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REFLECTION: That was definitely God…

Monday, April 14th, 2014

 

Yesterday, I received the 3rd part of a L..O..N..G e-mail sent from someone who was not pleased with me.  I was surprised she had decided to contact me as she had asked me not to send her anything further since November, last year.  In truth, she had attacked me and I was taken aback.  I had not made contact for almost 5 months and somehow, something triggered her memory and I was now under her scrutiny.  My first reaction was to slash back and to block her from my site.  God thought differently and gave me the grace to act accordingly.

After I completed responding, I re-read what I had written and immediately I knew that was definitely God.  There are many times when anger bubbles within, but when I offer the reigns back to God, He manages to soften the rough edges and He manages to turn angry words into love.  Thought I’d share His latest transformation…

May the peace of Christ be with you.
 
Based on your request some time in November of last year, you clearly specified that you no longer wanted to receive any e-mail from me because of the limited storage on your phone. I am surprised you have not deleted my previous e-mail to give you more storage capacity.  Perhaps that would be a solution for you?

Rest assured that parts 1 and 2 of your e-mail have not been 
lost.  I have received all 3 parts in total now. Your efforts have NOT been wasted and I have read and reflected on your comments.
 
I have prayed about what you have written and I would like to address some things.  You wrote… The Church, (us,) is falling apart around us, and people are not seeing it.  Are you? And…do you not see wolves around you in sheep’s clothing?  Where is the compassion shown that you are writing about in the Missions you attend?  I had told you that  my cell phone is not adequate, not enough space, and  poor communication, can’t download or view docs, etc.  and you! got insulted!   Went into a snit.

I personally do not believe the Church is falling apart.  We all go through trials 
and it is evident, the Church is being shaken too.  To me, this is a good thing as we need to clearly see what is going on.  

Do you remember the parable of the farmer who had wheat seeds planted in his 
field and then later, the enemy had planted weed seeds among them?  The workers had asked the farmer if they should pull out the weeds and he said “no”.  His reason was so that the wheat would not be accidentally pulled out with the weeds.  He also mentioned that at the end, the wheat would be separated from the weeds.
 
The Catholic church is made of living human beings.  Although it is made up of beings who believe that Jesus died for their sins and He rose from the dead to free us from perpetual death, we are still humans.  We still have the capacity to fall but we also have the capacity to change.  God has not instructed the Church to cut off all the weeds from itself.  Otherwise there would be no one left because we ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  It is only as we daily and moment by moment submit to God and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit that we are able to live victoriously.  God wants everyone to be saved and so He has been very patient with mankind.  He gives us chance after chance to repent and live fully in His grace.
 
Yes, I agree with you that there are wolves around us wearing sheep clothes.  They have been around for a long time.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the gift of discernment so we can recognize them.  However, these “wolves” are still human and so we are still called to love  them, just as Jesus loved the Pharisees.  We are called to pray for them  (love your enemies and pray for them).  If we choose to respond with God’s love, perhaps the kindness and love we offer them will open their spiritual eyes
and they will eventually turn around.  Isn’t that the way our Father deals with us?  I thank God for His patience and His overflowing love and grace because I know I fall repeatedly.  I am also thankful our Father gently picks me back to my feet and He helps me walk once again.  Because of His continued love for me, my desire to walk His way towards eternity grows.
 
I am sorry you do not feel compassion and empathy flowing through me.  I do apologize for that.  Thank you for praying for me and yes, please pray that God will bless me with more of each.  I do need every bit of prayer lifted up for me to walk in His ways.

 

I am sorry you felt that I went into a snit.  I don’t think I did, but it is apparent you felt I did.  My comment was that I was surprised of the way you had asked me to stop sending you e-mail.  I had thought you would ask in a kind, gentle manner.  In fact, I was surprised of the rash manner in which you did it and hence my comment.  Once again, may the peace of  Christ be with you.

You write well and you have a lot of potential.  Use it to build up others.  I believe that would bring so much joy within as you minister and bring healing to others.
 
I am sorry to hear about your ribs and about your recent fall.  I am also sorry to hear about your cat.  I will ask our loving Father to send His blessings and graces your way.
 
Please note that I work from a laptop.  I do not have the same fancy phone that you have.  I still use a flip-up phone from the yester-years.  Hence I only have access to Wi-Fi in selective places.  I am typing at McDonald’s now and although they have Wi-Fi, I still cannot access it.  
 
Once again, may God’s peace be with you.  Please, when you have time, delete the extensive e-mail I have sent you in the past.  They do not seem to benefit you and so there is no reason to have them in storage.
 
Now, wouldn’t you agree that was definitely God?  May our Father continue to give us the grace to seek Him even BEFORE we have time to react.  I know that when you do, you, too, will be able to say “THAT WAS DEFINITELY GOD!”
God bless,
Melissa – April 13, 2014
1) Parable of the Wheat and Weeds – Matt 13:24-30
“Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field.  But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.  When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’  “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.  “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.  “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.  Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
2) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” - Romans 3:23

3)   ”The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”-
 2 Peter 3:9
4)  Love for Enemies – Matt 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

 

REFLECTION: Are you talking or walking THE WALK?

