A Little Nod From God

Padre Pio Mass

Padre Pio Mass

Ordinary Miracles

(As you know, I love the simple, the straight-forward…the little whispers we get from God. This story from our reader, Sandy Brenner, is a story of one of those gentle little kisses on the forehead we often get from God when we need them – and if we are still enough to listen -CJ)

By Sandy Brenner

One day, not too long ago, my daughter Christina asked me, “Mom, why do you cry after communion?”  Well, here is the answer to that question.

Several years ago, I was inspired by a story told to me by my sister’s husband, my brother Michael, from the words of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.  The story was that of a vision of the Virgin Mary bringing water to the souls suffering in purgatory.  I bought St. Faustina’s autobiography which took me over a year to complete just the first half.  The reading was difficult for me and finding the time to read even more so.  But, by the time I reached the latter part of the book, I found myself in awe of the life this woman led.  Such suffering she endured with unexplainable physical ailments.  Yet, through all of her physical suffering, her only desire was to receive the Eucharist every morning.  Through her, Jesus made known his desire to have a painting made of his Divine Mercy, and Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, was instituted by the Catholic church.  In one of his visits with St. Faustina, Jesus told of how some souls receive Him in communion with such little regard that He leaves them immediately, taking with Him all of the graces He had to give.  St. Faustina had visions of the child Jesus during the consecration of the mass.  She would pray to Jesus to remain in her through her day until she could receive Him the next day.  Her prayer was to be in constant union with Him. This little nun was given such great faith and was witness to the greatest miracle of our church.

As Catholics, what makes us different from other Christian faiths is the sacrament of the Eucharist given to us by Jesus at the Last Supper.  This gift was given to us so that He would be with us in this world until He comes again.  Performed only at a Catholic mass, the bread and wine consecrated truly becomes the body and blood of Christ.  This is truth, yet it defies the physical laws of the world as we know it.  This truth can only be accepted through faith.

I found myself one Sunday observing that we, the people gathered for mass, are lacking in faith.  If the physical body of Christ was recognizable on the altar, surely no one would have the desire to ever leave this place.  If we looked upon His earthly face rather than a cup and wafer, faith would not be necessary.  We would bow down before Him and never want to get up.  People would come from every part of the earth to see Him if His body and blood were recognizable. As Catholics we are supposed to have the faith that He is present in the Eucharist we receive.  Yet, it seems that this faith is gone when mass is frequently missed and our minds are preoccupied with the things we need to do.  That day, I knelt prayerfully and asked God to help me understand.  I had always believed in this Eucharistic miracle, but I did not understand it.

Each Sunday, for multiple weeks, I repeated this prayer. To help with my understanding of this mystery, I bought a book about Eucharistic miracles.  I read about consecrated hosts bleeding on the altar, about people seeing the face of Christ on the host in the adoration chapel, and other miracles that have both healed people and increased their faith.  But then God gave me a miracle of my own.  He clearly showed me, in my physical world, that He heard my prayer.

When you ask God for a gift of faith, when you ask Him to heal your blindness, He will always answer your prayers.

While our church (St. Thomas More in Centennial Colorado) underwent long renovations, mass was held in the school gym.  The gym was always packed, including all of the chairs set up in rows on the gym floor, but also all of the stadium benches.  My husband, being 6′ 4″ enjoyed the leg room that the bleachers provided.  So we had  a spot on the third row up from the floor that we typically sat in.  Every week, communion was the same. The people on the right side of the bleachers processed to the front of the gym to receive communion from the priest on the right side up front.  The people on the left side of the bleachers processed to the left side and received communion from a deacon.  To avoid people walking on each other, the usher called the last/highest rows of the bleachers first so that the bleachers would “refill” from the top to the bottom” – Very organized and well orchestrated, and done this way for literally months.  We all became pretty well practiced with this method.

One Sunday, during Mass, I pondered some of the miracles that I had read about and wished that our community could also be granted one. I looked up to Father Andrew holding the consecrated host and saying “This is my body, which has been given up for you”.  As all priests have their typical way of breaking the host, Father Andrew always holds up a host that is triangular in shape.  I thought to myself “Jesus is a triangle”.  Strange, yes, but this is what I thought to myself.   Then, communion began.  As always, the people seated in chairs on the stadium floor went to communion first.  When it came time to usher the the people sitting in the bleachers, the ushers did something that was unprecedented.  They called us from the lower/front bleachers first.  But stranger than that, they actually ushered the right side of the bleachers to the left side of the altar, and the left side of the bleachers to the priest giving communion on the right side in front of the altar. I actually remember giving my husband a look that his was crazy chaotic.   The lines were twisted and overlapping – very unorganized (I am a little OCD).   What were they thinking?

When it was my turn to receive communion, my heart exploded as Father Andrew placed a triangular shaped host, one of the other pieces that was broken during the consecration, in my hand.

In my heart, he place the knowledge that this was the answer to my prayer.  Probably two hundred or more people received communion from Father Andrew before me.   The people at the top of the bleachers should have received communion first, but they did not.  I should have received communion from the deacon, but I was led to Father Andrew, our pastor, who placed Jesus in my hands – Jesus in the shape of a triangle.  I asked for a gift of knowledge.  I asked to understand His presence in the Eucharist.  I asked for the gift of knowledge through wisdom, but instead received the gift of knowledge through faith. I didn’t understand this miracle, I just knew it.  He loved me.  He made Himself known to me in that triangular shaped piece of bread.

