What Does Jesus Want Us to Know About The Eucharist?

Last night I taught the RCIA class about the Eucharist. After listening to what other members of the team felt was important to include, listening to several Cd’s, watching a video and reading many articles. I thought the most important thing was to be open to the Holy Spirit and think about what Jesus would want us to know.
I am really truly here, present in each host, present in all my power and divinity. I am not a symbol, not just a wafer or a watered down diluted version of myself. I am Jesus Christ present in all my power and glory. I am the same Jesus that walked the dusty roads of Galilee, the God-man who healed the paralytic, walked on water , calmed the storm, fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and a few fish and raised Lazarus from the dead.
I am the same Jesus who loved you so much I endured the most painful death in all of history so that you might spend eternity with me. I am the Jesus who could not bear to leave you, could not wait for you to die so I created the Eucharist as a way to be with you right now.
My love for you is so great, so immense, human words are absolutely inadequate to describe it. Niagara Falls pales in comparison to the love and blessings I long to pour out upon you.
I long for you to come to me. I long to bless you. I know you intimately. I know everything about you. I see all your physical weaknesses and problems, all the ways you suffered physically. I know how much you have suffered emotionally, how many times you have been hurt by others and all the times you have hurt yourself. I see how you beat yourself up, how you find it so difficult to forgive yourself, so difficult to love yourself. I see the sins that trap you and I passionately long to set you free, to make you a new creature in me.
I long for you to come to me in the Eucharist, come to me with an open heart, trusting me to pour my love upon you and do what is best. My desire is for you to be healed completely, whole and to know me intimately in communion, to know and experience my love. Come to me and open your heart so I may pour my love upon you.

Advertisements

Sometimes We Need To Reminded Who’s In The Tabernacle!

Most of us learn that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist when we receive our first communion but don’t really understand what that means. Unfortunate for many of us who are adults we still don’t understand it and basically go through the motions when we receive communion. How many of us are really approaching Jesus with the reverence we should be showing for the God of the Universe? How many of us approach communion expecting nothing?
Yet our Church teaches that Jesus is present in all of His power and Glory,the Son of God in all of His awesome majesty. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. That means the same Jesus the crowds followed everywhere, the same Jesus that healed the paralytic, feed 5,000,stilled the storm and raised Lazarus from the dead is present in every communion. He still heals people today, especially those who come to Him in real faith, believing He is truly there in all His power, able to heal them.
We have to change the way we think of the Eucharist, It is not a thing,a wafer, but a living person, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God and Love Incarnate. He is a person with infinite love, power and wisdom who longs passionately to bless us and give us what we need best. He is as St. Thomas said our Lord and our God,the Divine Physician, Divine Healer,our everything. He came so that we might have life and have it abundantly.
We need to open our hearts and minds when we go to Communion, expecting God to bless our socks off and trust Him to give us what we truly need rather than telling the God of all creation what we want.

Healing Prayer: It’s Not About Us!

There is is one thing I learned in 15 years of praying with people for healing. It is not about me or the person I pray with. It doesn’t matter how holy I am, how worthy I am or the person I pray with. It is about God!
It is about God and his awesome incredible love for us. His love for us is so great that the word infinite is inadequate to describe how much He loves us. It is about the God of infinite love, mercy and hope who wants what is best for us and passionately yearns for us to come to Him so that He can pour out His love upon us . It is about a God who loves us so much he came to earth as an infant to die the most painful death in history so that we can be free from the sin and pain that enslaves us.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus’ heart was moved by compassion whenever He encountered those who are hurting. Paul tells us (Hebrews13:8) that Jesus is the same yesterday and forever. Jesus’ heart is still moved with compassion and He still heals people today.
Jesus ardently waits for us to come to Him in the Eucharist and open our hearts so that He may pour His love upon us and heal us of everything that hurts us spiritually, emotionally and relationally as well as physically.
My job is to point to Jesus in the Eucharist and remind people that He is truly present in all His power and glory and help them to open themselves up to His compassion and the love the He so passionately wants to pour upon them. That is what healing prayer really is about; opening ourselves up to the incomprehensible love God has for us and allowing Him to bless us, to do what is best for us.