Friday, March 7th, 2014

 

King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Son of God…  Do you recognize these titles of Jesus of Nazareth?  If he wanted to, one would expect that he could have chosen to walk in the path of royalties, but instead, he chose to walk and to sup with tax collectors, the outcasts and the other visible sinners… the very ones the elders, chief priests and scribes turned their backs on.

Where do you walk and with whom do you walk with?  Has the financial status of your family determined who you choose to associate with?

In his public life, we learn of Jesus casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead and calming the wind and sea with his spoken word.  One could assume that if He had wanted to, Jesus could have spoken one single word and mankind’s heart and the generations to come would have instantly been reunited with the Father’s heart.  But that was not the path Jesus had chosen.  He was aware that the Father had given mankind the gift of freely choosing to follow Him.  He knew that a word spoken would not and could not accomplish what the Father had called Him to do. A single word or even multiple words would not suffice to reveal the unconditional and expansive love of the Father.  Jesus realized that speaking of God’s love was not enough.  He realized He needed to demonstrate love in order to draw them back to the Father’s heart.

Jesus lived love and He was love.  Repeatedly, He denied himself of His entitled status.  As He walked with and among His people, He responded to each as if he/she was the only person before him; lovingly responding so the individual realized that he/she had value, self-worth and he/she was truly love.

Do you know the names of the individuals you encounter on a daily basis?  Do you walk by them, looking the other way and hence not acknowledging their presence?  How do you treat those within your family?  Do you vocalize your love and yet your actions “speak” contrary to what you say?  Do you truly see the person you speak to, recognizing his need to be heard, understood and acknowledged?  Or do you half-heartedly listen out of politeness without realizing and recognizing the hurts and needs of the other?

As His journey on planet earth drew to an end, Jesus denied himself to the utmost, taking on physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual anguish in the form of all the sins of mankind upon himself, as He was nailed on the cross, and then he died.  But in three days, through the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing could stop Jesus from rising again, forever conquering death so that He was, is and will forever be The Way, bridging mankind back into His Father’s heart!

Before he returned to the Father in Heaven, Jesus called and commissioned each of His followers to share how their encounter with Him had transformed them and to share this good news with the rest of the world.  Just as he did, He invites each of us to demonstrate the gesture of our love by voluntarily dying to self, setting aside our self-centred desires, motives and passions as we pick up our cross, making room for the needs of others to rise above our own, so that the overflow of His love that had healed and transformed us, can flow THROUGH us and heal and transform another.

Father God, by our own strength, it is so difficult to set aside our personal needs and desires and to put the needs of another before our own.  We ask for your grace and strength to do this Lord and we freely choose to give you permission to use us as your channels of love, joy, peace and hope.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – March 6, 2014

p.s. – Luke 9:22-25

22 He said, ‘The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests andscribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

23 Then, speaking to all, he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.

24 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.

25 What benefit is it to anyone to win the whole world and forfeit or lose his very self?

REFLECTION: Whose hand?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

 

In the midst of our discussion, my heart palpitated.  I’m not sure what triggered it.  Perhaps caffeine and I no longer see eye to eye?  Nevertheless, as we continued, my “clock” ticked a little harder, a little louder and a lot faster than it normally should.  I grabbed the hand beside me, hoping it would calm me down some and later on, as the DVD teaching began, I longed to grab for another.

Just as I was about to grab the nearest hand (that was your hand Jack!), I sensed our Father say, “Whose hand are you grabbing for?”  I realized it was His hand I should be reaching out for because it is only His which could bring me peace.  Giving Him my concerns and discomfort, peace gradually filled my being and He then prompted me to move to the back of the room where I was able to stand.

How beautiful it is to be able to call out to another to silently pray for me.  As I asked one after another within the room to intercede, His love began to surround me.  Unknown to others, a long extended hug came with prayer as the teaching continued and then a little later, even though I didn’t ask her for prayer, a special calming tea was brought by another.  In such a short time span, our Father had showed me that I no longer was alone in my temporary trial and He had sent forth His earthly angels to minister to me.

It was so beautiful to witness how quickly our Father stepped in to look after His child.  As always, He leaves it to our free will to invite Him into the situation and when we do, He takes care of the rest.

Whose hand will you be reaching out for when trials come your way?  May our Father give each the supernatural grace to reach out to Him.

God bless,

Melissa – February 21, 2014

p.s. – Thank You Lord for answered prayer and thank you so much to the 4 who had responded so beautifully.  I am so blessed.

REFLECTION: Did you miss Christmas?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

 

 

Did you miss Christmas?  In the hustle and bustle of the festivities, did Christmas slip by?  In the midst of the activities, a passer-by had asked, “Are you ready?”  I looked at her with a momentary puzzlement, attempting to discern the depth of her question, and then with a smile, I answered “yes”.  But was I truly ready for Christmas?

During one of his homilies, Fr. Xavier had mentioned that the season of Advent was a time to prepare for Christmas.  The first 2 weeks was to prepare for the arrival of the Jesus’ birth and the latter two were to prepare for Him in our hearts.  Had I actually prepared my heart?  By then, the decorations were up and the tree was trimmed and lighted.  But, what about MY HEART?  I asked our Father and this is what I sensed Him say…  “If Christmas is truly the celebration of my Son’s birth, would anyone be ready for His second coming if I sent Him again on Christmas?”  I didn’t reply, but the heaviness and grief in my heart spoke clearly… “No Lord.”

