Thursday, March 28, 2019

"Dear children, you forget that you are all important." Medjugorje Lenten Homily by Father Slavko

Help for us to "Live the Fast" on this Friday of the Third Week of Lent

We cannot live our fast without prayer, or by forgetting that we are all important in fulfilling God's plans - for He chooses to need us.
This powerful Lenten homily about prayer, fasting and conversion was given by Father Slavko Barbaric on April 26, 1986 in Medjugorje. 
May it be a grace for you, and may we not forget to pray for one another and Our Lady's intentions this day, as we read and ponder Our Mother's words:

"Dear children, you forget that you are all important." 

I will read you last Thursday's message and try to explain it in the context of all the other messages: 

"Dear children, today I invite you to pray. Dear children, you forget that you are all important. The elderly are especially important in the family. Urge them to pray. Let young people be an example to others by their lives and let them give witness to Jesus. Dear children, I beseech you, begin to change through prayer and you will know then what you need to do. Thank you for having responded to my call." 

The apparitions show us in a practical way how to go towards peace and how to achieve peace. I think that all of us can find the answer to "Why am I here?" from this fact. Perhaps because I believe that this place ... has become a place of prayer, of fasting, of re-awakening of faith, where peace is found, where it is possible to live reconciliation with God and other people. 

In her first five messages, Our Lady said, "Pray." Since 1st March 1984, she has been giving us a message every Thursday. When we read these messages, it can be seen that no message is without this strong invitation to "Pray"

Naturally we must ask ourselves why there is this invitation to pray. If you read the messages you will understand the reason. Our Lady repeats many times, "Pray and you will have all you desire", "Pray and you will have peace, a deeper joy, you will overcome your tiredness, you will have love, strength for reconciliation", and much else. 

Many people have discovered something very important here: that they can pray and that they have time for prayer. 

Many of us caught up in the hectic routine of our modern world lose the time to pray and many people excuse themselves, "I haven't enough time". It would be more honest to say, "I don't see the need for prayer." We can't see the value of prayer anymore. Thinking of all of us who wish to peace, wish to love and be loved, it is true what Our Lady is telling us, "Pray and you will have all of this."And what do we do? We leave prayer, we haven't got the time for it, we believe that we can resolve everything with our money, by our devices, and I don't know what else. This is a great mistake, also in the lives of us Christians. 

But when we discover the value of prayer, then we find the time for prayer and we start again to organize our life with God. 
This is our conversion. This is the significance of the words in the messages where Our Lady says,"Abandon yourselves, let yourselves be guided by me." 

In her last but one message, she said, "You are too preoccupied with material goods, and in these goods, you lose everything that God wishes to give you." 

In other words, in the first place in your lives there is not God, love of God, or peace; material goods take the first place. 

Naturally, if we do not meet each other through our hearts, but with our money, our muscle, our heads, then conflicts and wars must follow. I would like to explain to you that Our Lady has never spoken against our belongings, against our money or against our work, never. But she has spoken many times about changing our relationship with all our possessions and finding a new order of values in our lives. This is what the apparitions are for, to produce this new order of values in our life. 

God is not inviting us, through Our Lady, to lose something, but to change our values in the light of our faith. This is why Our Lady is always telling us, "Pray." Without prayer, this change is not possible. But not all prayer helps us to change our lives and to bring harmony to them. You know that Jesus told us not to pray as the pagans do, only with our lips, but to pray from the heart; seeking first of all the will of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and then all else will be given to us. Here Our Lady is inviting us to heartfelt prayer and asks that it be active prayer, that the words be active. She said, "I invite you once again to pray." 

What does heartfelt prayer mean? It means feeling the words of God in our heart and allowing ourselves to be moved by these words. Do God's words move me or not? What does it mean to me when God says, "I give you my love", "I give you My Body", "Here is My Word for you", and from the Cross, "Here is your Mother. Here is your son", "Be reconciled to your neighbor", "Love your neighbor, love your God above all else, love yourself, do not destroy yourself." 

