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The Lords Vagabond.
Your Eye is on the Sparrow.
Words of Wisdom from Heaven.
As it was in the Days of Noah therefore, Stay Awake.
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;
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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 Patricks 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.
The Family of Christ.
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I was praising the Lord with all my heart joining my voice with the singers on the Christian music CD while exercising on my elliptical machine. For more than 25 minutes I had been "walking" and worshipping Jesus with joyful hymns of adoration. As the final minutes of the thirty that I had programmed for my exercise were counting down to zero, my thoughts turned toward inquiring to the Lord what story I should next share with you on this website. So I simply asked Him. I was not expecting an immediate answer! I gazed down unassumingly at the digital computer screen on the exercise machine to see how much time remained until the program ended. I was astounded to see the number "3:16" in the glass – three minutes and sixteen seconds exactly remained. "Lord, how awesome You are!" I exclaimed out loud with extreme glee like a little child. I was completely overwhelmed that He had immediately provided me with an answer by bringing back to my mind the most wondrous events that occurred in Room 316 in the Manor Care Nursing Home, a place where I had visited sick and elderly patients bringing them the merciful love of Jesus in their sufferings and loneliness.
A moment of doubt crossed my mind, and I said to the Lord, "Is this indeed Your answer to me?" And just as suddenly, Jesus spoke this Word into my heart…
"In my Father's House are many rooms…"
Then I knew that Jesus wanted me to share His deeds of faithfulness and love that He showed forth in Room 316.
For a few years before moving to Israel I assisted a Catholic priest in his ministry to the sick and elderly at some of the nursing homes in the area where I then lived. I assisted him at holy mass which he celebrated for the residents serving as lector. I "made rounds" with him to visit those Christians and Catholics who desired spiritual care. Father took their Confessions and administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to them. I read passages from the Scriptures to them and we both prayed for them and with them.
During one particular mass I noticed a lady in her early sixties who was sitting in a wheelchair. She was wailing loudly and profusely throughout the entire mass. My first impression was that she must be weeping out of her intense love for Jesus. After mass, I approached warmly to engage with her in conversation. Quickly I discovered that she was completely overwhelmed and beside herself with sorrow for her past sinful life, believing God to be angry with her and not trusting that He had forgiven her.
She had no peace at all, being also unable to forgive herself. She was in great agony in her physical, emotional and mental sufferings. She had suffered a sudden massive stroke at the age of 60 which had left her in a totally debilitated state whereby, she could hardly speak and could move nearly no part of her body except her head. She was completely dependent on the nursing staff to lift her, move her, bathe her, clothe her and feed her. For nearly two years she had been living like this in this low income
nursing home having been sent there by her two sons who hardly ever came to visit her. In this state of utter helplessness, the quickening Holy Spirit was enlightening her to the truth of her past life and she was seeing her sinfulness and how her many wrong choices had saddened and offended our Lord. She felt intense remorse for her sin but had yet to accept the merciful forgiveness and tender healing love which Jesus so desired her to receive so He could give her His profound peace and joy. She was so sad and lonely in the nursing home, and angry and bitter at her sons (which had been born out of wedlock from two different men). She felt they had abandoned her in this place because she had not been the mother she would have liked to have been. She was filled with anxiety and depression and fear of death and facing God.
Jacquie's bed was in Room 316. I began to go to visit her regularly to try to console her and bring her words of comfort and healing from the tender Heart of Jesus. I began to read to her Our Lord's merciful words in the gospel of forgiveness and salvation to "the woman caught in adultery" from John, chapter 8, to "the pardon of the sinful woman who anointed His feet and hair with ointment in the Pharisee's house" in Luke chapter 7, of the "parable of the lost sheep" of Matthew chapter 18, and the "parable of the prodigal son" in Luke 15…and I continuously prayed for her and with her to be open to the healing, forgiving love of Jesus, her Savior who would take her one day to heaven to be with Him there forever.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain….The One who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."
In my Father's House there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way
Every visit, I brought Jacquie flowers, and holy cards, or little gifts of love such as a statue of
Jesus, The Divine Mercy
and writings about the lives of the saints, which she had put into a big black binder. I wanted to encourage her to trust totally in the Lord and let go, completely abandoning herself to His merciful love. Once I brought her the
Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and with her assent in an act of faith, I put it around her neck. She never took it off – ever. She instructed the nurses never to remove it from her.
Many months passed and many visits and gradually she had come to accept the love of Jesus and his forgiveness. She began to forgive herself and to forgive her sons but she was still struggling to trust the Lord completely and surrender herself to His perfect will that permitted her to be in this sterile nursing home and in this hardest of physical conditions, completely immobile and needing total care from her caregivers for everything. Jacquie had still to unite her will to His in this and to unite her sufferings to His cross whereby she would find the Lord's perfect Peace - the peace that passes all understanding and to experience joy even in her suffering. Her sorrow, restlessness and anxiety persisted as a result.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! …The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer, and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus"
(Philippians 4: 4-7).
