Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Second Sunday Advent: The Story Continues…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 8, 2017

HAPPY SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
December 8, 2016

O Mary, conceived without the stain of
Original Sin, pray for us who
have recourse to thee.

Second Week of Advent…

This is a continuation from the previous week

Special Note: You’ll want your Bible present to look up passages.  If you have anything other than RSV, NAB, KJV, or NIV,  then your translation might lead you astray.  The newest translations are very loose with little holding to the original Latin text. And if you’re Catholic, I recommend the RSV, it’s the closest to the Latin text next to the Vulgate.

You’ll find Scripture colored maroon, the Catechism colored in deep green, my comments left plain, and the traditional writing done in various shades of blue and purple; and as always, emphasis has been added when appropriate.

Please take a moment to read the INTRODUCTION before you begin this Advent reflection.

ADVENT REFLECTION : PART II: Infancy and Childhood of the Mother of God

CATECHISM:

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary isenriched from the first instant of her conceptioncomes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary MORE than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love,” (cf. Eph 1:3-4).

CCC§492 (emphasis mine)

The question here, “is this possible?  Can God really do this?”  My answer, OF COURSE HE CAN! He did so for Jeremiah…

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”   ~ Jeremiah 1:5

Because…

“For with God, nothing will be impossible.” ~ Luke 1:37

So how much more will He do for the Mother of His Son?

TRADITION:

AFTER GOD HAD CREATED Mary’s immaculate soul, He showed it to the choirs of angels in heaven, and they felt intense joy upon seeing its unique beauty.

Then, as Mary’s soul was infused into her body, her holy mother, St. Anne, was filled with the [Holy Spirit] and experienced an extraordinary devotion and happiness. Throughout rest of her life, and especially during the next nine months, she constantly received new graces and enlightenment concerning the great mystery of the Incarnation, and frequently praised the Lord in canticles of love.

Not so unusual, look what happened when Mary, only a few weeks pregnant with our Savior, visited with her kinswoman Elizabeth: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe in her womb leaped for joy; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’ ”  Hey, does that sound familiar?  (Hail Mary full of grace…blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…) ~Luke 1: 41-42

However, in order to increase her merit, God allowed St. Anne to undergo grievous trials during her pregnancy… Satan did not know that her daughter was to be the Mother of the Saviour,… [but] he did his best to tempt and disturb and harm her… she resisted all his attacks with humble fortitude, patience, and prayer.

CATECHISM

What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ. ~ CCC§487

What Mary does, who Mary is, how Mary is obedient and LOVES God is the model for us, the the REAL HUMAN EXAMPLE of how we can LOVE God, be OBEDIENT to God, LISTEN to God and accept His commands…just as her Son would ALSO DO during His lifetime on earth.

Did Christ endure trials during His life, or was it all a ‘bed of roses’?  Did Satan try to tempt Christ or did he just leave the Son of God alone?  Did Jesus come to live among His creation because He LOVES us or…not?

He IS God and He IS man, and because His mother said, ‘YES’, to God’s plan we are redeemed.  Her participation LEAD TO our REDEMPTION!

The Christian tradition sees… the “New Adam” who, because He “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,” makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam,(cf. 1Cor 15: 21-22, 45; Phil 2:8; Romans 5: 19-20).

~CCC§411

Thus it is SUPER IMPORTANT to make the distinction and dispel a common misunderstanding among many of our Christian brethren…

CATECHISM

All generations will call me blessed“: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship,”(cf. Lk 1:48). The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . .

This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”  The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as [The Rosary], an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

~ CCC§971, (emphasis mine)

Catholics DO NOT worship Mary.  We Honor her as the Mother of God.  We have a special Devotion to her just as the favorite apostle of Jesus’ – that is John the Evangelist – did: “When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’  Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’  And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” ~John 19: 26-27.

As many of us in the Church believe and understand, John ‘stood in’ for us as our Savior gave all of us His mother as OUR mother.

Thus when we HONOR Mary we are following the 4th commandment: You shall honor your father AND your mother, (cf. Deut 5:16).

