Monday, May 28, 2012

A Soul Reaches Out

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Act 2:4)
And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (Act 2:6)
Yesterday was Pentecost.  I heard this reading read at Mass.  Later while walking to Church for a Divine Mercy Hour with adoration the reading came back into my mind.  All "heard them speaking in his own language".  I have heard of certain individuals being given the gift of a new language immediately and from that point on they speak fluently in a new tongue.  I wondered if the Lord would ever decide to grant me the knowledge of another language as I have always struggled learning more than English.  I do know a bit of Spanish but at a very basic level.  Then an idea came into my mind, a very certain idea.  The Lord had given me a universal language that He spoke on earth.  One that resonates throughout all time.  The language He gave me was suffering.  I thought of the priest who said Mass that morning at St. Edward the Confessor Church whose hands were trembling throughout Mass.  He would end Mass saying that he suffered from familial tremors and though he takes medication sometimes the tremors can be severe and they make him self conscious.  Immediately upon hearing this personal confession that he was embarrassed I felt a fondness for him even though it was the first time I had ever seen him.  As we drove away from the Church I saw a young priest, one I had met before who was walking with a significant limp.  He swung his leg around with every step.  My heart was moved to see this. 
The reading from Mass today now comes to mind:
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
You may wonder what suffering I have experienced.  While I was pregnant with my son Asher I was diagnosed with a autosomal dominant genetic condition that effects all of the collagen in my body.  The geneticist said that pregnancy is not recommended and that I would experience a significant decline.  He was right.  My body turned almost to jelly and I began to have multiple joint dislocations.  My hands and feet were the worst.  However, as certain bones in my hands would dislocate muscles would tighten to guard the injured area.  By 2009, more joints would become involved until I had dislocations in both hands elbows and a frozen right shoulder.  Sleeping became almost impossible.  I could not extend my arms and had pillows propping them up.  I was taking pain medication every two hours with never complete relief.  I was no longer practicing dentistry, I needed help dressing, preparing food, and lost the ability to drive.  Times became dark.  It was then that through confession and Divine Mercy that the Lord stretched down His hand and pulled me out of despair.  He would however, not take away the disability.  My body over a very short period of time, to the complete surprise to my doctors, did begin to stabilize.  The Lord took hold of me.  He brought be to the edge of a precipice and held me there just on the edge.  Each day a gift that I did not go tumbling down but never on solid ground to stand by myself.  This was a gift.  No longer could I trick myself in to thinking I could live life of my own strength or talents.  I was by grace of God living each day.  The Lord gave me back the ability to walk more than a few steps and now I walk 1.2 miles to Church each day (2.4 miles round trip).  As I leave my house each day I ask that with each step I take to and from church a prayer of thanksgiving go up to Jesus for the gift of being able to walk.  I still suffer dislocations and my body is still extremely limited.  I do not drive and cannot open doors for myself.  I am for all functional purposes at the functional level of a 1 year old.  My mind is still sound so I thank the Lord for His generosity.  
Having shared with you some of the road I have come by to write this entry may I go on to share a bit more.  May I share a prayer I had some 2 years ago.  I had ordered a Mount Carmel Scapular.  I had it blessed at a very special Mass and wore it with Love for Our Lady.  I asked Our Lady if I could keep this scapular the rest of my life as it was so special to me.  I remembered that John Paul II had received a scapular on His first Holy Communion and kept it his whole life.  One day I noticed the braided cord began to fray.  It continued to unwind and break.  One morning I woke and noticed there was only one string holding it together all the others had broken.  With my hands as they are I knew I could not fix it.  I told Our Lady in prayer that morning that this was the last day I would wear the scapular as I was afraid it might be lost.  I went off to physical therapy.  As I was getting ready to leave the therapist's office, my physical therapist, Judy noticed the scapular.  She is Jewish and did not know what it was but offered to take it and mend it.  I gave her the scapular and the following week she returned it.  She had made a special trip to the store to find a brown thread that exactly matched the braiding of the scapular.  I told her of my prayer to the Blessed Mother and how she had been my miracle to restore my dear scapular.  Our Lady had worked through another person.  This experience made a lasting impression on me.  Our Lord by choice wants to work through us.  He needs us to be His hands on earth.  Our Blessed Mother sees everything and loves her children as the most perfect of mothers but she needs us. 
Today in the Gospel Jesus is asked how one reaches the Kingdom of God. He answers:
The Eye of the Needle
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." (Mark 10: 25-27)

