The Lord Who Sees You.
The Cup Of The Water Of Paradise.
The Hidden Presence.
The Lord is Your Guardian.
The Shore of Heaven.
At the Crossroads.
The Lord's' Vagabond.
Your Eye is on the Sparrow.
Words of Wisdom from Heaven.
As it was in the Days of Noah…therefore, Stay
God the Savior of Those in Distress.
"Lo! How a Rose E'er Blooming".
Therefore, If Anyone Is In Christ, He Is A New
Creation; The Old Has Gone, The New Has
Things Never Happen the Same Way Twice.
Jesus, Master, Have Pity On Us!
The Gate of Heaven.
Blessed be God in His Angels and Saints.
Jesus, I trust in You.
You Satisfy the Hungry Heart.
One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
The Butterfly Coat.
Saint Patrick’s Breast-Plate.
The Good Shepherd.
His Rod and His Staff They Comfort Me.
The All Knowing and Ever Present God.
The Still Small Voice.
Sing a New Song Unto The Lord.
The Servant of God.
Until Death Do Us Part.
I Will Answer Them.
Lost and Found.
The Household of Faith.
The Beggar of Heaven.
To Let Go and Let God.
Give her the Rosary.
The Road to Emmaus.
Yom Asal; Yom Basal.
Walking by Faith.
If you have any questions, or if
you wish to share your own "walk with
Jesus", please feel free to contact us.
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Lost and Found.
you ever felt lost and confused about which way
to go? I have. Recently I was questioning
whether some steps I had taken with regard to
this writing apostolate were what the Lord
desired. I want to be in and do only His Will.
After a period of some struggle within my
spirit, I lifted up a cry to the Lord for
clarity. During that intimate time of union with
Jesus after receiving Him in Holy Communion He
helped me understand that I had been “wandering”
and that I should “take His Hand again” and
permit Him to guide me as a father leads his
little child and He will take me and our work
together where He wants us to go. Because I have
responded to Jesus, I feel very peaceful again
and secure. Our Lord cares for us at all times
and keeps watch over us every moment of our
lives. He desires that we always are safe in His
love. To be united to Him in love we must have a
relationship with Him through prayer and through
obedience to His loving commandments and
docility to His Spirit.
The Holy Spirit
reminded me of an experience I had while in
Israel that reveals the Good Shepherd’s care for
and guiding of His sheep, the unity with the
heart and mind of Jesus that comes through
prayer and the fruit of such prayer: that the
work of the Lord is accomplished and His will is
Not long after my family moved to
Israel I journeyed from the town where we were
living along the coast to Jerusalem one day on
my own. I did not know the city and knew nobody
yet in the city. My goal was to drive up to
Jerusalem and park outside the old city walls
and enter through the Damascus Gate. From there
I would walk through the old city streets and
make my way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
and pray a rosary there. I would take my time
sauntering through the narrow cobblestone
streets, soaking in the atmosphere and looking
at the stores and shrines along the way and
begin to get my bearings in this foreign country
and in this mysterious, majestic and holy city.
I rejoiced when they said to
“Let us go to the house of the
And now our feet are
within your gates,
Jerusalem is built like a
that is closely compacted
There the tribes go
the tribes of the LORD,
was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to
the name of the LORD.
There are the
thrones of justice,
the thrones of the
house of David.
For the peace of
“May those who love you
May peace be within your
prosperity within your
For the sake of my brothers and
friends I say,
“Peace be with
For the sake of the house of the
LORD, our God,
I pray for your good.
I walked for
long time. After a while I realized I was
completely lost. I did not know where I was. I
had wandered into an area of the old city where
there were not so many people around. I found
myself on a street that seemed like a back alley
far from the beaten path and I did not know
which way to turn. There was no one to whom I
could ask directions. I was all alone. Although
it was daylight, I felt suddenly nervous to be
all alone in a big strange city on the other
side of the world, not even knowing if I were in
a safe area of the city as I had surely left the
tourist and pilgrim area. Where were the people?
I was disoriented and had no sense of which way
to go to find my way back to where I had come
from. Then in my disquiet I lifted my heart to
Jesus and He could see my distress. I don’t
recall if I used any words in my prayer crying
out to the Lord for help. I know He is always
with me. I know that even if there is no one
else around, He is there. He is always with me
and Jesus Himself said that He would never
forsake us or leave us! I stood there at a bend
in the alley and looked around. I was all alone
in this foreign city seven thousand miles from
home and lost and very uneasy. As I pondered in
faith the knowledge of the truth that my Lord
Jesus is always with me, I calmed myself.
Just then, two women came around the
corner of the alleyway and began walking towards
me. As they drew nearer, one of them called out,
“Ann!” I was struck with complete surprise and
total be-wilderment as I wondered how in the
whole wide world could my own name be called out
like that by strangers. Who could know my name?
How can this be? Then I saw their faces and
realized that these two women were part of a
Catholic group that lived outside of the old
city of Jerusalem. I had been introduced to them
in a brief introduction a few weeks before when
I had been invited to join in a “tour” of a holy
site with others from their group. They had
remembered me! And more amazingly, they had
appeared “out of no-where” here in the old city
on this remote back alley way right after I had
called out to the Lord in my distress to help
I was overjoyed when I realized our
compassionate Lord had instantly answered my
prayer and delivered me from my fear! I told
them how I had ventured to Jerusalem that day on
my own and had gotten lost and ended up there in
that back alleyway all alone. I told them that I
had just prayed to Jesus asking His help as I
was getting scared. I asked them what they were
doing in Jerusalem on this little alley-way.
They then told me that they had come into the
old city to go to the Church of the Holy
Sepulcher in order to pray the rosary! That is
where they were heading and what they were
intending to do! I was utterly amazed. I shared
with them that that too was my intention but
that I had gotten lost. I told them that the
Lord had clearly sent them to me to help me find
my way! Our joy was immense as we rejoiced at
Jesus’ kindness and care for His children. They
led me through the narrow cobblestone back
streets of Jerusalem to the Church of the Holy
Sepulcher and together we entered and went to
the back chapel where on our knees before the
Good Shepherd of our souls we poured our hearts
of love out to Him while praying the holy
After we parted I made my way
back the now familiar path to the Damascus Gate
where I departed the old city and picked up my
car. As I drove the highway home to the coastal
town I worshipped Jesus with all my heart. So
enraptured in prayer was I that I missed the
exit of the highway to my town. I took the
following exit, and at the bottom of the exit
ramp I stopped at the traffic light. There was a
man standing there and he was seeking a ride.
