Author Archives: Ann Ammar

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for May 14, 2018

At the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for Holy Mass on the Feast of Saint Matthias.

“Speak, Lord, your servant, your friend, your child, your lover, your daughter is listening hoping to hear Your wisdom, thoughts, counsel and loving words.”

“Ann, child, I am with you right now- within your being as you have received Me worthily in holy Communion today.

I dwell in My loved ones who receive Me with love into their hearts, minds and bodies. Holy Communion is My real Presence in a soul and body. It is a mystery of love, not to be understood by the mind of man, but to be received in faith. I am truly present with you in the Blessed Sacrament – hidden behind the apparent elements of bread and wine. I fill the Host with My risen Body – My glorified Humanity that has been taken up into My Divinity and for this reason I can and do make Myself present and available as Food for your souls and bodies.

You who are baptized into My Life are organically and mystically connected to Me as a branch to the Vine. We are One spiritual Organism and so I feed and nourish My own Body with Myself – My Reality.

What power, what love, what joy is contained in this mystery of the Head and body united by holy Communion.

Simple hearts and pure souls receive this mysterious truth with faith and trust and so are benefitted in their life in Me – in God.

‘Jesus however said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.”’ (Matthew 19:14)

The Eucharist is heaven on earth. I am with My people in My fullness – ever Present in the world. Did I not say I would not leave you orphans?

I am here – My Father and My Spirit are here – all heaven is with Me – spiritually and tangibly united in the Blessed Sacrament – My Gift of everlasting Love to My people on earth.

Feed on Me and be strengthened!
Be loved!
Be with Me!

Your Jesus”

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The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for May 7, 2018

I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar at Saint Patrick’s Church tonight. I opened my heart and bared myself to the Lord, saying to Jesus, “I release all to You- Nothing held back. I am all Yours. Do with me as You will. I set my ego out of the way, nay, kill it, so You can reign in my being.”

Jesus responded, “Ann, child, how pleased I am with your offer. I accept you – all of you, just as you are – faults and strengths. I will use you mightily in this world to draw souls to Myself. Trust Me. I will work in and through you for My good pleasure – which is the salvation of souls.

Be at peace. Rest in Me. Wait upon My signals. I will show you how to proceed.

Good child, listen well to Me. I will make you an instrument of My salvation – one soul at a time. Those who see you will see Me in you. I will shine in and through you – your life – a beacon of light shining in the darkness of this wretched world – a world full of sin and depravity.

But there are many good souls like you, who belong to Me. We will conquer and triumph together.

I am doing a new thing in the world. It will delight many and terrify others. A time is coming, you will see, when all will be changed. Work with Me to bring this glorious day.

Your Jesus.”

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for May 5, 2018

Lord, I’ve come to be with You in nature – in the quiet – the silence. Sounds of civilization can still be heard, but deep into the wooded trail only birds chirping can be heard. I love You. I feel Your nearness when I am alone with myself and nature – it is there that, in this deep quiet, I hear Your Voice inside my soul.


“Ann, child, you are never alone, for I am always with you. Never is there a moment when I am not beside you, within you, above you and behind you. I support you from all sides with My Love. In the depths of silence is where I am most easily found. You have discovered this truth. Walk with Me often – daily.

Do you recall the first time you heard My voice within your heart? ( this was in 1999). You were walking a trail in Pennsylvania before you gave your life to Me. (My conversion was in January 2000.) You were searching for Me. I spoke to you and told you, ‘I love you, Ann.’ You always wondered if you heard My Voice for real. Yes, it was Me. Now you can hear Me easily this way, as you have learned to listen deeply in your heart and soul for My speaking to you.

How wonderful to have this relationship – this communion with you. I want to speak such to all My children but they are so busy, busy, busy going to and fro, never stopping to listen in the silence.

My precious, stay near to Me always. I say this because there are always temptations lurking. I cannot dwell in a heart that sins, so stay clean. If you sin there is a remedy for sin, but I want you to stay close to Me that you do not sin.


(The Lord inspired this verse from 1st John 2:1 in my spirit as He was saying the above words to me. ‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.’)

You are growing in holiness and virtue. You are learning to think about what you say and do to avoid needless sins. With this I am well pleased. Stay on this holy path. My love, be with Me always in unity of spirit. Let us have one will – My divine Will – which is best for you – for all. Trust Me always. I want only your good. Perseverance, faithfulness, obedience will guarantee your sanctification as My grace will remain upon you.

