The Last Days

Santa Ana Mountain Range, view from my walks 

Is the end near?

In the years that I was away from the covering of the Catholic Church, the core Protestant message was ”The End Is Near.” I believe this ideology is about to be resurrected because  in my 71 years I  have never witnessed so much evil.

Social Media

I am active on Social Media to promote this Blog, but this is a portal for evil to enter. Being of sound mind does not protect me from scrolling through all the evil misinformation. This fake news is purposefully meant to lure us in.  Before you realize it, you’ve entered into a dark abyss. This is a form of hardcore  manipulation.  My heart aches for those who do not have the discernment to filter out the lies.  How do people fall through these cracks of society? It is quite evident that many will listen to the voices ruled by fame.

Bad Influencers

These influencers are paving a clear path to hell. It’s a mesmerizing, spiritual battle that sucks you in. In addition, attached to this fame are evil spirits. Any form of fame is a powerful weapon, and the Enemy uses it to influence weak souls. Any music artist who opens the door to Satan is in for an eye-opening adventure. It does not matter how on top of the world you are, God can bring you down in a microsecond. The only reason He is not doing it now is because God is giving them an opportunity to repent.

Being Accountable

We are all accountable for our actions and God is watching and listening to all the evil. This evil is a silent pandemic that is not only spreading, it’s thriving.

The Mini Retreat 

This past Saturday I attended a retreat. Reluctantly I felt a tug in my heart to attend. I knew some of the people that were going to attend, but when I walked into the session, I wanted to leave. There were several persons there who made me feel uncomfortable. I had not talked to them in over a year. With these feelings came disdain. I listened and the message was about loving everyone. Within myself I knew that something was off. “Okay Lord, I love them but do I have to like them?”

I internalized this thought. For a minute I was fine with this warped decision. But the more I listened to the Word that was being shared, the more conviction came over me.

Making It Right

I was struggling with my thoughts of being fine with how I felt. As I was taking notes the Holy Spirit ordered me to get up and help the person who made me feel uncomfortable  by setting up for the lunch. I did not hesitate! It was as if the Holy Spirit took over my being. I knew that this person was uncomfortable with me as well. The secular cliche; “out of sight, out of mind” was conveniently working for me. If I truly felt that I had forgiven this person, why did I have these uncomfortable feelings?

The Lord revealed that forgiveness is not only a thought but an action. Forgiveness frees the person from bondage. Though I have fully given this to the Lord, only time will tell if  trust will once again be established. I thank God for this lesson because this will clearly allow me to move into another realm of my spiritual walk.

God’s Calling

We all have a calling, and I pray that mine remains on the right track and that God will continue to correct me every step of the way. We have a job to do; we need to form an army of warriors to fight the battle ahead of us. Bring out our shields of faith so that we can quench all the fiery darts of the Enemy. We can’t sit back and watch Satan take over the minds of  our children and grandchildren. Our faith needs to be protected.

We can not operate in fear. God did not ask us to be strong. He commanded it!

My grandson, Jacob, was recently promoted from 6th grade. He is an outstanding young boy with good manners. He’s kind, considerate and  received straight  A’s throughout the year. One of his teachers took a dislike to him and embarrassed him in front of all his classmates. She punished him by placing his desk in the center of the classroom, like an island  for all the other children to see. Jacob’s classmates referred to this as “Jacob’s island.” This teacher never contacted my daughter or son-in-law to inform them of her cruel decision or that Jacob had misbehaved.  My grandson was left on that island for over a month! My daughter found out through a friend of hers. After a meeting with the teacher and the principal, the teacher remained indifferent, as if she had done nothing wrong.  The teacher’s arrogant attitude caused the principal and another teacher to call my daughter and apologize for her bad behavior. I was very upset about the situation as well.
On the  day of the promotion, I patiently waited for the  mean teacher to have words with her. “Hi, are you Jacob’s teacher?” I asked. She answered, “Yes, yes I am.” Then I spoke my peace, “You were not nice to Jacob, and you need to know.” She looked at me and in a sarcastic voice said, “Okay.” I never raised my voice nor cursed at this horrible specimen of a human. I was indignant and addressed the manner in a calm tone and quietly walked away.  Another one of Jacob’s teachers standing next to the mean teacher was left with her mouth wide open.
Standing Up For Justice
A grandmother’s role is to pray, but I may take it to another level. When there is injustice or if  any of my family members are being mistreated, I am going to take it to the highest level in prayer. God will give me the direction or words that need to be spoken.  I will never operate in fear, so don’t cross my path because it’s always on the way to heaven.
Stand up against those who constantly attack  your beliefs. If it’s on Social Media, pray for God to judge them. Never engage in dialogue with the Enemy, because the Devil wants to shame you in a public forum. Pray and God will allow you to see His justice.
In closing I was thinking of all the cities in California that have saints’ names, then came another great revelation. Our state is surrounded by mountains with saints’ names as well. Santa Monica, San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Santa Susana, San Rafael, San Jacinto pray for us. The Victory belongs to the Lord!
My Prayer
Dear Lord, What a mess I would be without You in my life. Thank you, Gina and Linda, for all the hard work you put into making this retreat so successful. So many of us received a special blessing with this Spirit- filled message. May we always be yielded to Your voice. Amen.
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Marian Journey -Part Four

