Archive for Author David Leis

The Calling

Sinner or saint, He calls each soul into intimate dialogue with Him because His love cannot be contained nor constrained any longer as He looks upon the condition of the world and the souls being lost to eternal damnation.  Torrents of graces from Heaven are being poured out onto the world in ways never seen before as He urges His children to turn to Him!  Do not fall into Satan’s trap of judging where you are at the moment. It is irrelevant to a dialogue of the heart with your Creator who wants so badly to dialogue with you! Whatever our natures are, our dispositions are, He will adapt His dialogue to us in order to most effectively communicate with us, just as we adapt ourselves depending on circumstances and who we are talking to.

A Deeper Calling

Jesus, You want us to know Your Presence especially in the tabernacle, but also in the world as never before. We see Your fulfillment of that as we look around us and see Your hand at work in Your people.

You say You are doing something completely new. Are we open to it? Or do we prejudge this work and Your words to us? Are we so proud and so wise that we trust our judgment over Your new way of intervention in the world? Was that not the sin of those who persecuted the prophets, Jesus and his Apostles and disciples throughout the Bible?

Lord, open our minds and hearts to Your Spirit!  Open our minds and fill our hearts each day, and each moment in each day to the new ways You mean to intervene in our lives and in the lives of others through us as we open our hearts to You and to them in love!

You want to teach us things that until now, in this time were the secrets of heaven?!  But how can we – or our humanity receive such a gift?  Only with Your grace, my Jesus!  Otherwise the knowledge of heaven’s secrets would be wasted.

Prepare our souls for such a precious gift, Lord, for we cannot hope to contain what You desire to teach us – those things that before now You waited until a soul reached heaven to reveal.  There must have been a reason for You to not reveal heaven’s secrets to mortals until now, therefore, our souls could not possibly have been ready for it without special grace from You!  Open our hearts, Lord!  Fill them with Your grace!

The Second Coming of Jesus

Everyone who is Christian and even those who are not know the prophecy that Jesus will return in glory.  Actually, I believe He is in the process of returning even now, at this moment in time.  You heard that right.  The Second Coming will not be just a onetime event, which of course it will be the greatest of events since the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Jesus is in the process of returning now.  He is coming now, ever so lovingly, but ever so urgently! You need not wait, wondering when He will come again.  I believe that He is in the process of returning now! In some extraordinary ways!

Consider for a moment the movement of a great general who is intent on recapturing lost territory.  He sends in the advance troops to prepare the way ahead of him and his army.  Jesus has not neglected the world until his eventual return in triumph.  He has sent many a prophet ahead of him, from the saints to Billy Graham to Martin Luther King to Mother Teresa to the Pope and on and on.  He has even allowed apparitions by His Mother to warn us like those of Fatima and Lourdes.

And now He is sending his lay apostles into the world ahead of his final appearance in an unprecedented manner. But, in these times, He is in the process of coming in a much more profound and personal way as He is coming through His very Presence.

Asceticism and Spiritual Resilience

An element of spiritual resilience is the practice of asceticism.  A quick definition: the abstinence from worldly pleasures or natural inclinations of the nature for the pursuit of spiritual growth. Those asceticisms most often involve some sort of restraint with respect to the mind, emotions, senses or body.  Asceticism has a very long history in the Church and in Jewish practices, the practice of self-disciplines or denials to gain mastery over the weaknesses of the flesh. Fasting has always been the most prominent form of ascetic practice, and in broad terms, one can fast with respect to any of the previously listed areas of restraint.

With regard to resilience, the practice of asceticism involves learning to deny ourselves the natural reactions that accompany adversity. A much larger discussion of the practice of asceticism in the development of the spiritual life of a Christian is needed but suffice it to say that any Christian serious about developing an active spiritual life should be practicing some form of asceticism on an ongoing basis in their daily life.  It is critical to the development of spiritual muscle so that saying no to yourself and your desires, as normal and natural as they are, becomes ingrained and can be exercised in times of temptation.

One more aspect of asceticism: when you deny yourself a normal and natural response or pleasure, it opens a place, or better, a space for God if you make the choice to replace the space with Him. When practiced in an ongoing form, like some small fast of some type, we make a continuous place for Him in our very nature, our flesh as it were.

