Divine Hope

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Christ at Emmaus – Rembrant

 

7/15/17

Beloved,

Do you still not trust me?  Take the Road to Emmaus with Me.  When I encountered my disciples on that road they stated, “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”  Their hope was so different than Divine Hope.  Their dreams not nearly as large.  My dreams over you are bigger than your own.  How many times in your limited understanding have you “hoped” only to have the situation be so completely different than you had “hoped”?  Different, but better, because MY HOPE is better than anything you can possibly ever imagine.  Be in my NOW.  Rest your hope there.  The trials and sufferings you are enduring are not all for naught.  It is your betrothal to me.  The preparation for the Divine Marriage.  My will in you.  My kingdom come.  When you find yourself in doubt, you must simply only look to the breaking of the bread, and there you can recognize me.  Remember the great things I have done for you.  You are my beloved.  Do not fear.  I am with you always.

Luke 24

  • Your Divine Spouse
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Mercy is Not Tolerance

 

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Cleansing the Temple Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1875

 

Guest Post By: Ashley Blackburn

 

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice” – Matthew 9:13

 

Have we turned this very beautiful phrase said by Jesus into an excuse for tolerance? Mercy and tolerance are two very separate things.  Venerable Fulton Sheen spoke about tolerance, calling it “an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil.” He goes on to say “tolerance applies only to persons… never to the truth.”  There is one truth. It is absolute and everlasting.  It is in all things because it created all things and it will forever be.  The question is, do we believe in it, do we trust in it, do we recognize God through it?

The devil knows that the path of truth is straight and narrow.  He is the one who clouds the road and provides many opportunities for us to turn off the straight path.  He leads us down unclear roads with many turns; roads that eventually lead to destruction.  But God is always with us and he makes good out of all things.  He constantly invites us back on the straight path of his truth through his abundant mercy.  We must keep our eyes on Christ and let him lead us.

Often times we choose certain truths to follow and others to deny; mainly the ones that are seemingly too hard to understand and/or to follow. In our struggle with these truths we oftentimes don’t think to turn to God, asking for him to reveal to us a better understanding of the truth.  Jesus himself tells us in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  Jesus was telling us something so much deeper here than asking for what we want or need in prayer.  He was showing us how to ask him to lead us into a deeper understanding and communion with himself, in which Jesus is the fullness of the truth.  In this passage, Jesus is telling us to turn to him when we get stuck, when we don’t understand something, when we are confused by the cloudiness, when our hearts are restless, and when the seeds of doubt enter our minds.  The promise made to us is that Jesus is ever-willing and ready to draw us closer to himself, but we have to ASK him to do so.  He will never force us into deeper communion with him, it must be our desire as well.

In our world, certain situations cloud the truth and in our limited understanding of God’s mercy we turn to tolerance as a means to show love and acceptance for all God’s children. This cloudiness creates a situation where in our desire to love our neighbor, we in turn accept sinfulness by way of tolerance.  Jesus specifically commands us to love our neighbor, but he does not at any time command us to tolerate sin.  Through his abundant mercy, he forgives those who seek mercy, as well as those who seek mercy for another.  What we do not find anywhere in the Gospels is Jesus forgiving those who are not seeking forgiveness. Just take a look at the Pharisees, they no less needed God’s mercy than anyone else he encountered.  The difference is they did not believe they needed his mercy and so they were not open to receiving it.  Jesus would have readily forgiven any one of them if they would have turned to him and asked for forgiveness.

God’s mercy is abundant. God’s mercy is for all humanity. God’s mercy is always available, complete and necessary for our salvation. It is HIS deepest desire that we receive his mercy and so he is unconditionally generous in the outpouring of mercy. But what we oftentimes miss is that God’s mercy requires an open receiver in order to penetrate the heart.  So we must ask ourselves, is my heart open to receiving his mercy?

In Matthew 13:1-9 we hear the parable of the sower.  The sower sowed seeds on the path, which were eaten up by the birds, then on the rocky ground, which sprung up immediately and were scorched by the sun, then amongst the thorns, which grew and were eventually choked up by the thorns, and finally on good soil, which brought forth an abundance of grain.  Jesus is showing us through this parable the different receivers that we are and how important it is to cultivate an open and ready heart in order to receive his mercy and love, which will in turn bear fruit.  This parable reminds us that our cooperation with God is paramount.  God is constantly sowing seeds amongst all of humanity, but are we open and ready to receive his gifts?

