the Spirit within you.  During the time of reflection we are not to think of very erudite things to impress people with our knowledge of theology or with our scholarship.  It is a time when we open ourselves so the Spirit can teach us Himself. He will take us at times back into the Word to the Person of Jesus.  At other times He will take us to our own life experiences, because in those life experiences He has been leading and teaching us. Therefore, a real relationship with the Person of the Spirit has to grow within you. The more you use this art, the more sensitive you will become to the Spirit and the more He will direct you.  

3. The Art of Dialogue

Because we are the Body of Christ, and because we have to grow to that oneness in the Body, which Jesus himself prayed for, we come to a time when we share our reflections of the Spirit.  This again is not an intellectual discussion, nor is it a psychological unburdening (although sometimes it will have that effect).  As this art develops, little by little this time will become a moment of humble and fraternal communion with God and others, a moment of attentive listening to God through the lives of others. You will find that where you were not open to the Spirit during the time of reflection, the Spirit can speak to you through someone else’s experience of Him.  We teach each other through our sharing because we are one in Christ.  The art is to give what comes from our hearts, not from our learning.  We must give what comes from the Lord to each other.  This art is really a sharing of the Lord with each other in praise, in thanks and in life.  This gift, therefore, is not for ourselves only, but for others which finds its roots and source in the community of the Trinity.

These three arts are skills that can be learned and developed, under, of course, the guidance of grace.  And like all skills the more they are used, the more proficient the person becomes in them.  The Trinity is community! And if you’re going to come into that Trinitarian life you must live as community.

A. OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the Father ……….”

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

B. SPIRITUAL EXERCISE TOPIC: HOPE

“That which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about. Death is swallowed up in victory.  Where O death, is your victory? Where O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But, thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15: 53-57

Properties of the Resurrected Body

Sacred Scripture and Catholic theology teaches that our glorified resurrected bodies will experience four properties as an outflow of the beatified soul enjoying the vision of God’s essence:

1) Impassibility – the glorified body will no longer suffer physical sickness or death, as Saint Paul teaches regarding the glorified body in 1 Corinthians 15:42, “It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption.”

2) Subtlety, meaning that we will have a spiritualized nature in the sense of a spiritual body as did our Lord as we learn at 1 Corinthians 15:44: “It is sown a corruptible body, it shall rise a spiritual,” i.e. a spirit-like, “body.” We see that Christ’s glorified body was able to pass through closed doors. 

3) Agility – the glorified body will obey the soul with the greatest ease and speed of movement as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:43: “It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power,” that is, according to a gloss, “mobile and living.” Saint Thomas Aquinas says, “But mobility can only signify agility in movement. Therefore the glorified bodies will be agile.” We discern agility, our Resurrected Lord’s ability to bilocate and travel great distances in an instant.

4) Clarity – the glorified body will be free from any deformity and will be filled with beauty and radiance as we read at Matthew 13:43: “The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” and Wisdom 3:7: “The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.” Here clarity refers not being “clear” but to being “bright”.

St. Thomas Aquinas at Summa Contra Gentiles, IV, 86 summarized: “thus also will his body be raised to the characteristics of heavenly bodies — it will be lightsome (clarity), incapable of suffering (impassible), without difficulty and labor in movement (agility), and most perfectly perfected by its form (subtlety). For this reason, the Apostle speaks of the bodies of the risen as heavenly, referring not to their nature, but to their glory.”

It is worth noting that the Virgin Mary has already received her glorified and resurrected body. Hence, she has the four gifts of the resurrection. 

May we persevere so as to receive these remarkable gifts. 

(In case you need extra motivation, read Saint Thomas Aquinas description of the corruptible bodies of the damned.)

It is good to remember that for believers, the path to Resurrection goes through suffering and death. In the divine economy, Jesus even makes persecution one of the beatitudes. As Fr. John Hardon, S.J. writes, the beatitudes are “promises of happiness made by Christ to those who faithfully accept His teaching and follow His divine example.” The pattern of Jesus’ redemptive work passes by the Way of the Cross. So too will we, and our age be redeemed in the same way.

Closing thought:

Pope Francis: “Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord–each of us knows what they are—so that He may enter and grant us life. Let us give him the stones of our rancor and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls.  Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish…May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the center of our lives.”