Be at peace today in the surety of My everlasting Love.

Your Jesus”

Let’s Get Out and Vote

Verse:
Come all men and women black and white
Arabs, Hispanics and Asians
We are the American nation
A beautiful tapestry of races and persuasions

Chorus:
Come on America let’s get out and vote!
Inspiring our children to courage, faith and hope
May our voices be strong
Singing freedom’s song
Raise our heads
Stand up tall
We are called

Verse:
Every vote brings hope for growth and change
Building on prior foundations
Our legacy of past generations
Their dream for us, happiness, and life’s full expectations

Chorus:

Come on America let’s get out and vote!
Inspiring our children to courage, faith and hope
May our voices be strong
Singing freedom’s song
Raise our heads
Stand up tall
We are called

Verse:
Now let’s make firm resolutions
We’ll vote to create our futures
Together we’ll bring forth solutions

In unity we’ll fulfill the goals of our Constitution.

Chorus:
Come on America let’s get out and vote!
Inspiring our children to courage, faith and hope
May our voices be strong
Singing freedom’s song
Raise our heads
Stand up tall
We are called

Tag:

Raise our heads
Stand up tall
We are called

 

Copyright 2018, Ann Ammar

 

 

 

It’s Our Country

Chorus:
How blessed are we,
in the Land of the Free?
Where you know you belong!
And your heartbeat is strong,
for your country.
It’s our country!

Verse:
We are free to live without fear to complain.
And our flag will remain
as a beacon of hope,
ever-more.

Chorus:
How blessed are we,
in the Land of the Free? Where we all have a voice,and we all have a choice. It’s our country.
It’s our country!

Verse:
And we have the right to be heard without fighting.For we all have a say how we live, how we pray. I thank God every day,
we can vote!

We can vote.
We can vote.

Bridge:
For this sacred right
has been bought with a price.
Paid for in blood, sweat and strife
by those who sacrificed that we remain free!

Sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives
giving their lives!

Chorus:
How blessed are we,
in the Land of the Free?
For united we stand
as we walk hand-in-hand.
It’s our country.
It’s our country!

Verse: 
And we have the right
to be heard without fighting.
For we all have a say
how we love, how we pray.
I thank God every day,
we can vote.

We can vote!
We can vote!
We can vote!

Lyrics by John W. Vitz & Ann Ammar

The Battle Cry: Marching Orders for April 4, 2018

“Lord, I do not want to have any vain imaginings, or earthly, carnal, self-absorbed thoughts in this prayer. I want You. I want to hear You – to learn from You, to know You more intimately, so I can love You more deeply, truly and sincerely and to know and do Your will. Please Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit – my God – if You are willing, speak, for Your humble, little child and devoted servant and dear friend is truly listening for Your gracious Voice“.

Jesus spoke these words into my spirit, “Ann, My child, write My words. I am indeed here with you. You hear Me in your soul where I speak with My beloved children, those that love Me.

My peace is with My beloved children. They are My treasures – bought with the price of My own Blood. I died for them so that they could know My love and salvation.

Precious child, tell the world of My love for them. Use your own life to show them what I have done for you. You are an example for them to see how My love and grace operates in a soul – in a life. You have been silent of late. I want you to renew your work with Me. Tell them of My love – write it, speak it, live it before their eyes. They will come to know Me and love Me by observing your actions and listening to your words, which are revealed by your behavior in union with your teaching of My truths. It must be so. There is no other way for people to trust Me and accept My truth if they see contradictions in My people – contradictions between words and actions – hypocrisy.

Live My truths. Live Me before them. Let them see Me in you. Start with your own family and friends – those nearest to you. They will observe the consistency between your words and deeds and come to believe what you say of Me. They will be changed with your proper witness along with My Grace. They will believe I Am who I Am – the God of love and truth, and their Savior.

I want all My children to spend eternity with Me in My glorious Heaven. I want to lose none of My creation to the fires of hell, but you must help Me. All of My beloved children who know Me must reveal Me in truth and love by their lives – words matched with consistent deeds. You are not Christians – My disciples or followers – if you are hypocrites.

Love one another. Forgive one another. Help one another. Sacrifice for each other. Give of yourself always and you will be living My True Life in you.