This is another way in which the world confuses tolerance with mercy.  St. Pope John Paul the Great in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio talks about the ‘gradualness of the law,’ and warns us of its effects in creating “different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations.”  The truth does not apply differently to different people. Tolerating the sins of some because of their situation or their temptations is not mercy.  Instead it actually attacks their very dignity to the core – for we are all created in the image and likeness of God and we are all made for truth.

God reveals himself to us through the truth.  To say that one person’s temptation is too extreme, or another’s hardship is too much, so we should lower the standard for them is wrong and a very dangerous slippery slope.  Read the lives of the saints.  These holy men and women, despite incredible persecution and suffering, lived the truth.  They trusted in the truth and made it a priority to keep their hearts open to receiving God’s mercy and love. We too must not give up on the truth! The truth will set us free from the bondage of sin.

 

Imagine God’s mercy being like the rain falling upon all of humanity at the same time and in the same measure.  But who of us can say our hearts are ready and open to receiving the rain and letting it penetrate deep into us, to nourish the seeds of truth.  The open receivers, the ones who have cultivated good soil in their hearts, are those humble souls who have recognized their dependence on God and are able to see where they have turned away from him through sin.  These souls are the ones who stand in the rain and receive his mercy, they no longer desire to run away to find shelter from the rain.  And so we see here that our participation as receivers is necessary.

We are not simply bystanders where God’s mercy falls upon us and without our desire or knowledge we are cleansed; eliminating the need for us to turn away from our sinfulness and turn back to God. Instead, God has given us free will in order for us to CHOOSE to turn to him, which by doing so we are turning away from sin.  We CHOOSE to ready our hearts in order to receive his mercy and allow the seeds of truth to take root,  bearing the fruit of understanding.

In all of this, we can be assured that God does not change and so God’s law, the truth, does not change.  The truth is not an ideal that is out of our reach and so we settle for less.  The truth is the fullness. God invites each and every one of us to live in the fullness of the truth.  Even though we are unable to remain in the truth on our own accord, when we humbly ask God to help us live in union with his divine will, we are given what we need to be able to live in the truth.  It is God who reaches down to us in our weakness to lift us up, but it is only when we open our arms to him and allow him to lift us up that we are raised off the ground. May we always strive to live in the truth, trusting in his abundant mercy and love.

“And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10

 

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The Dual attack

 

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“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

The father of lies attacks the human will, intellect, and memory in one of two ways.

He tempts one to make a god of himself.  Convincing the man of his intellectual obesity and rightness in comparison to his fellow man.  This attack compels one to look inward in pride.  This attack creates hard hearts.  Hard hearts turn to warring and dictatorship.  Evil flourishes through subjugation and oppression,  bringing the demise of souls through this evil.  Making families be destroyed.  Destroying communities and nations.

If the father of lies realizes a soul is too compassionate to harden their heart he attacks the core of their very person, convincing them they are worthless and sending them into despair.  This spiral of depression also destroys families, communities and nations.  The ultimate goal of this kind of attack is to make the soul go so into despair, they kill themselves as the final conclusion to the worthlessness they feel.

God rejects both of these because none of it brings unity.  The soul that is secure in God’s love for them, neither boasts of himself nor despairs of himself.  This is because God has  revealed to those that listen that looking inward during these temptations is what brings destruction.  God compels us to look outward.  Look toward the other.  This outward looking toward the other is true love.  It rests securely in The Father’s love so it recognizes the beauty of sacrifice for the other.  This sacrifice is thankful.  This sacrifice is born of the Eucharist which means Thanksgiving.

Do not boast because everything we have is a gift from God.  Do not despair because you are loved.

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Clothed in the Sun

Mary and Adoration

 

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

As you all know, in my prayer over the past couple of years God has been showing me this image;

communion cross with sun

It is very similar to the back of the miraculous medal;

miraculous medal

In focusing on the differences, I felt like God was telling me that the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart beat in unison, and that is why, for me, the hearts are touching.  I feel like God actually wants my heart there too, a Trinity of beating in unison.  My heart (and yours) united to the Sacred and Immaculate Heart.  I felt like He also told me Mary is totally in union with the Trinity, and that the church is our Anchor, which is why there was an anchor in the image I saw.  What I couldn’t really figure out was, why I saw a sun, instead of stars.  To me, both are representative of creation, so I asked God, why a sun in my image?  He answered me when I read the writings of Luisa Piccarreta.   She said the sun represents Gods will.

