Today I went to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in a very special way, to remember my dear mother, who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 83. Today, she would’ve been 84.
I miss her very much, but I know she is finally now at peace with our Lord, no longer suffering, and experiencing His love and joy in its fullness in heaven. I arrived early, before the celebration of the Holy Mass, and went before the Altar of our Lady, who is my spiritual mother. Taking a photograph of my mother out of my wallet, and a holy card of our Lady with the Infant Jesus in her arms, I knelt before her statue, and prayed to my two mothers in heaven. I lit a memorial candle before the Blessed Mothers’ shrine, and then I returned to the pew and lifted my heart, mind, and soul to our Triune God throughout the Holy Mass pressing my earthly mother’s photograph, and the holy card of our Lady and the Infant Jesus to my heart.
While thanking the Lord for His Sacramental Presence within me in Holy Communion, I heard Jesus say to me, within my heart, “open your book”. I responded to Him “I am all yours Lord Jesus, nothing held back. Speak Lord, Your servant is listening”. Jesus then began to speak to me interiorly. “Dear child, I am here. I hear your prayers. You are forgiven for your faults and weaknesses. Know My love for you is true. Have no fear. “Perfect love cast out all fear”(1 John 4:28).
Today My little darling I am with you in a special way. Your mother is here with Me, looking on, observing you. She is happy with you. She will pray for you on your journey. She loves you and forgives you all your faults and failings. She understands. Her love for you is now perfect in My Presence as she is filled with the fullness of My love in heaven. Your father is here with Me too and he loves you, as he always has. Be blessed, dear Ann in the love of your family.
My Family on earth was built on love, which is the foundation of life – true Life. In the Holy Family We loved each other perfectly, a gift of grace from God. All families receive grace to grow in love. They must cooperate with this grace or it is ineffective. Today, so few families cooperate with the graces given due to their lack of faith. For this reason families are full of disorder, unnecessary pain and suffering. Look at the Holy Family, a model of love and self-giving care and attention to each other. Never did a moment go by when Love was not fully present. My foster father, St. Joseph, loved me with a strong human love imbued with Grace. His cooperation with Grace was complete – full. My mother Mary, full of Grace, loved Me perfectly in the power of God. We shared such happiness and joy despite the hardships of Our lives.
Come families of the world back to your Father in heaven who guides you in Grace if you would but cooperate. Have faith in God! Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy. It is possible by grace, as all things are possible with God. Love each other selflessly. Forget yourselves and serve the other in abandon and love will grow.”
At these words, of my dearest Lord Jesus, my heart swooned in prayer and exclaimed to Him, “sweet Jesus, sweet Jesus, tender, sweet Jesus, teach us how to love each other perfectly in Your Grace, dear Lord!”
In the silence of nature, our Lord Jesus and our Blessed mother Mary shared their Hearts and these words to me today.
Jesus – ” Ann, dear daughter, We are here. Do not worry. We will protect you and your family. We will protect all souls who belong to Us – who are consecrated to Us – who trust in Our love. The days are evil, more evil now than at any time in history, because of lack of Faith in God.
Mankind has gone his own way to his own destruction. Without God there is no hope. I bring you hope. Trust in My salvation. Belong to Me totally – your heart, soul, mind and body entrusted to My mercy and love. I will save you and all those who turn to receive Me. Be at peace, dear daughter. You are mine. I will use you to reach others with My truth. Come to Me, all of you who are burdened and heavy laden with worry and anxiety about your sins and the state of the world. World events are moving fast now – great conflagrations are imminent unless you turn your hearts back to Me. Doom and destruction will be your reward for the stubbornness of your hearts. Is that what you truly want? Why are you so slow to hear? What else must I say to you? All has been said. All has been told. The truth is known to those who have ears to hear.
Open your ears; open your hearts. Move yourselves towards Me with love and gratitude, for I have purchased your salvation with My own Blood. Do you comprehend the cost of the death of God for your salvation? The cost is infinite, as is the reward to those who value it. I want you to be with Me for all eternity. Do not delay – the time is short to make a decision – Do not waiver; run to Me. Come to Me; find Me in your hearts where I am calling you to come home. I am waiting for you with love and open arms to receive you.”
Blessed mother Mary – “Dear children, my Son waits with longing, agonizing longing for you to turn back to Him. Give Him your hearts, minds and souls completely. I gave Him mine and you can see my beauty – my soul is filled with His grace – and I am beautiful in love and truth. This is your Call – the transformation of your souls in beauty and truth – the goodness of God. Why do you wait my little children? My mother’s heart aches for you. Be true to your life’s purpose – to love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself which proves your love is true for God.