St. Anne with child Mary
(Google Images)

TRADITION

Early in September, St. Anne was informed interiorly by the Lord that the time of her daughter’s birth was near…

One evening the three women arrived and embraced Anne, congratulating her warmly. Standing with them, she poured forth her deep joy and thankfulness in a beautiful spontaneous canticle, …St. Anne prayed until nearly midnight…While she was praying thus, a supernatural light began to fill the room. Noticing it, the three friends threw themselves onto the floor and hid their faces in awe.  So the dazzling light entirely surrounded St. Anne, making her invisible.

Sound familiar? It should. Jesus’ three closest disciples,” Peter, James, and John his brother”, did something very similar while Jesus was TRANSFIGURED before them, and a “bright cloud overshadowed them”, and God spoke from this cloud, and they ‘hit the dirt’!  See… Mt 17: 1-6

A moment later she was holding in her hands a beautiful, spotless, radiant baby, which she tenderly wrapped in her cloak and pressed to her heart. With tears of fervent love and joy, she gazed at her child and then, raising her eyes to heaven and holding up the baby, she prayed:

“O Lord and Creator, with eternal thanks I offer Thee this blessed fruit of my womb which I have received from Thy bounty without any merit of mine. But how shall I be able to treat such a child worthily?”

Another holy woman also offered a prayer of thanks giving for the birth of her long awaited child, much longer than this, but the point is these prayers of thanksgiving reflect very much the culture that Mary was born into giving further insight into why Mary is not just a fortunate girl but one set specifically aside, BY GOD, to participate in the EXTRAORDINARY.  See Samuel 2: 1-10

God gave her to understand that she was to bring up her daughter with all motherly love and care but without outward show of reverence, while retaining inwardly profound veneration for the future Mother of the Messiah.

Why, do you suppose?  I think a line from Fiddler On the Roof would fit in nicely here: “People, hmph!  If God lived on earth, people would break His windows!  True, of course true!” ~Yenta, the Matchmaker, circa. Fidler On the Roof.

And what did Jesus say to those He cured at the beginning of His ministry AND to His own disciples, “Tell no one who I am”, (cf. Mt 16:20; Mk 7:36,  8:30; Lk 5:14…just to name a few…)

Now in heaven the Blessed Trinity announced to the choir of angels:  “Our Chosen One shall be called Mary, and this name is to be powerful in grace.”

CATECHISM

…many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the Mother of Christ, the “new Eve.” Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.

~CCC§411 (emphasis mine)

Why not take a moment, if you will, to read a small bit on the Infancy of Mary

TRADITION : AFTER MARY’S INFANCY: around the age of 4 years…

One day, three old priests came from Nazareth to give examination, in order to determine whether [Mary] was worthy of being accepted for service in the Temple…Throughout the examinations, under the guidance and inspiration of her angels, Mary had remained perfectly recollected and serious, and at the same time strikingly beautiful and lovable.

A few days later everyone in St. Joachim’s home was preparing for the trip to Jerusalem. Several fine ceremonial dresses which had been made for Mary were carefully packed up. Finally…at dawn, two donkeys were loaded with baggage, and St. Joachim and St. Anne set out, [with St. Anne] carrying Mary in her arms. The holy child was very happy to be going to the Temple

She was dressed in a lovely sky-blue robe with garlands of flowers around her arms and neck, and in one hand she carried a candle decorated with flowers. On each side of her were three girls in white with flowers and candles. Then came other girls and women. Everyone who saw them was touched by Mary’s extraordinarily holy appearance.

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” Lk 1:38

At the outer entrance to the Temple, they were met by St. Joachim, Zacharias, and several other priests…Mary, in deep humility and adoration offered herself to God. She alone perceived that the Almighty welcomed her and accepted her, for she heard a voice from heaven saying:

“Come, My beloved, My spouse, come into My Temple, where I wish thee to offer Me praise and worship.”