One day while I was visiting Jacquie, a new patient was brought into Room 316 and placed in the second empty bed in her room. Jacquie and I were watching a DVD about the life of
Saint Gerard Majella, the "Wonder Worker
"as not long before I had given her a small statue of the saint who is known as the "patron saint of Mothers."
In order to create some privacy I drew closed the curtain between the two beds. Jacquie and I were deeply absorbed in the film, when suddenly I felt a very strong impulse to go over to the bedside of the very elderly lady who had just been laid in the other bed and pray for her. I was not sure why I felt this way. Yet, I excused myself quickly from Jacquie and closed the curtain behind me, much to her displeasure. Jacquie called out to me several times in a whining voice from the other side of the curtain, "don't leave me alone! I don't like to be alone!" I called back, "Be patient Jacquie! I feel for some reason I must pray for this lady now! Please just be quiet! I won't be long just keep watching the movie!"
Guided by the Holy Spirit I knelt down at Mary Ellen's bedside. (I later learned she was 94 years old and she was a member of the protestant Moravian Church). I reached out and held her left hand and began to pray for her. Her eyes were closed, and her head was turned to the right side of the room away from me, and she was breathing heavily. Filled with the Holy Spirit in that moment I began to tell her confidently just how much Jesus loves her and that He was calling her to come to him and that she should have no fear and trust Him and His love for her. I could barely believe what I heard myself saying as it all seemed to be happening so spontaneously and boldly and without premeditation.
I then felt compelled to sing to her the entire Divine Mercy Chaplet still holding her hand warmly and tightly as she labored with each breath. When I had finished singing the Divine Mercy prayer I was suddenly moved to sing to her the children's hymn, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…."
Just then she raised herself up in the bed and turned her head to the left towards me and opened her eyes for the first time to look at me, yet, it appeared that she was looking beyond, behind or above me…at Someone else.
She gently slid down onto the pillow again and appeared to be sleeping peacefully. The nurses then entered the room and, genuinely, I asked them, "Is she sleeping?" and they responded to me, "No, she is dead." I was amazed. I could barely believe what had happened - how it had happened! Mary Ellen had "fallen asleep" in the arms of Jesus. Had she sat up to see Him coming for her? Was He standing right behind and above me in this room? With her last breath of life she had sat up to see Someone there and had passed peacefully into eternal life. I later learned from her family that she had always loved and trusted in Jesus and that all her life she sang in the Moravian Choir and loved music and that one of her favorite hymns was, "Jesus loves me, this I know!" How faithful is the Lord who comes for his own!
Amen, Amen, I say to you….Whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for Him and the sheep hear His voice, as He calls his own sheep by name leads them out…He walks ahead of them and the sheep follow Him, because they recognize His voice… Amen, Amen I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters through Me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture… I am the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the Good Shepherd, and I know Mine and Mine know me
(John chapter 10).
Our Lord in His gracious love provided for his precious child Mary Ellen as he willed that she not die alone without the companionship of the "Church." How marvelous to consider that in His moving me supernaturally by His Spirit to simply go to her side and hold her hand and pray for her at that exact moment in time which I could not foresee, the Body of Christ and Head are revealed as One in the Holy Spirit.
I opened the curtain to Jacquie's side of the room and took the image that was on her shelf of Jesus, The Divine Mercy and placed it on the side table next to Mary Ellen's body. The nurses came and closed the curtain and began to prepare the body for the morgue.
The family contacted me and invited me to attend the funeral of Mary Ellen at the Moravian Church in the town. I joined with them in their remembrance service of the faith filled life of Mary Ellen and in the worship they offered to God. In the depth of my heart I silently thanked the Lord for the wonders He did in Room 316 through which He demonstrated His faithful love to His own children who return His love. After the burial at the cemetery, the family and friends of Mary Ellen returned to the fellowship hall under the church to share a meal. One of the guests seated at my table asked how I knew Mary Ellen and I told him I truly didn't know her. I explained how we had "met" that remarkable morning earlier that week when she was brought into Room 316 where I was visiting my friend Jacquie.
Just then he said, "316! Doesn't that mean something? Don't they hold up placards with the numbers 3:16 written on them at basketball games?" As he said this, light from the Holy Spirit penetrated my understanding and I was filled with ecstatic joy and awesome wonder at the majesty of Our Lord and His marvelous ways which are beyond seeking out.
Our great and loving Lord had fulfilled to Mary Ellen in Room 316 His promise of John 3:16
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.
