Thursday, July 27, 2017

Patti Mansfield

In 1967, fifty years ago, by some miracle of grace the Holy Spirit was poured out upon Patti Mansfield while she was on retreat with other Duquesne University college students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Ark and Dove Retreat Center.



Patti did pray for a miracle and she certainly received one. It was a current of grace that eventually moved across the world.

To prepare for her retreat she prayed, fasted and was docile to the Holy Spirit. She and all the other retreatants were instructed to read the first four chapters of the Book of Acts in the Holy Scriptures and also the book The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson.

Patti's prayer was, "Lord, ... I believe I already received your spirit in Baptism and Confirmation, but if it is possible to receive more, I want it."

She and those on the Duquesne week-end retreat invoked the Holy Spirit with the hymn "Veni Creator Spiritus".

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
Amen. 
In addition, they also had a penance service at the retreat where they repented of their sins. This opened them up to receive the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 
Patti continued to pray, "Jesus be real to me." She told the Lord, "I give my life to you, whatever you ask of me, I accept it, and if it means suffering, I accept that too. Just teach me to follow Jesus and to love as He loves." 
Patti's example is one to follow. Invoke the Holy Spirit, pray and fast. Repent. Ask for more. Expect a miracle. And see what happens.
You may enjoy reading Patti's book: As By A New Pentecost.

Magnificat

I was recently recalling my experience with being "baptized in the Holy Spirit." This is when I opened up to an outpouring of God's love.  I was in my early twenties--many many years ago--and I attended a charismatic conference. A young woman was one of the guest speakers and I sat there thinking "I want what she has"; she had an ability to teach and preach and a confident presence about being in front of a crowd. I felt shy and afraid of speaking in front of others.

So on a break at the conference I asked a woman, who I knew was a leader, if she would pray for me. I told her I wanted what that young lady had. She promptly did pray and another woman joined her. This is when I experienced a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon me and I began to speak in other tongues. You may have heard of that gift before--"speaking in tongues." The woman praying for me interpreted the tongues, and she knew I was proclaiming the Magnificat.

Do you know that prayer which Mary proclaimed when she visited her cousin Elizabeth? It's the story of the visitation found in the gospel of Luke.

\ "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  for he has looked with mercy on his lowly servant. From this day forward all generations will call me blessed: The almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Luke 1: 46-55

The Lord certainly did look with mercy upon me that memorable day and he will look with mercy upon you to as you turn to him and ask for more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It's really pretty simple--just ask and receive. If you feel something is blocking the reception of the gifts then ask for mercy. Ask for the Lord's forgiveness for anything you have done that has displeased him and separated you from God. You can be reconciled and restored to grace.

There is where I long to be daily--in a state of grace, not sin. So it's a daily turning to him and repeating the same desires--the desire for His mercy, forgiveness, blessings, and more of the gifts of the Spirit. Honestly, I can't get enough. It's a never-ending well of blessings. Pray with expectant faith and drink deeply, my friends, of the goodness of the Lord. As you do you can't help but proclaim the greatness of the Lord.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pentecost Novena 3rd Day

Hello, sisters and brothers across the world. I am praying a novena in preparation for Pentecost next Sunday. Just in case someone isn't familiar with that word, novena means nine successive days of prayer.  I was struck by today's prayer entitled "Peace" and want to share it with you.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.
Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Peace within us.
The saints were tempted, attacked and accused by the devil who is the destroyer of peace. When we are accused by the devil, come to our aid as our Advocate and give us Peace that lasts through all trials!
Amen.
Three lines in particular jump out for me. First, "We ask with humility and a beggar's heart for Your gift of Peace within us." Have you done that before? Have you begged God for peace? I am a beggar. Beg Him for this gift. Not just for yourself, but for all you love and for the world.
Second, "the devil is the destroyer of peace." Get that straight! When we start having thoughts that make us feel anxious you can pretty well bet that's the accuser whispering lies to try to rob us of our peace. Resist! With all your might. And never fail to ask the Holy Spirit to come. When we do, God pours out His love upon us. Ponder that.
Third, "give us Peace that lasts through all trials". Amen to that! That's what we need and desire--the peace that remains through thick and thin--through all difficulties and in all circumstances. Do you believe you can have that kind of peace? I am here to tell you you can. Beg for it and keep persevering in prayer.
God bless and keep you ever close to His Most Sacred Heart.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

MOMS

I had the privilege to lead a Lenten retreat for moms of high school students recently. Being a teacher, I wanted one word for them as a take-away that could help them remember the main points of retreat. So I used the word MOMS for an acronym.

First M stands for Mother Mary. She's the true model of femininity and beauty. There's no comparison to our Heavenly Mother for beauty and virtue. Don't you agree? Just look at any image of her and you can easily see the purity that this world so needs.

