Missed but Blessed…

As I sit here working on the photo books I make each Christmas for my grand kiddos, I turned on Pandora QuickMix to listen to praise music.  Working with adoration music in the background has always inspired me!  All Sons and Daughters, Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe, The Brilliance, and Matt Redman  are a few Christian artists I listen to.  Several Spanish worship songs have come on as well.  This warms my heart!  While living in Peru, learning to worship in Spanish was what lead me to slowly begin praising Christ in a more outward manner.   I am so grateful for those years that God deepened my relationship with Christ!

My heart is nostalgic as I sit here listening.  This music and lyrics bring back many precious memories from over the years.  I would stand in church, raise my hand and pour out my heart with a deep desire to please God in praise.  It was both a fulfilling and life-giving expression of my love for the Lord.

I am the same person today that I was then… but now I’m Catholic!  I really do miss the praise and worship so common in the Evangelical church!  I have of late, however, seen that evangelical recording artists’ music is filtering into the Catholic church, and that thrills my heart!  As Gary likes to point out when I share my journey with others, “One of the main reasons why Charlotte didn’t want to become Catholic was because she would dearly miss communal worship in song during the service”.  Yes, that was a huge obstacle for me!  Thankfully, I’ve been deeply blessed by the music of young Catholic artists as well, like Matt Maher, the John Blakesley Band,  and for the softer sounds, Audrey Assad and Kathleen Fowle .

Catholic Underground

The youth of the Catholic Church in New York City attend a regular monthly worship service  called Catholic Underground.   They come from all over New York, New Jersey and beyond to worship Jesus, pray and read scripture together.  I had been there a few times with Gary, but was never fully committed to it, because I had no interest in becoming Catholic.  I usually went because he wanted to go and I didn’t want to hurt him.  Their style of worship, however, intrigued me because it was so personal.

How many times does God have to knock on our heart’s door to encourage our obedience?  As I continued to refuse to become Catholic, I  knew I was disobeying God. So in February of 2015 I asked Him to give me a “sign or something!” to help me give in and obey His call to become Catholic.   Imagine the smile on His face when I said that!  I’m sure He had been waiting for me to open my heart’s door even just a crack!  About a week or so later, He fulfilled my request and sent me a sign.*  It was so clear that, in that very moment, I instantly surrendered my will to His and was confident that I should join the Catholic church!  I called it my “mini-miracle”!

 Catholic Underground’s next  service was just five days away and nothing  was going to stop me from going!  I simply couldn’t wait to go!  I didn’t tell Gary about the “sign” because I wanted to confirm it at Catholic Underground first, since it was my only connection with the Catholic church.  So off we went.

The Surprise Gift

The musicians always focus on one main song and repeat it in a prayerful manner during the course of the service.  This way every word is clearly heard and meditated upon.  The Holy Spirit, through their reverence, music and lyrics, speaks gently to each one present.

I was ready to hear from God that evening, but had no idea about the gift He was about to give me!  The chosen song for the evening was by  10,000 Reasons.  As I heard the beginning of the song the tears began to flow.  I knelt before Jesus in profound  humility as I worshiped and thanked Him.  You see, I had already decided to become Catholic because of the sign God gave me, but what I didn’t know was that He was going to surprise me with another special gift, one He knew I needed!  I have always cherished that song in my personal walk with God!  And it was done in a Catholic setting!  That was the gift He wanted me to have!  He was already proving to me that He is alive and well in the Catholic Church!

Needless to say, as we pulled out of the parking garage to go home I shared everything with Gary.  He was certainly relieved because I had been so obstinate!  But now all I could say was “yes, let’s do it!”.

So as I sit here worshiping God in my living room through the various songs played on Pandora I feel sad.  Why?  I grieve over the separation and spiritual blindness Satan has created between Christ’s followers in these two expressions of His Church: Protestants and Catholics.  I’m both!  I will always be both!  I have the absolute best of both expressions of Christianity!

