The Silent Fragrance of God

Flowers from our garden

I have always appreciated God’s gifts in nature, so to say I stop and smell the roses is an understatement. I not only smell them, I cut them and fill my house with the their fragrance. After Mass  about a week ago, as I walked to my car, my knee buckled underneath me and caused a sharp, unusual pain. I didn’t give it a second thought, but then it happened several more times. After seeing the doctor, he said that it was a torn meniscus.

Because I exercise on a regular basis, this setback has made me slow down, but I wondered why God allowed this. I’m not upset, but not being able to accomplish normal tasks is frustrating. Attending daily Mass is part of my regular routine, but giving up my position of Eucharistic Minister was definitely a huge sacrifice. I can’t take the chance of dropping the Body of Christ because of a bum knee.

Why God Slows us Down

I have been feeling a void in my spirit. I’d pray but to no avail; it felt dry and I knew something was missing. I went to my confessor and explained the vacancy in my soul. I had given up shopping for Lent, so I was making up for the lost time by shopping online. Many wasted hours of online shopping were becoming part of my daily routine. When the packages arrived, the euphoric feeling lasted only a few minutes. I was stuck in the middle of  a road leading to a world filled with worldliness. I felt the detachment: nothing was satisfying, purchasing new clothes had turned into a monotonous grind. From that came another bad habit of Netflix, which captured the boredom and turned it into a fixation. I suffer from addictive behavior and, as much as I do not want to come to terms with this, all this had taken over the spiritual part of my thinking. Yes, I was praying, but all the distractions were taking me away from reaching a deeper spiritual level. This troubled me because it was not characteristic.

The Confession

When my confessor told me to stop talking, I did not understand. I asked, “Do you mean for me to go into contemplative prayer?” “No, just stop talking,” he explained. I was still in the dark, and did not understand. So again I asked, “Do you mean stop talking now?” “No, just stop talking,” he replied. As my penance he told me to say one Hail Mary but to take ten minutes when reciting the prayer. Needless to say, I was puzzled. It took a few days to realize what the priest meant. It was about my interior dialogue, you know that self-talk, the language inside your head. It was beating me up because I had temporarily fallen from grace.

Self-talk

When we allow the Devil to get into our brains, he is going to ambush us through half-truths. In my case I was not praying with fervor, but my negative self -talk was telling me that I was unspiritual. I am not! I was greatly distracted, and the enemy knew how to harass me by reminding me that something was off with my prayer life.

Did you know that only 18% of our brain activity comes from the outside, but 82% comes from inside, through self-talk? We are either building ourselves up or tearing ourselves down. If our self-talk is not in harmony  with the Word of God, it’s self-defeating. People who suffer from depression or anxiety are negative self-talkers. When we bring into our adult lives the hurtful memories we experienced as children  we are using the same self-talk but now it is imprinted into our brains. While many of us can shrug off these painful memories, many of us suffer because we believe the lies – that’s what the Devil wants us to keep in our memories.

Did you know that the average person speaks 150 to 200 words per minute? But when we internally dialogue (self-talk) we process even  more, as many as 1,400 words per minute. With self -talk comes images; our minds go even deeper into what we are thinking. We create an environment with what we think. Words spoken against us will stab our hearts if we allow them to penetrate our spirits.  (Ps 64:1-10)

The Torn Meniscus

When my knee buckled over, I felt a deep, sharp pain. Throughout the day I had more painful encounters with my right knee. After a quick examination, the doctor suspected a torn meniscus. I talked to certain people with the same problem; some shared stories that they had never healed after surgery, while others said it was an easy procedure. On Tuesday I am scheduled for an MRI. I have no idea what the outcome of this will be, but an appointment with an orthopedic specialist is scheduled eleven days later. I have not given it a second thought; worrying about this has never crossed my mind. I understand that this is in the hands of God, and He will see me through this ordeal.

