Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘life’

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

HUMILITY

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…

RE- FOCUS ENTIRELY on…

WHY:  YOU ARE FORGIVEN!

HOW:  YOU ARE FORGIVEN! …and

WHAT THIS ALL MEANS… 

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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Are You Struggling?…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on March 11, 2017

Which way do I go?

Updated for 2018:

For 4th week of Lent: amazing on relevant this post is in 2018! Mind you, I could add more information with regards to earthquakes and tsunami that have drastically impacted the world in just a few short years, but that’s not really the focus of Lent, is it? So read on and be amazed that the more things change “the more they stay the same”. 😉

For all this is merely “sound and fury signifying nothing”.  God’s plan has NOT CHANGED… He’ll still wins in the end…

My dear apostles, you remain faithful to Me and I guide you through every change.

Can it be said that the Lord devised a plan for you yesterday and again today but that the Lord will fail to make His plan for tomorrow known to you?

Will I hide My needs from you? Will I abandon the work and the workers? You know that this will never happen~Excerpt, Monthly Message, March 2012; emphasis added.

Times are beginning to become difficult and in more ways than one.

It has been speculated that the dollar will be replaced as the currency of choice in the world market. Should this occur, we will see history repeat itself:

“The year 1923 was one of crisis for the republic. In January French and Belgian troops occupied the highly industrialized Ruhr area because of German defaults on reparations payments. The Weimar government responded by calling upon the Ruhr population to stop all industrial activity. The government also began printing money at such a rate that it soon became virtually worthless; by the fall of 1923, wheelbarrows were needed to carry enough currency for simple purchases as inflation reached rates beyond comprehension. 

In 1914 US$1 had equaled 4 marks. By mid-1920, US$1 was worth 40 marks, by early 1922 about 200 marks, a year later 18,000 marks, and by November 1923 — 4.2 trillion marks. In addition, the country was racked by strikes, paramilitary street violence, and rumors of planned uprisings by both the left and the right. In August, in the midst of this chaos, President Ebert asked Gustav Stresemann, head of the DVP, to form a new government to resolve the crisis.” 

(Germanculture.com; found 1/15/13, scroll to end of page, hence began the national socialist party that we know as NAZI)

And should anything like that happen in America, our bills will skyrocket, food prices will become outrageous – more so than they are already, and more families will be facing challenging times ahead that would make any parent throw up their hands and say, “What next?!”

But we MUST keep our perspective.  Jesus said of these times…

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars (Libya, Jordan, Egypt etc… Note: in 2011 Fall, Egypt’s govt fell and then Libya was over run by rebels, while in 2015-2017, ISIS forces took over much of the Middle East and forced Christians to flee or stay and be martyred.) see that you are not alarmed;  for this MUST TAKE PLACE, but THE END IS NOT YET.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and their will be FAMINES and EARTHQUAKES in various places,all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. ~Mt 24: 6-8

Now, if the God of this Universe KNEW that all this would take place, isn’t it JUST POSSIBLE that He also KNOWS what His Children will endure during these times?  As I think the answer to that question is a resounding YES!  Then we need NOT be afraid. FEAR DOES NOT COME FROM GOD, it is His enemy that sows fear.

Another parable [Jesus] put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.”

Here I could go into some detail right now and tell you about this farmer and his enemy, who they are meant to represent.  Fortunately, though, Jesus did that for me already when He explained this parable to His Disciples!  Jesus says,

He who sows the good seed is the Son of man;  the field IS THE WORLD, and the GOOD SEED means the sons of the kingdom; the WEEDS are THE SONS OF THE EVIL ONE, and the ENEMY who sowed them IS THE DEVIL. ~Mt 13: 37-39a, emphasis added

So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?  How then has it weeds?’

Question?  Whom serve God in heaven?  Answer!  His Angels!!! (Cf Rev 12: 7-9)

He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’  The servants said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?’  But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.

Now, here is the COOL PART!  The reason why we really should keep all that’s happening in PERSPECTIVE… that is IN GOD’S PERSPECTIVE…

Let both grow together until the HARVEST; and at the HARVEST time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ “

For Jesus explains,

…the HARVEST is the close of the age, and the REAPERS are ANGELS.  Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age.  THE SON OF MAN will SEND HIS ANGELS, and they WILL GATHER OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all causes of SIN and ALL EVILDOERS, and throw them INTO the FURNACE of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

The RIGHTEOUS will SHINE LIKE THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.  HE WHO HAS EARS, LET HIM HEAR! ~Mt 13: 39b-43, emphasis added.

So you see, brothers and sisters!  Satan’s time WILL BE SHORT and GOD, not him, WILL HAVE THE FINAL WORD.

Our job?  TO BE AT PEACE and focused on growing closer to Him ESPECIALLY during these 40 days of Lent!  Ps…I’ve added a tutorial for the Liturgy of the Hours if you really want to kick your prayer life into high gear! 😉

Jesus says about the PEACE we should have in Him…

Be at peace, dear apostles. I urge you to strive daily to be at peace. All that surrounds you will benefit from your understanding that while the world changes, GOD REMAINS THE SAME. I AM THE SAME.

Dear friend of My heart, consider for a moment. What diminishes your peace? Which people? Which habits? Which activities? Ask yourself why these people or things diminish your peace? You must find these answers in contemplation of Me and contemplation of heavenly concepts.

Ahahha!  40 Days of Lent…contemplation time!  Here we are!!!

My love blesses you even as it moves through you. By working from Me, you are disciplining yourself to remain peaceful because I am peace. I AM CALM. I AM LOVE

Be alert to My presence and you will spread peace.

~Excerpts from Monthly Message, March 2011, emphasis added.

Therefore, true followers must be alert to the desires of the Lord when events around them alter earthly plans.

I am constructing an edifice of humility in the world. I am committed to My Church and it is My desire to bring an abundance of grace into the world through My Church~Excerpt from Monthly MessageMarch 2012, emphasis added

Found in Google Images, artist unknown.

Found in Google Images, artist unknown.

We should NOT be afraid.  Yes, times are coming and are here that will try many faithful souls.  Yes, some will even give their lives as a witness to the Kingdom of God – they are the BLESSED ONES!  Yet even when all seems evil, the VICTORY IS GOD’S!  And at every turn, the Father is waiting to embrace YOU, just as the father did of the Prodigal Son (cf Lk 15:20), when he saw his son far off and RAN to MEET him;  So too will God RUN to MEET YOU.

Jesus didn’t tell that parable to make people feel warm and fuzzy inside.  He told that story to best illustrate what GREAT LOVE the FATHER OF LOVE has FOR US!  When we embrace His Love in all humility (worked on humility beginning from week one, remember?), God will lavish us in such LOVE as we cannot conceive!

So have NO FEAR of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known…

DO NOT FEAR those who can kill the body…rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell…

Even the hairs on your head are all numbered.  FEAR NOT, therefor; YOU ARE OF MORE VALUE than many sparrows…

He who finds his life will lose it, and he who LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE will find it…

He who receives you receives ME, and he who receives ME receives Him who sent Me…

And when Jesus had finished instructing His…disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.  ~cf Mt 10: 26, 28, 30-31, 39-40

 

 

Recommended Reading:

The Last Museum

Barbarians at the Gate

Five Steps to the Father

Judas Prophecy

False Unity

 

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