Spiritual Resilience

For the Christian, spiritual resilience, which goes well beyond just being positive, is a core essential to living a life of faith.  One need only look at the early Christians undergoing persecution starting with St. Stephen to see shining examples of spiritual resilience. Living spiritual resilience, a life of faith, means living in love, with hope and trusting God is in complete control of every detail of our life, no matter what is happening.  It is our witness of resiliency in every circumstance of our life, particularly when it involves trial and suffering, that bears witness to our faith and attracts others to the faith in Jesus Christ.  It was the resilience of the Apostles and early Christians, especially under extreme persecution, which stood in sharp contrast against the prevailing culture which attracted multitudes to the faith. No ‘eye for an eye’ was evident in their resilience, rather hearts full of love and hope trusting Jesus was present and in control.  The martyrs of the church through the centuries have demonstrated extreme resilience as they went to their death joyfully, affirming their trust in God’s Providence.

Resilience requires a degree of dispassionate detachment from the current circumstances of our lives as we see it from the larger perspective.  In secular terms, we might say that we are looking at our life from the 40,000 foot level.  But in our relationship with Jesus, it is so much more than that, because in that relationship, as we hope to love as He loves, we can see as He sees.  And the way He sees our lives is with love and compassion. As we see with His perspective, it is much broader than just the current circumstance; He is seeing our situation as part of our journey toward Him and eternity.

But how do we as ordinary Christians develop spiritual resiliency that will carry us through any adversity?  After all, it is not just a choice and then we have the ability, rather, it is something that must be developed in our lives.

Neuroplasticity and Spiritual Resilience

Setting our hearts and minds on the goal of developing spiritual resiliency has to start from the place of poverty of spirit before God as His servants, because every good thing comes from the hand of God. (James 1:17) If we come to Him begging for a resilient spirit so as to serve Him and glorify Him in every moment and every circumstance of our lives, we are sure to please Him with that request.  How and when He chooses to grace us is His decision, but surely He will do it as He holds nothing back for those who pursue Him with singular focus.

The beautiful thing is we have very powerful principles of human development, particularly within the science of neuroplasticity, that give us insight into how in our humanity, we can cooperate more effectively with God’s grace.  We can reprogram our brains in very determined ways using sound principles we have outlined to develop greater resilience. If you want to explore neuroplasticity further, I would recommend “Rewire Your Brain” by John B. Arden, PhD.  It is a secular treatment of the science, but is well documented and certainly applicable to the spiritual life.

May your spiritual resilience grow within you so that the fire of God’s Love burns within you so brightly that it becomes a Blowtorch, apparent to everyone in every circumstance of your life, no matter how challenging it is!

The Importance of Social Connections for Spiritual Resilience

One of the core principles of Christianity is social connection.  For Christians, it is the community of believers we come together with to worship, praise, pray, serve and fellowship. “For where two or three are gathered in my name…” (Matthew 18:20) The science of neuroplasticity tells us that positive social connection is positive medicine for the brain and has profound effects mentally, psychologically, and physically. Positive social connection rewires the brain for joy and optimism.

Spiritual resiliency is perfected in a positive social connection of a community of believers. Note the focus on the essential element of ‘positive’ as there are unfortunately many examples of negative.  When the community of believers comes together in affirming ways to provide encouragement each of the elements of spiritual resilience are encouraged and reinforced. We do not proceed to the goal without the team, the community of believers who not only provide every type of human support, and role models, but also intercede to God for us to grow in our resilience.  What more could we want in our development of spiritual resilience than the community of believers in Jesus Christ to support us?

How to develop Spiritual Resilience

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The development of spiritual resilience begins and ends with a study, a contemplation, of the Passion of Jesus, beginning at the Last Supper and culminating in His crucifixion.   As a starting point, when we examine His example of resilience, we see His focus on doing the Will of the Father first and foremost and demonstrating His Love for us in doing that. Though suffering unspeakable brutality and falling under the weight of the Cross, His joy exemplified by His peace and serenity in the midst of suffering, remained.  “Weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children….,” He said to the women (Luke 23:28).  He is firmly established in the Father’s Will for Him, even in the midst of human failure as His humanity crashes to the dirt under the weight of the Cross and He is unable to get up under His own power, but must be lifted up by bystanders and helped to carry His Cross by Simon.

