Life in Abundance, Hope for the Weary

(Are you weary as the Storm continues to darken our days? Take heart! For Jesus says:

 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

And in today’s Gospel passage:

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:2-5) 

So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:7-10)

The narrow way can become very wearying… but not because of God’s doing. Rather, we suffer weariness, sometimes, through the wounds perpetrated on us by the sins of others and, sometimes, by wounds self-inflicted by our own sinfulness, in what we do and in what we fail to do. Jesus the Good Shepherd, Divine Mercy Himself, is ready to bind up all our wounds as only THE Good Shepherd can do. It is a life-giving, worthy endeavor to work with Him, for as He says, He wishes to bring us life in abundance.

I’ve been pondering much concerning how we can best be sherpa-ready when the darkest darkness comes upon us. I love remembering how the early Christians went to Sunday Eucharist e.x.p.e.c.t.i.n.g. miracles and they got ’em. Just returning from Sunday Mass, today, after asking, with fullness of faith, for several miracles, I must acknowledge, too, that God so often works in a process as He brings to fulfillment His Plans for our welfare in each individual life.

He came to redeem every aspect of our lives, even, and perhaps especially, our very weaknesses and failures. He LOVES us so much that He enters into our messes with His Infinite Redemption, calling us to do our work with Him… the work of prayer, the work of silence with Him (How will He ever be able to speak to our souls, bind up our wounds, refresh and restore us, prepare us and fill us with every good gift without our participation in doing our work of being silent with Him in contemplation?), the work of self-knowledge (We all have blind spots so it can be beneficial to share our concerns with those we trust and who know us well, who can reflect in gentle ways, what we may not readily self-perceive in our blindness. When what is hidden is brought to Christ’s light, we can respond to Jesus who, again and again, asked those to whom He ministered when He walked the earth: “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever, continues to ask this very question of each of us. With self-knowledge, we can ask Him to heal a weakness, a compulsion, or a frailty while gratefully expecting the Good Shepherd to meet our need, for nothing is impossible for God and reconstruction is but one of His specialties. He WILL raise us to New Life, interiorly, if we but ask and are willing to do our work with Him. Then, stronger sherpas shall we be.), and the work of reaching out to others, even as we suffer, becoming wounded healers as we beam hope to those around us in our next right steps.

The gifted, insightful Msgr. Charles Pope continues to draw my attention to contemplation. He highlights well some major aspects of the spiritual sickness of our times. It is I who asked him for permission to reprint his work. He does not in any way support the prophetic messages expressed here. Please, let us pray for Msgr. Pope and all the faithful shepherds of the Lord’s sheep.)

Are You Smarter Than a Sheep

By Msgr. Charles Pope – May 6, 2017

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally called Good Shepherd Sunday, for the readings focus on how our risen Lord Jesus is our shepherd, who leads us to eternal life. Of course the flip side is that we are sheep. We sometimes miss the humor of the Lord calling us sheep. He could have said we are strong and swift as horses, beautiful as gazelles, or brave as lions; instead, He said we are like sheep. I guess I’ve been called worse, but it’s a little humbling and embarrassing, really. Yet sheep are worthwhile animals and they have a certain quality that makes them pretty smart. Are you smarter than a sheep? Well, let’s look and see how we stack up as we look at this Gospel in three stages.

I. The Situation of the Sheep In this Gospel the Lord is speaking to Pharisees and almost trying to reassure them that He is not like other false shepherds, false messiahs who have led many astray. Jesus says, Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. … All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them … A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy.

The times in which Jesus lived were ones of social unrest and political turmoil. There were heightened expectations of a coming messiah who would liberate Israel from its Roman and Herodian oppressors. Given the climate of the times, most had emphasized the role of the messiah as a political and economic liberator who would come and wage war and victoriously reestablish the Davidic Monarchy in all its worldly glory.

Josephus, a Jewish historian of the time, may have exaggerated (but only a little) when he spoke of 10,000 insurrections in the years leading up to the Jewish War with the Romans (66 – 70 A.D.). Even as early as Jesus’ lifetime there had been conflicts and bloody uprisings led by numerous false messiahs. It is most likely these whom Jesus refers to as thieves and robbers. It is also likely why Jesus resisted being called Messiah except in very specific circumstances (Matt 16:16,20; Mk 8:30; Mk 14:62).

Jesus also warned that after He ascended, false messiahs would continue to plague the land:

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it’” (Matt 24:24-26).

Ultimately these false Christs did arise and mislead many; the results were horrible. Josephus wrote that 1.2 million Jewish people lost their lives in the Jewish War with the Romans.

So this is the situation of the sheep. Jesus speaks of the dangers of false saviors, unambiguously denouncing them as thieves and robbers. We, too, are in a world in which erroneous philosophies and false messiahs seek to claim our loyalties and engage us in error.

Perhaps it is the false claims of materialism, which says the right combination of wealth and power can bring meaning and happiness. Sadly, many of the “prosperity Gospel” preachers compound this by their silence about the cross and sin.

Perhaps it is the error of secularism, which exalts the State and the culture, putting their importance above God. Many in the Church and in the Protestant denominations (both clergy and lay) follow false shepherds and call others to do so. They seek to more closely align their faith with politics, instead of their politics with faith; they show more allegiance to the “party” than to the Faith; they do not prophetically address the errors associated with their political point of view; they see their political leaders as shepherds than they do their bishops or priests. Many also follow the false shepherds of culture, looking to them for moral leadership rather than to God, the Scriptures, or the Church. If Miley Cyrus says it, it must be so, but if the Church says something, there are protests and anger. Yes, false messiahs are all around us in the secular culture. Sadly, many Catholics and Christians follow them like sheep to the slaughter.

