Catholic Reflections from Lockdown

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As we commemorate a year since the start of lockdowns across the world, we would like to share a series of journal entries written during COVID. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Clarifying Catholicism, nor of everyone affiliated with Clarifying Catholicism. We welcome respectful responses in the comments below.

By Matthew Connor, Benedictine College

March 22, 2020 

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Rejoice! Why should this be seen as a time of sorrow? It is easy to show our love when it is convenient, but the true measure of love is how we persevere in the midst of suffering. There is no doubt that right now, we are suffering alongside our Savior on the Cross. We have been given the opportunity for our love and our desires to be purified and tested in the fire! In the midst of our churches closing, our hearts echo the cry of Christ from the Cross: “I thirst”. Just as He thirsts for our love, so our hearts and souls thirst for Him in the Eucharist. Do not permit this to be an example of only counting our blessings when they are gone. Our brothers and sisters in different parts of the world routinely go months without the Eucharist by no fault of their own. How great is the opportunity to unite ourselves to their sufferings during this time! Rather than becoming desolate and despondent, we are called now more than ever to turn our gaze more and more towards the One who satisfies, the One who heals, the One who saves. 

The greatest shame of this time is not the closing of the churches, but rather the potential that we might turn away from Christ. Now more than ever we are called to be in the world but not of the world. For us to fall into the panic and despair of the world is for us to allow Satan to win. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10). Satan may have acted through this virus to steal our opportunity for regular reception of Holy Communion. There is no doubt he may have isolated us in our homes. He may have killed many people’s peace and hope. However, he cannot steal our joy. He cannot steal our faith. He cannot steal our perseverance in prayer. In these things, Satan only has as much access as we give him. Our world needs lights now more than ever. 

We may be in the midst of one of the greatest spiritual battles of our time. The best part about these battles is that regardless of how large or small they may seem, we know who is in control. We know who wins. We know that no matter how bleak life may look God is holding each moment in the palm of His hand. Every time throughout history there has been a crisis in the world, us Christians have two options: turn to the Lord who can fix it, or turn away from the Lord and blame Him for it. Which will we choose? 

March 22, 2020

Peace be to you. 

In this time above all, we are a people longing for peace, searching for hope, striving for stability. The more time we spend on social media and watching the news the deeper the fear becomes. The more we listen to the world around us, the greater our doubt in the Lord’s providence becomes. The more we search the world around us for peace, the more it increases our doubt that our lives will ever feel “normal” again. Perhaps this is the message that the Lord is trying to send us in this time: we are not meant to live normal lives. Never in the history of the world has any Christian been called to live a normal life. From the beginning of the Church we have been under persecution in one form or another in some part of the world, and yet here we are, over two thousand years later, despite everything Satan has thrown our way. Perhaps the greatest temptation of the modern Christian is to fall into the complacency of the world around us and to ignore our true identity and calling in life. How many people do we know that have chosen to worship money, recognition, grades, or promotions? How often do we hear someone say, “I just don’t have time to pray” in comparison to “I don’t have time to work”? Where do our priorities truly lie? Or perhaps, the better question to pose in this age is, “where is our time most heavily consumed?” For the overwhelming majority of youth and adults in the world today, that answer is likely either work or school; I’m not trying to say that that answer is inherently wrong. Perhaps the even more poignant question for pondering is, “where are your heart and your mind in the midst of all you do?” Are we able to make every action, no matter how important or insignificant by the world’s standards, a prayer? Now above all other times it is most essential that we go about our days with prayer on our lips at all times, for it is only through constant communication with the God who saves that we too are able to find peace and calm in the storms of this present age. Nothing will separate us from Christ’s love.

March 23, 2020

Beloved, 

We are in the midst of a Holy War. I have already won; do not despair. The reason for all the evil and suffering in the present age is very simple. The Devil is in despair at the end of the battle. He knows he has lost. Now, his goal is to cause as much destruction and division as possible. You must not fall into his trap, but stay with Me. As long as you are close to Me, the devil will not conquer you. I am your strength; Trust in My word. I won’t fail you. 

–Jesus 

“Why won’t you give me Jesus?”

“Imagine if 1 billion Christians were known by their love. Care, reach out, and God will do the rest.”

“My love is enough. My love is enough. My love is enough.”

May 18, 2020

From reflection: 

“They knew then that not by force of arms, by the bullet or the ballot, would they conquer.”