Be not dim – witted, foolish and slow of heart to understand your calling. The time is short for my Triumph. You are either with me or without me, for me or against me. You must choose. This is the time of decision. You’re in that valley – the valley of the shadow of death – and it is time to decide for life – eternal life. Run to my son! Run quickly! Go with haste to meet him while there is still time.
Be blessed my little daughter. Be blessed!
We bless you. Go in peace”
Today was unable to make it to Holy Mass for the Feast of Saint Padre Pio, so I took a long walk around the lake and through the woods, praying my rosary and lifting my heart to the Lord Jesus. I sat down on a bench at the end of my walk and rested there in silence with Jesus for a while. He placed these words into my heart, which I share with you,
“I am here My daughter, waiting for you. As you know I can speak to you anywhere. Do not worry about the times to come; you are safe in My Hands and Heart. All who place their trust in Me are safe from harm – eternal death. There are many hardships in this life, and I do not say that I will save you from these, but I will help you through them. As a good Father, I look after My children. Be at peace. All is well. Trust Me! I will not disappoint your trust in Me.
Hear the sounds of nature – peace. Nature cooperates with My plan following the instincts I have placed within it. Only human beings have the freedom to choose good or evil. Choose good and all will go well for you.
My love is like the breeze blowing across your soul, refreshing your deep inner self. Trust in My love. It is for you, not against you. I hold you in the palm of My Hand and will lift your soul to heights of sanctity if you will but let Me. There is no striving in love – let go and receive My love. Let me fill you with Myself. Open your heart that I may flood you with My being. My Presence and love fill the universe. Only man has the capacity to shut his heart against Me. Open your hearts children; let Me live in you and do My work in your souls to return them to My image. All else is vanity and does not last. I am Eternal Life. I give this life to you if you want it. I am gentle and will not force Myself upon you. Let Me in – let My love into your hearts. I woo you like a lover giving you good gifts, temporal and eternal, material and spiritual. Do you recognize My gifts? Turn to Me and return love for Love and live!
After attending Holy Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception today, I prayed my rosary to our Lady, and then began a novena to St. Joseph below his shrine, to the right of the high altar. I am imploring Jesus’ foster father, Saint Joseph, to help with a very hard trial that I’m currently undergoing, as I recall the words our Lord spoke to me a few days ago, when He encouraged me to turn to St. Joseph who is a “mighty” intercessor to his Son on behalf our Lord’s brothers and sisters.
After I finished my prayers and petitions to our Lady and St. Joseph, I sat in silence in the great Cathedral, and prayed to the Holy Spirit asking for wisdom to live a holy life pleasing to the Lord. In response, the Holy Spirit led me to Ephesians chapters 4 and 5, which I read in the presence of the Lord. I encourage you to turn to Ephesians Chapters 4 and 5 and read these two profoundly instructive passages of divine wisdom, written by St. Paul, and inspired to him through the Holy Spirit.
Then, I heard the Lord Jesus, speak into my heart the following message:
“My dear daughter Ann, I am well pleased with the emptying of your heart to Me today, so that I may fill you with Myself – My full Grace to make of you a replica of My mother, Mary who is full of grace. Learn well from her. She is your model for growth in holiness. Be obedient to her wishes, for they are Mine. We are united in will. Our Hearts are one, so should yours be with Ours, always united in will and love. As a child under My mother’s tutelage, you will grow unto the full stature of Christ – to become a “New Man”, leaving the old nature and all it’s evil ways behind you.
Be true to yourself. Trust in Our love. It is complete; you need nothing more. Let go of yourself and We will fill you with Our life and love, and you will shine before men with the Divine Light emanating from your “new man”, – your new being as a radiant child of God. I say again, trust in Our love. It is real, true, perfect and full of tenderness towards Our children. My mother loves and cares for all My children whom I entrusted to her while I was dying on the cross for love of mankind. She prays before Me every day, continuously, for My mercy to envelop the hearts of all the children of the world – those that know Me and those that know Me not. She is a good mother, – trustworthy – to be trusted by all her children. She wants only the best for her children, which is My will – salvation and eternal life for all the children of the world. Why do you think she came to Fatima, to Medjugorje, to Lourdes? – to draw my children back to My Heart!