If these words leave us indifferent and if we continue to find excuses it means that prayer is not active, it cannot move us, and we are closed. Or in other words, what does the Cross mean for you in your family? When you look at it does it invite you to love and to reconciliation? Does it help you not to blaspheme and not to use swear words? Does it help you to love your neighbor? Does it help you to accept Our Lady? To pray or not? 

If we continue to behave selfishly in front of the Cross, if we affirm that we cannot forgive when someone has offended us, then it means that the Cross is silent and is no longer speaking to us. Our Lady, by inviting us to pray, wants us to be touched by God's Word once again, and not to be afraid in the face of these things. Like a Mother, Our Lady invites us, "Do this and you will receive all that you need." In one of her message, she said, "I know that you want to live all that I tell you, but you are not able to do so because you haven't yet started praying." 

In this message too, we have an example of whether the word moves us or not; Our Lady said, "Dear children, you forget that all of you are important." These words said by Our Lady are serious. She is telling each one of us personally, "You are important."

Sometimes we talk about inferiority complexes in psychology; how many people, especially amongst the young, have lost the meaning of life, of sacrifice, of love and many other aspects and do not want to live life, and so the way is opened for drugs, alcohol, crime and all that is negative. Our Lady says to each one of us, "You are important." I believe that these words must heal our soul and our heart of every fear and worry. We are important for Our Lady and important for each other. 

If we accept this and begin to live it, who will dare to hate someone anymore, or with hate destroy someone? What parent will dare to fight or get divorced if they become important to each other, and if their children become important to them? Look how important what Our Lady is telling us is. In the Kingdom of Heaven no one can be idle because no human being refuses love.

So, if I make up my mind to love I will always have much to do. Do not complain that you do not have any work to do. You have work. Many people are waiting for your help, a word from you, and your presence."

In this message we have an example, “The elderly are especially important in the family.” Guided by this message, I often ask myself and I ask you too, when did you last tell some elderly person in the corner in our home, or in the family: you are very important? Perhaps because we have never said this they have lost every desire in life, and all joy in it. Many of them have lived in the belief that someone is of value if they work, and after retiring they lose the meaning of living, they lose joy, and they feel of no importance.

Look at how Our Lady is educating us, how she wants to open our eyes to each other’s needs. From my words, perhaps from the words of a young person, depend the parent’s joy: and from the words of a parent depend the children’s lives. So, you see how important we are to each other, the life of another person can really depend on me, on you. If we discover these values life will change and perhaps we will have a new chance to discover and realize the nonsense of our fights, our hate, our envy, of our being closed and looking just for something for ourselves.

Our Lady said for the elderly people, “Urge them to pray.” These words must be understood in connection with the last words of this message. “Begin to change through prayer and you will know then what you need to do.” Through this message, prayer is once again a way to discover that I am important, that you are, that each one of us is. Through prayer, we can discover what we must do.

In her last but one message, she said, “Dear children, I want to guide you completely.” Why say, I don’t know what to do? I am frightened. If Our Lady tells us seriously, “I want to guide you completely,” then we must give Her our hand. I am sure that by coming here this is what you want to do.

And now a few words for the young people. Our Lady is asking a lot from you. She said, “Let young people be an example to others by their lives and let them give witness to Jesus.”

If you ask me how to give witness, I say, “Try.” How can you be an example for Jesus? By testifying. Jesus has invited us to live a life full of joy, of love for everyone, a life full of peace and a heart ready to bring peace. Jesus has invited us all to forgive when we are offended and not to be revenged; He has invited us to develop the gifts we have been given by God, and this is particularly valid for young people.

You have many possibilities of developing them. In the life of a young person, all laziness, all letting one’s self go is really a sin against the Holy Spirit. Our Lady has suggested two day’s fasting and prayer; why? Not in order to annihilate us. If a trainer wants to get the young people in his team ready, he doesn’t train them to reduce them to nothing, but to prepare them in order to have a good team for the new season. In the same way, Our Lady is asking certain things in order to prepare you young people to be able to face up to life, not to make you tired. We elderly can also be young on one condition, to be young in our spirit and soul. Someone who wants to renew his life doesn’t lose hope and even if difficulties come remains youthful.