Sometime after the passing of Mary Ellen to the Lord, I came again to see Jacquie in Room 316. I had brought her a bouquet of flowers. When I entered the room, she was asleep and not wanting to wake her, I quietly arranged the flowers in a vase and placed them on the bedside table next to her. I stopped to gaze at her for a moment and it struck me that she looked different. Her face was serenely peaceful as she slept and she seemed to have a lovely glow about her. I made a quick prayer and silently left the room. I determined to come back the next day, hoping she would be awake. As I entered Room 316 the next day, I sensed something had changed. I approached Jacquie and she looked at me with bright, cheerful, dancing eyes. Her broad, beaming smile reached from one end of her face to the other and her face was simply radiant. She had a glow about her and her face appeared to be full of light. Before I even had a chance to greet her she cried out to me loudly, "I am full of God!" I was astounded! She was radiating joy and peace. I knew it had to be true. I could actually see the light of the Holy Spirit emanating from her face.
Now Stephen filled with grace and power….and all those who sat (there) …looked intently at him and saw that his face was like a face of an angel.
Jacquie had been utterly transformed by the merciful love of the Lord Jesus. She had finally abandoned herself totally into the Arms of her Good Shepherd and had utterly surrendered to His perfect, lovable will for her life and thus, she was filled with all the fullness of His peace and joy. It was the most glorious manifestation I have ever seen of union with God! It would be that last time I ever saw her with open eyes.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain….The One who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."
Shortly thereafter Jacquie fell into unconsciousness and was brought from the nursing home to the ICU of the hospital. I visited her there one last time with my Catholic priest friend. I quietly sang the Divine Mercy Chaplet into her ear just as I did for Mary Ellen that one remarkable morning not too long before in Room 316. I hoped that she might hear me. Yet, I knew the Lord heard me, and I knew that Jacquie was ready to go to her Good Shepherd when called for her. I was away on a trip to Israel when I received the message from my priest friend who wrote, 'The one you loved has died." Yes, Jacquie and Mary Ellen had gone home to the Father's House, where the merciful Savior had gone before them to prepare their eternal dwelling places. They both knew the way Home.
In my Father's House there are many rooms. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way
Words of Wisdom from Heaven.
Having returned to the USA to help my mother who is suffering from cancer, I went to daily mass at the local Church in my childhood hometown. During this visit I had hoped to have some time to write another account of the Lord’s goodness. I was thinking about many wonderful moments of my journey with Jesus and three ideas came to mind and floated in my head for a few days. So I asked the Lord to guide me to know which account He would next like me to share. Amazingly, one day that week after Holy Mass an elderly man whom I did not know came up to me and smiled broadly and said to me,
“You just be yourself" because the Lord loves you just as you are; and I know you know what I mean!” This beautiful pious old man, whose name I later learned was Frank had just spoken a "frank" word indeed to me by the Holy Spirit. Yes, surely I knew exactly what Frank meant! My heart was filled with joy as I realized the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through Frank and confirming the account I should next share with you. This "word" was the same "word" that I had been given directly from a Saint in heaven some time before when I sought deeper wisdom as to how to imitate and follow the Lord Jesus in
It was one of the three ideas that were in my mind and the Lord had just confirmed He wanted it told through my unexpected encounter with pious old Frank.
"Just be yourself, as the Lord loves you as you are; and I know you know what I mean,” Frank had said to me. I surely did know what he meant, for with these words one of the recollections that had been floating in my head over the past few days had now been confirmed by the Lord through my unexpected encounter with pious old Frank. Indeed, our glorified brothers and sisters in Heaven love us in the perfect Love of God and care for us in His most tender Heart and truly hear us in His omniscience when we cry out for help and they do answer us with words of wisdom from Heaven.
Permit me to relate to you this account from the very beginning. During the months of preparation leading up to my coming into full communion with the Catholic Church the Holy Spirit placed in my heart the desire to have a
I had learned through my readings about the lives of the Saints what a blessing it is to have such a spiritual mentor. I did not know how one would obtain a spiritual director so one day I went to the nearby Franciscan Chapel to pray and ask Jesus to help me find the spiritual director He would choose for me to help me grow in holiness and to strive to
"be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect"
in order that I may be "conformed to the image of His Son."
I was all alone in the chapel while praying for exactly this when I was interrupted by some loud scraping noises outside the chapel doors. I tried to ignore these sounds and continued in prayer but finally I was drawn to look outside the church to see what was happening. A Franciscan friar was chipping and shoveling the ice off the chapel steps. We exchanged greetings. Then lightheartedly I told him that I had been deep in prayer until all the noise he was making with his shovel put an end to it! I had never met this friar before so we introduced ourselves. I shared with him that I had come to the chapel that day to pray for the Lord's help to bring me in contact with the "spiritual director" whom He has chosen for me. I was astonished when the friar responded, "well, I am a spiritual director and I could help you." I began meeting with Brother Ed every Thursday morning to share with him my journey with Jesus and together to better discern the Holy Spirit's leading in my life.