Why did God ask me to return to the Catholic faith?  Perhaps to be an instrument in  bringing healing to these two beautiful expressions of Christ’s love for us!  We are not each other’s opponents.  I’m a witness to that.  Jesus Christ is Lord in both expressions and, I believe, so desires that we “be one” as He prayed to His Father in John 17 that we would “be one”:

“I have revealed You to those whom You gave me out of the world.  They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.  Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name, the Name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.  My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”  John 17: 6a, 8b, 11b, 20-23

May we as Christians consider what we have in common with one another rather than what separates us. May we beg God to forgive us and bring healing to our critical spirits, I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

  • If you want more details on that “sign”, please face book message me or ask me in the comments, leaving your email address.  Thanks!

I’m so Overwhelmed!

… overwhelmed with gratitude and deep joy for the daily discoveries I’m receiving from the Lord in this new chapter of my life! Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself, once again, so thankful for what Christ reveals to me about Himself….  new graces and mercy that surprises me beyond words!

I am more in love with Jesus than I ever knew could be possible!  I recognize it’s because of the Gift of Christ that I receive in daily Holy Communion  …. it’s almost like “going to the altar” for surrender and peace each and every time!  I also credit my closeness to Jesus because of the time I spend in adoration before The Blessed Sacrament. 

I have been experiencing beautiful, yet not extraordinary, answers to prayer in this past month.  Please allow me to share some of them with you:

Not too long ago I blogged about someone who had been gripped by fear.  I introduced her to the power God uses through  St. Michael, the Archangel to gain victory over our fears and issues.  In speaking with her recently, I asked her how she was doing, without referring to him at all.  I had noticed that she seemed to be handling life so differently these days!  She excitedly told me that she has “matured a lot”!  I was thrilled to hear this, yet not surprised!  Michael the Archangel fights victoriously for us if we ask him to and mean it!  He helps us along life’s journey as we call upon him to fight our battles, especially the ones where “self” gets in the way!

Our church, St. Peter Roman Catholic Church of Merchantville, NJ has given me some profound experiences in ministries I never knew I would be involved in, much less enjoy!  I’m so blessed to be a part of them all!  It’s no wonder, that, after submitting my resume in several places and having had two phone interviews, I still have yet to get a job!  God certainly has HIS reasons for why I’m not working.  I am, however, quite content to be where He has me for now!  Allow me to share some of these joys:

  • The second graders that come to St. Peter’s school for Catechism studies after school have me wrapped around their fingers! It has been such a joy for me!  These kids are seven years old and want to know more about the Bible and who God is.  Working with these kids has reminded me how much I enjoy preparing materials for children like I did in Peru when we were missionaries there!  I love it!
  • On the opposite end of the age spectrum is the Senior Ministry of my church.  They have hearts of gold but also struggle with daily physical issues.  They meet every day and are willing to be transparent with each other and share their desire to grow in Christ together.  They have exercise classes, daily prayer, arts and crafts, lunch and currently a weekly Bible Study with former Evangelical pastor, Jeff Cavins.
  • Gary and I attend the 6:45 a.m. daily Mass at St. Peters.  This is key to our mutual spiritual growth.  After receiving Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, I kneel quietly and meditate on Him as the Mass ends then take Gary to the train headed for Philly.  I then head back to church to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration.   Eucharistic Adoration of the Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Communion are the main reasons I have grown so much in my relationship with Him.  It’s such a joy to spend time with Him like this every day!
  • I also have the honor of proclaiming God’s Word from the pulpit (“ambo”) as well as helping distribute the Holy Eucharist to the parishioners from time to time.
    • Being a Lector, that is, one who reads from the Old and New Testament before the priest comes forward to read the Gospel, is such a privilege for me.  God’s Word is so profound!  Did you know that almost the entire New Testament and all the important events of the Old Testament are read in the Mass every three years?  I always thought Catholics didn’t read the Bible… how wrong I was!
    • I have found so much freedom from my old anxieties regarding reading Scripture from the pulpit. I continue to be surprised at how I no longer feel nervous to read in public.  I used to be so uptight when I had to read in front of others, always fearful that I wouldn’t do it perfectly right, for fear of embarrassment or criticism.  That has changed and I’m “overwhelmed” at the beauty in this new dependence on Christ.  It’s a freedom I’ve never known to this degree before as an Evangelical.  There’s just a depth and fullness I can’t explain but  know is real.
    • This new found freedom in Christ is due to my understanding (and love for ) the both the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) as well as in daily receiving Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist at Mass.  I’ve been experiencing His deep and abiding love in new and different ways.  I find that all I can say after receiving Christ in the Eucharist is this:   “Thank You, Thank You, Thank you! May I know You more and more…”

