Author Archives: Ann Ammar

Our Lady’s Bug

Today, while in prayer after receiving our Lord in Holy Communion, Jesus inspired me to tell you the following heart- warming story which I experienced some years ago, a story which reveals His Mother’s tender love and concern for and gentle presence with her dear children throughout the ages. In prayer the Lord brought to mind my young God-daughter and niece, Alenka, who will be turning 13 this summer. Jesus is prompting me to send her a lovely little ladybug devotional bracelet with a Cross and an image of our Lady of Grace connected by a string of little red ladybug beads, which I was wearing today at Mass. This devotional bracelet was given to me A couple of years ago by a Catholic friend, after I shared with her my experience with our Mamma Mary and some ladybugs during Easter. To my delight and surprise, my friend told me that the ladybug (also known as a ladybird and a ladybeetle) has an historical connection with our Blessed Mother Mary because of a miracle she performed in Europe in the Middle Ages.

(From Catholic.org, article dated October 30, 2004) “The original name of the ladybug is “Our Lady’s Bug.” It seems that during the Middle Ages, a plague of small insects (aphids) attacked the crops, threatening Europe with starvation. The people had recourse to Our Lady, and petitioned her to save them from this plague. In answer to their prayer, a cloud of small, black-spotted, orange-red insects arrived and promptly ate all the offending pests. The grateful population gave to them the name, “Our Lady’s Bugs.” News of this miracle spread and a comparison of over 40 languages, including different dialects, this small beetle was given a great variety of names, referring to Our Lady and God such as: “God’s Little Cow” (Dievo Karvute, Lithuanian; Vaquilla de Dios, Spanish); “Dear God’s Little Creature” (Lieve Heersbeestje, Dutch);

 

  • Ye Mariam Tinziza … “Mary’s Beetle”, Amharic (West Ethiopia);
  • Arca de la Mare de Deu…“Mother of God’s Ark”Catalan;
  • Gallinetta de la Mare de Deu… “Mother of God’s Chicken” …Catalan
  • Bubamara … “Mary’s Beetle” …Croatian
  • Mariehøne … “Mary’s Hen” …Danish (and Norwegian, if the ‘e’ is made an  ‘a’)
  • Onzer-lieve-vrouwe Beestje… “Our Dear Lady’s Little Creature” …Dutch
  • Bete de la Vierge … “The Virgin’s Creature” …French
  • Frauenkäferlein … “Our Lady’s Little Beetle” …German (Bohemia)
  • Scarpa de la Madona … “The Madonna’s Shoe” …Italian (Turin)
  • Kafsch Dus … “God’s Beetle” …Persian (Iran)
  • Boul-popei … “The Pope’s Ox” …Romanian
  • Jungfru Maria Nyckelpiga… “Virgin Mary’s Key Maid” …Swedish.” 

I had no idea how universal this association between the ladybug and our Blessed Mother Mary and God is! I just knew that our Lady had revealed her Presence and tender care for me through a ladybug!

 

Here is my story. While living in Pennsylvania, during the winter months, I would find some ladybugs in our bedroom on the curtains and window frames. Somehow they had crawled in through small crevices/cracks, seeking warmth inside our home from the harsh winter cold. The first winter I saw them, I paid no attention to their plight because I didn’t understand that they would not survive inside, as they would dry out from the heating. They should’ve been hibernating outside under the earth for the winter where their body temperatures would drop and their internal system would slow down until the first warmth of spring when they would awake and come out of hibernation. Those ladybugs that had come into a heated home, their bodies would not know to hibernate, rather they would simply dehydrate and die. The second winter that I saw the lovely ladybugs inside my house, I was curious about them and so I looked up on the Internet information about ladybugs and learned that in order to be humane it would be necessary to build a terrarium. One must place the ladybugs in the terrarium and provide water and honey for them to survive until spring when they could be released. I worked very hard on this and created a beautiful terrarium with twigs and earth and leaves in a glass container with a aerated lid for the seven ladybugs that I rescued that second winter. I provided them with fresh water and honey daily, using plastic bottle caps for their little bowls.

