The Body And Blood

Today I am posting two past but very special entries from Journey Through The Stillness, my personal spiritual journal.  Have a blessed Good Friday everyone. May You feel His Mercy and Forgivenesses in the depth of your soul.

November 17, 2010 – My Crucified Lord is here.  As one time before He places His wounded hands in a chain lock with mine.  He sees that I am shaken by this and begins to kneel before me.  Seeing that this bothers me intensely He stands and brings me to standing also, hands still locked together.  He says, “This is the bond you must protect.  NEVER let it be taken from you.  I have shed my BLOOD for you; I have given up my BODY.  This is the bond that is LIFE giving.  The world knows Me not as I truly AM.  My Body and Blood is the GATEWAY for ALL.  The world knows Me not.  You are my messenger, child.  Go, and tell ALL, that they must eat of the Fruit of The Vine.  They must BELIEVE I AM the Fruit.”     (Personal thoughts – I can honestly say that when I enter into The Stillness I never know what is coming.  When I type it to post publicly I relive each moment.  It is then that I too see a pattern evolving, or a theme, or a particular message to be delivered.  Today is obviously the crescendo of the previous few messages, and also the crux of the entire Stillness.  The message is strong and clear – Through His Body and Blood we are delivered.  Through the Eucharist we are made whole in the physical union with Christ, Our LORD and SAVIOR.)

This is an excerpt from November 13, 2010… Entering in The Stillness Jesus is here.  He begins to write on me.  Using His finger He writes His name in blood on my forehead, my arms, my legs, my back.  In a moment I am awash in His blood.  It is running down my limbs onto my hands and feet.  I am astounded.  I feel so hollow, so empty, and so ashamed for I KNOW He sees everything.  He KNOWS everything.  He sees and knows the things I want no other human being to know, and yet, He continues to write on me.  Then He begins to use a towel and wipe away the blood.  I say, “No.”  I do not want Him to do this.  He responds, “Daughter, I have paid the price for you.  In coming to Me you are washed in my BLOOD.  In staying with Me and living in my will, you are cleansed, made whole, made perfect in my sight.  It is MINE to do.”  I so want to be cleansed, to be made whole, that I just sit there and allow Him to wipe.  He is ever so gentle.  He knows my anguish, my disgrace and wants to wipe it all away.  He and I both know He will have to repeat the process many times in my life time, but He knows I will try to make it as few times as possible for His sake.  I am learning; I am trying.  I desire to live in His will.

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Affirmations: Help For The Journey

The following is a repeat from March 2011, but actually written about a journal entry from 2010. During Lent it is a perfect reminder that I very much need, and hope you find helpful also…

“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Mark 14:38 

Some of us use positive statements, sometimes called affirmations, to help bolster our attitudes.  When our mind is filled with positive messages it is easier to disregard the negative messages that we are often bombarded with.  When put to good use, positive affirmations can alter lives for the better.

On May 8, 2010, in my time of Stillness before Our Lord, I was compelled to write the following definition of affirmations, and then share publicly on Facebook some of the affirmations from my personal journal.   The entry from Journey Through The Stillness reads: “Affirmations are to make one pause and think; to pull one from the clutches of temptation; to bring one into the grace of the moment; to help one to be conscious of failings and to grow in desire to do good.”

When taken separately, each part of the definition truly puts the use of affirmations into perfect perspective.

To pause and think – During the course of our day there are many times when we should pause and think before we speak or act.  One example of an affirmation to use is this one from Journey Through The Stillness: “When you judge others, I must judge you.” (3/1/11)  Write it on a sticky note and put it on the dash of your car, on your computer or in a drawer you open frequently at work, or mentally paste it in your mind.  Read it, think of it, before you speak or act; pause and think.

To pull one from the clutches of temptation – I know there are multiple occasions every single day when I need to be pulled from the clutches of temptation.  Having an affirmation ready in my mind to repeat over and over to myself can stop me in my tracks and save me from the evil of the sin I am about to commit.  This one can bring me quickly back to reality: “They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones.”  When I say this stirring line from A Prayer Before A Crucifix, and have the image of Jesus on The Cross in my mind, I find myself humbled and no longer desiring to succumb to the temptation.  I do not want to add even one more of my sins to the weight of His cross, to His pain and suffering.

To bring one into the grace of the moment – Sometimes we feel more like complaining than rejoicing.  In our complaining we may miss out on the truly good parts of the situation, we may miss out on the grace of the moment.  I love this affirmation, again from Journey Through The Stillness: “Hear Me.  I love you exactly as you are.” (1/22/11)  When a situation turns sour, or we find ourselves doubting, it is good to know He loves exactly as we are, and in reality, His is the only opinion that counts!