Throughout His Passion not once did he give in to the temptations of despair, anger, resentment, bitterness, revenge, hate, contempt or self-pity.  He remained steadfast in His love, mercy, and compassion, even for those torturing and killing Him.

So we study the example of Christ during His Passion as One we can admire and hope to emulate as our role model.  It is His example of resiliency which stands as the ultimate example resilience.

Mini Meditation on The Will

“The greatness of man lies in his will whereby he is able to give himself in love and attaining the pinnacles of heroism. It is on these resources that the irrepressible aspiration of man is founded: the aspiration toward truth – this is the life of intelligence – and the aspiration to freedom – this is the breath of the will. Here man acquires his great incomparable stature which no one can crush underfoot, which no one can mock, which no one can deprive him of.”

St. John Paul II

Mini Meditation on Joy

“To pass from sadness to joy requires a birth, a moment of travail and labor, for no one ever mounts to a higher life without death to the lower. Before such an ascent, conscience, for a moment, has a hard, stern work to do. Pearls come from the bottom of the water, gold from the depths of the earth, and the great joys in life are to be found in the recesses of a contrite, broken heart.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

“I dream of a “missionary option” capable of transforming everything

“I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self preservation.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

The Devastation of Secularization

“The process of secularization tends to reduce faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and the personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially among our young who are so vulnerable to change.”

Pope Francis

Introduction. THE POINT. 2nd Point

THE POINT: Jesus loves you beyond anything you have ever experienced or can imagine. (p.14)

Jesus:

2. Are you open to loving Me, Jesus, in totally new ways beyond the ways you have before now? Are you willing to let Me show you those new ways?

My response to Him:

Jesus, of course You know all things and You know that I am open to loving You in totally new ways!

But as soon as I say that, I am brought up short, because You also know I have hesitated before, fearful that You would ask too much of me. That You would ask more than I could give. Or more than I wanted to give is closer to it. I have been the one holding back in this relationship, not You. You have and continue to give Your all, and I give so little.

The ways I have loved You in the past have been so meager and poor, I am ashamed to even confront the reality of it.

What an absurd fear I harbored! How could I have been so fearful of the only Person who I can trust completely with my very life?

Show me how to love You in new ways each day! To consider it brings joy to my heart and serenity to my soul as I know You will not deny my request!

Show me yet today how to love You anew, Jesus, and again tomorrow! In my family, at work, particularly with those I do not easily get along with, with others I meet in my life on a daily basis. And then there are those I am repulsed by in the media whose lives are in direct opposition to mine, and those who are persecuting the Church, as well as those with whom we are at war.

Now the loving is getting much tougher, the demands of love more piercing as I try to have compassion for them. Help me to love as You love, Jesus and not so selfishly as is my tendency. Help me to love generously and mercifully as You do.

May the flame of love I have for You in my heart be turned into a Blowtorch, that others may see it and come to know You!

 

Introduction. THE POINT. 1st Point.

THE POINT: Jesus loves you beyond anything you have ever experienced or can imagine. (p.14)

Jesus:

1. Are you truly open to being loved by Me, Jesus, in a totally new way, unlike anything you have ever experienced from Me in the past? How do you imagine that will be?

My response to Him:

You know I am open, Jesus. But truly open? Give me the grace! Ah, but I need to clear the air between us, get it out in the open, making an honest admission. You also know that I have doubted Your love for me in the past, because I was focused on me and what I wanted as opposed to Your Will for me. Forgive me. I know and trust that You will forgive and forget it and put it behind You, and I will do the same.

I am excited about being loved by You in new ways!

Each day in my prayer, I look for the continuing unfolding of those new ways of being loved by You. I see it happening in small ways each day. I anticipate the newness of Your love each day.

And the sure knowledge of Your love for me brings me serenity and joy no matter how my day unfolds.

Leading the way to the 33 Days

Frequently I have been asked when writing or leading groups to give some additional insights into the questions I pose to help the reader or participant in formulating their own response.