I finally gave in and went to a Chiropractor (for the first time in my life, thanks to my daughter’s strong encouragement to do so!) because of my frequent back pain flare ups.  My Chiropractor told me that I have curvature of the spine, something I never knew!  No wonder I’m in pain!  So it has been a good experience for me to “offer up the pain” because I know it is not wasted.  I can use it to pray for someone else’s need.   That was a new concept for me but it makes such sense!  I’m so grateful because it helps me handle the pain better than I may have in the past.  We all have one ailment or another, whether physical, emotional or mental, and we can “offer that up” to Jesus for the needs of someone else for whatever reason.  God uses my pain to help someone else and I’m grateful to be a part of that.  What a relief!  My pain isn’t wasted!

I told you that I’d keep you posted about my new friend “Karen” from my last blog .

We’ve texted one another and spoken on the phone several times, but have yet to meet up due to our crazy schedules.  It’s the beginning of a harmonious friendship and we find we have much in common… that too will be continued!

God has been so good to me and yes, “I’m overwhelmed” at His graciousness and love as I seek to further know, love and serve Him!

 

“Hey There…. Hey, You in There!”

It was a gorgeous morning this past Labor Day, and I opened the windows of our home, turned off the central air and sat down in the living room to enjoy breakfast with our visitors.  Gary’s sister and husband came to spend Labor Day weekend with us.  As we ate we were interrupted by a loud, almost yelling female voice coming from the street.  Had the windows not been opened, we wouldn’t have heard the voice out in the street.

“Hey there…. Hey, you in there!”  We thought it was some folks out on the street.  But the voice persisted.  I looked out the window and there appeared to be a woman calling toward us from her car.  She had stopped in the middle of the street frantically trying to get our attention!

I opened the door to investigate.  She yelled from the street that she was grateful that someone was home and could help her!  It was 7:30 in the morning and she was on the way to work.  There was a piece of furniture out on the curb a block away, she said, that she wanted but had to get to work.  She had knocked on the door of the folks that lived there, but no one answered.   She then begged me to approach that home a bit later when perhaps the family was up and ask if they would let her get it after work.  “It’s too big to put into my car and I have to get to work!  Please ask those folks if I can have it later!”  I asked for her name and cell number just in case and agreed to do it.

She said it would be perfect for her grand children and that she “would just throw a mattress on it and make it a bed!”

I realized that she wasn’t a woman of affluence but rather someone who was hard-working and desperately in love with her grand children!  That desperate plea struck my heart and I was determined to check it out.

About an hour later I walked down the street to find this piece of furniture and the home it belonged to.  I had no idea what to look for, as her description was a bit abstract.  I saw nothing that looked like she described, but found what I thought she was referring to. There were two bed frames that were made of heavy plastic.  I wish I’d taken a photo because I’ve never seen anything like it!  I was actually impressed at her find and realized that they may have been pretty pricey, thus the urgency to get them!