Year after year, we celebrate Christmas, but as we do, have we been swayed from celebrating Jesus’ willing decision to come down to earth as a human to bring mankind back to the Father (the Creator), but instead focus on the material (the created)?  Multiple religious activists in North America are attempting to obliterate the name of Christ in the seasonal celebration.  Will the obliteration of the word “Christmas” eventually obliterate the true celebration in the memories and in the hearts of the people?

How will God find our hearts when Christmas rolls in again at the end of the year?  Will he find us no different than where we were last year?  Will we wait for Advent to come around again before we make a change?  Only the Father knows when Jesus will return a second time and by that time, it’ll be too late to change.

Lord, please give us the grace to develop an intimate relationship with You.  Help us to realize how much You love us and help us to share the overflow of that love with our neighbours. And Father, please give us the grace to ALWAYS be ready for Jesus’ return.  IN Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – January 21, 2014

REFLECTION: Joshua’s Fight for Life

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

 

At 1:16 p.m. on September 5, 2013, Joshua “Ughchicken” recreated his Facebook page “Joshua’s Fight for Life”.   At 3:49 p.m. he posted…

“Hello everyone my name is Joshua and I am 14 yrs. old. I was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, that’s right cancer in Dec. 2009 right after my 11 th birthday. My first chemo was in Dec 18, 2009 by New Years eve I had lost 15 pounds because I could not stop throwing up and was not able to eat so they placed a tube through my nose into my stomach and that was how I was getting all my nutritional intake for the next ten months while I was getting chemo. I was getting four different types of chemo.

I also had radiation five days a week for six weeks with the chemo it made me really sick. I had to stay in the hospital for two months. I was so bored but most of the time I was sleeping because of all the medication they gave me so I will stop throwing up and also for the pain.

I was in remission for 15 months …I was very happy that I would not have to take the chemo again but unfortunately in January 2012 my cancer came back. This time my oncologists did not have cure for me so I had to take different kinds of chemo to see if it made the cancer go away . I had a 14 hour surgery to take it out in June 2012 then I had to have radiation five days a week for four weeks . The surgeons thought they were able to get all the cancer away but again it came back in April 2013.

This time the only thing they could do was chemo to stop it from growing. I get tired easily so I usually stay home which can get really boring so I play xbox and go on my laptop alot. I also like my legos it keeps me busy.”

At 4:47 p.m., in response to his post, Sasha Pemberton replied “Always here josh I wouldn’t want a 14 year old getting upset every couple of minutes bcause of a dreadful disease so always here if u need me mate:)xxxxx”  I am not sure if they knew each other, but it was so good and loving of Sasha to stand with Josh.

Joshua died on October 23, 2013… 44 days short of his 15th birthday.  During his funeral service, Fr. George had mentioned that his family was an example of steadfastness, never leaving Joshua’s side from the onset of his cancer 4 ½ years earlier.  “In the midst of pain and great suffering and in a state of hopelessness, his parents had great faith in Josh and in God… the latter who sustained them through.”

Fr. George spoke of the time he visited Joshua at Children’s Hospital.  He mentioned seeing him curled up and coughing like an old man, with Cheryl by his side.  Unable to bear the pain elicited by what he saw, his visit was cut short.  Angry and upset as he began his 70.6 plus kilometers drive back home, Fr. George mentioned that God began to reveal that Someone else had set a previous pattern for us.  2000 years ago, there was a sinless Son, Jesus, who endured intense and immense pain with His mother by his side.

Fr. George mentioned that “God did not answer our prayers.” as Joshua’s cancer progressed.    Nevertheless, he shared that “right to the end, Joshua came to Mass, even with the cancer protruding from his mouth.  Joshua never failed to receive Communion.  That was a testimony of this young boy’s faith.”

Fr. George recounts visiting with Joshua 2 days after he gave him his last rites.  Joshua was sitting on the couch as if nothing had happened… as if he had recovered.  Fr. George adds, “It makes no sense to humans if we only focus on this world.”  He reminded us of the Scripture reading from Ecclesiastes 3 where there is a time for everything.  It appears as if there is no meaning in life, but in the end, the tone changes.  God has put timelessness (eternity) into the hearts of man.  Jesus beautifies us like gold for the Father.  He prepares us for the time beyond.

Fr. George then referred to 2 Timothy 4:6-8 “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  And now the prize awaits me — the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.”

“Perhaps his death reminds us of the cancer of the soul.”   He then quoted “…consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  Romans 8:18  “We conquer all through Jesus Christ who loves us.  Joshua has conquered all that he as been called to conquer in his life.”

Before we bade Joshua farewell, his beautiful mother, Cheryle, shared the many antics of her shy but humorous youngest son.  She expanded that Joshua attended Mass to show all those who were praying for him that he was fine and when the strength left him, he created his Facebook page to continue to show the others that he was holding up strong.