I have an inkling that the same is true with the 30 Days to Reignite your Spiritual Life program that is the implementation of my book, “That Flame in your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!

With that in mind, the Spirit seems to be prompting me to do exactly that within the context of this guide, on the blog, at least in the near term. This is not something I would choose to do, as you might imagine, as the self exposure invites critical responses. How long it continues I will leave to His guidance to me, but I think as far as it goes, it will help the person who is engaged in the 30 Days retreat to get a sense of how a personal dialogue might unfold in their own life.

Thus I will endeavor every week to write a response to each of the questions posed in THE POINT exercises at the end of each Day (chapter) in the book. Remember, THE POINT questions are my questions, written in the first person as though they are coming from Jesus to help the reader / retreatant.

If you recall, while it is labeled as 30 Days to Reignite Your Spiritual Life, in reality, there is an Orientation Day, an Introduction Day and an Assessment Day, which gives you 33 Days for the retreat. As I mentioned in my book, the 30 Days took me years of prayer and contemplation to write.

The 33 Days is structured to be able to do it in 33 Days, but how long it takes you is between you and the Spirit of Jesus. I could also imagine it taking 33 weeks for a person who really wanted to take the dialogue with Jesus as structured in THE POINT exercises into deep prayer if they did a question a day.

The new “33 Days with Jesus Christ for Greater Peace, Serenity & Joy” Retreat Guides for individuals and groups will be available shortly elsewhere on this site along with other materials to supplement it.

As with any spiritual retreat, the secret is to be consistent throughout and let the Spirit guide you as He will. Oh, and if you have been on retreats before, you know to be ready for unexpected surprises, as the Spirit is wont to do! I am SURE it will happen for you on this retreat as well, because the Spirit is always consistent!

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

 

The 33 Days as a Spiritual Retreat

For those who have purchased the book, “That Flame in your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!“, you are aware that it is written as a 30 Day program, one chapter for each Day of the readings found in “Volume Two” by Anne a lay apostle. There are actually two additional Days, an Introduction at the beginning and an Assessment Day at the end of the 30 Days.

There is also one additional Orientation Day of reading the preparatory material found at the front of the Prayer Journal and Guide, and/or the free download on the web site along with the Appendix in the book on prayer. These should be read before starting the 33 Days program.

Interestingly, that brings the number of Days in the program to 33, similar to the highly recommended Marian consecration book, “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Michael Gaitley.

The book was written for the singular purpose of helping the reader enter into a deeper, more intimate dialogue with the Person of Jesus Christ than they have previously known, no matter where they are in their spiritual life. The guarantee, if I may be so bold to call it that, is that if you open yourself to Jesus in new ways, you cannot help but be changed from what you were formerly!! He will not withhold his grace from anyone who does that and that IS guaranteed!

These 33 Days are structured in such a way that they become a spiritual retreat and the reader becomes more than a participant, they become a retreatant – a person on a religious retreat!

First there is a reading from Volume Two, the words of Jesus, spoken to Anne firstly, but to all of us who read them. One can read that and reflect on it for some time, from minutes to hours to days or even weeks!

Then to help the retreatant plumb the depths of their own hearts and initiate a deeper, more intimate dialogue with Jesus, I have opened up my own interior spiritual journey sharing a short reflection on those same words from Volume Two. One can use my reflections as kindling for stoking their own flame of love for Jesus into a Blowtorch.

Lastly, there are a set of questions encapsulated in THE POINT exercise for each Day. It is there that the opportunity for the most intimate dialogue with the Person of Jesus Christ can be initiated and developed. It is there that His Graces can become manifest to the retreatant.

You can find a 33 Days with Jesus Christ Retreat Guide for either a personal spiritual retreat, or a leader’s guide for a group elsewhere on this web site.

The 33 Days transformed my life radically. I trust that it will do so for you if you put the time and effort into it and trust Jesus with the outcome just as you would with any spiritual retreat.

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

 

Is “Turn it into a Blowtorch!” a diary or not?

I recently had a reviewer of “That Flame in your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!” state that he was put off by diaries, even those of saints. Gosh, that excludes a huge part of Catholic tradition, even the Doctors of the Church!