Everyday we should be praying the prayer that Jesus taught us.  But what do we mean when we say, “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”?  I have pondered this a lot.  In these tumultuous times we live in, I see a beast taking over.  It is a beast of fear.  But God repeatedly says to me, “Do not be afraid, Susan.”  He tells me over and over to Trust.  I know that we will face, and are facing much suffering.  But he shows me that to be in His will, we must get there as Jesus did, through the cross.

Today’s Gospel said, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  How in the world do we do that?  It is done through the emptying of our human will, so we can receive God’s will.  I think Saints like Padre Pio were but a glimmer of this.  In emptying through suffering he was actually given extraordinary power.  He sought to be last, but that is what made him great.  He was obedient in persecution, something most of us know nothing about.

I think God wants to restore us.  To bring us a “new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21)“, one where we are clothed in God’s will.  One where, because God is in us, we will be in union, and we will live love.  I want to share with you what I wrote in my journal on Trinity Sunday;

June 11, 2016

Beloved,

I created them male and female.  They were clothed in MY WILL.  Clothed in the sun.  Sacrifice is always required in true love because it is a giving and receiving.  Sacrifice the fruit of the tree.  They did not.   Their garment was torn in two.  They were no longer clothed in the sun.  They knew they were naked.  I had to send My Son, in union with Me and the Spirit, totally Trinity, to undo what had been done.  His garment remained seamless because He is always clothed in the sun.  His sacrifice tore the temple veil in two.  The place that led back to me.  I send the Mother, clothed in the sun, with the moon at her feet and a crown of twelve stars.  She is clothed in creation because she is in union with it.  Just as I want you to be.  Back in union with MY WILL.  United with the Trinity.  My Son is the Redeemer, I want you in the Sacred Heart.  She is the map to Him.  The Celestial Map.  Her Immaculate Heart will triumph.  You are created male and female in Our Image.  Confusion will disperse and the garment will be seamless once again.

Abba

I am but a messenger and I know that our God is a God of hope and of love.  In our sufferings we must cling to DIVINE HOPE, and not hope in the things of man.  Divine Hope will show us that it is possible to live His Will on earth as it is in Heaven, and I think we will all be amazed.  So DO NOT BE AFRAID, and surrender your will to His, and most of all TRUST.

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The Mediocrity of Apathy

Holy Face of Jesus

The Holy Face of Jesus – Look at the Face of Radical Love

 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.  Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:17-19

 

Recently I have had multiple conversations with fellow Christians.  The conversations have all started to sound the same and they go something like this;

Me: we have to stand up against immorality.

Them: well, Jesus loves everyone, not being a sinner is not a pre-requisite of his love. Live and let live.

Me: Jesus didn’t leave people in their sin.  He transformed them.  Of course he loves everyone, but the question becomes do you love Him back?  Because Jesus Himself tells us, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Them: silence.

It is in these moments that I see what Saint John Paul the Great talked about as the gradualness of the law.  The essence of what the Great Saint was saying is that people tend to see the rules in the church as hard so they tell people that’s okay, Jesus loves you, and they lower the bar for that person, thereby keeping that person from moral truth.

John Paul II said this is an affront to the dignity of the human being.  Lowering the bar essentially says, you’re not capable of being a great Saint.  But God begs to differ and calls all of us to Sainthood.   Despite our failures, God always continues to love us, but to give up and not even try blocks Gods grace from transforming us.

Jesus ABSOLUTELY DOES LOVE THE SINNER, but you know what He doesn’t do, leave the sinner who personally encounters Him in a wallowing of sin.  The Samaritan woman recognized the truth and told everyone about him.  He told the adulterous woman to, “…  Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.” John 8:11.  He doesn’t want the sinner to stay stuck in his or her sin.  He wants radical conversion and transformation.  It is the most radical love in the world.  Is it hard?  Yes.  But he tells us to look to Him for that radical love.  How did he show that love?  On the cross.