What does Our Lady want of us? She wants to help us to open our hearts to peace, be ready to live the fullness of life; then it doesn’t matter how old we are.

We must be ready to open ourselves in prayer; as I open myself when I am with a friend, so I open myself to God. If I don’t spend time with someone, I will never open myself up; and it is the same with prayer.

Now I beseech you all to begin to change yourselves by prayer. I have already told you that Our Lady is asking for active prayer; this means that she is inviting us to be changed. If we accept the Word of God with our heart, then it will speak to us. The condition required to accept it with a new heart is prayer. If you read the messages you will realize that this is repeated in other words in every message.

But there is another important means available to us and that is fasting. It is a specialty of Our Lady. All our cookery recipes have become very complicated, but Our Lady has remained just as two thousand years ago; She has not changed the recipes of her kitchen which she is suggesting to us in our modern world where we have everything available. She says: the ideal is bread and water. But the stress is on bread.

When we come to Italy we find your specialties and, when you come to Medjugorje, you find this specialty. Why: Our Lady is not asking us for fasting because she is happy if we are hungry. This is not so. This is the chance to live on bread and it is an aspect, perhaps the first which we should discover, the Eucharistic aspect of this fasting. By living on bread for two days a week we will discover how important bread is and by discovering our daily bread we will more easily be brought to realize our Eucharistic bread. This will come to us step by step, slowly.

Fasting has its own value; it serves as a means, it serves us for our faith, for our prayer, for love and for reconciliation.

In the Beatitudes Jesus said that those who are poor of heart before God are blessed. He did not say blessed are those who do not have anything, but those who are poor of heart. We can interpret this as meaning blessed are all those who feel a need for God. This is what being poor means, that is, open.

Today, the editors of ... a local magazine asked Vicka how Our Lady guides her, how she could describe Our Lady: friend, mother, unapproachable being from above? Vicka described her in the loveliest way, “Mary is Mother.”

Afterwards they asked her, “What do you like most about this Mother?” She said, “Her exceptional goodness and tenderness. She is a Mother who loves everyone and wants us all to be saved, the whole of humanity.”

I tell you this because we must understand that everything Our Lady offers us, she offers to us as a mother who has understood and taken seriously the words of Jesus, “Here is your son.” She has kept these words in her heart. They are words which have moved Our Lady.

If someone says, “She is asking a lot, it is not possible,” we must accept. Our Lady loves us, and this is why she is inviting us, and I am sure that by coming here you will have understood and accepted her voice and will wish to continue.

I am inviting you. Our conversion will never be finished. So, be patient with yourselves. Conversion means growing in love, in peace, and in the spirit of prayer and penance.

Who of us is able to say that they have already grown enough, cannot love any more and cannot grow any further in faith? 

(Fr. Slavko Barbaric - 26th April 1986)

First shared by:

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"Grasp the Seriousness of the Situation: Much of What Will Happen Depends on Your Fasting and Prayers!" Our Lady of Medjugorje's Call for Fasting and Prayer in Families

May Our Lady's words inspire and inflame us to desire to fast and pray - knowing that our very future depends on it:
“…today I invite you to pray for peace. At this time, peace is threatened in a special way and I am seeking from you to renew fasting and prayer in your families. Dear children, I desire you to grasp the seriousness of the situation and that much of what will happen depends on your prayers, and you are praying a little bit! Dear children, I am with you and I am inviting you to begin to pray and fast seriously as in the first days of my coming…” (7/25/91)

Father Slavko replied in an interview when asked why Our Lady didn't stop the war - [think of any type of evil, including the evils of our day]. 
He said, 
"She told us, without you I cannot do anything. It is the mystery of our freedom. It's like mother giving the car to the son and saying be careful - an accident is possible. 
What can a mother do more? 
So I see Our Lady the same.... God doesn't want to take away our freedom and the war is the decision of the people.
God's will is clear. Stop the war. Pray and Fast.
...The war didn't come because Our Lady came. ...
For example, we had the same situation with Fatima. After that came the Russian Revolution....
Our Lady knew what is going on and wanted to help us.
Who knows what would happen without her intervention here?" His words about this begin at 2:01 in the video.

