Archive for May, 2011

REFLECTION: According to your faith let it be done to you…

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

“According to your faith let it be done to you.”

According to my what?!?  My faith?  What does my faith have to do with what happens to me?  Faith in what?  Faith in whom?  Faith in myself or faith in another?  Is something bad supposed to happen to me?

What thoughts came to mind when you read “According to your faith let it be done to you.”?  Would you care to discover the context in which this sentence was spoken?  Let me take you to Matthew 9:27-31

“And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”  When he entered the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened.  And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.”  But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.”

As they sat to one side begging for alms, the two blind men must have overheard the exhilarating joy that came out of the woman who had touched Jesus’ garment and who was instantaneously healed from a hemorrhage she had suffered from for twelve years.  (Matt 9: 20-22)  They must have also heard the news of the ruler’s young daughter who was brought back to life. (Matt 9: 18-19; 23-26)  Word had gotten around that it was this man named Jesus who was performing all these miracles.  Was he like King Solomon, the son of David, who God had empowered to exorcize demons?  Was this man the long awaited “Davidic Messiah”? (Matt 12:23 commentary of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)   The two heard the trampling of feet approaching from all directions and they sensed the excitement in the air.  That man named Jesus must be near to draw in a crowd like that and so they cried out…”Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Have you called out to Jesus, the Son of God, and received some form of healing?  Has another called out to Him, on your behalf, so you would be healed?  Has a heavy weight been lifted from your shoulders as you decided to offer your troubles to Him?  Have you experienced a deep joy and/or an inner peace which permeated your very being and have since been able to rest?  Have you experienced the warm arms of love embracing you and a comfort which you have never tasted before?

What have you done with the miracle you’ve received?  Did you run out and share the news as the now sighted men did or did you keep the victory to yourself?  Jesus didn’t warn you not to spread the news as he did with the former blind men.  He had specifically instructed them not to share the news so that He could carry on His public work without being constantly stopped by those asking to be healed.  And yet, the word spread because the people could not keep the excitement and joy to themselves.  They had a zeal to share this joy with others and perhaps they wanted others to experience the same … and Jesus healed… because they believed.  What have you done with your miracle?

The ailments and suffering experienced today are just as rampant as it was in Jesus’ time, if not more.  And yet, why have we not heard of many who have been healed by the loving touch of Jesus?  Is it because Jesus has stopped performing miracles?  I don’t think so.  I believe it is because many are too ashamed to admit that they have problems and many would prefer to keep their circumstances private less others look down on them.  And yet, Jesus continues to heal. Others are ashamed to mention the name of Jesus in public places less they are shunned by those who do not think it politically correct to mention God’s name, let alone believe in Him.  And yet, Jesus continues to heal. How will those who are struggling and suffering in this world know that Jesus heals if no one dares to speak up?

In spite of what society has dictated, some have run with the news and shared it with others …  and that is why Jesus continues to heal.  These few have dared to share their faith because they “hear” the silent cry of others and they recognize the pain in the eyes of their peers.   It’s a scary world out there and we need each other and yet, many are afraid to reach out because we choose, instead, to conform to society.

1 Peter 3: 15 teaches…

“… Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” There may not be another visibly attacking your faith, but there is one, the Father’s arch enemy called the devil, who is working behind the scenes, doing his best to keep ALL from receiving the Father’s healing touch.  We may not see his hand, but let us not be deceived that he is not present because he is invisible to our human eyes.  His presence in this world is clearly evident to those whose eyes have been “opened”.  Why have many been swayed to remain quiet rather than share their faith?  Why have many kept their healing a secret rather than share their miracle with the hope and faith that another would be healed because they shared?

Father, we ask for Your grace and Your courage to take a stand and to speak boldly, and yet in love, so that the rest of the world will know that there is One, Your Son Jesus, who is waiting to be invited and to heal.

God bless,

Melissa (May 31, 2011)

REFLECTION: So close and yet so far away?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

REFLECTION:  So close and yet so far away?

“So close and yet so far away”…  Have you been in the same vicinity of someone you cared for and yet, because of circumstances, you were unable to meet face to face?  For the one who is eager to meet the other, immense frustration and grief for the opportunity lost must come to the surface.