I Need To Love You

I Need To Love You

This morning I was reading a reflection by Concepcion Cabrera de Armida in a book called Holy Hours. On page 115 one line jumped out at me. “It is an essential need of my life to love You”. How often have our thoughts ever gone in that direction? We need to love God. It is part of our nature.
We need to love God because He is so good. We need to worship Him because of who He is, because of His love and goodness to us. So often we pray to God but we’re seeking something, things we need, counsel, help with a decision, and help with our lives or something for someone else. So often our focus is on ourselves, our family or friends, not on God. So often our prayer is about ourselves not God.
Yet we were made to love God not try to use God. We treat Him often as an all-powerful Santa Claus. Give me, Give me! Yet He deserves and desires much more than that. Our prayer lives should be based on more than our human desires. We should be seeking God. Prayer should be about giving to God our love. We need to do that for our own sakes. It is what we were created for. Without this aspect of prayer our lives will always have an empty spot that we can’t fill.
How do we do this? I wish I knew! I’d be a saint. I know what I’ve read. There’s a story of a peasant who would sit in church for hours just looking at the Tabernacle and a priest asked him what he did. The peasant’s response was he just looked at Him and He looked at him. It sounds very simple but just being present and still in the presence of the Lord is very hard. We’re too task oriented and driven. We think we have to be always saying the rosary or praying out of our prayer books. But if you think about it in a good romance the most important thing you do is spend time with that person.
Maybe we can learn how to love God from romance or marital relationship. In the ideal relationship one party doesn’t seek to use the other or constantly ask for things from the other. We wouldn’t call it love but using the other person. At the same time as much as we say we love God, do we really if all our prayers are asking God to bless us, our family and friends. Even if we’re praying for vocations, world peace, the hungry in Africa, or the Church we still asking God to give. This isn’t to say any of those things are bad but there must be more to our love for God.
Some part of our lives must be God directed, pointed to and going to God and not expecting God to give us things or blessings back. This is the hard part to desire nothing back but just to express our love for God, praise and give to Him without expecting anything back.
How do we give God love? Two ideas from modern romance apply. One we seek to know the other. The second is that one sacrifices for the other.
How do we get to know God? One way is by asking God to reveal Himself to you and then reading the scriptures. Read not for the stories or to find verses that encourage you or apply to your situation but read in order to know God better, who He is as He revealed Himself in scripture. Another way would be to spend time with Him in adoration. Here there is help getting started. There are a lot of good books for adoration that would help you make a Holy Hour.
Holy Hours are interesting. They usually take an hour or more. Too often we rush in and out and we really never settle ourselves enough for God to speak to us. Secondly, we need to spend most of our time listening not reading. Many of the books entitled Holy Hours are divided into six to eight page sections. They take maybe fifteen or twenty minutes to read. The rest of the time should be spent in reflection, thinking and listening.
This is an example of the sacrifice of romance, spending real-time with the beloved rather than rushing in and out. It is also an example of listening that should be part of all love relationships.
We are called to sacrifice for love of God. Growing up we learned to give to the missions, to reach out to the poor and to help others. There are more things we can sacrifice like sleep in order to attend mass or to spend time in prayer. We could sacrifice watching TV shows that our beloved might not like because of the violence. Whatever we decide to sacrifice it is important that we make the sacrifice out of love for God. If you think about the sacrifices you made for your spouse or kids they are similar. You give of your time and energy to do something for one you love.
As I said earlier I don’t know myself exactly how to love God for the sake of loving God for His goodness but I know it is something we need to do and think about in order to grow in our spiritual lives. Weirdly enough, we probably have to ask God for the help we need to do so.

Lord, I want to love You because You are so good and worthy of my love. I confess I‘ve failed so many times before. I want to do better. I need Your grace to do so. Amen.

This was recently published in Wellsprings.

No Retreat, No Surrender!