As if to honour Joshua’s beautiful life and with a twinkle in His eye, as the hearse drove across, what looked like the horizon, we began to hear honks.   God sent 2 sets of Canadian geese to fly over the hearse in V-form,  cheering Josh on as our Father welcomed him into His loving arms! May you rest in peace in our Father’s arm Joshua. It was a true honor to pray for you and your family!

God bless,

Melissa – November 1, 2013; 7:31 p.m.

REFLECTION: Don’t bother God with that…

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

 

While rambling about my search for a new shovel, a friend commented, “Oh, you shouldn’t bother God with that.”  The words didn’t fully register then, but unknowingly, my heart had already begun to scrutinize what was said and it was waving a red flag.

Is God bothered by what we tell Him or ask Him?  Does He get bored by what we say and does He glaze over when we get long winded?  Is He too busy to be interested when we lose something or when we accidentally pound our finger with a hammer?  Is He too busy to help one find a well-priced shovel to replace a broken one?  I believe the answer to each is NO.

As I pondered over these, our Father reminded me of Genesis 3:8-9”And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden (Eden) in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Was God actually walking in the garden?  Was He actually calling out to the man?  I am sure many of us could readily dismiss this as fiction, but isn’t this exactly what Scripture has disclosed?

Why did God walk around the garden calling out for man?  It was because Adam and Eve were not there at their regular meeting place?  “He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” Genesis 3:10

Within the last few months I have heard two individuals quote a saying…  “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved!”  The implication is that God never changes so it was you or I who must have moved.

I believe God is never bothered by what we share with Him.  He created us to enjoy a relationship with Him.  Without a doubt, I know He is yearning to hear about every sentiment we have, be it positive or negative.  He doesn’t mind us yelling at Him if we are truly expressing our heartfelt sentiments.  Talk to Him.  He IS waiting to hear from you.

God bless,

Melissa – October 23, 2013

REFLECTION: A challenge

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

A dear one had written with some questions regarding an e-mail I had recently forwarded.  The questions are good and perhaps, there are some out there who have similar queries.   After responding and prayer, I have since sensed that I should share the questions and the responses.  Please note that I have altered some information to protect the identity of those involved.

May we always be willing to dialogue with those who question their faith and may our own faith grow stronger as we willingly journey with others.

God bless,

Melissa

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi…

Please do NOT be sorry about your challenges and queries.  This is good as your faith is not blind.  Blind faith is good in certain circumstances, but it is also good to know why you have faith in God.  Otherwise, it may not even be true faith, but just a force of habit.

You ask excellent questions.   In response to them, I believe everything comes back to free will.  Go back to the forwarded message and see where free will takes place in the lives of the man questioning Jesus or those whose paths or whose actions had or had the potential to affect him.  I believe you will begin to see things differently.

Fortunately and unfortunately, God has given man and his angels free will.  Lucifer and his clan of angels had the ability to look into the future.  Lucifer was created as the Archangel of light.  God didn’t make a mistake in creating him.  God created him beautiful.  However, Lucifer was jealous and he wanted to be like God.  He saw that God created man and what His plans were for man (to bring them so close to His heart) and he didn’t like it.  So He and his clan of angels rebelled and were thrown down to earth for a period of time.   (I could look for the passages if you want.)

So…at the moment, Lucifer (who we know as the devil) and his clan of angels (now known as the demons) prowl around the world seeking to destroy man and to do what they can so man will not know God.  He exercised his free will to rebel against God even when he could see into the future to what the consequences of his actions would be.  That is the reason why the devil and his demons cannot be saved.  They foresaw what was in the future and still chose to go ahead.

Man, on the other hand, cannot foresee the future.  However, every person has free will and God respects that.  Angels are not given permission to interfere with man’s free will.  However, they can bring about circumstances which could assist man to change his mind from doing evil.

A scene from Touched by an Angel helped me to understand this years ago.  A woman had been raped by an intruder in her basement.  It just so happened several years down the road, she encountered him again and she had to deal with him.  The lady had an encounter with Monica (the angel) and she asked why God permitted her to be raped.  Monica said that God was standing with her but he could not do anything to stop the intruder from exercising his free will.  Monica then mentioned that the man had intended to kill her.  So, God had allowed her baby to cry.  This distracted the man and he eventually fled.

I watched another show where a young boy was at the ledge of his parents’ expensive condominium.  The boy was miserable because his best friend had killed himself and his parents were away on one of their millionaire escapades.  The boy needed to talk to someone but his parents didn’t make time for him.  While the boy was on the ledge, the angel of death (Andrew) appeared and talked to the boy.  The boy asked, “Are you going to stop me?”  Andrew replied, “I can’t, but I can try to convince you not to jump.”  That comment, in itself, helped me to appreciate God’s gift of free will.

The only ones who do NOT respect free will is man.  Man forces himself and his desires on his fellow men.  That is why some force their faith on others.  This is so very wrong.It is the duty of the parents to raise their children to the best that they can.  Children are gifts from God.  Those, (who have the faith in that Jesus took on all the sins of man upon himself and was punished  and died for us so that we would be free from original sin and then rose from the dead to break the curse of death), are then expected to pass on this faith to their children.  Nevertheless, although it would hurt terribly, we have to give our children the free will to choose what faith walk they want to embrace as adults, regardless of how different that will be from our own.