This is the same realization that Jerry Coniker had on Wisconsin around the founding and mission of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. Legal action is not the way to evangelize but is necessary to ensure the freedom to do so. This is why groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom must exist, to protect the rights of those who long to worship the LORD. We must not take our freedoms lightly, nor waste time without using them to the fullest extent for the glory of Christ and His kingdom. If we are to suffer or die for the faith, how blessed are we! In these moments we unite ourselves completely with the sufferings, passion, and death of our Lord so that, just as He promised, we might also experience the joy of His resurrection. A life lived in the Spirit is a life spent rejoicing in the truth, ready at all times to meet Christ should He return this instant. If we are to share the love of Christ with others, we must rely on the assistance of the Advocate, as He is the one who ultimately bestows on us the strength to share the Gospel message with all we encounter. The joy of the Spirit and the peace that He brings is incredible and truly incomprehensible. In the midst of all trials and joys, through sorrow, loss, and death, He nourishes us and gives us the strength we need for the journey. Jesus never promised us that the road to sainthood would be easy, but He did promise us that He would never leave us alone, or give us anything that with Him, carrying His yoke, we could not bear. 

O Lord, how my heart yearns for you, my soul for your sacramental Eucharistic presence. I have done my best not to grow bitter over my separation from you, but rather attempt to use it as an opportunity to grow. 

May 19, 2020

What an incredible witness Paul and Silas give in their willingness to suffer for the sake of the Gospel, but not only to suffer but to also rejoice in the midst of their suffering, singing hymns of praise to the LORD. The witness of their faith coupled with the power of God surely had a profound impact on all the other prisoners there, as at the opening of the doors and breaking of the shackles, not a single man moved to escape, but all stayed put, struck by awe at the power of God. Even in the midst of these severe trials, Paul and Silas were able to touch the hearts of many, even those who had been hardened by sin. When we allow the peace and joy of Christ to permeate our lives so that it shows in everything we do, we can have confidence that our Lord will use that to build up His kingdom, whether we see the fruits or not. It is for this reason that joy and openness to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives is of the utmost importance for anyone seeking to evangelize the world we live in today. Our world is filled with a spirit of fear—we come offering a spirit of peace. Our world is filled with anxiety and depression—we offer joy and a wholehearted trust that Christ is in control. Our world is immersed in a culture of death—we come offering new life in the Spirit—a life fully alive on fire with love. In the midst of loneliness, we offer the pieced hand of Christ to our brothers and sisters in need. Our hearts have been consumed in the raging fire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She offers her motherly embrace to all who feel lost and alone. Likewise, in our times of need, St. Joseph, the terror of demons, will come to our aid. Just as he was the protector and guardian of the Holy Family, so too he will be ours in our darkest hour. 

May 20, 2020

Truly, what can be known or believed about not only Christ but also the Father without the assistance of the Spirit? It is He who, at our baptism, lights our hearts on fire with love of the LORD and zeal for souls. A life lived apart from the Spirit is truly a life hardly lived at all. For without the Spirit, what good are we capable of doing? Does not the Holy Spirit work through us in every good deed we do? Likewise, just as we allow the Spirit to work through us to touch this broken and lifeless world, so too must we allow the Spirit to work in us, transforming our own hearts into types of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For if we are unwilling or unable to be transformed in our own lives, how can we expect Christ to transform the world through us? We see this most profoundly in the apostles, terrified of moving to begin sharing the faith, even after encountering and abiding with our risen Lord, until the fall of the Spirit down upon them at Pentecost. Yet, in order to fully receive all that was offered, they had to first receive the peace of Christ so that they might have the strength and perseverance in prayer to continually pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There is so much more grace that God is willing to give if we simply ask Him; the problem is not that God is limited in the gifts that He desires to bestow, but rather that we, in our brokenness, limit God by closing off our hearts to His love. O how the Sacred Heart is burning with desire to set the world on fire with His love, yet so many reject this love, causing great anguish to both the Sacred Heart and His mother’s Immaculate Heart. If we but ask, He is more than willing to grant us all we desire and even more. 