My Heart bleeds for My children. My blood washes over the world, keeping it from desolation. Time is growing short until the Hand of justice falls upon a world of sin which refuses to convert and receive My mercy and salvation while there is still mercy available for it from my bleeding Heart. My mother prays night and day to hold My Hand back and give her children just a little more time to respond to My endless sighs of love and compassion towards My children. Come quickly children! Come home to your loving Parents. We await you with open arms and bleeding Hearts of love.”
After Holy Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, I sang the Stabat Mater Dolorosa in front of our Lady of Sorrows, to the left of the altar. At the end of this post you will find this beautiful hymn to sing, pray or to meditate upon.
Afterwards, I moved back to the second pew, and sat in silence reading my prayerbook. I then heard the Lord call my name “Ann.” I heard Him call a second time “Ann.” And then I heard Him call a third time “Ann”. On the third call, when I realized it was Jesus, I answered Him, “Here I am Lord”.
He said, “Do as I say. Write what I tell you. I am here with you, My little child. Post the teaching on the Beatitudes you have just studied. It is good for all to read.
You are growing in virtue daily. I am well pleased. I want all My children to grow in faith and virtue. Imitate My Mother of Sorrows who carried her cross bravely and peacefully. She contained all the gifts of the Holy Spirit: fortitude, piety, fear of the Lord, wisdom, counsel, knowledge and understanding, and she use these gifts with her own free will. I give these gifts to all who ask. These gifts are the Presence of the Holy Spirit in your soul. Live in unity with My Spirit and you will live a life of virtue, so pleasing to Me.
Call on My Saints for assistance. They struggled just like you to grow in virtue and they understand your needs. Pray to them for help. Call on them to intercede in your areas of weakness. St. Joseph is mighty to assist. He helped Me in My life on earth; he displayed a strong example of a life of virtue – of trust and faith and obedience to God’s will. I hear your prayers always, but My Saints assist Me in love. We are a loving family, helping each other, supporting each other, assisting each other. I am God, but I use the cooperation of My Saints, My children, My Mother in My plans and actions. Trust in Me. Trust in My ways.
You are a good child; keep trusting Me and you will grow in faith and virtue and reach the heights of sanctity. I love you as I love all My children. I assist them always in My merciful love.
Go in peace.”
Stabat Mater dolorosa
At the Cross Her Station Keeping
Stabat Mater Dolorosa is considered one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time. It is based upon the prophecy of Simeon that a sword was to pierce the heart of His mother, Mary (Lk 2:35). The hymn originated in the 13th century during the peak of Franciscan devotion to the crucified Jesus and has been attributed to Pope Innocent III (d. 1216), St. Bonaventure, or more commonly, Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306), who is considered by most to be the real author.
The hymn is often associated with the Stations of the Cross. In 1727 it was prescribed as a Sequence for the Mass of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (September 15) where it is still used today. In addition to this Mass, the hymn is also used for the Office of the Readings, Lauds, and Vespers for this memorial. There is a mirror image to this hymn, Stabat Mater speciosa, which echoes the joy of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the birth of Jesus
|STABAT Mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.
|AT, the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
|Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
|Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
|O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
|O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
|Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.
|Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
|Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
|Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
|Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?
|Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?
|Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.
|Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent:
|Vidit suum dulcem Natum
dum emisit spiritum.
|For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
|Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.
|O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
|Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
|Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
|Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.
|Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
|Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.
|Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
|Fac me tecum pie flere,
donec ego vixero.
|Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
|Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.
|By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
|Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.
|Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
|Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.
|Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
|Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.
|Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
|Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.
|Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
|Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.
|Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
|Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.
|While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.
Following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, I spent time with Jesus in quiet contemplation. He spoke the following words to me in my heart which I feel He would like me to share with you.
“My dear child, why do you weep? Am I not here with you? Forgive yourself as you forgive others; with this I am well pleased.
I will guide you in your thinking for I am truth. Have the mind of Christ. Search my Word, for there you find the fullness of My thoughts presented for human minds to understand by My Spirit of understanding and wisdom given to you.
There is no need to seek knowledge elsewhere, for all you need for moral living is contained in My Word, My Scriptures. Search the Scriptures and you will find this to be true. Read the parables, observe My actions, note My words. All truth is contained in My words and actions for moral living in this world. I remind you of the Beatitudes; in them you will find peace. Look to Me, as displayed in My Word, for all you think and do and things will go well for you.
‘Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path’ (Psalm 119:105) in the way you are to walk in this world before Me. This is the sure path of life, the path for holy living.