Having this in mind, let’s go over God’s answers to the man together…

God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Q: Why did God let the angel of death into the house?

A: We don’t know the history of this man.  Perhaps he had taken a larger dose of drugs / over the counter drugs and/or mixed it with alcohol.  Perhaps the combination of all he had done before he went to bed was sufficient to end his life.  However, perhaps because of the prayers of his mom and/or others, God sent his angels (like Angel Gabriel) to do battle for his life.  The man had his free will to do whatever he wanted before going to bed.

Me (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Q: Why did God let the drunk driver’s car start?

A: Here, we have rules against drunk driving and yet man often chooses to drive under the influence of alcohol.  Many innocent lives are taken because of the free will choice of those who drink.

Me: (ashamed)

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Q: Why didn’t God make the sick person making the sandwich so sick he’d have to stay at home? and what about all the other people he made sandwiches for?

A: Perhaps the sandwich maker made a conscious choice to come to work because he/she really needed the funds to support his/her family.  Perhaps after the sandwich was made, the manager noticed how sick he/she was and sent him home.  Perhaps the person who ate the sandwich had a strong immune system and was able to ward off getting sick, while this man of concern already had a compromised immune system and he would have fallen terribly ill if he eaten the sandwich.

Me (embarrassed):Okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Q: Why didn’t the phone of the person who was going to bear false witness die instead? What if the guy missed an important call cos his phone was dead?

A: Perhaps this person was suicidal and this call would be enough to push him over the edge.  Perhaps his phone went dead because he needed the time to be quiet and to reflect and talk to God.

Me (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Q: Why did God let the guy buy a lemon foot massager in the first place?

A:  Perhaps the man would not have purchased a lemon foot massager had the company had a higher quality control standards.  Perhaps the choice of the manager to cut corners led to inferior products and this individual was a “victim” of the circumstance.  Although he had no control of it, it could have been a result of another individual’s improper choice.

Me: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to Trust Me…. in All things , the Good & the bad.

Me: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children..

As you can see, my answers are all hypothetical and yet they could be exactly what had happened.  Last night, I had invited a family to a Healing Mass Service.  I had asked a few of my friends who I had hoped would be attending to join me in praying over my friend after the service.  It just so happened that none of them were there.  Instead, another man who I hardly knew was there and he agreed to pray over them with me.

Was it by chance that the prayer warrior had a passion for those from Slovakia and he has dreamed of travelling there to minister to the country’s people?  My friends are Slovakians!

Was it by chance that the prayer warrior had undergone a similar situation years ago as what the family is now going through?  At times, God allows us to undergo trials so that we can learn from them and be there to assist another in the future.  Nothing is wasted…

Was it by chance that a total stranger would come up to W and tell him that she believes everything would turn out okay?  W had thought I knew the person but I didn’t.  I dropped by their home today and asked if he would mind telling me what the lady said.  I told W that I had no idea what was being said, but I was so touched by the fact that this stranger had the courage to come up and tell him what she sensed God had wanted him to know.

These are testimonies which I have experienced myself just last night.  I have experienced many more miracles because I take part in Prayer Ministry and I circulate prayer requests.  One can say these are all coincidental, but I don’t believe one person (me) could encounter so many miracles.  It is just impossible unless God was involved in them.

Hope this helps some.  Please continue to write and let’s continue to dialogue.  Am hoping that as you learn, you will be able to incorporate what I share in your life and that of your family and perhaps, one day, you can also share what you have learned with some others.

Take good care.

God bless,

Melissa

 

REFLECTION: Would you take a stand? (Part 2)

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

 

Three days ago, I came across an article that was posted on my Elementary School friend’s Facebook page.   Above the link was the caption “When one has a personal relationship with Jesus, self governance begins.”   The title of the article, Does Catholicism Make Us More Tolerant of Corruption? (http://joeam.com/2013/08/26/does-catholicism-make-us-more-tolerant-of-corruption) by itself, infuriated me.   The article pertained to the current political situation in the Philippines.  I had begun a dialogue with Andrew, the author, which is available in Part 1.

As I continued to pray and reflect on the dialogue, Luke 12:12-13 came to mind “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say;  for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  To me, it was clearly evident that it was the Holy Spirit’s words that I had penned.  I sense our Father prompting us to encourage each other to take a stand for our faith and not to be afraid of what we ought to say because it will be the Holy Spirit who will speak through us.

1 Peter 3:15  encourages us…  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, “  What good are our words when the person we are in dialogue with is standing back with his/her arms up.   1 Corinthians 13:1  teaches…” If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”  May God give each of us the grace to speak in love so that others may experience His love.

Part 2 has come to life because Andrew, the author of the article, has responded.  He wrote…

 “I can’t disagree with anything you said, except that in my view, it leads to nowhere, except on an individual basis. It’s like that aphorism ” Change should come from each one of us” which is arguably correct and well-meaning, but it just leads to more of the status quo.

I am not sarcastic when I say this, but this was the same refrain during Marcos’ time, Erap’s time and Gloria’s time! And up to now it is still the same!

I am in the business of “getting things done”. I would like to see tangible, measurable, discrete activities, not just well-intentioned teachings of the hierarchy. And I think my frustration is shared by many.