Generally I did not pick up hitch-hikers, but
having been in a near state of ecstasy I was not
thinking. My window was half rolled down and he
leaned forward and asked where I was headed and
if he could catch a ride. I joyfully told him
that I was going near to the place where he
wanted to go, and so I would be happy to take
him. As I mentioned, I was quite beside myself
in joy having been praising Jesus all the way
from Jerusalem on the account of His rescue of
me in that alleyway by the remarkable way He
affected it. Therefore, I was not fully
concentrated on the man getting into my car.
As we drove away I looked over at him
and was suddenly struck by the fact that he was
dressed in the religious attire of the Jews and
on his lap was a huge book with gold-leaf pages
and an impressive gilded cover. He looked at me
and asked, “did you make Alliyah?” I understand
what he was asking me. He wanted to know if I
was a Jew who had returned to Israel under the
law of birthright. I smiled and pointed to my
crucifix hanging from my front mirror, and
sweetly told him, “No, I am a Christian,” at
which point we both suddenly fell quiet. I had
not realized my hitch-hiker was a Yeshiva
student who was to become a rabbi, and he did
not know that he had hopped into the car of “a
goyim” (meaning: a gentile/of the nations) as he
afterwards in complete seriousness referred to
me! But just as in the back alleyway Jesus had
brought the holy ladies to me, our Lord had also
brought this encounter about with Itzhak, the
moment of silence the Holy Spirit moved and a
deep and intense conversation began and what a
conversation it was! The drive took only about
half an hour to the bus stop where I would
ultimately bid Itzhak a fond farewell and
“Godspeed.” As the busses pulled in and out and
the passengers got on and off, we sat there for
over two hours in my stopped car with the engine
running conversing together about the Lord God
and His Word. Izthak, at one moment in his utter
exasperation, as the Holy Spirit was assisting
me to eloquently and accurately expound and
unfold the true meaning of the Old Testament
scriptures of Micah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Isaiah
and their prophetic fulfillment in Jesus as the
true Messiah of the Jews, Itzhak cried to me,
“I am not allowed to listen to a goyim, or a
woman, only my rabbi!”
who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a
light has shone…..For a Child is born to us, a
Son is given us; upon His shoulder dominion
rests. They name Him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is
vast and forever peaceful, From David's throne,
and over His kingdom, which He confirms and
sustains by judgment and justice, both now and
forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do
When Jesus was
born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King
Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in
Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn King of
the Jews? We saw His star at its rising and have
come to do Him homage." When King Herod heard
this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem
with him. Assembling all the chief priests and
the scribes of the people, he inquired of them
where the Messiah was to be born. They said to
him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has
been written through the prophet: 'And you,
Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least
among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall
come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people
Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the
clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for Me
one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin
is from of old, from ancient times. Therefore
the Lord will give them up, until the time when
she who is to give birth has borne; and the rest
of His brethren shall return to the children of
Israel. He shall stand firm and shepherd his
flock by the strength of the LORD, in the
majestic name of the LORD, His God; and they
shall remain, for now His greatness shall reach
to the ends of the earth; He shall be peace.
Itzhak just could not leave me. He seemed
powerless to be able to with-draw himself from
my car - although of course, he was free to
leave at any time. I was surely not holding him
hostage! - for the truth is that Itzhak was
completely captivated by the Holy Spirit who was
convicting his heart and mind of the Truth of
Jesus Christ, who is the long-awaited Messiah of
the Jews. He was simply awe- struck by the truth
that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the
Living God of Israel could be known personally
and intimately (by a woman!) through the Person
of Jesus Christ, the Father’s Only Begotten Son,
who is God incarnate, the Lord of lords, the
King of kings, the Son of David, the Messiah and
King of the Jews, and that Jesus loves him
(Itzhak) so much that He died for him personally
to save him from his sins. Itzhak who was
literally trembling from the Presence of the
Holy Spirit who was powerfully with us in the
car thanked me for all that had been shared and
upon leaving he asked me for my telephone
number. I gladly gave it to him and I assured
him that night or day I would be willing to meet
with him anywhere he wanted to share with him
the Lord Jesus Christ – the lover of his (
Itzhak’s) soul and the Good Shepherd of Israel.
Now there was a Pharisee named
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we
know that you are a teacher who has come from
God, for no one can do these signs that you are
doing unless God is with him."
answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to
you, no one can see the kingdom of God without
being born from above." Nicodemus said to him,
"How can a person once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and
be born again, can he?"
"Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the
kingdom of God without being born of water and
Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what
is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed
that I told you, 'You must be born from above.'
The wind blows where it wills, and you
can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know
where it comes from or where it goes; so it is
with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Nicodemus answered and said to him, "How can
Jesus answered and said to
him, "You are the teacher of Israel and you do
not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what
we have seen, but you people do not accept our
If I tell you about earthly
things and you do not believe, how will you
believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No
one has gone up to heaven except the one who has
come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent
in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted
up, so that everyone who believes in him may
have eternal life."
For God so loved the
world that he gave his only Son, so that
everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did
not send his Son into the world to condemn the
world, but that the world might be saved through
(John 3: 1-17)
As he was
leaving my car I told Itzhak I would always keep
him in my prayers. I also encouraged him to pray
to his Messiah, Jesus that same night and that
surely Jesus would hear and swiftly respond to
his call. As Itzhak was departing I also
reassured him he was travelling on the right
road to eternity!
Jesus said to
him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
The Household of Faith.
Two short stories:
After moving to the Holy Land in the summer of 2008, I lived for a while in the traditional Arab village of my husband in the heart of the Israeli countryside far from the major cities. This rural town of approximately 25,000 has more than ten mosques as all the residents who live there are Muslims. As there were no churches in the town, in order to attend Holy Mass I would have to drive more than sixty miles by car every Sunday along the Mediterranean coastal highway to the great port city of Haifa where the closest church was located. It became my custom that first year living in Israel to attend Holy Mass in Haifa at the magnificent Stella Maris Church which sits atop Mount Carmel. This shrine church is built over the cave of the Prophet Elijah. It was such a blessing to see not only Christians, but Muslims and Jews come to this shrine church as all three religions hold Elijah as one of their revered holy prophets. While devout Catholics adored the Lord during the Holy Mass which was being said in the sanctuary built over the cave, Jews and Muslims would enter in the midst of the sacred celebration and quietly walk down the aisle between the worshipping Christians and enter the cave below the High Altar while Jesus would be sacramentally Present and they would light candles and say their prayers to God. This holy shrine indeed was a “house of prayer for all nations.”
