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

FullSizeRender (1)

 

“…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.”

St.-Michael-the-Archangel2

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.