For instance, are there parallel investigations within the Church on Monsignor Josefino Ramirez, Fr Peter Lavin et al? What has happened to the case of Monsignor Garcia of Cebu who was involved in ivory smuggling? Where are the reports on them and decisive actions taken? Why is there always a reshuffling and a cover-up?

At least Pope Francis has taken steps to signal that in his term, it would be different. Things would move, and it is reasonable to expect it will happen in this lifetime.

PS I appreciate our conversation very much. I have this inkling that you are not just a lay person. :)”

 

To my surprise, I received an additional response from an individual named Edgar Lores.  He wrote…

“Another of my two cents to M’s post.

Psychology has uncovered patterns of behaviour and thought which men rely on to protect ego. These patterns are called “defence mechanisms”. It is interesting to analyse the above post by the mechanisms used:

1. “I’ve been reflecting on your response and on the correlation you have chosen. You may have a good point in identifying the numerous weaknesses of the past and present politicians, however, I still find it inappropriate to use the Catholic Church in your analogy. To me, it’s similar to realizing that a majority of the people who are corrupt have black hair and so you make the inference that all people with black hair are corrupt. Do you see what I mean?”

1.1. In the defence mechanism of Intellectualisation a “person may discuss his problem(s) in an analytical, rational, intellectual way”.

1.2. The intellectualisation here is by use of an analogy. The analogy compares Andrew’s essay as being equivalent to the observance that “a majority of the people who are corrupt have black hair” which purportedly leads to the “rational” inference “that all people with black hair are corrupt.”

1.3. The introduction to this analogy states, “I still find it inappropriate to use the Catholic Church in your analogy”.

1.4. In the first place, Andrew is not making an analogy. An analogy is a comparison. Andrew is not making a comparison. He is presenting a thesis which uses correlations.

1.5. In the second place, Andrew is making a reasoned thesis. He presents 4 correlations to support his thesis. To compare Andrew’s essay to the analogy of “people with black hair” is illogical because @M does not present any correlational reason, a cause-and-effect, between black hair and corruption.

2. “I would assume that those in government positions who are corrupt are corrupt not because of what they claim to be in their faith walk, but because of who they are. Perhaps greed and self-centeredness prevail in their lives and they continue to pursue this ideal in their chosen careers. The fact that they claim to be Catholic is just by name rather than practise. As you may know (I’m assuming you are a Christian), Christianity is not a title, but a lifestyle.”

2.1. There are two defence mechanisms here: Rationalisation and Denial.

2.2. Rationalisation involves “explaining an unacceptable behaviour or feeling in a rational or logical manner, avoiding the true reasons for the behaviour”. The rationalisation here is in the observation that people “who are corrupt are corrupt not because of what they claim to be in their faith walk, but because of who they are.” Specifically, the rationalisation is that the explanation for corrupt behaviour is the very nature of people, in “who they are”. This is not an illumination explanation.

2.3. Denial is the refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. The subtlety of the denial here lies in the use of the word “claim”, and the denial is that “people who ‘claim’ to be something” are NOT that something.

2.4. If one extends this logic to its fullest absurd conclusion, one would be able to say that no one is a true Catholic because all “Catholics” have sinned (even if only by Original Sin).

2.5. It is interesting to note that this schizoid logic allows the Church to say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. The sinner is the sin, and if I claim to be a Catholic, I am a Catholic.

2.6. One cannot resist the temptation to ask, “When did greed and self-centeredness become ideals?”

3. “You mention about purgatory and how these so called “Catholics” are choosing to use it to give them a chance to “get away” with the dirt they are engaged in now. Have you not heard that we are all called to walk through the narrow gate? Do you think these so called “Catholics” know what they are getting themselves into? They may think they can get away with things, but God sees what they are doing. They may think they can deceive God, but God sees the motives of man.”

3.1. No defence mechanism here. At last — at long last! — we have an attempt to present a counter argument against Andrew’s Purgatory reason. @M contends that so called “Catholics” cannot get away with things because “God sees the motives of man”.

3.2. The counter argument does not stand. Andrew does not contend that God is blind. Andrew’s contention is that wayward Catholics think they can get away with things because they believe they can repent at their final hour — (and perhaps repent periodically thru confession?) — and still be a shoo-in candidate for Purgatory.

4. “It is sad that many who are not walking in their Catholic faith continue to claim they are Catholics. Claiming a “title” or “identity” for oneself doesn’t have power in itself. It then just becomes a name. Little do they know they are deceiving themselves and others. These name claimers are the very ones who destroy the purity of the Catholic faith.”

4.1. This is just a repeat and an extension of the second paragraph’s rationalisation and denial.

5. “I would suggest that you focus on the core source of the corruption rather than blaming it on the religion which some claim to follow.”

5.1. This begs the question: What is the core source of corruption? Is it because men are essentially “who they are”? If that is so, there is no hope for the country unless all men are wiped out and the dinosaurs return.

6. “God bless you Andrew!”

6.1. Ah, the usual patronising “adios”. Or is it? Could it be deflection through humor? Or displacement of hostility with civility?”

