I hope and pray your Lenten Journey is bearing much fruit in your spiritual lives. Lent is a beautiful time of Purification. Though it can be painful to be in the dessert, it is only by stripping ourselves of all the distractions of worldly desires that we can truly focus our hearts wholly and purely on God!
Our Family’s Lenten Journey
Our family takes on many little initiatives to keep us focused in Lent, and over the years Lent has become a time to look forward to in our family life. One of our commitments this year is one that we’ve done a few times over the years as a family. It is always a new experience: the kids get more out of it each time, as they get older, and new ones begin to pay attention. We are watching a series called Our Lady’s Last Call with Sr. Emmanuel, who presents the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje. Each time our family goes through these old VHS tapes it is truly a call to holiness for our family. The presentation of Mary’s heart lovingly calling out to each of her children to come to her, to come to her Son, Jesus, is so compelling!
We DO live in extraordinary times.
From the turmoil in the world (as in the Middle East), natural disasters (as the recent tsunami in Japan), to the many reported apparitions of Our Lady around the globe (as in Medjugorje) … something is definitely happening. If nothing else, God is getting our attention!
Each of these things should stir our hearts to ask some serious questions. They make us realize that life on this Earth is an uncertain and passing thing … and then what? What comes next? Anyone of us could be called to give an account of our lives to God today. Are we ready? Underlying all these questions is the one basic question we all must ask: Why on Earth are we here?
What is the purpose of our existence?
When we know the purpose of our lives, we are then better able to cope with the inevitable ups and downs that life presents. We are able to stay on track, when we know WHERE we are going, even when the world is trying to derail us. So WHAT is the purpose of our lives?
Our Catholic faith teaches us that the purpose of our lives is this: To know, love and serve the Lord in this life, so that we can be happy with Him in the next. Our goal is Heaven. Our goal is union with our God.
It is so simple … and yet not so simple! The problem is that our hearts are constantly being distracted. Pulled by the things of this world, we so often do NOT live our lives as though our goal is Heaven and union with our God. We need to regain the PURITY of our focus. And how do we do this?
Lent is a great time to reflect on the PURITY of our hearts.
Are we living this life for Heaven or are we living this life for the goals of this life? It is okay to have earthly goals, because we do need to survive here. But often our hearts have become so distracted (by our careers, financial goals, relationships, achievements) that these things take the place in our hearts of Heaven − they become the driving purpose of our lives and they displace the TRUE purpose of why we are here.
Jesus tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Our hearts will be given over to whatever we most treasure! Do we treasure most the crowns of this life: the awards, the prizes, the great careers, the big bank accounts, the big houses, the leisure activities, the toys and games, the pleasures of experiences? The things of this world are NOT evil … all things were created by God to be good within their purpose. But good becomes the enemy of the best when it keeps us from the best … and the best is God! So we are reminded by our Lord, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) God will take care of all our needs. We will want for NOTHING if we possess the Lord in our hearts!
A Call to Conversion of Heart
As the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje come into our home and our family through our Lenten Journey, we are finding ourselves so drawn to Our Lord, so called to holiness, and so attracted to the JOY and PEACE that comes from living life wholly (“holy”), completely and purely for Our Lord!
It is the JOY and PEACE that impress me most, as I look at the example of people who are really striving to live their lives for God. The mark of Purity in our lives is JOY − a joy that permeates our being and radiates God’s love and beauty from within. The mark of Holiness is indeed PEACE − a Peace that surpasses all understanding!
It is this JOY and PEACE that my heart desires … and that can only come from uniting my heart with Our Lord’s. Mary, Our Mother, calls us to this kind of PURITY of heart, this CONVERSION of heart that she speaks of so much in her messages. As I reflect upon my life and examine my heart, I have to ask myself is that JOY in my life? Is that PEACE evident? Sadly, too often, it is not. So this Lent has become a time for me, personally, to commit myself to JOY and PEACE.
Putting Our Hearts to the Test
Lent is a great time of testing, too, because with our life of ministry we have never been harder hit in lack of sales of books. Our money is again almost out. Though we got through February and March due to the generosity of so many who offered help to us and purchased books on sale, the money is again nearing the end and the sales have all but disappeared.