Your Jesus.“

“Saint Joseph – Still A Devoted Foster-Father”

On Christmas Day, December 25, 2017, in my devotional reading* I read a quote from Pope Francis, “may Joseph give us the ability to dream great things.“ Pope Francis was inaugurated as Pope on March 19, 2013, the Feast of St. Joseph, and has a special devotion to St. Joseph, who is venerated as the holy Patron and Protector of the Universal Church. Saint Joseph is also venerated as Patron Saint of fathers, workers, employment, unborn children, immigrants, carpenters, realtors, travelers, against doubt and hesitation, and perhaps most commonly called upon to assist through his intercession with our Lord Jesus, at the moment of our deaths, for the blessing of a “happy death”.

For this reason Pope Francis says he keeps the statue of the sleeping Saint in his bedroom. And our Holy Father has also advised people to leave a “note“ under the image of the Saint for help whenever they have a problem.

In fact St. Joseph, as the faithful and righteous husband of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ,  and the guardian of the Child Jesus, Emanuel – God with us- living amidst men on this earth, Joseph is loved, honored and respected by all Christians. In the Catholic Church, St. Joseph is honored in his role as carpenter, on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, on May 1. In the Orthodox Church, St. Joseph is honored on the Sunday after Christmas as St. Joseph the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary and as the foster father of the Child Jesus.

Even though in all four Gospels, St. Joseph does not speak a single word, yet we have come to know and love him, because we know that he was chosen by God before all time in His Wisdom to prepare a worthy foster father for Himself. Jesus completely entrusted Himself to the care, love, and guidance of His earthly father, Saint Joseph, and was fully obedient to him while Joseph lived. While the Scriptures do not inform us of the time or manner in which St. Joseph passed from his earthly life to the Heavenly Father, Christians throughout the ages have believed, and with good reason, that Joseph died a happy and good death, as the foster father of the Incarnate Word, and God’s uniquely chosen son and beloved child, surrounded by his closest loved ones, Jesus and Mary, at his peaceful passing.

There is another pious tradition that developed through the centuries of the Church concerning St. Joseph’s patronage, of which I was unaware, until, when recently trying to sell my home, a devout friend told me about it.

Long before Pope Francis encouraged us to call on this powerful Saint for help whenever we have a problem, other Saints, such as Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Andre Bessette did just that. Saint Teresa of Avila encouraged the sisters of her convent to pray to Saint Joseph and to demonstrate their devotion to him by burying St. Joseph medals when they needed help, and in particular when they wanted to expand their convent and needed to acquire more land.

In the late 1800’s St. Andre turned to St. Joseph to help him sell a house by burying a statue of the Saint in the yard. He also wanted to buy a piece of land to build a new chapel. Like Saint Theresa he called on St. Joseph for assistance after burying St. Joseph medals and his petition was speedily answered.

When I mentioned my need to sell our home in Pennsylvania in order to move quickly to New Jersey to take care of my dying mother,  a friend told me to bury a statue of St. Joseph headfirst in the front yard and call upon his intercession for a quick and successful sale of the house.  I had never heard of such a practice.

But knowing that the good Lord hears our prayers, and trusting that Saint Joseph is with Jesus in Heaven, and so dear to His Heart, along with His Blessed Mother,  I took a walk around the block of my mother’s home in New Jersey and prayed the Holy Rosary calling upon Joseph and Mary to assist me in my need. Before I began the prayers of the Rosary, however, I spoke directly to St.  Joseph telling him that I had heard of his powerful intercession with Jesus and that I had been counseled to bury a statue of him in my front yard as an act of loving devotion to the foster father of our Lord and to express faith filled confidence in his speedy assistance to the Lord’s own brothers and sisters.

I told him I did not have a statue and I was not able to go to physically to Pennsylvania to make such an act at that time so therefore I would make the “pilgrimage” spiritually in my heart and mind. I did so and began my walk around the block praying the Rosary with the intention of Saint Joseph’s good help to sell my house quickly so I would not be burdened by preoccupation with this matter since I had already moved into my mothers house to focus all my attention in caring for her during her terminal cancer.

As I concluded my Rosary walk, and approached my mothers home, at just that moment, my husband drove into the driveway, and was speaking on his cell phone. I asked who called, and he told me that just then he had received a firm offer from a couple to buy our house in Pennsylvania for the price we had been asking! Hallelujah!