To help one to be conscious of failing and to grow in desire to do good – This final affirmation is a matter of self evaluation, of becoming aware of the times we fall short and strengthening our resolve to do better.  As we go forward from our failures or shortcomings, we ask Him to come with us, we ask His guidance:  “Heart of Jesus, lead me in what is mine to do.” (3/23/11)  Knowing He is there to guide us to what is our true calling can make all the difference in the world.

The personal affirmations I have shared here are just a few of many.  Often the most effective of all is simplest.  JESUS – The name of Jesus repeated over and over until a situation passes or resolves itself, or until a temptation releases its power over you.

You can find many phrases in the Bible to use as affirmations, or create your own.  Then arm yourself with a few so when the time comes you turn to them automatically and without hesitation.

 

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Who Do You Say I Am?

520px-Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English-001_svg“But what about you? he asked.  Who do you say I am?”  Mark 8:29

Lent is a time of self-discernment, a time of asking ourselves the tough questions about our faith and our relationship with God.  Jesus asked His disciples a very simple, yet very tough question, “Who do you say I am?”  When asked by Jesus, this question becomes the single most important question of our life.  Life in eternity hangs in the balance.

Today I am going to share an entry from Journey Through The Stillness, my personal spiritual journal.  This particular entry delves into who we are in relation to God.  What does it mean personally when I, or you, say He is God?

September 22, 2010He says, “You say you will be still, for I am God.  You know that I am God, and I AM.  What does this mean?  I am your God; I am the God of all.  What does this mean?”  I feel He is waiting to be answered, but I just sit in thought.  Then I say, “You ARE God.  You are LIFE.  I MUST live in and through You.  I MUST accept myself for WHO I am; a child of God.  I MUST give over to You all that I think, do  and say; ALL that I am.  I MUST accept myself AS I am; the way You created me, in your image and likeness.  I MUST be the person you WILL me to be, a person of love.  You are God.  You are LOVE.  We are united in love, not just You and I, but all of creation.  I MUST live in the unity of love now and forever.  I am created by You for that very purpose.”  He smiles, “Well said, my daughter, now go and live in love.”

    Who do you say Jesus is?  If you don’t have an answer to that question, then Lent, especially Holy Week, is the perfect time to reflect on and answer this important question.  Even if you already have an answer it is still good to take some time and own your answer.  Rediscover and be rejuvenated in your faith, and go forth to live in love!

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Is God Silent In Your Life?

Lake Peyto, Banff National Park, Canada, 2010, taken by Martha Wiggins

Lake Peyto, Banff National Park, Canada, 2010, taken by Martha Wiggins

“He says, Be still, and know that I am God.”

Is God silent in your life?  Did you ever think that just maybe He is waiting for you to be silent?

In the physical realm to be silent is to be without noise.  In the spiritual realm to be silent is also without noise, but with the added dimensions of a longing heart, a listening ear, and an open mind.  It is to be still before God.

A longing heart is a desire, a yearning to know that God is all that He says He is.  It is the driving force to become still before God. (oxymoron I know, but still true.)  It is to the longing heart that He gives Himself completely.

A listening ear is one leaned in to catch every syllable, every voice inflection.  The listening ear is where silence truly begins.  By making ourselves still before God, we are leaned in ready to hear His words for us.  To a listening ear He speaks volumes.

An open mind is a naivete.  It is a willingness to let in all that comes in the silence.  To be open is to welcome.  When we welcome His Spirit by being still before Him, He lovingly comes to us.  It is to the open mind He gives wisdom.

Spiritual silence, therefore, reaps great rewards for all who seek God in the stillness.  God gives us His complete attention, speaks His words for our life, and instills in us His wisdom.  Seek God out.  Find a special place in your home, your church, or out in nature.  Go and sit before Him, but don’t just sit there.  Have a longing heart, a listening ear, and an open mind.  Be still and know that He is God.

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A New Year

holy-spirit_2889073      As this new year opens before me, I remind myself of what was, what is, and hope for what is to be. 

I do not dwell on what was, except to reflect on what in myself is good and true and what in myself needs to be changed.  

In what is, I remind myself that there are many blessings to be savored and to be thankful for right here and now.  I will make a conscientious effort daily to look for and see more good in each present moment.  

In what is to be, I will hold fast to the knowledge that I am a creation of God Almighty. I am alive only by His grace, and I am made to live in eternity with Him by that very same grace. Therefore, I will place my hope and trust only in God, The Father; Jesus, The Son; and The Holy Spirit to whom all glory belongs now and forever!