May 21, 2020

Scripture

Jesus is preparing to return to the Father, who, just as in the story of the prodigal son, will rejoice at the son’s return into heavenly glory. However, in the case of Christ, it is not His own sin that He is repenting for to the Father, but rather our sins and the sins of the whole world. For by His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, Christ has renewed and reformed our relationship with the Father. We are no longer slaves to sin, nor simply servants of a powerful and jealous God-King, but rather sons and daughters of the King, heirs to the Heavenly throne which has been prepared for us since the beginning of time. The Father rejoices at the return of His son because He has redeemed the entirety of creation, not just mankind, for at the fall the whole Earth was damaged, the natural order disturbed. Now, in the fullness of time, with His arms stretched out perpetually on the Cross for our sake, Jesus has brought us back to the Father. O the joy there must have been in heaven at the return of the Savior! Even in the midst of this eternal wedding feast of the lamb, a new and ever-glorious marriage has been announced: the union of God and man through the power of the Holy Spirit! With the return of the Lord, the power of our triune God, His love, His joy, His very essence, in the sacrifice of Calvary and the power of the Spirit, is given to us. Man remains united to God once more and participates in His divine nature through the sanctifying grace which is bestowed upon us in the sacraments. In a particular way, God’s wisdom and power come to us through Confirmation to all those who long for a life in the Spirit. He will come in more powerful ways and in greater abundance if we only ask. The mercy and love of God that we receive can only be limited by our own failures, sins, and unwillingness to turn to the LORD. If it is His will, there is nothing we can ask of the lord in His love that He will withhold from us. But, the gifts for which we ask will come in God’s way, and in God’s time, not our own. We must not become discouraged when it appears God has ignored our prayers; He has not ignored our cries for help, but rather has answered with exactly what we need, according to His plan, at that time. God will never forsake us, never leave us without an advocate. 

May 22, 2020

O that we might learn to dwell unceasingly in the joy of the Father! If we who have died with Christ have also risen with Him, what cause for sorrow can we have? All pain, sufferings, and trials, even death itself, has been made temporary as we are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. The ultimate and lasting cause of our joy should be our relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we live, and move, and have our being. Separated from the mind of the Father, we are nothing—we would not even remain in existence for a moment. Separated from the Holy Spirit, we have no power in us to do the works of the kingdom. Separated from Christ in the Eucharist, we have no strength to share our faith, nor to walk in the ways of the Lord. It is only through our relationship with the triune God that our lives become enflamed with mission, purpose, meaning, joy, satisfaction, and love. We must strive to unite ourselves with the Sacred and Eucharistic heart of the Savior, that we may be His hands and feet to those in this broken world who feel abandoned, desolate, and hopeless. If our heart does not beat in unison with His, how can we be an effective limb of Christ to reach the world? We would starve ourselves of the most basic needs to function. The closer we are to Christ, the more powerfully we will be able to witness to Him, and the more strength He will give us to reach this broken world. I cannot think of a time in human history in which the message of the Gospel was needed more than it is right now, nor can I think of a time when most Christians were more hesitant to share their faith with others and to witness the Gospel to the world. The biggest success of the devil in this persecution is that he has made each martyrdom a silent one, one without witnesses or anyone to tell their story. It is the witness of the strength of the martyrs that has always encouraged the faithful and been a witness to those who do not know Christ or accept Him as Lord. Without this witness, we are liable to fall into the trap of loneliness, isolation, and despair as well. We must continue to unite ourselves with our fellow Christians so as to strengthen each other through our witness of faith. 

May 26, 2020

“For I regard life as having no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” 

Acts 20:24

Lord, give me the strength to live as Paul did, wholly on fire for the sake of the Kingdom out of love for you. You have given me a purpose and a mission that only I can fulfill. This is not something that I can do on my own, nor is it a task that I wish to undertake without you, for without you I can do nothing. I know that the race I have set before me is shorter than others, but the course over which I am to run is far more strenuous. We were not called to be of this world, but simply to dwell in it as lights for those around us. There is so much more to life than the simple pleasures which this world has to offer us, and yet how many live their entire lives in pursuit of these lowly goods? If only they knew the truth of the choice they have made, the lasting emptiness that will remain which can only be satisfied by the love of the Father. How deep is the Father’s love for us! How pleasing it is to Him when we call upon Him in our weakness! His greatest desire is for us to choose to abide in Him for all eternity, to be perfect here on earth so that we may be perfect in heaven forever. The path to perfection is so incredibly narrow, but how wise the path seems when all around it is made straight, wide, and easy through Christ’s merciful love. When we live perpetually in His love, to do anything but remain in His love and come sprinting back when we begin to fall astray seems folly. The choice to turn away from the love of God is not and never will be a decision that will make us free, nor will it lead us to true happiness, but rather momentary pleasure at best, and misery and depression, perhaps even death at its worst. So then, knowing this, why do we still fall? Why do I do things I do not want to, and act in ways which I do not fully understand? It is because of my fallen nature, my own weakness, my lack of dependence upon God. And yet, it is also because God desires for me to have the opportunity to grow in love of Him, to increase virtuous habits, that I may become more like Him. 