When we lower the bar and tell people that sin is not actually sin, we are not showing them the God of miracles.  This is the God who can transform the porn addict or drug addict, rescue the prostitute, free the materially enslaved.

Lowering the bar actually leads to moral relativism where there is different truth for different people.  Doing this contradicts Christ Himself who said;

I am the way, the truth and the life.  John 14:16

Moral relativism also leads to apathy.  Apathy is the antithesis of what Christ wanted.  Christ was passionate.  Apathy doesn’t care about the sin of yourself or your neighbor.  Apathy leaves you stuck, at best, in a life of mediocrity.  At its worst, apathy can lead to the gas chamber.   Because if you’re not passionate about truth, and you don’t care what happens to your neighbor in an effort to live and let live, then you shouldn’t be shocked when your neighbor gets carted away when you didn’t stand up and fight for what’s true.

We are called to speak of Jesus and evangelize His truth with love.  Jesus loves the sinner.  Respond to that love, and let the King of Kings transform your life into a rich, passion filled life of joy.

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The Serpent on the Staff

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Moses and the Serpent on the Staff by Sebastien Bourdon

From Mount Hor they set out by way of the Red Sea, to bypass the land of Edom, but the people’s patience was worn out by the journey;  so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” So the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died.  Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people,  and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover – Accordingly Moses made a bronze serpent – and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.  Numbers 21: 6-9

I have spent some time contemplating the above passage.  The people had been rescued from slavery by God, yet they complained and did not trust.  As always, when I read the bible, I think God gives us multiple meanings in the stories He left us.  I believe they actually happened, but there is an underlying message too.  God is a God of detail, and not of coincidence.  He is in everything. And everything is connected.

The metaphor I see here is that the serpents that are biting us are actually our own sin.  The sins we have committed, and the sins committed against us by others.  Sin brings death, just as the serpent bite did.  It can bring death when we sit in un-forgiveness and rage toward those who have wronged us.  It can bring death when we sit in the pride of our sin, never examining ourselves, never repenting.  He will make transparent the wrongs, revealing them to all.  The truth shall set us all free.  Anyone who thinks they can hide or cover up will soon find that they cannot.

We can only be healed when we stare straight at it.  When we examine our conscience and repent.  When we look at those who have wronged us, and we forgive them and love the way Christ does.  For some of us, those wounds are gigantic, and seem insurmountable.  But for God nothing is impossible.

I have read many prophecies about a “warning,” some call it an, “illumination of conscience,”  and I have even heard the term, “rescue.”  One day in my prayer I felt the Blessed Mother tell me that these are all the same thing.  It is a warning, to turn back to God.  It is a an illumination of conscience, because you will be shown exactly who you are in the eyes of God.  It is a rescue for many, because you will be saved from perdition.  You will stare at the serpent on the staff, if you are open to healing.  If you are not, you will look away, thereby taking your eyes off of God.  You can, of your own free will, choose God and be healed, or choose death.  The choice is up to you.  He is the exacter of the judgement you have chosen.  Take care to examine yourself daily, so when you stare at the serpent on the staff, you can forgive and be forgiven, and be totally healed.  Whether this is a one time event for all of us, or perhaps when each individual is shown his or her own soul (as I feel happened to me), or just upon death, or perhaps all of that, I know not.  I just know your time will come and you must choose.

I have often been asked if I am a Prophet.  All I can tell you is, if a Prophet is someone who calls people back to God, then yes, I have accepted that assignment.  I cannot speak for God, except through my own interpretation of what He tells me.  I have been wrong. He never has.  And last night I was sitting on my porch, watching a fairly raging storm.  I was in awe of the power of God, and I felt so small.  I felt God tell me He has SO MUCH MORE in store for us, and yet we think so little, we fear suffering, we trust not at all.  He wants us to trust.  He showed me awhile back just a glimmer of His creation – and he did it using a tree.  We have everything backwards when we worship the earth.  If we worship the creator, he lets us have harmony with the earth.  On that particular day, I totally understood the Canticle of the Sun that St. Francis wrote.  Our preparation in these perilous times is not one of worldly preparation of bunkers and food.  It is spiritual.  It is about knowing and trusting your Creator.  It is about asking for your will to be one with His.  Here is what I recorded in my journal last night;