What would you do if it was you who could not be seen, heard or even touched?  What if you were right beside the very one you so dearly love and yet he/she failed to perceive your presence?

I wonder if these are the sentiments God feels with man.

In the Easy English version (http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm081-taw.htm) of  Psalm 81:8-16 we read…

“My people, hear me! You are near to danger.
Israel, I really want you to listen to me.
There should not be another god among you

and you certainly should not go down on your knees to another god.

I am the LORD your God.
I brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

But my people did not listen to my voice
and Israel did not obey me.
And so I let them follow their own ideas.

They did whatever they wanted to do.

I want my people to listen to me!
I want Israel to walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly beat all their enemies

and fight against all those that are angry with them.”

Here we have a monologue  of God with his beloved, but silent, Israel.  He watches as she walks towards the grasp of danger.  He calls out fervently and desperately and He reminds her to stay away from other gods.  He reminds her of how He successfully brought her out of the strongholds and bondages of Egypt.  He even asks her to open her mouth and he would fill it.  He tells her that if she walks in His ways, He will protect her and He will destroy her enemies.

But why is Israel ever so quiet?   Could she not hear God calling out to her in desparation and why does she fail to recognize the danger that is lurking before her?  Is she deaf and blind?  Is she delusional or in denial, such that she doesn’t recognize the danger that lies ahead?

The answer may not be be available here on planet earth, but would you consider for a moment whether you may be in a similar position.  Could God be calling out to you and yet you fail to sense His presence?  If you could, would you like to learn of ways to hear his voice and sense His presence?


Sing to God because you are so happy!
(Do this because) God makes us strong!
Shout aloud to the God of *Jacob.

v2 Start the music! Hit the *tambourine
and make beautiful sounds on the *harp and the *lyre.

v3 Start the New Moon *Festival with the sound of the *shofar.
Do it at the Full Moon (*Festival) also.

v4 For this is a rule for Israel,
something that the God of *Jacob said that we must do.

v5 He told it to *Joseph when he attacked the land of Egypt.
I heard a language that I did not understand.

v6 (It said) “I took the weight off his shoulders.
His hands did not have to carry a heavy basket (any more).

v7 When you had trouble, you called (to me) and I made you safe.
I gave you help from the centre of the storm.
I *tested you at the Waters of Meribah.     *SELAH



The people that hate the *LORD will be afraid of him
and this will happen for a long time.
But he would feed him (Israel) with the best *wheat

and I would give you (Israel) plenty of *honey from the rock.


strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre.
Sound
the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day

of our festival;
this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

Scripture encourages us to SING FOR JOY; SHOUT ALOUD; BEGIN THE MUSIC
In essence, Scripture is teaching us to make a lot of noise… not chaotic noise, but
organized, beautiful noise… and to do it with JOY. We are called to do this at the
new moon and when the moon is full and I take that as meaning ALL the time.

Lalith points out that God did not merely ask the Israelites (and us) to do it, but He
commands us. Many are probably already wondering why the Father would
command us to make
a lot of noise.  Notice that He is not commanding us to shout in
rage or to gossip
and bad mouth another, but to SING FOR JOY!  Lalith explained that
it is only when
we begin to sing for joy to God that we begin to focus on Him rather than
on ourselves
and our circumstances.  Lalith added that during the Old Testament time, there

weren’t corporate courses that trained individuals on time management and focusing skills.

Instead, God gave the Israelites His own version on focusing on Him.

Lalith was then very quick to ask if God is an egotistic God.

5 When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph.
I heard an unknown voice say:
6 “I removed the burden from their shoulders;
their hands were set free from the basket.
7 In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.[c]
8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!
9 You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.


Last Wednesday, many of us gathered at Our Lady of Mercy Parish to join
Lalith Perera (facilitator of 4 Steps Retreat) live on Skype.  Some of us travelled
a little further than others, knowing that the trip would be well worth it because
there would be much gained from the teaching.