Knock! Knock!  No One’s Home

I attempted to meet the owners of these cool bed frames but to no avail.  They must’ve been gone for the day.  So what was I to do?  I decided to return home and make a sign for them.  I made a tacky one in a hurry to get it there quickly, but I didn’t care (and I’m pretty particular about that kind of thing) because  I was determined to do my best to help her out!  I found it personally exciting to quietly return home, write the note without the rest of the family seeing me, take it back to tape to those bed frames, and let Karen know I was on it!  I texted her a pic of the sign, and prayed that no one would take them before she returned at 5 pm to haul them away.  Then I let it go.

Some hours later I went out to run an errand and saw some men moving one of them!  I was so disappointed!  I didn’t know what to do.  I whispered a prayer that they wouldn’t take the second one, then went on my way.  When I returned, they were both gone.  My heart sank.  There was nothing I could do.  That was almost a week ago.

“Hey! Hey in there!”

Yesterday morning I opened the windows once again, for it was another beautiful day.  It was Saturday and I had some things to do around the house.  At around 3:00 I wanted to take a break and walked into the living room to join Gary.   “Hey! Hey in there!”  What?  Was that Karen?  I went out and there she was again, calling to me!  I started to apologize that things didn’t work out and she yelled back: “But they did!  I got them!  Both of them!  I just wanted to come by to thank you!”   As you can imagine, my heart leaped for joy and I shared in her happiness!

She went on to explain, from the car, that it was her two male friends who whisked them away!  I was so relieved to hear that!  There I stood outside my door,  Karen in her car out in the street, as I quietly thanked Jesus for providing them for her.  She then asked if she could pull over and get out to give me a hug.  Humbled and pleased, of course I agreed, as that is exactly what I would’ve wanted to do had I been in her shoes.

An Unexpected Blessing.

I buzzed her into our village gate and she gave me a big hug and thanked me over and over.  We chatted for  a minute or so.  She said she couldn’t believe all that I did to help her, and how “kind” I was to rescue those items.  I quietly thanked Jesus for nudging me at the time, and told her it was just as much a blessing for me as it was for her!  So we hugged again, and were about to depart when she gasped and said, “Oh, look, you have something on your shirt!”.   I looked down as she speedily slipped a $20 bill into my shirt opening and ran off, saying “I can’t thank you enough!”.  There I stood, mouth wide open, dumbfounded and truly blessed by her kindness!

I walked back into my house, shut the door and proceeded to send her the following text: “You paid it forward my new friend!  Thanks so so much! This was a true blessing from you!”

I know her name.  I know her phone number.  I now know that we’ll be meeting for coffee before long.  We’ll hang out together and see what God has for our new friendship!

I am especially blessed when Jesus guides me into new relationships that are all His Doing!  He’s got a plan and I can’t wait to see what it is!

I’ll keep you posted…!

 

“Hey There…. Hey, You in There!”

It was a gorgeous morning this past Labor Day, and I opened the windows of our home, turned off the central air and sat down in the living room to enjoy breakfast with our visitors.  Gary’s sister and husband came to spend Labor Day weekend with us.  As we ate we were interrupted by a loud, almost yelling female voice coming from the street.  Had the windows not been opened, we wouldn’t have heard the voice out in the street.

“Hey there…. Hey, you in there!”  We thought it was some folks out on the street.  But the voice persisted.  I looked out the window and there appeared to be a woman calling toward us from her car.  She had stopped in the middle of the street frantically trying to get our attention!

I opened the door to investigate.  She yelled from the street that she was grateful that someone was home and could help her!  It was 7:30 in the morning and she was on the way to work.  There was a piece of furniture out on the curb a block away, she said, that she wanted but had to get to work.  She had knocked on the door of the folks that lived there, but no one answered.   She then begged me to approach that home a bit later when perhaps the family was up and ask if they would let her get it after work.  “It’s too big to put into my car and I have to get to work!  Please ask those folks if I can have it later!”  I asked for her name and cell number just in case and agreed to do it.

She said it would be perfect for her grand children and that she “would just throw a mattress on it and make it a bed!”