My Holy Spirit of truth will teach you. Trust in My Spirit. Pray to My Spirit – The Holy Spirit- He will light your way and bring you to the heights of holiness, which is the pure light of My love. Love is always the way. Love your neighbor as you would have them love you. In this, is the simplicity of the moral life on earth.
Go in Peace.
I will continue to train you in righteousness. Have no fear. I am here. I go with you.”
After holy mass today at St. Patrick’s I stayed later, and was the last person to leave the church, as I wanted to continue worshiping Jesus.
I said, “speak Lord, Your servant is listening. If You will and desire, I am ready – my heart is ready”.
“Dear Ann, My daughter, here I am, waiting for you. You are Mine, My lamb. I have found you years ago and you have grown in love and grace. Now I am using you to find My lost sheep, My little lost lambs. Go out to the highways and byways, to the streets and corners, to the neighborhoods, to the cities and countryside, and you will find them wandering alone in darkness – lost, lonely, hungry for love and truth and life, although many do not know or understand their destitution, as their minds have become darkened through sin.
My precious daughter, enlighten them to My love and mercy. Bring My Grace to them. You are My hands and feet, My mouth. Tell them about Me. Tell them how much I love them and want to hold them on My shoulders and carry them home. Give them food to eat – My Word, My message of love and salvation. Slake their thirst with the Living Water I give to drink. Stay near their sides and wrap them in your love which flows from My heart through you, and keep them warm. Pick them up from their falls, lift them out of the pit, set them on their feet again and make them sturdy with My Living Word. Reach them wherever they have strayed. My Word goes out to all the earth and does not come back to Me void.
I am the Good Shepherd calling My sheep to come home.”
Today I went on yet another pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in order to pass again through the Holy Door of Mercy designated by Pope Francis in this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
For those who may not be aware, the Holy Father solemnly declared an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy from 8 December 2015 – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – to November 20, 2016 – the Solemnity of Christ the King, which honors Our Lord Jesus Christ as Lord of the Universe both as God and as a Man.
God gave the example of the Jubilee in the Old Testament with its liberation from earthly debts to prepare for the true liberation provided by Jesus Christ, – liberation from bondage to sin.
I’ve made this pilgrimage to the basilica several times in the past week in order to profit from the opportunity to receive the Jubilee Year of Mercy Indulgence for myself and others.
What is an indulgence? As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stated, “In the spiritual realm everything belongs to everyone. There is no private property. The goods of others become mine and my goods belong to others. This is what is intended by the expression “the treasure of the Church” and the “merits of the Saints”. To ask for an indulgence means to enter into this communion of spiritual goods and put oneself at its disposition”.
According to the Code of Canon Law, (992) “An indulgence is the remission before God of temporal punishment for sins whose guilt is already forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful gains under certain and defined conditions by the assistance of the Church which as a minister of redemption dispenses and applies authoritatively the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the saints.”
” An indulgence can be partial or plenary in so far as it partially or totally frees from the temporal punishment due to sins (993).”
A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who satisfy all the stated conditions, which in simple summary are: receiving holy Communion in a state of grace, making Sacramental Confession, praying for the Intentions of the Pope, and having complete detachment from all sin, even venial sin. (It is this disposition to renounce all attachment to our sins which opens our heart to the receipt of the full remission of the temporal guilt of sin, which God desires to grant us through the Church). Thus, the Year of Mercy Indulgence means the full remission of all temporal punishment (i.e. time spent in Purgatory) due to the sin in one’s entire lifetime up to that point! Again, the Jubilee Year of Mercy Indulgence which in conjunction with the remission of the eternal guilt of sin through Sacramental Confession, remits the temporal punishment due to the already forgiven sin.!
I encourage you all to find your local pilgrimage church – one that has been designated as a Jubilee Church which features a Holy Door of Mercy.
After Holy Mass today, in my time of prayer of quiet with our Lord here in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Jesus gave me this message which I share with you.
“Write child, the words I speak to you. My little darling, here I am, with you, in you, beside you, around you, above and below you – everywhere. My Spirit is everywhere. Come and breathe Me into your soul. Trust in My refreshing Spirit which gives you life and teaches you truth. Be bold to proclaim that I alone am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me. The Way you know. The Way is by trusting and believing in Me. This is the path of Life. It is the only Truth.
