The Visitation

Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy, (Basilica of St. Mary over Minerva) taken by Martha Wiggins, 2011

Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy, (Basilica of St. Mary over Minerva) taken by Martha Wiggins, 2011

“Blest are you among women and blest is the fruit of your womb.”  Luke 1:42

In Luke, Chapter 1, verses 42-45, we hear Elizabeth’s words to Mary.  The baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy upon hearing Mary’s greeting, causing Elizabeth to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to cry out in a loud voice, “Blest are you among women and blest is the fruit of your womb”.  This story, known as The Visitation, is also part of the beautiful set of prayers known as The Rosary.  It is one of the Joyful Mysteries to be meditated on while saying the Hail Marys.

At this point Mary had already been through a lot.  She had been visited by an Angel, become pregnant, suffered through Joseph’s questioning and eventual acceptance of her pregnancy, and traveled far to see her cousin.  How relieved and comforted she must have been to find that Elizabeth knew the truth; no explanations necessary!  At last she could let her guard down and rest in comfort.

Imagine if we could be as Elizabeth and recognize Jesus within others.  Imagine if we were filled with the Holy Spirit to prompt us when we were in His presence, in the body of someone else!  Our hearts would leap for joy, causing us to cry out blest is that person.  Imagine their response!  They would feel as if someone finally saw them for who they truly were, a child of God, worthy of consideration, worthy of respect.

With Christmas looming on the near horizon, it is not that hard to imagine that exact scenario.  As He draws nearer are our hearts leaping for joy?  Do we recognize Him?  He is all around us in the love, peace, and joy of the Advent season being shared by all.  His Spirit is already among us.  If we look, we will surely see, and then our hearts will be filled with joy at the knowledge of His presence.

When we look for and see Him in others, we will treat others in a way that validates them, that makes them whole.  Like Mary, they may have already been through a lot.  And like Elizabeth, we will greet them with kindness and respect.  Can you just imagine if we all did so?

Ask God to send His Spirit upon you that you may recognize Him in all.  Have a Blessed Christmas.

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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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My Wounds

“There is no better Teacher than My Wounds. To know Me, to understand Me, to love Me, to live in Me, all one has to do is study My Wounds.” … Journey Through The Stillness (MMW)

Sacred Heart

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The Perfect Resolution – LOVE

Resurrection Tapestry, Vatican Museum, taken by Martha Wiggins 2012

Resurrection Tapestry, Vatican Museum, taken by Martha Wiggins 2012

The following excerpt from Romans 12:9-21 gives us the perfect New Year Resolution.  Why not view it as a personal mission statement handed down from Jesus to us.  Let us each adopt it and adapt our ways to it!  Blessings and Happiness to you in the New Year!

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c]Do not be conceited.

 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   (Excerpt from biblegateway.com)

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Not In Name Only

One of the Stations of The Cross inside the Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 2011, taken by Martha Wiggins

One of the Stations of The Cross inside the Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 2011, taken by Martha Wiggins

“The child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God.”  Luke 2:40

The Christmas celebration has come and gone.  Hopefully the Christmas Spirit has found a home in our hearts.  Hopefully the image of the infant Jesus is imprinted on our soul.  Let us not receive Him into our lives in name only.

As we venture forth into our New Year let us take on the fresh faced appearance of an infant, but not just any infant, the infant Jesus.  As He grows, let us too grow in His image and likeness.  Let us learn as we watch Him mature into the young carpenter, and then into teacher, miracle worker, and Savior.  Study Him. Study His ways of acceptance and love for all mankind.  Spend time with Him.  Listen to His Word and see His response to all questions.  Watch His actions and reactions to all He comes into contact with, to all who come to Him in need.  See how He serves them.  Try to imitate Him.  Take Him along as companion, friend, helpmate.  Immerse yourself in His life and live life as He does, in total mind-boggling love for all!  Grow up to be just like Jesus!