With tears in their eyes, her father and mother placed their hands on her head and solemnly pronounced the words by which they gave her to the Lord, while a priest clip a few locks of her hair…

Then, after St. Anne and St. Joachim had tenderly blessed her, little Mary, without hesitating and without looking back, began to climb up the fifteen steps. She would not let anyone help her, but with remarkable resolution and dignity, she hastened up all by herself, filled with holy fervor and joy. Everyone who saw her was visibly affected.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN:

“From my infancy the Holy Spirit was perfectly with me. And as I grew, It filled me so completely as to leave no room sin to enter. When I had attained an age to know something of my Creator, I turned to Him with unspeakable love and desired Him with my whole heart.

I vowed in my heart to observe virginity if it was pleasing to Him, and to possess nothing in the world – but if God willed otherwise, that His Will, not mine, be done. I committed my will absolutely to Him.”

“And Mary Said, ‘Behold, I am the handmade of the Lord; be it be to me according to your word.’ ” ~Luke 1:38

CATECHISM

After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In [Mary] we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on [the church’s] “pilgrimage of faith,” [AND] what [the Church] will be in the homeland at the end of her journey.

See... Rev 21:2, 28-21

There, “in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity,” “in the communion of all the saints,” the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.

See… Jn 19: 26-27

In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.

See… Rev 11:19, 12:1, 5 … Faithful to God, Obedient to His Love, and desiring complete union with our Creator.

Likewise [the Church] shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God, (cf. 2Peter 3:10).

~CCC§972 (emphasis mine)

Dawn Finds me ready to welcome YOU…

PRAYER: Ps 119: 145-152

The dawn finds me ready to welcome YOU, my God…

I call with all my heart; Lord, hear me, I will keep Your commands.  I will call upon You, save me, and I will do Your Will.  I rise before the dawn and cry for help, I hope in Your Word.  My eyes watch through the night to ponder Your promise.

In Your love hear my voice, O Lord; give me life by Your decrees.  Those who harm me unjustly drawn near; But You, O Lord, are close; Your commands are TRUTH.  Long have I known that Your Will is established for ever.

The dawn finds me ready to welcome YOU, my God…

Guide, guard and protect our hearts, O Lord, as we continue to prepare a place for YOU to dwell with us.  In Your Holy and Precious name, Jesus Christ,  we pray, AMEN!

Recommended Reading:

Presentation I : Personal Reflection (scroll down)
Presentation II

Take a look at Jesus’ life as you pray with His mother:
Praying the Rosary

Advertisements

Posted in Exegete, Pay Attention... | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Spiritual Desert…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on July 31, 2017

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil… Ps 23:4

Republished: 7/31/17

The Lord has told me I have more that He wants me to write, but I need to cut off all distractions. So I’m looking for that retreat He wants me to take and in the mean time, finding myself entering into a prepatory stage by entering into the Spiritual Desert. Wanna know more? Read on, dear friend, read on…

Updated: 8/16/11  Today I found in my e-mail a wonderful surprise, AND I discovered I can add it directly to this page!  It’s a wonderful confirmation of all this post says: We must do all things in LOVE as we hope to obtain holiness and peace.  The good with the not so good, the triumphs AND the trials.  God IS with us, He will NEVER abandon us.  Embrace His LIFE, His DEATH, and receive HIS RESURRECTION!  You can also go HERE to Recalibrate your Heart…

In my last two writings I’ve made reference to my recent journey into the Spiritual Desert.   In this post, I hope to address what the Spiritual Desert is, it’s purpose, and it’s effect thus far on me in the hopes of helping others who might also be experiencing their own desert wanderings.  In doing so, I also want to refer periodically to this month’s Monthly Message from the Lay Apostleship as it applies brilliantly to my recent desert excursion.

Purification by desert is nothing new to the Christian Life.  Abraham (Gen 12) went through it, Moses (Exodus 2:15 ) went through it, as did many prophets,  and of course Jesus Christ, Himself (Mt 4; Lk 4; Mk 1: 12-13).  And though the afore mentioned desert journeys were merely prefigurations of  Christ’s own desert time, they all had the same theme: PURIFICATION and PREPARATION for greater things to come.  Just think about that…

Father Abraham


Abram, in his wanderings, came to Trust in God so much that God made a holy covenant with him and ALL his descendants right to this very day.  But He was only able to do so by PREPARING Abram to become Abraham, the father of a Great Nation.