Our Lady has been coming daily for nearly 40 years for a reason. 

May we grasp the seriousness of the situation and respond to Our Lady's call to fast and pray as she asks, for she has come to save us by drawing us back to her Son through prayer and fasting.  
Our Father isn't sending her to us on a whim, or for fun.
Her messages and calls are heaven's answer for our needs.
Janet Moore. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Growing in Love of God through Fasting

On this Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent, enjoy the following talk on fasting:

Here are a few notes I took from the talk:
We fast to help us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Human heart is like silver
when we fast it is like we
mix the silver of our heart with the gold of God

We fast to pull away from the things of the world
Fasting helps us say no to a love that is lower than God
it helps us to say no to the tin to say yes to the gold

Fasting is good for our health
It helps us lose weight

Fasting for God is a spiritual exercise
St. Paul: "Our flesh lusts against the spirit"
Fasting strengthens the body
and humbles our flesh

Fasting is a pleasing sacrifice that God to atone for sin
Nineveh's repentance - spared the city

Listen for much more...

Know of my prayers for you!

And pray together: Lord, we offer this day to you! 
May we have the gift of fasting today
through the help of your grace and through the strengthening of our wills.
May our fasting be pleasing to you, and draw us ever closer to you!
We ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

© Janet Moore. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Our Lady Calls us to Fast! The Power of Fasting on Bread and Water Interview of Fr. Slavko

On this Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent, 
may these profound teachings of Fr. Slavko help us to fast, remembering:

The call to fasting is essential to Our Lady’s reported messages in Medjugorje. From the first reported appearances, she called us to pray and fast, saying:

“I would like the world to pray with me these days. As much as possible, to fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays…”

Here are a few notes I've taken from the above video to help us ponder and pray through Fr. Slavko's teachings, may they be a gift to you on this fast day:

"Fasting is to live life with bread and water for two days. 
To find simplicity in our life...
To detach ourselves...
For our organism (body) it is very good...
When we have too much, we are not free...
We become blind, we do not see...
Bread is the symbol of life
Water is the symbol of purification
Fasting has a deep connection with the Eucharist 
I AM the bread of life
This is My Body
Our Lady has only one task, only one desire, to lead us to Jesus.
We listen better, we hear better when we are fasting
It means we meet God in His Word better 
It is not only this, it is Eucharist, it is meeting Jesus in Bread, in the Eucharist, in the Daily Bread..."

How beautifully profound!!! 
I had never made the connection of Bread and Water fasting to the Eucharist before. 
May Jesus' True Presence in the Eucharist be the source and strength of our fasting, as well as our ultimate goal and desire!
I love you, Jesus, my love, above all things,
And I repent with my whole heart of having offended you.
Never permit me to separate myself from you again,
Grant that I may love you always, and then do with me what you will.
(Traditional Prayer of the Stations of the Cross, by St. Alphonsus Liguori)
© Janet Moore. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Our Lady Queen of Peace in Medjugorje's Annual March 18, 2019 Message

What an amazing day!

Every year on this date, Our Blessed Mother of Medjugorje gives a special message to Mirjana! It happens to be Mirjana's birthday, but Mirjana has said Mary doesn't come because it's her birthday, but because this date has a special place in God's plan.

Mirjana says:
“When everything starts happening, then you will be able to understand why the 18th of March, why every second of the month, why Wednesdays and Fridays are days of fasting, everything will be clear.”

Added to Mary's special plans for this date, (or perhaps this is part of the specialness of this date) is that it's also the Vigil of the Solemnity of St. Joseph!

I write about St. Joseph here and here! May these writings be a gift to you.

Here's Our Blessed Mother's reported Message for today, March 18, 2019 given through Mirjana Soldo:  

My children! 
As a mother, as the Queen of Peace, 
I am calling you to accept my Son so that He can grant you peace of soul - 
that He can grant you that which is just, 
which is good for you.