Perhaps it is the arrogance of modern times, which claims a special enlightenment over previous eras (such as the biblical era), which were “less enlightened and tolerant.” Here, too, many false shepherds in the clothing of trendy preachers and theologians have sought to engage God’s people in this sort of arrogance: that we moderns have “come of age” and may safely ignore the wisdom of the past in the Scriptures and sacred Tradition.

Perhaps it is the promiscuity of this age, which claims sexual liberty for itself but never counts the cost in broken lives, broken families, STDs, AIDS, high divorce rates, teenage pregnancy, abortion, and so on. Sadly, many so-called preachers and supposedly Christian denominations now bless homosexual unions and ordain clergy who are practicing the homosexual “lifestyle.” Many also support abortion and contraception, while saying little or nothing about premarital sex.

Yes, the sheep are still afflicted; false philosophies and messiahs abound. Jesus calls them thieves and marauders (robbers) because they want to steal from us what the Lord has given and harm us by leading us astray. Their wish is ultimately to slaughter and destroy.

Do not be misled by the soft focus of these wolves in sheep’s clothing, with their message of “tolerance” and humanitarian concern. A simple look at the death toll in the 20th century from such ideologies shows the wolf lurking behind these foolish and evil trends that have misled the flock.

As to these false shepherds, remember that not one of them ever died for you; only Jesus did that.

II. The Shepherd and His Sheep – Having rejected false shepherds, Jesus now goes on to describe Himself as the true Shepherd:

But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.

This passage tells us not only of the true Shepherd, but also his true sheep. The true Shepherd is sent by the Father, who is the gatekeeper and has opened the way for the Son and true Shepherd. The Father has confirmed the Son by signs and wonders and by the fulfillment of prophesies in abundance.

Of the true sheep, the Lord says that they not only recognize His voice, but also that they will run from a stranger because they do not recognize his voice.

In shepherding areas, flocks belonging to different shepherds are often brought together in fenced-off areas for the night, especially during the cooler months. One may wonder how shepherds can tell which sheep belong to which shepherd. Ultimately the sheep sort themselves out. In the morning a shepherd will go to the gate and summon his sheep with a chant-like like call. Those that recognize his voice will run to him; those that do not will recoil in fear. Now that’s pretty smart, actually. Sheep may not know how to go to the moon and back, but they do know their master’s voice.

So the question for each of us is this: are you smarter than a sheep? Sheep have the remarkable ability to know their master’s voice and instinctively fear any other voice, fleeing from it.

In this way, it would seem that sheep are smarter than most of us are! We do not flee voices contrary to Christ; instead, we draw close and say, “Tell me more.” In fact, we spend a lot of time and money to listen to other voices. We spend buy big televisions so that the enemy’s voice can influence us and our children. We spend a lot of time watching television, listening to the radio, and surfing the Internet. We are drawn so easily to the enemy’s voice.

Not only do we not flee it, we feast on it. Instead of rebuking it, we rebuke the voice of God. We put His Word on trial instead of putting the world on trial.

The goal for us is to be more wary, like sheep, to recognize only one voice, that of the Lord speaking though His Church, fleeing every other voice.

III. The Salvation of the Sheep – The text says, Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. … I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

Here, then, is the description of the Christian life: acceptance, access, and abundance.

Acceptance – The text says that we must enter through the gate, and the gate is Christ. We are invited to accept the offer of being baptized into Christ Jesus. In today’s first reading from Acts, Peter and the other apostles are asked by the repentant and chastened crowd, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit …. “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. Yes, we are invited to enter through the gate, to be baptized into Christ Jesus. He is the gate and the way to the Father.

Access – In accepting baptism, we enter through the gate and have access to the wide, green pastures. Jesus describes this entry as “being saved.” Most of us tend to think of salvation rather abstractly, as if it is the result of a legal process through which one goes from being guilty to having the charges dismissed. That, however, is only a very partial understanding of salvation. The Greek word σωθήσεται (sothesetai) more fully means to be safe, rescued, delivered out of danger and into safety. In the New Testament it is used principally of God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin—bringing them into his into His safety and grace. Being saved is much more than changing legal categories; it is new life! It is power over sin; it is being kept from the poison of sin and its terrible enslaving effects. Salvation is also related to the concept of health (salus = health and well being). For the believer who accepts Christ’s offer, there is access to the protected pasture; there is supply or provision of grazing land as well. The Lord feeds His faithful and brings them strength. Yes, there is access to God’s many gifts.

Abundance – The Lord concludes by saying that He came so that we might have life more abundantly. This is the fundamental purpose of all he did. Abundant life is really what is meant by eternal life. Eternal does not refer merely to the length of life, but even more so its fullness. And while we will not enjoy this fully until Heaven, it does begin now. We, through Christ our good shepherd, gradually become more fully alive. I am more than fifty years old and my body in some physical sense is less alive, but my soul is more alive than ever! I have more joy, more confidence, more peace, and more contentment. There are many sins with which I now struggle less. I have a greater capacity to love and to forgive. The Lord has granted this by giving me access to His grace and His pasture, and feeding me there. I am more abundantly alive today than I ever was in my twenties. Yes, the Lord came that we might have life more abundantly; I am a witness of this. Eternal life has already begun in me and is growing day by day.

So, are you smarter than a sheep? If you are, then run to Jesus. Flee every other voice. Enter the sheepfold and let Him give you life.