Little daughter, why do you doubt your inspirations? Am I not trustworthy? Do you not know Me? Of course you do. You know Me well, but I will show you more, reveal more of Myself to you. Trust is all you need. Trust! How it pleases Me when someone trusts Me with their whole heart and soul. It gives Me great glory. How I love to be glorified in this way. Trust like a child. Childlike trust! No complicating thoughts should enter your mind. Simplicity, silence, peace. This is how you hear Me and learn and grow to know Me better, more intimately.
Rest in My love. Do not strive. I accept you, receive you, just as you are today. You have made a good Confession. Be at peace! Trust in My mercy. My hands are always outstretched to those seeking My mercy – just as the Father who received the prodigal son. He ran to meet His beloved child and blessed him with all He had. Do you see? Come home to your Father without fear. I run towards My children with love and mercy in My outstretched hands. I embrace you with a hug of My Love which is full and plenteous for redemption. All is well. All is well! All can be well with your souls, just return home to your Father who loves you.
All is well. Go in peace.”
“Pick up your pen and write, Ann, the words I will tell you. You are Our beloved daughter. Be not afraid of what is coming upon the world. I will be with you, and all who love Me and trust in Me. My Mother’s humble army will triumph. The world is filled with sin and in need of chastisement, but I am merciful – Mercy Itself – so I delay My just punishment a bit longer that souls may turn to Me yet, and be saved.
You are a soldier in My army and you must be vigilant and on guard at all times as your enemy, the devil, is prowling around the world seeking souls to destroy. Do not be alarmed that I tell you this, as My heart will guard you from his snares. Stay close to Me at all times, your General, and follow My commands, that together, We, as a mighty army of humble soldiers will defeat the ancient enemy, and My Mother will crush him underfoot in her triumph which is coming soon.
Be at peace, dear child. We are always here with you and near to you, holding you in Our united Hearts of love. Come quickly to Our side; hold onto Our hearts with all your love and devotion that We may guard you from the infernal enemy of souls, who hates with a passion those who love Us with passion and trust. He fights hard against the holy ones to destroy them, but We will not permit him to harm you or any of Our beloved children. Trust is all you need. Trust in the power of Our love.
Dear one, the war has begun, but many battles remain yet to be fought and won. Time is on Our side, as I am the Lord of history, and all time is held in My hands. March forward mighty army of God for My Kingdom comes.”
In the summer of 2010 my daughters and I came home for 7 week visit to the USA. My own family had been living in Israel for a couple of years by then, and we missed America. So we travelled back to my childhood home in New Jersey where my parents were still living.
We had a wonderful summer hanging around with my mother and father, sharing the simple pleasures of life: conversations over meals, coffee on the deck, shopping for food, and making small outings together. In September we returned so the girls could start a new academic year at their international school.
After a little while, as I was busy with my usual daily routines in Israel, I began to notice powerful sensations welling up in my heart that I came to realize were the deepest sentiments of love that I had ever felt for my parents during all of my life.
In all my fifty years I had never experienced such overwhelming emotions of love for my mother and father as I felt for them at that time. I became aware that this exceptional passionate love was not of my own making, but arose in my heart from an “extra”ordinary outpouring of grace by the Holy Spirit. As I came to realize this as a profound supernatural grace at work within my heart, I was deeply moved to thank and praise the Lord for this ordinary gift He was bestowing on me.
The light and love that the Holy Spirit was pouring into me drove me into deep prayer and I cried out to the Lord that He not take my mother and father from me as I loved them so much and needed them too. I was rather confounded in my intellect about these supplications – that the Lord must not take my parents away from me – as to my reasonable mind they seemed a rather odd response to such deep, positive, fiery emotions of love. I didn’t really know why I was praying such things.
During one of my telephone calls to my parents I opened my heart and told my parents of these strange new feelings – that a marvelous, mysterious wave of love had washed over my heart – and that I felt I now loved them more than I had ever loved them before, and I wanted them to know it. Not long after this telephone conversation, my father called me and stunned me with the remarkable and unexpected news that my mother had been just diagnosed with a late stage, incurable ovarian cancer.
I reflected that the Lord went before me and that through His signal grace of flooding my heart with torrents of His merciful love for my parents, He had prepared me for this challenging trial. Filled to overflowing with the Lord’s own divine love, I immediately booked a flight home to be at the hospital bedside of my mother who would undergo a massive surgery and then need chemotherapy for the rest of her life.
I remained with them for more than five weeks in America to attend to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of both of my elderly parents.