My children, my Son knows you. 
He lived the life of man, and at the same time of God: 
a wondrous life - human flesh, divine Spirit. 
Therefore, my children, while my Son is looking at you with His eyes of God, 
He penetrates into your hearts. 
His tender, warm eyes are looking for Himself in your heart. 
My children, can He find Himself [there]?

Accept Him, 
and then the moments of pain and suffering will become moments of tenderness. 
Accept Him, 
and you will have peace in [your] soul - 
you will spread it to all those around you - 
and this is what you now need the most.

Heed me, my children. 
Pray for the shepherds, for those whose hands my Son has blessed. 
Thank you.   


Dearest St. Joseph, Beloved and Irreplaceable Gift to Jesus and Mary

Dear Blessed Joseph,

What a wondrous gift you were (are) to Mary…
to Jesus…
to us!
God knew how much Mary and Jesus needed you … 
Your love
Your protection
Your kindness, your faith, your strength and your courage.

How humble you are
How filled with love
How hidden and selfless was your role. 
How much you must have loved Mary and how much Mary must have loved and depended on you

God knows what we need. 

The Father couldn’t have asked Mary to carry the Messiah if you had not been there. 
You were Mary's and the Messiah’s protection, their guidance, their constant source of love.
Just as God had been preparing – making preparations for --Mary from all eternity,
so God must have been preparing and making preparations for you.
Because God is beyond all space and time and knows all things...
He knew who you would be before you came into being…
So, He knew that you, alone, had a heart capable of truly loving
the Immaculate Conception and Jesus worthily
as Mary's true spouse and Jesus' true earthly father…

The Father knew you and created you to be one who could forsake his life,
in order to live a life that was no longer his own,
but one that was lived only for the Child and His Mother. 
The Father needed someone who would live only for his family.
Living only to serve, love, nurture and protect them...
To shield the glorious secret of the Virgin birth from the world.

What a blessing you must have been to Mary!
She, who held the Creator of all things in her womb,
whom the angel revealed to her that her Child would be the Savior, the Son of the Most High…
she was so alone on this earth. 
She needed a provider, a man who would love and understand her and her Child.  

God tells us it is not good for us to be alone, so in His providence,
He made the two of you for each other,
knowing the depth of your souls before they existed.

How you must have loved each other in a most pure and perfect way
--with both of your eyes and hearts fixed on the Father,
Who is the source of all goodness and Who is LOVE Himself.
With both of your eyes and hearts fixed on the Son,
Whom Mary carried and whom you provided for,
Who came to redeem us and set us free.
With both of your eyes, hearts and minds filled with the Holy Spirit,
the Source of all Wisdom and Understanding, the Advocate,
Who filled you both with unfathomable Strength and Courage.
Though filled with the Spirit,
you both had to walk in the darkness …
not understanding all…
not fathoming God’s complete plan. 
For God comes slowly and with infinite tenderness like the dawn –
shining His light ever so slowly –
to the extent we can understand…
little by little guiding us in faith and trust.
What faith and trust you must have had
and how God must have expanded your mind and heart to grow each moment of the days
spent both in blessed preparation for and
in communion with the Savior.
Your Savior and your Child.

How God must have rejoiced in you and Mary,
and your mutual love for one another…
How pleased He must have been that you sought her to be your bride.

So often in the past, people have assumed you must have been an old man, a widower,
with other children…
to have been entrusted with this beautiful virgin.
Yet, I have always seen and recognized you as a young and vibrant man –
Fully alive,
Strong and faithful….
Fully righteous and humble…
A man of faith, a man filled with God’s wisdom and His love…
For you must have loved God with all your being – to all your capacity—which expanded increasingly through your life.
You must have loved Mary for who she was –
a woman completely consumed with the love of her God.
You must have shared that same all consuming, heart-enflamed love of God and
thus, sought only His will for your life and your love together…
As you loved Mary for her beauty and wisdom and grace and goodness…
so she must have loved you for these same virtues.
God had formed each of you to be perfectly matched…
As you both desired only to love your God with all your heart, mind, power and strength. 
Both only seeking to fulfill God’s will for your lives
How so perfectly in tune with each other you must have been!

How you must have spoken with Mary of her call to perpetual virginity and total consecration of herself with the Father before your betrothal.  