Though this miracle shook me and brought me great joy that God would give signs even to the smallest of his children, I recognize that the greater miracle is that given to me now at mass.  When I receive communion, I truly feel His presence.  I never really understood until it was given to me:  Faith is not believing.  Faith is knowing.  I no longer have the desire to understand His presence, because I know it.   This is the greater gift.    This is the greater miracle. When I drink from the cup, I have the unwavering knowledge that I am drinking the blood that came from Christ’s wounds.  I am overwhelmed by the understanding that my sins contributed to his suffering and crucifixion.  Even if all of my sins were cleansed, I would still not be worthy to consume His body and blood, and yet I am permitted to. His presence fills me and I pray desperately, as St. Faustina did, that He remain in me.  I pray that he finds my soul a worthy place to make rest and not leave, taking His graces with him.  As I kneel in adoration the tears inevitably come.

This is why I cry.  Because faith is knowing, and God has graced me with faith.  I pray that this gift be given to each of my children as well.  All you have to do is ask.  If you ask God to strengthen you, and to show you the truth, He will, and it will add beauty to your life that is unparalleled.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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53 Responses to A Little Nod From God

  1. EllenChris says:

    Beautiful meditation. Thank you, Sandy. There is a whole lot that I wanted to say about some of the statements in this article, but I will limit myself to this: The Orthodox Christian churches believe deeply and firmly that the elements of Holy Communion ARE the true Body and Blood of Jesus.

    Here is the traditional prayer that Anglicans say before receiving Holy Communion:

    We do not presume to come to this Thy table, most merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in Thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Thy table, but Thou art the same Lord Whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord so to *eat the **Flesh** of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, and to drink His **Blood*** that we may ever more dwell in Him and He in us.

    Amen. 🙂🙂🙂 Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah yes, easy to forget that the Orthodox have a valid Eucharist as well. We ought always remember to cross ourselves when passing by an Orthodox Church!

      Sandy — loved the article. Beautiful and inspiring. Keep up the good work!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Ann says:

      Orthodox capital O, yes. Anglicans, no, sadly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • EllenChris says:

        I am trying very hard to be gracious here, but neither of you have any right at all to pass judgement on the faith and practice of another branch of Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Let’s not take this into an argument. Jesus is really, truly present in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in our Holy Eucharist. We know for sure Who we are receiving, and I would happily go to the stake to defend the Truth of this. So many blessings to everyone all around.

        And spare me the quotes from the Catholic Catechism. “Triumphalism” is considered a sin.


        • Matthew says:

          You are correct none of us have the right to pass judgment but the Church does and she has. Pope Leo XIII in his decree “Apostolicae Curae” declared Anglican orders to be “absolutely null and utterly void”. Without valid Orders it does not matter how beautiful the prayer – the Holy Sacrament is NOT confected. On occasion an Anglican Ordination has involved a validly ordained (capital “O”) Orthodox bishop, in these cases the Orders are valid – but this has been rare. The Catholic Church, upon receiving former Anglican ministers into Catholic ministry, has almost always required at least conditional Ordination.
          Either the Roman Catholic Church is the One True Church or she is not. Anglicanism is NOT a “branch” of the Church Christ founded. No “triumphalism’ about it. While the Truth always triumphs it is never triumphalistic.

          Liked by 3 people

        • EllenChris says:

          Thanks so much for the encouragement, Charlie. Genuinely appreciated🙂


        • Mack says:

          With great respect, Ellen, though you may disagree, the Catholic Church considers that Anglican orders are not valid because of the changes introduced into the ordination rite at the time of the breaking away from the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does recognize the validity of Orthodox orders. That is all that is being said. In our theology invalid orders means an invalid Eucharist in terms of the true Presence of Jesus in the sacrament.
          This is not to argue or get into a debate, but simply to state our belief in faith.
          We certainly recognize the good will and deep faith of our brethren. I’ve also heard that some Anglican priests have gotten themselves ordained by an Orthodox bishop in order to be a true priest. In such a case, the Eucharist celebrated by that priest would be valid and bring about the Real Presence of Jesus. But it would certainly be confusing for people to have to find out who ordained a certain priest.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Steve says:

          EllenChris, I agree with you. One of the major ideas behind The Next Right Step is that all Christians, not just Catholics, are called to be participants in God’s work, especially during and after the storm. Faith is not a team sport, in which we denigrate and belittle the “other” team (other denominations). Do not forget Luke 18:11 through 18:13, we are not to be like the Pharisee that says “Thank you Lord that I am not like others”, but to be like the tax collector who cries out “God have mercy on me, a sinner”. We need to hold to Christ and let him deal with who and what is “right” or “wrong”.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Fran says:

          I am surprised and bewildered as to why anyone is thinking that anyone else is passing judgement on or belittling those of another faith here. The comments above were just in agreement with the statement that the Orthodox have a valid Eucharist while the Anglican’s do not. I didn’t think there was any question about that.
          See: http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2011/01/20/the-validity-of-anglican-holy-orders/ “The official position of the Catholic Church,as enunciated by the Vatican, is that the ordination to the priesthood according to the Anglican/Episcopalian rite is invalid.” …and hence the sacraments besides Baptism are invalid in the Anglican Church, the article goes on to say.
          My thought while reading, and then rereading again these comments, as I tried to figure out why anyone was feeling upset or defensive was that this was not a usual occurrence on this forum. I am wondering what is going on….saying a prayer for all.

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Well, I would say we should let this drop, but I have to wonder how it got so lively in the first place. On the one hand, I have made it entirely clear that I am fully Catholic and fully support the doctrines taught through the Magisterium. On the other, I have also said that there are no junior partners in the work before us, that all faithful Christians and Jews who are willing are full partners in the work and should treat each other as such. Now I am well aware of what criteria the Catholic Church uses to determine how and whether an unconsecrated Host actually becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. For us Catholics, it is transubstantiation by a validly ordained Priest. But Lutherans and some other Protestants believe in a Real Presence, too, through other means in most cases, such as consubstantiation. While fully holding to the Catholic position, I am glad that some believe in the Real Presence rather than calling it just symbolic…and their only dispute with us is how it is accomplished and who may accomplish it.