Sounds simple and yet difficult doesn’t it?  How does one watch Him grow?  How does one see Him in action?  How does one listen to His Word?  God has provided the perfect forum for seeing and growing in knowledge of Jesus.  It is the Holy Gospels, the Bible, His own Word.  Spend time in the Bible, sincerely, prayerfully and hopefully.  You will soon find you are spending time with Him.  You will soon find you are growing more like Him.

Do not receive Him in name only.  Seek Him out, He is there waiting.

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Begin Again, And Again

180px-Prodigal_Son_003“From His fullness we have received, grace upon grace.”  John 1:16

No one sets out to fail.  We would would never begin if we knew we were doomed from the start.  We begin our endeavors with a good attitude and a hopeful heart, believing in, or at least wishing for, a successful outcome.

Sometimes in the process we stumble.  When we do, it is usually ourselves we trip over.  We become our own obstacle to success.  We lose strength or courage to go on.  We lose willpower or faith.  We falter because we don’t know how to proceed after we trip.

In His wisdom, grace, and infinite mercy, God has devised a plan to rescue us from ourselves, from our failures.  He offers us hope and guidance, and more importantly for most of us, another chance; a do-over.  He forgives and forgets.

When we bring our failures and lay them at His feet, at the foot of the Cross, He takes them on Himself.  He wipes the slate clean with His Blood and tears.  He then sends us out with enough grace to begin again, and again, for as many times as needed.  We wonder, “How can this be?  Why doesn’t He give up on us?  Why doesn’t He just walk away from us forever?”  The answer is simple; He loves us with an everlasting Love.

We are His children.  He has vested a part of Himself in each one of us.  When we know this Truth, when we believe it within our heart, we are free to begin.  We are free to falter; we are free to fail.  Most importantly we are free to begin again, and again, and even again!  With His grace He picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us on the path again.  With Him there is success.  With Him we are not doomed to fail.  We may falter, but we will succeed.

It is New Years, a time when we look forward with hope in our hearts.  It is a time when we venture forth, sometimes on a wing and a prayer, sometimes with a goal and a well laid plan.  We seek success.  As the New Year blossoms, seek His grace, believe in success, and get started!

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The Greatest Truth Ever Told

Midieval Art in Vatican Museum, taken 2012 by Martha Wiggins

Midieval Art in Vatican Museum, taken 2012 by Martha Wiggins

Merry Christmas to each of you.  May His Glory shine upon you and may you feel His Peace within the very depths of your soul. 

     Please take a few minutes to read and reflect on the greatest story ever told.  Only it isn’t a story it is Truth.  Immerse yourself in it; imagine yourself there.  Let it speak to your heart.  Let it touch your soul.  Let it be the focus of your Christmas.  My next post will be Thurday, December 27th.

“While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son.  Because there was not rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a box where animals are fed.  That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep.  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them.  The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened.  The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people.  Today your Savior was born in the town of David.  He is Christ, the Lord.  This is how you will know him:  You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”  Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying: “Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.”  When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem.  Let’s see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.” 

     So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a feeding box.  When they had seen him, they told what the angels had said about this child.  Everyone was amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured these things and continued to think about them.  Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard.  It had been just as the angel had told them.”  Luke 2:6-20

Again, Merry Christmas to each of you.  May His Glory shine upon you and may you feel His Peace within the very depths of your soul.

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Our Gift To Him

1391970_568939809822247_1815335477_n“They prostrated themselves and did Him homage.  Then they opened their coffers and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11

After receiving the gift of His own Son; after receiving such a gift of enormous love from our Heavenly Father, what can we offer in return?  The three wise men brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but what have we that could compare?  What have we to give that could possibly be of real value to Him who has everything, Him who created everything?  What does He want?  Need?  Expect?

I believe the true message of Christmas is as simple as love freely given and received.  I also believe the gift we have to give Him is equally as simple.  We give Him our heart.

First, we open our heart to receive Him within.  We nurture Him through prayer.  We shelter Him with love.  We allow Him to abide in our heart.

Second, we open our heart to share Him.  We love deeper, stronger.  We see others and love others through Him in our heart.  We allow Him to radiate outwardly from our heart.