If you hadn’t have spoken and agreed and had been in one heart and mind and soul regarding this… it wouldn’t have been a true betrothal. 
It would have been untrue for Mary to not have shared her call with you,
which we recognize in her question posed to the Angel Gabriel: 
“How can this be as I know not man?” 
She never considered this Child would be a fruit of your marital union,
for you had both given of yourselves completely to God –
offering up the sexual expression of marriage for a completely selfless and all consuming love of your God that He had called both of you to embrace.

How you must have readily agreed and embraced this call of God in Mary’s life and how it must have echoed a similar call of full consecration and complete gift of yourself to God in your own soul.

So how confused you must have been when you recognized Mary was with Child. 

I don’t accept that you ever questioned Mary’s purity and faithfulness.  
Instead, I’m sure that as a faithful Jew, you knew and held fast to the prophecies of a virgin conceiving the Messiah…
… so you must have seen Mary’s pregnancy as a fulfillment of this great promise.  
But, you struggled because God had not shared this plan with you…
Mary had not shared this understanding with you…
So, in your heart you must have reasoned that God must not have wanted you to be Mary’s husband, believing yourself to be unworthy of such an honor…
and supposing that God must have wanted Mary to be His Bride alone,
because all this had taken place without your knowledge, without your consent. 
Mary’s conception of the Messiah must mean you were not to be her husband.
And so, in infinite humility and grace, you decided to give up your great love of Mary and bow out of the betrothal quietly, so God could have his way.

How selfless you are, dear St. Joseph!

God was testing your selflessness…
He was expanding your love, your mind, your will… just as He was in Mary.
You were both fully human. 
Neither understanding the fullness of God’s plan. 
You and Mary had to work out and discern God’s will each moment of the day as we all do.
God knew your capacity. 
He knew your soul was filled so greatly with love,
because your will was humble and so united with His own,
that it was empty enough to be filled beyond our understanding. 
It wasn’t filled with countless things that fill our minds:
like ego, jealousy, your rights or a pursuit of worldly honors or possessions…
Your soul was filled only with loving your Creator, your God.
So, as He does with all of us,
He must have led you one step at a time in loving darkness…
sometimes withholding His sensible presence and plan so you could grow in virtue… so you could grow in faith…
so you could grow more and more in union with Him…
dependent upon Him,
trusting in Him regardless of your feelings and circumstances.
How this circumstance must have tried your faith in your own discernment of God’s will. 
You must have prayed and sought Him so diligently to understand and pursue Mary as your bride…
But, after learning of Mary’s virginal conception, you must have reasoned your ways and your discernment must not be what God truly wanted…
For He was keeping this from you. 

In your love and humility, you gave your plans and your betrothed back to God,
knowing He does all things well and wanting only His will and not your own.
So, how wondrously you must have felt, when the angel appeared in a dream,
saying “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”
How in awe and what holy fear you must have felt to realize God had chosen you to be part of His plan to save the world! 
How incredible it was that God did entrust His beloved daughter in your hands…
how He counted you worthy of raising and protecting His Child!!!
How true was your discernment, your hope and dreams and all your prayers were coming true! 
All your longing was being realized!!!
The long awaited Messiah whom you had prayed and longed for all your life was on His way
and He wanted you to be a father to HIM!!!!!

It makes me weep just trying to fathom what this revelation must have meant to you.
O dear St. Joseph, how good it is to ponder your place in God’s plan…
To ponder with what love you must have built a cradle for your Child…
And how you must have built a home to keep your family warm and safe…
And how you had to leave it all behind
For God’s ways are not our ways.
How hard was your way to Bethlehem, and how diligently and selflessness you must have tried to care for Mary and your Child…
but so much was beyond your control…
the rough travel, the cold, and the ultimate deprivation of not even being able to secure a safe place in which the Savior was to be born…
How that must have hurt you…
How you must have wondered if you were enough…

How you all must have suffered in your journey to Egypt.
No matter your striving,
how much deprivation you must have experienced in your long journey through the desert and in a foreign land.
Ancient Egyptian histories speak of you and Mary and the infant Jesus wandering for four years,
during this exile ...
never staying in any one place longer than six months at a time...
always needing to escape again from Herod or needing to avoid bandits
or searching for food or water or shelter ...
How often the Father asked you to walk by faith into the darkness of His Will and His poverty.