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
After about a year meeting weekly with Brother Ed, he astonished me one day when he confided that a member of his own family, his great aunt,
Sister Meriam Teresa Demjanovich ( 1901-1927) a Sister of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
was on her way to being declared a Saint by the Church. She had already been declared a "Servant of God" and her cause for Beatification was before the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Oh how blessed I was that Jesus had found for me such a godly spiritual director! And furthermore, one whose own great aunt is in His Presence in heaven and whose life the Church has declared worthy of imitation and veneration because of her living a life of
in conformity to Christ.
How much I too wanted to glorify the Lord by a living a life of holiness as all the saints of the Church had done. But I still have so many faults, imperfections, weaknesses and persistently stubborn ingrained habits of the "old self" that have yet to die – to be fully surrendered to the gentle and purifying Holy Spirit that I might be "clothed with Christ, conformed to His image" – to become a saint like those I admired and venerated whose lives became "ipse Christus" (Christ Himself).
As St. Paul himself declared,
"I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given Himself up for me."
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry… anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord"
(Romans 6: 11)
But my "old self" seemed far from dead and I was deeply discouraged.
So one day I was pouring my heart out to the Lord before Him in the Blessed Sacrament about this struggle against the flesh and my desire to yield totally to His Holy Spirit so that Christ would live fully in me as He did in all the saints who are now in glory with Him in Heaven. Each one with St. Paul could proclaim that their lives were totally
"poured out like a libation…I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for His appearance."
(2 Timothy 4:6-8)
I became silent and sat before our Lord for some time in the chapel waiting for deeper understanding from Him concerning all this ….then I felt a strong desire well up in my heart to call upon the saints for their help for my journey of sanctification. I had not yet taken the step to pray from my heart to the saints before. Not yet a Catholic, I still had much to learn about all the Church's doctrines. While I had been taught the truth about the
Communion of Saints,
I had not yet made this doctrine a part of my practical faith – that of calling on the saints for their help and intercession in my own personal life. I raised my mind and heart to Heaven and began a litany prayer to as many of the saints that I could recall beginning with St Paul until this present day…… "St Paul, pray for me, St Peter, pray for me, St. Mary Magdalen , pray for me, St Ignatius of Antioch, pray for me, St Augustine and St Monica, pray for me, St Patrick, pray for me, St. Helena, pray for me, St Francis and St Clare, pray for me, St Anthony, pray for me, St Rita of Cascia pray for me, St Faustina, pray for me, St Therese the Little Flower, pray for me, St Gemma Galgani, pray for me, St Edith Stein, pray for me, St Padre Pio pray for me, Blessed Father Francis Xavier Seelos, pray for me, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for me… and so on, and finally, Servant of God, Sister Meriam Teresa Demjanovich, Sister of Charity, pray for me, and please I need your wisdom." And just then I heard as if someone was speaking clearly to my mind, the two words,
Did I really just hear that? Could it be true? Was I speaking to myself? These questions immediately crossed my mind and I wondered if I had truly heard a word of wisdom from Heaven or simply something from my own vain imagination. If I did hear heavenly wisdom from Sr. Meriam, what exactly does she mean? I didn't know. That evening I shared what happened with a close Christian friend. I asked her, "how can I know for sure if I heard a genuine word from the Lord during prayer?" She responded, "Ask Him to confirm it to you." So I prayed asking Jesus to help me know if this word of wisdom was really for me from Him through one of His saints. The next morning was Thursday and I had my weekly session with Brother Ed for spiritual direction. In the car while driving to the appointment I reminded the Lord again of my desire to have confirmation about this word. I didn't know what to expect. How could I have ever imagined that our gracious Lord Jesus would answer my request so quickly!
When I entered into the parlor room in the Franciscan Friary Brother Ed greeted me and we began to get situated into our respective chairs. While putting my coat down and settling my Bible and notebook on the side table, we made small talk – cordial conversation – and right in the midst of this light hearted chat, I was stunned to hear Brother Ed blurt out clearly,
"Ann, be yourself!"
What? What did you just say? Why did you say that, Brother Ed? My God! I could barely believe what I heard - these same words spoken spontaneously by my spiritual director just the day after I heard them while in prayer with our Lord and all His saints - the exact words spoken by Brother Ed's great aunt, Servant of God, Sister Meriam Teresa to me in the chapel. I was amazed and overjoyed, thus knowing for sure that I was not imagining this communication from Heaven and fully appreciating and treasuring that this word of wisdom from my Lord and His saint were given to me to help me on my path of sanctification. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you dear Sister Meriam Teresa, saint in Heaven. Brother Ed did not have a reason why he used those specific words to me that morning. He had never said them to me before. After sharing with him all that had transpired in the chapel the day before in my prayer to the saints and specifically with his great aunt, Servant of God, Sr. Meriam Teresa, he attributed his confirming words to me as simply inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Some time later, Brother Ed gave me a biography about the life of Servant of God, Sister Meriam Teresa (1901-1927) by one of the Sisters of Charity of her convent. The book, entitled, "A Biography: Sister Meriam Teresa" is in its eight printing with the edition I received containing "new material concerning the progress of her cause toward Beatification and some of the favors obtained through her intercession."