I know some people who worry about everything, so much so that they mark their calendars to remind themselves to worry. There is a perfect Bible verse for people like this:

for as he thinks in his soul, so is he

Being Silent Before God

When I empty my thoughts and pray, it brings peace. To silence your mind is necessary because you are exercising a part of your spirit to become one with God. We need all of our senses to obtain this glorious union: our taste, sight, touch, smell and sound.

O taste and see that the Lord is good;

    happy are those who take refuge in him.

To hear the voice of God, you must be silent. We can’t hear Him if we are speaking. In comparison it is as if you are speaking with someone who will not let you get in a word because he can’t stop talking.

11 Then the Lord said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 after the earthquake, fire—but the Lord was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

This Sunday the Mother’s Day homily confirmed the content of this Blog. It was about being silent before God. I experienced His love as I felt a tear trickle down my cheek. It was a silent, private moment I shared with our Lord.

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, never allow us to become so distracted that we lose sight of You. Help us to develop a deeper relationship with You. Allow Your Holy Spirit to reign in us forever! Amen.

 

 

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Unmasking the Lies

In a study by Emil O.W. Kirkegaard, the Ulster Institute of Social Research recently released an interesting findings stating that people who are extremely liberal suffer from mental illness more frequently than right-wing extremists. In my observation  part of the mental illness is the anger that is attached to their way of thinking. Once this mindset has entered into a cult-like thinking, it’s difficult to escape the outcome. As a conservative I, too, suffer from reading too much into political matters, but I’ve learned to put the brakes on when my mind gets too flustered. I pray instead of obsessing.

California Living

We are surrounded by natural beauty, and though I live 20 minutes from the beach, the ocean generously sends us a cooling breeze on a regular basis. This breeze reminds me that God is in control; I can’t see the Pacific, or see the breeze but it is ever present. California has turned its wounded cheek for more and more abuse, but all the evil is being exposed for the world to see. We are a state controlled by liberals, but they do not rule over us because we, who believe in truth and justice are not taking these matters lightly.

We have developed into a nation of bad leadership: education, professional sports teams, Hollywood, politicians and liberal media have given us a preview of life in chaos. The liberals can say what they feel without any recourse for what spews out of their mouths. Yet we silently voice our opinion by shutting them off. Take the Academy Awards; not too many of us cared to participate in this staged event strategically making sure that certain races and genders of people won. I remember when this show was in its prime and the winners were awarded because of their talent not their gender or race. Our silent voices were loudly expressed with the show’s lowest ratings ever. I don’t want to be lectured by liberal thinking. People like me will no longer support any movies they make either.

Our governor is running scared because he thought he was invincible. We’re tired of how this state is being ruined by buffoons with big hair and Joker smiles. It’s time for new leadership. I signed the petition to remove our governor from office months ago, and apparently we have reached more signatures than are needed to recall Newsom. We don’t keep our fingers crossed, we pray.

Appoint an evil one over him,
an accuser to stand at his right hand,
 That he may be judged and found guilty, that his plea may be in vain.

May his days be few;
    may another take his office.

 

The Extreme Mindset

A  circumspect mind gives us an opening to reality. There is good in all of us, but when the mind wanders deep into the abyss of darkness, sometimes it’s difficult to find a way out and into the light. I know plenty of extreme right-wing people; they mean well but they separate themselves because of their own beliefs. Though my husband and I do not always agree on political matters, we have learned to leave this out of our marriage for the sake of peace. It’s not my job to change him to believe as I do, nor can he impose his beliefs on me. The only recourse is to pray for the revelation of God’s truth.

The extreme example of left-wing bias has been given the right to wave their banners of injustice in our faces. We see what Black Lives Matter is about. They do not represent Black America. BLM are out for themselves, and there is no hiding their truth. So far Patrisse Cullors,  BLM co-founder, has purchased four homes valued over 3.2 million dollars. According to an article in the Washington Times, FaceBook blocked this story from being viewed. BLM of New York City has called for an independent investigation of Ms. Cullors home-buying binge.  This is for the “woke” folks to wake up and follow the money trail.