Considering how difficult it is for me to sit still, I continue to venture out because
the Father has planted a deep hunger within me for Him.  To me, it is always so
exhilerating to learn a little more, as it gives me a greater insight and it draws
me a little more closer to the Lover of my soul.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.
13 “If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Graham Cooke.

REFLECTION in the Garden: When was the last time you examined your conscience?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011



Last night I had an opportunity to join many other women in a recollection with Fr. Soria of Opus Dei. I look forward to these monthly gatherings because Fr. Soria’s recollections are powerful, but to my surprise, I realized that it was the Examination of Conscience, in the midst of Fr. Soria’s talks, that impacted me the most.

During these recollections, a lady reads out a list of questions that guide each in an examination of conscience.  The questions are there to probe our thoughts and to guide each in determining if we have fallen short.  I am not surprised if it is Fr. Soria who pens these questions as they are ever so gentle, and yet they touch one’s inner most being.

Perhaps those who are not familiar with this practise may find it odd, but I find it so refreshing as it helps me weed out my short comings and they help me become a better person.  Perhaps I  enjoy the practise because I like to reflect, but I believe there is something greater that is achieved through it.

As I weeded in the garden this morning, it appears as if the Father had wanted to use the activity to expand on what He brought to my attention last night.  I initially worked on an open bed of soil that was densely covered with weeds and while at it, I heard the Father encourage me to focus on the ones that had began to seed.  Later on as I moved to the back yard, I began pulling out massive buttercup plants that had grown at the outskirts of the yard.  To my surprise, I noticed that today in particular, the massive plants had been quite easy to uproot.

As I began to ponder over things while my hands remained busy, the Father began to explain what was happening.  He stressed that just as in my garden, I had to regularly examine myself to ensure that my life would not be overgrown with weeds.  He stressed that at times, I had to focus on the areas that were exploding with seeds less my life be re-seeded with many more similar unhealthy traits and habits.

As I pondered further over the massive buttercup plants, the Father said…”Do you know why they were particularly easy to uproot today?  It is because the soil is still damp from the heavy rainfall from the day before.”  I began to slowly see that as we spend more time with Him, the Father pours His mercy and grace over us and our hearts become pliable and we are more willing and trusting to let go of the root problems in our lives.

When was the last time you examined your conscience?

God bless,

Melissa

p.s. –    Examination of Conscience from EWTN (http://www.ewtn.com/library/spirit/examcons.txt)

Faith

1)   Do I make an honest effort to grow in the virtue of faith by daily mental prayer on the mysteries of Jesus Christ?
2)  Do I make at least a short act of faith every day?
3)  Do I pray daily for an increase of faith?
4)  Do I ever tempt God by relying on my own strength to cope with the trials in my life?
5)  Do I unnecessariy read or listen to those who oppose or belittle what I know are truths of my Catholic faith?
6)  What have I done today to externally profess my faith?

7 ) Have I allowed human respect to keep me from giving expression to my faith?
8)  Do I make a serious effort to resolve difficulties that may arise about my faith?
9)  Do I ever defend my faith, prudently and charitably, when someone says  something contrary to what I know is to be believed?
10) Have I helped someone overcome a difficulty against the faith?

HOPE
1)   Do I immediately say a short prayer when I find myself getting discouraged?
2)   Do I daily say a short act of hope?
3)   Do I dwell on my worries instead of dismissing them from my mind?
4)   Do I fail in the virtue of hope by my attachment to the things of this world?
5)   Do I try to see God’s providence in everything that “happens” in my life?
6)   Do I try to see everything from the viewpoint of eternity?
7)   Am I confident that, with God’s grace, I will be saved?
8)   Do I allow myself to worry about my past life and thus weaken my hope in God’s mercy?
9)   Do I try to combine every fully deliberate action with at least a  momentary prayer for divine help?
10)  How often today have I complained, even internally?

