Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘kingdom’

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.


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!


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? 


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.



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.


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:


The Coming Passion

The Seven Seals of Revelation

Like a Thief

Paralyzed by Fear

Entering the Prodigal Hour

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This IS Holy Week!…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on March 25, 2017

    Do not make My Father’s House a den of thieves!

First Published 4/1/2012

Updated 3/25.2018 – Psalm Sunday and Holy Week

OFFICE OF READINGS: Non Biblical Reading, p 1989

It Was Necessary That Christ Should Suffer and So Enter Into His Glory:
St. Anastasius of Antioch – A Discourse
(excerpt, emphasis added, with commentary)

Christ, who has shown by His words AND actions [see James 2: 17-18] that He was truly God and Lord of the universe, said to His disciples as He was about to go up to Jerusalem: We are going up to Jerusalem now, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the Gentiles and the chief priests and scribes to be scourged and mocked and crucified.

Those words bore out the predictions of the prophets, who had foretold the death He was to die in Jerusalem.  From the beginning Holy Scripture had foretold Christ’s death [see Ps 22: 1, 16-18; 69:21; 34:20;] , the sufferings that would proceed it [see Jer 11:19; Zech 12: 10-11a; Is 53: 3-9;], and what would happen to His body afterward.  Scripture also affirmed that these things were going to happen to One who was immortal and incapable of suffering because HE WAS GOD.

Only by reflecting upon the meaning of the incarnation can we see how it is possible to say with perfect truth both that CHRIST SUFFERED and that He was incapable of suffering, and why the WORD of God, in Himself incapable of suffering, CAME TO SUFFER.

In fact, man could not have been saved in ANY OTHER WAY, as Christ alone KNEW. No wonder His Apostles found it hard to accept  (see Mt 16:21; 20: 17-19; Mk 8:31; 9:31; Lk 9:21, 44 – just to name a few).

Around my heart, O Lord, Your fingers entwine...

Around my heart, O Lord, Your fingers entwine…

O God of mine, the singing birds are calling,
their song of love, a song for lovers true.
It’s autumn time and where the leaves are falling,
it’s there I wait to beg a WORD with You.

Tis of Your LOVE, Your LOVE I would be pleading,
around my heart, Your fingers You entwine.
The Saints above all know how much I’m needing
a little WORD to bid me HOPE, O God of mine!

~Fr Clifford Stevens, Lenten Homily, Tuesday 5th Week of Lent.

Hope springs eternal…

This is Holy Week!!! …a week that IS truly ABOUT HOPE.  On one hand we have the Apostles all hoping that Jesus will establish His Kingdom, they will have their places in that kingdom, and the Romans will be driven out of their land.  On the other hand…

We see another kind of hope, from the Religious Leaders of Jesus’ time.  They saw the signs and wonders Jesus had done and continued to do. 

They remember the word’s of John the Baptist…

But when [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?…” ~Mt 3:7

…who said he was not the Christ (cf Jn 1:20).

Pompeys Campaign against Jerusalem.

PLUS they most likely remember the destruction of Jerusalem under Pompey “60 years before the birth of Jesus”…

“There was slaughter everywhere.  For some of the Jews were slain by the Romans and others by their own compatriots.  There were some who hurled themselves down the massive walls, and setting fire to their houses, burned themselves in them, for they could not bear to accept their fate.  Thousands perished in the assault of the city.” ~Account by Jewish Historian, Josephus, Fr. Clifford Stevens, Homilies, Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent.

Their bizarre hope? As they gathered in council after the raising of Lazarus, FOUR DAYS DEAD in the tomb, they said,…

“What are we to do?  For this man performs many signs.  If we let Him go on thus, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation!” ~Jn 11: 47b-48


But Caiaphas, who was the high priest for that year, responded with…

“You know nothing at all;  you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” ~Jn 11: 49b-50

Their hope?  That they can convince the Roman Governor – Pontius Pilate – to condemn Jesus to death.  See John 19:29-31.