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.(Isaiah 56:7)
Back in America, there were innumerable churches within a close distance to my home and I was immensely blessed to be able to go to Holy Mass every day without driving those sixty miles to get to the closet church. I was able to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion daily. I was fully immersed in a vibrant Christian community life where I would join with my brothers and sisters of the Faith in fellowship, in prayer in several small groups, and where I served the Lord by visiting the sick and elderly in the area nursing homes as an assistant to a priest in his ministry. Every day my body and soul was nourished by hearing the Word of God proclaimed, receiving Our Lord sacramentally in Holy Communion and sharing the Holy Spirit in communal prayer with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)
Indeed, I felt loved by my husband’s Arab family and most assuredly, I was touched by the kindness of many of the town’s residents and absolutely, I rejoiced to be able to attend Holy Mass at the Stella Maris Church every Sunday, yet, during the remaining six days of the week I felt deeply the pangs of intense loneliness for fellowship with the members of my “Household of Faith.”
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
After about nine months living in the village, as usual I went up to Haifa to the Stella Maris for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In those most intimate moments just after having received Holy Communion I poured my aching heart out to my sweet Jesus in prayer telling him of my intense loneliness and feelings of isolation and how I longed to have fellowship with the Body of Christ, not just for one hour on Sundays. I said to Him, “I know You are always with me, but I miss my brothers and sisters! I am so lonely! Please help me find my family here as I am a stranger in an alien land.”
The Mass ended a few moments later and I got up to leave the church. When I turned around there was a woman looking directly at me whose face radiated joy and her beaming smile reached from one side to the other. Her bright eyes and glowing face captivated me. She wanted to say something, but I motioned to her to follow me out of the church as I did not want to disturb anyone who remained in prayer. When we were outside of the great shrine church, she greeted me with all the love and warmth of a long lost sister. Hearing an accent, I asked her where she was from. She responded, “I am Mexican, but I have come from Jerusalem to find the one the Lord is calling.” When I heard her words, my heart leapt for joy as I realized my beloved Jesus had so compassionately and without delay responded to my heart’s cry and answered my prayer of just moments before when I poured out my soul to Him during Holy Communion. My sister in the Lord had come that particular Sunday by the leading of the Holy Spirit all the way to Haifa from Jerusalem where she had been living for nearly 18 years in the community of Catholic ladies of the Prelature of Opus Dei. As she herself said to me by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “I came to find the one the Lord is calling.”
From that very day and for the rest of my years living in Israel I enjoyed close Christian fellowship, and a deep Catholic community life in the Household of Faith with my new family of Opus Dei in Jerusalem and throughout all of the Holy Land.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)
During our time of living in Israel, my family decided to take a trip to Rome during Easter holy week 2010. As we were driving from the airport into Rome, our jovial taxi driver enjoyed sharing with us his love for his city by telling us many facts about Rome. Of everything he told us, one fact stuck in my memory. “Rome has more than 1000 churches.” The day we arrived in Rome was Holy Thursday. I desired very much to attend the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper. The taxi driver dropped us off at our lovely hotel overlooking the Borghese Gardens. After checking in we made our way down into the center of Rome and began to enjoy our first afternoon’s adventures. We walked through the Borghese Gardens to the Spanish Steps, and then onto the Via del Corso, to the Piazza del Populo, and many other squares and streets until we arrived at the Pantheon. At this point the afternoon was getting late and I was becoming anxious about attending Mass. I had thought we would go back to the hotel at some point where I could ask the Concierge for information about the times of Masses at particular churches nearby. But we never returned to the hotel that afternoon as my husband and children had every desire to stay in the center to continue sight-seeing and ultimately to find a good outdoor caf? on one of the squares to sit down for a long leisurely meal and watch the people walk by. I wanted to tell them how anxious I was becoming about not knowing when and where I would be able to attend Holy Mass on this most sacred of evenings, but as my husband doesn’t share my faith, I was alone in my inner turmoil. I felt awkward to ask him to make special arrangements for me. I could not fathom the idea of missing the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper while here I was in Rome during Holy Week just because I did not know where to go and at what time the great Mass would begin! And it seemed even more absurd when I recalled the taxi drivers’ comment about Rome having more than 1000 churches! The distressing thought that this might actually turn out to be the case caused me to suffer so very much within myself.
I lifted my heart to the Lord in my distress right there outside the great Pantheon. Jesus could feel my agony of heart and suffering of mind and He knew how much I desired to be with Him this night during the Holy Mass - to be with Him in spirit, in the Room of the Last Supper and in spirit, to walk with Him afterwards to the Garden of Gethsemane and in spirit, to stay awake with Him there and keep Him company during His Agony. I trusted Jesus would help me somehow, although I could not imagine what He would do.
The Lord’s Supper.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks,* and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you anew in the kingdom of my Father.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:26-30)
The Agony in the Garden.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:36-46)
No sooner had I lifted my heart to the Lord in my distress than my husband said, completely out of the blue, and pointing to the left side of the great Pantheon, “ There’s a church over there which Claudio showed me the last time I came to Rome. There’s a saint in glass in there. You should go in and see it. I can’t remember which saint he said it was.”
I was stunned. My husband had just pointed out a church to me and suggested that I go inside! The fact that he told me to go into a church was quite enough to make me very happy. We approached the Church of Santa Maria Sopre Minerva and the big doors were wide open and I could see that many people were moving around inside. As soon as we stepped inside a well groomed young man in a black suit spoke in English to us asking, “Are you here for the Mass?” I was awestruck. I quickly asked him if the Mass of the Lord’s Supper was being celebrated there at this time. The polite young man acknowledged that Holy Mass would begin in five minutes! He handed me a missal and invited me to join them. I was overjoyed! My husband asked how long the Mass would last and after the young man answered him, he graciously permitted me to stay for the two hour celebration and told me that he would come back for me after the Mass had ended.
I found a seat in the middle of the huge church which was filled to capacity with the faithful. Observing around me I could see from a distance that under the high altar there was the glass sarcophagus which held the incorrupt body of St Catherine of Sienna. Looking around I also noticed that I was nearly the only female in the entire church. The church was filled with men. I wondered who they all were. I assumed they must be a pilgrim group visiting Rome during Holy Week. Mass began and my heart flew upwards into the Heart of Jesus. I was so grateful to Jesus for answering my heart’s desire to be able to be with Him at the Holy Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper in Rome and I was in a state of immense joy and awe-struck wonder over the way He had brought events to pass. How great is the Lord and what love and compassion He has for His children!