            I do understand that we need to defend our faith, but at a time when governments throughout the world and Muslim fanatics have begun a real war against all Christians, is this the time to publicly litigate such genuine differences? There are times and places – and I would not begrudge anyone defending their faith…but the point of this website is to bring us together on those things we can agree on in order that we may help each other through the Storm. Getting caught up in squabbles over the authentic differences we still have must surely hearten our enemies in this world and in the next. So I do not say we should never discuss such things, we should never needlessly squabble over them in these times. And we ought to be careful on how we phrase such discussions. Noting that the Catholic Church has specific criteria for determining the validity of a consecration, what those criteria are, and noting that you subscribe to the Catholic position states the matter without provocation. Stating that we are the only one who do it right is needlessly provocative and does, I think, smack of some triumphalism. I don’t think anyone meant that, but you really should consider it.

            I have a lot of Protestant readers here, including a few in Evangelical seminaries. Some have told me they have found a growing respect for Catholics because what they have read here. Should I tell them to go elsewhere, that they are second class citizens here? Of course not! And I don’t think anyone here would want me to. They are FULL partners in the work before all of us. So what we have here is a mixed marriage – and people in mixed marriages take a little care in speaking in a way that does not needlessly create offense. I would not allow one of our Protestant brothers to harangue everyone that we should all be “Bible Only” Christians…and I do not think it profitable to harangue our Protestant brothers that their Eucharist is not valid according to our definition. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, a Protestant who believes in the Real Presence at all rather than mere symbolism is a much closer cousin to me than one who does not believe in it.

            So I don’t dispute much of what anyone has said here on the subject, but I really am not sure why it was necessary to say it and spark such dissension when we need to concentrate on what unifies.

            Unless it is serious, sensitive, charitable – and sheds light that needs to be shed to forward our joint mission, I will not soon be clearing any more comments on this…and I have instructed my sister to henceforth defer all such comments to me. This has created an unnecessary dispute between good, faithful people. Let us let it go for now.

            Liked by 6 people

          • Fran says:

            I understand what you are saying Charlie. While I know that is the official Church position, from what I understand there are some validly ordained Bishops and priests who have left the Catholic Church and are now in the Anglican Church, so this makes the situation more difficult. I agree that we should all be speaking in a way that doesn’t cause offense to other faiths and what they believe. I just didn’t think that Daniel O’Connor and Mary Ann said anything offensive, but for some reason it was taken that way. Personally, your comment that here there are a “mixed marriage” of faiths is helpful because there are probably many of us who do not realize that as you do as moderator.
            I am not responding again in order to continue any bickering, but something was occurring to me that has formulated a little more in my mind this morning. It has to do with a couple of “lessons” that the Lord has taught me through experience. One is that it is very, very easy, for written words especially, to be misconstrued and taken a certain way, perhaps the wrong way, not as it was intended at all. When two people are not speaking directly, understanding or misunderstanding can happen quickly. Words can be easily taken out of context in the mind of the reader. I hope I am explaining myself clearly enough here. This is why I take the little “snippets” that the media write from Pope Francis with a grain of salt, and like to go back and read in full what he said, but I also try not to get upset over things he said that “seem” to be something to get upset about. I think Mark Mallett explains this a whole lot better in his latest writing.
            So, the “lesson” for me that the Lord wanted me to know is that I should be careful what I write, and how I write it, but also careful how I “read” another’s writing, and that this would be important, and so it is now.
            The other “lesson” He showed me is that truth and lies can very closely parallel, and a very subtle deviation from truth, toward charity for example, can lead you onto the path of destruction. Mark Mallett wrote about this too. We are seeing this now. So there is a something of a tightrope that we must walk of being charitable to others while still staying in the Barque of Peter, and speaking the truth as you pointed out.
            I’ve been following this forum almost since you started it, and I know that most everyone is “all in” for the storm to come, and for working together with our brothers in Christ, and even those who don’t know Him. I just wanted to bring up these points so that all are aware of the trap that Satan might bring even here. As you said, Charlie, it seemed to get very lively very quickly, and I think people may have unintentionally been reading something into the comments that wasn’t there.
            In the words of CrewDog, “God bless all here!”

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Thank you, Fran. I think you are exactly on target. I was on the road for most of this and so came upon it all at once. I was dismayed that some of our best people got into the lively part of it, people who I KNOW are of good will with deeply loving and faithful hearts. I am very focused on the notion to let there be no divisions among us without coercing the conscience of anyone – but I know the devil is frantically at work trying to create division where there are none. I love you guys.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Barb Watry says:

    Thank you Sandy. That is so beautiful, that you recognized the answer to your prayer. I pray that I too, will recognize the answers that I know God gives me. By-the-way, Fr. Andrew is now the pastor of my parish in Denver, St. Vincent de Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy says:

      Fr. Doug has joined you from our parish as well this summer. We miss them both – but now a blessing for you, truly!


