Lent- 40 Days in the Desert – Are we Ready?

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray...

Lent is speedily approaching, and we have been given firm and clear direction of the Mother of God of what needs to be done this Lenten season. That is to work on our conversion for a new growth to spring forth in our hearts; (from her message of 2/25/11) and with fasting and prayer to strengthen our spirits to be able to do what she is asking of us in our conversion, so that we can live as her apostles of love.

There have been a few inquiries made to me about the spiritual practices that I live and what we live in our family together to help us grow in holiness. I am going to share some of the things that we will be doing as a family in later posts.

I have been getting inspirations of spiritual exercises to work on in my own conversion for the coming weeks of the Lenten season. God bless my family, as they usually work these exercises with me, and we are able to faith share in our evening prayer time and grow together in faith.

These will be exercises to use every day, based on daily scripture readings as we use them as the Word of God speaking to us directly to our hearts; along with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We will also incorporate the messages of our Lady, and some reflections from the saints. Through them it will be easy to see how walking with Our Lady and her Son, will be the quickest and fasted way out of the desert and defeating areas of sin in us.

We strongly recommend to frequent the sacrament of reconciliation to obtain the sacramental grace of Jesus to conquer and win small victories, pecking away at the vices and sin within.

This will be used on a daily basis during the 40 days of Lent, as the stones needed to fight the big Goliath sin in our hearts.

I hope you will join us on this journey together in these coming forty days, and maybe even dialog and faith share your experiences through these exercises as we get them posted. Let us know how you are doing, and we can all pray for each other.

This is a time to experience the love of God, and our opportunity to be reconciled with Him in the areas He desires to purge in us.

We are not leading ourselves, but the Holy Spirit will lead us into the desert as He did with Jesus. (Luke 4:1-2)

We will be tried and reproved to help make us stronger to defeat the sin in ourselves, just as the Lord was tempted in His weak moments. There is nothing to fear, for God will be our strength and Our Lady is with us every step of the way as she was with her Son on the way of the Cross. You will be able to experience the Lord in a way you did not know could be possible. Do not take your eyes off of Jesus or Mary; this is where you will draw your strength, and where you will find countless oasis of peace to quench your thirst.

Let us hold each other up, and any trials we may encounter, let us offer them up for each other to help us all make the Passover into the resurrection of a new way of life with God!

Hear the encouraging words of Our Lady as we begin to embark on this journey…

“Dear children! Also today, I call you to open yourselves to prayer. Especially now, in this time of grace, open your hearts little children and express your love to the Crucified. Only in this way will you discover peace, and prayer will begin to flow from your heart into the world. Be an example little children, and an incentive for the good. I am close to you and I love you all. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (3/25/04)

OPENING REFLECTION:

As we begin to contemplate with the Lord the areas that we will be battling in ourselves, I ask that you give some thought to the following.

I heard an awesome homily this morning about the need for fasting and prayer. It was a recording from a former priest who has since passed away. And the way he spoke about the times we are in, it was like the light bulb just clicked for me, and I said to myself, ‘that makes perfect sense…”

I hope I can do it justice and articulate what this beautiful priest said.

The homily was from the scripture in Luke’s gospel chapter 11:23-26 which says, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. When an unclean spirit has gone out of a man he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it swept and put into order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

The priest began to explain that there are now in the world today perfect possessions. There are people who willingly and knowingly choose satan and evil, and will these spirits into their being. Sick to imagine, but this is a fact.

But the worst situation right now for the Church is those baptized Christians, who are not living their baptismal promises. Keep in mind, that the rite of Baptism is an exorcism rite in the Catholic Church. For this purpose we are going to talk about the baptized Christian who has fallen from faith, and these of the ones Our Lady is sad about as she just spoke on 3/2/11.

Because of their willingness to reject their faith and their God by choosing worldly things and human ways, from their original state as baptized into the life of Christ, their current state of their soul is worst than their former state says this priest. In other words, they are willfully permitting evil spirits to enter their minds and hearts, because of their way of life and rejecting their baptismal life in Christ from the beginning.

In this scripture quoted, Jesus spoke of seven other spirits more evil than the former way which enter the man who is in this state. It could be that these seven spirits are seven capital sins, which most often are usually behind the driving force of all inherited sin in men from the beginning, but in a worst condition in the human person that rejects their baptismal promises.

This priest said, that any focus in ministry today, should be directed specifically at spiritual warfare ministry. And the way to defeat this battle is through fasting and prayer… “certain spirits only come out through fasting and prayer…” said Jesus to his apostles. And it is the same that Our Lady is saying to her apostles.