And yet, how immeasurably rich you were and are...
for you held the Lord of all your longing, and He looked to you as his earthly father...
and the chosen one, the greatest masterpiece of the human race was your beloved spouse and the Mother of God!
How misunderstood you have been for centuries…
how little known and thought of…
Yet, I suppose that it matters little how we see you…
you just want to be a humble servant in whatever capacity God has in store for you..
Completely hidden and unknown is fine with you. 
Human respect means nothing. 
All your heart and soul and mind is set on serving God alone how ever He calls you. 
In whatever capacity… it makes no difference, just as long as you love
God the Father,
His Son, your Child,
the Holy Spirit, the Espoused of your bride,
and the beautiful woman, Mary, whom He entrusted to your love, your care and protection!

O dear St. Joseph, pray for us and for our families!

See here for more incredible insights about St. Joseph:  10 of the Most Beautiful and Profound Revelations Ever Given of St. Joseph - Our Lady of America Messages Part V

Janet Moore © 2015. Updated in 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Isadore of Isolanis, a pious Dominican of the 16th century, prophesied:
“the sound of victory when the faithful recognize the sanctity of St. Joseph...The Lord will let His light shine, He will lift the veil, and great men will search out the interior gifts of God that are hidden in St. Joseph; they will find in him a priceless treasure, the like of which they had never found in other saints of the Old Testament. We are inclined to believe that toward the end of time, God will overwhelm St. Joseph with glorious honor. If in the past ages during the storms of persecution, these honors could not be shown to St. Joseph, we must conclude that they have been reserved for later times. At some future time, the feast of St. Joseph will be celebrated as one of the greatest feasts. The Vicar of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will order this feast to be celebrated in the Universal Church.”

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Enslaved but Rejoicing! Be Inspired by St. Patrick's Life His Words and His Prayers

I wrote this last year in the midst of celebrations. 

Now, in this time of social distancing and quarantines (as we are living with a pandemic virus of sickness, panic and fear...) the celebrations aren't present this year, and perhaps that is a good thing. We have so much more time for quiet and prayer to get in touch with the real St. Patrick, who can teach us so much. 

Please take the time to read about this truly amazing saint and to pray his incredible prayers of protection and strength that he wrote in the midst of severe devastation, deprivation and sickness. 
If you do, I know they will warm your soul and strengthen you in faith and hope:

Each year on this feast of St. Patrick, I can't help but think that while it's wonderful to see joyful parades and celebrations, where millions of people like myself rejoice in being Irish, and millions more honor the feast by the "wearing of the green", it saddens me to see how his feast day has turned into such a pagan holiday that extols sin and excess, without any clear connection or understanding of this amazing man of faith.

To combat this, I'd like to share some of his own prayers and writings that speak about what he endured, as well as the great Love of God that transformed him. 

St. Patrick's birth name was Maewyn Succat. As a young man he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland where he was enslaved for six years. 
He was forced to live without shelter as a shepherd, and was often alone and starving and perhaps beaten and tortured. 
What is so inspiring about St. Patrick is that it was right in the midst of such great deprivation, he became aware of God and His Mercy and the continual blessings that flowed from Him.
He writes in his “Confessio” of his captivity:
"There the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and then turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my low estate, and took pity on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son.
Hence I cannot be silent – and indeed, I ought not to be – about the many blessings and the great grace which the Lord has deigned to bestow upon me in the land of my captivity;…the love of God and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me.”
Among the hundreds of prayers Patrick prayed when he was a slave in Ireland are two prayers that never fail to stir my heart. 

I can't be sure he prayed these prayers during his captivity
perhaps he prayed them during his escape
or throughout his study of the priesthood 
or when he was raised up as a Bishop of the Church
or when he chose to go back to Ireland 
to the same people who captured and enslaved him for 6 years
as he tirelessly worked for their conversion
or perhaps he prayed them throughout all of these seasons of his life...