St Joseph, a mighty intercessor before the Lord and powerful patron of His Church!

Saint Joseph, who was the most devoted, attentive, caring and loving father to the Child Jesus while on earth, and now from Heaven, to all the Lord’s dear brothers and sisters!

*Little Blue Book, 2017
Diocese of Saginaw, MI

An Interview with Ann Ammar

By Gordon Nary

Gordon: When and why did you join Holy Angels Parish

Ann: We moved into Woodbury, New Jersey when I was seven years old and in the second grade. My father was a vascular surgeon and established his private medical practice at the Underwood Memorial Hospital in this small, lovely, and typical American town founded in the 1600s and situated across the Delaware River from the City of Philadelphia. My parents originate from Norway (my mother was a first generation immigrant) and Germany, (my father’s family came to America in the early 1700’s as farmers and settled in Pennsylvania). Below is the photo of my Norwegian grandfather leading the singing praise hymns to the Lord by all my Norwegian cousins in the traditional Lutheran Church in my mother’s farming village of Ekne, Norway on my baptism in 1962. I’m the little toddler on the right side running around the church.

Thus, our family’s spiritual history is Protestant from the time of the Reformation. I was baptized in 1962 as a toddler in my mother’s traditional Lutheran church on a visit to my devout Lutheran Norwegian farming grandparents.   When my parents moved into Woodbury in 1967 they became members of the First Presbyterian Church at Woodbury, as they were told it was a “nice” church with a good pastor. While growing up in Woodbury, I was active with the Presbyterian Church in their youth activities, singing in the church choir, and studying piano and organ under the church music director. Although I had attended Sunday school, and went to church services on Sunday where I would usually sing in the choir, and even though I had been Confirmed in the Presbyterian Church at age 13, I did not really know Jesus and I did not have living and active faith. Church for me was social, -a community and musical experience. Music touched me deep in my soul, and although my heart rose in joy when I sang the hymns, I did not specifically lift my heart to the Lord or knowingly sing to God and Jesus in worship, love and Adoration. When I recited the Apostles Creed, I did not understand the words that I was saying. Despite my church life, I was spiritually ignorant and blind, and did not have “ears to hear or eyes to perceive”  the Gospel at that time in my life.  St Patrick’s Church was the only Catholic church in our town of Woodbury when I was growing up and still is the only Catholic church in the town. Many of my classmates from elementary  and high school attended CCD, and CYO at St. Patrick’s. I remember some classmates coming to school on Ash Wednesday with the sign of the cross traced in ashes on their forehead. I did not understand what this sign meant. I did not have a hunger to know why they did this act and so I never inquired about their faith, and furthermore, none of my Catholic classmates ever spoke to me about their Church or shared their Catholic Christian faith with me, and so I remained ignorant.  I left Woodbury at age 17 after my high school graduation to pursue my education and I moved to New York City to attend New York University. By then I was an agnostic, totally focused on worldly and secular pursuits. I was a very lost sheep, but I did not even know it! During my university years I was not exposed to any witness of the Christian or Catholic faith by anyone at any time. My New York City experience was secular, hedonistic, humanistic, and worldly and I was exposed to many sinful and evil persons, places and things leading me further and further away from God.