So how can we access the same healing Jesus so freely gives in the Gospels? Many ways are possible.  But we are given 3 special gifts during Lent which stir up the waters of grace in our lives. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer stirs up the grace we need for deeper healing in our relationship with God.  Fasting brings the waters of grace down upon the disorder we have within ourselves. And Almsgiving opens up rivers of grace in our relationship to others.

Our deepest healing will always come first and foremost from eliminating sin in our lives. Sin always brings suffering, both personal and at the same time, upon the whole Body of Christ. There is no such thing as a private sin. As Our Lady of Fatima warned us over a century ago: war, something we often live in fear of, is a consequences of sin, both private sin and institutionalized, communal sin.

Questions for Reflection: Silence for 5-10 minutes.

1.What are the greatest obstacles to hope today?

2.What do we think our own resurrected body will be like? What do we look forward to most?

3.The desire for transcendence is built into our very nature. Where do you see signs of this even among unbelievers?

4.What does Jesus show us about the Resurrected Life? Consider his movements after Resurrection and before the Ascension.

C. GENERAL GROUP DISCUSSION: Allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead.

D. CLOSING PRAYER

E. UPDATES

Our next meeting will take place Monday May 13, 2019. Please add this to your online calendar and/or save to your mobile phone.

Watch Sr. Anne Marie Walsh’s brief video about Facing Our Immortality, which she created to share with the joyful students from CMA by clicking here.

Please remember to invite others who you feel may benefit from our monthly spiritual exercise group. They do not need to be Catholic. We welcome patients, survivors, spouses, caregivers and surviving spouses. All are welcome.

In Christ,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, Denise and Richard

https://www.facebook.com/FacingOurImmortality/

© Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Support Group All Rights Reserved

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

March 11, 2019 – Stirring Up The Waters Of Grace (Lenten Reflection)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Session begins at 6:30 pm, MDT. Please call (720) 735-7025 before 6:30 pm to join us via Uber Conference. We gather at Denver’s Our Lady of Lourdes Classic School in the 6th grade classroom. Please join us.

WELCOME:

Tonight our prayer intentions are for Amanda’s Tia Rosa and her mom Blanca, Annette Martinez, Greg Walsh, Don Lufton, we are also deeply saddened that Linda Johnson’s brother, James Rivera, passed away. Please pray for his soul, his wife Barbara and his son Michael.

PURPOSE :

The Facing Our Immortality Spiritual Exercise is an integral part of our monthly cancer support group. It is here where we form relationships with one another and in Christ.  We never walk alone.

We are a spiritual ministry, based on the principles of Catholic teaching, for those who are pained and aggrieved by cancer or serious illness. We meet once per month in a safe environment, which provides a loving atmosphere formed in the community of Christ. Mutual respect for the dignity, privacy and confidentiality of each participant is fully embraced. 

This Spiritual Exercise is designed to elevate conversation, understanding and support to a deeper faith-based perspective where our life-experience, especially at the present time, has God, and His plan/dream for us personally, at the center. This will involve working deeply with the mystery of suffering in our lives. 

The Holy Spirit will animate much of this unfolding and direction with each group. 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISE GROUP OVERVIEW:

We will begin with an opening prayer followed by the Spiritual Exercise. Our Spiritual Exercise was developed by Fr. James Flanagan of The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).Below is an overview of the process.

A: Opening Prayer

B: Presentation

 Silent time for reflection
 Sharing
 Say one “Glory Be…”

C: General Discussion

D: Closing Prayer

E: Updates

Cancer is not an individual experience. It is, generally speaking, a family experience, and so the family needs spiritual protection, healing, blessing, and just a general entrusting into the hands of God. Our Lives are relational. Cancer is something that intrudes into that, or is even sometimes, a consequence of long standing, unhealthy relationships. So it is never true that the person with cancer is the only one involved. There is always a context, and human relationships are always in deep need of the grace of God. Prayer is an essential way to bring that grace into these relationships and contexts. We are going to strive then to see things relationally, both in our human relationships and our divine relationships.

Why we pray.There are three elements involved in spiritual exercise: The Art of Listening, The Art of Reflection and The Art of Dialogue.