I realized that she wasn’t a woman of affluence but rather someone who was hard-working and desperately in love with her grand children!  That desperate plea struck my heart and I was determined to check it out.

About an hour later I walked down the street to find this piece of furniture and the home it belonged to.  I had no idea what to look for, as her description was a bit abstract.  I saw nothing that looked like she described, but found what I thought she was referring to. There were two bed frames that were made of heavy plastic.  I wish I’d taken a photo because I’ve never seen anything like it!  I was actually impressed at her find and realized that they may have been pretty pricey, thus the urgency to get them!

Knock! Knock!  No One’s Home

I attempted to meet the owners of these cool bed frames but to no avail.  They must’ve been gone for the day.  So what was I to do?  I decided to return home and make a sign for them.  I made a tacky one in a hurry to get it there quickly, but I didn’t care (and I’m pretty particular about that kind of thing) because  I was determined to do my best to help her out!  I found it personally exciting to quietly return home, write the note without the rest of the family seeing me, take it back to tape to those bed frames, and let Karen know I was on it!  I texted her a pic of the sign, and prayed that no one would take them before she returned at 5 pm to haul them away.  Then I let it go.

Some hours later I went out to run an errand and saw some men moving one of them!  I was so disappointed!  I didn’t know what to do.  I whispered a prayer that they wouldn’t take the second one, then went on my way.  When I returned, they were both gone.  My heart sank.  There was nothing I could do.  That was almost a week ago.

“Hey! Hey in there!”

Yesterday morning I opened the windows once again, for it was another beautiful day.  It was Saturday and I had some things to do around the house.  At around 3:00 I wanted to take a break and walked into the living room to join Gary.   “Hey! Hey in there!”  What?  Was that Karen?  I went out and there she was again, calling to me!  I started to apologize that things didn’t work out and she yelled back: “But they did!  I got them!  Both of them!  I just wanted to come by to thank you!”   As you can imagine, my heart leaped for joy and I shared in her happiness!

She went on to explain, from the car, that it was her two male friends who whisked them away!  I was so relieved to hear that!  There I stood outside my door,  Karen in her car out in the street, as I quietly thanked Jesus for providing them for her.  She then asked if she could pull over and get out to give me a hug.  Humbled and pleased, of course I agreed, as that is exactly what I would’ve wanted to do had I been in her shoes.

An Unexpected Blessing.

I buzzed her into our village gate and she gave me a big hug and thanked me over and over.  We chatted for  a minute or so.  She said she couldn’t believe all that I did to help her, and how “kind” I was to rescue those items.  I quietly thanked Jesus for nudging me at the time, and told her it was just as much a blessing for me as it was for her!  So we hugged again, and were about to depart when she gasped and said, “Oh, look, you have something on your shirt!”.   I looked down as she speedily slipped a $20 bill into my shirt opening and ran off, saying “I can’t thank you enough!”.  There I stood, mouth wide open, dumbfounded and truly blessed by her kindness!

I walked back into my house, shut the door and proceeded to send her the following text: “You paid it forward my new friend!  Thanks so so much! This was a true blessing from you!”

I know her name.  I know her phone number.  I now know that we’ll be meeting for coffee before long.  We’ll hang out together and see what God has for our new friendship!

I am especially blessed when Jesus guides me into new relationships that are all His Doing!  He’s got a plan and I can’t wait to see what it is!

I’ll keep you posted…!

 

Long Overdue…

When we had decided to move to Collingswood, NJ, I asked God to please provide us a church that had daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. (see link below).   God blessed us in that, at St. Peter’s Church in Merchantville, NJ,  not only can we attend daily Mass before Gary goes to work, but this church also has Eucharistic Adoration around the clock! That’s so much MORE than I had asked for!