I read this book in July 2005 after the event in the chapel and Brother Ed's confirmation the next day of the words of wisdom that Sister Meriam Teresa spoke to me,
"Be yourself." Therefore, you can imagine my amazement and delight when on page 119 of the biography, I read one of her remarks to the novices that she had written as counsel to her. Her advice to the novice was,
"Be yourself always."
Old pious Frank had reminded me of this marvelous word from heaven spoken by Servant of God Sister Meriam Teresa which during the past five years of my spiritual journey through trials and testings, through sufferings and elations, through dry seasons and fertile times, I have come to more deeply understand that Our Lord desires to make me a saint more than I want to become one. He doesn't want me to try to be anyone other than who He has made me to be and who he is making me to be. Each one of his precious creations, His children, is unique and special to Him just as we are with all our own personality and character traits and he always loves us right where we are on our way of sanctification, because He beholds His finished work of beauty and glory in our souls that He is accomplishing even when we cannot perceive it. We certainly should imitate the virtues of the great saints who themselves have imitated Christ, but we will never be the same as they are, we will each be the unique saint our Lord desires to make of each one of us and accomplished in His timing and by the work of His Spirit of Holiness as we persevere in unwavering faith and fully abandoned in trust of Him.
As St Paul exorts us,
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.
...We who worship through the Spirit of God, who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh...
(But) whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own ...but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death... It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ (Jesus). Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus. Let us, then, who are "perfectly mature" adopt this attitude. And if you have a different attitude, this too God will reveal to you. Only, with regard to what we have attained, continue on the same course. Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us…
...But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.
And finally, St Paul assures us,
"I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.
( Philippians 1:6)
As it was in the Days of Noah…
therefore, Stay Awake.
The Lord revealed to me through yesterday's scripture readings at Holy Mass for the First Sunday of Advent the next account I should share with you. All through the night the Holy Spirit turned these admonitions from the Gospel of Matthew 24 and the Letter to the Romans over and over in my mind as I was sleeping. As I awoke I understood clearly that our generous Lord Jesus desired that I should share with you an awesome account of His mighty manifestation of His faithful love and deliverance of His own children who return His love and place all their trust in Him.
This beautiful revelation of Jesus' power to save in response to the cry of a little child's heart must surely boost our confidence, increase our trust and strengthen our faith in Him as we live in these perilous times in our present history and await the imminent glorious Second Advent of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who will come as the Just Judge of both the living and the dead. Surely, those who belong to Christ and who stay awake so that they may be prepared, and who are eagerly awaiting His glorious appearing have nothing to fear as we are kept by Jesus securely in the depths of His divine mercy and love through faith in Him.
Brothers and Sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day… put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately and said, "Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no one deceives you. For many will come in My Name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My Name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved...
…For at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened. If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. So if they say to you, 'He is in the desert,' do not go out there; if they say, 'He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.
…For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be…Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other…When you see all these things, know that He is near, at the gates…But of that day and hour no one knows…
…For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man…Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come…So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
(Matthew chapter 24)
Eight years ago when my oldest daughter was age seven, and we were still living in America, a fantastic storm swept across the Valley where we lived. Our house was on the crest of a small hill and our back yard faced towards the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania in the distance. The winds continued to increase in strength and power while huge sheets of rain poured down from the heavens flooding the swimming pool to overflowing. The pounding rain beat furiously against the window panes and the strong winds howled and raged shaking the whole house. Huge lightening bolts flashed across the sky in the late afternoon of that day and peals of roaring thunder hammered the air like the noise of sonic booms made from mighty war jets. My older daughter, who had always been frightened of storms peered out the window sheepishly and just then witnessed one of our heavy metal chaise lounges lifted high in the air on the wings of the wind and thrown down into the deep end of the swimming pool and sink to the bottom. She was terrified.
That evening I had looked forward to taking my two daughters to a Wednesday evening praise and worship service at a vibrant church on the other side of the Valley, about 20 miles away from where we lived. In those days my husband was a declared atheist and adamantly opposed to my formation of our children in the Christian faith. Ever since my conversion a few years before the children were born, I had faced fierce and painful persecution for my faith within my own home from my own husband who loved me but did not understand my new Life in Christ Jesus and who remained stiff-necked in rebellion against the God who created him and who loves him with an infinite love and was calling him to Himself.
"I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! …Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain--and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot--and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"
(Luke 12: 49-56)
I certainly loved my husband and wanted sincerely to obey and honor him in all things but I could not withhold from our own dear children the Truth Who is Jesus for sake of my husband's willful ignorance and stubborn pride. I found myself much in the position of the apostles before the head of my own household, my husband.