 

I was floored for a moment, but God’s grace returned and so I wrote…

“Thank you for your interesting reply Edgar and may God’s peace be with you. I’ve never had another analyze what I have written and I am impressed by the effort taken!

By the way, my offering of God’s peace to you is not intended to patronize, but it is a sincere extension of God’s peace.

Scripture says… “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.” Luke 10:5-6

You say I am in denial, I know I’m not, but that’s a choice you make. Each of us chooses the manner in which we see the world. You write… “2.3. Denial is the refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. ” Are you insisting that I fail to see the corruption that is and has been going on in the Philippines? I beg to differ. My choice of words may not be to your liking, but I do see and have experienced the effects of the corruption.

I’d like to address your point 2.4 ” If one extends this logic to its fullest absurd conclusion, one would be able to say that no one is a true Catholic because all “Catholics” have sinned (even if only by Original Sin).” ALL Catholics, who, by the way, are also Christians, are sinners. Romans 3:23 teaches…”for ALL (Christians or not) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And yet, we have been given the grace … “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 Do note there is a cause and effect relationship here. Man has to do his part…CONFESS OUR SINS. I believe this involves true repentance. True repentance requires “expressing a sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrong doing or sin”. It also requires one to turn his/her back towards sin. Hence, if man does not do his part, God won’t and can’t do his.  Why?  Although it would benefit man, God will not force himself on anyone.  

It is in every human being’s nature to sin. It is for that reason why Jesus came down from Heaven to be the atonement of our sins. He took upon himself all the sins of the world (past, present and future) so that we could be reunited with God the Father. His death would have been the victory of his enemies and the devil, but the Father had sent the Holy Spirit into Jesus’ dead body and in 3 days, he rose again and destroyed death forever for those who believe in Him. God turned what was intended for evil and destruction, into the saving grace for all!

The following link http://openairoutreach.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/does-man-inherit-a-sinful-nature-jesse-morrell/ gives a decent discussion on man’s inherent nature. I would like to stress the following and hence I quote…” Mankind is described as being made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7). The Bible says that men are “made after the similitude of God” (Jas. 3:9), even after the fall of Adam. That is why when it comes to sin, the Bible says that sin is actually contrary to human nature (Rom. 1:26-27). God wanted mankind to imitate Him in choosing holiness (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26; Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:16). God did not design us to live wickedly. Therefore, sin is an abuse and misuse of our created constitution.

God did not intend or plan for us to use our mental, moral, spiritual, or physical abilities for sin. That is why the Bible says that sin is “against nature.” Sinners choose to do “that which is against nature.” Through the freedom of their will, they choose to do what is contrary to their design. It was never God’s intention for man to sin. It was not His plan for mankind to be sinful (Gen. 6:5-6; Matt. 25:41; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thes. 4:3). God actually would have preferred a sinless universe that needed no atonement at all (1 Sam. 15:22). Since sin was contrary to God’s plan or intention for mankind, God has made sin contrary to the design of our constitution.

God never intended for us to use our constitution for sin. On the contrary, He wants us to use our members for righteousness (Rom. 6:13, 19; Rom.12:1; 1 Thes. 4:3-4). Paul said, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour” (1 Thes. 4:3-4). Our constitution was not designed for sin, but sin is contrary to the intended use of our nature, because God is our designer.”

I hope this provides you with a satisfactory response. God bless you Edgar! Just as with His peace, you can either accept or reject God’s blessings.

p.s. – Andrew, don’t under estimate what God can do. And yes, I am just a lay person and I AM CATHOLIC! E-mail me if you want to dialogue further.”

In truth, I am praying that the dialogue is over.  I enjoyed sharing and teaching, but I’m tired.

May Father God open our spiritual eyes, ears and hearts so we can recognize Him when He speaks.  And may we spend time reading, reflecting and memorizing his living Word so that He can use them to guide us in our daily walk.

God bless,

Melissa – August 29, 2013

p.s. - My apologies. I believe the Catechism would have given a better explanation of original sin. (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm)

 

REFLECTION: The Truest Identity

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

 

 

Yesterday, Msgr. Greg Smith shared a portion of a fellow parishioner’s comments in his homily.  Msgr began…“Today is the day of the Gay Pride Parade.  A parishioner who lives chastely with the same sex attraction wrote me an e-mail early this morning.  With permission, I share these words with you:

“If I am not at Mass today, I want to assure you that I am not at the Parade, despite not being ashamed of who I am.

…The best Parade of Pride is knowing the Beauty of the Trinity,

… and the real “Parade” of our congregation is in procession to the Altar for Holy Communion to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus,

…and my feeling of real “Pride” is knowing I was so blessed to be chosen to hear the words of the Son of God.” (highlights and indentation are mine)

These words have continued to resonate with me today and as I reflect deeper, I begin to see how our wonderful, loving Father has blessed this individual with the ability to see himself / herself so clearly with the very eyes of the Father…  the truest and purest identity of all, as a CHILD OF GOD!

What a POWERFUL, LIVING testimony!