Oddly enough, they (the apostles and the Jewish leaders) had it right, just not exactly right.  Jesus will establish His Heavenly Kingdom…

“Amen, amen I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~Mt 23:43

And He will die to redeem the Nation of Israel, BUT He will do this to redeem ALL MANKIND…

“At the appointed time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for us godless men…It is precisely in this that God proves His love for us: that while were were still sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him by the death of His Son, it is all the more certain that we who have been reconciled will be saved by His life.” ~Romans 5: 6, 8, 10, Evening Prayer, Monday of Holy Week.

What is the BIG PICTURE?

So it is with us, yes?  We see just a small part of the BIG PICTURE that only God  and the saints in Heaven see.  If we can only see a “small part” of this BIG PICTURE, what then should our focus be this week?

A GOOD QUESTION with a simple answer:  REDEMPTION through His SUFFERING.  The good news?  You are already equipped to do it! 

I am? How?

You have laid aside your struggles by calling out to Him who struggled BEFORE you and WITH you.  You have placed YOUR TRUST IN HIM, and are willing to TRUST IN HIM to help see you through whatever lies ahead of you.  So now you are ready to take the focus entirely from yourself and your own short comings (that’s what those 40 days were all about), and can now…





After the glorious and ecstatic events of Psalm Sunday, the readings of the Mass rivet our minds on the coming Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus, the events that brought about the Salvation of the world.  These readings are carefully constructed mosaics of His sufferings, taken from the Prophets, the Psalms and the Gospels.  We are given to understand that WE are PART OF THE DRAMA of REDEMPTION and that is for US that He underwent these SUFFERINGS. ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Monday of Holy Week, emphasis added.

A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah…

On that note: The coming Messiah… A reading from the Prophet Isaiah

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him [Lk 4:16-21], He will bring forth justice to the nations [Rev 19:11].  He will not cry or lift up His voice, or make it heard in the street;  a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench [Mt 27: 27-31]; He will faithfully bring forth justice.  He will not fail or be discouraged till He has established justice in the earth [Rev 19: 13c-15]; and the coastlands wait for His law [Mt 28: 18-20].

The Faithful Servant…

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I have taken You by the hand and kept You [Jn 7: 16-19]; I have given You as a covenant to the people [Mt 26:28], a light to the nations [Jn 8:12a], to open the eyes that are blind [Jn 9: 1-11], to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness [Jn 8:12b]. ~Isaiah 42: 1-7

This reading focuses on the PROMISE of who Jesus will be, and as the [ … ] indicate, there fulfillment.  I highly recommend that you read those passages for yourself as you read through the passage from Isaiah.

Who Jesus IS and soon WILL BE…

The Gospel according to St. John…

A reading from the Holy Gospel † According to John † : Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with Him.

 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.  But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples (he who was to betray Him), said…

“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of My burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me.”

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that He was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. ~Jn 12: 1-11

The preparation for Jesus’ burial.  An event that He has alluded to and many times directly told His disciples that it will happen: Mt 16:21; 17:23; 20: 17-19; Lk 17:25… just to name a few.  But as Fr Stevens reminds us…

...unless we understand the turmoil and uproar in the city of Jerusalem after the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, the whole climate of this Gospel will be missed.  Jesus suddenly left the city…the Temple Square itself closed to Him.  He went somewhere to be alone with His disciples…perhaps to open these passages from Isaiah to them, since none of them believed in the terrible things that would happen in the coming week…

We have no idea what His disciples thought when He spoke of His burial.  And even if they heard these words, the events of the next day, Palm Sunday, would convince them that those words could not possibly be true.  He is welcomed as the new King of Israel…but in the background are plots and subplots to make sure that this Prophet from Nazareth will not be the fuse that erupts into a rebellion against the Romans.”  ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Monday of Holy Week.

Our Focus: The REDEMPTION given to us by the SUFFERING CHRIST…

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