Through this turmoil can we still have JOY? Can there still be PEACE? The answer is YES! Because God’s JOY and PEACE are NOT dependent on the circumstances in which we live − they are a GRACE that comes to us from a Father who loves us … generously poured out into our hearts by a Mother who cares deeply about each one of us!
That JOY and PEACE are ours for the taking! All we need to do is to turn to Our Lord and His Mother and the grace will be there for us − pouring out from the love of their Sacred and Immaculate Hearts!
Is it challenging? You bet your boots it is!
For as soon as we try to embrace the JOY and PEACE of Our Lord, Satan surely will be there to try to tempt us to doubt and to become discouraged! But through this testing, we are becoming PURIFIED in our LOVE for the Lord. So we can rejoice … even when we are tempted, even when we fail to live fully the call … rejoice because we have been given the DESIRE to live the call! We know that Mary, Our Mother, will come and pick us up out of the ashes − each time we fail − brush us off and present us with love to her Son. As soon as we call her, she will come to our aid!
We can rejoice in our victories … because they come to us as a grace from above! It is not by our own merit − but through the merits of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who lives within us.
How blessed are we to be sons and daughters of so great a King and Queen − the King and Queen of Heaven! Just think about it!
Our Resolution to Evangelize
Our Lenten Journey has indeed been inspiring. As my husband and I have had to really challenge ourselves to know God’s will for our ministry and for providing for our family, we have had to make some big decisions. We are still in the process of trying to achieve charitable status for our ministry here in Canada … and hopefully eventually for our American readers. But perhaps we won’t get it … we don’t know what lies ahead.
A resolution that we have come to, though − with or without charitable status − is that we need to commit ourselves to spreading the Gospel, promoting the message of Purity that the Lord has placed on our hearts. It is a message that challenges Catholics to live fully the life of their faith and thereby becoming Pure Witnesses in the world: lights in the darkness of our times. There are souls at stake.
The Books MUST Get Out!
Over the course of our S.O.S. appeal, many people responded with little messages, emails and even hand-written letters. And what we saw is that indeed the work we’ve done from our humble little home on the prairies of Saskatchewan has been multiplied by Our Lord in the conversion of hearts of so many readers! God has been using these books − Arms of Love and Surrender − to bring hearts to Him. These books MUST continue getting out so they can reach souls for Christ!
So, how can we best get Arms of Love and Surrender to the world? Well, putting them on sale certainly helped. Drastically reducing the price helped people to buy them and pass them around to others.
So, here we are again … dropping the price of our books:
Arms of Love, Surrender,
The Fullness of Purpose (inspiring and life-changing)
and The Parish Picnic (available English and Spanish−
an inspirational illustrated children’s book that teaches self-sacrifice!))
all $6.95 each.
Whatever quantity you buy, they will be $6.95 − while quantities last!
We NEED to get these books to the world … and we need to trust the Lord to provide for ALL our needs in the process! Our Lady of Medjugorje said, “Give me your worries, your problems, and pray for my intentions!” So we are abandoning all our concerns for our ministry and our family to Our Lady … we are focusing on her intentions instead!
Evangelization made easy for you!
Please purchase books − as many as you can afford − and pass them around! Let us reach as many people as we can with the message of HOPE and PURITY that comes from these books! Let us evangelize with the beautiful teachings of our Catholic Faith to as many souls as we can reach.
These are indeed strange times that we live in … times of turmoil, disaster, change and uncertainty! NOW, more than ever, people need to know the loving, saving message of Jesus Christ and His Church. They need to receive it in a way that they can hear it! Fiction Evangelizes … we have seen this powerfully! It works!
Please help us carry out this mission to the world! And please pray for us to faithfully serve the Lord in our lives and in this ministry!
We humbly abandon ourselves to the love and care of Our Mother, Mary, who will lead us to know and do the will of her Son!
Blessings to you in Our Lady’s Purity
on this the Feast of St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse!
St. Joseph, protect, provide and pray for our families!