No Surrender, No Retreat
No surrender, no retreat; that’s how I was raised. I grew up as part of the John Wayne generation, our values shaped by the World War II movies and westerns we watched on our black and white TV’s. Men were supposed to be independent, tough and in control. Our heroes were Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone and “I have not yet begun to fight” John Paul Jones. Surrender was not part of our vocabulary. It was extremely difficult for us to give up control, even to God.
It was not until I was drafted into the healing ministry that I ever began to understand what it meant to surrender to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I really knew nothing about healing prayer so I read everything I could find on healing prayer. Healing I learned was an act of love by Jesus and Jesus’ love encompassed every aspect of our lives. His love is total, completely beyond our imagination or comprehension. When He sees us we look like Him in the scene from The Passion where Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd after the Scourging, all covered in blood and wounds. Jesus sees every emotional, spiritual, relational wound we’ve ever suffered. He knows our every hurt and longs passionately to heal all of our wounds not just the physical. He wants to pour out His love upon us and heal all of us. He passionately longs to unleash a Niagara Falls worth of blessings upon us.
To surrender to Jesus means to open ourselves up to the unbelievable love He has for us, to be open to a love so far beyond human imagination it isn’t funny, a love that encompasses every aspect of our lives, that knows and ardently desires what is best for us. Surrendering to Jesus means we allow Jesus to pour His love upon us and do what is best for us. He knows what we need. He knows what we can handle and He knows what truly will make us happy.
What can be greater than that? Sadly, too often we hold onto control. We are afraid. We don’t trust Jesus or we think we know better. We only open our hearts a little at a time and pull back over and over. For many of us this is a lifetime process of taking little steps towards God, allowing Him in a little at a time. Maybe we need help. Jesus Himself wants to help us.
He’s given us the awesome gift of the Eucharist so we may approach Him and grow in a relationship with Him. All we have to do is open our hearts to Him as we receive Him in communion. Ask for the grace to be totally open to Him and what He wants to do when you come to Him. He longs to pour His love upon you.

So often we think that this kind of relationship is just for saints, not ordinary people like us but God pours His Spirit and love upon all of us.  His greatest desire is to bless us beyond our imaginations.  He wants to knock our socks off so open your heart and let Him in.

 

 

Jesus, I believe that You love me more than I love myself, more than anything that I can imagine. I believe that Your love for me is infinite, beyond comprehension, limitless. I believe that You know and want what is best for me, that you want to pour your love and blessings upon me.

I believe that You loved me enough to die for me. I believe that You would have endured the entire Passion just for me out of love. I believe that You have forgiven all my sins and that I can come to You at anytime in confession and receive Your awesome mercy.

I believe that You are present in the most holy Eucharist, that You created the Eucharist out of love, that the Eucharist is love itself, that You wait in the Eucharist to pour out your love upon me.

I believe but help my unbelief. Help me to believe in my heart, not just my head. Strengthen my faith in Your awesome love for me. Help me to open my heart to Your love. Help me to put aside all that may block my receiving the love and blessings You want to give me.

Help me to let go of my past, of any sins or mistakes for which I keep beating myself up. Help me to let go of any sense of unworthiness and remember that it is your love not my worthiness that matters.

Help me to let go of all pride, the false sense that I have to earn Your love, that I have to do things on my own. Help me to turn to You.

Help me to let go of all fear and doubt. Help me to totally put my trust in Your awesome goodness, love and mercy.

I want to be totally open to You, Jesus. I want You to come into my heart and heal the wounds of my past. I want You to help me to forgive all those who’ve hurt me. I want You to change me from the inside, to help me let go of all the anger, resentments, to let go of the pride and independence, anything that keeps me apart from you.

I want to know You, personally. I want an intimate relationship with You. I want to see You each time I receive You. I want to feel Your presence, Your love in my heart. I want to hear Your voice. I want You to guide me with every decision I make. I want You to take charge of my life. I want You to truly be my Lord and Savior. I don’t want to live my life anymore. I want to live Your life. I want to serve You, to be Your hands and feet. I want to receive Your love and bring it to those around me. Help me to do so.

Come into my heart and change me into the person You created me to be. Fill me with Your love. Free me of all fear and doubt and help me to trust You with everything, my health, family, finances, career, relationships, everything.