About Beckita

Beckita, widow, mother and grandmother, lives in Missoula, Montana. After more than thirty years of service, she retired from two careers: elementary school educator and director of liturgical music ministry in a local parish. Serving the Catholic Church in many capacities since early childhood, she now provides care for a nearly 90 year old priest of Chinese origin and collaborates with him in evangelizing the Chinese people. For more than twenty-five years, she has welcomed words from heaven concerning these sobering times in which we live and, like so many, takes seriously Our Lord and Our Lady’s call to intercede for the return of souls to God. Responding to heaven’s call for prayer, for her, included making pilgrimages to shrines in Europe, Asia and South America. She says these travels, added to her years as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa in the mid-seventies, have expanded her heart to hold dear all peoples of the world. She is a longtime member of TNRS community and when she began reading Charlie’s posts, immediately, she found that his mission and message harmonize well with Church approved private revelation of our times. In September 2015, she accepted an invitation to become part of TNRS Answers Team. As events of the Storm evolved, last fall (2016), she accepted Charlie’s invitation to become managing editor of TNRS should he need to leave the site. With great gratitude to and for Charlie, founder of TNRS, and with great respect and admiration for the lifelong experiences and God-given gifts he brought to bear on his work at this site - she knows we all know he’s irreplaceable – still, she considers it a great privilege to serve the TNRS community.
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130 Responses to Life in Abundance, Hope for the Weary

  1. Beckita says:

    Life in Abundance:

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Jeff Kulik says:

    Beckita. A surprise came to me as I read your post today. I took a walk in the late afternoon with sun shining and a beautiful light wind. As I was passing a car parked on the street I saw a bumper sticker that I had never seen before: “EXPECT MIRACLES”
    I thought to myself why not.?During the days Christ was with us miracles were in abundance. Even in the early church they were plentiful. Is it our faith in Him that hasweakened thus we are blind to them? Your blog today included a sentence or two about expecting miracles. What a coincidence or maybe not?
    Thank you for sending some links to other TRNS groups and people.I look forward to hearing back from them so I can deepen my faith in God.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Beckita says:

      Amazing, Jeff: EXPECT MIRACLES. I hear a God whisper. I’m surely with you on, “Why not?” because “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:52) Perhaps we’re not so much blind as not expecting with great faith anymore.

      Jeff, not sure how much of what’s here that you’ve had a chance to read and investigate but in light of miracles and the difficulties of these times, you won’t want to miss the Prayer of Miraculous Trust which was given to Charlie by Archangel Gabriel. You can find it here. Glad you’re with us. God bless you and all of us.

      Liked by 9 people

  3. Mary W says:

    Thank you ever so much dear Beckita for the uplifting post and tender musical rendition of : I Know That My Redeemer Lives. With that I lay my head down for a peaceful sleep. Be embraced.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. LisasMania7 says:

    “Wounded healers”

    Liked by 5 people

  5. sodakrancher says:

    Hello Beckita and everyone . ive been trying to peek in here when I can and read some . Busy time of the year here. I also read Johnette Benkovich’s website some also ( which is where I first heard of this site and Charlie ) anyhow I saw this on her site and thought you might find it interesting . or perhaps you have seen it ,but anyhow I thought id share it here . I include all here in my intentions each day while saying the rosary . God bless you

    http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=58576

    Liked by 10 people

    • Beckita says:

      Thanks for this story and your prayers, sodakrancher.

      Liked by 7 people

    • singingjuls says:

      Wow sodakrancher, that is awe inspiring! To see that the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be at the UN. I pray for Johnette and all the speakers at this event, and that all who hear/watch it will be open to God’s message through them. Pray for us O Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

      Liked by 6 people

      • sodakrancher says:

        Yes I agree I pray for her also . Ive never been a big fan of the UN but it was inspiring to me that they even acknowledged our Lady and Fatima . Certainly a positive and inspiring event .

        Liked by 6 people

  6. Bonnie C says:

    Something kindof weird happened today at Mass. I went to Communion and the Eucharistic Minister looked just like Charlie! He is older than Charlie but the smile, the hair, the glasses, a twinkle in the eyes and even the voice!

    My mom passed away near a month ago – 4 weeks ago – just after midnight of what would have been my dad’s 90th birthday. Apparently didn’t want to do that to us “kids” (what she called us). It was a VERY long day and really a very long and difficult year, plus. Guilty relief filled in for grief until the past few days actually tearfully missing her. The empty chair at my granddaughters birthday dinner… All of the impulses to go check on her, prepare her and/or bring her meals, time for medicine, etc…The worry, the responsibility, so much. There have been, and continue to be signal graces and wonderful reassurances. But to kindof “see” Charlie today and feel his presence was just amazing. We have never met, but as most of us, I feel like I have and that I know him.

    Hope he follows Bekita. You are a wonderful and beautiful writer. I have been absent for a while, but still want to end with Crew Dog’s. GOD BLESS ALL HERE!

    Liked by 11 people

  7. Karen says:

    I have just watched a youtube version of ‘Unbridled Mercy’ – the closing words are “Come, all you who are weary… Come to your Jesus of Mercy… I await you.”
    The fifth wave of Novena prayers making its way around our world today carries within it my ardent desire that souls seek, and hearts be softened to accept, this wondrous, healing Mercy!

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Doug says:

    “I am more than fifty years old and my body in some physical sense is less alive, but my soul is more alive than ever! I have more joy, more confidence, more peace, and more contentment. There are many sins with which I now struggle less. I have a greater capacity to love and to forgive. The Lord has granted this by giving me access to His grace and His pasture, and feeding me there. I am more abundantly alive today than I ever was in my twenties. Yes, the Lord came that we might have life more abundantly; I am a witness of this. Eternal life has already begun in me and is growing day by day.”