Moses

Similarly, Moses had to experience a separation from the world in which he grew up – among the courts of Pharaoh.  In taking Moses out of Egypt God prepared him to return years later to carry out God’s plan of bringing the Hebrew nation back into the land God had promised to Abraham and his descendants. 

Prophet Isaiah


And in all the wanderings of the prophets and their successors, God prepared them to speak to a stiff necked people, and call them back to Himself; but first He had to purify them by separating them from their brethren.

40 Days in the Desert

God did nothing less for Himself.  Retreating to the desert, the second Person in the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, sought after the communion He has with His Father so to give witness AND example to those who would follow after Him.  They, too, would come to understand they have a Father in Heaven that they can have communion with because of the Son; which is why He taught us to say, “Our Father who art in Heaven…” And that’s what this journey is all about: COMMUNION with the FATHER through the SON by guidance from the HOLY SPIRIT and a PURIFICATION and PREPARATION for the greater things to come!

MY DAYS IN THE SPIRITUAL DESERT

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. ~1 Cor 13: 1-3

Did you know that piety and pious actions can get in the way of holiness? 

HUH?  WHAT?…!

Let me explain…prayer, chaplets, novenas…all these are WELL and GOOD in themselves and have GREAT efficacious graces attached to them…BUT if the person determined to do these does them WITHOUT LOVE and with only a sense of obligation, they have become, “A noisy gong or a clanging symbol.”  Their outward appearance seems very spirit-filled, but their hearts are truly empty because they have NOT LOVE with which to fill them up.

Around my heart, O Lord, Your fingers entwine…

In the Spiritual Desert, one is brought to that point where LOVE is the only thing that will sustain them.  Prayers, novenas, chaplets become meaningless and difficult to pray so the soul CRIES OUT for the only ONE who can give them life by His LOVE.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8

Thus the total relying on Christ becomes the WATER and FOOD during this desert journey, and the times of quiet and solitude are crucial.  It is here where cunning old Satan plans out his attacks by giving the soul not food and water but DISTRACTIONS…!

 

rumors…earthquakes…plagues…nation against nation…

The world is constantly changing, now more so than ever before, but the concern of the servant of Christ is NOT for this changing world BUT for our CHANGING SELVES as we desire more and more to grow in holiness…

Do not be distracted by events around you. Do not be drawn into thinking that many events or big events mean that you can take your eyes off of the process of becoming holier. ~Monthly Message, August 1, 2011.

Daily activities then become the focus.  By this I mean everything I would do during my day I did with LOVE and a clear CONSCIOUS INTENTION of doing, which oddly enough, brought me back in line with the work God is doing in me.  Why?  Because I was DOING HIS WILL without reservation, I was not allowing outside distractions of money, unemployment, anarchy, etc, etc…to get in the way of pursuing the holiness God has called me to…

I speak gravely when I say to you that you must concentrate seriously on becoming holier because your holiness and your commitment to holiness is a crucial part of My plan to bring comfort to others.  Allow Me to see to the world. ~Ibid…

So even though I am aware – very much aware – of the events unfolding daily as I have chosen NOT to bury my head in the sand, and yet at the same time, I have NOT allowed these things to OVERTAKE me and become my soul-focus… Yes, pun intended…

For Christ told us these things would happen…

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place…For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places; all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death…for My name’s sake… many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another…false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. ~Mt 24: 6, 7-8, 9, 10, 11-12

So these things are unavoidable – some sins will not be remitted – and ALL mankind must reap the punishment due for our actions.  But for the individual PERSON seeking out HOLINESS, their endeavor is to focus on the LOVE of CHRIST as found in themselves from birth and SEALED by their BAPTISM having been created in the image and likeness of God (cf Gen 1:26), through their daily activities to which God has called them to.