As the Mass progressed I felt so peaceful and joyful and safe, as if I was in my own home, like being with a dear family. Even though I was practically the only woman amongst a thousand men, I felt I was amongst all my brothers, the dearest of brothers. I was with my own family. God our Father was present, Jesus our Brother was with us, Mary our Mother too, and all our brother and sister saints in Heaven were also present with us there during the solemn celebration of the Eucharist, and all the members of the Body of Christ on earth were also united with us in this spiritual Household of Faith. Something else also felt so familiar to me and I could not put my finger on it. Then, when the general intercessions were made, St Jose Maria Escriva, the Founder of Opus Dei was named, and then I realized that all these men from all over the world were of the family of Opus Dei!
The Lord had sent the Mexican holy lady of Opus Dei to find me in Haifa in order to end my isolation and loneliness during my first year in Israel and to bring me into fellowship with these sisters in Jerusalem. Then when I was yet again a stranger in a foreign city our Good Shepherd led me right into the midst of my Opus Dei family in Rome! Remember there are more than 1000 churches in Rome! Only Our Great God can do such marvels!
Remember also that God our Father is calling you into His Family of Love through His Son Jesus Christ, Our Lord who came to earth to save us from our sins and by dying on the Cross and rising from the dead Jesus opened for us the door to Eternal Life. Jesus is our older Brother and the Head of God’s Household of Faith. He invites you to trust in Him, follow Him and He will lead you to the Heavenly Home of His Father and ours, and to all our brothers and sisters of the Household of Faith who have gone before us.
The Beggar of Heaven.
The other night I slipped out of my house to find some solitude and peace while walking under the heavens in the crisp cold night air. The sky was like black velvet dotted with innumerable twinkling stars. It was breathtakingly beautiful and it didn’t take long for me to unite the rhythm of my heart and the steady beat of my walk to the pulse of the Holy Spirit. I lifted my thoughts to the Lord and entered into a long unspoken prayer of the soul as I walked. As I was making my final approach to my home in this deep and recollected state of being, suddenly the Holy Spirit brought to my mind an extraordinary encounter I had with a homeless man named “Roger” on a horridly frigid night outside of the great Westminster Cathedral of London just a few days before Christmas of 2010.
In order to relish in the glorious Christmas spirit that the city of London evokes as it decks it halls with every kind of adornment for this most blessed of seasons, my family decided to leave Israel where we were then living to take a week trip to London. Despite it being the “Holy Land”, Israel feels very dreary at Christmas time for a Christian from abroad who is accustomed to the elaborate holiday displays in their home countries which witness to the sacred event of the birth of the Savior of mankind. One must be in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem or living in other pockets of Christian communities throughout the land to see the expression of Christmas joy manifested in the exterior decoration of homes and neighborhoods. Our family was living in a Jewish town along the coast where our children’s American school was located and there was no evidence anywhere to be found that Christmas was coming – no wreathes, no Christmas trees, no outdoor lights, no Nativity displays, no carols being sung. Some of our Jewish neighbors placed lovely Channuka lights in their windows which brightened the dark nights and shined forth hope during the drab winter season. Although we put up our own Christmas tree inside our home, we wanted to share in the festive and sacred spirit of Christmas with others and so we left for London.
My husband and daughters and I had been Christmas shopping and sightseeing all day in the majestic and bustling city of London. That afternoon I wanted to go to make my Confession before Christmas and to attend Holy Mass at the Westminster Cathedral of London. My family dropped me off across from the great cathedral and went back to the hotel. Considering what I may need for the offering during Mass and the taxi fare back to the hotel, my husband handed me $20 pounds. I walked into the great plaza where the cathedral was situated. It was biting cold on this winter day in the city of London as it was late in the afternoon and the sun was low on the horizon. The wind was also sharp and piercing. I was bundled well, with boots, a heavy overcoat, scarf, hat and gloves. One of my earrings had been bothering me throughout the day as my ear had become infected so I had taken it off. Not having any better place to store it, I placed it inside my rosary case (which was more like a little bag). I had been wearing the diamond studs that my husband had given me for our wedding anniversary some years before.
I was very thirsty, and so before going into the cathedral I stopped at the corner of the great cathedral square where a fast food restaurant was located to buy a bottle of water. Then I noticed that all along the square, under the porticos and along the walls there were homeless men and women strewn out on cardboard beds huddling under ragged blankets and dirty sleeping bags to keep warm against the cruel winter cold. It was a most pitiful sight. My heart broke for them, as I considered their wretched plight. There were so many homeless persons out there in the bitter cold and some were begging for alms from the people who were going into the cathedral for the mass. Their need was so much greater than a few coins or pound notes could satisfy. I felt helpless before their suffering. I entered the great cathedral with a heavy heart. Suspended high above the nave from the ceiling was a huge crucifix of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Lord have mercy on all these cold and hungry homeless people who are just outside the doors of Your church,” I pleaded to Jesus with my whole heart as I gazed up in humble faith and with yearning hope on behalf of those poor suffering souls just outside the great doors. I wondered how much help they received from the ministries of the great cathedral. I later learned that Westminster Cathedral with other loving Christians such as the nuns of the Daughters of Charity were hard at work to assist these downtrodden who live under the great shadow of Westminster Cathedral and under the ever-watchful eyes of our merciful Lord.
Inside, under the outstretched arms of the Lord Jesus hanging from the Cross above me, I prepared myself to make sacramental confession by examining my conscience. Fully aware of my own wretchedness and knowing the vital need for my soul to be cleansed, I humbly, yet confidently trusting the love and mercy of Jesus, entered into one of the confessional boxes along the nave of the church where an English priest was waiting inside to hear the confessions of the meek and contrite souls who desire reconciliation with their Lord. Indeed, I too, am a beggar and know that I am always dependent on God’s forgiveness and mercy as I am so poor in love and need His grace to be able to do anything good at all.
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6)
But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one! (Psalm14:3)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
How fervently I desired my conscience to be purified so as to be able to receive my Lord Jesus in Holy Communion worthily at that evening’s mass. I also wanted to “prepare the Infant King Jesus room” in my heart for His arrival on Christmas Day, just a few days hence.
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing…”
(Christmas Carol, lyrics by Isaac Watts 1674-1748)
I opened my heart’s secrets to the priest who heard my confession “in Persona Christi” and I walked out of the confessional box with immense joy knowing that my soul had been forgiven and fully cleansed by the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.
