(I asked our reader, Phillip Frank, if he would consider writing a piece for our community. When I first read his beautiful reflection, I had goosebumps because I’ve been having these thundering whispers, coming from multiple sources all around me, connected to loving well. With thanks to Phil for agreeing to write for us, I now share his reflection.)
“According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by ‘distress’ and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 672).
I have noticed what seems to be a shifting. It’s as if the rescue is awakening, that the birth pangs of the new dawn are starting to manifest, that the old order is breaking up and the new order starting to shine through. I have a fruit tree that has never produced fruit before, which is now in full production. I also have a banana tree that usually gives bananas at the end of summer, now with a large bunch near full size. Our very own MP mentioned an unprecedented blooming of the desert near him. Our Snowy had a great gift given to her and her husband with a miracle and his conversion.
Maybe it’s the “false dawn” Charlie mentioned or the “eye of the storm” Mark Mallet talks about? As so many people have said, things haven’t really changed that much.
At any rate, not yet…
The Catechism tells us that…“a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it.” In other words, to remember God is in charge!
Snowy Owl posted this quote from St. Faustina: “As I was praying before the Most Blessed Sacrament, my physical sufferings ceased suddenly, and I heard this voice in my soul: You see, I can give you everything in one moment. I am not constrained by any law.” (Diary, 1150).June 24,.
And a similar quote posted by Mark Mallett;
“…these evil plans can yet be avoided by you, the dangers can be evaded, the plan of God’s justice always can be changed by the force of His merciful love. Also, when I predict chastisements to you, remember that everything, at any moment, may be changed by the force of your prayers and your reparative penance.” —(Our Lady to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, #282, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, 18th Edition.)
We have been promised a period of peace by Our Lady of Fatima….“in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and a period of peace will be given to the world”.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI suggests we can get a little piece of heaven right now, here on earth: “…every day in the prayer of the Our Father we ask the Lord: ‘Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt 6:10)…. we recognize that ‘heaven’ is where the will of God is done, and that ‘earth’ becomes ‘heaven’—i.e., the place of the presence of love, of goodness, of truth and of divine beauty—only if on earth the will of God is done.” —POPE BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, February 1st, 2012, Vatican City; cf. Hymn to the Divine Will
Fr. Thomas Merton, wrote: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”
A person who had a near death experience said that he was asked by the Lord how well he learned to love. Not how many times he went to church, or fasted or how much he tithed, but how much he LOVED. This makes perfect sense to me as our Lord came to earth not just to tell us how, but to SHOW us how to love one another. “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) “….but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13-13) “Love never ends.” (1 Cor. 13-8)
It is taught that since we are incapable of loving God the way He deserves to be loved, He gave us each other and judges us by how well we love one another. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus speaks that how we treat others is how we treat Him. And in the Our Father prayer, we ask Him to forgive us the same way we forgive others.
I have noticed the more I give of myself to those in need the less they (and I) suffer and the better the results of His gift to me and to those to whom I give. If I share their burden, the need becomes less for us both and seems to dissipate more rapidly than if I refuse to help. It is not unlike a leaky roof. If I do the repair early on, the result is better and the fix sure. The longer I put off fixing the leaky roof, the more the leak damages the house and a greater effort is needed when I finally do fix it. When I step lively to a task the Lord seems to take over and amazing things begin to happen. It is as if a mere natural effort on my part becomes a supernatural one on His.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote “a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Now I’m no saint…but I do have faith.
Scripture says that if we but have the faith the size of a mustard seed we could command a tree to be transplanted into the sea and it would obey. I understand that we are not using OUR power of faith to send the tree to the sea, but God is using our faith so HE can transplant it into the sea and thus we become part of His great work. “He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori)
Faith, in itself, is evidence of the supernatural for…..“faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”(Kings 11:1)
Supernatural manifestations in the lives of the saints are extraordinary visible signs of God’s actions to assure us of the similar but hidden actions of God occurring in the normal life of the world. We who live the mundane, receive these same gifts, but hidden in the “unseen” actions of God. We may receive the physical “seen” manifestations of healing, conversion, peace, feelings of overwhelming love, etc., but we do not have the exceptional visions, voices, locutions or the charism to “wield” God’s power miraculously as do the great saints. None the less, God is very active in our lives and through our prayers He gives us the driving force of our actions in the Church, both the tangible and invisible ones.
St Augustine writes,
“To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).”
The temptation to be more than just a regular Joe is all around us. Wanting to be famous, even as a saint, is a temptation. These are worldly ideals, not heavenly ones. Lucifer was jealous of man, Adam and Eve were jealous of God, Cain was jealous of Abel, the Nephilim were “giants” (famous), men of renown, Jacob’s elder sons were jealous of Joseph, Judas was jealous of the other apostles. All wanted to “make a name for themselves” by their pride and not do the will of God. St. Augustine says to live well is nothing other than to love God, with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts. Most of us will do this through a very normal mundane life…filled with the unseen- not seen- gifts from above.
“That the presumption and pride of worldly wisdom is more powerful in its devotees, than humility and true self-knowledge is in the children of light.” (Mary of Agreda,The Mystical City Of God.)
True saints think that they are the greatest of sinners. This is because the thinner the veil becomes between us and God, the more accurately we see ourselves in His light. And in comparison to Him, we are great, great sinners! True self-knowledge is worth contemplating during this time. Not only will we see ourselves as we really are, but our ability to love others will increase as “those other people” won’t seem so different from us, after all, as we recognize we have these same weaknesses too and would be acting them out but for God’s grace and the gift of faith. As my mother would say…“But for the grace of God, there go I.”
Beckita posted:“As we continue on our Journey, praying, watching, waiting on the Lord and living our lives as sherpas…”
I think we need to be practicing this Love.
Love for our God and all that is good and holy.
Love for our Church which carries the fullness of truth and in this is trustworthy.
Love for Our Mother Mary who God has given to us in this special period of time to defeat our spiritual enemy through her intercession.
Love for one another, even those who offend us, especially since we are to “love our enemies, to do good to those who persecute us.” Our Lady told one visionary that “they are my children too.” ( everyone we think could NOT possibly be!) And don’t think it is harder to forgive than not. Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden light (Mt 11:28-30), not because he would ask less of us, but because he knew that love renders suffering bearable and even joyful. So we still carry a “burden” to be His disciples, an “easier” one, but still a burden. Mother Teresa said of love: “Love to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self.” Which is to die unto self…” Unless a grain of wheat (us) falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat (we in our fallen nature), but if it dies (to self) it produces in abundance (by supernatural grace.”)
Jesus told us in the parable of the mustard seed that great things can be accomplished by our act of faith. So let us set our little mustard seeds in with the Great Harvesters trove to become supernaturally burdened as His hands and feet and help accomplish the works of God.