I graduated from NYU and then moved to London to continue my studies, earning an MBA in international business. I began my international banking career in Philadelphia when I returned to America in 1983, married my husband in 1985, whom I had met in London during my graduate studies, and moved with him to Madrid, Spain in 1991 to open an office for the bank as my successful career advanced. During all these years I was spiritually dead, and not looking for God, and my husband was a self-proclaimed atheist despite having been brought up in a devout Muslim family in a Palestinian village in Israel. Upon returning to America from Madrid, due to my promotion to head up the Southern European Region of the International Division for CoreStates Bank, we started a family, and our two daughters were born in 1995 and 1997, respectively. It was during this period from 1994 through 1998 while I was still working at the bank and traveling for business through Southern Europe that the Lord pursued me mightily to come to Him in faith, beginning with His mysterious call to my heart and soul during a routine business trip to Italy in 1994.( Further below I will share my testimony for it was the beginning of my journey towards full Conversion to Jesus Christ and into Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church). But first I will return to the question of why I have returned after 40 years to my hometown of Woodbury and am now attending St. Patrick’s Church, one of the three churches that were merged to form Holy Angels Parish.  I started coming back to Woodbury from Israel where I was living with my husband and two daughters during 2008-2011, in order to assist my parents and sister who had become very ill during the time we were living abroad. Since I was by then a Catholic convert, I began to attend Saint Patrick’s Church every time I came home to the USA. Because of the increasing complexity of my father, mother and sister’s illnesses, and simultaneous trial we were going through to find a cure for my youngest daughter’s years’ long, chronic and life- threatening depression, my husband and I decided we should return to America to seek better treatment for her.  Then, in 2014, I moved to Woodbury without my husband and youngest daughter, in order to live with my parents and sister who were suffering tremendously and could not care for themselves. My mother was battling late stage ovarian cancer, my sister who had been living with my parents was dying of liver failure due to alcohol addiction and my father was deteriorating rapidly from Alzheimer’s disease. After my sister passed away, and we were finally able to relocate my father to an assisted-living facility for Alzheimer’s patients, my husband and youngest daughter joined me in Woodbury so we could live together as a family, helping my mother until she finally succumbed to her disease in 2016. After the death of my mother, my husband and I decided to remain and settle in my family home in Woodbury, and it is then when I formally joined St. Patrick’s Church.  We have been living in Woodbury for the past few years, and during this time St. Patrick’s Church was merged with two other local churches forming the new Holy Angel’s Parish.  I was not involved with the merger process in anyway, so I cannot really speak about it. I understand that it was due to financial reasons that the merger was necessary. I love our parish! There are a group of very devout, pious, deeply spiritual Catholics who attend daily Mass, and adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and whose worship and devotion to our Lord keeps the Holy Spirit present and moving amongst us. We have had new priests assigned to our parish, due to the retirement of Monsignor, and due to serious illnesses of several other of our priests. We are blessed with two holy priests from Africa who have recently been assigned to our parish.

It feels good to be home in my childhood town, after forty years away, and I can only say with Saint Augustine, “too late have I loved Thee”! How I wish I had had living faith in our Lord Jesus Christ during my childhood and had known the truth about the holy Eucharist and the holy Catholic Faith and had received Him in holy Communion at Saint Patrick’s during my childhood!

Gordon: You have a fascinating background as a former international banker, who, after visiting Assisi, had a life-transforming experience.  Could you share this with our readers?

Ann: I would like now to pick up where I left off above, in my personal history, when I was still working for Corestates Bank and traveling to Southern Europe as Regional Manager, and to share with you details about one extraordinary life-changing day I experienced on a business trip to in Italy in 1994 when the Spirit of God came upon me mightily in the holy town of Assisi and thus, transformed my life forever!  I was a 34 year – old, ambitious Vice President who had successfully opened an office for Corestates in Madrid, Spain. I had built up the market successfully to such a point where my proposal to open a representative office on the Peninsula was heartily approved by senior management. After three years of success in managing the Madrid Office, I was offered a promotion to Regional Manager of Southern Europe, which included responsibility for Spain and Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the other countries surrounding the Mediterranean basin. It seemed I had everything going for me. I had been married 10 years at that time, was very well paid, and after this lucrative overseas ex-patriot assignment for several years had returned to a more senior position at the bank with further upward success looking promising. On the surface of things, it appeared that my life was very good and that I was lacking for nothing, but I would soon discover by no attempt of my own that I was utterly poor and empty in all that truly mattered!   I was scheduled for another routine trip to Italy, accompanied by my colleague, a young woman who reported to me, and who was one of the country managers for Italy. She had arranged the entire itinerary for our Italian trip and one of our appointments was with a bank in the town of Perugia. It was scheduled as a brief courtesy call to show our appreciation to the international division manager for all the business that he and his bank conducted with ours.  Our arranged agenda was to spend about half an hour having a coffee with the manager and then continuing on the rest of our business trip to Rome.

I had never met the head of the international division at this bank, so I was unknown to him, and he had no knowledge of my agnosticism. My colleague had told him nothing personal about me regarding   matters of faith and religion, as these topics were unrelated to our business purposes. When we arrived at the bank that morning, I discovered that the bank manager spoke no English.