Beloved,
I want to draw you into eternity to live in my will.  It makes you one with me the Creator so you are drawn into creation.  I AM outside of time.  I AM outside of space.  I AM, so you will BE.  Just BE.  BE in the present moment.  The past–your memories, the present–your now, the future — your hopes and anxieties, all wrapped into one.  BE present.  BE in the Spirit.  With each breath you take know that you can BE in ME.  Transcending everything.  I AM love.  I AM perfection.  I AM all of creation.  The Angels bask in the glory of my now.  So too shall you live.  I gave you a small glimpse of this when I let you feel but a drop of creation in that tree.  Heaven IS.  And the time for Heaven is now.  So just BE in Me.  Receive Me.  I will give all of Me to you just as I did in My Son.  The storm will rage. The lightening will strike.  The thunder will roll.  And you will know the Great I AM and you will BE.  And all will be amazed.  Contemplate creation and I will give it to you now.

Exodus 4:11
Abba

So I want to tell you to go forth and contemplate meeting your maker.  Just BE with Him. Examine yourself, go to confession if need be, and then just settle in and rest in the healing He can bring to you, if only you allow it.

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White Noise

white noise

White Noise

living water

 Living water

 

 

This piece was written by my good friend and Prayer Warrior, Ashley Blackburn

The world is full of white noise and that is where most people find their home.  We live in the business of life, which is a constant white noise with no clear message, no direction and no meaning.  With this it seems that God is silent.

In this home, there is no stillness because we have no time for it.  We run about, in a constant state of movement, from one place to another, from one conversation to the next.  This constant movement creates heat which energizes and keeps us going in this state.  It is impossible to come to a sudden stop in this home for if we do we will burn up from the amount of heat our constant movement has created.

We feel overwhelmed, pulled in many directions, over-scheduled, and out of control.  We feel that our life is being lived for us, that our commitments have swallowed us up and we are stuck. We are no longer living our lives, we no longer have time or energy to do anything other than what the world tells us we need to do.

All the while, God is there, as a gentle breeze, whispering the truths of his Kingdom.  The richness of his message does not change for there is only one truth.  But when we are living in the white noise, we are unable to hear the message of the truth. The white noise drowns out the truth and we end up getting bits and pieces, without the full revelation.  With this, the message is tainted and becomes lukewarm.  While the fullness of the truth is cool and refreshing to the soul.

But God in his infinite mercy, plants seeds deep within us.  They are buried in the deepest depth of our soul and there they are protected.  The seeds begin to germinate and grow.  They become that tug on our heart that reminds us that this is not all there is, that we were created for much more.  As the seed grows and begins to penetrate through us, we begin to hunger and thirst. This hunger and thirst is often something we can’t quite explain or understand, but we know that it is there. We can ignore the tug, which will be the ultimate end to the seed for it will eventually die of lack of nourishment and the white noise will continue and eventually take over our lives completely.  Or we can choose to nourish the seed, cultivating it and allowing God to plant more seeds within us, which will slow down the constant movement of our lives and lead us into the stillness with God, into the classroom of contemplation.

God so loves us that he does not completely turn off the white noise in our lives, for that would throw us into a state of chaos.  Likewise, he doesn’t throw freezing water on us to cool us from the heat of our constant movement.  Instead, he gently cools us just enough to be refreshing, knowing that we will desire more. He only turns down the white noise just a bit in order for us to hear a portion of the Truth in order to draw us to know more and more. Then once we begin our journey and take that first step toward him and away from the world, he slowly tugs more and more at our hearts, eventually leading us into full communion with him.

This explains the two movements.  The first movement is one of gentleness, while in the second God is revealed in his fullness.  For the fullness of God cannot be heard amongst the white noise.  It won’t be understood.  The first is refreshing to the soul.  It calls the soul to turn away from the world and toward the face of Christ.  It puts a hunger and thirst deep within us that can only be filled with his presence. With this the soul is drawn to the fount of living water for it refreshes the soul. The living water that gives true joy and lasting peace.  And the crowning moment is when the soul, utterly convinced of God’s merciful love, chooses with its own free will to follow Jesus.  Our choices define who are, so the work of God never takes away our power to choose Him.  He instead works in the stillness and leads us to our own choosing.

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