Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for September, 2012

We Continue to Prepare…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on September 24, 2012

A profound moment…

Updated: Evening Prayer, Wednesday, Week I- bottom of the page

Before I start this reflection, I want to share a profound answer I received yesterday when I asked the Lord a silly question…

Believe it or not, I asked, “How come that which was imminent to happen this summer DIDN’T happen?”

And my Father gently pat me on my head (He has such great patience with me) and said, “My child, did you not encourage others to return to Me through prayer and fasting?  Does not the scripture read, ‘If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ ?  Why then are you surprised when the chastisement, that is upon mankind for their grievous sins against heaven, is lessened ?  Is that not what these prayers are for?”

I shook my head and laughed at myself with the reply of, “Oh duh!” 

Yes!  The call to return to prayer and fasting will lessen the chastisement – NOT abate it!  For these sins (placing man above God; murder of the unborn, aged, helpless; promoting the disordered lifestyle of homosexuality as normal and acceptable, especially in the eyes of God), cannot be remitted by prayer and fasting alone. 

We, the people of God and the people of the earth must answer for these sins.  We have brought God’s judgment down upon ourselves.  But as I wrote in the last post, God’s judgment is tempered with MERCY, and that MERCY will increase with every instance of sincere repentance, prayer, and fasting.

On that note…

On that note…

We continue with the LIVING READING as presented in the Christian Prayer, 4 week Psalter, with readings ever so “Relevant to Today”.  These readings seem to me as preparatory for the coming days.  Just as the Christians of old were prepared for the fall of Jerusalem, so is God preparing His people for the collapse of everything we know…

A brief thought… notice how the verbiage “Western World” is rarely if ever used these days?  Could this be a sign for the times?

Yet, as everything around us collapses, those who are truly following Christ should notice how – even in chaos – our inner peace remains undisturbed. 

Why?  Very simple!  Because as Followers of Christ we are prepared to follow our Crucified Lord in to His Passion and Death because we KNOW the Resurrection WILL FOLLOW.

God is in command of EVERYTHING in heaven and on earth, and NOTHING will occur without His “say-so”.  Men’s hearts have grown cold and sin increases greatly, more than ever before, yet St. Paul reminds us that all is not lost:

…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace might also reign through righteousness through eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~Romans 5: 20b-21

Though we have brought the hand of judgment upon us, it is also important to remember that God chastises those whom He loves (cf Hebrews 12: 6, 7b, 8), so our destruction will not be utter and He will NOT abandon His people during this time:

If we have died with Him we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.  ~2Tim 2: 11-13

Thus we cling to the TRUTH that God has the FINAL VICTORY… HE IS LOVE … His Justice is tempered with MERCY … and those who seek after Him with a sincere heart full of repentance will receive FORGIVENESS in abundance…This is a reminder of how we can make it through the days before us.

“If My people would humble themselves and pray…”

Christian Prayer: Tuesday, Week IV, Evening Prayer : READING: Col 3: 15-17 (emphasis added, with additional commentary)

[Brothers and Sisters] Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the ONE BODY you have been called to that peace.  Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness

The Greek word for giving thanks is – Eucharist.  The dedicating oneself to giving thanks is to participate in the Eucharist, a.k.a. the celebration of the Holy Mass which includes Daily Mass if your schedule allows it!

Let the Word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you…

When we attend the Holy Mass we hear the Word of God in the readings and in the Gospel.

In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another…

Evening catechisis outside of Mass hours is an excellent way to do this.  Does your parish host evening classes for adults and children that teach the faith?  Or maybe start a study of your own on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or pick a book out of the bible and make that your study?  There are a lot of good resources available out there to make your endeavor fulfilling and successful.

Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs…

Boy, that sure sounds a lot like the Christian PrayerAre you praying the Liturgy of the Hours yet?  Why not give that a try?  It has the psalms, hymns, and inspired songs throughout and for the hours found throughout the day.

Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Give thanks to God the Father through Him.

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

RESPONSORY: I shall know the fullness of JOY when I see Your face, O Lord.

Ask yourself: What does “sincere repentance” look like?  Do I have it, or am I just fooling myself?  Remember, God knows the heart…

Christian Prayer: Wednesday, Week IV, Evening Prayer : READING: 1Jn 2: 3-6 (emphasis added, with commentary)

The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Christ is to keep His commandments.  The man who claims, “I have known Him,” without keeping His commandments, IS A LIAR; in such a one there is no truth.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And the second is like it.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself…”

~Mt 22: 36-39

But whoever keeps His Word, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him. The way we can be sure we are in union with Him is for the man who claims to abide in Him to conduct himself just as He did.