May 27, 2020

“That they might all be one”

The cause of all evil, pain, suffering, and death in the world is division, namely division caused by sin. Sin breaks a heart, hurts a relationship, and leaves a mark. These marks, over time, can become deeper and more painful, causing many to despair, to lose hope, to feel unlovable. They make us feel inadequate, worthless, and damaged, as if no one could ever love us again. We feel as though we ought to be cast our, like a ripped and dirtied towel. Yet, we are not alone in this pain and suffering, for we have a God who also has marks, who has been wounded, suffered torments, rejection, brokenheartedness, pain, and even death. When we look upon our marks, are we able to see the marks for Christ and unite ourselves to Him? He understands our pain, and it is through His wounds that we come to know His heart, to glimpse the immensity of His love for us. It is in His wounds that we find consolation and healing from our own wounds. It is in His pierced heart that we find the meaning of love and come to know that suffering has a purpose, that we do not live simply for ourselves. In His hands and feet, we find healing from our own wounds. Though they will scar and leave a mark, we are not defined by our past, nor is our worth measured by our scars. From our scars, we gain a story of hope and life to share with others, because a scar means we were wounded and survived. Our scars may remain visible forever, especially if we continue to rip off the scab, or they may heal to where others may scarcely notice them without assistance. Regardless of how they might appear to others or if they can even notice them, we will always know that they are there because they are a part of who we are. Why should we choose to hide our scars and shame when we have a Savior who knows of our scars and loves us all the same? Allow yourself to wash your wounds clean in the blood and water flowing from the pierced side of our Lord. Do not fear returning to the Divine Physician who longs to heal all our wounds, uniting them with His own. It is only through Him that we can receive complete healing and realize the usefulness of our pain. We are not meant to suffer in isolation. Do not be afraid to share your healing, your pain, your journey with others. 

May 28, 2020

“Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.” –John 17

These words of Christ ring true in our own lives as well as His, for if we believe in the Father’s love for us and are actually seeking to do His will in all situations, then we know God and have been sent by Him into the world for the salvation of souls. We live in a world which rejects God, community, and true joy—God, because each man tries to be his own god controlling all aspects of life; community, because the world is calling us to each be self-interested, concerned only with our own desires, and only inserting ourselves in others’ lives when we have some sort of personal gain from the interaction; and most of all joy, because the existence of true and lasting joy and the experience thereof remind us that the pleasures of this world are insufficient and fleeting. When one is fully consumed with joy, suffering can gain meaning, trials purpose, and persecution worth. Joy is by far one of the most contagious spirits, but so is anger, and likewise fear. We live in a world which is so consumed by fear and fear-mongering from those in power that it is seldom possible to find one living in and of the world who can say that they are at peace. If we believe that our world will return to the way it was before, I fear we are dreadfully wrong. Yet in the midst of this trial, we have in confidence the solution to heal. In Christ alone is true joy.  In Christ alone is everlasting hope. In Christ alone is the ability to love with our very being, to place the needs of others first, to witness to our broken world with what selfless love looks like. We will be persecuted for this example of love—this has been the case all throughout history. The church alive and well is a symbol and an instrument of hope which contradicts the goals of the state, regardless of how free the country may seem. The goal of the state is for all to be completely reliant upon itself and only its measures, so that the people have nowhere else to turn and feel no other purpose in life outside of obligations to the state. Christ’s church gives meaning to life and provides a steadfast source of hope which the state never can. It is for this reason that our churches were all but forced to close, and restrictions put in place to hinder their opening. Yet through all this, Christ will prevail; the war has already been won. Let us go therefore into battle with confidence.   

June 1, 2020

What love Christ has for us, that while we were still sinners, He suffered and died for us. He suffered His passion willingly, knowing that the majority of the people for which He died would not care or wouldn’t know the love He has for them. What joy and consolation it brings to Christ’s most Sacred Heart when we turn to him in our hour of need. What greater joy it must bring to Him when we share the joy we found in Christ with the world around us! All of creation, not just mankind, is awaiting with great hope and expectation for us to accept our identity as sons and daughters of the King, for it is through this acceptance that we are able to bring about the renewal of the whole world through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Satan comes to destroy our confidence in the Lord, to take our trust, to make us hesitant to share the gospel message. And yet, even still, we have nothing to fear, because Christ has already won the war. We have confidence in our strength for the journey because Christ, the Victor, has promised to remain with us always, and He will not disappoint. Let us enter into this spiritual battle with the armaments of the Lord and his people. Wherever the name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed, the devil flees. Where the beads of the rosary pass through the fingers of those faithful to prayer, demons fall all around. Our Lady, like a powerful and confident general, puts all our fears to rest and ensures that we shall never travel unarmed. She will march into battle alongside us, as a powerful leader must. No matter the intensity of the fighting, she will remain our hope, our flag, the sign of the cause for which we wage war. Though our enemies may surround us, let us always have the courage, even our last moments to cry out with confidence “Long live Christ the King”! If we are to have the privilege of dying for Christ, let us also never forget that our lives can be a transforming and motivating instrument in the lives of those around us. During all hardships and persecutions, it is the strength of the few who are able to stand firm in faith that give passion and meaning to the many whom they leave behind. 