The penance that the English priest had given me during my confession was to say a rosary. I determined that I would pray the rosary before I left the Cathedral that evening. So after Mass I stayed to recite the rosary. I opened my rosary case and not recalling the diamond earring that had been put into the little bag I pulled out my rosary and began to pray with a heart full of contrition for having offended my loving and good Lord by my sins and yet, brimming with joy and gratitude for the forgiveness I knew I had just received from Him.
As I left the great cathedral it was now dark outside and a gentle snow was falling. I saw each tiny snowflake with its ice crystals in all their whiteness reflecting the light of the street lamps. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And then I thought of all those who love God and turn to Him constantly in trust and faith to be forgiven and purified from their daily sins, when possible in sacramental confession and at other times responding in the moment with a spontaneous cry of “Lord forgive me” as the Holy Spirit shines His light of truth on something we just said or did, or did not say or did not do – where we fell short in love and mercy in that circumstance or situation. These blessed souls are like those snowflakes, clear as crystal and pristine white in their purity and reflect the glory of the Light of the Lord.
As I descended the steps of the great cathedral a wretched man wrapped in a ragged blanket approached me. Our eyes met and I loved him. I saw Jesus in him. I saw the Beggar of Heaven in the eyes of this poor, suffering man of the streets of London who lived in the shadow of the great Westminster Cathedral on a bed of cardboard under filthy rags.
When our Lord Jesus hung dying on the cross to pay the ransom for our sins – for all the sins for all time, for all of humanity’s sins, and for my own sins and your own sins - He cried out “I thirst.” He thirsts for our love. Jesus Christ was begging for our love - for my love, for your love. Jesus Christ is the Beggar of Heaven.
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took His tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): "They divided My garments among them, and for My vesture they cast lots." This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your Son."
Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst."
There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, He said, "It is finished." And bowing His head, He handed over His spirit.
Roger told me his whole life story as the snow fell gently on our shoulders. He had been abused as a child. As a teen-ager he fell in with a bad group of boys and he made many bad choices and got into many troubles. He paid the price that society’s justice demanded and spent time in jail. Then he determined to be good and lead a decent and honest life. For a while things were better. He found a job and got a place to live, and worked and fed himself. Then he lost his job and in time he was left with nothing. Now all he had in this world were the greasy rags on his back and the cardboard mat that he lays on at night in the frigid cold on the rock hard pavement of the great square under the looming shadow of the great Westminster Cathedral. I wept and hugged him hard. I told him I had nearly nothing to give him to help him that night.
I pulled out what was left of my 20 pound note. I had bought a bottle of water with it earlier. I hadn’t finished drinking it. He would gratefully take my half drunken bottle of water. I gave it to him, recalling Jesus’ words on the Cross, “I thirst.” I had given ten pounds for the offering and this left me with about seven pounds which I needed to pay for a cab back to the hotel. I thought quickly and told Roger. “Roger, I can take the Tube! So let me give you 5 pounds and I can buy a one-way ticket back to my hotel on the Edgware Road with the remaining two pounds!” But what real help is a five pound note who a man who has nothing at all in this world, I thought to myself. I was so sorry I had nothing more to give him. But indeed I did. I had Jesus. I would give Roger Jesus. I would give Roger to Jesus.
Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." (Acts 3:6)
I asked Roger if I could pray for him. I asked him if he had faith. Roger told me he would like very much for me to pray for him and that he had a little faith. I assured him that faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain.
Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." ( Matthew 17:20)
So grasping Roger’s hands in the middle of the great square, we bowed our heads, and I prayed for Roger with all my heart and mind and soul that Jesus would give him a Christmas miracle and that 2011 would be a new start for Roger filled with every heavenly blessing. We kissed each other warmly on the cheeks a final farewell and “Godspeed” and in a last moment of connection, I reached into my purse and pulled out my little rosary bag and handed it to him saying. “Take this rosary, and hold onto it, and pray with it as you can… for the Lord will go with you and will never leave you. Trust in Him.” I turned toward Victoria Station where I would catch the underground train to the Edgware Road, and left Roger standing in the shadow of the great cathedral with the snow still falling all around him.
I entered the Tube station. I went over to the ticket kiosk to buy my one way ticket. I had underestimated the cost of the ticket. I did not have enough money to buy it. I was stranded at Victoria Station with no cell phone to call my family. Because I had stayed in the cathedral to do my penance of praying the rosary, and on account of my lengthy encounter with Roger, I had been much longer than expected. My family would be worried about me. I then began to consider the very long walk in the biting cold night air between Victoria Station and the Edgware Road where my hotel was located on the other side of the city of London! I was in trouble. But before there was enough time for anxiety to completely overwhelm me, the Lord came swiftly to my rescue. Still standing in front of the ticket kiosk, a stranger approached me and extended his hand and said, “Here, take this. I don’t need it anymore.” He handed me his daily Tube pass! He had bought it in the morning and used it all day and was now leaving the Tube station and would not be using it anymore that day or night. Instead of throwing it in the garbage, he must have seen me standing at the kiosk and decided that he would simply be nice and give it to a total stranger who could still use it until midnight! Incredible! The Lord is my provider! How much He loves His children and watches over us.
I hopped on the train heading to the Edgware Road and half way to my destination I had a strange feeling come over me. I suddenly remembered the diamond earring that I had placed in my little rosary case earlier in the day! Oh my Goodness! I had given the rosary bag to Roger in the square as we parted ways completely forgetting that inside the case was not only my rosary but my expensive diamond stud earring that my husband had given to me for our wedding anniversary! What was I to do?
The passengers all round me sensed that something was wrong with me. I could see it in their faces in their reflections in the train windows. I tried to collect myself and breathe deeply. The train continued to the next station and I tried to think. What should I do? How can I tell my husband how careless I was with his precious gift? How would he react? Would he be angry at me? Would he think it was a beautiful thing – a miracle - that this earring was “accidentally” gifted to Roger, the homeless man in the square, in my little rosary bag? Then I wondered what if Roger never noticed the earring in the bag? What if it would fall out? What if he threw the bag away? Maybe he would never know that the earring was in there? Maybe he would find it and try to sell the diamond and then be arrested, as who would believe that a homeless man hadn’t stolen it? Thoughts as fast as the passing images appearing in the train window raced through my mind.