  3. Suzie says:

    Thank you, Sandy, for your most beautiful story. It reminded me so much of my personal experience after my conversion to the Catholic faith. I, too, asked God to help me understand the miracle of the Mass taking place in the Eucharist. I distinctly remember having a hard time with the transubstantiation part of it. But, then eventually, God answered my prayer…and in one Mass, there was no question in my mind as to my receiving the actual Body and Blood of Christ at Mass. It was as if I believed it all of my life. There was no question, no doubt, from that time forward. I was given the “Faith of Knowing” as you so aptly put it. Soon after this, many times after Holy Communion, I would go back to my pew to kneel and pray, and tears would just start rolling down my cheeks automatically, too. They just kept coming. I don’t know where they came from. Seeing this happening many times over and over, my husband asked me the question, “Why are you crying after Communion? Are you sad?” I told him, “No…on the contrary…I’m not sad, but so joyful that through all the circumstances of my life, they have brought me to this one moment on this earth after Communion… to this one moment in that I have received the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord. How is it possible that I have been given this grace? I am so humbled, and I guess that is what makes the tears come.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dawn Walker says:

    At times, I too receive the gift of tears. Sometimes, I have sobbed. It’s a little embarrassing trying to keep quiet (sobs), especially with your nose running from the tears. (Do you think I would learn to bring a hankie with me?)

    Every once in awhile, after Mass people have asked me if everything was alright? Well Yes!

    Thank You, Jesus-for the deep realization I have received Your Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Increase my Faith, my Lord! I Love You!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    Beautiful…just beautiful.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. cofears says:

    My discernment on how souls go to Hell or Purgatory or Heaven

    In September, of 1995, my wife, my daughter and I went to a Marian conference in Chicago. While we there listening to the speakers, a thought came to my mind about how souls go to hell. Now no one was talking about this subject, for some reason I just started thinking about it. Before I go on, I must tell you that I have read several messages that state that God does not send souls to hell, that the soul sends itself to hell, and I had wondered how this could happen.
    Well as I said, I was thinking about this, and it is like this, darkness is sin and light is God. Now if a person lives in a room or cave of compete darkness and has been there for along time, when that person comes into the light, he or she can not stand the light so the person goes back in to the dark room. This is like a soul that has lived in sin, when the soul dies, it can not stand to look at God, Who is pure Light, so the soul drives itself into hell.
    Now the next day I was praying before Jesus in the blessed sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, when I began to think of this again and it was like this, a soul who lives in sin lives in darkness, but if the soul, while still living would let some light in, then when the soul died it would be like a person, who was in a dark room but let some light in. So then when the person went into the Light, he or she would be able to squint their eyes and look at the light and eventually be able to open their eyes all the way. This would be a soul that, when it died was not pure enough to go to heaven, so it went to purgatory.
    All souls are different some have to squint harder then others and some can adjust faster to the light and some live always in the light, their eyes are wide open, these go straight to heaven.

    Now on this same subject I would like to quote from the book “The Victorious Queen of The World”, a spiritual diary of a mystic, Sr. Natalia of Hungary, page 45:

    “Once I cried on Jesus shoulder: “Why did you create hell?” To answer me, Jesus brought me to the judgment of a very sinful soul, whose sins He forgave. Satan was outraged!
    “You are not just! This soul was mine all his life!” He shouted to Jesus: “This one committed so many sins, while I committed only one, and You still created hell for me.”
    Jesus then with unbound love told Satan: “Lucifer! Did you ever ask Me for forgiveness?” Then Lucifer, seemingly beside himself, shouted: “That never! That I will never do!”
    Then Jesus turned to me, “You see, if he could ask Me for forgiveness only once, hell would cease to exist.”

    In November 1995 I bought a book “The Sorrow, The Sacrifice, and The Triumph” by Thomas W. Petrisko, which had just come out in November 1995. This book is about Christina Gallagher, The Apparitions, Visions, and Prophecies.

    Now I do not promote or judge Christina Gallagher or any other visionary. I do read several books that I get at Marian conferences and some are on visionaries. I try to do as St. Paul says: Hold on to the good and let go of the bad and obey what the Church teaches.

    Now I would like to quote, what happens at death starting on page 117, “ When release from the body each soul is destined for immortal life, and its future in eternity is determined by its state when death takes place and the soul is released from the body.

    When the body dies and the soul is released, it suddenly finds itself in the full light of awareness, able to see itself as it stands in the sight of God. It then realizes the darkness to which the body’s actions condemned it. The sensitivity of the soul to the enormity of the Light of God is like the naked eye before the brilliance of a thousand suns, and the soul in darkness quivers in pain. It plunges itself into the sea of Hell to avoid the pain of the enormity of the Light.”

    “The soul destined for Purgatory seeks shade at the level in Purgatory appropriate to its own imperfection. It will automatically plunge itself into which it failed to atone sufficiently; it will gladly go to whatever level of Purgatory is necessary, and it will be eternally grateful to God, in the knowledge that it will one day gain His Presence in Heaven.
    2/17/05 Also from The Diary Of St. Faustina, I quote, “After these words, I received a deeper understanding of divine mercy. Only that soul who wants [to be damned] will be damned, for God condemns no one.(1452)
    To St. Faustina: “My daughter, know without a doubt, and once and for all, that only mortal sin drives Me out of a soul, and nothing else.” (1181) AND “My daughter, know that you give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications.” (894)

    Also from The Diary Of St. Faustina, I quote, “At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings.” (153)
    Here is something else I would like to share with you.
    This is why Jesus asks us to live in constant penance for our sins! We should meditate on how much He suffered for our sins, in order that we might reach salvation. We should ask His forgiveness often and love Him for His unfathomable love!

    Go in peace and the Love of God
    And pray for me
    Charles Fears

    Liked by 5 people

    • JoyInTheLord says:

      Thank you for these posts. God bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Becky-TN says:


      Could you possibly help me with the above comments by cofears. While I think what he wrote was a great analogy of what it is like at death and I can psychologically grasp and understand his description, it brings up a question (and fear) I have had for a long time. Anyone else willing to help, that would be great as well.