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

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He Holds The Year For You In Trust

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’.”  Isaiah 41:13

     A most Happy and Blessed New Year to all! 

“I stand between the years.  The Light of My Presence is flung across the year to come – the radiance of the Sun of Righteousness.  Backward, over the past year, is My Shadow thrown, hiding trouble and sorrow and disappointment. … I hold the year in My Hands – in trust for you.  But I shall guide you one day at a time. … And for each day I shall supply the wisdom and the strength.”  (An excerpt from January 1st in “God Calling”, A.J. Russell)

          For many years the above excerpt from “God Calling” has been my favorite reflection to begin the New Year.  It brings such comfort to know He is in control.  Even so, like many, I have the tendency to want to know the outcome before I begin.  Sometimes I spend so much time ‘getting started’ that I never really begin!  I research, organize, question, and plan.  I want every little detail in place to assure success before I actually begin.  In the August 24th entry from “Journey Through The Stillness”, my personal spiritual journal shared on facebook,  He tells me, “It is that first step that is the hardest.  Remember when you stepped out onto facebook?  Wasn’t I there leading the way?  The first step leads to the next, and so on.” 

The reality is success is never secure.  There are just too many variables outside our control.  Ultimately, we are not in control of anything except our actions, our free will.  We give our best effort, and then hope for the best outcome.  However, if we are honest, sometimes the failures we experience are actually successes, because they lead us to the next step, to the right step, the right plan… the real success.

I tend to tussle with Jesus over this very thing quite often.  I want perfection; He wants action.  Or, I want to be part of the flock when He wants me to lead the flock!  I often say He drags me kicking and screaming to what is good for me.  And while hindsight is 20/20, I know if I was allowed to see all before I began I might run backwards and never realize the good that was in store for me!

I have come to learn He will not ask anything of me He doesn’t already know I can do.  He assures me, if I step out in faith, all I need will be waiting for me.  He understands I want to know all the steps before I take the first one, but this is not His way.  His Way is Trust.  Only after many convincing signs of His will for me to do so, did I begin to share my faith outwardly, through my personal journal on facebook.  It is the same with the website and blog.  I have truly stepped out in faith and trust, and He has met me with everything I need.  Has it been easily done, NO; but able to be done?  YES!

Remember, He holds the year for you in Trust.  Think about this; let it sink in.  Then, unafraid, step out into your New Year in trust.  All you need will be there.  What is waiting there for you?

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Do You Hear The Birds?

“He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, yet the world knew Him not.”  John 1:10

“White noise” such as ambient background music, a low hum, or a high pitch whine, is often piped into offices as a sound neutralizer.  It acts as a barrier to prevent private conversations from being overheard, and to allow employees to focus better by eliminating unwanted sound distractions.  At first the white noise might easily be heard by the employees, but it soon fades into oblivion and they no longer know it is even there.

In reality, our everyday lives are filled with white noise:  TV, radio, traffic sounds, mall music, conversations.  Go a step further and consider that even the thoughts running through our mind are white noise.  With all that noise and all those thoughts processing through our heads at any given moment, it is a wonder that we can truly focus on anything.  But, somehow we do.  We learn to ‘tune out’ what isn’t necessary.  The problem with tuning out things is that we often miss something important.  We might see the bird, but do we hear it singing?

During Advent we might see the Christmas decorations.  We might hear the Christmas Carols, but do we experience their true meaning, their true joy, or does it become just white noise?  Do we focus on our hectic ‘to do’ lists or on the Christmas Season’s inner stirrings of our soul?  When we see the Christ child laying in the manger with the Star shinning brightly above, do we see it as just a symbol or a profound truth?  Has it become just white noise?

If white noise is drowning out the profound truth of Jesus Christ, The Word made flesh, then we need to slow our pace, focus, and pay attention to the inner stirrings of our soul.  We need to listen to actually hear the birds singing, to hear the Spirit speaking to our heart urging us to prepare a room for Him.

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Together In Peace

616px-Fra_Angelico_Adoration“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people.”  Psalm 85:8

     During Christmastime we are often faced with family challenges, family conflicts.  While most families have loving relationships with each other, all is not merry and bright at some family gatherings.  To say the least, this can be quite upsetting for all concerned.  Sometimes the best we can do is to manage the situation from our own perspective.