CHARITY
1)   Have I told God today that I love Him?
2)   Do I tell Jesus that I love Him with my whole heart?
3)   Do I take the occasion to tell God that I love Him whenever I experience  something I naturally dislike?
4)   Have I capitalized on the difficulties today to tell God that I love Him just because He sent me the trial or misunderstanding?
5)   Do I see God’s love for me in allowing me to prove my love for Him in the crosses He sent me today?
6)   Have I seen God’s grace to prove my love for Him in every person whom I met today?
7)   Have I failed in charity by speaking unkindly about others?
8)   Have I dwelt on what I considered someone’s unkindness toward me today?
9)   Is there someone that I consciously avoid because I dislike the person?
10)   Did I try to carry on a conversation today with someone who is difficult to talk to?
11)   Have I been stubborn in asserting my own will?
12)  How thoughtful have I been today in doing some small favor for someone?
13)  Have I allowed my mood to prevent me from being thoughtful of others today?
14)  Am I given to dwelling on other people’s weaknesses or faults?
15)  Have I been cheerful today in my dealings with others?
16)  Do I control my uncharitable thoughts as soon as they arise in my mind?
17)  Did I pray for others today?
18)  Have I written any letters today?
19)  Have I controlled my emotions when someone irritated me?
20)  Have I performed any sacrifice today for someone?

REFLECTION: Will you discern BEFORE you speak?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

In our Bible study group discussion last week, I briefly commented on my bout with depression.  Encouraged to “come up to bat”, another woman had shared about her bout.  Immediately after that, the DVD on the week’s Bible study was turned on and so I thought the discussion on depression was over.  And yet, as if on cue, another had chosen to add his thoughts on the topic AFTER the DVD ended.  He mentioned that a relative shared that the cure for depression was to go for the Sacrament of Confession…

As I reflect on his words this morning, anger begins to rise within me.  Why?  In my eyes, it is because he spoke without truly discerning and much less with understanding.  In my mind’s eye, what he spoke very clearly indicated that he has not tasted the anguish of depression, let alone encouraged one who has struggled with it.  I have noticed that there are many who are quick to speak without really understanding where another has walked.  Perhaps without considering the trials another has just journeyed, the speaker unknowingly has forced the other to walk through another trial.

My intent is not to bash those who do not understand the ailment of depression, but instead, I ask for understanding and compassion before you choose to speak.  Depression is NOT a temporary feeling of gloom.  True clinical depression is long lived which often requires proper medication to lift.  Yes, the Father performs miracles for some, but there are often times when He gives the individual the grace to endure the temporary but horrible disease.

Through the several bouts I have lived through, I have gone to Confession several times and there were times when I had left more distraught than ever.  It is not that our loving Father isn’t there, but it is because the one who was supposed to stand for the Father had lacked Godly wisdom and discernment.  This one scolded me for thinking that Jesus would perform a miracle and yet, a year later, this same one was transformed and had encouraged another friend to attend a conference at the Church basement because he had witnessed God perform miracles!  (Isn’t the Father so…awesome!)

And then, there are those who truly understand what depression is all about.  I had one confessor who encouraged me on and who had asked me not to be discouraged because he understood how difficult depression can be.  Before I left, he prayed for extra graces so that I would be able to conquer what the enemy had intended for my destruction.

And then, there was another who understood so well because he had already walked with many who suffered with the same.  He explained that at times, it is the symptoms of the disease that prevents us from sensing the presence of God at these dire moments.  He also mentioned that at times, the side effects of the medication enhances the extreme loneliness and anguish one experiences at that time.

One would think that my spirits would have been dampened by these words, but instead, I received the very hope I was searching for because I knew without a doubt that the problem was not me…the problem was the disease and it wasn’t me who was so incapacitated and broken, but it was the disease which prevented me from functioning the way God had intended me to be.  To my delight, I was still me, but at that moment, I was just trapped in a temporary broken body that prevented me from experiencing the joy that was within my reach.  Nevertheless, the hope that was extended by one who understood enabled me to reach and experience a touch of joy that was intended to give me more hope.

Romans 12:15 encourages us to “weep with those who weep.”  This isn’t an invitation to a pity party, but an invitation to understand and to express your compassion with another.

So if by chance you are asked to walk with another today, be it one who is suffering an illness or a loss you fail to understand…would it not be better to say “I am sorry about your difficulty” rather than absently saying that you understand.  My friend, do you really understand?  If you don’t, please stay silent.  Instead, I encourage you to discern before you speak.