Help me Jesus, draw me close to You. Let me live in Your heart. Fill me with You. Take charge of my life. I surrender all to You and Your incredible love. Amen

Jesus Loves Me

How often have you heard the song Jesus Loves Me? We‘ve all heard it over and over “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” We’ve heard it but do we really believe it?
This is probably the hardest Christian concept for people to accept. That God loves them. We can believe in God and that He loves people but somehow we feel we’re the exception. Our sins are too great. God couldn’t love me. He may have forgiven me but love me that’s not possible. Often we failed to forgive ourselves. As a consequence even though we go to Church and the Sacraments we keep Jesus at a distance. It’s like we let Him in the front door and talk to Him in the front hallway, not letting Him in any further. We don’t want to let Him inside because if He really knew of all of the anger, resentment, unforgiveness we still had, He wouldn’t like us..
This is ridiculous! He knows every thought and sin we ever had or committed. Furthermore, if private revelation is true, He saw every sin that would ever be committed during the Agony in the Garden. Knowing all the sins that we would commit He still went to the Cross for us. As Paul tells us He gave His life for us while we were still sinners. He didn’t give His life for those who were perfect but for us out of love.
No where in Scripture does it say that Jesus died for every sinner but you. There were no exceptions. Every sinner and sin was included. No sin you committed could separate you from His love? Satan may tell you otherwise but he is the Prince of Lies.
“Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so.” Look at the Bible. Too often we shy away from Scripture because our guilt makes us uncomfortable so we procrastinate and keep putting it off. Someday, I’ll read it. Don’t play Satan’s game. Read the Bible especially the Gospels. The Bible is God’s love letter to man.
In modern romances we prove our love by sacrificing for our loved one. Often we claim that we would die for the other. Jesus has done that for you. Read the Passion and instead of feeling guilty think; He loved me enough to go through all of that for me. Read it carefully. There wasn’t an inch of His body that wasn’t injured or bruised. Even the bottoms of His feet were injured walking barefoot through Jerusalem. Every drop of blood He had been given out of love. He gave everything He had, every drop of blood and water in His body.
Read the parables. The Prodigal Son tells of a father who watches day after day and runs to His son when he returns. The parable of the Lost Sheep tells of a God who will search endlessly for the lost. God is pursuing us. He loves us that much.
Read the Gospels. You won’t find any examples of Jesus rejecting sinners. Instead He was criticized by the so-called righteous for socializing with sinners. He didn’t keep sinners at a distance. Today’s gospel was the story of the woman who was a notorious sinner, most likely a prostitute who entered the house of Simon the Pharisee and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. The Gospel didn’t say that Jesus said EWW, get away from me. Instead He rebuked Simon for His critical thoughts and talked about the great love of the woman.
Read the Psalms. Not only do they tell of God’s love for us but more than eighty times the Psalms describes God’s love as unfailing. “The Lord delights in those who…put their hope in His unfailing love” Psalm 147 tells us. Jeremiah tells us that God’s love is everlasting. That means forever. He won’t and did not stop loving you.
Isaiah tells us “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed. says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10) If you read Matthew 14:14 it tells us that Jesus had compassion or love on all who came to Him. Why would you not be included in the all?
Not only the Bible tells of God’s love but the Sacraments are all examples of God’s love for us especially the Eucharist. Jesus loved us so much as to make Him self available to us every day, not just Sunday. He waits in the Tabernacle to bless us each and every time we visit. He longs for us to open the doors of our hearts to Him as we receive Communion.
Reconciliation is another example of the love of Jesus. Not only does He make it possible for us to receive forgiveness of our sins but He makes it possible for us to know through the priest’s absolution that we are forgiven. He gives us the advice, encouragement and grace we need to do better, all out of love. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of great love for us.
Every new day, every sunrise and sunset is a sign of God’s love. The beauty of Creation, of the stars; all remind us of the love of God. All of this was created out of love for us. Perhaps that’s why most retreats are given near beaches or in the country so we can be reminded by the beauty of nature that God loves us.
Every good thing we eat, see or touch is a sign of a loving God who loves to give His children good things. But we have to be open to accept His love. We have to put away our silly fears and doubts and believe God loves us. He loved us enough to give us free will to accept or reject Him. He won’t force us to accept His love but He will give us the grace we need to accept it if we ask.

This was recently published along with the Greatest Mystery in the summer edition of Wellsprings.

Our Greatest Challenge as Charismatics!

