Dear Friends, may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
This Friday, on the feast day of Saint Joan of Arc, one of my favorite saints, I will be receiving the Franciscan habit and, following the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi, will become a religious as a novice with the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. Novitiate is meant to be a beautifully ascetical and contemplative year, in greater solitude, wherein one’s interior life with God, growing in the spiritual life, is the focus, and wherein great inner-transformation and growth are the goal; spending one year away from many forms of technology and in deeper prayer, contemplation, and the study of Franciscan spirituality.
I will not be blogging for the year, but do encourage you to return to the Web site for the various features and articles that are available. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers this year as I pursue the vocation of a Franciscan friar and priest. It is a great honor to pursue this call, and one of great responsibility before the Lord; may I be able to faithfully follow where He leads me. I am so grateful to Him, and to our beloved Mother, Mary, who have led me to the gift of religious life. May God bless you, friends, and Our Lady protect you!
“Fear nothing. Go forward, and God will prepare the way.”
– Saint Joan of Arc
Here’s a video of British praise & worship leader Beth Croft speaking about the transforming and evangelizing nature of worship, as a sacred act that leads to both interior change and exterior transformation, when the love and power of God, the intimacy of our interior lives with Christ Jesus, are taken into the world; when we allow ourselves to be used for our purpose, as God’s living instruments; first with prayer, then with evangelization.
Beth explains well how one without the other does not work. It is worship that fills us up with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and allows the Word of God to speak through us; without it we are empty, defeating the purpose of giving. We cannot give what we do not have. On other hand, when our interior lives are strong, or growing, through worship, through the encounter with Christ, through an honest effort of forming intimacy with the Lord, then what comes through it — in encountering others — can change lives: bringing the Eternal into those lives.
My favorite version of the popular praise song “Set a Fire” is sung by Beth, who has a beautiful and anointed voice. Check out the song:
Pray and be aware that without God you are dust. Therefore, turn your thoughts and heart to God and to prayer. Trust in his love. In God’s Spirit, little children, you are called to be witnesses. You are precious and I call you, little children, to holiness, to eternal life. Therefore, be aware that this life is passing. I love you and call you to a new life of conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Rita of Cascia, an Italian saint, mystic, and stigmatic who played a crucial role in my life, as an intercessor, when as an adolescent I struggled with addiction and depression. St. Rita, who is known as the Saint of Impossible Causes, has been a powerful intercessor for centuries, countless have prayed for her assistance and have found hope in Christ.
Rita, “the Rose of Cascia,” they called her. She was a thirteenth century Italian who, married at an early age, put up with unbearable circumstances under an abusive husband. When she was widowed, this prayerful and devout woman decided to join a convent of Augustinian nuns.
It was during a mystical encounter, praying in the convent before an image of the crucified Christ with the words, “Please let me suffer like you, Divine Savior,” that Rita became a stigmatic, receiving a wound from the Crown of Thorns on her forehead. The immense pain of the wound would remain with her for the rest of her life. At her death, the odor from the wound turned into a beautiful scent of roses. Rita developed a reputation after death as being a holy woman whose intercession was responsible for numerous, widespread miracles.
To see how this great saint has affected my life, see my testimony.
For more on St. Rita see a brief biography of her here.
To check out a popular film on St. Rita’s life click here.
Dear children, I, your mother, am with you for the sake of your well-being, for the sake of your needs and for the sake of your personal cognition. The Heavenly Father gave you the freedom to decide on your own and to become cognizant on your own. I desire to help you. I desire to be a mother to you, a teacher of the truth – so that in the simplicity of an open heart, you may become cognizant of the immeasurable purity and light which comes from it and shatters darkness, the light which brings hope. I, my children, understand your pain and suffering. Who could understand you better than a mother? And you, my children? Small is the number of those who understand and follow me. Great is the number of those who are lost – of those who have not yet become cognizant of the truth in my Son. Therefore, my apostles, pray and act. Bring the light and do not lose hope. I am with you. In a special way I am with your shepherds. With a motherly heart I love and protect them, because they lead you to Heaven that was promised to you by my Son. Thank you.
Friends, sorry for getting this message out late — the past week has been extremely busy — but here is Our Lady’s most recent message from Medjugorje. Peace & abundant blessings!
April 25, 2014 Message to Marija
“Dear children! Open your hearts to the grace which God is giving you through me, as a flower that opens to the warm rays of the sun. Be prayer and love for all those who are far from God and His love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you before my Son Jesus, and I love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”