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Emotions And Truth: Spiritual Exercise 03/09/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group

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

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at

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.

Emotions and Truth

Before the first-ever State visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain in September of 2010, the British media voiced opposition to the visit with increasing hostility, indirectly encouraging petition protests and civil dissent among the people. Pope Benedict had been known as Ratzinger the Rottweiler during his tenure as Head of the Congregation for Faith and Doctrine in the Vatican, because of his firm stand on the traditional teachings of the Church. Rottweilers, of course, summon all sorts of connotations in the minds of ordinary people: stubborn, dominant, aggressive, territorial, bullying, strong, loyal, etc. All together off-putting to say the least.

An amazing thing happened though once the media, and the country, came into direct contact with the man they had conceptualized and labeled a Rottweiler. He “turned out to be a shy, warm and frail 83-year-old who perked up every time his security detail allowed him to greet people, especially youngsters and his own generation.” Outspoken journalists who had vehemently opposed the visit were completely won over by the Pope and gushed: “Ratzinger the rottweiler transformed into Benny the bunny,” “We all want to cuddle up to him and get him to bless our babies.” (AFP News Wires, Sept. 2010) The real man won out over the fabricated image that had triggered such powerful emotions nationwide.

This illustrates an area that is particularly dangerous today. It is the tendency to conflate strong emotion with the truth. If I feel strongly about something, it must be true. The trend toward gauging truth by how one feels or has been made to feel about something and not by an objective consideration of facts or evidence produces all sorts of crazy, irrational judgments, and behavior, which once would have been self-evident but today seem lost on those formed under a hierarchy of values that places feelings at the top. Feelings become more important than truth or considerations of right and wrong. Various elements of society are keenly aware of this and intentionally manipulate people by deliberately inciting certain emotions. They understand emotions can be very contagious, and if they can move even a small group toward a certain goal, it will spread incredibly quickly.

A prominent example of this is found in the way emotion was used to change people’s views of and opinions regarding abortion. Before it’s legalization in the US in December of 1971, any doctor who practiced such procedures was ostracized by the mainstream medical community. Abortion was known, at the level of conscience, universally, to be the destruction of a human baby. The affirmation of science (which is there), was not needed. The issue of the humanity of the baby was not in question. Yet, that became lost because of a genius strategy on the part of those working to legalize it.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was one of these key players and who later converted to Catholicism and worked the rest of his life to undo the legalization of abortion which he had fostered, explained it this way. He said they used three main tactics in their work and the third tactic was by far the one that accelerated them to their goal the fastest.

The first tactic was to falsify statistics. So, they simply inflated the numbers for back-alley abortions to make it seem that this was a national crisis that had to be addressed. Second, they set out to discredit the Catholic Church as patriarchal, sexist and old-fashioned because they knew that is where their main opposition would come from. But the third, and most masterful strategy, according to Nathanson, was to couch abortion in terms of women’s rights. Once you talked about abortion as a woman’s right, you could easily incite indignation if any opposition to a “woman’s right to choose” was expressed. Rational debate was no longer possible because once the emotions were running high, thinking things through clearly and calmly debating them, failed. Feelings ruled out facts. And the immediate stance of those emotionally swayed to favor abortion became accusatory: You are waging a war on women! You are violating our freedom and our right to choose what to do with our own bodies, etc. It became all about “me” and not about the little life entrusted so intimately to the woman.

Dr. Nathanson himself was finally converted when he deliberately filmed, via ultrasound, an abortion. The image of the little baby trying to escape from the instruments dismembering him, the shocking encounter with the truth of what he was doing, was enough to make him stop on the spot and to spend the rest of his life trying to make restitution for what he had done.

The crucial point to understand is, discovering truth is not the goal of the emotions. They were not given to us for that purpose. Our intellect and our powers of reason and understanding were given to us for that purpose. Our emotions are meant to be informed by and to serve the truth as forces that move us to the good or away from evil. And until that right order is re-established in each of us, we will continue to see an increase in chaos and the culture of death around us.

