In God We Trust

Prayer

Did you know that the most searched word on Google is “prayer?” Yes, finally people are getting on their knees and asking for help. Did you also know that there is a St. Corona, and that she is the patron saint for pandemics?  Corona means crown in Latin and, according to the Center for Disease Control, the virus was given this name because of the crown-shaped spikes on its surface. How can you not see that God is allowing this?  He is in total control.

For over 18 years I have been teaching a Bible study in my home. We have become a core group of women who have grown together and know how to battle. Every night for the past two weeks we pray via FaceTime. We are doing our part for our families and friends and even strangers are added to our list. Together we are making a difference in our community, along with millions of others doing the same: praying.  We pray the Rosary with intention; we offer each decade for the  special needs of others. I also continue to include my grandchildren every day at 3 o’clock in the Divine Mercy Chaplet. They all know the response, “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world.” May they forever keep this prayer in their hearts.

Bible Facts

The following are Bible Facts from Brandon Gailee, a marketing firm:

  • The Bible is not included in the bestsellers list because it would always be on top;
  • 168,000 Bibles are sold or given to others on a daily basis in the United States;
  • 20 million Bibles are sold annually in the United States;
  • The percentage of Americans who own at least one Bible, whether it was given to them or; purchased, is 92%. Two-thirds of the owners, regardless of religious affiliation, say the Bible holds the meaning of life;
  • The average American Christian owns nine Bibles and wants to purchase more. (I own over a dozen)
    A girl can’t have too many Bibles

 

We are a nation whose foundation was based on One Sovereign God. America is suffering because we have lost sight of what this represents. Our nation was built on trusting God, yet some fight for what is ungodly and immoral. Hollywood will one day answer for their wayward ways, and how they have led many astray. We are to be united, but when Christians are subjected to lies and immoral acts, we pray. We are not in the front lines for the world to see because we are at the foot of the Cross, praying for God to intervene for those who are on the road to perdition. Do these famous or, to me, infamous people not see what is going on right before their eyes? Their hateful Tweets continue to poison the Internet. Any hateful statement made toward another human being is a personal attack against God because we are all his children. I have my personal opinions, but I would never insult anyone publicly; I share with good friends and pray for those people. God always shows me the errors of my way. We are just visitors and soon we will all meet our Maker. We will all be judged for every word that passes through our mouths. To those haters in Hollywood, you need to leave the judging to God, because you will be judged harshly for what you have spread. Words once written can never be erased, but you can still repent because we serve a merciful God. The mean-spirited media will continue to lose revenue for reporting half-truths. To God, a half-truth is still a lie. Let us all pray for this to finally end so we can get our lives back to some type of normality.

Matthew 12:36 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak.

 

Jesus and the Pharisees

Do you remember the story in the
Gospel of  Mark Chapter 12? The Pharisees and Herodians tried to trapped Jesus in his speech with who to the pay census tax. Jesus’ reply was poetic:

Mark 12:16-17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

16 They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him.

Every minted currency in the United States of America is inscribed with “In God We Trust.”

All of our American currency has the inscription “In God We Trust.” So we pay to God what belongs to God’s in this country! You can’t miss the inscription, it’s in the middle of every bill!

Back to Normal

The family picnic from a distance

I miss driving my car. I want to go to the grocery store and hand pick the fruits and vegetables, I want to go to Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack, I want my old life back. But mostly what I want is to be with my family and attend daily Mass.

 

Lucas and Jacob

Three times a week it was my responsibility to pick up my grandsons from school. We had our routine down to a science. Drive to get a snack or lunch, then to their home, where the pets were eagerly waiting to pounce all over us. The boys would pretend to do their homework while I took a quick catnap. As much as I tried to rest, either their dog or cat was all over me. Paco, the dog, would always know exactly where I was going to land on the couch, and would inadvertently jump in the exact spot I was going to rest my head. From there we would drive to my house.  I complained on a daily basis, so when Sonja arrived to pick up her tribe, I would rush them through dinner and almost kick them in the butt as they were leaving. Oh how I regret doing this!