The letter O stands for obedience. It's good to remember the root of the word obey which means to listen. We need to listen for the voice of the Lord. "My sheep hear my voice." John 10: 27 But to listen we must make quiet time in order to hear. Set aside time, consecrate it for our relationship with the Lord.

The next letter M at first I thought would stand for ministering since mothers do so much ministering to their children and husband, but being uncertain I asked the Lord the night before the retreat to speak to me in my slumber and give me the "right" M word if that wasn't the best one. During that night, I woke with the word monopolize. What a surprising word, but the more I thought about it--the more it seemed right. I got the strong sense that he was saying I want to control everything in your lives--every area, every aspect, every detail. Okay, Lord, I'll use that word that I never would have thought of, but you impressed it upon me in my sleep.

And finally S stands for seeking. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6: 33 We must continually seek first the Lord. Each day it starts over in communing with him. We will seek him the rest of our life. And we will not stop until we come face to face with Him.

So, keep Mother Mary as your role model, learn to listen better which includes obeying what you understand him instructing you to do, commit every area of your life to God and ask him to monopolize it, and finally, seek him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength each and every new day.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Silence

Recently, while with a group of friends, I heard a wise man talk.

He reminded us that silence is our friend. It is a way for us to listen to what the Lord is saying to us.

We need to stop in silence and ask the question, "God, what are you saying to me?"

Getting in touch with this capacity to hear his voice is the greatest gift of all. No one can take it from us and we can take it anywhere we go.

During the Lenten season that begins next Wednesday, I pray you will spend time in silence and seek to hear his voice.

There are many things he wants to whisper to you. And when someone whispers it has to be quiet for us to hear.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Love Your Enemies

Women of Peace,

I woke up this morning with the words "Love your enemies" and had no idea the Sunday gospel was about that message. I just hadn't taken time to look ahead at the Gosepl reading as I usually do. Of course, it kinda' knocked my socks off to see that the Spirit whispered to me exactly what the church universally would be hearing about today.

Long story short, I have been struggling with a circumstance that has been difficult causing me to be tempted to have ill feelings about those that seem to be so focused on making a profit instead of respecting the feelings of others and relationships with others.

Perhaps it's one of those big life lessons that the Lord is showing me right now. I feel as though a magnifying glass is being held up to our materialistic life in America, and I can more clearly see the greed and lack of concern for others. This circumstance I referred to is only a microcosm of the larger picture. (Don't want to stereotype everyone by any means. Many I know are very generous and other-centered.)

The good thing is I have cried out to the Lord, "Remove from me any of that nature, any of that greed" for being human I am subject to the same inclinations and I don't want to be like that. My heart's desire is to put him and others first, not material things first or even second.

One of my favorite preachers/teachers these days is Bishop Robert Barron. His ministry is aptly named "Word on Fire" cause it is! He's on fire and his words are on fire. I love how he reminds us that we are called to go way beyond hating, tolerating or "vaguely accepting" our enemies.

I think his likening the response we need to make to the martial art of aikido is helpful. We blend with their energy. My husband has trained people in managing aggressive behavior in the past and it is the same. MAB's key components are based on aikido: go with the flow momentarily, offer no resistance, work with the person not against, be an active listener. There's a lot of food for thought here.

I pray that as you read Barron's reflection you will be consumed in the loving truth and merciful embrace of the Lord.


"Friends, our Gospel today is taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It is one of the puzzling texts in the New Testament. It speaks of loving our enemies. Not tolerating them, or vaguely accepting them, but loving them. When you hate your enemy, you confirm him as your enemy. But when you love him in response to his hatred, you confuse and confound him, taking away the very energy that feeds his hatred.

There is a form of oriental martial arts called aikido. The idea of aikido is to absorb the aggressive energy of your opponent, moving with it, continually frustrating him until he comes to the point of realizing that fighting is useless.

Some have pointed out that there is a great deal of this in Jesus’ strategy of nonviolence and love of the enemy. You creatively absorb the aggression of your opponent, channeling it back against him, to show him the futility of violence. So when someone insults you, send back a compliment instead of an insult. When someone conspires against you, work to help him."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dis-ease

Thought of the Day
By Bishop Sam Jacobs
"There is within us a fundamental dis-ease, an unquenchable fire that renders us incapable, in this life, of ever coming to full peace. This desire lies at the center of our lives, in the marrow of our bones, and in the deep recesses of the soul. At the heart of all great literature, poetry, art, philosophy, psychology, and religion lies the naming and analyzing of this desire. Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality . . . Augustine says: 'You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.' Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest." (Ronald Rolheiser) What is it that you deeply long for? If it is not God, then our longing will never be fulfilled. We will want more and more and remain still incomplete. But once we realize that nothing and no one other than God can bring us true and lasting happiness, then we will be on the right journey. To stay there is not easy because the Law of sin within us will continue to claw at our heart to return to our old ways. But once we taste the good wine of God's love would we want to go back to the cheap wine?