1. The Art of Listening

If we are to “hear” God’s Word it is essential that we learn how to listen to the Word, the Spirit, others and even ourselves.  We must be able to distinguish between these voices also. Most of your time spent in the Spiritual Exercise will be using this art.  We must not only listen to what is said, but we must learn to listen to what is not said. To really listen to one another we must empty ourselves of all prejudgments and biases. We must be open and receptive. We need, therefore, to enter the Spiritual Exercise with a spirit of humility. We must realize that we need others, and they need us to live the Trinitarian Life, which is a life of community.

2. The Art of Reflection

This second art is more directly related to the Spirit  In this art we learn to open ourselves to the Spirit who teaches us “all things”. The art comes in learning how to open yourself to the voice of the Spirit within you.  During the time of reflection we are not to think of very erudite things to impress people with our knowledge of theology or with our scholarship.  It is a time when we open ourselves so the Spirit can teach us Himself. He will take us at times back into the Word to the Person of Jesus.  At other times He will take us to our own life experiences, because in those life experiences He has been leading and teaching us. Therefore, a real relationship with the Person of the Spirit has to grow within you. The more you use this art, the more sensitive you will become to the Spirit and the more He will direct you.  

3. The Art of Dialogue

Because we are the Body of Christ, and because we have to grow to that oneness in the Body, which Jesus himself prayed for, we come to a time when we share our reflections of the Spirit.  This again is not an intellectual discussion, nor is it a psychological unburdening (although sometimes it will have that effect).  As this art develops, little by little this time will become a moment of humble and fraternal communion with God and others, a moment of attentive listening to God through the lives of others. You will find that where you were not open to the Spirit during the time of reflection, the Spirit can speak to you through someone else’s experience of Him.  We teach each other through our sharing because we are one in Christ.  The art is to give what comes from our hearts, not from our learning.  We must give what comes from the Lord to each other.  This art is really a sharing of the Lord with each other in praise, in thanks and in life.  This gift, therefore, is not for ourselves only, but for others which finds its roots and source in the community of the Trinity.

These three arts are skills that can be learned and developed, under, of course, the guidance of grace.  And like all skills the more they are used, the more proficient the person becomes in them.  The Trinity is community! And if you’re going to come into that Trinitarian life you must live as community.

A. OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the Father ……….”

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, we thank you for hearing our prayer. Help us all to be open to your healing, so that we may love you the more and have the strength to serve all those that you place in our lives. Give us the joy that once restored to health, we too may reach out to others and bring your healing power to them. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord!  Amen. “  

B. PRESENTATION: STIRRING UP THE WATERS OF GRACE (LENTEN REFLECTION)

Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep [Gate]* a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.* One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk. Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. John Ch. 5

One of the most intriguing stories in the Gospel is the story of the crippled man waiting for healing at the Pool of Bethesda.  The man has been suffering for 38 years but is unable to get to the pool fast enough when the angel comes to stir the waters.  Jesus sees him and asks if he wants to be well.  When the man expresses his desire for healing but his inability to reach it on his own, Jesus heals him on the spot.  But then, Jesus later seeks out the now healed man to warn him about sin.  He says: “Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” John 5: 2-18

This Lent, Jesus will approach us with the same question:  ‘Do you want to be well?  Do you want to know where sin has crippled you, paralyzed you? And do you want to know true freedom?’ Because, Jesus comes to destroy the sickness of sin and the deformity it causes in our lives.  We only have to desire it and choose it.

Many years ago, an older friend shared a dream that deeply disturbed him. He was walking through a lovely forest when he came upon a clearing with a house in the middle of it.  The house exerted a powerful pull on him. Everything within him wanted to go into that house. So he approached the screened-in porch, entered, and headed for the front door. As he walked up to the front door, someone came up to him and said: “Before you can go in you have to eat this.”  He looked down to see a plate of dog excrement being handed to him.

He, of course, was upset that he could have had such a dream, not knowing at first what it could possibly mean. But then, in a flash of insight it became clear. The dream was an attempt to reframe a deep struggle that had to do with an almost over-powering temptation to grave sin.  Everything within him wanted to give in to the attraction of this particular sin. Yet his faith told him that if he gave in to this sin he would so defile himself that it would be like eating a plate of manure.