I can see how the book could be taken as a diary.  (Next edition I will re-write the Introduction.) It is an easy mistake to make without an in-depth reading.

It is not.

As other reviewers have pointed out, this book, “Turn it into a Blowtorch!” has less to do with the author’s journey than the reader’s. It is in fact, structured as a 30 Day, or really 33 Day, retreat or journey into the interior spiritual life of the reader. More on that later.

I learned a long time ago as an officer in the Army, as a corporate executive, a trainer of thousands of people and a leader of hundreds of groups in the Church, to never advocate or expect more of those I lead than I am willing to do or have done myself. I have a miniature of the statue in front of the Infantry Headquarters at Ft. Benning, GA on my desk. The inscription reads “Follow me!” Jesus used the same words. (Mt 4:19. Mt 16:24, Lk 9:23)

I have absolutely nothing to gain by publishing a diary (proceeds go to charity) and everything to lose by exposing my interior spiritual journey. I do so only in service to the reader and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. I am simply pointing the way, providing the path in hopes of shortening the reader’s time to learn the same lessons.

As can be said in every age past and in ages to come, we are facing a time of great turmoil and upheaval. St. John Paul, before he became Pope, characterized the uniqueness of this time we are living in, however, as the “…. final confrontation” between the Church and the anti-Church, the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. He goes on to say it is coming upon us and is inescapable. You can find a link to St. John Paul’s speech as well as a column by Francis Cardinal George here http://turnitintoablowtorch.com/francis-cardinal-georges-prophetic-column/

By profession I am a corporate and individual growth strategies expert. The book was written from that fundamental orientation. I have never had an individual or corporation tell me I have helped them get ready for the next major change too early. I have had some regret that they did not heed my advice seriously enough or quickly enough.

I feel a great sense of urgency in my own life and also to help others if they so desire it, to be more deeply rooted in an active, meaningful, and ongoing daily dialogue with the Person of Jesus Christ. The fruit of which is a peace, serenity and joy that only He can provide a pure gift, no matter what is going on in our lives or what is about to happen. When you possess Him and that fruit, the flame will become a blowtorch! The icon of His Sacred Heart reveals His own blowtorch of love and what He wants for our own hearts!

The message of the book, “That Flame in your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!” is very simple. Yes, I have walked through a proverbial ‘hell’ but managed to find peace, serenity and joy beyond anything I could have ever comprehended.

The reader can walk that path with someone who has already been there and discover it for themselves, now. While there is still time, before their own time of need is upon them.

And in doing so, they will attract others to an intimate dialogue with the Person of Jesus Christ.

We are at a tipping point, now is the time of preparation. We are in the “…final confrontation…” of St. John Paul II.

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

Orientation

Orientation.  The mental state of preparation might be our first reaction when we see that word.  But to be fully oriented to prepare to the fullest extent possible requires the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical state of preparation for an event.

Being properly oriented for Advent in preparation for Christmas is the work of today.  The proper orientation for Lent in preparation for Easter will come soon.  And within each season are smaller feasts with their preparation days for which the proper orientation is beneficial.

Stopping at each preparation point to consider our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological orientation is critical to receiving most fully what God intends for us as we prepare.  One can imagine the same exercise of orientation by an Olympic athlete prior to the final practices and preparation period for the Olympics.  Or the orientation of the Special Forces elite soldier prior to the rehearsals for an upcoming secret mission.  Their comment might be “Your head and heart have to be in the right place for you ever begin the preparation.”

So it is with each spiritual adventure we undertake, whether within the liturgical cycle or any other outside of it, such as a retreat, novena, Bible study, spiritual study, etc.  Orientation begins with a pause and reflection our current state in each of those areas acknowledging honestly our condition. Otherwise, we may encounter difficulties during our preparation when we are ‘surprised’ by something in one of those areas and become ‘disoriented’ as it were.

When we have fully acknowledged our current state, we can make a decision of the will as to our desired orientation in each of those areas. And then take each of those desires to Jesus through Mary, Mediatrix of all races, begging for the grace and strength to remain in that orientation as we prepare.

So let us consider our orientation for what is in front of us now in each of those areas: mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical.