Emotions are powerful forces that are a deep part of what makes us human. They can move us in ways that are strong and decisive, as when we need to take action in the face of injustice or danger, but also in ways that are delicate and sensitive as when we need to attend to a small child in distress. In the right order, emotions help us to go beyond ourselves in deeds, behavior, and relationships for the sake of a greater good. However, in their disorder, they can overpower reason and practical wisdom. They can blind us to the truth and take on a life of their own which manifests in excess and the domination of self-interest or self-absorption over all else.

Questions For Reflection (after 5-10 minutes of silence):

  1. Am I aware of what kinds of things trigger me emotionally?
  2. Which emotions are most easily triggered in me? Anger? Sympathy? Love? Compassion? Sadness? Joy? Fear? Disgust? Trust? Anxiety? Etc.
  3. Do I sometimes make decisions with my emotions? Do I have a habit of acting impulsively from emotion?
  4. In my life experience, what have been some of the effects of making decisions with my emotions? What would I do differently now?

Keys For Change: Spiritual Exercise 02/17/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm mountain (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm eastern).

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at

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.

Keys For Change

A story is told of a man frantically searching for his lost keys under a streetlamp. When a police officer stops to help the man, he asks him where he last had his keys. “Over there by the bushes,” responds the man. “Then why are you looking here?” asks the policeman. “Because the light is better here.”

At the beginning of the year, as we contemplate changes to be made, it can be helpful to question our focus.  Sometimes change comes not from focusing on something in the environment, but rather on the environment itself and whether it supports the goals and expectations we have.

One of the key concepts in education is the concept of the prepared environment.  In observing children, Maria Montessori noted that when one understood the developmental needs of the child, they could arrange the environment in such a way that it would not only be conducive to real growth and development, but would accelerate thriving and happy explosions of learning, or sensitive periods as she called them, for optimal growth.  

To emphasize the importance of this idea, she used the example of a waterwheel often placed alongside a river to generate energy.  She noted that if you were to relocate the waterwheel to the desert, it would fail to function because it would be in the wrong environment.  So she arranged the classroom accordingly and demonstrated the remarkable fruitfulness of paying attention to the environment if you want to truly serve children in healthy development.

The idea of prepared environments is a universal concept that has been around since the beginning of time. In fact, the understanding of the importance of environment runs through Scripture as an undergirding theme, from the Garden of Eden to the Promised Land to the instructions for worship and community life, to Jesus’ teachings about the Church and eternal life.

It also runs through the saints’ teachings on holiness, where we discover, once we have committed to the work of sanctification, that we often have to change our environments and relationships to avoid the near occasions of sin, which we encounter so quickly in life today. If we fail to address environment, it becomes almost impossible to conquer the disorder and temptations that are long-standing and prevalent in us.  (An active alcoholic cannot expect to recover if he takes a job in a bar, or continues to socialize with people who are always drinking. The environment overpowers him in his weakness and does not serve but sabotages his efforts.)

Another area where this concern is also present is in the Church’s directions to religious communities and parish communities.  Religious communities are structured the way they are for the sake of creating environments that help members live the perfection of charity and give prophetic witness of the life to come.  Parish communities are meant to support people’s search for God and a deepening relationship with Him while providing at the same time, a place for authentic, communal worship of God as His People.

Family life was also ordained by God from the beginning of time, as the best environment for children to be raised in and for human beings to live in. Jesus points to this importance of environment both in his life, (Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth, the Holy Family) and when He tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God.  As He returns to the Father He tells his disciples not to be sad, because He goes to prepare an eternal place for us in His Father’s Mansion.  -Jn 14:3 What anticipation we should feel at that thought!

Why is this particularly important for us today?  Because we see the increasing effects of chaos and barbarism, which are the fruit of environments that are disordered and detrimental to the dignity and development of the human person and human communities.  Environment isn’t the whole answer, but it is remarkable how a good environment can draw the best out of people while the opposite often happens in unhealthy environments.

Vatican Council II talked about the role of the laity in sanctifying the temporal order.  Another way to understand that is to say the laity are responsible for creating environments which are conducive to the living out of our relationship with God here and now, and as preparation for eternal life hereafter.