Sin is really that ugly, and it’s an ugliness we give ourselves. We often recognize that something is wrong within us, in the deep recesses of our being. We are attracted to things that are not good, things that enslave us, make us feel ugly about ourselves, and keep us from true freedom. And once we are bound, immobilized as it were, it takes an intervention of God’s grace to free us. We cannot free ourselves.

Jesus wants to free us not only from sin but from the effects of sin in our lives. We are not alone in this need. Everyone who has ever been born needs this healing, liberating grace. The saints tell us that a soul in the state of grace is beautiful beyond compare. This is what Jesus wants to restore in us: our original beauty!

So how can we access the same healing Jesus so freely gives in the Gospels? Many ways are possible.  But we are given 3 special gifts during Lent which stir up the waters of grace in our lives. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer stirs up the grace we need for deeper healing in our relationship with God.  Fasting brings the waters of grace down upon the disorder we have within ourselves. And Almsgiving opens up rivers of grace in our relationship to others.

Additionally, if you want to have the same direct encounter with Jesus that the crippled man had, start frequenting the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and Holy Communion after that.  Every sacrament contains within it a personal encounter with the living God. Hence, every sacrament contains rivers of grace that can change us to the degree we let those waters flow.

Our deepest healing will always come first and foremost from eliminating sin in our lives. Sin always brings suffering, both personal and at the same time, upon the whole Body of Christ. There is no such thing as a private sin. As Our Lady of Fatima warned us over a century ago: war, something we often live in fear of, is a consequences of sin, both private sin and institutionalized, communal sin.

Lent engages the battle against sin, against judgment, unforgiveness, promiscuity, pornography, dishonesty, infidelity, blasphemy, greed, self-righteousness, gossip, slander, unworthy Communions, anti-life acts, apathy, and every other thing that mars the image and likeness of God in us. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting and conquering every temptation you and I would ever have so we could more easily have victory over those same temptations in our own lives.  Our choice this Lent is: beauty over ugliness, freedom over enslavement, self-denial over sin, happiness over temporary pleasure, shame and guilt.  We too have to answer the question of Jesus:  “Do you really want to be well?”

Questions for Reflection: Silence for 5-10 minutes.

Jesus tells us that not all sickness is a result of personal sin.  Yet it is an undeniable truth that sin causes suffering, both personal and communal.

1. What are your observations of this in the world? In your own life?

2. Do you think there are actually people who don’t want to be well?  Why would that be?

3. How does Jesus heal?  And for what ultimate purpose?

4. Why does Jesus leave some people with their suffering?

C. GENERAL DISCUSSION: Allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead.

D. CLOSING PRAYER

E. UPDATES

Our next meeting will take place April 8, 2019.  Please add this to your online calendar and/or save to your mobile phone.

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh will be speaking at the Catholic Women’s Conference in Sioux City, Iowa on March 30, 2019.  For more information, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/homeofthetrinity/.

Catholic Medical Association: Richard and Denise presented to medical students from Colorado’s Catholic Medical Association (CMA) a few weeks ago about Facing Our Immortality. The emphasis was that we offer an opportunity for people of faith to be in communion with the Lord and with one another, creating a family that upon which we can share in our stories and our faith. We never walk alone. To learn more about CMA, please link here.

Watch Sr. Anne Marie Walsh’s brief video about Facing Our Immortality, which she created to share with the joyful students from CMA by clicking here.

Father Woody’s Haven of Hope Almsgiving Opportunity. Richard and Denise (more so Richard) go to their day-shelter every Monday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This important part of our overall ministry offers individuals with serious illness/cancer an opportunity to pray and talk about their illness and circumstance. It is through communication and communion that there is hope for renewal in their lives, both personally and spiritually.  They are truly enjoying time in the chapel.  If you have time on Mondays, we could use your help.  It is a joy to be there.

Print our handout: For a copy of our Spiritual Exercise group flyer, please link here.

We have new business cards. Please ask for some in order to help spread awareness about our cancer ministry.

Our Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FacingOurImmortality/ page will also show the upcoming events.  Please also follow our page to receive alerts.