After a brief introduction, he proceeded to cup his hand under my elbow and gently lead me away, with my colleague following, through the halls of the bank and then down into the garage where he encouraged us to get into his car. Not speaking any Italian, I was not able to converse with him and did not understand what was happening. He began to drive us to a destination, and when we arrived we found ourselves at Assisi, the holy pilgrimage town of Saint Francis of Assisi. We wondered why he would bring us there without discussing these plans with us in advance. We had scheduled a standard international corporate bank appointment and had not arranged any time for sightseeing. Furthermore, we had plans to drive on to Rome that morning. No amount of explaining our desires to the banker moved him to bring us back to the bank. After about an hour with the Italian banker leading us through the holy sites of Assisi, we gave up our protestations and yielded to his agenda, and let go of our need to control the day’s events.

Not being Catholic, and not even a practicing or believing Christian I had no idea what Assisi meant, except that it was the name of the town from where Saint Francis came. I knew practically nothing about St. Francis except that I often saw his statue adorning gardens because he was associated with birds. At first, the banker took us to the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli a little distance outside of the main town of Assisi where after he took us to visit the other famous shrines. In the Church, he pointed out the holy icons and paintings, and I did not have a clue as to what they signified and thus, did not know how to appreciate their spiritual importance. Then, he motioned to me to go inside the Porziuncola (the little chapel which name means “small portion of land” which belonged to the Order of Saint Benedict of Monte Subasio), which is thought to have been erected under Pope Liberius in the mid- 4th century by hermits from the Valley of Josaphat in Jerusalem, who had brought relics from the grave of the Blessed Virgin to Assisi. The chapel became known as the Chapel of Our Lady of the Valley of Josaphat or the Chapel of the Angels because of the relics brought from the site where Mary’s Assumption into heaven accompanied by angels occurred. Furthermore, it also derives its name from the witness of many persons over the centuries claimed to hear the singing of angels inside!

After St Francis returned from a pilgrimage Rome, he had a vision of Christ on the way, who said to him, ‘Francis can’t you see that My house is falling into ruin, Go and rebuild it!”  Francis, not yet understanding that the Lord was speaking to him about reforming the entire Catholic Church, Francis took the words of Jesus at face value and began restoring several local ruined churches, among them the Porziuncola, the little chapel of St Mary of the Angels. Afterwards, Francis built himself a small hut near the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels and was soon joined by other followers. It was here that Francis founded the Franciscans.

I entered timidly into the chapel as I did not know what to do in such a holy space. There were devout pilgrims kneeling in prayer on the wooden pews along the sides of the chapel. I didn’t consider kneeling down to pray as I did not know God, nor even how to pray, as I had not said prayers since I was a young child, and even then, I seldom prayed. I stopped and remained still in the middle of the aisle facing the altar. I simply stood there alone in the aisle without being aware of any thoughts. It was there that a mysterious Presence came upon me. I felt a wonderful sense of Peace and Love and Light flood my soul, – a place I did not know even existed within me.  I realized that I was in the Presence of a Person who personally knew me, loved me, and cared about me. I did not hear any Voice nor see any Face. My experience was a mystical sensation in my innermost being. I had an immediate understanding that this Person was God Almighty who created me and knew me and was revealing Himself to me that He exists and loves and cares for me. I was forever changed by this brief but sublime Encounter.

On two other specific occasions during that marvelous and mysterious day, the Spirit of God came upon me again and continued to call me to Himself. When finally, the banker took us back to his car, he gave me as a gift the Prayer of St Francis and quite curiously he asked me in his poor and broken English, “are you different?” I did not know how to answer his mysterious question, but tears welled up in my eyes and when I looked at him I saw that he too had wet eyes. I saw him only one time after that day, six months later in Milan, on another business trip at a bank event, where this mysterious banker simply gave me a hug and offered me another gift –  a print rolled up like a scroll of St Francis with his arms raised to heaven in praise to God.

I never saw the banker again, but his name if you translate it into English means “soldier of the Cross”.  This gentle banker was surely an instrument of the Holy Spirit in my life. When I see him again one day in Heaven I will thank him for his faithful obedience to the promptings, inspirations and nudges of the Holy Spirit which forever changed the direction of my life. I continued seeking the Lord of Assisi with all my heart, mind soul and strength in the years to follow and our loving Triune God ultimately let Himself be found by me, – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each One of the Divine Persons individually and distinctly revealed themselves to me. I left everything to love, follow and serve the one True Triune God of St Francis and the Christians and who is the only Living God of all humanity.