As a child I heard this reading and thought it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.  Years later I was listening to a talk by Dr. Jim Dobbins who explained that the eye of a needle was a gate in Jerusalem.  It was more convenient to enter the city there but it was too low for a camel to walk through the gate.  Therefore the camel had to bend down on their knees and crawl through.  It was far easier to pass through another gate but that was some distance away.  Therefore,  with some struggle and suffering even a rich person can enter the Kingdom of God.  The Lord is telling us salvation is not a test where a set number of people must fail.  We all can be saved.  I attended a dental school that was pass/fail.  We were told that they wanted all of us to pass.  Therefore we all helped each other and shared notes.  We were aware of other schools where there were grades and an element of competition existed.  It was not uncommon for required reading to go missing from the library so that others might have a disadvantage.  The Lord does not want us to compete with each other.  We must work together so that we might all be saved.  What then can we do?  Let us squeeze every ounce of goodness out of our lives to save others and save ourselves.  How can we do this.  Offer everything up to the Lord.  Begin your day with a morning offering.  The prayer is listed on the menu part of this site under prayers.  Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary for protection.  St. Faustina found that her prayers were the most powerful when she unified them to the suffering of Jesus on the Cross.  
Every morning I offer my suffering through the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be unified to the Holy wounds of Jesus for the conversion of sinners.  I offer any indulgences I may be offered in the day to Our Lady for souls in purgatory.  I offer all the times I feel tired through the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be unified to the times when Jesus was tired during His passion so that the children’s rosary, my Parish, my family and myself may work tireless to help save souls.  I offer all these things through the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that however small the sacrifice is it will be received well, as it is carried to Our Lord by His mother. I share these things not to bring attention to myself but only that we may not waste even one bit of struggle or suffering that could have saved a soul.  
Yesterday as I walked to adoration ideas poured into my heart.  Feelings that we “the children’s rosary” could through the working of the Holy Spirit renew the face of the world.  Later in the afternoon as I found myself struggling with the kids and loosing my temper those strong inspirations seemed so distant.  It was only as I walked to church this morning in prayer that they returned.  The inspirations that one person can change the world is looked upon by many as naivete.  What does that exactly mean, it is the quality of being unexperienced or unsophisticated. It is true the more time we spend in the world the more the flesh pulls us away from the Spirit.  The times when we feel, due to our sinfulness, that we could never exert positive change are the times when the flesh is directing our thought.  The moments when we feel we can change the world are the moments of clarity when we see what we are meant to be.  As St. Catherine of Sienna said, “If we become who we are we will set the whole world on fire”.  Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!  If we recognize those feelings of defeat as not from the Lord then we are half way to following the true inspiration from the Lord that we can make a change.  The Holy Spirit has poured His gifts upon us yesterday and I felt in a special way the gift of Knowledge. This is the ability to evaluate created things at their true worth.
The gospel closed today by saying "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." (Mark 10: 27)
The priest at the Divine Mercy hour had us meditate on one line.  “Jesus is the Word”.  If Jesus is the Word present in Holy Scripture would you want to bring Him into your home?  If you do want Jesus in your home would you lock Him up or put Him under a pile of papers.  Or would you put Him in a place visible in your home.  Would you open the book and read with your family His words.  So often I have to ask those at Church to open a door for me to enter the Church.  Now I ask you for one more thing, open the door of your home to Jesus.  He is waiting outside.  Call Him inside.  He needs the door to be opened and then He will set to work.  Why does He keep asking us to pray.  Look around you and see the sin around us.  This is why we must pray.  May our families be like small prayer groups.  We are strong together.  The apostles were just 12 and 2,000 years later  Christians cover the earth.  We are more than 12 and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Cleanse your heart in confession and the Spirit will be able to speak all the louder.  All things are possible with God.  Let us begin together!!  Please if this touches you leave a comment that we may all know we are not alone.  That our hands are outstretched and there is someone else to take hold and reach out even further than we could have done alone. Amen, Amen, Amen.

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