Please remember to invite others who you feel may benefit from our monthly spiritual exercise group. They do not need to be Catholic. We welcome patients, survivors, spouses, caregivers and surviving spouses. All are welcome.

In Christ,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, Denise and Richard

© Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Support Group All Rights Reserved

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Updates

Blessed Lent and Group Reminder

Peace and Blessed Lent to you.

I pray that you are able to begin your Lenten season with prayerful thought and preparation. Lent is such a transformational time of year, a time to cleanse us of what holds us back from fully uniting ourselves with Jesus.

Below is a link to the Pope’s Lenten Holy Mass.

I also wanted to remind you that our next spiritual exercise group is this coming Monday, March 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm. Please look to this blog for the upcoming notes if you cannot attend the meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. You will be able to join us from your phone or computer. May the Lord Bless you abundantly!

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Monthly Presentations

February 11, 2019 Monthly Spiritual Exercise

Call (720) 735-7025 before 6:30 pm to join us via Uber Conference.


Please scroll down to follow along with the presentation. Link to pdf by clicking here

Monthly Spiritual Exercise

PURPOSE

The Facing Our Immortality Spiritual Exercise is an integral part of our monthly cancer support group. It is here where we form relationships with one another and in Christ.  We never walk alone.

We are a spiritual ministry, based on the principles of Catholic teaching, for those who are pained and aggrieved by cancer or serious illness. We meet once per month in a safe environment, which provides a loving atmosphere formed in the community of Christ. Mutual respect for the dignity, privacy and confidentiality of each participant is fully embraced. 

This Spiritual Exercise is designed to elevate conversation, understanding and support to a deeper faith-based perspective where our life-experience, especially at the present time, has God, and His plan/dream for us personally, at the center. This will involve working deeply with the mystery of suffering in our lives. 

The Holy Spirit will animate much of this unfolding and direction with each group. 

WHY WE PRAY

We will begin with an opening prayer followed by the Spiritual Exercise. Fr. James Flanagan, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), gives an explanation below of the elements involved, and then how to do an exercise. 

A: Opening Prayer 

B: Spiritual Exercise

Presentation
       Silent time for reflection
      Sharing
       Say one “Glory Be…”


C: General Discussion

D: Closing Prayer 

E: Updates

Cancer is not an individual experience. It is, generally speaking, a family experience, and so the family needs spiritual protection, healing, blessing, and just a general entrusting into the hands of God. Our Lives are relational. Cancer is something that intrudes into that, or is even sometimes, a consequence of long standing, unhealthy relationships. So it is never true that the person with cancer is the only one involved. There is always a context, and human relationships are always in deep need of the grace of God. Prayer is an essential way to bring that grace into these relationships and contexts. We are going to strive then to see things relationally, both in our human relationships and our divine relationships. 

There are three elements involved in spiritual exercise, The Art of Listening, The Art of Reflection and The Art of Dialogue.  

1. The Art of Listening

If we are to “hear” God’s Word it is essential that we learn how to listen to the Word, the Spirit, others and even ourselves.  We must be able to distinguish between these voices also. Most of your time spent in the Spiritual Exercise will be using this art.  We must not only listen to what is said, but we must learn to listen to what is not said. To really listen to one another we must empty ourselves of all prejudgments and biases. We must be open and receptive. We need, therefore, to enter the Spiritual Exercise with a spirit of humility. We must realize that we need others, and they need us to live the Trinitarian Life, which is a life of community.

2. The Art of Reflection

This second art is more directly related to the Spirit  In this art we learn to open ourselves to the Spirit who teaches us “all things”. The art comes in learning how to open yourself to the voice of the Spirit within you.  During the time of reflection we are not to think of very erudite things to impress people with our knowledge of theology or with our scholarship.  It is a time when we open ourselves so the Spirit can teach us Himself. He will take us at times back into the Word to the Person of Jesus.  At other times He will take us to our own life experiences, because in those life experiences He has been leading and teaching us. Therefore, a real relationship with the Person of the Spirit has to grow within you. The more you use this art, the more sensitive you will become to the Spirit and the more He will direct you.  