Maddie and Wil

The call would always come from our son Mikos. “Hey mom, Jenny and I have been invited to Vegas. It’s a plus-one business trip, I was wondering if you could watch the kids?” My reply was always the same, “Of course!” But when I hung up the phone, I’d tell Mike not to make any plans because I was going to need help. These kids are on several teams, and only God can really figure out their schedules. Wil sometimes had basketball games as late as 9:00 pm, and Maddie had soccer games as far  Timbuktu. Aside from that, their dog Rosie is high-maintenance, God forbid she stay outside for five minutes. Oh, and she needs to be walked regularly. She’s a sweet golden retriever but she lives on our couch or on our laps. My other grandkids seem to feel left out when Maddie and Wil are over, so they plan a sleepover. All this creates an even bigger mess. Mike excuses himself early and goes to bed,  leaving me to fend for myself. With all the complaining that spews from my mouth, I wish we were having a sleepover tonight. Oh, and please bring both dogs! I will feed my grandchildren all the candy I can get ahold of and put up with the crazy sugar rushes and fights, and the dogs’ wrestling matches. The dogs’ jumping from the recliner to the couch and landing on my lap would be fine as well.

 

You can’t keep a good man down (I took these pictures without Mike’s permission)

 

A man and his machine

Mike

I married a tall, silent guy. Mike is an introvert. He knows when to speak because he processes what he is going to say before he opens his mouth. Mike works from home; by that I mean he is taking care of business. On weekends Mike has not stopped doing things around the house. He has painted the living room and downstairs bathroom, and is now prepping one of the upstairs bathrooms. We are out of paint but that didn’t hinder his plans; he ordered more online. Over the weekend he took on the task of trimming the hedge growing on the brick wall. I liked when he traveled — more time for me to relax. If I felt like it, I’d make my bed; I never put my clothes away either. Now I have to not only make the bed but the entire house has to be cleaned. I can put up with this routine, but the war movies are too much for me. Mike always gets to select what we watch on TV. If I make a suggestion, it’s always, “We’ll watch it for 15 minutes, and if neither of us likes it, we’ll stop and find something else.” Even with this I have to pray,”Please God, anything but Gladiator, Braveheart or Diners, Dive-in and Dives!”

My Prayer: Dear God, we are all at Your disposal. We need Your comfort and direction more than ever. Heal Your land Lord, and make us whole again. We wait for Your Hand to move upon this situation. Protect us and our loved ones. Amen.

 

 
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Dear People

Yesterday, as I was working on a lighthearted story for next weeks Blog, the Lord gave me a poem.

 

Dear People

Dear people, you have transgressed

Dear people, all I want to do is bless

Dear people, you are a mess

Dear people, this is why I’m I giving you this test

How you pass for this life is your choice,

But will you now listen and hear My Voice?

Dear people, this is not a time for altercation

But rather a time to give in to my purgation

I’m shaking the ground, rearranging the landscape

You can’t go anywhere, there is no escape

Dear people, I leave you with one thing, your free will

Dear people, what will you decide?

I pleaded and I cried, but this time you must fix the great divide

Dear people, I created the universe

Dear people, My Word to you is be immersed.

 

© Lynda Ciriza

 

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It’s 3 o’clock, Time to Pray

Chapel of the miraculous image of the Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina Krakow, Poland

Father Pat and I Krakow, Poland

I go to  bed every night with anxiety. I make the Sign of the Cross, followed by a big sigh, not caring that the sound will wake Mike. We need each other’s encouragement. He talks, and just hearing his voice gives me comfort. Last night I asked him, “If I got the virus, do you think I would survive?” He gently answers exactly what I wanted to hear. These morbid conversations are real, and we are all thinking and wondering the “what-ifs.” But I also see the big picture and know that God is in control. Yes, the human side of me questions why, but I know full well the God that I serve. Throughout the night when I pray, the Lord shows me the faces of family and friends and I bombard the heavens on their behalf. It’s a time of great travailing, and I do it until my mind finally gives in to much-needed rest. Whether we like it or not, we are all living a cloistered life; I choose to use this time to pray.

The Up Side of the Virus

In the twenty years as head of a ministry to the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles, I, along with others, have prayed for the displaced to find shelter. Praise be to God, many of homeless are being sheltered in California. It took this virus to finally send immediate help to them. We are grateful to God for this quick action from our government. You see, we always had the answer to this dilemma, but God had to make the move for us.