Laity should be sanctifying all areas of human activity: law, politics, medicine, technology, education, science, etc., by supporting and establishing Christian environments that respect the human person and are structured to the recognition of God’s order and the full development of the human person, vs. the profit or power at all costs mentality.  

The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to examine our environments and ask some tough questions.  How much is happiness or a lack of joy and satisfaction tied to disorder in my environment?  In the life of my family, friends, etc.?  What is my work environment like? What about my social environment?  Where can I bring some humanizing and Christianizing influence into the environments I live in, work in and recreate in? What kind of self-discipline is necessary to keep that order once it is established?

It is, of course, necessary to look at the environment of our own hearts.  The interior of our own hearts tend to dictate the order or disorder around us.  At the same time, some environments are more healing to the heart than others. And our goal should be to create these kinds of environments.

This life, as we have often said, is a preparation for the life we will live in eternity. If there are things in our life here that are not compatible with our dignity as children of God and future citizens of Heaven, then now is the time to clear them out and begin anew to recognize the great gifts and the high call God has given to us already here in time to participate in building the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.

1. Do I have set goals for this time in my life?

2. What is my current environment like?  Given the things I am dealing with right now, does my environment support the goals I have at this time in my life?

3. What kinds of things in my own heart might need attention?

4. Given that emotions/moods can be contagious, how do I affect the environment of people I live with, socialize with, work and worship with?

Podcast Presentation By Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

Click for Christine Rossi’s website, and to see the previous interview with Sr. Ann Marie Walsh*

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh was interviewed by Christine Rossi on “Radio Maria” during the Program “A Light In The World USA” on January 22, 2020.

From Christine Rossi: “Sr Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT, is a Sister of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity praying and working together with other SOLT Sisters, Priests and Laity in the New Evangelization in the modern world, in areas of deepest apostolic need. She blogs at Musing of a Missionary in the Modern World while serving elderly members of Bosque, NM, and conducting Healing of Family study groups and retreats She has a book that has just been released on Amazon! “The Blessing Voice” that was inspired during a first visitation to the SOLT missions in Thailand.”

Update! Our Next Monthly Call Is On Feb 17, 2020 at 6:30 pm MT (not the 10th). Sr. Anne is hosting a retreat on the 10th. Thank you for your understanding.

Homing Toads and The Beatific Instinct: Spiritual Exercise 01/13/20

Welcome back to our group. We pray that your New Year is overflowing with God’s grace. The unfathomable, all-consuming love of God is what moves the needle on our compass. Love Sr. Anne and Denise.

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm mountain (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm eastern).

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at

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.

Homing Toads And The Beatific Instinct

Nothing leaves us more empty of words than deep grief.  The heart is swept into a world beyond words, where currents of pain, unlike any other, emanate from the rupture of something deep within.  Love is strong as death.  One cannot know what that means until death intrudes, threatens, or claims someone you love as you love yourself.  The spirit can become so disoriented in shock and grief that it tries to follow that loved one, almost quitting this world while still living in it. 

Perhaps the most difficult and painful deaths for us are untimely deaths, the deaths of those who die too young, who don’t live out the fullness of their days.  A story is told of St. Teresa of Avila in which a couple brought her their deathly-ill baby and asked her to pray for healing.  She took the baby in her arms, veiled herself, and the baby while she prayed then told the parents that she asked God to heal the baby if he would grow up to love and serve Him well.  But she also prayed that if he would grow up only to lose his soul in the end, to take him now.

The saints tell us that God works mysteriously in His Divine Providence to take us at the time that is best for our salvation without violating our free will.  He takes many things into account, including prayers and Masses that will be offered for the person.  He works at the same time, graces of salvation and sanctification for other family members and friends through these deaths.  

These kinds of deaths can bear great fruit in the matter of salvation, which is not always apparent, especially to those caught up in the intensity of grieving and shock. Sr Briege McKenna, speaker, and author of “Miracles Do Happen” said that when God withholds the miracle we pray for, it is always because there is a bigger plan in play.  