June 2, 2020

We are in this world but are not of it. Because we are in the world, we are still responsible for some earthly duties, and are called set good examples of how to dutifully live as sons and daughters of the King. A piece of this, therefore, is duty to state, whether we like it or not. However, this duty more accurately means obedience, whereas obedience is not simply blind acceptance of what those in authority choose. Rather, when something is unjust, we have a responsibility in good conscience to stand up and fight for the truth, to fight to defend what is right, to fight for our freedoms. Just as I had feared and many have been predicting, the time has drawn near. We must lay firm foundations for what is to come, not only in our own lives, but in the lives of our children, both spiritual and physical. God has given us these last few months as a gift of time to come together and intensify our desire for the sacraments, for the unity of the church, for Mass, for the freedom to practice our faith in public again. Our church here in the United States needs public leaders willing to take a stand for the gospel as an inspiration and witness to others. My friends, the time of the public persecution of the church in America is here. This will not go away without a fight, but it will be the Lord who triumphs. This is only the beginning; It will most certainly get worse before it gets better. We must fervently pray that our shepherds have the strength to stand up against the pressures of this world, no matter the cost. If we were to lose our life fighting for this great cause of freedom, it would be a tremendous blessing. Imagine the joy in uniting yourself to Christ’s sufferings and death on the cross for the Salvation of the same people who reject and revile Him to this day. Do not worry about numbers, but rather about the strength of those you have, and their passion. 10 strong and passionate men are worth more than 100 who have no investment in what they’re fighting for; no understanding of what they’re defending. Let Christ be your comfort. Let Christ be your shield. Let Christ be your strength. Let Christ be the cause for which you lay down your life. Long live Christ the King! 

June 3, 2020

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord.”

2 Timothy 1

Because of the promise of the Holy Spirit, we have received the power of the Lord to go forth to the world unashamed and unafraid. We can go, knowing that, when we travel with prayers always on our lips, it will be the words of the Lord given by the Spirit that we proclaim. I have no pressure, and all in all a very simple task—be open, receptive, and response to the Lord. My actions are not my own, nor are they for my own benefit or glorification. When done in a spirit of love, my actions are to be such that others see only Christ working, not me. When speaking with others, I lean not on my own understanding, but on the movement of the Holy Spirit to guide my words in the conversation as a whole. So much comes to mind and floods the soul when speaking to another, particularly when conversing with one who is longing for more of the Lord with a pure heart. These souls who are truly opened wide to the Lord will surely be filled and overflowing with the graces which Christ most desires for them to have to build up the Kingdom. The challenge here and now is to not simply become obsessed with the accumulation of gifts, or focused on the number of people which we have impacted, but rather to set our gaze locked upon the face of Christ, both in the most Holy Eucharist and in His body the Church which surrounds us perpetually. If we cannot truly love those who are right in front of us, how do we expect to charitably and personally interact with those whom we do not know? We must never be ashamed of the message of Christ, nor stray away from meaningful conversation about His love and power in our lives. Each of us has a unique story that can impact another’s life in a new and profound manner. Our story is unrepeatable and significant, for Christ has given each of us a role to play, and the strength in Him to do it. Come, Spirit of confidence. Come, Spirit of love. Come, Spirit of power. Come, and fall on me, that I may be your witness to the world.  