    That really resonates with me Beck’s. Been through many trials, but there is a sense of grace in them all. God bless you!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Beckita says:

      You sure have, Doug, and none of its redemptive value has been wasted. We can see that many are we NRSteppers who are experiencing such a reality in our personal storms. When I consider the too many who have not yet chosen God, I think God places each of us who have chosen Him in the winepress to extract every bit of grace possible to bring graces to those who are captive to the world that they may be set free.

      Liked by 6 people

    • “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” — Psalm 62:5

      Continuing to pray for all here, particularly over this past weekend as I pondered weariness and Grace as expressed by so many here. It is indeed a hopeful thing that many can relate to the quote Doug re-shared above.

      I’ll admit that weariness had a slight edge on the way out to the sticks on Saturday. Flipping around on the radio, I came upon the running of the Kentucky Derby which is interesting… but a bit too much pomp and fuss for my tastes. Later, I witnessed this horse family while I was fishing on the river:

      http://sweetwaterhaven.com/spiritual_adventures_video_19.html

      By contrast, I could say that imagery really resonated. Things hoped for.

      Ran this morning and passed through several stables. Saw a good many horses getting exercise on walkers with the blinders on. A good workout, but around and around they went. Kinda brought me back around to pondering weariness again.

      Finally rounded the bend and caught sight of good ‘ole Tony in the pen. Tony was standing on the far side. In spite of the distance and blinders, his nose and ears twitched in my direction. I was padding along like a mouse at that point, but he was already heading my way, tail swishing, and a sudden prancing youthfulness to his gait. At the same time I reached the fence, his head popped right over to enthusiastically muzzle my arm. Good ‘ole Tony. An NRS’er if ever I saw one… even if just a horse.

      And Hope comes rushing back in to steady the weary.

      God Bless,
      MP

      Liked by 10 people

      • singingjuls says:

        May God bless you, MP! Hang in there! I will pray to the Holy Spirit for strength and endurance for you. Keep ‘running the race!’

        Liked by 5 people

      • Doug says:

        When I became Catholic MP, I sensed that growth would come from being in the desert when I was on a trip to Medjugorje the summer of the same year I was confirmed at age 30. I went when the war had just started and the whole town was empty of tourists.

        The words of St. Catherine of Siena continue to echo with me, “love must be tested”. So you get to experience the desert in a very real way and convey the testing of love with all its imagery. Matthew 11:28 “come to me all who are weak and weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Very much liked your video link of the horses, Michael. Then I found your blog entry, dated from this time last year, Remnant Band.

        http://sweetwaterhaven.com/blog_052816.html

        Well written and evocative – it reminded me of many similar walks that I took in the woods and forests of Betws-y-coed in North Wales, several decades ago now. Watching bands of buzzards and hawks circling over the valleys, waiting for the splash of the salmon leaping out of the lakes. Local fishermen would tell me that the salmon were leaping due to their joy at being in the fresh water once again!

        Short video showing some of the area that I was blessed enough to live in for two months;

        Liked by 7 people

        • Snowy Owl says:

          Beautiful, Dr.D, God is so amazing, His creation never ceases to amaze me!

          Liked by 4 people

          • Isn’t that true, Snowy. “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

            Liked by 4 people

        • Glad you appreciated the video, DrDave, and I’m glad to have happened upon that scene at that moment. I’ll add that I think the colt was chuckling at me as he ran by. Just look at how they run on the river, with nothing but slippery river rock under their hooves. I had just crossed the river there –– like a snail –– slipping, sliding and taking an unplanned swim.

          The streams and salmon fishing in North Wales are legendary. Thanks for sharing the scenery. I salmon fished streams like that in Alaska and can second that the fish were jumping for joy. Maybe the best part was flipping the smaller ones to the opposite bank where the bald eagles congregated. Oh, they didn’t need my help, but it was something to see them launch and grab it out of the air with their talons. Sad to see so many in the world taking it all for granted.

          Interesting, but I didn’t make the connection to “Remnant Band.” But there it is, crows and all.

          God Bless,
          MP

          Liked by 5 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            MP, I love the way you think and how you see things, it’s so peaceful and refreshing, such a gift for me and for all of us here!! 🏜
            I hope this comment is in the right place – these long comment trains befuddle me.

            Liked by 2 people

      • Snowy Owl says:

        MP, after reading your comment, I opened “Only Jesus,” by Abp. Martinez… and read this- and knew instantly this was for you! God’s timing is impeccable!
        “All abodes of love are very secret: the Tabernacle, the bosom of the Father. Even on Calvary, where love seems to be seems to be shown in all its splendor, there also it is hidden- hidden, perhaps, as in no place else, hidden under a sea of pain and ignominy. Love is hidden and when God calls a soul to the delights of His love, He calls her to silence, to solitude, to secrecy. He hides her, He hides her in His Face, He hides her in His Christ, He hides her in His Beloved. It is but love’s stratagem thus to lead her out into the wilderness, says the Lord in Osee.” (Osee 2:14)

        Liked by 4 people

        • Beckita says:

          Beautiful, Snowy. Love Conchita and her spiritual director, Archbishop Martinez

          Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Beckita, Conchita? As in Garabandal? I did not know this!
            Hmm… Beckita-Conchita banana🍌🍌 fofana… feefifofanna…🍌bananaaaaa!🤗😋