One sure effect of untimely deaths is that they wake up the internal GPS of the survivors in unusual ways.  And this is a good thing.  An excellent thing, because we are born with a homing instinct that moves us forward, even in death.  Sometimes especially in death.  It redirects us and makes us get serious about things that truly matter.

St. Catherine of Genoa speaks about it in this way: “God created the soul pure, simple and clean of all stain of sin, with a certain beatific instinct towards Himself.”  Original sin and personal sin, draw the soul away from God, obscuring this sense.   But the beatific instinct is always at work in us, becoming stronger in the measure we turn from sin and turn our gaze back to God again.  For those who have gone into eternity and find themselves in Purgatory, the intense and loving gaze of God has such uniting power, and draws the soul so forcefully, that if “the soul could find a worse Purgatory in which to rid itself sooner of all the hindrance in its way, it would swiftly fling itself therein, driven by the conforming love between itself and God.”

This unfathomable, all-consuming love of God is what moves the needle on our compass. It is what the beatific instinct is set to. And our loved ones, in going ahead of us, are like the magnetic pull that realigns us again with the North Star.

Caryll Houselander, a prolific author and mystic, saw, from this side of eternity, the beatific instinct in another light:  “In the heart of every fallen man there dwells a homing toad.  Toads are not very popular animals…on the whole, men think of them as repulsively ugly, squat, square, coarse, and altogether, in spite of the fact that they have beautiful eyes, unattractive. 

“The toad (the most common garden variety kind) has an undefeatable drive in him to go back to his home; he can be taken as far away from it as anyone is cruel enough to take him, and he always gets back.”

She goes on to say:  “Man, however evil he becomes, however twisted and grotesque-however far away guilt takes him from God, from his home…” always struggles to get back.  “He really wants to be in the light of God, in his proper home.” 

This is something the souls in eternity understand now with such clarity that the many things they can do for us from there, (and they are far greater than anything they could have done for us from here), are geared to recalibrating our internal GPS, sharpening our homing instinct, or, our beatific instinct and getting us safely home to God. 

Don’t ever think your loved ones who have gone on ahead are not beside themselves to get you safely home to where they are in God.  Though you don’t see them, and you miss them beyond words, they are more present to you than you realize, and are solicitous for everything that will route you safely to the eternal happiness they experience, even in purgatory.

Don’t stop praying for your loved ones who may need your prayers and sacrifices to finish the purification of love in Purgatory that will unite them forever with God. And don’t stop asking them to intercede for you in all your needs.  They are grateful beyond measure for all you offer up to speed their full entry into heaven. 

If your own GPS is turned off, turn it back on!  Get your signal back. Your own loved ones would speak the words of St. John of the Cross to you:

“Oh souls created for these grandeurs and called to them!  What are you doing? How are you spending your time?”

Questions for Reflection

  1. Have you experienced the pull of eternity, the call to something beyond us, in your life?
  2. How have you gone through grief?  Did it awaken anything new in you?  How did you deal with the suffering of it?
  3. Why do you think God asks us to move in faith in these areas of the death of our loved ones?
  4. If your loved ones who have gone on ahead, could speak directly to you, what do you think they might say?
  5. It is good to think about eternity frequently and to try to understand as best we can, the real experience of those who go on ahead of us.  How do you currently think of eternity? How can you deepen your understanding of eternity and what it will be like?

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The Season Of The Secret: Spiritual Exercise 12/09/19

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm mountain (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm eastern).

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at

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 Season Of The Secret

The Word of God compenetrates our personal lives and our communal history in beautiful ways, particularly at Advent. Oftentimes we have the experience of finding ourselves, our lives, in the Word of God. This is not accidental. It is essential to our existence and to God’s plan. It is one of the ways He gifts us in finding our way through life.

There are many secret mysteries at work in Advent, which can be revealed to us according to our silence and interior focus. One of the details of the Christmas story, which is often overlooked, is the detail of the census at the time of the birth of Christ. “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.” Lk. 2:1. Some translations use the word “taxed” in place of enrolled. Both are significant for us.