June 4, 2020

My brothers and sisters, 

Take courage, for though we have received the promise of the cross from those who hold us here, we know that the cross is not the end for us. For if we die for Christ, we shall surely receive the heavenly banquet He promised us. Let our deaths glorify the Father just as our lives have, and let us act without hesitation, regret, or fear. Christ has already won the war! We may lose this battle for our lives, but they will not go unnoticed. If by the witness of our suffering we are able to bring one more soul the knowledge of Christ’s love for them, all is worth it. I would not trade this suffering for all the wealth and glory the world has to offer, for the glory I will receive in Christ Jesus in Heaven far surpasses all this world could ever offer. Yet for so many this is not so. My heart mourns for those who have chosen prosperity in this life over the glory of heaven, and many in number are they. I pray that their eyes may be open to their faults, but not only to their faults, but also to the all-powerful love God has for them and the forgiveness He offers each and every one of us until the end of time. The time is coming and is very nearly here in which all Christians must decide how much their faith means to them, and what they are willing to forgo for the sake of the Gospel. All will be forced to make a choice, the same choice the Apostles made at Christ’s arrest and again after His ascension: do I follow Christ and embrace His cross, or reject Him, pretending as though His sacrifice doesn’t matter and returning to my old way of life. As for me, I will follow Christ. There is no going back, and there is no middle ground. Here, it is all or nothing. Lukewarmness is no longer an option when churches are being closed down and the faithful denied the sacraments. If they mean enough to us, then we must fight for our right to religious freedom. If not, what is the purpose of life lived without Christ? A life without Christ, lived apart from His love, is a life void of meaning and lacking true identity. Christ awaits our return to Him with joy, always ready to welcome us into His loving embrace. It is with the strength found in this embrace that we go forth now.

June 5, 2020

Be not afraid. We do not have a Savior who is unable to relate to our struggles, our pain, our sorrow, our tiredness. Rather, since He who was and is both fully human and fully divine understands our human experiences and has too born their trials, let us unite ourselves to Him, begging for His strength and knowing that those who turn to Him in their hour of need will not be disappointed. What sets our God apart from all is that His comprehension of our pains goes further than simple understanding as it is rooted not in an intellectual disposition but rather in lived human experience. Even though He Himself was without sin, He humbled Himself, experiencing the effects of sin through His suffering and death for our sake. He so desperately longs for us to come to Him, to come sprinting towards Him both in times of joy and in times of sorrow. How much joy and consolation it brings His Sacred Heart to know that He has not been forgotten or cast aside from our presence, but that He dwells in the very center of our life! Jesus longs to remain with us in every moment of every day, for us constantly to turn to Him as the source of our strength and our hope. We must have a hope in Christ which truly does surpass all understanding, even in the midst of our darkest days. It is through this profound hope that we will find our peace in our joy. These trifold gifts will form our disposition into the image of Christ Himself, who longs to bring such gifts as these to the whole world. Furthermore, it is through these gifts that we as Christians will be able to bear witness to the Gospel of life and share the love of Christ with others. Our hope, coming not from this world but the next, will not and cannot be destroyed by anything this world and the Devil have to offer or charge against us. We, therefore, should conduct ourselves in a manner so as to always be faithful witnesses of this hope, this peace, this joy which we have been given in Christ Jesus our Lord. Only we can be witnesses to those Christ puts in front of us. If each were to be this faithful witness to the world, imagine how quickly our churches would be overflowing. Imagine the graces we could pour out on the world.  

June 6, 2020

“I have allowed you to understand glimpses of my most Sacred Heart, of my bride, the Church, alive and well on this earth. I do not ever leave you or her abandoned. My heart is hurt more and more deeply with each passing day, with each soul that decides to leave me and seek fulfillment elsewhere. I desire nothing more than for souls to turn to me in their hour of need. I have shown you that I too understand your pain, your hurt, your rejection, your loneliness, your fear. Yet in all things, I trust in my Heavenly Father. Let His will be done, His Kingdom come. Your role here is very simple—be a witness to the Kingdom. Love is a very simple thing, yet so incredibly perfect. I am love, the most perfect love beyond anything you have ever seen or could begin to comprehend. I desire to share more of my love with you, with this broken world of mine. Division was never the plan. I have shown you what a divided church does to my heart. I am broken and shared by all who believe, yet how few souls truly allow me to enter into their lives or believe that I’m truly present with them through it all? I desire to set this world ablaze with the fire which burns in my heart, to engulf the whole world in my very essence, in my love. And yet, so often I approach souls in order that they may come to know me more, only to be pushed aside. I do not enter where I am not wanted unless the father desires it and has willed it. The souls of others can be broken free from the chains which bind them through the devout and fervent prayers of their brothers and sisters. I hear every cry for help, every plea to change one’s heart. No prayer goes unnoticed, particularly not those which my mother brings to me. How can I refuse her anything, her who gave life to me, of whose flesh I am. Through the intercession of many, I come to you now. For the sake of even more, I beg you—do not be silent or frozen in fear. What you have heard is true and I desire to set the world on fire. You will be persecuted because of me, just as you have in the past, but do not fear. Trust in my merciful love—that will be enough for you. Go and tell the whole world what you have heard. My heart aches for you, for the world. If only you would turn to me.” 

