Week 1 – Lenten Exercise; Setting out on the Journey

This is my beloeved Son in whom I am well pleased...

FORTY DAYS IN THE DESERT

Try to Begin on Ash Wednesday. This exercise will continue through the GREAT FEAST OF DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY!

Do not begin this exercise without the help of the Holy Spirit. Pray every day for the Holy Spirit to come with His gifts, especially for the Spirit of Truth, that the Word spoken is taken into the heart in fullness of truth.

We will post these exercises week by week.

Remember we are walking with Jesus and Mary in the desert and with several hundred others who are joining us. You are not alone.

Each day you will find short scriptures to reflect with, along with the words of Jesus through Divine Mercy and Our Lady. Use these reflections as if both Jesus and Mary are speaking to you in the present moment as you would with Sacred Scripture.

It is best to record and dialog with the Lord and/or Blessed Mother with each reflection and scripture. And review at the end of the week what has come out of your thoughts and your heart. Begin to focus on areas that are repeated often, or things the Lord may reveal about you, or himself. God always speaks in repetition when He is conveying His Word, and what He desires to accomplish.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph(s) are provided for your reference to seek a deeper understanding of the faith and can be used at any time during this week.

This exercise may also be put to use with your family prayer and/or prayer groups. A member of the family or prayer group may keep a log of the family’s sharing time with the reflections and the scriptures given. This is an excellent way to see how the Holy Spirit is moving in your domestic church or within your parish.

Please remember, we are all on this journey together in this walk of faith with God. Feel free to share your experience through these exercises on this post, so that others can see that they are not alone on this journey through the desert. You may experience things or hear a Word from God that may inspire another soul. As the psalmist says, “Encourage each other daily while it is still today…

Tips to help you in your journey when you thirst through the desert….

Keep a balanced diet each day of your Lenten sacrficies and time with God. No time given to God is ever wasted, even if it were just for a few moments of the day. The Lord can multiply the grace of time as He desire for you.

In your fasting and penances, make note of your successes and failures as you see yourself in growth with the Spirit. It will help encourage you when the journey in the desert feels taxing and your are quenched with thirst. Let God love you as the gift you are!

Most important make time for Eucharistic Adoration a minimum of 1 hour a week; more if possible; and holy mass daily if possible as your schedule permits. Frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as you feel called…there is no limit to God’s Mercy for a soul that is open to His mercy.

Week 1 – Setting out on the Journey

Passing through Your Baptismal Gifts – CCC 538-550

This week pray for the gifts of your baptismal graces to be renewed in your heart, and to experience the love of God for you.

Week 1 – Daily Meditation:

“Dear children! Today I call you to unite with Jesus in prayer. Open your heart to Him and give Him everything that is in it; joy, sorrows, and illnesses. May this be a time of grace for you. Pray, little children, and may every moment belong to Jesus. I am with you and I intercede for you. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (3/25/02)

Day 1

“…today again I invite you to pray, so that through prayer, fasting and small sacrifices you may prepare yourself for the coming of Jesus…” (11/25/96)

“My daughter, be always like a little child toward those who represent Me, otherwise you will not benefit from the graces I bestow on you through them.” (Diary 1260)

Matt. 13:17, 1 Cor. 6:19, Gal. 4:6, John 17:22-23, 1 Pet. 1:3

Day 2

“…May this time, little children be a time of grace for you. Use every moment and do good for only in this way will you feel the birth of Jesus in your hearts…” (11/25/96)

“…You see my daughter that my will must be done and that which I had promised you, I shall do. Through him I spread comfort to suffering and careworn souls. Through him it pleased me to proclaim the worship of my mercy. And through this work of mercy more souls will come close to me than otherwise would have even if he had kept giving absolution day and night for the rest of his life, because by so doing he would have labored only for as long as he lived; whereas, thanks to this work of mercy, he will be laboring till the end of the world…” (Diary 1256)

Luke 11:2-4, Matt. 18:3, Rom. 5:2-5, Col. 1:24-27

Day 3

“…If with your life you give an example and become a sign of God’s love, joy will prevail in the hearts of men. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (11/25/96)

“…I desire to unite myself with human souls: My greatest delight is to unite Myself with souls…” (Diary 1385)

1 Peter 3:15-17, Ps. 119:49, Ps. 119:81, Matt. 17:5, John 6:63-69

Day 4

“Dear children! Today I am with you in a special way, holding little Jesus in my lap and I invite you, little children to open yourselves to His call. He calls you to joy. Little children, joyfully live the messages of the Gospel, which I am repeating in the time since I am with you…” (12/25/96)

“…Know my daughter, that when I come to a human heart in holy Communion, my hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay any attention to me; they leave me to myself and busy themselves with other things. Oh how sad I am that souls do not recognize Love! They treat me like a dead object…” (Diary 1385)