God bless,

Melissa – May 10, 2011

p.s. – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

– Based on experience, some Christians unknowingly put more guilt and increase the anguish on those who suffer from depression due to lack of understanding.  Because of the increased numbers of those suffering from the disease today among both young and old, I encourage ALL to google depression and read up on the disease.

Those who suffer often have difficulty praying for themselves as the disease causes them to be extremely self-focused.  Because of the agonizing mental and emotional pain, the individual tries to pray themselves out of it, but instead, they spiral even more deeply into a rut.  The symptoms of depression causes the individual to engage in tremendous amount guilt, self-doubt and self-condemnation.  PLEASE do not ask the individual to “snap out of it”.  If they could, they would and hearing you say it causes them more grief.  I believe that is one of the reasons why those who are in deep depression attempt suicide because they believe this is the only way they can end their grief.  PLEASE pray fervently for those who are suffering from this horrid disease…especially the young ones.  Please pray and speak life to each one in Jesus’ name!

Addendum to REFLECTION:  Will you discern BEFORE you speak? (regarding depression)

Dear friends,

It is evident that I have miscommunicated because many think that I have fallen into another bout of depression.  Let me reassure you that I have NOT and I thank God with all my heart for that.  I continue to take my medication and I have chosen to continue take them for the rest of my life because it is evident my hormones cannot remain at a healthy level without them.

Please note that the reason why I had written the reflection was to plead for others to choose to understand the disease.  Many have used the word “depressed” so loosely that they assume the word depression is a synonym for a depressed mood.  Depression is NOT an expression for one’s current mood.  Clinical depression is not a mood swing and in this case, the hormone levels of the individual is far from normal.

Some people use the term “depression” loosely and unfortunately, those who are truly ill are then mistreated because
of this confussion.  On behalf of all those who are struggling to survive through a bout of depression, especially the children, I plead and I encourage you once again to read the following so you can have a true appreciation of what the illness is about.

Understanding Depression – http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_signs_types_diagnosis_treatment.htm

REFLECTION: The lion and the lamb…

Monday, May 16th, 2011

What image comes to mind when you think of a lion and a lamb?  I envision a large ferocious, roaring cat exposing massive teeth when I think of lion. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lion defines a lion as…”a large carnivorous feline mammal” while a second definition…”A person regarded as fierce or savage.” is also given.  Meanwhile, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lamb defines a lamb as “a young sheep, especially one that is not yet weaned.” and…” a sweet, mild-mannered person.”

If you had to identify with one or the other, which animal would you relate to?  Today, without a moment’s hesitation, I would immediately identify with a lamb.  Perhaps one’s personality and outlook in life play a crucial part in this choice.

When I was in my single digit years and during those times when I thought I was invincible… those times when I was ready and willing to bike down a steep hill without a helmet on; and I was so ever ready to pounce on an unsuspecting younger brother or a male “friend” in our neighborhood for the sake of entertainment… I would have probably identified with a lion.  I was a feisty youngster that had a ready punch for any boy that dared to challenge me and I did attempt to rule over my terrain (any place ahead of me) like a miniature lion.  I didn’t have a mighty roar, but I must say I had a mighty wail.  Perhaps out of His great compassion for my parents, siblings, nannies and all the others who crossed my path, the Father gradually transformed me…and for that, I am eternally grateful.  And yet, as I reflect back, I wonder why I attempted to “reign” in that manner.  Memory reminds me that I wanted to be heard, I wanted to be noticed and attended to and yet rather than asking gently, I roared for what I needed.

A lion or a lamb…which animal do you think symbolizes Jesus?  John 1: 29 says… “The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” God the Father chose a lamb to symbolize His Son, Jesus.  God chose a helpless infant sheep that had not been weaned from its mother to represent His Son!  Why would an all knowing and powerful God “choose” a meek animal to save the world?  I’ve pondered over this for a while now as this question came into being when our parish began the study of the Book of Revelations.