I became a caring mother to the seven ladybugs from November until April. Occasionally some of them would manage to get out of the lid, and in a panic I went looking for them all over the house, knowing that if they did not return to the terrarium they would dry out and die. I did find them, usually on the windows, and replaced them in their temporary home. One of them even laid eggs in the terrarium, so I knew that they were male and female, although I could not tell them apart. It was a joyful labor of love for the six months of winter looking after these little creatures of God, although my husband and children did not understand why I should care about “just bugs”. But I have the spirit of Saint Francis, and I care about every living creature no matter how small or seemingly unimportant. To me all life is sacred and beautiful. I discovered that one can become attached even to ladybugs, as love does not discriminate!

 The week of Palm Sunday approached, and our family had plans to make a trip to Chicago to visit our older daughter. I found myself faced with the dilemma. Should I release the ladybugs outside since I would not be there for the week to provide water or honey for them? The temperature did not yet seem warm enough to release the ladybugs outside. What would happen if I left them for the duration of the trip in the terrarium and they dried out due to lack of water? I didn’t know what was the best course of action to take. I had been doting on them for six months and I couldn’t bear the thought that it would have all be in vain, that they would either die outside or inside if I made the wrong decision about their care. I sought guidance from the Lord on this matter. Ultimately, my sense was that they should be kept inside the terrarium until I got back. We left on our trip to Chicago. The weather took a sudden turn, and temperatures rose dramatically. I thought how I should have let them out. But how was I to know? I worried that the temperature inside the house without the air conditioning on would rise and the terrarium would dry out quickly and I would return to dead ladybugs. Remarkably the temperatures outside climbed into the nineties in Pennsylvania during that week!

 There I was in Chicago and there was nothing I could do but pray for my precious ladybugs to survive. My husband, my daughters and I were walking through Millennium Park in Chicago on that very hot afternoon in mid week of our trip. I thought about the ladybugs in their dry as a bone glass terrarium with shriveled and brown leaves and clippings.

  I lifted my heart up to our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God , Help of Christians, and approached her Immaculate and Holy Heart in prayer right there in Millennium Park with all trust and confidence as my loving and caring Mother and indeed, the Mother of All the Living, appealing to her for protection of the little creatures that I had left back in Pennsylvania. I prayed out loud, and my daughters witnessed my call on her powerful intercession. Immediately after this deep and sincere cry from my heart, a ladybug landed on my hand!! I rejoiced while showing this miracle to my husband and daughters.

 This was beyond astounding! I praised the God of heaven and His Mother for their awesome Love and power. I believed in faith that all would surely be well with my ladybugs when I returned to Pennsylvania.

Several days later we arrived back at home and I found a bone dry terrarium filled with shriveled, dry and crumbling leaves and not a drop of water. But the ladybugs were there safe and fully alive! I released them on Easter Sunday morning into a pink flowering tree while praising Our Lord Jesus Christ who rose from the dead, and Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for Spiritual Warfare – the week of Monday, May 26, 2017 through Monday, June 5, 2017

On Monday, May 26, 2017 I went to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for Holy Mass, and after receiving Communion, stayed  as I usually do in contemplation of our Lord in the silence of the great Cathedral. Jesus began to converse with me.

“Dear child, be at peace. I am with you. I am always with you and all those whom I love. I love you with an everlasting love. There is nothing to fear – perfect love casts out fear.

(There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” John 4:18-19.)

“Trust me. I am love –

in Me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)

As you are in Me, and I am perfect love, there is nothing to fear.

My mother endured all of her suffering in My peace because she was filled with My grace – My love. Her heart was bared – an open vessel – which did not resist the Holy Spirit of love which was poured into her. I want to pour out on all hearts My Holy Spirit afresh, but hearts must be open to receive this grace.”

At this moment in my meditation, I was overwhelmed with doubts and fears, concerned that I may be imagining these words from the Lord, that I was sinning by presumption, that I was deluding myself. I became so troubled that I told the Lord in my prayer that I was leaving the church immediately and was not going to stay with Him and listen anymore to these thoughts and inspirations that we’re coming into my soul. So I left the church, dejected. I did not return to sit in the prayer of quiet and contemplation with the Lord in the several days to follow due to doubt and fear.

