Friday, February 28, 2014

Holy Soldier

                “Dear Lord, what does it take to be a holy soldier? First, it takes humility. A true holy soldier must first be able to admit that he is nothing without You God. He has to come with true poverty of spirit and mind. A humble soldier has nothing to lose and no attachments, nothing holding him back. If he is to fight for You Lord, he must have nothing he sees as coming from him, nothing of his own; all that he has he must recognize as being from You. Then he can fight freely, vigorously, zealously for You and for all that You have given him. He can fight unreservedly and bravely with the tools You have generously given him. The gifts You have given are precision tools created by the master for a specific purpose. Only a truly humble person can accept these first and then use them for Your will and not his own. His humility must also be so pure that it keeps him honest. A humble person won’t lie. He will be able to admit he has nothing and does not seek to improve the impression of himself. A humble person is an honest person, able to admit his poverty and nothingness.
                “Next, a holy soldier needs to know what he is fighting for. He can’t be blind or ignorant. He must be well educated and well-informed about his faith and the Church. He must be a true patriot of the Church. He fights for You and for Your holy bride. He must love the holy Church as You do and he must want to defend the truth that You have given us. To do that, he must know the history and all that You told Your people when You were here on earth.
                “Once a holy soldier has gained a firm knowledge of the faith and all that You taught us, then he can fall more deeply in love with You as part of Your holy bride, the Church, through a life of intense prayer. He must be close to you, very close to you. He must listen to You intently. He must be able to share all his deepest thoughts and concerns with You. He must be able to recognize and discern Your will through his daily prayer which must be intense, uninterrupted and focused. He must be free of distractions and turned completely to You - not the way newlyweds talk to each other, but more like the way a soldier listens to his general before stepping onto the battlefield. His prayer must be that intense and that intimate. The holy soldier must also love and honor Your blessed Mother because it was through her that You chose to be incarnate into this world and it was to her that You gave all humanity as her sons and daughters as You died on the cross.
                “Once the humble soldier has armed himself with knowledge and bathed himself in intense prayer, falling deeply in love with You and Your Mother, he must be very brave to step forward and fight the battle for the salvation of souls no matter how difficult the fight may be. The stakes are high. Success means eternal joy with You dear Lord. Failure means eternal damnation with Satan. It’s that simple. It is more than just life or death; it is eternal life or eternal death. The holy soldier must be filled with courage from You dear Lord. He must truly believe in You, with an unwavering faith to be able to stand courageously and fight. If he succumbs to fear, it is because he doubts You and Your eternal plan for all of us.
                “The holy soldier must also be determined and able to persevere. He must never give up, weaken or worst of all, become apathetic. He must maintain his holy zeal and he must continue to fight tirelessly. He must not seek a vacation or a reprieve; this is not a game, it is war.
                “He must also be very patient. He must be able to wait until You tell him to step forward. He must be patient, trusting that no matter what the battlefield looks like, and no matter who or what appears to be succeeding, that Your will is being done. He must be patient to wait in the fox holes and trenches until You command an advance or a retreat. He cannot be impulsive and he cannot act upon his own accord.
                “Oh dear Lord, do I have what it takes to be a holy soldier? I know You need holy soldiers now more than ever in this current world that wants to put You aside and run things through man alone. Please grant me the graces I need to be humble, honest, well-informed, steeped in prayer, filled with a deep love for You and Your Mother, courageous, determined and able to persevere with great patience. Then and only then can I be an effective holy soldier ready to fight this war.”