My husband, daughters and I moved home to America in June 2011. We would now be near to my parents to support them. My father’s mental and emotional state began to deteriorate rapidly upon learning of my mother’s cancer. His depression worsened, his anxiety increased astronomically, and his behavior became erratic and highly agitated, with frequent uncontrolled outbursts of anger and violence. His memory was failing him. He was confused and was unable to process what was going on around him. The situation of my mother and father became quite chaotic and dangerous as my father’s dementia increased. The problems and difficulties were further exacerbated by the fact that my middle aged sister was living with them in a state of chronic alcoholism. The troubles and needs of my parents and sister had become monumental.
I loved them all so much and desired with all my heart to help each one of them, and being the oldest daughter and closest to them, I felt responsible and considered it my loving duty to handle everything. I plunged head long into the role of caregiver to the three of them with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I worked, strived, managed, scrambled, and wore myself to the bone trying to do it all. The Lord had placed in me a huge reservoir of His divine love, and during that trip back home in 2010 I had drawn deeply from that well.
But as the demands increased and challenges mounted during the subsequent years of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 I found myself sinking under their weight and falling into despair. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was burnt out, stressed to the uttermost, at my wits end, desperately wanting the persons I loved to be free of their torments, as I suffered in my heart to see them suffering so, trapped in their own unique incurable conditions: mom with terminal cancer, dad with Alzheimer’s and my 52 year old sister with late stage liver disease, with no hope for a liver transplant, as she was still drinking and would surely die soon without one.
My mind and heart were warring with each other, as temptation after temptation assailed me, at one moment my heart was yearning to find still another possible way to save them and make them well, and the next moment my thoughts were replete with despair (or was it the Evil One’s suggestion?) thinking that it would be better if they died – if the Lord would take them to Himself and end their misery, and free me from this agony of caring and responsibility. I could not find rest or peace in the Serenity Prayer, although I knew it was true.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference
One afternoon before Easter 2014 I went to the chapel in a state of utter desperation. I cried out to the Lord with all my strength of agony and pitiful misery that I had come to the end of myself. There was nothing left in me. I was empty as a dry well. I was exhausted from the trials. I had no more to give and I was falling into bitterness and anger. I pleaded for Him to save me from myself, to lift me up from the quick sand that I was sinking in, from the slippery slope of the abyss that loomed before me. I was afraid. I felt my humanness, my misery, my wretchedness, my utter helplessness, and I cried to the Lord of Mercy to have mercy on me. Went I was totally spent in prayer, I sat in complete silence before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament like a baby being held exhausted and limp in her mother’s arms after a furious crying spell and I fell asleep.
When I awoke from this sweet sleep about an hour later I recalled my agonizing prayer. I serenely asked the Lord for wisdom to help me go on. Just then I heard an interior Voice say to me, “Ephesians 6.” A little distance from me on the pew was a paperback Bible. At first I was hesitant to reach for it to open it to the book and chapter spoken to me. I was afraid that my faith would be stumbled. The thought came to me that if I should open the book and read Ephesians 6 and it not have any meaning for me, that I would then know that I was deluded – that I was imagining the Lord had spoken to me, and what utter vanity and pride this would be. I overcame this fear and reached for the book, and opening it to the New Testament Epistle of Ephesians, chapter 6, I looked down at the first verse and was immensely astonished. The words were Living and True – the words were Jesus Christ the Lord Who was speaking
“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise,
“that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth” ( Ephesians 6: 1).
My heart was racing with joy and amazement as I continued reading Ephesians 6.
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from His mighty power…
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God…
…With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit… (Ephesians 6)
I knew that Jesus had just answered me and given me His Divine Wisdom. I knew this beyond any shadow of doubt, because I could not deceive or lie to myself, as I knew for certain that I DID NOT KNOW what was written in Ephesians 6. I could not have said this to myself. With this substantial Word from the Lord, I received not only wisdom from Jesus, but His grace, power and strength to do what His Word commanded! The good Lord raised me up in an instant and empowered me to carry on doing His perfect Will:
Over the months to come my dear sister continued to decline and she passed to the Lord on October 2, 2014, dying in the state of grace, having been blessed with every spiritual gift before she crossed into eternity. I was able to arrange the spiritual support she needed, caring Christian hospice and a Catholic funeral Mass and burial. She is in Peace now with Jesus. My father is now being cared for in an Alzheimer’s facility which I was able to arrange for him. I am looking after my mother who continues to live with stage four cancer but my heart is full of joyful confidence in the Lord Who:
“The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.” (Psalm 145:14)
”Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”(Psalm 54:4)
“Uphold me that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.”(Psalm 119:117)