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            Hahaha, Snowy! Conchita as in the Venerable Concepción Cabrera de Armida of Mexico. I have read every work of hers which has been translated to English. Her Mother’s Diary was the first volume for me. She, too, has been a mother, mentor and friend for a long while. Her writings are often recommended as a foundation for embracing living in the Divine Will. Through her, Jesus introduced a deeper union than mystical marriage. He spoke of mystical incarnation and the Archbishop Martinez guided Conchita based on the revelations given her by Our Lord. We are entering some incredible mysteries, as even now, we live the dawn of the New Era of Peace and Glory. As we contemplate, we continue with all the next right steps before us. I am so happy to associate with such good and dear friends… among the many, make that Beckita, Conchita, Akita, and all TNRSers! God bless each of us and our families as we continue to novena together in these days.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Doug says:

            Amen!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            O my gosh, Beckita, haha! I just looked her up and I’m so excited! When I can, I am going to order a few of the books I found! I feel like I’ve died and gone to Heaven!
            So funny! Beckita Conchita Akita! Hahaha 😍😅😇

            Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            Snowy, I just found Conchita’s A Mother’s Spiritual Diary online: http://www.apcross.org/conchita/diary.htm

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Thank you! It looks wonderful, I can’t wait to read this! I have read several of his books but I had never heard of Conchita!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Ha! Love it Snowy!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Yeah…I am exceeding dense at times lol!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Doug says:

            Naaah….. Trusting like a child, giving benefit of doubt to folks. Good quality to have.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Where’s my Bing? I forgot the ly and I need my Bing!!! 😎

            Liked by 2 people

          • Beckita says:

            You get a Twin Bing, Snowy! Check out the city of production on these yummy sweet treats. My childhood hometown. Charlie can have his cherry coke any day of the week. I’m stickin’ with Twin Bings but they’re nowhere to be found around this neck of the woods. Can you imagine my surprise when I found Jolly Time Popcorn, another place of birth product, on the shelves of a grocery store in the capital city of Liberia, West Africa?

            Oops! Forgot your Bings image, Snowy. Here you go:

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Wow! All good things come to those who wait! 😍

            Liked by 3 people

        • Snowy, I answered you silently when I smiled at some birds this morning, but Biscuitnita suggests I use more ’emojis’ where appropriate. [I can’t quite find the right emoji, so please imagine my smiling face here.]

          You would really get along with my younger brother the Monk. Although I’ve patched a few birds up over the years, he’s rescued and rehabilitated enough critters to fill up a park. At present, he’s working on becoming a Deacon like Doug, then studying for the Priesthood. They could also relate when it comes to suffering.

          Some good news on the front. He always wanted to attend Notre Dame, but didn’t get the chance. Now, he’s going to be getting his Master’s in Theology there, at no charge. Apparently they foot the bill if you’re studying for the Priesthood. God is good.

          Maybe he’ll run across some of the descendants of the critters he saved in our childhood when he’s there. I know this for sure: he’s going to make a good Confessor.

          Liked by 5 people

          • Beckita says:

            You’re a smile-joy bringer, MP. Prayers for your family monk and all God’s plans for him.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Mp, I hope my comment didn’t bother you… and I also hope this one gets through because I can’t see what I’m typing until 2 minutes later lol- some weird IP vs WP problem. So basically as I type it stays blank! Anyway, I didn’t really understand the emoji thing unless I completely misunderstood something in the comment I was posting to? If i did, I’m sorry! par for the course with me 😲… and I find online communication next to impossible…so smile away! 😊😄😁😊 and ignore me if I say weird things that don’t fit 🤔.
            A Monk in the family who also rescues animals, yep, I’d love him! He sounds amazing. I’ll pray all goes well as he studies to become a Priest- what a blessing to have a Priest in your family, wow! God is amazing!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Not at all, Snowy. I thought it was graceful. Just tying in the silent, hidden smile from afar (Hosea)… but guess I let the cat out of the bag when I said it. Rather, like a bunch of little treasures that I empty out of my pockets (having collected them on a wilderness trek), I beam at the little pile. Of course no one has the slightest idea what that collection represents, unless they happened to be there… or can connect the dots. Yeah, that’s kinda weird I suppose, but just imagine all the hidden smiles, prayers and other good will that’s just waiting for us in Heaven.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Mick says:

            MP, thanks for the update on Brother Gideon. Last I remember, he was discerning whether to study for the priesthood. I’m glad to hear that he’s moving in that direction, and that his Domer dream will be coming true. Prayers for you and your brother. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Doug says:

            MP, congratulations on your brother. When I first read monk, I thought you were saying your brother was like Monk on the TV show (I like that show). That’s what I get for reading too fast before work and missing details. Your posts are pretty meaty and I often go back and read again and pick up more details and nuggets. It’s like sifting sand. First, you do a coarse sift to get the big rocks out and then you use a smaller mesh and sift again to get the fine sand out. If I get accepted, I will have to take online courses at Notradame. I would wish to do it in person. It would be nice to meet your brother. You may not have a good emoji, but I bet you can come up with a good meme. Fatima blessings to you!

            Liked by 1 person

      • naisy says:

        I keep watching this video over & over. I love the horse family protective interaction going on, so cool. And how do they stay upright on those slippery rocks? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi, Naisy. I thought that interaction was really interesting too, particularly with the mare and her colt. I think the advantage they have on the river is an extra pair of legs for starters. It sure is wondrous how God designed His creatures. Maybe I’ll call that colt, Risas.

          Liked by 3 people

    • singingjuls says:

      Ditto, Doug!

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Phillip Frank says:

    “Are you weary as the Storm continues to darken our days? Take heart! For Jesus says:

    “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

    As part of my increasing cross due to the storm, my cousin Mark Smythe (who is part of the music group I perform with every week here in Florida) has been reprimanded as teacher of history and religion at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala, FL. The controversy arose because he introduced a letter written by St John Bosco to his students about Mohammed and his teachings on Islam. The letter was taken by one of the students parents and given to a Muslim activist in Ocala who promptly sent it to the Huffington Post where the firestorm commenced. I was told it has gone world-wide now and EWTN covered it recently on one of their talk shows (not sure which one) as well as multiple online news sites and blogs.
    One is here:
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/fl-teacher-may-lose-his-job-over-writings-of-st.-john-bosco

    A Google search of his name and school brings up multiple articles, both pro and con.