June 8, 2020

“Just as Elijah did in the time of drought, so now I am imploring you: Trust in me. I will never lead you astray. I promised that I would feed him, so too I promised to give you my body as your everlasting food, to strengthen, guard, and protect you against the Evil One until I come again. It is only through this most Holy Sacrifice that you will have the strength and courage to bring about the change in the world that we so long to see. This is most certainly known by all, and especially by those who stand against you, which is why my words are so attacked. Yet I promise you, this is my body given up for you. This is my precious blood, poured out upon the cross for you and for many for the forgiveness of your sins. Those who receive my body, but do not want to understand what a gift it really is, break my heart. To treat me as just a piece of bread with no regard for the sacrifice made is to ignore me, to scoff at me and my promises. This most precious gift is what sustains the soul. Those who desire to destroy the soul desire also to destroy my body as they did during my passion. But now, the attack has changed. The goal is no longer to destroy my body directly, but rather to convince people to ignore it. The enemy will deem this Holy Sacrifice nonessential, dangerous, irrational. By surrounding the sacrifice with fear, many will turn away, many will not return to me, even when I stand with open arms, begging for their love. To those who do return, I will pour out upon them my gifts in measures that this world has not yet seen. By generosity cannot be outdone. How deeply I long to send out a new wave of grace and my Spirit to flood the world. In this time of brokenness, your lights will shine forth like the sun at midday, for though the flame is small when isolated, in unity you will become a raging inferno, united to the fire which burns deep within my heart and the heart of my mother. In this war for souls, she will be your general, distributing supplies and supplying encouragement whenever it is needed. She goes forth at my request, to do the work which the Father has commanded. Though we come to you in peace, we also come to destroy the head of Satan, just as was promised. Remain in my love, and you will have strength enough for the battles to come.” 

June 9, 2020

We are not meant to live in isolation, nor are we meant to make this journey through life alone. It is nearly impossible for one to keep the faith alive without the encouragement of others at some point in time. We are called to live in solidarity and in peaceful, joyful community with those around us. Yet, we are not called to simply exist in this community, going through the motions of our day, but rather we are called to illuminate this community with the light of Christ which we carry deep within our hearts. When we keep Christ close by throughout the day, all that we do and all that we are becomes a call of the heart towards God, which is to say it becomes a prayer. Those within our own community are the most difficult to witness to oftentimes, but also the most essential. Nothing in our lives, whether we realize it or not, is static—we are constantly moving in one direction or another. So, if we are not improving and calling others to be improving with us, then our gifts and talents, our love for others is diminishing. The goal of any relationship is to bring the other more deeply into the love of the Father and the Son, and so to grow in love, fostering the bond between the two human persons in the process. For any relationship here on earth is not a unity or friendship between two, but rather three. All community which is built on love exists within the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. The simplest way to determine the usefulness of a friendship as well as the goodness is to see if it is bringing you in some way closer to Christ. Likewise, the best way to find a solid relationship is first to sprint towards the heart of our Savior. While running yourself then, glance beside you and see who is running with you. Build each other up and challenge your brother to improve. Look ahead of you. Use your brother ahead of you in the race towards Christ as guidance and motivation. We must be willing to witness to Christ in all we do. It is through this witness of our selfless love and joy that we will convert this broken and hurting world back to Christ. In the Gospel message, we offer peace, hope, joy, love, and fulfillment, but not in shallow measures as the world does, but rather in great abundance, for Christ longs to give us all He has. 

June 10, 2020

The Lord always hears our prayers and responds to them without delay. Sometimes, the answer we receive may not be what we desire to hear, and in some instances the answer may be “not yet”. Even still, remember that God uses all things for good, and each and every encounter we have serves a purpose. In God’s plan for your life, there are no accidents. Because God is, all He does is intentional. There is not even the slightest possibility that God “made a mistake”, or gave you more than you could handle, or put you where you don’t belong in the plan of Salvation. There are people here now that you are called to witness to, because others simply cannot. There is a mission God has given you which only you can do, and you must begin now. While in essence we all have the same mission from the same commission, each is called to go about it in their own way. We are not to attempt to be someone we are not, and that applies to our prayer life and relationship with God as well as in earthly ways. God and His church do not need or want another Saint Teresa, Pope St John Paul II, or Saint Jose Sanchez Del Rio. What we do need, more than anything, is a Saint you. Be a saint in only the way you can. Be all that you are made to be, and both heaven and earth will rejoice. Remember, all creation awaits our fulfillment of our identity in Christ, not just mankind. Therefore, we must be witnesses always, as all we do impacts the world around us. Prayer is extremely powerful; There is no such thing as a useless or weak prayer. Christ desires to give us so much more than we could ever imagine, and all we have to do is ask for more. More love, more joy, more peace, more gifts, more opportunities to share the message of Christ’s hope. God will never be outdone in generosity or run out of gifts, nor is it possible for Him to think we’re being selfish in asking when we come with a pure heart. A pure heart God will not spurn, nor will he turn away his face. How immense the joy in heaven when we come running back from more! We cannot begin to fathom the joy of the angels as they see us beginning to fulfill our destiny. As we walk down the path to eternal life, we do not walk alone, as there are hundreds, even thousands of souls praying for us, guiding us along the way, and giving us strength for the journey. 