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Love that Completes Me

                “Dear Lord, I hear Your call today and earnestly seek Your presence. I am searching, desperately searching for the love that completes my soul. You have blessed me with so much love in my life through my family, my husband, my friends, my church, and yet my soul remains with an openness to receive that one perfect love for which I was created. I long for You, I pine for You, I thirst for You and therefore, I live on earth searching for You.
                “You have shown me glimpses of You on earth because You are everywhere and in everything and for that I am grateful. Sometimes I see You in a person, in a situation, in nature, and even in tragedy and disaster. You are always there weaving the threads of Your creation into a beautiful work of art, even those threads that sometimes unravel or shred. You always place them carefully into Your art in just the perfect place with a beauty that only You can create.
                “Dear Lord, please continue to reveal Yourself to me wherever I go and in whatever I do. May that deep longing in my heart be dabbed with Your healing water every day in ways I may not always expect or recognize, the way Veronica appeared through the horror of the angry mob accompanying You to Calvary, and gently, lovingly, wiped Your face and reflected Your love.
                “Dear Lord, the shining light of my heart, shine as a beacon on this world to light the way for me to seek You. May the emptiness in my heart and soul be filled with that shining light and keep me ever true on the path to Your heart.”

Contemplating Love

                “My Lord, my God, my heart longs for You – a deep yearning that leaves me exhaling in a sigh of hope for being with You. Today I ponder the depth of Your love. What a precious gift You give the world – love. It’s an abstract concept that doesn’t have a physical substance that can be seen or touched; it can only be experienced. But once experienced, love’s infinite power changes not only that person, but all those around that person as well. It has a ripple effect like a droplet of water in a still pond. It radiates outward, ring by ring, touching each one as it goes. Even those bystanders watching its effect can be transformed and future generations who hear of its effect have the opportunity to be transformed.
                “I think of how love can make us do things we never thought we were capable of doing. I think of the sinful woman who entered the place where Jesus was invited to dinner. She must have been so afraid to walk into that room and to be in front of Jesus, yet she did and she washed his feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed them with expensive perfumed oils while people scoffed at her and thought she was crazy. She loved You so much that nothing else mattered to her except to show You her immense love. All the people there saw this great “crazy” act of love and had the opportunity to be transformed. Over 2000 years later, the ripple effect continues from that moment. I am deeply touched by her example of love and generosity.
                “Love for You God is what inspired Your dear Mother to say yes at the annunciation, even though it meant scandal as she was betrothed to Joseph. Her love for You God gave her the courage to nudge You into Your public ministry at the Wedding of Cana. It would have been easier to ignore the lack of wine but she knew it was time to begin Your plan of salvation. Love gave her the courage and fortitude to walk with You to Calvary and to kneel at the foot of Your cross accepting Your divine will. That is the awesome power of love that can make us do supernatural things. Her great love for You and for us also keeps Your blessed Mother praying for all humanity as her children, even as the world tries to turn away from You and many people continue to mock You, to ignore You, or to deny You exist.
                “Consider the love that coursed through the veins of the martyred saints; those incredible brave souls who were able to sacrifice their lives, some in horrific ways, out of their great love for You. Love gave them supernatural strength to withstand tortures no human should ever have to endure. The awesome power of love filled these beautiful souls and empowered them to do what most would say is impossible. Consider also priests: love for You drives them to live a life of total service that doesn’t make sense to the average person. The life of a priest is completely infused with love which drives them to live a consecrated life to save the souls of Your beloved people in a selfless fashion.
                “It was love that inspired You to create us in the first place. Love for us also inspired You to send us Your only son, to be incarnate in the world as Jesus to live with us and to teach us about love. The great love between You God the Father and God the Son as well as Your immense love for all humanity resulted in the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Love rose above all reason and gave You as Jesus the courage and strength to make it through that agonizing night in the Garden, to be arrested, persecuted, ridiculed, mocked, scourged and crucified. Love conquered all as Your divine plan of salvation was carried out. You rose from the dead and gave us the way to continue in love with You for all eternity.
 “I don’t understand love but I can’t live without it. I can only experience it and share it with all those around me in a perpetual ripple effect. I am awed that something so hard to describe is so very vital to our existence, like the air we breathe. Without it, just like air, we cannot survive. With love, we can live with You for all eternity. This is what we were created for – to love and to be loved. This is what my heart longs for. This is what leaves me exhaling in a sigh of hope.”