St. Gregory says that “the registering of the whole world when our Lord was about to be born was mystical; for He appeared in the flesh Who should write down the names of His own elect in eternity. ”  

And St. Ambrose said:  “There is described a secular registration, implied a spiritual one, to be laid before the King not of earth but of Heaven; a registering of faith: a census of souls…This was then the first public enrollment of souls to the Lord… But in order that men might know that the taxing was just, there came up to it, Joseph and Mary, the just man and the virgin. He who kept the word and she who obeyed it.”

As a diocese, we have felt this same calling to a census, to accountability, to the registering of ourselves and even our properties.  We have experienced this to be a distressing trial.  We have been “taxed,” uprooted, required to leave our discerned way of doing things at a time when we supposed things would always remain the same.  

We have been asked to “travel” back to our birthright as children of God to be counted. We experience this as strange, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar. We find it hard to understand. In the movement and mix of emotion, some have felt deep anxiety, some have felt dispossessed of their church-homes, and looked upon with mistrust by others trying to cling to an order which is being upended. We are required to move, and to be “counted,” yet we sometimes experience that there seems to be no real welcome in the Inn.

When we look, with great silence in our hearts, we see that this time for us is deeply mystical.  Our present experience profoundly participates in the experiences of the Holy Family.  We see God’s providential will working through authority given and blessed by Him.  We see the anxiety of St. Joseph in our Bishop as he works to secure a stable place for the faithful within the shelter of a Church in flux and in crisis. We see people in movement, either complying with the given directions or leaving altogether.  And we see Mary and Joseph, and their quiet and prompt obedience to the will of God suddenly made manifest in current events. 

We remember that God did not overlook the fact that Mary was on the verge of giving birth. The events surrounding this Birth were arranged to the last detail and meant to be the context in which the mystery of our salvation would enter into our lives in Person. But they did not appear this way on the surface. This most special moment in all of human history was preceded by a sudden uprooting and a hard, treacherous, and exhausting journey.

Difficulties did not disappear with the Birth.  New challenges and threats emerged to oppose, to drown out, to kill the mystery, the Gift, the Flood of Light that had just come into the world to enlighten every man.  

We are caught up in these same mysteries.  Compliance with the “census” is important as a mark of our obedience and trust.  But it is not the central drama and should not demand undue attention from us.  We do not want to be counted among the faithless.  “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” LK 18: 8. Rather, we want to be mindful that all of God’s ways are full of mystery.  The deepest troubles most often hide and give birth to the greatest blessings.  

“Advent is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of divine love growing within… The way to begin healing the wounds of the world (and of the Church) is to treasure the Infant Christ in us; to be not the castle but the cradle of Christ; and, in rocking that cradle to the rhythm of love, to swing the whole world back into the beat of the Music of Eternal Life.”  -Caryll Houselander

Mary was absorbed in the Mystery of God’s love growing within Her despite the seeming chaos around her.  That is our same call during Advent.

May our faith in God’s omnipotent care never fail us as we await the sweet arrival of our longed-for Love Who comes to us in all the wrappings of our own littleness this Christmas. 

And may our hearts be the cradle that holds the Prince of Peace, our Wonderful Counselor, Emmanuel, God with us, for all to see so that “waking, working, eating, sleeping, being – each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.”-Caryll Houselander

Questions for Reflection

1. If a heavenly census took place right now, how would you be counted?

2. What is your interior life like? What absorbs most of your attention?

3. How do the things you spend your time on, look in the light of eternity? Do they matter in that light?

4. Many of us let the things outside of us derail our focus on God. What in particular, makes you lose the presence of God within you?

May you Christmas and New Year be overflowing God’s Blessings. Love from Sr. Anne Marie and Denise Archuleta

The Angelus

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary; 
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  
R. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord: 
R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  
R. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

V. And the Word was made flesh: 
R. And dwelt among us. 

V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  
R. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. 
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts,  
that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection,  
through the same Christ our Lord. 
R. Amen. 

The Command To Be Perfect: Spiritual Exercise for 11/04/19

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm mountain (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm eastern).