      The question (I’ll try to phrase it the best way I can) Can the soul “betray” us at death? Let me explain. OK, so many years ago I began having shorts periods of time where I would be in the midst my motherly duties, thinking about what I needed to do next and there would be these moments when I cognitively realized I was praying at the same time. I wasn’t speaking out loud, wasn’t praying at all…just thinking about the next item on the list of “ToDos”. When these moments happened, I was always in the middle of the prayer with this understanding that I’d been praying for a while, but not really cognitively praying myself. So, I began to wonder if the soul acts “separate and on its own” from the body. I was soon taught, my a Dominican Sister, that I wasn’t doing anything, but it was God.

      BUT, when I read the above, it brought back this concern. While my hope is that it was truly God working in me (infused contemplative prayer is what the Sister called it), I don’t know for sure. I don’t want to deny God, I don’t want to go to Hell, I want to be light, but what if I’m full of dark or at least more dark than I realize? All our thoughts cease at death, human everything stops, but not the soul. Does our soul take into account what our humanness desires as well? I understand God knows our hearts, but it’s we who condemn ourselves, not God and thus the question. Sorry if the question is confusing, but no priest I have asked has either ever understood completely what I was asking or explained in such a way that it went completely over my head.

      Any advise?




      • Jackie says:

        Becky- I don’t know anything about this- BUT- I do know a great resource- and wow- what a gift to have!! Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction seems very solid- and here are a couple of examples where this was addressed- there is more there too-(and by the way- someone who cares so much about betraying God – loves God – and it is most likely satan who is trying to convince you that you will condemn yourself- REMEMBER- Jesus is not the accuser- satan is!! Lack of peace is satans hallmark also. I pray that you read these and have some peace- IF THIS IS TRULY INFUSED CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER_ you MUST be in a state of grace- and therefore SAVED!!) Here are 2 answers with the site at the bottom for more info-(including replies from others with this same gift-)

        How to discern what comes with infused contemplation
        Dear Father Edward, when given the gift of infused contemplation, should there be any doubt that these are of God? My spiritual director has told me to listen and obey, write everything down, and if there are any doubts, to go back and read what the Lord has said and shown me. This has helped tremendously. I am a wretched sinful person, and fear that evil will invade or try to fool me in some way.
        You are certainly right to call infused contemplation a gift. It is, at base, an experiential knowledge of God. It is made possible by the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Infused contemplation requires one to have sanctifying grace, that is, to be in a state of grace. This kind of prayer brings an experience of the presence of God and of a hard-to-describe sense of the supernatural. None of this is conjured up by the soul on its own; in fact, the soul is more passive than active when involved in this type of contemplation.
        It is important to emphasize that infused contemplation gives the soul moral certitude that it is indeed in the state of grace. That is why your description of yourself as a “wretched sinful person” is intriguing. Certainly, we are all sinners, some more so than others. “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8). As we progress in the spiritual life it is not uncommon that we understand the ugliness of sin even more than when we began an earnest quest for sanctity. It is like a soul standing before a mirror, looking at itself in dim light. We don’t see all the blemishes. But as the soul draws closer to the true light of Christ, it sees its blemishes ever more clearly. Hence the paradox: We can feel the weight of sin more acutely even as we grow in the life of grace.
        That might explain your use of the label “wretched sinful person.” Without trying to define “wretched,” let’s just say that the fact that you are obedient and docile to a spiritual director, and that you are concerned enough about the spiritual life to be asking about infused contemplation, seems to indicate that you are headed in the right direction. A more telling sign would be your practice of charity. A high level of charity is one of the surest signs that you are experiencing true contemplation. That’s because real prayer has an impact on the way we deal with others; it moves us to try to imitate Christ more and more in daily life. All of this is a reminder that genuine inspirations of God always nudge us to do something good.
        To stay on track, stick to the basics. Make frequent use of the sacrament of confession, and worthily receive the Eucharist as often as possible. Keep up your interior life. Foster a sense of recollection, of interior and exterior silence. Mortify the senses — no need to see and hear everything around you. Develop a healthy detachment from earthly things. Nourish a profound gratitude toward and love for Our Lord. Cultivate a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Dedicate time to prayer; if you feel drawn into infused contemplation, be open to it. Stay close to your spiritual director; this helps to stave off the devil, who does his darnedest to isolate us and get us discouraged. Be confident of the Holy Spirit’s assistance.
        Yours in Christ, Father Edward McIlmail, LC

        Infused Contemplation – Spiritual Dictionary
        Dan Burke

        INFUSED CONTEMPLATION: An infused supernatural gift, that originates completely outside of our will or ability, by which a person becomes freely absorbed in God producing a real awareness, desire, and love for Him. This often gentle or delightful and sometimes non-sensible encounter can yield special insights into things of the spirit and results in a deeper and tangible desire to love God and neighbor in thought, word, and deed. It is important to note that infused contemplation is a state that can be prepared for, but cannot in any way be produced by the will or desire of a person through methods or ascetical practices.

        Read more: http://www.spiritualdirection.com/2013/12/19/infused-contemplation-navigating-the-interior-life-spiritual-dictionary#ixzz3fRCXQRyX


      • CrewDog says:

        I’m not smart enough and/or don’t have the interest to immerse myself in all the finer points of Theology … so…. I take great comfort in The Message of the Divine Mercy … and Jesus in (Matthew 18:3) among others. God made us Human with all that entails. As near as I can tell, Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time “Hanging-Out” with High Priests, Pharisees and Scribes (Know-it-All Goody Two Shoes Types). Seek Him as best Ya can and He will “Come-Thru” for you!

        GOD SAVE HERE!


        • Doug says:

          Becky, st. Faustian struggled similar to you and Jesus very gently showed her how much she was loved and how she was very much in line. With his will.


        • Becky-TN says:

          Crewdog and Jackie,

          Thank you for your replies to me.