Refer back to the Greatest Commandment and the Second one like it!…

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

Always remember, Our Hope is in the Lord, for He has the FINAL VICTORY!

Christian Prayer: Thursday, Week IV, Morning Prayer : READING: Romans 8: 18-21 (emphasis added)

The sufferings of the present are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.  Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.

Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord, but by Him who once subjected it; yet not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

RESPONSORY: In the early hours of the morning, I think of you, O Lord.

Christian Prayer: Saturday, Week IV, Morning : READING: 2Peter 3: 13-15a (emphasis added, with commentary)

What we await are the new heavens and a new earth where, according to His promise, the Justice of God will reside.

So, beloved, while waiting for this, make every effort to be found without stain or defilement, and at peace in His sight.  Consider that our Lord’s patience is directed toward salvation.

***And in particular, OUR SALVATION!***

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

RESPONSORY: It is my joy, O God, to praise You with song!

Let him who has ears hear…

 

Christian Prayer: Wednesday, Week I, Evening Prayer : READING: James 1: 19-23 (emphasis added, with commentary)

Keep this in mind, dear brothers [and sisters].  Let [everyone] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  for a man’s anger does not fulfill God’s Justice. 

Strip away all that is filthy, ever vicious excess.  Humbly welcome the Word that has taken root in you, with Its power to save youAct on this Word.  If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves.

A man who listens to God’s Word but does not put into practice is like a man who looks into a mirror at the face he was born with:  he looks at himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.

There is, on the other hand, the man who peers into freedom’s ideal law

That is the Law of God!

and abides by it. He is no forgetful listener, but one who carries out the Law in practice

You must LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart
all your mind, and all your soul…

You must LOVE your neighbor as yourself. (cf Mt 22: 37-39)

Blest will this man be in whatever he does!

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

RESPONSORY: Claim me once more as Your own, Lord, and have mercy on me.

Recommended Reading:

Mercy in Chaos
I Will Be Your Refuge

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God’s Justice Is For Everyone…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on September 13, 2012

Today’s writing/reflection continues with the theme of “Really Relevant to Today”, and utilizes the readings from recent Evening Prayers.  It’s truly a testament to the LIVING WORD of God how a four week, cycling Psalter, manages to be relevant for the moment it is read – even though it was read only four weeks before!  Truly AMAZING and truly ENCOURAGING.  So we begin, taken from…

“If My people would humble themselves and pray…”

Christian Prayer: Tuesday, Week II, Evening Prayer: READING: Rom 3:21-26 (emphasis added, with commentary).

GOD’s Justice for ALL People

The justice of God has been manifested apart from the law, even though the law and the prophets bear witness to it…

GOD’s justice exists with or without the Law, with or without the prophets.  The Law and the prophets are a RESULT of the justice of God.  His Justice has been from the beginning.  This Justice then is…

…that Justice of GOD which works through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

It is His Justice that is made manifest through the Son, Jesus, who IS the LIGHT and bears that light on all those who believe in Him.  For this reason, His Justice is ALWAYS tempered with MERCY and LOVE.  How do we know this?  Because we are told throughout the Old and New Testament that God loves us “like a son, heir to the kingdom of heaven” : “For the Lord disciplines him whom He LOVES, and chastises every son whom He receives.”(Heb 12:6, emphasis added)

This passage continues in the most plain language, leaving NO ROOM FOR DOUBT that, “God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline…then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”(Heb 12: 7b,8, emphasis added)

All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of GOD.  All men are now undeservedly justified by the gift of GOD…

May Christ dwell in your hearts through FAITH…

Which is further supported when St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “For by GRACE you have been SAVED through FAITH; and this is not your own doing, it IS the GIFT of GOD, not because of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9,emphasis added)  Nothing anyone has done has EARNED them salvation – salvation comes from Christ and His redeeming act (Passion, Death, & Resurrection).  But all are welcomed to receive that GIFT that comes through GOD the SON from GOD the FATHER.  The gift being exactly

…the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus, through His Blood, GOD made Him the means of expiation for all who believe.