First, we must realize, and come to terms with, the fact that no one is in our control.  We do not create, nor are we responsible for others’ thoughts, words, or actions.  Again… we are not in control of others.  Once we realize this, the pressure is off.  It is not on us to see that everyone behaves, that everyone has a good time.  We become free to add good vibes to the atmosphere.  We create an aura around our own orbital path that radiates self worth, love, and joy.

Second, in order to create this aura we must go to the One who IS in control.  Spending time in His presence we release the burden of control to Him and seek His help to do so. By centering our orbital path around God, The Father, we feel the weight lifted, we feel loved.  We know that at the very moment our circumstances become embroiled, negative, or unloving, we can turn within to His love.

Advent is a time of preparation, a time of gift giving.  Let us stock up in advance by spending time with Him on gifts of love within ourselves to share with those around us, even those we may find hard to love.  If we feel His Love within, we will radiate His Love outwardly and bring peace to our surroundings.

This Christmas do not let others rob you of His gift of Love for you, and do not be afraid to share His gift through words of Peace, Love, and Joy.  May all your Christmas celebrations be Merry and Bright!

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We Are Prepared to Give…But Are We Prepared To Receive?

616px-Fra_Angelico_AdorationGive, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

Selfishness is a learned trait usually beginning at a very young age when we have something we want taken from us.   While selfishness is learned, giving is actually an innate quality.  Most of us enjoy giving.  We enjoy the personal rewards reaped from making someone else happy.  It seems then, we are naturally prepared to give, but are we prepared to receive?

One who has developed a selfish, self-centered nature will generally claw and grab for whatever can be gotten.  Their true goal is the gift itself.  On the other hand, one who has nurtured a giving, selfless nature will wait patiently and quietly for rewards.  Their true goal is to savor and enjoy the moment.

There is certainly an art to receiving graciously.  When one receives a gift graciously, the focus is on the giver, not the gift.  The true goal is to make the gift-giver feel good, to feel as if they have greatly pleased the recipient.

Then there is also the selfish giver.  This one seeks only to make him or herself look good for the act of giving, or for the actual gift given,  In stark contrast, there is the selfless giver, who seeks only to bring genuine joy to the recipient.

When selfless givers and receivers get together there is true celebrating for they are actually celebrating each other.  Peace, Love, and Joy abound.  And that is the true spirit of Christmas!

In Jesus, we find the most perfect gift of all.  God Our Father gives His Son to each of us selflessly.  He sends His Son to be Light to the whole world that we might live forever in Eternity with Him.   Are we prepared to receive Him selflessly?  Are we prepared to give ourselves to Him selflessly in return?  How we give to and receive from others, setting their happiness as our true goal, will go a long way in preparing our own hearts for God’s gift.

This Christmas let us each seek to be both a selfless giver and a selfless receiver. May His Peace, Love, and Joy abound for each of you!

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Less Is More

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by Peter Wenzel, taken by Martha Wiggins, Vatican Museum, 2012

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by Peter Wenzel, taken by Martha Wiggins, Vatican Museum, 2012

“Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16: 14

While Advent is the season of Peace, Love, and Joy, it is also the season where, just as a fever rises on a thermometer, stress levels can go up and up, and up.  We become overwhelmed with multiple ‘to do’ lists:  gifts to buy, cards to send, the next place to hide the Elf, food to prepare, people to see, and lots more.  Before we know it we are looking for a place to hide, for an escape route.  We don’t know whether we are coming or going.  When we lose our way the true meaning of Christmas, the reason for the season, also gets lost in the fray.

Two popular sayings come to mind.  “Less is more”, and, “If a little is good, a lot is better!”  If we are speaking of dieting, where the less you eat the more you lose, then less IS more.  If you like whip cream, well then, a little is good, but a lot IS better, and less is NOT more!

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus this Advent, we may find that more decorations will not fill a heart lacking love, and more gifts will not prove our love for someone.  However, a heartfelt gift of our self just might.  Even a little time spent sharing ourselves, by making a simple phone call, assisting someone in need, or maybe even helping someone else with their decorations, will not only fill the heart of the recipient, but ours as well.  If a few less decorations means more time spent sharing our love with others, then Less IS more.

Also, taking time to refuel our spirit is essential to being able to accomplish all those things on our ‘to do’ lists.  Spending a little time in prayer with Jesus will prepare our hearts to give more fully and more genuinely.  In doing so, we become filled with His love and a burning desire to share it with all those we come in contact with.  So, if spending a little time with Jesus makes us share love with others more, then… if a little is good, a lot IS better.

Maybe we can each find special ways where cutting back, or doing more, may be the key to experiencing a very productive and memorable Advent.  One with generous hearts focused on and filled with His love.

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