          Jackie, Like I said, the Dominican Sister called it ICP. I described what was occuring as best I could and she gave that answer. While defeinitely an unbelievable gift, I still am cautious, esp. about the soul “being sure that it’s in the state of grace”. I’m not trying to not believe, but I also want to remain very cautious. Then again maybe I’m just too scrupulous and the Evil One is trying to get to me. It’s occurance and the post above about what happens at death was what I really needed to get help in understanding. Then again, like Crew Dog, said Jesus knows me, loves me, and maybe I need to spend less time trying to “understand”.

          God Bless you both,



          • Kim Johnston Hocutt says:

            Becky, I agree, the evil one wants us to worry and focus on things beyond our understanding, especially if it will paralyze us in the things we REALLY need to focus on. Try to worry about the here and now, and the there and then will be taken care of!! You are in my prayers!


          • Doug says:

            Becky, if you have a Bible, read Matthew 6:26-34. I find great comfort in this when I have these struggles. God loves and cares for you so much!


          • Becky-TN says:

            Thank you, Doug! I love that scripture, as well. The “oh, ye of little faith” hits hard some times – gotta work harder and trust more.

            God Bless all,



          • Doug says:

            It’s ok to have doubts and be scared. This is an opportunity for greater trust in our heavenly father. I can imagine it like taking in an irresistible, cute, frightened lonely puppy dog. How can anyone resist. I picture God looking at you this way. I can see how sincere your faith is. God bless you!


          • Becky-TN says:

            Thanks Kim,

            I need all the prayers I can get🙂.


  7. Kris says:

    This picture of Padre Pio reminds me of a priest I knew in Kansas City, a Mons. Kearnie. He is deceased now but once told us how he doubted that Padre Pio was an authentic mystic. He had gone to visit him in Italy and had the privilege of concelebrating mass with Padre Pio. Mons. Kearnie told us it was at the consecration and watching Padre Pio fall into an ecstasy while adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament , that he knew Padre Pio was a true mystic. There is so much joy in experiencing the true presence and asking to stay in that presence each moment of our lives.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sandy says:

      When I saw the picture of Padre Pio with this post, I had to smile because he found a way to say hello to me, and has become a saint that I have prayed intercessory prayers to. At morning Mass at my church, the side sections move in through the inner pews to receive Communion down the center isle. Creatures of habit, we all tend to sit in our same seats. Week after week I found my self in line behind the same couple. The wife had a devotion to Padre Pio as clearly seen by the prayer card always on her pew near her reading glasses. I like to make rosaries. So, I made a rosary for her with a Padre Pio center piece and pretty tiger eye beads. Once it was done, I didn’t immediately give it to her. Either I left it at home, or I lacked the courage to walk up to a total stranger and give her a gift. Well, finally I stopped her one morning after Mass and I gave it to her. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, as that week, she had the traveling statue of our Blessed Mother at her home and she and her family were daily praying the rosary before it. She told me that she was having little miracles happen and this had just added to her list. She told me that she thought I must be an angel. No, far from it, I told her. A week or so later, she wrote me a thank you card. It was in an envelope with her address embossed on the back. Her street address was the same as the street on which I lived for some of my teenage years when my family first moved to Colorado. I had long forgotten my street number since we lived there for only a few years before I went to college, and my parents had since moved away. When I Google’d her address, I had chills to see that she lives in the house next to where I grew up – literally right next door. It has been over 30 years since I lived on that street, but this lovely woman and her husband were my neighbors. They remembered my parents and my parents remembered them. At Easter Mass this year, my parents were in town. We ended up sitting right behind these wonderful people and the neighbors got to have a quick reunion. Wow! Right? He Loves us!!🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. nanannda2 says:

    “I asked for the gift of knowledge through wisdom, but instead received the gift of knowledge through faith.” And, “Faith is not believing, faith is knowing.” I love that God answered your prayer in a way that surprised you. I’m sure your testimony henceforth about the True Presence will be more powerful than ever. People seem to know when we’re telling a truth that we *know* as opposed to one we *believe*. The *knowing* is in your voice, and in your eyes. The only way they can deny the truth is if they refuse to acknowledge that they heard it and saw it in you. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of God’s infinitely intimate love. What a grace!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. JoyInTheLord says:



  10. nicky says:

    New York Stock Exchange halted for three hours today. I was thinking it’s time now.


  11. A Quiet Person says:

    That was beautiful. Thank you.

    Regarding the part about how Jesus will leave a person immediately if He is not received well and He will take away the graces He intended to give . . . I read (probably from St. Faustina’s writings but I am not totally certain) that He still wants to give those graces. Therefore we should ask for them. Ever since I read that, at every Communion I ask Jesus that if there is anyone receiving Communion who is ignoring Him, please give those graces to me and my kids instead.

    I often consider how weird it is that thousands of people will cram themselves into a stadium to watch a game or listen to a concert. Yet, our Eucharistic chapels are build to hold only a couple dozen, at most. And you always see people standing in line for a big sales, like the ones held around Thanksgiving. But, who has ever seen anyone stand in line to enter a Eucharistic chapel? It is so backwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hanna Mays says:

    Beautiful story Sandy, but why do you write …”mass” instead of Mass with the capital M, or more properly Holy Mass.


    • charliej373 says:

      Sorry, my error in my quick edit.


      • jaykay says:

        Sandy, thank you for your beautiful post. Yes, He is here with us, in every Tabernacle, and so often we just pass by. There’s a beautiful custom in my country – Ireland – of making the sign of the cross when passing a church, in honour of His presence. Sadly, now, that’s declining, as so much of our traditional practice is. But still, it’s not entirely gone. And in regard to the Real Presence, you’ll find in Saint Christina’s diary that He said to her one day: “What you see in reality these souls see with faith”. He was speaking of her sister nuns, who didn’t have her gifts. Yet He was more pleased with them, because of their faith. May it be so for us all.

        Blessings to all, J.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Donna says:

    This was a gift. So beautiful. Thank you for making the time to share this. God is so good!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mack says:

    In explaining why the Eucharist gives grace, St Thomas gives several reasons but this one has really touched me greatly:
    “Secondly, it is considered on the part of what is represented by this sacrament, which is Christ’s Passion, as stated above (74, 1; 76, 2, ad 1). And therefore this sacrament works in man the effect which Christ’s Passion wrought in the world. Hence, Chrysostom says on the words, “Immediately there came out blood and water” (John 19:34): ‘Since the sacred mysteries derive their origin from thence, when you draw nigh to the awe-inspiring chalice, so approach as if you were going to drink from Christ’s own side.’ ”

    It works in the one who receives it the same effect the Passion works for the world! Incredible!


  15. luvmercy5775 says:

    Thank you for sharing this uplifting message Sandy. Much of what you wrote touched my heart but what really stood out for me was you mentioning Jesus as symbolized by a triangle. He revealed this to me as well, along with how this relates to the Star of David, the Trinity and His plan of salvation.

    I posted a couple of comments on this in the comments section of Mark Mallotts article The Hour of Lawlessness a couple of nights ago. For the sake of those who may not have seen them, I’ll repost them here before continuing

    “Several comments have questioned the meaning and use of the Star of David. For what it’s worth, following is my take on this symbol.

    The “Star of David” is more properly translated as the “Shield of David”. I believe it may hold much spiritual significance. There’s a legend that claims, while hiding from King Saul who was seeking to kill him, David awakened after a fitful nights sleep to find the entrance of the cave he was hiding in covered with a web woven in this pattern. Thus this symbol has come to be known as a shield and sign of God’s protective covering. Some related verses are:

    Gen. 15: 1″After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. ”

    Psalm 3:3 “For thou O’ Lord are a shield for me. My glory and the lifter of my head.”

    And lastly, “…I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Rev. 22:16.

    For me, this appears to be is saying, “I AM the Star of David “

    What caused me to come to this conclusion was reading a comment attributed to the Blessed Mother stating that the symbol of the trinity is a triangle. Shortly afterwards, I experienced, what for me, is a rare interior vision. I “saw” a triangle, pointing down, drop into a second triangle pointing up. This of course formed the Star of David. As I pondered the meaning of this, over time,the Lord revealed much more about how the Trinity and His plan of salvation were included in this six pointed Star. I wrote an essay on it which I will submit to Charlie for consideration before attempting to post it to comments. ”

    Continuing on,I’d like to begin with what the Lord has shown me regarding the Trinity.

    Reconciling the Jewish concept of “ONE” God with the Christian doctrine of “ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS” has proven a stumbling block for many. Some accepting it blindly by faith, others rejecting it out-of-hand as impossible, improbable and therefore unacceptable. Nevertheless, I believe that a careful examination of Scripture,coupled with an open mind, one may come to understand this dogma as perfectly logical.

    First let’s look at the main proclamation of the Jewish faith. The Shema. “Hear O’Israel the Lord thy God, the Lord is ONE.” The Hebrew word for one used in this verse is “echod”…a word that indicates a unity of oneness. A better understanding of this word is found in Numbers 13:23. Its usage there refers to a cluster of grapes — one cluster, many grapes. When designating an absolute singular one, Hebrew uses the word “yachid”.

    The natural often prefiguring the spiritual, I believe much confusion may be cleared up by simply looking to ourselves. In the creation account of Genesis God says, “Let ‘US’ make man in our image, after ‘OUR’ likeness. So who are us and our? To whom is the Lord God speaking?

    Consider: We use our minds to think, plan, create and dream dreams. But without a vehicle of expression, thoughts remain locked inside our heads. Thoughts must be acted upon in order to become real. Hence body comes into play. But it doesn’t end there. Without spirit (or heart if you prefer), we would be like robots. Carrying out directives of the mind devoid of feeling or caring. Spirit may also be viewed as “power”, for while the mind may call the body to action, without a release of “energy”, the body is unable to function. Thus spirit becomes the “enabler.”

    Next we must determine whether the three may operate independently. It appears they can. A person may be paralyzed, unable to move or speak, yet the mind may be in perfect working order — but locked inside a now dysfunctional body. This may well describe the state of a personality after death. Thoughts and feelings surviving, but with no means to communicate. Left in that state, without the “HOPE” of rising again, that soul would be forever silenced, and therefore lost. So too, a person may be unconscious, unaware of his or her surroundings, while the body continues to function normally. And who can deny those times when the heart has a mind of it’s own?

    Viewed in this light, doesn’t it seem logical that to be truly “whole”, truly “one”, all three aspects of our being must operate together in harmony. This thought finds expression in the full meaning of the Hebrew word “Shalom”. Generally understood as meaning “peace”, in a more literal sense it means “may you be whole”. May you be at peace mentally, physically and spiritually.

    Thus the Triune Godhead may be viewed as: God the Father, mind. God the Son, body and God the Holy Spirit, the heart. This thought expressed in the Sign of the Cross. “In the name of the Father (hand to forehead) and of the Son (hand to center of body) and of the Holy Spirit (cross your heart.) ” So simple it’s profound…


    Having now established a plausible scenario for how three can be one, we may look further into Scripture for yet more clues. Genesis 18:1-2 says, “And the Lord appeared unto him …And he (Abram) lifted up his eyes and looked and lo “THREE MEN” stood by him…” Verse one says the Lord appeared, then verse two says three persons were present. Some explain this away by claiming the Lord was accompanied by two angels but nevertheless, it seems worth pondering.

    Also, there are also three names given in Genesis that fit the concept of a Triune Godhead. First we find the name El Elyon –God most high or God Almighty. I believe this refers to God the Father — the mind from which all else flows. This name is used again in Genesis 14:18. “And MelchiTzedek King of Salem (King of Righteousness — whom some say was Noah’s son Shem — brought forth bread and wine; and he was the “priest” of El Elyon — the most high God.

    This thought carries over into Genesis 15: 1-2. “After these things the “WORD” of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying. Fear not Abram, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. And Abraham said ‘Lord God’…” Genesis 15: 1-2.

    “LORD God” is “Jehovah God” or YHWH in Hebrew. He is the “WORD” of El Elyon/ God Almighty. He is the Body, necessary for expressing and bring to reality the intentions and thoughts of El Elyon. This explaining Jesus making statements such as: “Greater then me is the Father” and “…no one knows the day or the hour but the Father…”all that I see the Father doing I do.” As true of the natural man, only after the mind thinks and decides upon a matter, is the body directed to take action.

    The Gospel of John chapter one verse one through five along with verse fourteen explains this further by saying , “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Adding to this we read in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him, dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead “bodily.”

    El Elyon — God Almighty and Yahwah/Jehovah God having now been introduced, we next come upon the name El Shaddai. This name is first found in Genesis 17:1-2. This name comes from the Hebrew root “shad” which refers to a woman’s breast. Mind and body accounted for, it appears logical, that this aspect of the Godhead would relate to the “heart” — the feminine aspect of God if you will. The nourisher and comforter — the Holy Spirit. So there you have it. God most high, the Word and the comforter. Mind, body and heart.

    On a human level this concept appears revealed within in the family relationships of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. God revealed His thoughts to Moses, which Moses passed on to his brother Aaron, who then spoke it to the people. In turn Miriam rejoiced and led the people in song and praise. The mind plans, the body acts and the heart sings. All related and necessary for the making of ONE.

    These concepts may also be likened to making a cake. Starting with pure white angel food cake as the foundation — representing the revealed law of Faith — immovable and unchanging. By itself it can be dry and unappetizing for some — not to mention that anyone approaching it without a shield will get zapped due to his or her uncleanliness. Something akin to the body rejecting foreign DNA.

    So next we’ll add grape jelly for filling. The “blood of the grape” contains iron. Iron acts as a shield. It’s used in the medical field to shield the body from excess radiation during X-rays. And refined iron is steel.

    Covered/clothed with the shield of Jesus’ shed blood, one may now enter into and explore the cake without fear of being cast out. Still, even with the blood in place, left exposed, iron gets rusty.

    Dry cake and rusty filling? Not appealing or appetizing to most. But by adding icing — the oil of the Holy Spirit — and scattering the gifts over the top to get people’s attention, the “cake” now becomes pleasing to the eye and something to be desired.

    Now I want you to picture yourself in a classroom. The teacher,holding a pointer in her hand, begins by addressing the students with, “Hear O’ Israel”, as she turns to a blackboard with the figure of three men drawn on it. First she points to the first figure and says, “The Lord”, then to the second, “Our God”and the third “The Lord” is ONE. Now imagine the second figure stepping forward so the three appear as a triangle.

    Next imagine humanity, made in His image and likeness, also shaped in the form of a triangle, looking up. Suddenly Jesus drops down and enters into humanity and by His Cross, reconciles all who follow and believe, those once separated from God. His shed blood acts like two bars of steel, holding the triangles together. This is pictured by drawing a line down the center of the Star and another across the top bar of the triangle representing the Godhead. It really does all fit together.

    All glory, honor and praise to the Lord, OUR GOD. He is worthy to be praised.


  16. Doug says:

    What a beautiful story. I am so humbled. Thank you!


  17. June1 says:

    Sandy, have you watched the Polish movie about St. Faustina’s life? It’s incredible. I was obsessed with it for a while and watched it over and over again. Maybe you will really enjoy it: http://gloria.tv/media/9KC7mgP4Y4Y

    English subtitles.🙂


    • marie says:

      June1, thanks for this link. I’ve just had a quick look and now I’m really looking forward to watching the film.

      Also, we have lots of Polish people in my parish, so maybe I can pick up a phrase or two to say to them next Sunday🙂


  18. annef444 says:

    Thank you Charlie, this is beautiful and was well received. God bless you.


  19. Jordan says:

    This is really an amazing story. St. Theresa, Who’s birthday (500th) we celebrate soon had a similar experience with receiving Our Blessed Lord from the host that the Priest broke. It actually broke her pride because she received a small piece of the host. She was use to bigger pieces. Even Saints have errors. This happened to me once, but not in the same fashion. I was (and still am) a sinner and I went to communion. I don’t know if I was in the state of grace or not, but I was well aware of my sinfulness. The Priest put the smallest piece of the host on my tongue as if where to protect Jesus from greater amount of harm. The bottom line is God is really in control. Pray for me that I may be holy. Thanks.


    • Doug says:

      Jordon, I pray for God’s mercy for you and to know how much you are loved by him even when we stray. This prayer from one sinner to another. Don’t disparage or give up. That is what the devil wants you to do.


  20. mmbev says:

    Ah, Jordan, we need to pray for ALL OF US, because we all need Him to become holy.


  21. sharangles says:

    Greetings, I am a new reader of your send outs. I love them. I am writing to ask if I can put this letter on my web site. I have read several of your articles that I would love to share with others as well. Is this something you allow? If you want to check out my web site, it is http://www.guardianangelstore.com. Thank you for considering my request. Have a very blessed day. Sharon

    Liked by 1 person

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