Six days later, on the morning of Pentecost Sunday, I awoke, having had the most extraordinary dream. I remembered that I had briefly awoken in the very early morning around 5 AM and then had fallen back to sleep. Then I began to dream an incredible mystical dream. It was a vision in the night.  In this remarkable dream I was confronted by the devil. I was in direct and intense battle with the evil one, who was threatening me, pursuing me and attacking me with all means of wicked warfare. Although Satan’s presence was not visible, -I could not see him with my eyes visibly in my dream – yet he was there in all his diabolical power and deception. It was an exhausting and terrifying ordeal and just at the moment in which the evil one was at his most threatening, I felt the Presence of our Lord with me. His Presence was not visible either, but I knew He was there, and He was helping me. His power and might vanquished the enemy and I was safe and liberated from his threats and attacks.

This mystical and awesome dream came to an end, as I awoke around 8 am on the morning of the Feast of Pentecost! I immediately began thanking and praising out loud the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit Who had come to my aid against the enemy of my soul and had given me the victory! I reflected with joy and awe throughout the entire day of Pentecost on this astounding manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit in my night vision.  It did not escape my understanding that, this gift of deliverance from the oppression of Satan, through the manifestation of the mighty strength of the Holy Spirit occurred on Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of Christ’s holy Church, and the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles in the upper room in Tongues of Fire and to the sound and strength of a mighty Wind! I believe this mystical dream is not only for me. I believe the Lord allowed me to experience this trial, this testing, this spiritual warfare of Satan, and his mighty deliverance from the devil’s power on Pentecost to remind all of you that we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome all the wiles and snares of the wicked one and to be victorious in the power and might of the Love and Holiness of the Lord! I implore you to appropriate the experience Our Lord provided me in this night vision and take it as your own!

Zechariah 4:6

Then he answered, and spake unto me, saying

(In great condescension, in order to instruct as to the true meaning of the vision), This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabelsaying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lords of Hosts.”!!! 

On Monday, June 5, 2017 I went in the evening during the Hour of Adoration to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at my local church, Saint Patrick’s. Having experienced the blessing of the night vision of Pentecost, I confidently opened my heart and spoke these words to our Lord.

I am open tonight, Lord, wide open in heart to hear Your words. Speak, sweet Jesus, gentle Spirit, loving Father to me Your little child. I am ready. My heart is ready!

I heard Jesus say to me:

“Well done, Ann, you have released yourself to Me. Now I can speak and you will hear Me. I love when my dear ones come and visit Me in adoration. So few come and spend time with Me. You do not come often enough, Ann. Please come and sit with Me more often. Sit and rest and let Me refresh you and fill your soul with My love and Presence. There is no striving in My gentle peace. Soak My peace into your soul like a sponge soaks water. I fill your soul with My Spirit which runs like Living Water through your being, strengthening you, filling you with hidden Power – a reservoir of strength and power for trials to come. And trials will surely come to you. My child, do not fear the trials which are to come, for I will be with you, beside you, within you, helping you through them all. Trust Me, lean on Me and in those days I will carry you in the strength of My love which lives in you.

“Be good dear child. Be very good, so My love will shine forth from you and others will come to know Me and love Me in you. Be kind, be true, be gentle, be genuine, be trustworthy, be careful in your speech. Do not rush to speak too hastily. Take your time to lift your heart in prayer to Me for guidance in what you say – how to respond. You are often hasty with your words. Slowly, carefully, and listen to Me and others. Learn from Me, learn about others. Hear them well and then respond in love and gentleness, led by My Spirit.

‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.'(First Corinthians 13:4)

“All is well, dear child.  Go forward filled with My peace and love to share Me with all whom you encounter, through your gentle words and loving deeds.

Your Jesus.”

All Creatures Great and Small, the Lord God Loves Them All – The True Story of Mittens and Her Kittens.

This evening I’ve been sitting on my deck looking out over my yard, which is surrounded by many old trees, some which are more than 100 years old. The grass is green because we’ve had so much rain here in southern New Jersey. The trees are thick with green foliage and the sun is setting, as night is falling, but I can’t see the setting sun because there is an expansive grey cloud cover above me. I had to put an elegant white plastic swan in my swimming pool which I just opened for the summer, and which is sparkling blue and creating a tranquil and pleasant vista from my deck in order to deter a determined pair of Mallard ducks which have been feeding all spring under my bird-feeders, from swimming in my clean pool.