The Diary and the Divine Mercy image

All of the children are home safe. Who will dare take a gun to them in empty school buildings? No more gun shootings in schools! The children are not subjected to the controversial sex education that the state is trying to indoctrinate with them either. We thank God for this as well. He is moving in our midst, and though we cannot see Him, He is present.

 

The Diary

Years ago I purchased “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Diary of St. Faustina. I have read some passages of the 700-page diary over and over again, receiving new revelations each time. No, this is not the Bible, but they are Jesus’ words spoken to St. Faustina. (Diary, 1487)

Jesus: “Tell me all, My child, hide nothing from Me, because My loving Heart, the Heart of your Best Friend, is listening to you.” 

These word spoken to St. Faustina are also spoken to us, and at this time we need all the reassurance we can get. Jesus is with us every step of the way! (Diary, 1486)

Jesus: My child, do not be discouraged. I know your boundless trust in Me: I know you are aware of My Goodness and mercy. Let us talk in detail about everything that weighs so heavily upon your heart. (Diary 1487) 

Jesus: Talk to Me simply, as a friend to a friend. Tell Me now, My child, what hinders you from advancing in holiness?

I cherish these words because I know without a doubt that I can go to our Lord and speak to Him as I would a friend. Jesus is the Friend we all long for. He is the voice to the fatherless Who embraces us with mercy. He is the voice of a Friend who will never depart from us. I understand this with all the depth of my soul because I want to feel this closeness to our Lord. I want others to understand the peace that comes with this. Even through this unknown virus, no one person can give us the right answers; but God can reassure us of His Divine Mercy, and that is all we can cling too.

My Connection with St. Faustina

On April 20, 2000, I was in Rome. We traveled to the Holy Land for twelve days, and from there we visited Turin. Mike was waiting for us in Turin. This was the year that the Holy Shroud was venerated and an exact replica was exposed at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. To this day the original Shroud is in the basement of this church. From there via bus we made our way throughout Northern Italy, one the most picturesque parts of this country. Our tour bus meandered through what seemed to be hundreds of tunnels, with the majestic Mediterranean as our guide. When we arrived in Rome, we had tickets for the audience with Pope John Paul II. No one in our group was aware of the Canonization of St. Faustina on the day of the visit. In all honesty, I had never heard of her. I  remembered a picture of St. Faustina being rolled down from one of the massive windows of St. Peter’s, and being part of a loud, cheering crowd when her sainthood was announced. It would take me another five years to visit Poland and to fully understand the impact that she has had on millions of lives, mine included. This trip would prove to be one of the most eventful for Mike and me because at the same time we renewed our wedding vows at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.

Divine Mercy

St. Faustina was seven years old when Jesus first called her. At the age of fifteen she had joined the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw. To the world she was an uneducated, normal individual, but to God she was singled out to be Apostle of Divine Mercy. Jesus asked St. Faustina to make an image as He appeared in her vision. St. Faustina commissioned an artist to draw a picture of Jesus the Divine Mercy. On the bottom of the painting are the words “Jezu Ufam Tobie,” which translates “Jesus I trust in You.” (Diary 299) Jesus: The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale rays stand for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red rays stand for the Blood which is the life of souls…These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall to not lay hold of him. I desire that the first Sunday after  Easter be the Feast of Mercy. 

Why we pray at 3 o’clock

We pray at 3 o’clock because our Lord died on the Cross at this hour; this is the hour Divine Mercy. At that hour the earth shook, and the sky gave way to darkness for three hours! We must remember what He sacrificed for us! We must keep must in mind his suffering on Cross so that we never forget what He went through for us! Yes, the crucified Christ wants this image to remain in our hearts so when we gaze upon the Crucifix we will  feel the love He has for us, so we get convicted if we are not serving Him the way we should. You will never experience the fullness of His love until you understand this mystery.

Matthew 27:45-46 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Death of Jesus. 45 From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:51 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

51 And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.The earth quaked, rocks were split,

(Diary 1572) Jesus: I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in my mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke  its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy will open wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world  –  mercy triumphed over justice.

May His Divine Mercy be with you. If you have asked me to pray for you, please know that my obedience is to the Lord. I will continue to intercede on your behalf until the Lord releases me from my prayer obligation.

 

 

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