This is the last leg of our Marian Journey.

Florencio and me, Tui, Spain

We had reservations to stay at Santiago de Compostela, but we decided to continue on to Portugal. This would be one of our longest periods in the car; it was over a four-hour drive, instead we stopped in Tui to gas up and decided to stay there. This  cut the trip by an hour and 30 minutes.

Tui, Spain

The sun sets very late in this area. This worked in our favor because the coastal drive on a crystal clear evening was another jewel added to the crown of this journey. Tui is the last stage of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. From this city you can reach Santiago de Compostela in five to seven days. I pray that my grandchildren will experience this journey one day.

We settled into hotel Paradores de Tui, had soup for dinner, but by 9 o’clock it was still light. The following morning we woke up to one of the most beautiful scenes. Our hotel was situated in a perfect spot. Surrounded by the River Miño and the Monte Aloia, a summit in the mountains of Galicia, Spain, the view was spectacular.

The beautiful statues of the children of Fatima

Breathing in the air of this beautiful city brought calmness to my heart.  We were so busy taking in the scenery and taking photos of ourselves that I overlooked the pilgrims. I forgot to take photos of them walking on the path to Santiago de Compostela.

Fatima

It took us an additional three hours to reach Fatima. The only one in our group who had visited Fatima was Sylvia. As a child her family made a pilgrimage there. To the rest of us it would be a grand adventure.

Sylvia and Florencio, Fatima
Mike, Fatima

Every city has roundabouts to get from one street to the next, and since this was our first time there we accidentally came upon the most beautiful statues of the children of Fatima. To have a better appreciation of Fatima, you must see the  movie  Fatima. These children were subjected to so much cruelty.  The Catholic clergy,  the people who lived in the village, and even their family members came against them. Nonetheless, these three children,  Lucia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Martos, never wavered in what they witnessed.  Our Lady of the Rosary trusted these young children. Despite all the scrutiny, on October 13, 1917, before 70,000 people, they witnessed the miracle of the sun.

The Three Secrets of Fatima

Our Lady had given Lucia three secrets:

  1. The children received a vision of Hell and the suffering of sinners;
  2. The end of the “Great War” would soon be over, but a new war would start unless people converted and repented; and
  3. There would be an attempt on the Pope’s life.

The Virgin Mary requested the consecration of Russia, a warning to stop the spreading of the atheistic ideology of communism.

There was an attempt on Pope John Paul II’s  life on May 13 , 1981! This is the same month and day of the first apparition. Our Lady of the Rosary also told the children that people must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. She also said that people must not offend our Lord any longer, for He is already much offended. Imagine that, and what state of  the world we are in now. To celebrate gay pride for an entire month? Our Lord is deeply offended.

 

The roasted pigs
Before dinner
We cleaned our plates!

Fatima Sanctuaries

Once we entered the area there were so many different sanctuaries, I could not believe my eyes. This overwhelming site reminded me of the Vatican on a smaller scale. We attended Mass in a small chapel and prayed our special petitions. For several hours we made our way in and out of so many different sanctuaries and chapels.  It was magnificent.