3. The Art of Dialogue

Because we are the Body of Christ, and because we have to grow to that oneness in the Body, which Jesus himself prayed for, we come to a time when we share our reflections of the Spirit.  This again is not an intellectual discussion, nor is it a psychological unburdening (although sometimes it will have that effect).  As this art develops, little by little this time will become a moment of humble and fraternal communion with God and others, a moment of attentive listening to God through the lives of others.  You will find that where you were not open to the Spirit during the time of reflection, the Spirit can speak to you through someone else’s experience of Him.  We teach each other through our sharing because we are one in Christ.  The art is to give what comes from our hearts, not from our learning.  We must give what comes from the Lord to each other.  This art is really a sharing of the Lord with each other in praise, in thanks and in life.  This gift, therefore, is not for ourselves only, but for others which finds its roots and source in the community of the Trinity.

These three arts are skills that can be learned and developed, under, of course, the guidance of grace.  And like all skills the more they are used, the more proficient the person becomes in them.  The Trinity is community!  And if you’re going to come into that Trinitarian life you must live as community.  

Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

A.  OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the father ……….”

“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, we thank you for hearing our prayer. Help us all to be open to your healing, so that we may love you the more and have the strength to serve all those that you place in our lives. Give us the joy that once restored to health, we too may reach out to others and bring your healing power to them. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord!  Amen. “  

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

PRESENTATION: THE ANGELS – Jeannie Ewing

Most of us believe in angels, but we seldom pray to them. We imagine them wistfully flying around us, guarding or guiding us. But they are pure spirit, and we can’t relate to that aspect of their nature. Fathoming a special bond with your angelic guardian may seem awkward, but it’s a devotion we all can adopt in order to deepen our interior life and grow in sanctification.

Why is a devotion to our angel important? To begin, the angelic theologians and most exorcists concur that our guardians chose us. They knew us before we were created, and out of love and obedience to God, they said yes to His offer to protect us. This means they have had full knowledge of our temperaments, every sin we’ve ever committed, and all the good we would do in life. They likely know us better than we know ourselves.

The 20 Things Guardian Angels Do for Us – STEPHEN BEALE 

Imagine you had a bodyguard who was always with you. He did all the usual bodyguard things like protecting you from danger, warding off assailants, and generally keeping you safe in all situations. But he also did more than this: he offered you moral guidance, helped you become a stronger person, and led you to your ultimate calling in life.

We don’t have to imagine it. We already have such a bodyguard. Christian tradition calls them guardian angels. Their existence is supported by Scripture and both Catholics and Protestants believe in them

But too often we neglect to tap this great spiritual resource. (I, for one, am certainly guilty of this!) In order to better enlist the aid of guardian angels, it might help to have a better appreciation of they can do for us. Here are 20 things:1. Ward off demons

1. Sometimes we visualize moral decision-making as a debate between a bad angel whispering in one ear and a good angel speaking wisely in the other. There is a truth to this: according to St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the roles of the guardian angels is to fight off demons (Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 113, Articles 2-6).

2. Protect us from harm

Guardian angels generally protect us from both spiritual and physical harm, according to Aquinas (Question 113, Article 5, Reply 3). This belief is rooted in Scripture. For example, Psalm 91:11-12 declares, “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

3. Strengthen us against temptation

Guardian angels do not just ward off evil, they also strengthen us so we can do it ourselves. As St. Bernard says in a sermon, “As often, therefore, as a most serious temptation is perceived to weigh upon you and an excessive trial is threatening, call to your guard, your leader, your helper in your needs, in your tribulation; cry to him and say: ‘Lord, save us; we perish!’”

4. Embolden us

St. Bernard also says that with angels such as these at our side we should have no fear. We should have the courage to live out our faith boldly and confront whatever life might throw our way. As he puts it, “Why should we fear under such guardians? Those who keep us in all our ways can neither be overcome nor be deceived, much less deceive. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; why do we tremble?”

5. Intervene miraculously to save us from trouble

Guardian angels not only ‘guard,’ they also can save us when we are already in trouble. This is illustrated by the story of Peter in Acts 12, when an angel helps break the apostle out of prison. The story suggests that it is his own personal angel that has intervened (see verse 15). Of course, we cannot count on such miracles. But it’s an added comfort to know that they are possible.