    I ask that you pray for a positive outcome with this for him and his young family as his job is on the line and with this “politically correct” controversy laying over him re-employment as a teacher will be very difficult if not impossible.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Beckita says:

      How awful and unjust, Phil! Absolutely will be keeping Mark in prayer for the positive outcome which exonerates him and preserves his job.

      Thanks for the link, Phil, which provides info on further links to supporting Mark in practical ways.

      Liked by 6 people

    • audiemarie2014 says:

      Phil, since I can’t “like” your post, just wanted to let you know that I’ll pray for Mark. That is terrible what has happened to your cousin. God bless you, your family and Mark and his family.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Doug says:

      Philip, my brother just bought a house in Ocala and moved there last month. Prayers for your friend.

      Liked by 5 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Dear Lord, Phillip. I will keep Mark in my prayers. ❤

      Liked by 5 people

    • singingjuls says:

      Phillip, will definitely keep Mark in prayer. I will pray my rosary for him tonight for a good resolution for him and his family.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Phillip, I thought of you and your friend Mark while reading this today, there are many here now, and everywhere suffering, and there will be many more of us suffering unjustly for sake of the Kingdom.This gave me great comfort today along with what Beckita posted. Mark is greatly blessed as are all who suffer for love of Jesus! 💜
      Jesus to Saint Faustina: “Do not be surprised that you are sometimes unjustly accused. I myself first drank this cup of undeserved suffering for love of you. (289). When I was before Herod, I obtained a grace for you, that you would be able to rise above human scorn and follow faithfully in my footsteps.
      Do not be afraid of suffering, I am with you. The more you will come to love suffering, the purer your love for Me will be.
      I permit these adversities in order to increase his merit. I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake.
      Know that whatever good you do for any soul, I accept it as if you had done it to Me.” Look at the good he did for each soul in his class… the seeds he planted! God bless him!
      And I read this from Abp.Luis Martinez today as well: “Just as the ocean, its surface is stirred up by the winds and agitated by the fury of the tempest, always preserves in its depths the majesty of peace, so the soul that has attained intimacy with God is subject on the surface to all of life’s miseries, to all the vicissitudes of human affairs, but in its depths, in the sanctuary of its union with God, the divine majesty of peace is preserved changeless and intact. Divine union tolerates only one change: constant progress while life lasts.”
      When I read these gems, I wonder why we worry at all! We are so very protected and loved! Praying for all here 🙂 love you guys!

      Liked by 8 people

      • Beckita says:

        Beauty, Grace and Truth abound in your sharing, Snowy. Thank you.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Snowy Owl says:

        Oops, sorry Phillip, your cousin! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Phillip Frank says:

          Not surprisingly Snowy when Mark asked what the “current” teachings of the Catholic church were about “Islam”, he was told that there are none! Stands to reason that is because the churches teaching about Islam hasn’t changed at all- but that our dealings with them has.
          But Mark wasn’t dealing with Muslims in a interreligious setting, he was teaching what the church STILL says/teaches about Islam to Catholic students in a Catholic PRIVATE school classroom! That this was taken outside the classroom, given to a Muslim activist and forwarded to a liberal outlet like The Huffington Post who then not only spun it into a one-sided issue, but even said some out right lies like that the Post Vatican church “modernized” and “liberalized” its teachings!
          Mark isn’t a Vatican envoy or an ecumenical agent for the church- he’s a HISTORY teacher!
          The church has always taught us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. But there is another side to that coin and it is to defend our faith at all cost!
          The new dialogue risks giving these other faiths “equal billing” which can lead some, especially our children, to the assumption that they are similar to us and so why can’t we just switch over if one wants to? That was the whole purpose of John Bosco’s letter in the first place, to out line the main differences, (to street- hardened boys in the vernacular they understood) of the errors and dangers to their souls the other religions taught.
          It is also untrue that the students where upset about the assignment. They love Mark as he is a good and kind person and the kids trust him and his teaching as many of the parents and faculty of the school will attest. It is also a unfortunate reality that children today are as “street hardened” as the boys of John Bosco’s time where, maybe even more so. To say that the type of descriptions John Bosco used in his letter was unsettling was a ploy to play on the sentiments of the Huffington Post reader the idea that these children where “upset” by the classwork. Again, this was a total fabrication but I noticed it was picked up by other commentaries as a prominent point pushed home as a type of child abuse issue.
          The fact that this has been stretched into so many different factions is so typical of ‘ole scratch as he who divides. This “dividing” reality hit close to home for us as well as we where in the middle of recording or album dedicated to Mother Mary to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima when this controversy came about. Mark an I had been talking about the enemy and that he would be furious about us working for Our Lady even before this firestorm broke.
          Good sign what we are doing is on the right track!

          Liked by 4 people

    • Mick says:

      Prayers for Mark and his family, Phillip.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bill says:

    Phillip, thank you for sharing the persecution of your cousin, Mark. Yes, persecution comes from within as well as from outside the church. Jesus and Mary are with him.

    Beckita this is a truly wonderful post that I will print. Great guidance from Msgr. Pope as well as you especially your paragraph that begins “He came to redeem ……. Really awesome and reassuring.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I heard the story on EWTN and was aghast and now see how this is related to TNRS. The storm is crashing against the barque of Peter and some are getting swept overboard.