 

Mosterio Batalha

Batalha, Portugal

Now that it was time for dinner, Sylvia called a cousin, who instructed us to eat at Mosteiro do Leitoa in Batalha.  Before dinner we visited the Mosteiro de Batalha, a beautiful cathedral off the main road. Something was not right and we could not figure out why this beautiful church was so neglected. Pigeons flying in and out of the broken stained glass windows was another indication that something was wrong.

Our dinner that evening was roasted pig; the meal was prepared in brick ovens and to say it was delicious is an understatement. On to Guadalupe.

Guadalupe, Spain

Our hotel in Fatima also served as a monastery, with two chapels to observe Mass. We got up early, attended Mass and were on our way. Guadalupe is four-and-a-half hours from Fatima; this drive was the longest. Through farmlands, winding roads  led us to another remote village high on Sierra de Villurecas, also known as Sierra de Guadalupe.

Basilica of Our Lady of  Guadalupe, Spain
Ernesto and I praying at the Basilica, Guadalupe, Spain

 

The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe

We arrived in Guadalupe in time for Mass.  After Mass a Mexican priest  and a group of pilgrims asked us to join them on the tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  We walked up several spiral steps to reach the statue and prayed.

Tradition holds that St Luke carved the statue of the Blessed Virgin from cypress wood. This statue was found in Saint Luke’s coffin. St. Gregory the Great, the pope from 590-640, gifted the statue to the city of Rome. From there the statue was given to Saint Leander in Seville.

In 714 the Muslim Moors invaded Seville. A group of Catholic priests took the statue to Northern Spain to protect it from being destroyed. They buried the statue near the Guadalupejo River. Centuries passed and no one knew where the statue was.

In 1300 a shepherd, Gil Cordero, started to have apparitions of The Blessed Virgin. The shepherd lost a cow, and when he found it Our Lady appeared to him and gave him a message. “Do not be afraid, I am the Mother of God, Savior of the human lineage.” She instructed him to take his cow and bring it to the rest of his herd. She then told him to go to the clerics and bring them back to this place. They were to dig and find the image of her. She instructed them not to remove the image but to build a little church right here and put the image in it.

Christopher Columbus 

Christopher Columbus made a pilgrimage to the site before going to the New World. When he returned in 1492, Columbus fulfilled a vow to give thanks to our Lady of Guadalupe.

Alfonso XI, King of Castile and Leon, was one of the first regular pilgrims to Guadalupe. He expanded the Chapel of Guadalupe into a church and monastery.

Guadalupe, Spain

This Basilica was so endearing to me because  this is where Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico originated. I will never forget this experience.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for pairing us with our wonderful Spanish friends. The history lessons of Our Lady draw us closer to Your Sacred Heart. I continue to pray for all those who do not understand Our Mother’s role and how She lovingly cares for us and always asks for Her Son’s intercession. Amen.

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Marian Journey Part Three

Our spiritual climb continued to Covadonga.

 

Sylvia and I making our way up to the caves with the backdrop of Santuario de Covadonda
Santuario de Covadonga, Mike, me, Sylvia and Florencio
Sylvia snd I at the steps of the caves

Covadonga

We had now entered into Asturias, a region of Northern Spain.  Driving  along the beautiful waters of the Cantabrian Sea, we made our way up to the Picos de Europa Mountain range. We were on our way to visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Covadonga. How this beautiful basilica was built high on the mountains is a wonder because it is so grandiose and secluded. As we were walking toward the basilica, Florencio announced that his sister was married in this church.

There are two spiritual sites to visit here: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Covadonga and the caves where our Lady appeared.

 

Our Lady of Covadonga as She appeared to Don Pelayo.
Me praying

The Battle of Covadonga

In order to truly appreciate the apparition of Our Lady of Covadonga I had to do a little research. In 722 an Asturian army achieved the first Christian victory over military forces of the Moors.  The Muslim Moors did not realize that they were coming against Catholic soldiers who not only understood the topography of their land but had God on their side. Despite the fact that the  Spanish soldiers were outnumbered at a ratio of a hundred to one, they asked for a sign from God.  Should they run or stay and fight? Don Pelayo, who was the commanding officer, took two sticks and formed a Cross, saying,”This will be our sign as it was for Constantine.”