When they had brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, "We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that Name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this Man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men
So that evening, as I had a moment of opportunity as my husband was away on a business trip to Europe, I planned to take our daughters with me to the church and put them into the children's Wednesday evening "Sunday school" classes while I joined the adults in praising and worshipping our Lord in singing in the main church. But when the huge storm arose in the afternoon my hopes soon became dampened and I supposed that we would not be able to go as it could be quite dangerous to drive across the Valley in such an intense tempest. I expressed my extreme disappointment to Jesus in prayer that under these circumstances I would not be able to praise Him in the "great assembly" as I so much desired nor give my children this precious opportunity to fellowship with other Christian children and have some formal spiritual formation by the Christian educators at the evening "Sunday School." I was crushed and terribly sad as it just seemed impossible that we would be able to go under such difficult conditions.
My daughter and I stood together by the breakfast room window peering out through the rain streaked windows, each in our own thoughts, me full of sadness and disappointment and she full of anxiety and fear. Suddenly, she cries out, "Lord, stop the storm!" She was seven years old. She called from the depths of her heart to the God she knew commanded the winds and the waves.
On that day, as evening drew on, He said to them, "Let us cross to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat just as He was. And other boats were with Him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then He asked them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"
( Mark 5:35-41)
Her faith was simple, the faith of a child – the kind of faith our Lord asks of each one of us.
"Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then He embraced them and blessed them, placing His hands on them.
As soon as her prayer left her mouth the rain suddenly and totally stopped! The wind ceased completely! The clouds broke immediately and the sun began to shine down all over the back yard and the water in the swimming pool glistened and sparkled in the sunlight. There in the deep end was the chaise lounge, sunken to the bottom of the pool, evidence that there had been great winds as a gale just a short moment before. My daughter began to thank Jesus immediately. She was not astounded. It was as if she didn't have a doubt that He would answer her and "save her" from this terror. I was astounded. I was in shock. I believe and know the Lord can do anything He wills. It's just that I suppose I didn't really think He would. I don't know what I thought. I was in utter amazement.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but He was asleep. They came and woke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?" Then He got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, "What sort of Man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?"
Then together we looked, and saw that a huge rainbow arched across the entire sky from one end of the earth to the other. More than that, it was a double rainbow! I had never seen anything like it before in my life. I had never seen a full bow in the sky before let alone a double rainbow fully spanning the sky from east to west. It was spectacular and awesome. Thank you Lord for being Who you are:
Lord God, Heavenly King, Almighty God and Father, we worship You we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. You are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in the Glory of God the Father, Amen!
We were elated. We could now go safely to praise and worship our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ at the church that evening after all. We drove the 20 miles, and I put the girls into their respective children's classes and I sang my heart out to Jesus in the main church in gratitude and adoration of the Lord of Heaven and Earth who even the wind and the rains obey! After the service, when I returned to pick up my daughters to take them home, the teacher of my 7 year old daughter surprised me when she said, "We were greatly blessed tonight by your daughter's testimony. The Holy Spirit through her experience today prepared her to be our teacher tonight! Can you believe that the scripture study for this specific evening for the children was God's Covenant with Noah? And the sign of the Rainbow?
We were learning about His promise of Salvation to all those who believe, trust and obey the Father and enter into the safety of the Ark (His Son Jesus Christ), that He will deliver them and not let anyone perish eternally who believes and trusts in His promise." In His love and mercy Jesus will be with each one of his faithful children resting in the boat of their souls helping us through all the storms and tempests of our own lives and guiding us into the safe harbor and quiet waters of Heaven and who will deliver us from the Great Day of Judgment yet to come. The Lord put His rainbow in the sky after the Great Flood to make the Covenant with Noah and those seven who had entered the Ark with him as an everlasting sign of His unwavering and steadfast promise to all generations of His offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
God the Savior of Those in Distress.
A small feral kitten has made a home in my yard with my other two yard cats. Feral and stray cats in Israel are numerous. Here they say stray cats are like squirrels in America – and you know how many squirrels there are there! They are my favorite of God's creatures, so sleek and beautiful to look at, soft to the touch and fascinating to observe their distinct personalities as they interact with each other and the world around them. I went to a nearby pet store in order to buy kitten food for this precious creature. I asked the manager of the store for help in selecting the most nutritious canned food for my precious little bundle of fur. I shared with Herzl how since moving to Israel I had more than 30 stray or feral cats come into my yard needing assistance and that I had found myself with an unexpected mission here of animal rescue. As I shared with him some of these heart-moving accounts, Herzl surprised me when he said,
"You tell these stories like you are a writer!"
I was truly amazed with these words, because I hadn't mentioned anything to him about the mission of this website - the writing to witness to the Lord's Presence in my life that He called me to do so that you can be encouraged in your own walk of faith. I didn't begin this work until I came to Israel when the Lord brought someone into my life here that made it possible to spread the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ across the internet, as she had the skills to design the website for me. I believe that Herzl was moved by the Holy Spirit to confirm this writing ministry is the mission that the Lord is really asking of me.