June 11, 2020

As we get ready to welcome families, remember who it is that you are serving. This holds true across all interactions with others, regardless of the context. Whenever we look at someone else, we are looking at another Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, even if they do not realize the Spirit of the Lord that is drawing near. In this time above all, we must conduct ourselves with integrity of mind, body, and soul, so as to be the witnesses to this world that are so desperately needed. Our very broken world cries out for love, its inhabitants feeling as though they have lost purpose or even perhaps never had it to begin with. This is where we must learn to meet our brothers and sisters with arms outstretched in love, that we may witness to them Christ’s love for them. This love is a challenging love, for it calls us to continually improve ourselves, though at the same time meeting us exactly where we are. God loves us too much to allow us to stay in this broken and fallen state in which we approach Him, and so it is with a tremendous smile and great joy that He begins to work in our hearts. When we approach Him asking for more, he will never disappoint. He so deeply longs for us to die to our former earthly attachments and to live fully for Him. For some this means leaving all else behind, not just the old self, but all their possessions and plans as well as the pleasures of this world they might be fully consecrated to Christ Himself. For many, this takes a slightly different form, still rooted in dying to self and letting go of what this world has to offer, but also being witnesses in the midst of all they do, at home and in the workplace. By good conduct, joy, peace, and love of neighbor, one should be able to recognize a Christian without even trying. These men and women who witness to Christ in the midst of the ordinary are the primary evangelizers to the whole world. As the daily face of Christ’s church in the world, it is up to each and every one of us to be witnesses of Christ in all situations, no matter how large or small, no matter who is watching or who we think may notice. We are called to be genuine in our love for those around us, even when it hurts, and sometimes it definitely hurts. And those moments, unite yourself wholly to Christ, who knows what it is like to be hurt and scorned by others, even as He loves them. Use the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the harm caused by sin, for the pain and rejection we feel is the same as Christ feels each time we turn away from him. 

June 12, 2020

No matter what you may have been told these last few months, we are not called to live in isolation. We are people made for relationships, and it is through relationships that we find our identity. The question now is this: which relationship(s) do you allow yourself to be defined by? They could be your relationships to living people, or to objects, labels, customs, hobbies, you name it. In the end, we all define ourselves based on something or someone. What is it for you? 

As Christians, we are called to define ourselves in one relationship. We know at the end of the day something has to take priority over all else. What is it? Think honestly with yourself. If you are struggling, ask this question: what’s my identity? Who am I known as? How do I identify myself? 

God is completely and totally in love with everything about you. He made you perfectly imperfect, that through our struggles and choices we may grow in virtue and ultimately become more like Him. I am a giant mess, and yet God loves me all the same. He knows our hearts, our deepest longings and desires, our greatest fears, and our hopes and dreams. 

June 22, 2020

“Will you be quiet and still, willing to just be with me? Do not let faith become a love of usefulness, adoration a time simply to ask for things. Remain in me. Stop trying to pull away and hide. I love you. Come stay with me.”

June 23, 2020

“I long for the world to come to know and believe in my Eucharistic heart. Until all mankind learns to turn to me in their time of need, trusting in my love and in the words of my mother that have been given to you, there will not be true and lasting peace, nor will you have the capability of being truly free. If you continue to turn away from me, following your own plans and desires, the chaos and the hurt will only continue to increase. Amen I say to you, there is no peace, no joy, no love where I am not present. It is only in and through me that your deepest desires and longings of your heart will be satisfied. Come to me, and I will give you rest. I will bestow upon you the strength you will need for the journey; I promise I will remain with you always, no matter the circumstances, but I never promised that the road and the race which has been prepared for you as an easy one. Yet, I will never give you a challenge which you cannot overcome with my assistance. I know what it is to struggle, to suffer, to feel immense pain. With the right disposition, not a single moment of suffering will go unused to bless someone else or yourself because of your sacrifice. Everything you do makes a difference.”

June 24, 2020

No matter what your state in life, you are able to make a difference in the world. 

Edited by: Paul Gillett

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