Thus returning us to the earlier paragraph, GOD’s Justice towards man – towards sinful and fallen man – is tempered with Mercy and LOVE by the very act of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion.  The punishment that was meant for US, Jesus took upon Himself.  GOD the FATHER chastised and passed judgment of GOD the SON for our sins, for our disobedience, because we have “fallen short of the glory of GOD.”

He was punished for our sins…

St. Paul continues with further support…

He did so to manifest His own justice, for the sake of remitting sins committed in the past – to manifest His Justice in the present, by way of forbearance, so that He might be just and might JUSTIFY those who believe in [Christ] Jesus.

We know, for Christ told us, that in the “last days”, many will fall away and be tempted to leave behind GOD’s everlasting LOVE (cf. Mt 24:4), for something temporal and mortal.  BUT, if we remain in Christ, through forbearance (the patience and standing fast in times of trial) and with GOD’s MERCY & LOVE, we can overcome the temptation to leave, to run away in the face of evil.

Again, GOD’s Justice IS for ALL Mankind – we all have sinned, and we all have fallen short of His glory – BUT, His Justice will have MERCY and LOVE behind it for all those whom the Son brings before Him.  Does not Christ say, “I AM the WAY, and the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.”(Jn 14:6, emphasis added) And, “So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 10:32)

Thus GOD’s MERCY & LOVE will fall on they who cry out to the Son and do so with sincerity.  THIS is CRITICAL.  God knows the ways of the human heart, and He knows when there is sincere repentance for one’s sins or just a vain cry for help.  For, if one calls out only to “save their life”, they will succeed in only losing it, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life, for My sake, will find it.” (Mt 16:25)

Jesus constantly reminds us in our daily lives that we MUST deny ourselves and, “take up [our] cross and follow [Him]” (cf. Mt 16:24b); because, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, BUT he who DOES the WILL of My Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 7:21, emphasis added)

And I will make for them a New Heart out of flesh…

Bottom line: If you want the MERCY and LOVE of God during this time of judgment (that is the Justice of God the Father), then you  MUST relinquish your old ways and your old heart, so that God can fashion for you a NEW HEART and so your LIFE can be made NEW.  GOD did say, “And I will give them ONE HEART, and put in a NEW SPIRIT within them; I will take the stony heart our of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and OBEY them; and they shall be My people and I WILL BE their GOD.” (Esk 11:19-20,emphasis added)

THE RESULT…

Tuesday, Evening Prayer, Week III: READING: Rom 12: 9-12 (emphasis added)

“Let LOVE be GENUINE; hate what is evil, HOLD FAST to what is GOOD; LOVE ONE ANOTHER with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.  Never flag in zeal, BE AGLOW with the SPIRIT, serve the Lord.  REJOICE in your hope, be PATIENT in tribulation, [and] be PATIENT in PRAYER.”

REMINDER:

Sunday, Evening Prayer II, Week III: READING: 1Peter 1: 3-7 (emphasis added)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

WHY THEN…

… are [you] setting yourselves up in the place of God among the sons of men? You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test–but you will never know anything!  You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart, nor find out what a man is thinking; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out His mind or comprehend His thought?

No, my brethren, do not provoke the Lord our God to anger.  For… He has power to protect us within any time He pleases, or even to destroy us in the presence of our enemies.  

Do not try to bind the purposes of the Lord our God; for God is not like man, to be threatened, nor like a human being, to be won over by pleading (see again, Mt 7:21).  

Therefore, while we wait for His deliverance, let us call upon Him to help us, and He will hear our voice, if it pleases Him (see again, Jn 14:6). 

~ Judith 8: 12-17, (emphasis added)

JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!

As for you, you have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a Just Judge. Oh how terrible is that day!  Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath.  The angels tremble before it.  Speak to souls about this great mercy WHILE it is still time for [granting] mercyFear nothingBe faithful to the end…” ~ Divine Mercy Diary, St. Faustina, No. 635, emphasis added.

“.. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful HeartI use punishment when they themselves FORCE ME to do soMy hand is reluctant to take hold of the Sword of Justice (cf. Rev 19:11-16)Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy.”  ~ Divine Mercy Diary, St. Faustina, No. 1588, emphasis added.

…before I come as a Just Judge, I first open wide the door of My Mercy.  He who refuses to pass through the door of My Mercy must pass through the door of My Justice. ~ Divine Mercy Diary, St. Faustina, No. 1146, emphasis added.

Recommended Re-reads…

Really Relevant to Today – Readings

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