  • What is my current state of being? Let me pause……
  • What do I choose it to be? Let me pause……

Let us resolve to take the desired orientation for what we are about to undertake to Mary, Mediatrix of all graces, and ask her to give us the grace to prepare for our upcoming liturgical feast or spiritual adventure.

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

Francis Cardinal George’s Prophetic Column

I recently read a column by Francis Cardinal George of Chicago and it struck me that it was no ordinary column, but one that has a prophetic element to it worth taking notice. Here is part of the article.  The entire article can be found at:  http://tinyurl.com/k2uygfm

 

It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

A reader of the tale of two churches, an outside observer, might note that American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities. An outside observer might also note that the official religion’s imposing whatever its proponents currently desire on all citizens and even on the world at large inevitably generates resentment. An outside observer might point out that class plays a large role in determining the tenets of the official State religion. “Same-sex marriage,” as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.

How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people.

Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.

 

I believe this is not a political statement. It is prophetic, and frankly, along the same lines as St. John Paul II’s speech just before he was elected Pope. I HIGHLY recommend this short article: http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/final-confrontation.html

Up to now, what he (the future John Paul II) predicted was nascent. But we have now fully entered what is more widely known in Catholic circles today as the Final Confrontation as he coined the term. It has begun.

That is what my book, “That Flame in Your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!”  is essentially laying the foundation for. So that people can find peace, serenity and joy no matter what is going on in their lives and around them. Now. In their present circumstances of life.

They are going to need it.

Now is the time of preparation. It is time to find that peace, serenity and joy in everyday life, in every circumstance of their life, no matter what is going on. And then spread that to every person they come in contact, in ways appropriate to their calling.

Waiting until they cry out in the turmoil is too late. Practice now what you need when the time comes as surely it will. No human is immune from suffering.

But there is only one Source of peace. Human attempts to achieve it by force or division or allurements or any human institutions will fail.

As usual, I may be running a little ahead of things, but in my strategic planning consulting, my business is future-casting, and my record is pretty good. (I have never had a CEO tell me we got his company ready too soon.)

We have reached the proverbial ‘tipping point’.

From here forward, it will accelerate non-linearly, at a geometric rate.  Those who prepare now, “and bring the extra oil (of peace) they need for their lamps, will not want when the groom appears”. (if I might paraphrase Mt. 25: 1-13) And those who do not will be locked out in the night.

The end result will be a victorious Church in splendor…….. But between where we are today and that victory is a great gulf of darkness which we are plunging into. Out of it will emerge a cleansed remnant Church, radiant in splendor as it reflects its King.  And all those who have bought into the “anti-Church” and “anti-Gospel” will be swept away.

The good news is that each soul will have sufficient light given it to make a decision, as God always does, so eternity will not be a surprise, but rather, what was chosen and pursued by that soul with the free will He has given it.

I pray that everyone can come to know peace, serenity, and joy in their lives no matter what is going on. And that the flame of love for God in their hearts might be turned into a blowtorch!

Now.

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

The Emmaus Walk, Sorrow and Disappointment, Bitterness or Hope?

The sorrow and disappointment the disciples of Jesus felt as they walked the road to Emmaus is common to us all.  Hope crushed by overwhelming loss or tragedy is a normal human experience.

How we handle sorrow and disappointment is crucial to the spiritual life.  If we become bitter, then it is really our pride in control.  “I know better than God!” we are shouting within. We shut out what God wills for us, and we shut out His Mercy and Love, HIs Compassion.

The disciples reveal their humility in listening to what the ‘stranger’ is telling them about God’s will in their lives by explaining the meaning of scripture and how it applies to their current circumstances.

Thus, when Jesus finally reveals Himself, they have the openness to recognize Him!

They were humble: their hearts were open to the Word of God as it was explained to them. So much so that their hearts were “burning” within – like a blowtorch! When they recognized His Presence in their lives, suddenly their hope was restored, joy beyond description filled them and they risked returning to a Christ-hostile environment to share the Good News! Jesus has risen!

What we are thinking, feeling or experiencing at any point, even during our greatest disappointment, has no bearing on the truth and the reality: Christ is with us, Christ among us. Christ our hope and joy is present to us!

May our hearts burn with joy within us – like a blowtorch!

Peace to you!

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

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