St. Peter’s has a special chapel designated just for Eucharistic Adoration and there is someone there (24/7) to spend time alone with Our Lord!  I love being there because Jesus draws me into Himself, transforms my thinking and speaks to my heart as I sit there before Him!   I get to spend unique time with Him there every single day!  See more

This is a blessing to me because it has changed my prayer life for the better!  I find myself drawing so much closer to Our Lord because of spending that glorious and reverent hour with Him in the Adoration Chapel.  I cannot get enough!  What a mystery this is!

Because of my extended time in adoration, I’ve become more sensitive to hearing Christ’s voice in my heart.  I’ve asked Him to make me more sensitive to the areas I am lacking in spiritually and to show me what needs to be healed or worked on in my life.

This week I felt pain in my heart as I realized I had saddened Him.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) has been a most beautiful and freeing experience for me from the start! There is nothing like it!  I desire to go to confession as often as possible, preferably no more than every two weeks.  Since coming to Collingswood, with getting settled and other distractions, we have not been to confession at St. Peter’s!  It’s been over two months for me since my last confession, and I have never gone that long before!  I realized this week that, even if it’s for a sin like being judgmental or preferring to do things my way and not what I hear God asking of me, I never like to go this long.

Just this week it came to our attention that Gary and I needed to confess something as a result of “leaning on our own understanding” instead of seeking God for His direction.   Needless to say, we purposed to get to confession yesterday no matter what!

When I entered the confessional booth, I told the priest my name and began my confession.  I wanted it to be personal, which is allowed, and I confessed that sin.   As the priest explained to me why it was a sin, it occurred to me that I actually should have known that, and it grieved me all the more!  Then I realized that the other “minor” issues I needed to confess probably wouldn’t have happened had I recognized the bigger sin as sin at the time!

I had been wondering why, in my morning devotional time, I was becoming more easily distracted and wasn’t as attentive to God’s Voice these days…!  Now I know why! As the priest explained it to me, I completely understood and it greatly grieved my heart!  As I was given absolution, I tearfully and joyfully finished and left the confessional enveloped in a sense of peace and love coming from Jesus.  This brought me to tears of gratitude for His Divine Presence in that confessional booth!  I can’t explain it but I know I meet Jesus every time I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

As I sat in church, worshiping Jesus and evaluating what had just happened, I realized that I know I have a long way to go in my walk with my Lord!  I am unworthy of so many blessings He has brought my way yet at the same time I am so overwhelmed with the immense love He has for me!  This too is a mystery, and such a glorious one at that!

I will make it my priority to get to confession on a more regular basis, that’s for sure!   I cannot go without it because it is Jesus Himself who speaks to me through the priest, and there is always freedom and peace as a result!

The beauty of this sacrament is that it creates a deeper desire within me to not repeat any of the sins I confess…and that spurs me on!  I don’t want to offend Jesus, Who is all good and deserving of all my love!  It seems that,  each time I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I am more blessed and have more resolve to please Jesus than in the previous one!  Thank You, Lord, for this privilege to come to You in confession!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation

of my heart be pleasing in Your sight,

 Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  

Psalm 19:14

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“…Defend Us in Battle…”

Gripped by Fear

I was with someone the other day who I’ll call Kathy.  We had spent the day together and while we were talking that evening, her countenance changed in an instant!  She was distraught with sadness, fear and confusion.  She said she saw the ambiance of the room we were in completely change.  “A large dark shadow surrounded and overcame us” and it filled her with fear.  I saw nothing but was certain she was under attack by the Enemy of her soul.  She complained of sharp pain in her stomach, began shaking and crying and was instantly nauseated.  We went into a bathroom where she sat by the commode, burped constantly into it and expecting to vomit at any moment.  I told her that I thought it was Satan who was doing this to her, and she agreed.  She went on to say that she knew it was him because “he has done this before” to her.  She told me that whenever she wants to “do something important or kind to someone, Satan comes to me” and provokes her to do just the opposite!