6. Guard us from birth

Church Fathers once debated whether guardian angels were assigned at birth or at baptism. St. Jerome argued decisively for the former. His basis was Matthew 18:10, which is a crucially important Scriptural passage that supports the existence of guardian angels. In the verse Jesus says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” The reason that we get guardian angels at birth is that their aid is associated with our nature as rational beings, rather than belonging to the order of grace, according to Aquinas (Question 113, Article 5, Answer).

7. Guard all of us—including unbelievers 

This conclusion follows from the above. Aquinas also makes this clear in explaining that God never leaves any of us, including sinners. As the great dogmatic theologian Ludwig Ott explained, “According to the general teaching of the theologians, however, not only every baptized person, but every human being, including unbelievers, has his own special guardian angel from his birth.” Pope Benedict XVI also taught that guardian angels are “ministers of the divine care for every human being.” (Thanks to Jimmy Akin for highlighting these sources.)

8. Remind us of the dignity of persons

This follows from all that has been said before. It is particularly evident from Matthew 18:10 where Jesus instructs us not to ‘despise’ the ‘little ones’ because they have angels watching over them. (I’m particularly indebted to Protestant preacher John Piper for pointing this out.) As St. Jerome puts it, “The worth of souls is so great that from birth each one has an angel assigned to him for protection.” Piper emphasizes how the presence of guardian angels should lead us to a greater respect for our fellow Christians: “Therefore don’t despise this simple, unimpressive disciple of Jesus! Let his angelic entourage remind you whose son he is.”

9. Remind us of God’s care for all

Aquinas explains how the angels operate in accordance with God’s providential plan for all men (Question 113, Article 6, Answer). It follows that these angels serve as a reminder of His care for us.

10. Bring our needs to God

Akin says that guardian angels act as intercessors who bring our requests directly to God based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 about angels beholding the face of God.

11. Bring us closer to God

It follows from the above that guardian angels also aid in bringing us nearer to God. Even when God seems distant, just remember that the guardian angel assigned to you personally is at the same time beholding God directly, as the Catholic Encyclopedia notes.

12. Move us to the good

Guardian angels also move us to the good. As Aquinas writes, “It is moreover manifest that as regards things to be done human knowledge and affection can vary and fail from good in many ways; and so it was necessary that angels should be deputed for the guardianship of men, in order to regulate them and move them to good” This includes prompting us to perform good works, according to Aquinas. (See Question 113, Article 1, Answer and Article 4, Objection 3.)

13. Reinforce God’s commands

According to Aquinas, one of the roles of our angelic guardians is helping us use our reason to pursue virtue. In particular, he says the angels help us in developing prudence by serving as God’s “universal instructor,” passing on God’s precepts (Question 113, Article 1, Reply 2).

14. Illuminate the truth

Angels “propose the intelligible truth to men” through sensible things, according to Aquinas (Question 111, Article 1, Answer). Although he does not elaborate on this point, this it is a basic teaching of the Church that the material world points to invisible spiritual realities. As St. Paul says in Romans 1:20, “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”

15. Strengthen our minds

A second way that angels enlighten us, Aquinas says, is by reinforcing our intellects. As he puts it, “[T]he human intellect as the inferior, is strengthened by the action of the angelic intellect” (Question 111, Article 1).

16. Communicate through our imagination 

In addition to working through our senses and intellects, our guardian angels also influence us through our imaginations, according to Aquinas, who gives the example of Joseph’s dreams (Question 111, Article 3, On the Contrary and Answer). But it might not be something as obvious as a dream; it could also be through more subtle means like a ‘phantasm,’ which could be defined as an image brought to the senses or the imagination (Question 111: Article 1, Answer; definition adapted from the Dictionary of Scholastic Philosophy by Bernard Wueller, SJ).

17. Influence our wills

Angels cannot directly move the will, but, according to Aquinas, they can indirectly influence it through our senses and intellect, as stated above (Question 111, Article 2 , Answer). This means that our guardian angels influence every part of our being for the better—our senses, intellect, and will.