I have been feeding this faithful duck pair for several years now, and I understand that ducks mate for life. I also put food out daily for squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and I fill several birdfeeders for all the many bird species that live here in the middle Atlantic United States. I even leave out leftovers from our dinner plates for any other wild animal that comes up from the woods and from the lake searching for some morsels to eat. I’ve fed a red fox, and nearly pure white skunk, a possum, and two raccoons with the scraps from my dinner table. Recently, a grey tabby cat has appeared and has devoured anything and everything I put out in the evening. I’m thinking it may be a feral cat although it could be one of the neighbors cats that just has a very ravenous appetite.

In this peaceful and blessed state of mind and spirit, I began singing a hymn that I wrote a few years ago, “Walking by Faith” to the Lord in adoration.

It’s then that Jesus surprised and delighted me by bringing to mind an experience we shared 10 years ago and that I feel He desires that I relate to you in order to reveal His tender love and compassionate care for His beloved Creation and to witness to His close attentiveness to every one of our prayers.

One evening, in May 2007, while I was living in Pennsylvania, there was a terrific thunderstorm that broke out in the evening. I noticed my gorgeous white Himalayan puffball of a cat sitting in our breakfast room window looking intently into our backyard through the driving rain at something on the other side of the pool, close to the fence. Since she was staring so fixedly despite the rumblings of thunder and flashes of lightning, I went to the window to see what she might be looking at. It was then that I noticed a small motley and bedraggled calico cat whose fur was soaked through and who had the appearance from which the expression came, “it looks like something the cat dragged in from the rain”! What was this poor creature doing outside during such a torrential down pour, I asked myself. I opened the door and leaned out over the deck and tried to call the cat to come. She seemed scared. I quickly poured some cat food in a bowl, and shook the bowl to attract her attention and to try to draw her in. I set it down on the deck near the door where she could eat if she was hungry with some protection from the harsh elements.

I went inside and shut the door and waited and watched to see if she would come to eat. She did come, as she was starving. When I saw that she ate all the food I gently opened the door to encourage her to come in. She was scared and she ran to the side of the house. It’s then that I thought open the garage door to see if she would come in to take shelter. She indeed wanted to escape the storm and after a little while she entered the door to the garage. Now I had her! I prepared a box with some bedding and put a water bowl and food bowl next to her new little “house” in my garage. She would be warm and safe tonight. My daughters and I came into the garage and allowed her to get accustomed to our presence. She could feel that she was loved and being cared for, and she soon relaxed and accepted us. We realized that she had been someone’s pet, and had been dropped off in our nice neighborhood to fend for herself, as sadly she was no longer wanted. I came to this conclusion the next day after I took her to the veterinarian to be checked.

There was a sense of urgency to get her checked immediately the next day so that I could find her a new home. My husband did not want to take in a second cat, and he gave me an ultimatum, that if I did not find a home for her the next day she would have to be brought to the SPCA shelter. I surely didn’t want to do this, as I know how many animals languish in shelters waiting for adoption, and in many cases are put down if they cannot be resettled into permanent homes quickly.

So I determined to take the little cat that I named “Mittens” because of her mutation of having six toes on each paw! These kind of cats are known as polydactyl cats or Hemingway cats. Each of her paws looked like she was wearing mittens; she was extremely adorable because of this deformity. Who would want to dispose of such a cute little creature? When the veterinarian performed her examination, she sensed that Mittens might be pregnant. She took an x-ray and could clearly see there were at least two developing kittens in her womb. That might be why she was released, as she had not been spayed and perhaps her owners did not want any more mouths to feed or to deal with the birth of kittens.

How could I find a home for Mittens and her soon-to-be kittens in only one day, I asked myself in exasperation! I begged the veterinarian to adopt her on the spot and to try to find a home for her amongst their many clients and using their connections. Unfortunately, the veterinarian would not be able to help me. I paid her services and left the clinic dejectedly. Then with a sudden burst of Faith, I lifted my heart and voice to the Lord Jesus and begged Him instead to help me, as “all things are possible for God”! My faith in that moment felt substantial. Hope rose in my heart and I felt a sense of peace and joy flood my soul.