John 15:9-10, John 16:13, Eph. 1:16-18, John 8:27-29, John 7:37-39

Day 5

“…Little children, I am your Mother and I desire to reveal to you the God of love and the God of peace. I do not desire for your life to be in sadness but that it be realized in joy for eternity, according to the Gospel. Only in this way will your life have meaning. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (12/25/96)

“…as you are united with me in life, so will you be united at the moment of death…” (Diary 1552)

Ex. 34:29-30, John 10:29-30, Matt. 5:3-9, Rom. 12:9-18

Day 6

“Today in a special way, I invite you to take the cross in the hands and to meditate on the wounds of Jesus. Ask of Jesus to heal your wounds, which you dear children during your life sustained because of your sins or the sins of your parents. Only in this way, dear children will you understand that the world is in need of healing of faith in God the Creator. By Jesus’ passion and death on the cross, you will understand that only through prayer you too can become true apostles of faith, when in simplicity and pray, you live faith which is a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (3/25/97)

“Write down everything that occurs to you regarding my goodness…” (Diary 1605)

Phil. 4:11-14, 1 John 3:2, Isaiah 43:1-4, Jer. 29:11-13, Matt. 28:19-20

Day 7 Review

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Prepare this Lent to defeat Sin

My soul longs for thee my God...

God the Father said to St. Catherine of Sienna, “Dost thou not know dear daughter that all the suffering which the soul endures or can endure in this life are insufficient to punish one smallest fault, because the offense being done to Me who am the infinite Good, calls for infinite satisfaction? However, I wish that though should know, that not all the pains that are given to men in this life are given as a punishment but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when he offends; though it is true that both the guilt and the penalty can be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is by true contrition, not through the finite pain endured but through the infinite desire; because God who is infinite wishes for infinite love and infinite grief…” (The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Sienna)

Can the human heart refrain from partaking in His pain of the savior crucified?

Can we avoid or resist from uniting our suffering with Jesus? We can try to avoid all we want, but suffering is going to come in our life.

According to the Father our suffering alone is of no avail, and is not sufficient to atone the offenses of sin that is committed to God eternal. He said that our suffering must be united with the eternal, that is the one whose suffering was the only acceptable sacrifice pleasing to the Father, the Son Jesus Christ crucified.

When I read these great words of wisdom spoken by the Father to his servant St. Catherine saying that “not all pains that are given to men in this life are given as punishment, but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when he offends…” I was led to the following scripture as St. Paul said;

“As to the extraordinary revelations in order that I might not become conceited I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of satan to beat me and keep me from getting proud. Three times I begged the Lord that this might leave me. He said to me, ‘my grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection.’ And so I willingly boast of my weakness instead that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

I gave great thought to these words, reflecting on the passion of Jesus, and with this great doctor of the Church St. Catherine of Sienna who suffered the stigmata; or the wounds of Christ in her body.

Be weary dear friends of those who boast in the gifts given from God as someone too special, and lifting and raising them to high esteem. No one could comprehend the workings of God in the human soul, and for what reason such extraordinary events come to certain souls.

Our Lady has said on many occasions when the visionaries of Mejugorje have asked, why did she come to them. Her response alone is filled with wisdom as she said, “she does not always choose the best.” It is the very least likely souls that God will choose, which often is through children who are innocent before becoming too seasoned and tainted by the world.

So let’s understand in truth that many would think of these extraordinary events as one who has become special and chosen in the eyes of God…yes this it true. But to remind the reader, if one has been given much, much is expected, and this soul is called to severe judgment if the grace given is not upheld in humility.

But what about to the one who bears the wounds of Christ in the body?

Has anyone ever given thought to why the Lord has permitted such afflictions on the body of a particular soul? Yes, of course for the Lord to manifest His power, but satan can also deceive in this extraordinary event as well. So we have to think more with great prudence in such suffering.

St. Catherine asked the Lord to suffer for the sins of humanity yes, but in order for her not to boast in her heroic deed, she suffered affliction in many ways to keep her humble. In reality when someone is in agony, it is hard to be so proud in these moments. It is a humble and contrite heart that pleases the Lord.

As I reflect on this mystery in my own life, and looking at a quick glimpse of my life review and the experiences I have encountered, I am in awe for I recognize the inflated pride in my own soul, knowing that this pride, my stubbornness, my selfishness had to go at whatever cost for the sake of saving my soul.

My friends, the battle was and is still fierce within me. The words of St. Paul who said, “he learned obedience through what he suffered…” rings oh so true to the depth of this soul, this one who is speaking to you. So much so, in the spirit of Fear of the Lord, that is the fear of offending my God, I shrink at the thought of getting a divine spanking from God for my behavior and my own actions when I disobey. I am the worst of the sinners.