I had to turn around and go back. At least I could tell Roger what happened. I could see how the conversation would go. Perhaps he would insist on returning the earring because he knew that it was not intended for him - that the earrings were a gift from my husband to me for our anniversary and that husbands can be very sensitive about such things. Or I could show him the earring was in the bag and insist that he keep it, but that I wanted him to know it was there so it did not get lost and he could profit from it. I even thought about ways that we could try to sell it so Roger could have the money to better his life. So many thoughts flooded my mind.
I used the “miracle” Tube pass to return to Victoria Station and ran to the square. All the homeless were now tucked into their grimy blankets and ragged bedrolls. I gathered my composure and walked slowly around the great square looking for Roger trying not to stare. I tried to be respectful as I could while looking the homeless over. I didn’t see Roger anywhere. A heavy set homeless woman was leaning against the wall in the square and I timidly approached her. I asked her, “Do you by any chance know Roger?” I explained that I had just met him and had given him something as a gift but that by accident I had left something else sentimental inside the bag. I didn’t tell her what it was in case it could cause trouble for him. Maybe someone would try to forcefully take it from him if they knew a diamond and gold earring was in the little bag. The homeless woman replied, “Yes, I know Roger. He got helped tonight and so he gets to sleep in the shelter! He had enough money to buy one night in the shelter and so he went there to get warm, have a shower, a hot meal and sleep in a warm bed tonight!”
I thanked the woman and walked back to Victoria Station accepting the will of God. I would genuinely be happy for Roger to have found the earring. If he is meant to have it, then God’s will be done. My husband surely would understand. I praised Jesus that tonight Roger would sleep in security and peace with his rosary at his bedside and hope in his heart. I trusted Jesus’ unfathomable love for Roger and that He would fully provide for him in answer to our prayers. Even with faith a small as a mustard seed Roger can expect miracles – mountains can be moved.
I made my way back to the hotel using for the third time my “miracle ticket”, and prepared myself to share this mysterious and wonderful story with my husband. I told him everything. He was not angry and he was gracious about the “misplaced” earring. He has a generous and caring heart too.
Later that night I organized my handbag for the morning. As I emptied the contents of my purse onto the hotel bed to my shock and utter amazement my diamond earring fell out of the handbag. I didn’t know whether to be grateful to the Lord to have found it, or disappointed in consideration of the loss to Roger. My husband and I had already joyfully accepted the “loss” from our hearts for sake of Roger.
It appears that it was indeed the will of the Lord that my husband’s anniversary gift remained with me. When I pulled my rosary out in the cathedral to pray my penance there, the earring must have caught in the chain and as I lifted the rosary up to pray it must have dropped back into my purse.
Nevertheless, the Lord provides for those who love and trust Him. Roger was in a shelter this night, and tomorrow, with his faith the size of a mustard seed, yet growing, the Beggar of Heaven, Our Lord Jesus Christ would provide again for Roger and would remain with him always.
To Let Go and Let God.
A couple months ago Jesus delivered me from my anguish and taught me to trust Him more. I had been in a chronic state of anxiety for a good stretch of time. My burdens and trials of life were weighing me down and overwhelming me. Cross after cross had come and I was trying desperately to carry them on my own.
I did not think that I was carrying them on my own, of course. I thought I was trusting Jesus totally. However, the weight of these challenges became heavier and heavier and I felt that I was being crushed. I felt all the bodily and mental and emotional symptoms of anxiety – heart beating rapidly, nervous sensations, mind racing, agitation, and I could not fall asleep without a sleeping aid or an anxiety pill.
My dear Jesus had been calling out to me for a long time in various ways to surrender to Him more fully – to trust Him more deeply – to let Him increase His faith in me:Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)
I do not know why I was holding on and not “letting go and letting God”! I didn’t want to carry these burdens. How do I let go and let God and abandon myself more fully to Him and trust Him more? I didn’t know what was holding me back and I didn’t know how to do it. I knew that I loved Him and I did trust and have faith in Him. But God wants to draw us deeper and deeper into the fullness of His life and love. He wants to increase our faith and trust in Him more and more and bring us to completion and perfection in faith. Our Heavenly Father revealed this to us in the Life of His Son, Jesus Christ who is the Way and the Truth and the Life.
Jesus showed us that it is the way of the Cross, through trials, hardships, sufferings and testing that we are made perfect in the obedience of faith. And He can empathize with us, His beloved brothers and sisters, and be our compassionate Advocate before the Father because He Himself has been tested by the God the Father just as we are.
Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people.No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified Himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to Him: “You are My Son; this day I have begotten You”;
Just as He says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days when He was in the flesh, Jesus offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.
Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered;
and when He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5)
The Lord was permitting me to meet trials of various kinds so that the testing of my faith would produce steadfastness and that I would be “conformed to the image of His Son,” Jesus. (Romans 8:29)
As the Apostle said, “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4) and “blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
It was Sunday morning and I got ready to go to Mass usual. Looking back I can see now that the Holy Spirit guided me that morning. At the last moment I had a sudden thought to go to another church in the area in which I lived where I had not attended Mass before. At the end of Mass I remained for a little while speaking with a lady who had been seated in the pew in front of me. All the parishioners left the church and we remained alone there talking quietly.
The priest approached us and greeted us. The lady then departed from us and I was left alone with the priest in the sanctuary. I can’t fully explain what happened next. Without my sharing anything personal with this priest whom I did not know and never met before, he seemed to be able to “read my soul” and understand my inner spiritual condition. Without my asking he proceeded to offer me some extraordinary counsel that fit perfectly with what I was wrestling with inside my soul, although he did not know from my having told him.
The gentle priest led me to the adoration chapel where no one was present except Our Lord hidden in the Tabernacle and told me to remain there in the silence and open my heart totally to the Lord, to hold nothing back, and to empty myself and let Jesus heal me and fill me with His peace.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.( 1 Peter 5:6-7)
Greatly encouraged by the gracious and mysterious words of this remarkable priest who was the Lord’s instrument to rescue me from my inner turmoil, I knelt in front of the Tabernacle where our Lord awaited me in His love and humility in His Presence in the consecrated Host . With all my strength- with all that I had within me of love and trust and faith and hope in God – I lifted my heart, mind and soul to my merciful, compassionate Jesus in an unspoken prayer arising from the depths of my soul. I implored Him to deliver me from me! I cried silently, “Help me, O Lord, to let go as I do not know how to let go. Help me to let You carry me and all my worries and fears and inadequacies.”