I have been a strong advocate for understanding spiritual warfare for many years!  I learned a long time ago, while working in a trauma unit in Lexington, KY, that Satan is alive and well and presents himself in cunning and crafty ways.  I’ve made a habit of declaring the name of Jesus aloud every time I have been under attack.  As a missionary, I often sensed spiritual attacks and, in an audible voice, would rebuke Satan in Jesus’ name and recite the armor of God (Eph 6:1-10).  During those years I grew strong in Him and His Mighty Power and was able to overcome evil attacks by the devil on various occasions.

We’re not Alone in the Battle

Recently I learned from God’s Word that we don’t have to completely depend upon ourselves to rebuke Satan and his evil minions.  There are verses in the Bible about this that I often wondered about, but never paid much attention to.  Zechariah 3:2 refers to the Lord being the One who rebukes Satan:The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!”.  Jude 9-10 says, “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”.

 So, I’ve come to believe that I don’t have to fight this battle against the Evil One alone!  The Lord defends me and has anointed the Archangel Michael to fight these battles!  Psalm 91:11 says For He will command his angels concerning you   to guard you in all your ways;”.  I had forgotten how many scriptures there are concerning angels!*   So God uses his angels to guard and protect us; something I had never considered before becoming Catholic.

I never thought of seeking the help of an angel, much less an archangel, for anything in my life!  I have preferred to not try to figure them out, even though they are in the Bible.  They always seemed unrealistic and fairy-like to me.  Since becoming Catholic, however, and experiencing results of the Archangel Michael’s victory in my life, I am convinced of the authority he has from Jesus Christ to defeat the Enemy of our soul!  I have called upon the Archangel Michael every day for almost a year now to fight my battles for me, and he does!  He defends me in every battle I encounter whether it’s a spiritual, emotional or physical battle, and he always wins!

So, while Kathy was shaking and crying in pain, expecting to vomit into the commode, I knew I could call on the Archangel Michael to fight this spiritual battle for her.  I knew it was a spiritual one and that she would be fine and wasn’t going to vomit.  She was too weak and upset to believe she was going to be ok.  It broke my heart.  I knew what I needed to do.  She isn’t Catholic and I wasn’t sure if she would understand the prayer I was about to pray, but it was essential that she be free of this torment.

I was certain that the Archangel Michael would come to her rescue and the result would be victory.  I have proof that he fights my battles and I was sure he would for her too.  Victory was soon to be hers!

Victory!

I called upon the Archangel Michael to fight the oppressive spirit that had overcome Kathy by the power and authority he has as an archangel.  Within a minute she calmed down, began taking deep refreshing breaths, stopped burping, relaxed and smiled.  It was over.  I was then able to explain to her that St. Michael is someone we can depend on to fight our many spiritual battles!

Hebrews 1:14 declares: Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”.  I am so glad that we can depend on the angels of God to serve us!

I reminded her that when we sense the presence of evil in our lives, we can immediately call upon St. Michael to defend us no matter what the battle!  May we always have confidence to trust God for St. Michael’s warrior position in our lives!

The following is the prayer that I used that day with Kathy.  It is scripture from the Bible put into prayer form.

“St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle (Ephesians 6:11)
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil (Ephesians 6:12).
May God rebuke him (Jude 1:9), we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince (Daniel 10:21 and 12:1) of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God (Jude 1:9-10),
thrust into hell Satan (Revelation 12:7-8),
and all the evil spirits (Revelation 12:7-8),
who prowl about the world (1 Peter 5:8)
seeking the ruin of souls. (1 Pet 5:8)    Amen.”

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My husband Gary loves to cross stitch.  He is currently cross stitching the picture above of the Archangel Michael for me.  Notice how St. Michael has defeated Satan.  I cannot explain the peace and gratitude I have to God for helping me find this prayer to help me in those times of need!

*There are 96 references to angels in the Bible.

Nino and Nina?

Nino and Nina?

We have two new names!   “Nino” and “Nina” (pronounced Neeno and Neena, to not be confused with the Spanish pronunciation Niño and Niña).