18. Aid in our salvation

The ultimate goal of all that guardian angels do is to aid in our salvation, according to Aquinas. “Angels are sent to minister, and that efficaciously indeed, for those who shall receive the inheritance of salvation, if we consider the ultimate effect of their guardianship, which is the realizing of that inheritance,” Aquinas writes (Question 113, Article 5, Reply 1). Here he is drawing from Hebrews 1:14, which states, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

19. Remind us of our ultimate goal

Inspired by Christ’s words in Matthew 18:10, St. Augustine suggests that guardian angels remind us that our ultimate goal is the beatific vision of God: “As, then, they see, so shall we also see; but not yet do we thus see. Wherefore the apostle uses the words cited a little ago, Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. This vision is reserved as the reward of our faith; and of it the Apostle John also says, When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2. By the face of God we are to understand His manifestation, and not a part of the body similar to that which in our bodies we call by that name” (City of God, Book 22, Chapter 29).

20. Never leave us 

Guardian angels assume their duties at our birth and maintain them up to our death. For Aquinas, this is just an extension of the broader truth that we never completely leave God’s care, even in sin and doubt: “Now it is evident that neither man, nor anything at all, is entirely withdrawn from the providence of God: for in as far as a thing participates being, so far is it subject to the providence that extends over all being. 

SILENT TIME QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION – spend 5 or more minutes reflecting on this presentation and consider the following:

1. Why is it a good idea to develop a relationship with your guardian angel, especially in the midst of suffering, trial and difficulty?

2. Have you had experiences where you were aware of the involvement of angels, even in retrospect?

3. How do you think you can benefit more from the gift God has given us in our angels?

Additional Resource: https://catholicexchange.com has many different articles on angels.  Just plug “angels”  into their website search.

SHARING – If you feel the need, please share your thoughts. This is a time to share without reciprocal comment. What was your experience?

DISCUSSION: LET US ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO TAKE THE LEAD

UPDATES

  1. Our next meeting will take place March 11, 2019.  Please add this to your online calendar and/or save to your mobile phone.
  1. Our Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FacingOurImmortality/ page will also show the upcoming events.  Please also follow our page to receive alerts.
  1. Please check the website for meeting location. We are scheduled to have the meetings at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School on the second Monday of each month from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  
  1. Please check the website for the conference call line (for those not able to come to the meeting in person).  We currently use Uber Conference: 720-735-7025.
  1. The spiritual exercise is uploaded each month to our website. Please go to the website prior to calling into the group. https://facingourimmortality.org/ 
  1. Sr. Anne Marie Walsh will be speaking at the Catholic Women’s Conference in Sioux City, Iowa on March 30, 2019.  For more information, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/homeofthetrinity/.
  1. Father Woody’s Haven of Hope – Richard and Denise (more so Richard) go to their day-shelter every Monday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This important part of our overall ministry offers individuals with serious illness/cancer an opportunity to pray and talk about their illness and circumstance. It is through communication and communion that there is hope for renewal in their lives, both personally and spiritually.  They are truly enjoying time in the chapel.  If you have time on Mondays, we could use your help.  It is a joy to be there.  
  1. We want to know when you are in need of special prayers. Ongoing prayer requests are sent out via email, but also published on the website. The website also has a section for resources and prayer links. We appreciate additional suggestions that you may have, and as our ministry grows, we will continue to add more information in this section. If you would like to request a prayer request, please email Denise at facingourimmortality@gmail.com. There are also comment and request forms within the website. 
  1. Remember that these spiritual exercises can be done at any time.  You may feel the desire to take another look at one from the past.  Please let us know if you would like another copy from a past session. 
  1. Please remember to invite others who you feel may benefit from our monthly spiritual exercise group. They do not need to be Catholic. We welcome patients, survivors, spouses, caregivers and surviving spouses. All are welcome.

Thank you so much for your prayers as well. 

In Christ,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, Denise and Richard

© Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Support Group All Rights Reserved

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Updates

Reminder for upcoming group February 11, 2019

Please mark your calendar for our upcoming monthly spiritual exercise group with Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT.  Her presentation will be on angels. This is a wonderful opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to enter your heart and help you to gain a better understanding of God’s plan in your life.  I am really looking forward to this presentation and prayer session.

To learn more about our spiritual exercise group, please go to our January presentation by clicking here.

What I am loving about our precious family is that we are growing together, in communion with Christ.  Each of us is in a different circumstance, and even though we are all together as a group, we encounter the Holy Spirit individually, as intended by God, for that moment.

God Bless you all,

Denise

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