Vice-President

Our giggling Vice-President has yet to set foot near our borders. I’m a mother; when my children needed provisions; food, clothing, shelter, it was our responsibility as parents to make sure their needs were met. I would never clothe, feed and shelter a stranger before my own family. Yet our country is carelessly doing this. I am a missionary, so if anyone understands the needs of others, I do! As a missionary I see the pain, the need and the care others need, but for the love of God and country, let’s take care of America first. Kamala Harris continues to spend money when it is needed at home. This liberal thinking has stepped on and pushed aside the needs of Americans. Our homeless crisis continues to escalate while Biden and Harris load up illegal immigrants on to planes to hide the real problem. To make us believe that all the influx of illegals has to do with climate change is egregious.

Governor Cuomo

Though the news of all of Cuomo’s wrongdoings have been swept under the rug, God is dealing with this city. When sin is exposed but no action has been taken to rid the sin, God allows the decay to rot from within. With the lack of police the city will slowly die a sinner’s death. 5,300 uniformed officers retired or put in their paperwork to leave the force in 2020; this is a 75% spike from the previous year. Do the math; without law, anarchy prevails. Keep your mask on and you’ll be fine. Keep defunding the police and your mask will be your only protection. God help New York!

Indeed, the day of the Lord comes,
    cruel, with wrath and burning anger;
To lay waste the land
    and destroy the sinners within it!

President Biden

With the fake news of Biden’s popularity soaring, you’d think he invented the wheel. In the eyes of the liberal media he does no wrong; well that is partly correct because he does nothing! I’m praying when the bishops meet later this month, they reach the consensus that Biden no longer receive Communion because Biden does not support Catholic doctrine.

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, though we cannot see the changes, we know that You are in control. Nothing will destroy all the work that has been done in our free country. Lord, I pray that all those who are confused, misguided and lost, will feel the breath of Your Holy Spirit. Lord, speak to all of us in dreams and renew our love for one another. You are the Master of us all and we wait for Your Holy Hand to move over this country. Amen

 

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Recognizing the Voice of God

Eucharistic Adoration at St. Norbert Parish

An interior locution is that still, small voice telling you what to do. It’s a private revelation, something you receive internally. This revelation may come from a saint, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Jesus. This spiritual  encounter is a mystical communication, a message from God that may need immediate attention. A locution can also be a holy experience. Once while I was praying during Eucharistic adoration, I had my eyes closed, when suddenly Jesus came to give me communion. He was holding a communion wafer, and as He got closer, out of fear I opened my eyes and the vision disappeared. God speaks to us in many ways; as we receive and respond to these messages, God will entrust us with more encounters.

The Vacuum Cleaner

This incident happened years ago: our vacuum cleaner broke. Any other time I would have dealt with it by putting it off for another day. I was cleaning the house because we were expecting company. When these things happen I usually call Mike, who told me to purchase a new one. I went to a local repair shop and explained my dilemma. The owner asked me to bring the old vacuum in  for a trade in,  so I did. The owner told me that it could not be repaired. I was still not sure if I wanted to purchase a new one, so he gave me a loaner. While I was vacuuming, an interior voice came to me. I heard, “Go back and pick up the old vacuum.” I dismissed it as nonsense. Once again I heard the same message but with more urgency.  This time I stopped vacuuming and loaded the loaner. As I walked in, the owner was surprised to see me. “I’ve changed my mind, can I please have my vacuum back?” I explained. The perplexed man answered, “Oh, I’ve already taken it apart.” Without thought, the voice instructed me to say, “That’s fine, put it back together, I’ll wait.” As it turned out, he had not taken it apart as he wanted me to believe. I took my vacuum and loaded it into my car. Now what? I thought. Again the voice said, “Return the vacuum to Costco.” I could not remember whether the vacuum had been  purchased there, but I was obedient. Sure enough, Costco had proof of the purchase, and I received a full refund for the amount.