Third, we open our heart in praise and thanksgiving.  We honor Him.  We sing His praises.  We thank Him for the gift of Eternal Live.  We allow His Glory to shine forth from within our heart.

Our gift may not be as elaborate as those of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but our heart is truly the gift He wants, needs, and expects as Our Lord, Savior, and King.  If you haven’t done so already, give Him your Heart today, and make sure He knows you have.

God Bless.

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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.  We are prepared to give, but are we prepared to receive?

If we have a selfish, self-centered nature we claw and grab for what we can get.  Our goal is the gift itself.  If we have a giving, selfless nature we wait quietly, patiently for our rewards.  There is a certain art to receiving graciously.  When we receive a gift graciously, our focus is on the giver, not the gift.  Our goal is to make the giver feel good, to feel as if they have greatly pleased us.

A selfish giver seeks to make him or herself look good for the act of giving, or for the actual gift given.  A selfless giver seeks 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 have the most perfect gift of all.  God Our Father sends His only Son that we might live forever in Eternity with Him.  He sends His Son to be Light to the whole world.  He gives His Son to each of us selflessly.  Are we prepared to receive Him selflessly?  Are we prepared to give ourselves to Him selflessly in return?

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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Advent, A Time of Hope

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.  And my spirit rejoiceth in God my Savior. … Because He hath done great things for me and Holy is His name.”  Luke 1: 46-49

Advent is a time of Hope.  As Christians, we are a people of hope and our hope is in The Lord.  Without hope in our lives a reason for living ceases to exist.  It could be said we exist for love.  In reality we exist because of love, the Divine Love of God our Creator.

What is love without hope?  Love IS hope; the hope our love is received; the hope our love is returned; the hope our love is shared, thereby making the earth a better place for all mankind.  We love God our Creator and hope in the saving grace of His Son, Jesus our Savior, that we might one day live in Love Eternal.  We hope for the Life to come!

Hope begins in our soul, spreads to our heart, and softly sings to our mind.  It is from the mind our hope springs forth into action.  To nuture an attitude of hope we must feed the mind.  We need to fill it with reminders to look for and live in hope, lest we forget who we are … a people of hope.  We prepare oursevles for the Life to come by spending time in the greatest story of hope there is, God’s Word, The Holy Bible.  In doing so we enlighten our mind with a proper diet, which in turn enlivens our heart, which then nurtures our soul, thus enabling the entire cycle of hope to continue.  It radiates from our soul to our heart, to our mind, outward to the universe, ultimately to God, and then back to our soul.  What we put out in the universe comes back to us tenfold.

Advent is the perfect time to rediscover or reinforce hope in our lives.  It is a time of preparation; for getting to know our true selves better; for expanding our vision of hope to include all those around us.  Daily reading in and meditating on the Gospels, and supplementing it with prayer and stillness before God prepares us in the best way possible for the coming of Jesus, not only into our own hearts and lives but into the world.  If we have hope others will too.  We become a channel of Hope to all.  We prepare the Way of The Lord.

We can begin our own personal preparation by starting in God’s Word.  Start with a simple prayer:  “Through you most Holy Word, Lord, I invite you into my heart.  Transform me according to you will.”  If you are new to this, at first try reading only one paragraph, or only one verse.  A good place to begin is with John 1:1-9, “In the beginning there was the Word…”  Read slowly, stopping to envision it in your mind as if you are there.  Read it again; maybe even aloud.  Meditate a minute or two on what this means to your own life, or think of God’s great love for us.  Thank God for this time to grow in hope and love, then go about your day.  Over time He will transform you.  A few minutes a day, repeated again and again, becomes a habit, becomes something to look forward to … spending time with Our Lord.  Dare I say, you will be hoping for more?

On choosing a time, and a place:  Bibles come in all sizes, even on line, even on phone apps.  If a quiet moment and place at home are out of the question, then possibly in the car before going into work, or on line at your desk during break time.  Find a few minutes that work for you.  God will be there whenever and wherever it is!

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