God bless,

Melissa (August 5, 2013)

REFLECTION: The punishment that brought us peace

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

I came across this chapter a few days ago and it continues to intrigue me.  The chapter opens with the following scripture verse...”The punishment that brought us peace was upon him…by oppression and judgment he was taken away.”  Isaiah 53:5,8

The individual referred to in this passage is Jesus.   I always knew, in my heart and mind, that He took on sin so you and I can live in freedom and eternally, but my mind could never fathom what it involved.   Now, through the grace of God and by the literal artistic talent of James R. Lucas, I have begun to understand a minuscule more.  (I have intentionally highlighted the words of Jesus, in this fictional account, in red.)

“He felt His head moving uncontrollably, rolling forward and then snapping back.  The pain was unbelievable.  He couldn’t isolate where the agony came from – it was a pain in the whole being, ripping, at every part of His body.

How long have I been here?  He tried to remember, but the pain was too unrelenting and dominating.  Minutes, hours - it seemed like days, like years, like forever.  When will it end?  He wanted to scream but somehow held it in.”

…What are they saying?  He heard one man saying, “but He can’t save himself!”  The irony of the thought pierced Him.  I can save Myself.  I can.  Don’t you know that I can?  But if I do, what will happen to you?  ”save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen one…  Let God rescue Him now if he wants Him.”  I am Christ.  That’s why I can’t come down.  That’s why My Father won’t rescue Me.”

Did you begin to cringe when you read the narrative?  It is fictional, but I do believe it has begun to assist you in appreciating what this God made man had endured.  Jesus was fully human and he felt every physical, emotional, and spiritual despair that man could experience.  And yet, because He was God, He fore knew what was to come and he agonized even more.  “…And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed.  ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done… And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.” Luke 22:41-44

As we agonize in our own despair, perhaps the Holy Spirit will begin to bring this account to mind.  And if we are open enough, perhaps He will begin to help us realize that Jesus is right beside us, waiting for us to exercise our free will and to invite Him into each situation. When this happens, may He help us grasp the fact that He totally understands what we are going through.

But wait, did you notice how Lucas expanded?  Had you ever pondered over what Jesus must have thought when the crowds mocked Him to save himself?  I didn’t.  Thankfully today, it has hit home.

“I can save Myself.  I can.  Don’t you know that I can?  But if I do, what will happen to you?  ”…save Himself if He is the Christ of God, theChosen one…  Let God rescue Him now if he wants Him.”  I am Christ.  That’s why I can’t come down.  That’s why My Father won’t rescue Me.”

Jesus purposely remained on that cross, in spite of the mockery and ridicule, in spite of his ability to free Himself from all that agony…for you!  For me!

Can you imagine what our lives would be like if Jesus came down from that cross?  That reality hit me hard one Sunday when Msgr. Greg asked the congregation what we would do if archaeologists found the remains of Jesus’ in His tomb.  Grief, agony and hopelessness immediately surrounded me when that thought sank in.  Thank God that was just a hypothetical question!  Thank God Jesus chose to endure the agony on the cross and thank God that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and He is alive and well today and for eternity.

“…’You the Christ?’  He heard shouted from His side… ‘Save Yourself and us!’ He heard the voice taunt.  He realized that it was the man on the cross next to Him.  I’m trying.  I’m trying to save you.  Can’t you see that’s what I’m trying to do?  Don’t you understand?  Doesn’t anybody understand?

‘Don’t you fear God…?’ He heard the man on His other side yelling in a tortured voice at the first man… ‘getting what our deeds deserved.  But this man has done nothing wrong.’

…This second man had been insulting Him through the whole ordeal.  There he was now, his body wrecked, his face twisted, the aura of death all around him.  But his eyes, his eyes!  He understands!  ‘Jesus,’ the man rasped, then began coughing, “Remember me…when You come…into Your Kingdom.’”

Was it by chance that two others were crucified with Jesus on the hill of Calvary?  Was it by chance that one continued to mock him to the very end while the eyes of the other began to open and he began to see what this God made Man had done for mankind?  I don’t think so.  Two nights ago, our Father had begun to help me grasp that this is what goes on on a daily basis.

As we continue on our journey towards eternity and as we face the havoc and mockery (our own cross) the devil has brought about into our world, when Jesus comes knocking on the door of your heart, with which crucified thief will you identify with?  May our Father open the spiritual eyes of all so, like the second thief, we may cry out and say, “Lord, Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”

God bless,

 

Melissa –June 8, 2013–8:08 a.m.

 

p.s. – The quotes were taken from Chapter 10 of Walking Through the Fire – Finding the Purpose of Pain in the Christian Life by James R. Lucas.

2) Who Am Iby Casting Crowns (link to song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTQTcasa2S8)

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart.

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You’re

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again.
Who am I, that the Voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
not because of who I am
but because of what You done
not because of what I done
but because of who you are

I am the flower quickly fading
here today and gone tomorrow
a wave tossed in the ocean(ocean)
a vapor in the wind
still You hear me when I call You
Lord you catch me when I’m falling
and You told me who I am (I am)
I am Yours

not because of who I am
but because of what You done
not because of what I done
but because of who You are

I am the flower quickly fading
here today and gone tomorrow
a wave tossed in the ocean(ocean)
a vapor in the wind
still You hear me when I call You
Lord You catch me when I’m falling
and you told me who I am (I am)
I am yours, I am yours ,I am yours.

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
‘Cause I am Yours
I am Yours