San Francisco

As always when Mike and I are out of town, we try to attend a church service. As we were driving in San Francisco, we passed the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. We stopped and walked the grounds of this beautiful church. As we walked in, a service was about to begin, Mike knew by the look on my face that we were staying. The service was held in a side chapel of the church to accommodate the smaller group of congregants. We sat behind a dark-skinned man; maybe he was from India. This young man was wearing a pink long sleeved-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He had a worn out Bible next to him. One other thing that I noticed about this man: his arms were covered in sores. When the service ended the Lord told me to go and speak to the young man. Mike and I were already half way out the door. Again the interior voice urged me to go back. But this time I registered mental objections, “No, I don’t know him, and besides Mike will think I’m crazy.” As I continued to walk my heart started to beat at an accelerated rate.  Again I heard, “Go to the young man!” I turned to Mike and said,  “I need to go back into the church to give the man who was sitting in front of us a message.” With a puzzled look on his face, Mike uttered a long, “OOOkay.” As I made my way back into the chapel, it was empty! I felt so bad for my disobedience. As I was exiting, I noticed the young man sitting in the main sanctuary. I was a little winded by the time I sat down behind him. As I opened my mouth  I was not sure what to say, but the Lord put the words in my mouth. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “The Lord has a message for you. He hears your prayers and will soon answer them.” As the young man turned to face me, he was crying. He said, “Thank you very much.” With that I walked back towards Mike, who was waiting for me outside. Mike never questioned me about this because he understood this was from God.

The Miracle

For those of you who do not know, for twelve years I worked for Release Time Christian Education. This program involved fourth and fifth grade students. This organization has been around for over 60 years. The children are escorted  off  school grounds (usually during lunch) and fed the Word of God; both Mikos and Sonja (our children) participated in this program when they were in elementary school.

This experienced occurred over seven years ago, on a Thursday at Nohl Canyon Elementary school.  While picking up my students, Kaitlan, a fifth grader, came running to tell me that Kelly (the parent of a former student) was in the hospital. Our walk to the trailer was a distance from the school so I questioned her about Kelly. All she could tell me was that she was very sick. I had this desire  in my heart to go to the hospital and pray for her; but she was just an acquaintance, and I wondered how she would receive me.  I taught the 45-minute class and walked the students back to school with this overwhelming urge to go see Kelly. “No, no, I can’t do this.  It would be too weird!’ I told myself.  Then I went home to eat lunch. I made a sandwich and took several bites when I felt the Lord tugging at my heart to go. I called the hospital to get more specific information. I still do not understand what came over me, but I got into my car and drove at an accelerated speed to St. Joseph’s Hospital. I was praying the entire way, but the Devil was also attempting to get my attention. Satan’s voice questioned me repeatedly: “Why are you doing this? You don’t even know her?” I tried to shut out the negative voices with praise music. So many obstacles were thrown my way as I rushed in to see Kelly. I thought to myself, what do I have to give her? I felt so empty that I was trembling when I arrived.  Kelly was in the ICU (intensive care unit). Due to the severity of her condition, visitors were required to suit up in a mask, gloves and robe. It was a shocking sight to see this normally active, young, beautiful mother of two in such a frail state. Kelly burst into tears and explained that her body was shutting down and that she was totally septic. With the combination of tears and the mask, my glasses fogged up as I dabbed her forehead with blessed oil and prayed for her. I prayed for healing and the total restoration of her body. Although our visit lasted only 10 minutes, after I left,  I continued praying for her throughout the day.

Jerusalem, praying at the site of Jesus’ imprisonment

The following evening I received a text message from Kelly. This is what I can recall:  “I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I’m being released from the hospital today. I wanted to thank you for coming and praying for me. The infection has left my body. I want to thank you on behalf of my parents because I am their only living child. I know that you were an angel sent from heaven, and it was a miracle.”

My Prayer:

Dear Lord,

May we always be able to hear Your voice and obey without questioning Your purpose for us. As we grow more spiritually, entrust us with more of Your holiness. Fill our cups, Lord.  Amen.

 

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