Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

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

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So what was AND is Pentecost? …

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on June 4, 2017

TODAY IS PENTECOST!  Did you follow those THREE simple steps in Day 9 of the Novena?  Have YOU invited God’s Holy Spirit into YOUR heart?

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer...

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer…

First Published: June 12, 2011

A RECAP OF WHAT WE KNOW…

What IS the feast of Pentecost that brought all Jews back to Jerusalem even though a little over a month before they had just been there celebrating Passover?  This is what I found…

The origins and prescriptions for the feast of Pentecost can be found in : Numbers 28: 17-25, and in Leviticus 23: 23-37.  It was a feast of celebrating first fruits by offering up with fire burnt offerings of said first fruits, drink, and unblemished male animals.  Pentecost, like Passover, was a MAJOR FEAST and one that required all Jews in the land to attend (if they could) the ritual celebration offered in the Temple of God.

The Dictionary of the Bible on my Welcome to the Catholic Church CD-ROM, says this…

A liturgical feast among the Jews and the Christians.

1. Among the Jews a harvest feast, called Pentecost, was celebrated about seven weeks after the Passover or Pasch. This feast later commemorated the promulgation of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

There’s that reference to the number Seven…remember God’s Perfect offering to His people? 

2. The Christian feast falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It is a harvest-feast of Christ, since on that day Christ’s Apostles, through the power of the Holy Spirit, lost their fear, went forth and preached courageously, and baptized thousands a great harvest of souls for the early Church (Acts 2:1-41).

I then did a quick search to see where else in the bible this particular feast was mentioned in any detail – besides the book of Acts which we’ll read later.  The two passages found demonstrate what I have said above. If you were a good practicing Jew you would go to Jerusalem to celebrate this great feast.  But, if for some unforeseen reason you can’t make it, then you would celebrate it where you were at…

I found this passage in the Book of Tobit…

I arrived home and my wife Anna and my son Tobias were restored to me, at the feast of Pentecost, which is the sacred festival of the seven weeks, a good dinner was prepared for me and I sat down to eat. ~Tobit 2:1, emphasis added

Again the “seven” of perfection…

I then found another passage in 2 Maccabees…

Then they went up to Jerusalem, as the feast of weeks was close at hand.  After the feast called Pentecost, they hastened against Gorgias, the governor of Idumea. ~2 Macc 12: 31b-32

I then found this very interesting tid-bit of a commentary that leads nicely into the account found in Acts 2… (emphasis added)

Introduction (NAB) on the Book of the Prophet Joel:

This prophecy is rich in apocalyptic imagery and strongly eschatological in tone. It was composed about 400 B.C.  Its prevailing theme is the day of the Lord.

A terrible invasion of locusts ravaged Judah.  So frightful was the scourge that the prophet visualized it as a symbol of the coming day of the Lord

In the face of this threatening catastrophe, the prophet summoned the people to repent, to turn to the Lord with fasting and weeping

They were ordered to convoke a solemn assembly in which the priests would pray for deliverance

The Lord answered their prayer and promised to drive away the locusts and bless the land with peace and prosperity.  To these material blessings would be added an outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh.   St. Peter, in his first discourse before the people at Pentecost (Act 2:16-21), sees in the coming of the Holy Spirit the fulfillment of this promise (Joel 1:1-2:32).

Let’s dive into Peter’s words on the day of Pentecost, shall we?…

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer...

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer…

But first, the Prologue…

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ~Acts 1: 1-4, emphasis added.

Now Peter, humble, lowly Peter – who had denied Christ three times the night Jesus was betrayed- who had not the courage to speak up before this… (Check back and see how many times Peter actually spoke in the Gospel passages and you’ll see they are few and far between),  this quiet fisherman – gifted with the Holy Spirit – all of the sudden becomes BOLD and strong with authority! 

“Men of Israel, hear these words…”

Remember, they’re in Jerusalem, it’s crowded there, in fact we’re told at the end of this passage that some 3,000 were in attendance for Peter’s speech because they were baptized by Peter and the apostles at the end of his speech (Acts 2:41).  That’s a lot of people no matter where you’re at!  And yet, Peter spoke, he spoke with clarity and BOLDNESS, he held nothing back, and ALL WHO WERE PRESENT understood him!

And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? ~Acts 2: 6-8

Of course, there were those present who scoffed at this unbelievable occurrence, as there is even today when the unexplainable of God happens…

And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” ~Acts 2: 12-13

But THIS is what Peter SAID in return.  Pay close attention, he’s also talking to YOU..

Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.  For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;  the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood,…’

(emphasis added)

We’re told in the Gospel of Luke (NAB translation) chapter 23 verses 44-45 that there was an “eclipse of the sun” which caused darkness to descend over that part of the earth from Noon until 3pm when Jesus expired.  Have you ever seen an eclipse of the Sun, when the moon comes between the earth and the sun?

If you have, you also know that when the moon comes up after an eclipse it’s still going to be in the earth’s shadow and WILL LOOK BLOOD RED. Something that does not bode well with the ancient world as that usually meant no good news…Didn’t Credence Clearwater write a song about that?…  “I see a bad moon a rising… I see trouble on the way…”   I wonder if they based their song on scripture?…

A Moon after a Lunar Eclipse…


before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ~Acts 2: 14b-21, emphasis added

Of which, if you will recall, when Jesus was asked about this “great day”, He told them it was none of their concern and only the Father has that privileged information (see Acts 1: 6-8).  But now back to Peter’s address…

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

But God raised Him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.  For David says concerning Him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;  therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let Thy Holy One see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou wilt make me full of gladness with Thy presence.’ (Ps 16: 8-11)

~Acts 2: 22-28, emphasis added

Scripture, scripture, scripture!  Jesus and the healing of the paraplegic and the forgiving of his sins (Mt 9: 1-8), Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana where water became wine (Jn 2: 1-11), Jesus healing the blind, the sick and the lame (take your pick on those), and then Jesus raising those who have died (Luke 8: 49-56; 7: 11-17; John 11; 17, 38-44), many signs and wonders indeed!

“Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 

Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that He would set one of his descendants upon his throne, [David] foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption (see Ps 16:10).

This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you see and hear

For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says,

The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Thy enemies a stool for Thy feet.’ (see Ps 110:1)

Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” ~Acts 2: 29-36, emphasis added (see also Mk 16: 19-20)

"Men of Israel, hear these words..."

“Men of Israel, hear these words…”

The testimony of the 11 Apostles, the physical evidence before those assembled – after all, they were still hearing the message in their own tongue – so why should they not be just a bit shaken? 

Probably most if not all of them where here in Jerusalem for the Passover as well, and may very well remember that Blood Moon that rose after the crucifixion of the prophet they called Jesus.  So it’s no wonder that they were “cut to the heart” and asked Peter what they should do. 

But Peter’s words are not just meant for them but for US as well

“Repent,…”

Gosh, does this sound familiar?… Repent, REPENT, repent

“…and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to Him.”

If the Lord God had not called YOU to Himself, you would not be reading this blog RIGHT NOW… This message is especially for YOU…

“And [Peter] testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”  ~Acts 2: 38-39, 40b, emphasis added

Did you hear that?  SAVE YOURSELVES FROM THIS CROOKED GENERATION!!!  Make no mistake about it, this generation is beyond pale with wicked deeds from the murder of over 55 million babies (and counting), to the breakdown of the family and MARRIAGE (which IS between one man and one woman), and the destruction of our youth that managed to survive past the scourge of abortion that has claimed so many of their peers.  We are in true evil, pure evil, whose only intent is the death and destruction of mankind, a.k.a. God’s own creation (cf. John 8:44). 

So what must you do?  Just what Peter said to do…become baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…

I’m already baptized, now what?…

Make a good confession “for the forgiveness of your sins”…hello!  That’s why Jesus established the Sacrament of Confession

And after I confess, then what?

With your sins forgiven you by God you “shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”, which if you need another reminder as to how powerful that is, revisit the 12 Fruits and the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

And then?… Strive to live a life of Holiness!  Keep your focus on God, allow Him to work in your heart, follow His direction at all times, and do not doubt or fear because God will NEVER, EVER leave us!…You MUST TRUST HIM… because YOU are His child and He knows how to give great gifts (Mt 7: 7-11)!  That’s why we did the Novena… 🙂

Holiness is not achieved in a day, but achieved DAY BY DAY, moment by moment, it IS a LIFETIME endeavor.  But not one you do on your own, that’s what GRACE is for, and that comes ONLY from God.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, enkindle in the them the Fire of Your Love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created,  and You will renew the face of the earth!

O God, Who instructed the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant us by that same Spirit, to be truly wise,
and ever to rejoice in His consolation.
Through Christ our Lord, AMEN!

What God Did for US… the Passion Lamb

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