After Herzl kindly loaded the purchases in my car, I came back into the store to share with him the true story of a real miracle that Jesus did not long ago right in my town here in Israel in answer to my prayer when I put all my trust in Him to deliver me (and the dog!) from the distress we were in. I knew this story would simply delight Herzl because of his love for animals and also, I hoped it would increase His faith in God who hears the cries of His children and answers them in His magnificent love.
O Lord, hear my voice when I call,
have mercy on me and answer me
It was about an hour before I had to leave to catch my flight to America from Ben Gurion Airport when I stepped outside my home to feed the yard cats prior to leaving. (Don't worry. I didn't leave the cats alone! My family who remained behind in Israel took care of them while I was away for six weeks helping my mother who is suffering from cancer). I noticed a large dog outside my gate. It looked disheveled, thin and dirty. It was panting heavily and had a large scrape down its nose revealing raw skin. He was ill. He was wearing a collar, so I knew that he must have belonged to someone. Perhaps he got lost? Maybe the owner didn't want him anymore and dropped him off in this town? I felt compassion for him. I approached him carefully, with a bowl of water and another container of dry cat food. He refused to eat. He wouldn't drink the water, either. He surely was dehydrated. He seemed confused and was evidently sick.
I continued to put the water bowl under his face and encouraged him by speaking gently and sweetly to him, "Come on good boy, drink up the water." Finally, he began to lap up the water. After, he started to walk away down the middle of a busy boulevard with many cars moving very fast. I was worried for him. He would get hit. He needed help immediately. I didn't know what to do. I had such little time with only an hour before I needed to leave for the airport. I didn't know the numbers to call for the local pound or the SPCA or any emergency animal shelters as I had always been able to take care of the cats in my yard and find solutions for them gradually by other means. A neighbor stepped out of his house to water the potted plants on his patio. I called out to him for help. I pointed to the dog which was staggering down the big boulevard and begged him to help me by calling the animal services for immediate help as I didn't speak Hebrew and didn’t know who to call. This neighbor I had not met before. I told him we must not let the dog continue down the road or we would lose sight of it or he might be killed by the traffic! My neighbor responded as a
and went inside to get his cell phone and truck keys. He had a large white pick up truck. He indicated for me to hop in. We drove down the boulevard and found the dog lying in the middle of the grass inside the traffic circle. My neighbor by this time had contacted the local pound who told him they would be there to pick up the dog within the hour. I was so happy until my neighbor told me that they would most likely put the dog to sleep as it was evidently ill. My God! No, this is not what I had expected. I wanted to save the dog, not kill it! My neighbor told me he had to go, and he drove off. I crossed the busy circle and went to the side of the dog which was still lying in the middle of it on the grass. His chest was rising and falling as he breathed heavily and with effort. I comforted the dog for a time by petting his head and stroking his back and telling him it would be ok. I ran back to get the water bowl that I had left behind in my yard and rushed back to his side. He hadn't moved from his lying position and I feared he was dying. I poured water from the bowl gently into his mouth as his mouth was open and his tongue was out as he was panting so hard. He looked at me with soulful eyes. I truly felt he knew I was trying to help him and he trusted me. So I continued to stroke his back and speak encouragingly to him. Time was running out. I had to leave to go to the airport. The dog catchers would soon be there and then what would they do to him?
My heart filled up with anxiety and distress and then I suddenly remembered how I was told by a dear Christian friend to sing the hymn
"Jesus Loves Me" when I became troubled. Not hesitating that the Good Lord also cares for all His creatures, I began to sing the well known children's hymn to the dog…. "Jesus loves you this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves you, the Bible tells me so."
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds." And so it happened: God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was.
After this I began to pray fervently for the dog begging Jesus to hear my cry and come to my aid and help me in my distress over the fate of this innocent animal and rescue us both from this stressful situation. I knew I would soon have to leave the dog all alone in his condition and head for the airport. I knew that if the pound came, they might quickly put him down, as he was sick. I remember I prayed, "Lord, You are a God of miracles and even at this late hour, nothing is impossible for You, please help us. Save this dog from death. I can't help him. Only You can help him. Lord, have mercy on us both!"
Some were sick…and afflicted. They had a loathing for every food. They came close to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their need and He rescued them from their distress. He sent forth His word to heal them and saved their life from the grave
Just then my oldest daughter who had walked from our house to the traffic circle and found me sitting along side the dog in the middle of it, called out, "Mom, Daddy is getting worried. It is getting late. You need to come home now because you have to leave for the airport or you will miss your flight! Come on Mom, come now!"
My heart was heavy as I knew she was right. I had to leave. I prayed one last time,
Lord, I entrust Your creature which You called "good" into Your Hands."