  1. Call Uber Conference  at 720-735-7025  or
  2. Online at

Sr. Anne Marie will lead us in prayer prior to our session. (Please keep Sr. Anne Marie in your prayers as she heads to surgery next week. Thank you!)

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 Command to be Perfect 

When Jesus tells us to be perfect as Our Heavenly Father is perfect, many of us feel defeated before we start.  We know God doesn’t ask us to do the impossible.  Nevertheless, we pretty much don’t really believe it is possible to be perfect.  

Yet, it’s almost inherent in us to dream about the perfect family, workplace, neighborhood, religious community, parish, etc.  And we feel disturbance, tension, even scandal when it’s missing in ourselves, friends, spouses, parents, children, the world at large.  Our gossip always revolves around a failure in perfection as we see it.  Our experience is that we are so often disillusioned we conclude our expectations are not realistic.  

But our disbelief in the possibility of perfection is often founded on mistaken ideas of what it means to be perfect and how to attain it.  Our notions may vaguely center around dictionary definitions such as: being entirely without fault or defect, flawless.  Or we may have worldly ideas that focus on physical beauty, fame, popularity, temporal excellence – all things that are passing away, and so can’t be maintained.  

Two considerations are important here.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church helps us to understand the first important point.  “Creation did not spring forth complete from the hands of God. The universe was created in a state of journeying toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it.”  #304

This is hugely important.  It means that we have been created with a need to develop over time!  It has pleased God to make us this way.

This movement is evident in our physical development.  We begin as a single cell with human DNA that is particular to us personally.  Quickly we develop in stages in the womb only to continue that development once we are born.  We do not question the movement from infant to toddler to early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, etc.  One thing is certain.  We don’t have the same expectations of toddlers as we do with adults. We love them, and we are patient with normal growth.

This same developmental principle holds in our spiritual life, as well.  We are all at a particular age in the spiritual life. Some of us are like two-year-olds, busy, curious, interested in many things, but centered in ourselves and prone to discouragement and even tantrums when the Lord doesn’t always give us what we want.  

Some of us are like middle school children who are primarily occupied with questions of fairness and justice and who tend to put God on trial for what He allows and doesn’t allow. Some of us are teenagers full of a mix of ideals and rebellion, generous, sensitive, and even heroic, yet sometimes resisting norms and tried and true wisdom.  And finally, some have the wisdom, acquired through suffering and discipline, of the elderly in the spiritual life.  Maturity is bought with time and grace, goodwill, and lots of trials, sufferings and error.  We learn as we go. This is part of God’s lovely design for us.

The other very important thing to consider when regarding perfection is what Jesus actually said: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” 

Our concepts of perfection often have nothing to do with the Father.  They tend to be mathematical formulas that give us the Illusion that perfection can be attained by our  efforts alone.  Jesus has already told us that without Him we can do nothing.  It becomes evident when we examine the fruits of solo efforts at perfection.  The self-made man quickly ends up with unhealthy struggles: hypocrisy, scrupulosity, pathological perfectionism, self-righteousness, rash judgments, disillusionment, even fatalism.  

Perfection depends upon one thing: knowing the Father, loving Him, and becoming like Him, like Jesus, according to His design for us. It is a call to relationship, to loving our Abba, Father.  (This is a specialty of the Holy Spirit: to form our hearts to cry out for Him.)

St. Therese knew this in a profound way.  She reminds us we do not have to be perfect to approach the Father. We do not have to climb the steep mountain of perfection first to have access to the Father’s love. “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”  ― C.S. Lewis

St.  Therese imaged Jesus’ arms as an elevator that would lift her just as a small child depends on her father to carry her when the journey is too steep or too far.  Perfection works in us, in the measure, we draw near and come to know and trust the Father.   It is the Father’s love that makes us perfect, that makes us who we are meant to be.  We are, as Pope St JPII has said: “…not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us.”