Countless times in sacred scripture the Lord had called the people to proclaim a fast. Armies fasted before the entered into battle with the enemy. And of course what we practice is for this Lenten season celebrating the forty days of Jesus in the desert who fasted and prayed to strengthen Him for His public mission.

Jesus was going to contend with not only sin in the desert, but He would come face to face with the many faces of satan and evil in His public mission. Empowered and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, He cast out evil, and His apostles did the same in His name throughout the book of Acts, throughout all of the Church fathers accounts.

Today is not any different. Only in this time of grace and mercy today, Jesus wants to encounter every individual heart. This battleground is in every human person in one way or another. It is time to make more room for Jesus to gain territory in the heart so He can conquer the evil and sin in us. There is nobody on this earth that is an exception. It does not matter how far advanced you may think of yourself as one growing in grace…you are already operating in your pride if you think so.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says this (paraphrase), “Jesus’ call to conversion and penance is like the prophets before Him, does not aim at the outward signs like the sackcloth and ashes, fasting and mortification; but of the conversion of the heart, interior conversion….interior conversion is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart and an end to sin turning away from evil with hatred for the sin we have committed; the human heart is hardened and God wants to give a new heart… (CCC 1430-32)

Can men do horrible things? Absolutely!

Let’s look at the baptized person who is under the influence of evil and habitual sin for example, steeped in darkness, doing evil deeds that is incomprehensible to themselves and to other human beings. They are driven by evil, and building evil upon evil, plagued, bound and chained to the evil, not knowing how to conquer it.

These are some of the major sins of the world today that are committed against the human body, and this list is not all inclusive; pornography, contraception, or other forms of sterilization, homosexuality, concentration camps (with wars); biotechnology, adultery (post marital sex outside of marriage, fornication (pre-marital sex); prostitutions, abortion, terrorist attacks such as blowing up the human body or directed at other human beings; cloning, experimentation on human beings, abuses, masturbation, and exploitation or immodest effects of the media that promotes such things.

We are so ingrained in these vices no one gives it any thought that it these are grave and moral offenses against God and His Commandments. We have made these practices a way of life which is even worst.

In both the gospel of Matthew and Luke, the scripture says, “…your eye is the light lamp of the body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light, but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness, therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright as when a lamp with its rays gives you light…” (Luke 11)

What are the things we are viewing most in our every day life?

The eyes are the window through to the soul. If we are viewing things on a regular basis filled with filth and disgust and all kinds of darkness, the mind and the heart are being filled with such darkness; which then bring thoughts to the conscience and sub-conscience evil thoughts, which are eventually acted out upon.

Children are at great risk today, because of the forms of media and entertainment they are exposed to, and parents are allowing them to view such things, thinking nothing of it. Parents are responsible for guarding and protecting the purity and innocence of their children and not to expose them to such darkness. Is it no wonder Our Lady says that parents are teaching their children the “wrong way” and leading them to perdition?

It all needs to be cut off. Adults aren’t any stronger in the spirit and willfully allow these vices through media to enter the homes. And then they wonder why their lives have become such upheaval and such a mess.

The human race is in a need of a new baptism of the Holy Spirit. A new Pentacost; or should I say a double dose of the Holy Ghost!

Our Lady said in January 2011 that the Holy Spirit is a work in the world through those who have said yes to her. The Holy Spirit is going to kick up the dust so to say, and begin to stir up a lot of things inside the human heart, bringing to light what must go!

As the great prophet St. John the Baptist said, “I must decrease, so that he may increase in me. Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his path…” Where ever you find Our Lady, you will find the Holy Spirit. And when the great spouse of the Mother of God are united in one, Jesus Christ will be made incarnate in the flesh in your human body. Our Lady is determined to make it so, that Jesus become visible in you.

Christians must live their baptismal promises, that is to REJECT satan, vice and sin and all evil. And take up prayer, fasting and renunciation to defeat and conquer all darkness.
Our Lady often calls us to fasting with the heart. This could be in way of behavior and/ or attitudes, such as works of charity or mercy done in love…FIRST IN THE HOME
and then out to others. Yes husbands and wives, this means with your spouses first!

Charity begins in the home, and needs to be modeled for your children as much.

Consecrate yourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus daily. The St. Louis deMonfort total consecration prayer and formula is a great way to learn how to renounce sin.

For this purpose, we will close at this time, and will continue in other postings for further reflections. And look forward to the upcoming spiritual exercises for the Lenten practices coming soon.

“…this rather is the fasting that I wish; release those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting the oppressed free, breaking every yoke, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall be quickly healed. Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call the Lord and He will answer you. You will cry for help and He will say, ‘here I am!’” (Isaiah 58:6-9)

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