I bid farewell to the dog which was still lying there, tongue out, panting and breathing heavily as his chest rose and fell with effort. I turned away sadly to start walking back home with my daughter. Just as we were leaving a pick up truck suddenly slammed his brakes on as he was going around the traffic circle. The man driving it stopped the truck right in the middle of the circle and hopped out of the truck calling out something in Hebrew. I turned and said, "I don't speak Hebrew." As he crossed over the road towards the grassy center of the circle he said it again to me in English. "That's my dog!" He approached the dog and called out what I imagine must have been the dog's name, slapping his hand on his legs as he called out for the dog to come to him. At the command of the voice of his master the dog immediately leapt up and ran over to him. It then proceeded to run across the road and leapt into the flat back bed of his owner's pick up truck. He seemed as
good as new! I couldn't believe my eyes. I was totally astounded. Lord, how awesome you are!
The Master, our Master, Christ Jesus when He observed the faith of the friends who brought the bed-ridden paralytic before Him to be healed, said,
"As for you, your sins are forgiven." Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, "What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" – He said to the one who was paralyzed, "I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and struck with awe, they said, "We have seen incredible things today."
I approached the owner and we spoke in English. He told me he was a farmer of one of the farms in the area and his dog had disappeared some time ago and he hadn't been able to find him. I told the farmer how I had come across his dog and how sick he was and that is why I was sitting with him in the middle of the circle trying to care for him. I shared with him that I had asked a neighbor to call the local pound which was on it way to collect his dog but that he had arrived in the nick of time to save him from such a fate. I told him the whole story! I told him that I had sung a hymn to the dog to comfort him and to call on the Lord's healing and saving power. I told the farmer that I had prayed fervently for his dog, and that I had just entrusted his dog totally to God's care as I had to go to catch a plane and could not stay with it moment longer. The Lord heard my prayers for help and my cries to Him in faith and trust and in His merciful love He answered me with this miracle. The farmer was utterly amazed and he believed! He thanked me and we parted ways both of us filled with great joy at the mighty and awesome works of the Lord. My heart was overflowing with happiness and gratitude to Jesus and I praised and thanked Him all the way home and all across the Atlantic Ocean for His merciful love and His wondrous deeds towards men.
Let them thank the Lord for His love, for the wondrous deeds he does for men. Let them offer a sacrifice of thanks and tell of his deeds with rejoicing
Now the Holy Spirit did not speak His words in Psalm 107 for dogs! It is written for men. For us! It is a hymn inviting those who have been rescued by God to give Him praise and to reveal the Lord's deliverance of His people in this life and for eternal life. Four archetypal divine rescues are described in the psalm, each ending in thanksgiving: first, from the sterile desert (verses 4-9) second, from imprisonment in gloom (10-16), third, from mortal illness (17-22), and lastly, from the angry sea (23-32). The number four connotes totality, all the possible varieties of rescue! The same saving activity of God is shown in Israel's history (33-41); whenever the people were endangered God rescued them! The last verses invite us to ponder the persistent saving acts of God (42-43) and to put our trust and hope in Him for our eternal salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ who delivers us from eternal death.
"Give thanks to the LORD who is good, whose love endures forever!" Let that be the prayer of the LORD'S redeemed, those redeemed from the hand of the foe, those gathered from foreign lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some had lost their way in a barren desert; found no path toward a city to live in. They were hungry and thirsty; their life was ebbing away. In their distress they cried to the LORD, who rescued them in their peril, guided them by a direct path so they reached a city to live in. Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals. For he satisfied the thirsty, filled the hungry with good things.
Some lived in darkness and gloom, in prison, bound with chains, because they rebelled against God's word, scorned the counsel of the Most High, Who humbled their hearts through hardship; they stumbled with no one to help. In their distress they cried to the LORD, who saved them in their peril, led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains asunder. Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals, for He broke down the gates of bronze and snapped the bars of iron.
Some fell sick from their wicked ways, afflicted because of their sins. They loathed all manner of food; they were at the gates of death. In their distress they cried to the LORD, who saved them in their peril, sent forth the word to heal them, snatched them from the grave. Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals. Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks, declare His works with shouts of joy.
Some went off to sea in ships, plied their trade on the deep waters. They saw the works of the LORD, the wonders of God in the deep. He spoke and roused a storm wind; it tossed the waves on high. They rose up to the heavens, sank to the depths; their hearts trembled at the danger. They reeled, staggered like drunkards; their skill was of no avail. In their distress they cried to the LORD, who brought them out of their peril, hushed the storm to a murmur; the waves of the sea were stilled. They rejoiced that the sea grew calm, that God brought them to the harbor they longed for. Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals. Let them praise him in the assembly of the people, give thanks in the council of the elders.
God changed rivers into desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, Fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its people. He changed the desert into pools of water, arid land into springs of water, and settled the hungry there; they built a city to live in. They sowed fields and planted vineyards, brought in an abundant harvest. God blessed them, they became very many, and their livestock did not decrease. But He poured out contempt on princes, made them wander the trackless wastes, where they were diminished and brought low through misery and cruel oppression, while the poor were released from their affliction; their families increased like their flocks. The upright saw this and rejoiced; all wickedness shut its mouth. Whoever is wise will take note of these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the LORD.