Out of the depths I call to you, LORD;
Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
(NAB, Psalm 130)
Stillness and peace came over my soul during this time of deep silent prayer. Surely I knew this was the true Presence of the Lord in me and evidence of His lifting my burden and giving me His rest. Yet, as I prepared to leave the chapel, I spoke one request to the Lord out loud. I asked Him to remember how weak I am and how I will struggle with doubts and not feel confident that I am unburdened and healed. I begged Him for even more – for a confirmation – a sign of His Presence with me – in some other way that I could understand and by which I could gain more confidence in Him. Oh, how in that moment I understood the words of the father of the boy who Jesus delivered from the unclean spirit, when he said:
Lord, I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief. (Mark 7:4)
So I said to Jesus, please Lord, when I go to bed tonight, I just want to lie down and sleep in peace. Please manifest Your Presence with me in this way so I know I am healed. I want to fall asleep in Your Arms. I asked for this, dear readers, but did I believe it would happen? Did I trust that the Lord would answer this specific request? I don’t think I had such faith at that moment. Only the Lord knows.
Night came and I prepared for bed. I did not think of my earlier petition to Jesus. I had forgotten all about it. I tell you the truth, dear readers, I did not recall it at all. Settling into my covers and becoming still to begin to try to fall asleep I suddenly realized that my body was not agitated. I did not feel the usual nervous sensations or accelerated heartbeat, and all the other symptoms that the body feels with extreme anxiety. My mind was calm. No racing thoughts, no hyper-active mental state. Suddenly, I remembered my request from the afternoon. My heart lifted, my soul was filled with wondrous joy and I exclaimed “Lord, are you here with me? Is this You, sweet Jesus?”
It was Him. He had come to me in just the way I had begged Him to! My faith strengthened, my trust bounded, my joy overflowed! Then I knew for sure that tonight I would not need to take a sleeping pill or any anxiety medication. No, tonight I would sleep like a baby in the Arms of Jesus in His heavenly peace. Indeed, I fell quickly to sleep and slept soundly all night. I woke in the morning refreshed and faith-filled, and full of gratitude and love for Jesus who had shown such tenderness and mercy to me. Jesus had answered the cry that came from the depths of my heart, had increased my faith, lifted my burden of anxiety, given me new courage and encouragement, and peace.
Since that day and night which is now nearly two months ago, I am hitting the pillow and falling quickly to sleep every night with no medications! Those anxieties that I had been carrying, are now being shouldered by the Lord. I am trusting Jesus with them. Dear reader, do not think I am now perfect or complete! Oh no, new trials and crosses have already come, and more will surely come. I still am not casting them all immediately onto the Lord but I am releasing them faster than before, and they are not keeping me up at night anymore!
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Give her the Rosary.
We are fast approaching the glorious month of May – the month in springtime dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our own true Mother.
Standing by the cross of Jesus (was) His mother…. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27).
I had a foretaste of the beauty of spring during a vacation with my extended family in the Caribbean isle of Dominican Republic over this past Holy Week 2013. There – as it must have been in the Garden of Eden – the immense variety of fragrant and colorful exotic flowers amongst the lush green gardens were blooming in full force, the tropical birds were singing and the gentle sweet breezes of the sea and the warm rays of the sun awakened my senses and invigorated my soul giving me the feeling of rebirth after this year’s long, dark, cold and wet winter in Pennsylvania.
While “walking in the garden” there with Jesus He reminded me of that most beautiful encounter I had with His and, indeed, our most holy Mother Mary six years ago on that same Island. But before I relate to you the story of my “visitation” from Mamma Mary I would like to share with you some history of our Church.
The Catholic practice of assigning a special devotion to each month goes back to the early 16th century. The most widely known of these devotions is the dedication of May as the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The May devotion to our Lady in its present form originated at Rome in the late 18th Century with the Society of Jesus, to counteract infidelity and immorality. By the early years of the 19th century, the devotion spread quickly from the Jesuits in Rome to nearly every Catholic church of the Latin Rite having been encouraged by Pope Pius IX’s declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and the twelve encyclicals and five apostolic letters on the Rosary which Pope Leo XIII wrote between 1883 and 1889.
In the past centuries May “crownings” and other special events in honor of Mary, such as public recitation of the Rosary and Rosary processions took place. Our holy Church encourages such extended pious Marian devotion throughout the month of May to honor the divinely appointed role that our Blessed Mother played in our salvation through her freely-given “fiat” – her joyous and total “Yes” to the Will of God at the Annunciation and all through-out her earthly life and which she continues even from heaven as she co-operates with her Divine Son Jesus to bring about the Triumph of Christ in the world.
The month of May gives us another opportunity to renew our own devotion to the Mother of God by praying our rosaries and reflecting on Mary’s spiritual Motherhood of all God’s children. In western culture, both Greek and Roman, May was recognized as the season of the beginning of new life and fecundity. This ancient tradition of associating May with new life and fecundity led to a realization that May can be considered as the “month of motherhood” and is one reason why Mother’s Day is celebrated during May not only in the United States but in many other countries and cultures of both East and West. In the month of May, the dark and barren winter comes to an end and new glorious vibrant life springs forth as from the womb of the earth.
The connection between motherhood and May led Christians eventually to adopt May as our Mother Mary’s Month. May is the Month of our Lady precisely as the Mother of God – the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and our Mother, as we are the children of God and Christ’s own brothers and sisters.
Over the past several centuries the Lord sent His own Mother Mary to Earth to help guide His children on the Way of Faith – conversion, justification, sanctification and holiness – which leads them to Heaven. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in her various visitations over these centuries as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Peace of Medjugorje, just to name a few, came to plead with us as our loving Mother to turn over our lives and open our souls fully to the Savior of Mankind, her Son Jesus Christ and to unite our hearts with her Immaculate Heart in spirit and pray and reflect on the divine mysteries of Christ’s life contained in the most holy Rosary.
“O God whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(Concluding prayer of the most holy Rosary)
Mary told us that by the rosary:
•you will not be led into heresy and apostasy.
•you will convert people who are on their way to hell.
•you will be protected in times of chastisement.
•you will obtain spiritual needs.
•you will obtain material needs—for your family, your household, your country, your friends, yourself…
When our Blessed Mother Mary visited Earth over a six month timeframe in 1917, appearing to the three shepherd children of Portugal as “Our Lady of Fatima” she repeated many times her admonition that they and all the faithful of God of that era should say the prayers of the Rosary to obtain peace, protection from the Evil One and endurance in the holy Faith through the horrific trials of that period of history. She was also exhorting us, the believers of today to pray the Rosary in our own time for endurance and perseverance in the holy Faith, Hope and Love during the great Tribulation that is coming upon the world and for the Peace that will reign at the ultimate Triumph of the united Hearts of Jesus and Mary over Satan.