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Last month Gary and I had the privilege of standing with our good friends as the godparents of their little baby boy at his baptism.  We covenanted with them to stand in the gap for this precious boy’s spiritual health and well being for his entire life!

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As we stood there together, I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of peace.  To be a part of such a sacrament as this was a true blessing!  While Milo sat on his daddy’s lap, Father Robert first anointed him with holy oil in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  That was precious!  And Milo’s face proved it!

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Then at the baptismal fount, as the holy water was flowing over little Milo’s head, I was blessed by the beauty of what God was doing in that very moment!  The stain of original sin was being washed away and Milo was becoming a member of the Body of Christ by water and the Spirit!  (1Peter 3:21).

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John Martignoni* says that “infants need to be baptized, just like anyone else, so that they can be “in Christ,” so that they can put on Christ, so that they can become children of God, so that they can become members of the body of Christ, so that they can be granted eternal life.” **

So, by being Milo’s godparents, we are committed to be his mentors, educators, and spiritual support to guide him in the way of Jesus!  What a joy it is to pray for him and dedicate our lives to nurturing him as Christ leads in that endeavor.

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So why did Matt and Laurie ask us to be Milo’s godparents?  They were friends of ours and attended the church Gary pastored.  But that’s not exactly why.

In the winter of 2015, they began searching for how to better live out the Gospel through a radical expression of it.  That February they decided to volunteer for one month at the “House of the Dying Destitute” in Calcutta, India, founded by Mother Teresa.  The nuns there, the Missionaries of Charity, vow to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience to Jesus Christ.  Their lives are very difficult and they never leave the grueling work in the heat and abuse of that land.  Matt said those nuns were the most joyful of anyone he and Laurie had ever known!  That month’s experience transformed them both from the inside out and were greatly impacted by the nun’s loving ministry to the dying.

Because of their time in Calcutta, they became very interested in the Catholic church because they could see Jesus in the lives of the nuns.  What was it that gave them such victory despite the pain?  Thus, their journey began.

After their return, Gary asked to meet with Matt to hear about his experiences in Calcutta.  Matt told him of the impact the nuns had on him and explained how it caused them to pursue the Catholic church.  Upon hearing that statement Gary confessed that he too was on a journey toward the Catholic church.  Both were shocked and relieved to have a mutual desire to walk that journey together!

Within a few months, the four of us attended classes to become Catholic and naturally grew closer as the months progressed.  We were received into the Church of the Good Shepherd in March of 2016.

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Before long, Laurie was pregnant and they asked us to be their baby’s godparents.  What an awesome privilege it was for us to commit to that endeavor and prayerfully seek wisdom for it, even before baby Milo was born.

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They soon moved to New Jersey for Matt to attend medical school but we kept in contact from time to time.  Within the year Gary was offered a job with the American Bible Society in Philly.  That was certainly a confirmation of God’s plan for us to be closer to our godson who was now about 8 months old!  We began looking for an apartment near them.  The first one we saw in their town was the one we took and we love it!  I love how God works these things out!

So now we’re Nino and Nina and Milo will soon be calling us that!  We’re “family” now because that’s basically what happens with godparents.  We share the covenant and commitment of raising Milo to know, love and serve Jesus Christ!  What an honor this is and such a huge responsibility!  We accept it with deep joy and determination as we seek God’s wisdom and direction for this little guy.

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Proverbs 2:1-11 has been my memorized “mommy scripture” for my own children and my grand kiddos for many years now.  I am committed to praying this prayer for little Milo as well.

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

That has been my prayer for my eight grand kids all these years and now I am adding my little godson as well!  May God guide his little heart to be ever so near to Jesus, the “leader and perfecter” of his faith!  (Hebrews 12:2a) 

*catholicanswers.com

** John 3:3,5;  Gal. 3:27;  Rom. 6:4:  1 Cor. 12:13;  Acts 2:38;  2 Cor. 5:17