Gordon: Your Battle Cry is an extraordinary publication,  and the title also reflects a challenge that many of us may not often reflect upon. Could you comment on some of the reasons why you chose this title? 

Ann: The Battle Cry apostolate came directly from the Lord. I would never have considered beginning such a ministry on my own. The Lord gave me the name, “The Battle Cry” and confirmed His selection of this name through another Catholic who serves Him. Initially I was very reluctant to begin this ministry, because it involved transparently exposing my inner life and making myself vulnerable by sharing intimate words from the Lord that I receive in prayer.

However, the Lord continue to reassure me that this was His will, and that this was not only for my benefit, but also for the benefit of many souls who do not yet know and love Him, in order to draw them to salvation through repentance from sin and receiving of the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. These words from the Lord are also for all Christians who do know and love their Lord yet, He desires to draw them into a deeper and more intimate relationship in order to prepare and strengthen them spiritually for much more difficult times that will be coming in the Church and the world as the evil spirit of  apostasy, heresy, immorality, violence, and callous cold-heartedness increases in power and influence.

I believe that the Lord chose the name “The Battle Cry” in order to alert His Church and anyone of goodwill in the world who will read His words, to the urgency of the need for sincere contrition and deeper repentance, and a profound conversion of heart, through increased prayer, deeper trust and stronger faith in God and faithful obedience, service and living our lives in the light of His Holy and perfect Will.

I was prepared for the transition to share such intimate words and inspirations from the Lord through years of obedience to writing my personal faith testimonials in the first blog that the Lord asked me to write beginning in 2010. This first blog is .Walking with our Lord.

Readers can go to this site where I share many personal testimonials of my journey of conversion and walking with Jesus in increasing faith living in America and in the Holy Land. Each of the testimonials are true and reveal many miracles and wonders that our Lord has done in our intimate relationship and which he desires to have with all His beloved children. I wrote each of the accounts after the Holy Spirit revealed  the story that He specifically desired that I share publically on the blog.

Gordon: You are also a popular Songwriter & Composer  Based on your experience, how can music be a helpful evangelization resource?

Ann: As I shared above in my personal history, ever since childhood, I had a special love for music, singing in the church and school choirs, and studying piano and organ, and composing songs as a teenager, and playing in two bands, and even during my university years in New York City, managing a new wave band, and aspiring to a music career. For reasons I do not fully understand, but in reflecting back over the years, it would seem that the Lord had other plans for my life before He would stir up the gift of music He gave me and fulfill the desire of my heart.

 Despite the earlier path towards music, while at NYU  I found myself pursuing a major in history, and then, going on to study for my  Master’s in international business in London and returning to the US to start a career in international banking. It wasn’t until after I returned home from living in the Holy Land, in 2011, that the Lord opened the floodgates of inspiration, and began sharing from His heart to mine both lyrics and melodies, which I diligently struggled and worked to annotate as musical scores.

I have composed a little more than 100 compositions over the past few years of songs and choral works that are in various stages of development. I never studied music theory or composition, so I had to teach myself how to score and arrange music. This has at times so frustrated me that I have become discouraged. I cannot accomplish all that my heart desires as I do not have the technical training and skill required. However, the Lord in His goodness has brought other Catholics to assist me in developing some of my simpler pieces into more advanced works as orchestral scores, and also to produce professional recordings in the studio of some of my songs and those that I have cowritten with them.

There is a story that I have yet to write and post on the Walking With Our Lord blog that I am still meditating upon. I had a miraculous encounter with someone, “Tony”, who prophesied to me about my music mission. When I get discouraged and begin to doubt this beautiful gift the Lord has given to me, and the music mission which He has inspired, I recall the encounter with the mysterious and angelic? “Tony” and try hold his amazing words of encouragement and counsel deep in my heart. I haven’t been working too much over the last six months on the Lord’s music, so I must get back to work! Saint Augustine once said, “He who sings, prays twice!” Music is the international language of the soul, and reaches deep into the hearts of all people, and thus music can be a very effective and sweet form of evangelization and sharing with others the love and truth of God who is the Divine Author and Composer of Music!

Gordon:

We have featured some links to you music.

https://walkingwithourlord.wordpress.com/songs-music/

https://soundcloud.com/ammar-pace

and thank you for this inspiration interview that I know will be deeply appreciated by our readers.

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!

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.” 

 

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