When you have experienced the Love of God in truth, and see who you are in fullness of truth from the beginning of your existence through today, that is I mean by saying, where I was at one time in my life, in wasting my human life, to passing through the fiery furnace and coming out as gold being refined in the fire, that no one could comprehend the depth and the length and the breathe of God which passes through the human soul. And I know after 24 years of working on my conversion, I am not done yet!

Our Lady has given me this message for my personal life on many occasions. It has come at the height of the greatest trials in my life. She said,

“Dear children, today I am calling you to the love which is loyal and pleasing to God. Little children, love bears everything bitter and difficult for the sake of Jesus Who is love. Therefore, dear children, pray God to come to your aid, not however according to your desires but according to His love. Surrender yourselves to God so that He may heal you, console you, and forgive everything inside you which is a hindrance on the way of love. Dear children, glorify God with the canticle of love so that God’s love may be able to grow in you day by day to its fullness. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (6/25/88)

Again dear friends united with Our Lady, I ask you to again take the crucifix in your hands and meditate on the wounds of Jesus. Here in this way you are now looking at the love that is loyal and pleasing to God.

Look at Jesus crucified Who in His love bears everything for you. The suffering and death of Jesus was most bitter, most loathful, most painful, in agonizing grief, and He endured it with great difficulty for yours and my sake. This is love my friends. There is no greater love that ever came to mankind than Divine Love.

I recently wrote that Our Lady is leading us to her Son by the way of the Cross. Here we are on the cusp of Lent, with Ash Wednesday just around the corner.

How are you preparing yourself for this coming Lent?

Are you asking Jesus what sin He wants to put to death in you?

You will need to spend the time in the desert facing this sin that He wants to defeat in you. And you will be tempted and tried in many ways and wrestle with it in the darkest moments, to put it to the sword, because the enemy has the stronghold on you in this sin, and it will not let it go without a fight in you. It will be your will against God’s will for you.

Our Lady says in this message…

“…Therefore, dear children, pray God to come to your aid, not however according to your desires but according to His love. Surrender yourselves to God so that He may heal you, console you, and forgive everything inside you which is a hindrance on the way of love…”

In these moments, call out to God as you ask in the Lord’s prayer, ‘lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil…’ Beg the Father to come in the way He desires for you, for He knows what is best for you, according to the love He has for you. Take the correction with joy, knowing what affliction He imposes on you is for your own good, and surrender as Our Lady and Jesus did saying, “thy will be done in me!”

This way, even in the midst of the pain, God will either heal you, console you, and forgive you for every darkness inside of you that blocks you from loving in perfect love. The trial is worst when we suffer alone, and we find ourselves locked up in our own self pity and pride, and then satan begins to work on us, as we find ourselves blaming others for our misery.

Our Lady says accept everything that comes from God with love. Here is where the grace will come. And the burden you carry will be lighter.

Our Lady then says to do as she did with St. Joseph and the apostles,

“….Dear children, glorify God with the canticle of love so that God’s love may be able to grow in you day by day to its fullness…”

Sing! Rejoice in your suffering and in your weakness. Joy is the sign of God’s presence in the soul. Sing as she sang her canticle of love in her Magnificat, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!!!” Give all glory to God and thank HIM.

You are going through the fire because the Lord wills the life of your soul! For no other reason, but to share in the divine life with Him, and come to a deeper knowledge of His omnipotence. Your consolation is the taste of heaven and a greater love and appreciation for the profoundness of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ crucified.

Do not rely on your feelings in the desert says the Lord to St. Faustina. Your feelings are not in your control, and are powered by your human emotions.

How many times I have heard, “I FEEL CALLED to such and such…” Life with God is not based on feelings, but it is the desire of the eternal who moves the heart to act in such a way as it does.

TEST EVERYTHING, and do not be deceived by false human consolations that only feed to your pride all the more.

Thy Kingdom come we pray! Pray for the triumphant victory of Jesus in you. Surrender to Him that He may triumph in your heart and in the hearts of those surrounding you! Surrender and lay down your sin in humble submission to the King, and pay Him homage that is due to a righteous King and defeat satan’s angel in your sin so that it has no more power over you.

May the eyes of your heart be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you to and what are the riches of His glory in His saints, to come to know His immeasurable power and His greatness for those of us who believe according to the works of His great might, for remembering that He said, “I will draw all men to myself…” (Eph. 1)

Jesus will draw all men to Himself. It is not men who draw men to themselves in the name of the Lord. These are those who are seeking the light for themsleves and blinded by their own light, lost in their imaginations and sin. Only the Lord will lead us to the cross for His glory, not ours. Keep your pride in check my friends, and seek no honor from men, but let your merit be only known by the Almight above.

We are all united as one body suffering with the One Lord Jesus Christ, as one Church, one God, one faith, one truth. May we all remain united in prayer for each other, and give Him the absolute glory due to Him!

Ave Maria!

Build a New Foundation on Rock….”Holy Family Workshop, Tools for Today’s Marriage and Family, Live the Message of Medjugorje…”

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