Like the rich young man, each of us has different things that will be asked of us if we want to be like God in Whose Image and Likeness we are made.  This will always involve change. “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”  St. John Henry Cardinal Newman 

To the question, Can we be perfect?  Yes!  But it is something that, beginning here in time, will only be fully completed in eternity where we are made immortal and incorruptible and irrevocably united with God forever. The important thing is to begin.  Draw close to the Father, let your heart be lifted to Him, and the current of His love will carry you the rest of the way. 

  1. What does the Perfection of the Father look like to you?  “ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  Matthew 5: 44-45
  2. What kinds of imperfections bother you most, in yourself, in others?
  3. Where in your life do you want to be more Christ-like?  “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”  1Jn 3:2  
  4. Perfection runs a definite course in each of us.  In what areas of your life do you need to be more patient?  In what areas do you need to take more initiative?  
  5. When the rich young man encounters Jesus and asks Him what he must do to be perfect, Jesus tells him one thing is lacking.  If you asked Jesus the same question, what might He say to you?  Remember that perfection has to do with becoming fully who you are created to be.  

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Thank you for joining us! Peace, Blessings and God’s Graces to you.

Anointing Of The Sick: Spiritual Exercise for 10/14/19

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm mountain (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm eastern).

  1. Call Uber Conference  at 720-735-7025  
  2. Online at

Sr. Anne Marie will lead us in prayer prior to our session.

THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK from the Catechism of the Catholic Church                                                                      

The Christian Mystery
CCC “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.”98


Illness in human life 

1500 Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death. 

1501 Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.

The sick person before God

1502 The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing.99 Illness becomes a way to conversion; God’s forgiveness initiates the healing.100 It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.”101 The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others.102 Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness.103

Christ the physician

1503 Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people”104 and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins;105 he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of.106 His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.”107 His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe.108 He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands,109 mud and washing.110 The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.”111 And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.

1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”.112 But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,”.113 of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion. 

“Heal the sick . . .”

1506 Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their cross in their turn..114 By following him they acquire a new outlook on illness and the sick. Jesus associates them with his own life of poverty and service. He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing: “So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.”.115

1507 The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name . . . they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”116) and confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking his name.117 These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is truly “God who saves.”118

1508 The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing119 so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord. But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church.”120

1509 “Heal the sick!”121 The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is connected with bodily health.122

1510 However, the apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by St. James: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [presbyters] of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”123 Tradition has recognized in this rite one of the seven sacraments.124


1519 The celebration of the sacrament includes the following principal elements: the “priests of the Church”133 – in silence – lay hands on the sick; they pray over them in the faith of the Church134 – this is the epiclesis proper to this sacrament; they then anoint them with oil blessed, if possible, by the bishop. 


1520 A particular gift of the Holy Spirit. The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death.135 This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God’s will.136 Furthermore, “if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”137

1521 Union with the passion of Christ. By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ’s Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior’s redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.

1522 An ecclesial grace. The sick who receive this sacrament, “by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ,” “contribute to the good of the People of God.”138 By celebrating this sacrament the Church, in the communion of saints, intercedes for the benefit of the sick person, and he, for his part, though the grace of this sacrament, contributes to the sanctification of the Church and to the good of all men for whom the Church suffers and offers herself through Christ to God the Father.

1523 A preparation for the final journey. If the sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity, even more rightly is it given to those at the point of departing this life; so it is also called sacramentum exeuntium (the sacrament of those departing).139 The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it. It completes the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life: that of Baptism which sealed the new life in us, and that of Confirmation which strengthened us for the combat of this life. This last anointing fortifies the end of our earthly life like a solid rampart for the final struggles before entering the Father’s house.14

Please reflect silently on these questions. We will then go around and share our thoughts prior to discussion.

  1.  What is your own experience with the Sacrament of Anointing?
  2. Do you know anyone who is afraid of the Sacrament?
  3. Why do you think it was important to Jesus to leave us with this sacrament?
  4. What is it, do you think, that Jesus is doing when He heals?

God Bless you all and thank you for joining us. We look forward to seeing those of you who are joining us at Domus Trinitatis October 17-20. Our next spiritual exercise call will take place November 11, 2019 (2nd Monday).

In the Heart of the Blessed Mother

Sr. Anne Marie and Denise Archuleta

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