    It’s so interesting how St. John Bosco was at the heart of this controversy involving Phillip’s cousin. The Lord gave St. John a vision of the future Church. In his vision, he saw a Slavic Pope at the helm of the Barque of Peter and he secured the ship from ruin by lashing it to the two great pillars of the Holy Eucharistic and the Virgin Mary. There is a painting of this vision (maybe someone can post it for me) which truly depicts the times through which we are living. I believe the Pope in the vision is Pope St. John Paul. And I also find it interesting that the image of Our Lady in the painting looks alot like Our Lady of Fatima. I was privileged to experience the love of St. John Bosco, our beloved Pope AND Our Lady of Fatima when I went to Poland last year.

    These saints are certainly praying together in Heaven for us. It is my prayer that many will lash themselves to the mast of the Church (the cross of Christ) and hold on as the fury of the enemies of faith expend and exhaust themselves against the one thing that will endure ’til Christ’s return, the Church. We have the Saviour’s promise and He is faithful. The two pillars of the Eucharistic and of Mother Mary will not fail.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Karen says:

    Beckita, the following information is off-topic but perhaps relevant to our current Novena – I leave it with you to decide to allow it or not:)
    Here is an invitation to each TNRStepper reading right now – easy, important, some would say urgent – I am copying straight from the web site: http://www.crownmary.com/ You are invited to sign the petition when you visit the page.
    “Ave Maria! ~ It’s here my friends, in Mary’s month of May and on the 100th Anniversary of Fatima.
    We are asking you sign a very important petition to the Holy Father. This is perhaps one of the biggest petitions you may ever sign in your life. If the end result is achieved through our signatures, then it will change the history of the Church and the world forever because of the historic graces that will come upon the earth from heaven through Mary’s intercession.
    We will be sending your petition to the Holy Father, along with the over 8 million other petitions previously gathered, asking Pope Francis to make formal proclamation by publicly declaring Mary’s unique role in working with Jesus in the salvation of the human race and on her intimate relationship with us as our Mother and Advocate in heaven. (Please see the intro video for more details)
    It was through Mary that Jesus came into the world. It was through Mary’s intercession at Cana that brought about Jesus’ first public miracle. It was through Mary’s intercession that the first Pentecost came about, and of course a New Pentecost for the world, will once again happen through Mary.
    The world desperately needs an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to come upon the earth and to restore it back to God again. On this 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima, let us together petition our Holy Father and be an instrument in bringing this historic event. Now is the time.
    Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said “Together we can do something beautiful for God.” and in this case when you sign the petition, it will be “together with her” because she already signed it. You can see a copy of her letter below (on the listed web site – Karen). Mother Angelica also signed it, as well as numerous Cardinals and Bishops from all over the world along with the millions of others who have already signed this petition, including a canonized saint. This is your chance to stand together with all of these voices and to Crown Mary with your petition to Pope Francis. Together let’s “do something beautiful for God”. Sign the petition online today and then share it everyone you know. Share it with the world! Now is the time. May Jesus and Mary bless you abundantly for your generosity! I believe they will.”

    Liked by 4 people

  13. billbad42 says:

    Msgr. Pope’s line “As to these false shepherds, remember that not one of them ever died for you; only Jesus did that.” was so powerful … Before your post referencing his blog, I think I could have easily said I was smarter than a sheep…. today I pray that I am! LOL…

    And to take it beyond just that point even, I have caught myself lately thinking that as long as I am smarter than “that sheep over there” I am good (which is me comparing myself to others, just to get past that “cut-off” point for salvation, right?). Very Pharisee-esque in a sense I think. See, this TNRS site and all of the so-so rich information and Sherpa-like tools it provides is such a blessing, but only so if I keep it in the context in the first line… “…remember that not one of them ever died for you; only Jesus did that.” Thank you all for helping me keep my ears open to His voice only, and cowering from those multitude of other voices!

    I look forward to your posts Beckita, I do. I love when you reference or mention things such as Nineveh 90, The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity by Daniel O’Connor, Fr. Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory, or the World Apostolate of Fatima (oh my how I have an appetite for our Mother Mary and her messages in her apparitions!), to name a few… These sources of faith fill my day with much needed food and ammunition! I am addicted to put it lightly… Like Msgr. Pope in saying as he’s ripened with age so has his faith grown… I feel that too, so I do catch and check myself in how I allow it to effect and hopefully work through and permeate my very being to help others…. Prior to finding this awesome community, even just 10 years ago, I would be ready to share and defend my faith, but it would not be in a way that anyone even remotely listening (let alone those who disagreed with it) would listen to for long… I’d turn them off to the faith, I know it. I pray today that those who may have crossed my path back then, including family and those close, will come across the path of a much more polished Sherpa than I was then, or if it be me, that I be more eloquent in my speech and sincere in my caring…

    Beckita and my awesome brothers and sisters here, thank you for helping me for the last 6 or 7 months. I know our journey is not over, and I look forward to every post and comment ever to be posted, posted, or to be posted. I find it all rich and flavorful – you help me recognize and remember His voice! God bless!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Beckita says:

      Beautiful, Bill. I think we’ve all gazed upon the Pharisee in the mirror in each of our personal journeys for no one is immune from a fallen nature. Blessed are we to be journeying together!