As the battle was about to start Our Lady appeared to Don Pelayo in a cave without saying a word. When Pelayo turned to see the Moors approaching, he turned back to ask Her for help. She had disappeared but left behind a statue of Herself and the Christ Child dating back to the Early Church Fathers.

The Victory

The Catholic soldiers witnessed many supernatural miracles that day. The arrows that the Arabs were shooting at the Spanish soldiers who were taking cover behind stone cliffs ricocheted back to them and killed them. This was followed by a terrible rainstorm that caused mudslides and boulders to fall down on the Arabs. Many of their soldiers fell into the Deva River and drowned.

When the leaders of the Moors fell dead, disorder ensued. The Moors retreated and the victory of the Battle of Covadonga was won. Pelayo was proclaimed King of Asturia and King Alfonso I commanded that a monastery and chapel be built to honor Our Lady of Covadonga.

 

I finally have my Spanish shoes, Marshall’s online!

The Shoes

After this awe-inspiring and spiritual experience we had a wonderful meal. But I was on a mission to purchase a pair of sandals made in Spain. I have friends who love handbags and others that love clothing, but my thing has always been shoes. When I mentioned this to Sylvia, she made it her mission to help me find Spanish shoes.

Oviedo

Florencio warned us ahead of time that the people in Oviedo like to dress up. We were not surprised by this information because Sylvia, Florencio and Ernesto dressed in their Sunday’s best every day. They rarely wore sneakers and never jeans like us. You would never see a person in their pajama bottoms; they are too classy for that.

 

Cova and I in the Chapel of Santa Maria, Plaza de Alfonso II el Casto

Cova

Oviedo, Florencio Mike, me, Cova and Ernesto

Sylvia made a quick call to Cova, Florencio’s sister who lives in Oviedo. I was so excited because I was finally going to be able to purchase my Spanish shoes. As we parked the white wagon on the streets of the city, it seemed unusually quiet. Well, God had other ideas for us; the town was closed because of some local holiday, so all the beautiful retail stores were closed!

Cova, who was  named after Covadonga, was so gracious to take us on a walking tour of Oviedo. This small city is in pristine condition. There are no gypsies, asking us for alms.

The statue of Woody Allen

 

Woody Allen

Cova mentioned that Woody Allen and his daughter/wife own an apartment here. This is his get-away, where he comes to relax. The citizens of Oviedo love him. Part of the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, written and directed by Woody Allen, was filmed in Oviedo.

El Salvador Cathedral

 

El Camino de Santiago

San Salvador Cathedral

With the help of Cova, we found our second “concha” shell leading pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Cova explained that the pilgrims must pass through this church on the way to “St. James.”  We did come across many pilgrims making their journey to Santiago de Compostela. They are greeted by the locals, who say, “Buen Camino,” which translates to, “Good travels.”

Our  tour of Oviedo ended at La Gran Tabrena, a local bar/restaurant owned by Cova’s daughter. Then we ate patatas and washed  them down with sidreras, an apple cider drink famous in this region.

Santiago de Compostela

On this trip we were blessed to attend unscheduled Masses. By no accident many times as we walked into the church a service was about to begin. This happened to us in a small sanctuary in Oviedo, where we were able to visit the small chapel of Santa Maria. Because this chapel is only opened to the public twice a year, this was a special, unexpected blessing. Now on to Santiago de Compostela.

 

At the tomb of St. James

Santiago de Compostela

I had visited this beautiful cathedral one other time. This time was especially memorable because before Mass was about to begin I was able to make a confession with an English-speaking priest. We waited in line to venerate at the tomb of the Apostle Saint James. The church filled up and we were almost at the last row but we had seats. As soon as the sound of the organ overflowed the room, my eyes filled with unexpected tears, as I prayed for special blessings for my family and friends.

Santiago de Compostela Florencio, Sylvia, Ernesto, me and Mike

Many pilgrims coming from different parts of Spain, Portugal and Southern France who had completed their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela made their way into the service. Their journey complete and their hearts filled with gratitude.

We should all experience this spiritual journey, making our way to the Lord, traversing through our spiritual battles to claim our victory.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, we are all on a journey to find You. May we make our way to You in fear and trembling. Meet us as we are poor, lost pilgrims searching for answers. With Your glorious Mother, we ask Her intercession as She leads us to Your Holy throne. Amen.

 

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