Every time I pray or sing this prayer, I imagine Patrick singing and praying these words of praise to His Creator, Who was His Constant Companion while alone and enslaved...
cold and hungry ...

These prayers are prayers of union with God and remind me to see all things in and through God and through the eyes of faith:

The Lorica of St. Patrick 
also know as The Deer's Cry or 
The Bulwark or Breastplate of St. Patrick

This day God gives me
strength of high heaven
Sun and moon shining,
flame in my hearth.
Flashing of lightning,
wind in its swiftness,
Deeps of the Ocean,
firmness of earth.

This day God sends me,
strength as my guardian,
Might to uphold me,
Wisdom as guide.
Your eyes are watchful, 
your ears are listening,
Your lips are speaking,
Friend at my side.

God's way is my way,
God's shield is round me,
God's host defends me,
Saving from ill.
Angels of heaven, 
drive from me always,
All that would harm me,
Stand by me still.

Rising I thank You, mighty and Strong One,
King of creation, Giver of rest,
Firmly confessing Oneness of Godhead 
Threeness of Persons, Trinity blest. 
The second prayer is really a section of the same prayer listed above:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I pray that we take time to truly ponder St. Patrick on his feast day today
as well as the profound and deeply moving words of his prayers...
imagining how his awareness of Christ's closeness changed everything for the young St. Patrick - 
as snow and ice and rain fell upon him
as he struggled with great hunger
as he must have struggled, 
and at first, raged against his enslavement
he was able to see that all he endured was  
as nothing compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord! Phil. 3:8

May it be the same for us! 
Imagine how this same awareness can change our souls!!!

Aware of the imperfect circumstances many of us are experiencing, 
I write this praying that each of us become so aware of God's great love and care for us that we can't help but be filled with joy and gratitude for all He has done,
even while:

Some are enduring great sickness and loss
Some have lost jobs and homes 
and their means of livelihood
Some are living with great rejection and turmoil
Or even abuse 
While some struggle with faith 
And are constantly filled with fear and anxiety

Some are alone, with family members who were missing through death or other circumstances -- and their hearts are broken at their absence. 

Many families are 'broken', divorced and separated - 
some in outward ways, and some in very hidden ways. 
Many are living in strife.
Some have been abandoned or abused.
Some are caught in the web of sin and addictions.
Some are hungry and living in poverty,
In sickness or close to death.

When our circumstances don't match up to the perfect, beautiful images of life we imagine or once experienced, deep sadness, or even depression can come upon us.  
If we look for happiness in earthly terms, we will have unrealistic expectations that were never promised to us by God.  

God never promised us a life free from trouble,
rather He said, 

In this world you will have trouble and suffering, but take courage and cheer up! 
I have conquered the world!  John 16:33

God never promised us perfection.  
Nor did He promise that our lives would be free from pain or hurt, rejection or betrayal. 

What he did promise was that He would be with us always!

And if we are living in union with Him, 
we will know that that is enough, 
more than enough in fact...
and we can see that regardless of our current situations, 
we still are blessed beyond measure in ways that go far beyond the outward circumstances in which we are living.

This is the secret to happiness -- to be mindful of the gifts God has given us and to offer Him thanks and praise for these amazing things that we often take for granted! To keep our eyes on Jesus instead of ourselves and our own pain.

Through St. Patrick's intercession and by his life and prayers, may we be helped to truly see God's nearness and the abundance of His gifts, and thus obtain the joy and peace that surpasses understanding that God gives to all who draw near to Him. 
We pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen!
P.S. I shared the shortened versions of St. Patrick's full Lorica prayer above: the song that it inspired and the beautiful part of the prayer that I pray when I'm feeling most alone and need to remind myself of God's presence. 

But, the full Lorica prayer is worth reading and praying with. When you have time, after you've pondered what has been written above:

Please pray the full prayer, as well as more reflections on how the prayer and Scripture can be used as a shield of faith during these dark times. You can find them here. 

© Janet Moore. 2020.  All Rights Reserved.