      Liked by 6 people

    • I think your third paragraph provides some good points for further discussion, bb42. Charlie had much to say on these matters, and I would be very interested to hear what others have to say. Most here appear to be Catholic, deeply steeped in the Teachings, Traditions, Devotions, etc… I’ll even add “culture.” Specifically, I’m not so interested in the ‘circling the wagons’ angle/experiences, as I am in the “go forth” part. The actual sherpa’ing part where we encounter all manner of people, many who don’t know their right foot from their left. Again, I think this would be an excellent discussion.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Beckita says:

        Great idea, MP. Right with you on ‘going forth” with whatever possibilities, nudges, whispers the Lord places in each one’s life, building on what unites us as each one continues to honor the foundation of faith which brings us to extend ourselves in the loving and honoring of the other person and his/hers journey. So the going forth, to me, is very much about the ordinary moments in life in which we build each other up, not tear one another down… beginning with those in our own homes and extending to each and every one we encounter in a day. As Jesus said, it’s easy with those who love us in return. It’s, sometimes, a true challenge when the other is so wounded the exterior barks, all the while that person is craving love. So we do well to see rejection in those moments not so much as a personal rejection but an expression of pain. All of this, I have perceived, is why next right steps are comprised of profound simplicity and exude the Light of HOPE. Something as simple as a smile produces joy within and beams rays of hope to all who are near and can see it and, thus, receive it. And, too, being ready to serve in whatever capacity is needed in the moment, I do believe, keeps us acknowledging God that we may hear the whisper which drives the next right step, moment tomoment, day by day.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Yes, I think that’s a good summation of what Charlie had to say, though he might have used an “I reckon” once or twice. Surely none of us want to come off like a Huffy McGruff. So much pain out there as it is. Interesting that you referenced that particular Jesus saying as I’ve found the need to gently quote that frequently as of late. Speaking of the ordinary moments, Doug and I were just talking about St. Catherine of Siena. My other go-to is The Little Flower. I mighta’ thought that some yellow rose petals would be nice along the way, but I don’t dwell on such things. Coming home today, I happened to pull up behind a yellow VW bug with this plate: LILFLWR. Do you suppose those two were having a good chuckle?

          Liked by 4 people

          • Beckita says:

            Been resting today, fending off some kind of bug, and pondering these thoughts from the morning. Yes, it’s a summation of many things Charlie had to say which overlay, in convergence and harmony, with a lifetime work of educating children in addition to honing the simple ways of faith with fellow trekkers on the way.

            That work of encompassing and nurturing a community of kids who walked through the door from a wide range of family backgrounds with all manner of varying strengths and challenges was an experience both exciting and difficult. The core of CJs message here was the heart of the work in the classroom as well. Grateful, still, for fellow sojourners such as TNRS community as we make our way forward.

            Love the bumper sticker report. The Little Flower lived TNRS to the max of simplicity.

            Rising each morning with the attitude of a beginner is one way fostered in childhood that serves well in living next right steps.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Doug says:

            I did a St. Theresa novena once. It took a couple of years to answer my prayer, but it occurred in a very miraculous way. I have not read her writings yet Scooter. I’ll have to do that some time.

            Going through a difficult crisis with my son who is 24 now. I prayed for something I could pray for the long haul to help him and the very next day, from an unlikely source, I received the St. Bridget 12 year prayer. So the answer to my prayer was a prayer. Kinda like seeing a special license plate. Most likely, the average Joe would not understand. Anyway, there are 5 graces or promises associated with the prayer and it takes 10 minutes a day to pray. I think it is a small price to pay if God brings my son back to him.

            Only thing with St. Catherine is I wish she learned how to break up her thoughts more in each paragraph. She is like a fire hose in the face gushing out wisdom. I have to turn the nozzle down a bit to absorb it. I love the depth.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Beckita says:

            Your dear son remains in this novena and my daily prayers, Doug.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Thank you dear Beckita as does your daughter and SIL remains in our prayers!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Beckita says:

            Thanks so much, Doug. Prayer changes everything!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Yes indeed!

            Liked by 1 person

          • You’re right about St. Catherine, Beans. Like watching those horses run effortlessly on the river while you creep along like a snail and it’s all you can do to stay upright in place. Plooooooch! Oh, you struggle to get your feet under you, flail some more, then finally go with the flow as you’re carried downriver. I finally came to rest on a shallow, sandy patch, so just enjoyed that little spot for a bit. I joked that the colt might have been chuckling. He looked back briefly and nickered to his mom. Maybe he was asking her if I was ever going to get the hang of it. “Nope,” said his ma, “he’s not a horse.” True enough, but I do know a thing or two about fishing. Learned that from my Dad.

            You’re a good dad with a sturdy hand, Doug, and there are other sets of outstretched hands all over the place. Maybe we’ll all go fishing one day. Definitely we’ll sit together at the river, and our sons can swap stories, praising the Father for His mighty, unfailing Love. Still, no “Kumbaya” though. I draw the line at “Kumbaya.” Unless, of course, you have your heart set on it. In which case, just this once.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Doug says:

            Ha! I did not grow up in any church and, thus, never heard Kumbaya until I was an adult and almost Catholic at age 30 which made this all new and not over played for me and I like the song still; really which may be difficult to hold back of which I can go for a deep dive into St. Catherine of Siena and must be careful though because it would be hard to swim and easy to drown, but anyway, I can picture a couple of old western Cowboys sitting around a desert camp fire with the milky way streaking across the sky and coyotes yelping in the background and we would have enthralled grand kids listening to us tell stories on how it was like surviving the storm. 😎

            Liked by 4 people

  14. Kris R. says:

    I have nothing profound or interesting to say but I want to let you all know how much wisdom and comfort I get from reading all your comments. Sometimes it is several days before I am able to check in here. I am always a bit surprised at how connected I once again feel to each person as I read. What a nice NRS family we have. Look at what you started, Charlie. Thanks.

    Liked by 6 people

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