When I returned from the veterinarian I proceeded to make phone calls to everyone that I knew, asking if they would be willing to adopt mama Mittens and her kittens, leaving messages on their answering machines since I did not reach anyone in person.

Having completed numerous phone calls, I had to run an errand, so I left the house and drove away, calling on St. Francis of Assisi to advocate for me to our Lord, for extra grace to solve this crisis. I love Saint Francis not only because he is the Saint most associated with animals, but also because he was instrumental in my conversion to Christ in 2000 after decades of agnosticism, and ultimately for my coming into full communion with Christ’s one, holy Catholic and apostolic Church some years (in 2004) after my turning to Jesus with my whole heart.

When I returned home it was later afternoon, and time was running out. I knew by evening I would need to take Mittens to the SPCA after my husband returned home from work, if I had nowhere else to bring her.

The phone rang, and a friend, an Arab Muslim woman from Jerusalem, now living with her husband and daughters in New Jersey, had picked up my message and was calling me back. I could not believe my ears when I heard her say to me that she wanted to adopt Mittens! It was a miracle! – an answer to my prayer by both our Lord Jesus and St. Francis. The call came just minutes before my husband walked in the door from work! But even more astounding, was what Amal shared with me as the reason to why she wanted to adopt Mittens.

Amal told me that last night she had had a dream about her father. Her father had died in Jerusalem last year and she told me that he had appeared to her in a dream last night, the night before the one year anniversary of his death! Today, ( the day I had called and left a message asking her if she would adopt Mittens and her kittens) was the one year anniversary of her father’s passing. Her father lived on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and he loved cats. He had “adopted” three stray cats that hung around his house and he fed them and cared for them. Only he cared for them, and no one else paid any attention to them. On the day he died, no one was there to look after them anymore, and so they disappeared. Amal just knew she had to adopt Mittens and her two soon-to-be-born kittens, believing that her father would surely want this and be pleased, and that she could demonstrate her love and show her honor to her father by adopting the pregnant Mittens. She firmly believed that God had specifically granted her this vision of her father in the night to prepare her for this act of charity. I knew it was true because I had prayed to the Lord asking for His urgent and essential help, fully trusting He had heard my prayer and knowing, believing and trusting in His love for me, and for Amal and her father and for every one of His creatures. When I dropped off Mittens to Amal’s home, we saw on Mitten’s neck a golden mark in her fur of a large cross! The rest of her pattern of fur was all splotchy calico with no other distinct markings!

Not long after that Mittens gave birth to her kittens, and they have been loved by Amal and her family for all these years!

“All things bright and beautiful, 

 

All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all. 

 Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all. 

 The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

 The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

 The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one. 

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

 The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day. 

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

 He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.” 

 

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for May 10, 2017

After receiving holy Communion, my heart cried out, “Jesus, my Joy!”

Jesus responded, “Yes, Ann, Joy! Joy for the world who no longer have to walk in fear. I have conquered death. I raise up those who believe in Me to new Life – a Life of joy and abundance, capable of facing any trial in the strength of My grace. Even the trial of death is Joy as the believer knows their hope is not in vain and that they will come to be with Me in My eternal Life which already fills them through faith. Death is the last trial, a passage to My everlasting kingdom.

Joy! I came to give Life and life more abundantly to those who turn to Me, trust Me and have faith in Me. Your trust will never be confounded. I am true to My word and promises. I have risen from death and live – a testament to My word, the truth of My words.

Witnesses testify to My resurrection. Many gave their lives in witness to this truth.

I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First to rise from the dead, the Living One who lives forever. Those who know Me and trust Me live in Joy, because I live!”

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for May 3, 2017

I came before the Lord today to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, gazing at His Face, in faith.

“Here I am looking at you, Lord.”

“I see you, Ann. Be at peace. I am here with you, in you, before you, all around you. You are Mine through and through. You belong to Me. There is nothing to fear when I am near. All is well. All is peace in Me.