May 13, 1917: “Say the Rosary every day to obtain world peace and the end of the war”.
June 13, 1917: “I want you to say the Rosary every day”.
July 13, 1917: “I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.”
August 19, 1917:” I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day”.
September 13, 1917:” Continue saying the Rosary to obtain the end of the war.”
October 13, 1917: “I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.”
One of the child visionaries of Fatima, Sister Lucia, summed up the divine wisdom and good counsel of Our Mother as follows:
“Let people say the Rosary every day. Our Lady stated that repeatedly in all her apparitions, as if to fortify us against these times of diabolical disorientation, so that we would not allow ourselves to be deceived by false doctrines…
The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
Our Mother’s coming to Fatima as “Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary” must be seen as a gift of love and a warning – a dreadful ultimatum to the world to stop sinning and turn their hearts back to the Lord. The enormity of mankind’s rebellion against God and God’s infinite hatred of sin is the foundation of Mary’s Message at Fatima. In His immense mercy God gives the world one last hope in the Immaculate Heart of Mary – through the holy Heart of His Mother which is in total union with His own Sacred Heart – the holy heart of Mary spiritually pieced through by the sword of sorrow in total union with our Lord’s Jesus’ Divine Heart pierced for our sins on the Cross.
“Now, Master, You may let Your servant go in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The Child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about Him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.“(Luke 2:29-35)
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” And again another passage says: “They will look upon Him whom they have pierced.” (John 19:33-37)
Now I return back to my personal story of our Mother Mary’s visitation to me in the Dominican Republic seven years ago. I was sitting alone reading a book on a chair in the shade under the trees at quite a distance from the poolside. The book I was reading was entitled: “The Secret of the Rosary” by St Louis de Montfort. As I am writing this account I have just discovered that St Louis de Montfort was a tertiary in the Dominican Order of the Church!
Speaking of the Saint’s contribution to the Rosary, Father R. Poupon, a well- known Dominican writer stated: “ St Montfort’s genius prolongs… that of…. of Saint Dominic….it contains everything that can be said about the Rosary, about its content and form, its real worth, about the instruction necessary for its appreciation and use.” In the “Secret of the Rosary” Saint Montfort tells the reader the authentic message of the Rosary, that it is a true school of Christian life and includes in its essence meditation of the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus and Mary with a view to both honoring and imitating their virtues as we consider them in each mystery of the Rosary.
Saint Montfort warns both the ignorant and scholars who scoff at the importance of the Rosary saying: “The Rosary is a priceless treasure which is inspired by God.” Even though it was written more than two and a half centuries ago, the book has lost none of its timeliness and freshness, especially in light of the specific requests of Our Lady of Fatima! (my comments are derived from the preface and back cover of the book published by TAN).
After a while, inspired by the wisdom in the book, I began to pray my rosary there under the palm trees. I held the small paperback book in my left hand and in order to pray discreetly I held my rosary in my right hand and concealed it behind the open book as I prayed the mysteries of the Rosary silently.
My sister’s mother in law from Croatia (formerly a part of Yugoslavia) who spoke no English and my sister’s little five year old son were in the pool together. My nephew came towards the poolside and called out to me, “Baba wants to know what you are reading.” Baba means grandmother in the Serbo-Croatian language. I thought for a moment how odd it seemed to me that she should wonder what I was reading and for her curiosity to be so strong that she would send her five year old grandson over to me to inquire about it in English. I told him to tell her that I was reading a Catholic book about the rosary.
I know he heard me and understood by his facial expression and the nodding of his head (he attended Catholic elementary school). I assumed he would go straight- away to tell her what I said. But as I watched him return into the pool I saw that he did not tell her anything, rather, he began playing in the water as if the entire incident never happened at all. Just then I heard a soft and gentle Voice speak to me interiorly, “Give her the rosary.”
For a moment I was bewildered wondering where this thought came from. Was it my imagination? Could it be the Lord? Then I realized it must be my Mother speaking to me. I just knew it, but still I doubted myself. I began to talk with our Blessed Mother telling her that I would gladly obey but I needed to be sure that she was asking me to do this as I did not want to give my rosary away if this was just my own imagination at work. This particular rosary had been given to me as a gift when I had entered into the Catholic Church the prior year and I had been praying the mysteries of the Rosary on it every day since I received it. The elderly lady who gave it to me had travelled on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and bought it for me and had it blessed there. The rosary beads were made of small stones collected from the Apparition Hill where Our Lady of Peace had appeared to the Yugoslavian children in 1984 during the time of Communist rule in that country. I treasured it. If my Mother Mary was asking me to give Baba my special rosary, I would be happy to do it but I needed to know for sure that I had truly heard Our Lady’s command.
I also wondered why I should give my rosary to Baba. While Baba had lived under Tito’s Communist rule in Yugoslavia, I knew that she came from a Catholic family. She likely would already have a rosary of her own, I considered. So I said to my Mother, I will do as you say, but give me a sign that I may know when and how to do it as you would like.
I did not share a word about my mysterious experience with anyone. The rest of the day I pondered over and over in my heart the event of the morning as I walked on the beach and through the gardens of the resort and wondered if I had simply imagined the “message.” When evening came, all the family gathered for dinner: my parents, my husband and my daughters, my sister and her husband, my nephew and niece and Baba. After dinner members of the family began to leave and I found myself sitting with my brother in law and Baba alone at the table. Baba does not speak any English and for that reason we have hardly had any communication in all the years since my sister married her son in 1989. I was chatting with my brother-in-law and Baba said something to him in the Serbo-Croatian language. He turned to me and said, “Baba wants you to know that she went to Medjugorje.”
I was stunned. I knew nothing about her faith life. I never imagined she would have made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. That she would suddenly interject into our conversation and share this one thing with me through her son that particular evening was nothing short of miraculous to say the least. I knew immediately in that moment without hesitation that this was the “sign” I had asked for from my Mother Mary to confirm her message that she had given to me earlier that morning while I was praying the rosary.
I reached into my purse and pulled out my cherished rosary from Medjugorje and holding it in the palm of my hand I presented it to Baba just as my Mamma Mary – Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary – Our Lady of Peace of Medjugorje – had requested me to do. Baba received my rosary with joy, and smiling broadly she said to her son in Croatian who translated into English, “I didn’t get a rosary in Medjugorje.”
Hail Mary full of Grace
The Lord is with you
Blessed are you among women
Blessed it the Fruit of your womb, Jesus
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death