Revelations 5:2-5 recounts the vision of the book’s author, the Apostle John… “And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.  I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

According to the footnotes in the Ignatian version of the Bible, the apostle John was expecting to see a lion (“the Lion of the tribe of Judah) open the seven seals of the first scroll, but instead, he “saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne…” Rev 5:6.

Was it not pathetic enough to have a helpless lamb, who had not been weaned from its mother, carry out the task of saving the world?  And now we discover that the lamb looked “as if it had been slain”!  There seems to be something terribly wrong with this story!  Did God make a mistake?  The truth is, God knew exactly what He was doing.

Jeff Cavin teaches that the image of the sacrificial lamb takes us back to the Old Testament of the Bible.  He brings us to Exodus 12:5-7; 12-13… “5The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.  6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs…  12On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.(For those who are not familiar with the story, this was the preparation of the first Passover before Israel was led out of Egypt.)

Jeff then takes us to Genesis 22: 1-3;6-13… 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey… 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.  As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

Jeff Cavins teaches that as a perpetual reminder to God and to man that God had provided the sacrificial lamb, Israel would partook in a tamid offering. (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0019_0_19559.html)  Here, 2 lambs (male yearling) were sacrificed each day.  The lamb was tied to the altar and it would stand there for 3 hours until it was sacrificed.  The first was tied at 6:00 a.m. and sacrificed at 9:00 a.m. and the other was tied at noon and then slaughtered at 3:00 p.m.  Was it a coincidence that Jesus died on the cross at 3:00 p.m.?

Through this,  Jeff teaches, God is shouting…”I have kept my promise!  (Genesis 3:14-15)  I have provided the sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world!”

With your permission, I’d like to take the scenario one step further.  Do you recall the personalities associated with a lion and a lamb?  Was Jesus “a person regarded as fierce or savage”, or was He “a sweet, mild-mannered person”?  Based on all the times we have shared together, I know my Lord and He is the most gentle Individual I know.  He does not nag, He does not berate, He does not scold nor does He insist.  Instead, He gently encourages me on, pointing me at times to the higher roads that are less traveled, but He never leaves me alone.  When I fall, He doesn’t say much.  He gently shows me where I have slipped and He fills me with all the graces that I need to accept and to confess where I have failed and He gives me the desire to learn from my mistakes.

Did the Father make an error in sending a gentle lamb to bring His children back to Him?  My answer is a definite No!  The Father has always given us our free will and I believe it is only a gentle lamb that would allow us to exercise that.  I believe that each individual would agree that by its very nature, a lion would never allow one to exercise his/her free will.

May the most gentle and loving Lamb give you back your life…and may each one choose to live it to the fullest.

God bless,

Melissa – May 16, 2011

p.s. –  In 1 Peter 5:8,  we are warned…“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. “

REFLECTION: How does a mother wait?

Sunday, May 15th, 2011


What does a mother do as she waits at a distance as her daughter sits outside an office, waiting for an important interview?  The answer is pray and pray I must.  I continue to pray and storm Heaven’s door, but I am now restless and I have a strong need to pace.

I sit by another door a distance away (as far away as possible so as not to bother her… and yet close enough to let her know that she is not alone) and to my surprise, I was just asked if I’ve had my interview already?  Did he think I could qualify?  Could I take the program too?  I don’t think I’d qualify (the calibre they are looking for is high) and our youngest wouldn’t be too happy to have her mom attend classes with her….

And so I sit and pray some more.  Father, this “not so little one” is now 18 and she is one month short of graduating from High School.  We have come so far Lord and I thank You for blessing us with this precious gift.  Thank You for the many lessons You have taught me through her…speaking to me so clearly from the mouth of a babe.  You have blessed me bountifully through the life you have given her and you had given me a companion to walk with through my many trials.  You continue to amaze me Father, as you show me how You use children to transform adults.

She has just been called in and so I will pray….and pace and pray some more.  Thank You Lord for being with her and giving her the peace which she needs so she can speak clearly and confidently.  Thank You Lord, for this opportunity to stand in the gap for her and to pray for her as she speaks.

She’s done and she is giving me two thumbs up!

Thank YOU LORD!

God bless,

Melissa – May 10, 2011