 

FATHER OF LIES TRIES AGAIN…

Because we are created in God’s image and likeness, it is only NATURAL that we should desire a more complete union with our Creator in Whom we share so much; and yet, satan is ever cunning and watching for those “chinks in the armor” of human LOVE for the divine so he tries yet another tactic – personal failure… This is where my greatest weakness lies, PATIENCE, or rather the lack of patience with myself and patience with God.  Which is why, when this month’s message came to me, I was deeply humbled as all that God had tried to achieve in me came to mind as well as where I had prevented His change because of my impatience.

Perhaps you identify My teachings as good but you feel frustrated because you see that you fall short on some days. This is when you must be truly patient and trust that I AM bringing you along as quickly as is needed.

Remember that you may see very little progress on some days, but your decision to remain with Me in the process of becoming holier creates a disposition for heaven that keeps the light where it should be, that is, on the need to examine yourself for failure…

Yes, patience is necessary, both with oneself and with others. I, Jesus, am patient with you. And so you must be patient with yourself. And then you must be patient with others. ~Monthly Message, August, 2011.

TALK ABOUT A KICK IN THE HEAD!

Knowing that I must rely entirely on LOVE because the task of praying became exactly that, a task.  No LOVE was behind my decision to pray for I did it out of a sense of obligation.  Satan used this- quite brilliantly I might add – in an attempted to make me seem UNFAITHFUL to God or a HYPOCRITE in the living of the Christian Life.  Here’s a little of what ol’ red-boots had to say to me:  You’re not praying in the traditional manner, you’ve set aside all your lofty deeds, you can’t do anything righteous or for the good of mankind…God does not love you.

As someone recently said to me, “If satan spends that much energy attacking you, then you’re on the right path doing EXACTLY what God would want you to do.”  Which is true, satan doesn’t attack those who are NOT following God’s Will for if he did he would essentially attack himself! What would the point of that be?

If you see daily to the condition of your soul and if you love others then you will have fulfilled My plan for you. ~Ibid

Being able to accept my failures and allowing God to work through them requires TRUST that God KNOWS what He’s doing.  He doesn’t choose people arbitrarily, nor does He choose those who are necessarily perfect and well disciplined.  Nope, often times He chooses the weak, the down trodden, those who seem (at least to themselves), to fail over and over again…

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not now how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs to deep for words.

And He who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the Will of God.

We know that in everything God works for good with those who LOVE Him, who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:26-28

So I can join St Paul and rejoice in this present suffering…

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ~Romans 8:18

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… ~Romans 5: 3-4

For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ~Romans 8:24

…and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:5, emphasis added

 

The Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent and believe in the Gospel!

And that, my friends, is the WHOLE POINT of the Desert Journey.  To prepare the servants of Christ the Returning King for the Glory that is to come that IS HIS, purifying His people for the service He has called us to in preparation for His return that follows on the evangelization of the world…

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come. ~Mt 24:14

Which is in God’s time, not ours, but as His servants are prepared so too will His church be, which will then bring her into that Spiritual Desert as well.  For all of us are called to “Pick up our cross and follow Him”, and as I, and many others who adhere to the teachings of the Church Christ established on the Cross, have shouted from the roof-tops…

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believersThe persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. ~CCC§675

Be ready… be prepared… allow Him to take you through your Spiritual Desert so that you may be the instrument of LOVE that God requires to complete His plan for His children’s salvation, the peace which only God can give, and the reign of His Son in the hearts of all men!

God Bless you ENORMOUSLY during your journey!  My prayers are certainly with each and every one of you. 🙂

The below presentation is a BEAUTIFUL confirmation of what this post says. Please take a moment to watch and take to heart it’s continued message of doing all things in the LOVE of Christ FOR the LOVE of Christ.

The Power of the Cross from Mark Mallett on Vimeo.

Recommended Reading:

Landslide

The Coming Passion

The Seven Seals of Revelation

Like a Thief

Paralyzed by Fear

Entering the Prodigal Hour

Posted in Mercy, Pay Attention... | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: