(Thanks be to God that the historically powerful hurricane that hit Mexico last night did little damage and has already dramatically weakened. Thank all of you for your prayers for Mexico.
I was surprised to learn that Steve and Margaret Blouin, whose appeal I first linked to the other day at the request of Sacramento NRS coordinator Jeanne Condon, are long-time regular NRS readers. I saw an email yesterday from a few weeks ago from Margaret asking for prayer, and dashed off a quick note. Here is her response:
“Thank you so very much! We saw your post and were so astonished and grateful that you posted on Steve’s behalf. We know how many people must read your blog and who must be asking for your help. So, thank you for asking for prayers on Steve’s behalf. Steve still reads every post on your blog. Even though this diagnosis has devastated our family, we see such good coming our of this illness. Relationships are being healed in so many ways. People are opening their hearts to us and we know that the Lord is blessing them for that. We also are seeing what you have described in your posts: namely, an enlightenment for Steve and me. We are seeing the areas of our lives where we have been less than “Christ-like”. We are also seeing how important it is to not judge so harshly, but to love completely. God is so good. I know He will get us through this. I keep thinking that this is our “storm”, that He may heal Steve completely as a sign of His love and mercy for everyone. Maybe this won’t happen as I envision and hope, but I know that He has already brought such good out of this enormous suffering and He will continue to do so.
Our house in MT has sold and we are closing in a week. Please pray that the Lord direct us as to whether to move to Houston (into the fire!), where my daughter lives and where Steve MAY receive treatment or whether to buy a smaller home in Montana and stay there.
Thank you so much for giving us hope.
Margaret & Steve”
They are part of the family here, so don’t neglect prayers for them.
Anthony Mullen, American National Chairman for the Flame of Love Movement, tipped me off that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is weighing in on an outrage perpetrated by city officials in Oakland, California. A small black church there that has been serving the community for 65 years was notified by the city administrator’s office that if they do not “abate” the Wednesday night choir practice, the city may initiate a case against the church’s property and impose fines of $500 per day. This is in response to a single complaint of a neighbor. The violent crime rate in Oakland is four times the national average – and has been rising for years. The city can’t seem to do much about that. But if there is a Christian group that has been around for 65 years, worshipping and ministering to the community, it is johnny-on-the-spot in cracking down to protect citizens from the menace of Christians singing. If the mood strikes you, you might even call city administrator Sabrina Landreth at 510-444-2489 to tell her to try cracking down on violent crime and leaving historic old Christian Churches alone. Time to give the bureaucrats and government overseers who so delight in harassing Christians a little of their own back.
Finally, a piece by Anthony Mullen on how praise and thanksgiving for grace, especially in the Eucharist, begets more grace:
By Anthony Mullen
Praise and Thanksgiving, Especially for the Eucharist, Increase the Gifts and Discernment of Inspirations of the Holy Spirit
We know from our Faith that God will grant us the Grace to respond to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit for our sanctification, but only if we truly love God and correspond with the effort of our free will to His Grace. St. Frances de Sales, Doctor of the Church, states: “…if we do not resist God’s Grace, He gives each of us the inspirations we need in order to live, act and maintain ourselves in the spiritual life.” It is the Gifts of the Holy Spirit placed in our soul at Baptism and strengthened at our Confirmation and further strengthened with each worthy Holy Communion, which allow us to hear and respond consistently to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Doctor of the Church, states that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit “prepare the soul to follow promptly the impulse of Divine inspiration.” So, since the Gifts and Virtues of the Holy Spirit are essential to our growth in holiness, it is a matter of the greatest importance that we learn and practice all we can about the Gifts and how they open our faculties to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. But how do we activate and grow the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Our guide in this matter, Fr. Jacques Philippe, from “In the School of the Holy Spirit”, explains that the main reason that we do not receive the necessary Grace is: WE FAIL TO THANK GOD FOR THE GRACES HE HAS ALREADY GIVEN TO US (emphasis added). He quotes St. Therese of Lisieux, another Doctor of the Church: “What most draws down graces from our dear Lord is gratitude, for if we thank Him for a gift, He hastens to give us ten more, and if we thank Him again with the same sincerity, what an incalculable multiplication of graces! I have experienced this; try it and see.”
Fr. Jacques asks us to see and understand that our subtle ingratitude, our failure to recognize our nothingness and that everything…every single thing we have is Grace…pure Gift…is indeed what stifles Grace, especially since we do not consistently thank God for all the blessings and benefits of each moment of each day and simply take them for granted (our Faith, Hope, Love, talents, skills, parents, country, occupation, house, food). Why is it that we are one of every three people in the world who believes in Christ? Why are we not in the two of every three people who do not know or believe in Christ? Why is it that we are a Catholic and not a Protestant? How is it that we know and believe in the Most Blessed Sacrament? How is it that we are in the 1% of all people who actually can and do take advantage of this Gift of all Gifts on a daily basis? How is it that we were chosen to know and receive the Extraordinary Flame of Love Grace? All is Pure Gift of an All-Loving, Infinite God! All we have is a gratuitous Gift! Yet, we take these incredible Gifts of God for granted…or certainly we do not thank God often and profusely for these incredible Gifts of His Love.
So, what must we do? We must change by begging for more Grace to be truly thankful each day and seek to practice praise and thanksgiving each day throughout the day, especially with formal prayers of praise and thanksgiving added to our daily prayer time; and with short bursts of praise and thanksgiving throughout the day….”Lord, I praise and thank you for everything You have given me!” Next, we must give more time and effort devoted to praising and thanking God from our free time. Worthily attending daily Mass with Holy Communion is the greatest way to thank and praise God! If we are already doing that…then making a Holy Hour each week would be the next gift of praise and thanksgiving! We must continue to give God more of our free time, which is now wasted on foolish things like TV, Internet and too much talking and entertainment. Instead, we must use this wasted time to especially praise Him and thank Him for the Graces we have received.
Once we become consistent at this praise and thanksgiving, we will begin to see and feel new Graces bestowed and we will begin to be more patient and docile in listening for the inspirations of the Holy Spirit at each moment of the day. We will then find we are growing closer to God and beginning to act more like His Mother and He would act in each situation of the day. We will see our bad habits and laziness begin to change! Come Holy Spirit, come into my daily life in a new and more powerful way with Your Gifts, and let me hear and act on all Your inspirations, so I may be Holy as You are Holy for Your Glory and the salvation of souls! I praise and thank You for all the Graces I have ever received and will ever receive! Please, I beg You to do this through the power of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! By trusting in our Mother and taking and living the Flame of Love Grace, this process of gratitude for Grace is accelerated and made much more secure! She is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mediatrix of all Grace and Mother of perfect thanksgiving! Fiat!