You are learning patience. This is good. I am pleased. I have been training you, subtlety, gently, quietly, silently in the inner recesses of your soul. I am conforming you to Myself – to My image.

I am infinitely patient with those I love and who love Me. I am constantly forgiving their faults and failures, because I know their love for Me is true and lasting. They are on their way to Me in My heavenly Kingdom.

I know who are Mine for all eternity, and with these I am infinitely patient in love, mercy and forgiveness. They trust Me – trust My love for them and look to My mercy. You are like this. You are one of My trusting ones, Ann. How happy this makes me. Nothing brings Me more joy than a soul who trusts in My love for them. Trust is the way to heaven – the path to My heart.

Little child, how dear you are to Me. Stay small and little in your heart. Be humble at all times. Humility is trusting in My mercy, knowing one’s need for mercy and seeking My mercy in all simplicity of heart, mind and soul.”

“Gentle Jesus, give me Your mercy, for I am in need of Your kindness and love. Forgive me my faults and failures from Your everlasting treasury of mercy!

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for April 29, 2017

“My heart is ready, O Lord, my heart is ready.”


“Ann, My child,  I am here with you.  Be at peace. All is well.

My little daughter how I love you. How I love that you have come early to meet with Me before Mass. So many just run in the door minutes before.


I am the King of the universe, worthy of respect. How many would do the same for a human monarch? No! – respect, anticipation, reverence and trepidation would precede an audience with any earthly king. Preparation would be made in order to be ready for such an audience. Do I deserve less – Your Master, Creator, Savior, God and King?

Be ready people for your King and Judge is coming soon. You do not know the day or the hour, but I tell you, you see the signs of My approach all around you. Will you receive your King? Will you be ready? Will you be prepared for My coming? Will you have your house in order for My arrival?

I will come as suddenly as a thief in the night. Be prepared for you do not know at what hour your Master will come. I say, be prepared to greet your King with all love and reverence, with your sins forgiven and put far behind you. The days of Grace are now. Soon will come the Day of Judgment. I love you and do not want you to perish or be severely judged.


 Come to My Heart – open for you to enter – wide open to receive you and pardon you for all your offenses. Will you come to Me to be forgiven? You are in need of My forgiveness as I am a holy King. Where I am, no unholiness may enter.  Purify yourself in My Blood.”

 

Ephesians 6

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.

parentsa

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.

parents

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.

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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:

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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)

The David L. Gray Show – The Conversion of Ann Ammar

http://www.davidlgray.info/blog/2013/06/dlgs-ammar/

Gift of Life

monarch

I awake this day and I thank You for Your gift of Life

for the joy of hearing the sounds of the morning
a wondrous cacophony of Your creation
the chirping crickets
the roisterous tweeting, crackling, squawking of the birds
the sweet cooing of the mourning doves
the melodious chimes on my neighbor’s porch tinging in the gentle breeze
the distant rumbling of a jet passing overhead
the wooshing of cars both near and far
popping of staple guns from the construction site
tapping of pipes in this old house
the creaking of doors and floors
the grumbling of my tummy telling me it’s time for breakfast.

But lo! I am hungry for You
for Your heavenly food
Your Body and Your Blood
which gives me the strength to run the race of this day
and complete its course,
until dusk comes and
then I will thank Your for the living of this day
and the pleasant repose of this night.

I shall listen to the sounds of the evening
as all of creation
settles down into quiet and silence
and I can hear Your still small voice speaking to my heart,
“Goodnight, sweet child, until the morrow,
rest now in My arms of Peace”

Copyright©, Ann Ammar 9-8-2014

 

Poem for James Wright Foley

6a

James, did you say a prayer
or were you silent as you listened to angels’ wings
brushing against your hair?
Your face so fair
kneeling there.

You held yourself with great courage and marvelous dignity
The nation grieves
Good people weep
You’ll surely exchange your prisoner’s orange gown
with a holy robe of liberty.

James, did you see your Lover’s eyes
looking into yours
as you gazed across the horizon of Eternity?
His Face so fair
waiting there.

You witnessed to the sanctity of life against their brutality
The Heavens heave
With sighs of mercy
You’ll surely receive the Victor’s golden crown
God’s prize for love and humility.

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