June 28, 2000 I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I joined a prayer group which held a healing mass the 3rd Wednesday of the month. After participating in the prayer group for about a year I was drafted onto the healing team. I figured Father knew something I didn’t so who was I to contradict the Holy Spirit.
My only experience with healing prayer was to be prayed over. I had read one article that had said most often people would gain a sense of peace. I felt totally inadequate to pray over people. At that point I had only just started to pray in tongues.
One of the first persons I prayed over had terminal cancer, less than 6 months to live. I felt real glad that he seemed to have found that peace I read about because I didn’t expect my prayers to do much good. I was shocked several years later when the Lord pointed Him out and reminded who he was. It was like see what I can do if you let me use you.
One of the things I did was to read every book I could find on healing prayer, whether Protestant or Catholic and attend every healing service I heard of.
Probably the most influential authors I read were Fathers Ralph Di Orio and Matthew Swizdor. I noticed that in both cases they prayed over people repeatedly. Father Swizdor gave healing missions lasting 3-5 days. People experienced physical healing on the 3rd, 4th and 5th days. First they experienced spiritual and emotional healing. With Father Di Orio people went back several times.
It doesn’t really matter what words we say or techniques we use. Healing is totally dependent on God’s infinite love for us, a love that can only be described as intense, personal and immense, so deep and passionate we cannot adequately describe it. God heals us not because we say the perfect prayer or because of who prayed over us but because He loves us and wants to bless us beyond our imagination.
The challenge we face as Charismatics is to help people understand His awesome love and help them open up to His love and grace. So often we hold back because we believe that God loves us generally, but don’t believe that He loves us personally. We think that He died only for our salvation and forget that both Isaiah and Peter wrote that by His stripes or wounds we are healed. This is the message we have to beat people over the head with. God’s love for them is intensely personal and He cares about every aspect of our lives, often more than we do.
I once read in a book by Max Lucado that God loves us just the way we are but loves us too much to leave us that way. We know that God knows everything about us. I believe that to God we look like Jesus in the move, The Passion of The Christ, when Pilate presented Him to the crowd after the Scourging, blood pouring from every part of His body.
God looks at us and sees all our wounds. There is anger buried and repressed from grammar school, wounds inflicted on us by our family or peers, injuries and resentments that we’ve held on to and buried just eating away at us, taking its toll on our bodies and spirits. We haven’t forgiven others and often ourselves. We beat ourselves us and put ourselves down. We feel hopeless, afraid to open ourselves up to God’s love or unwilling to let go of the anger and resentment, unwilling to forgive, unwilling to let go of our sins and vices, unwilling to let God really heal us so we say no and fail to experience God’s healing love. So often we feel unworthy of God’s love. Yet the reality is no one not even Peter was truly of God’s love.
We may not even realize we are doing this. It is part of our fallen nature to hold onto control, to resist surrendering our will to God, to refuse to allow Him to do what God wants to do, what is best for us. As a consequence we miss out on the blessings God wants to give us
God knows all of this, the resentments we buried, the anger and tension we keep suppressing, He knows all of the un-forgiveness we keep burying in our hearts. He knows all the emotional and psychological pain that we suffer. He knows exactly what is keeping us from experiencing the life He created us for and His heart is overwhelmed with compassion. He longs to heal all these wounds. He ardently wants to pour His love and grace upon us. He wants to free us of all the negativity, anger, fear, doubt and distrust that is holding us back.
God’s love is not limited to our salvation but is all en-compassing. He cares about every aspect of our life. What we need to do is to help ourselves and others open ourselves to His amazing love. So often we go to God and ask Him to heal us physically but don’t really want to allow im to work on what is really wrong with us. We need to remember that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. We have to trust Him and allow Him to do what is best for us at this time. He doesn’t go faster than we can handle or push us farther than we are willing to go.
I have been praying over people for 15 years and prayed over people in excess of 1500 times, maybe 2000 times. I have seen amazing things happen, operations being canceled or going way better than expected, biopsies turning out negative. I’ve known people whose cancer disappeared. But I also know people who were prayed over repeatedly but refused to let go of the anger and resentment and really experienced minimal healing if any.
All things are possible for God but as the songs says we have to say Yes We have to let God be God and trust Him so that He may pour His love upon us and knock our socks.
My favorite healing prayer is to pray with people before mass so that they are totally open to the power and graces of the Eucharist. One thing I learned was that there is a virtual Niagara Falls worth of graces available to us in each communion. What I do in prayer is remind them that Jesus is present in the Eucharist in all His power and divinity, that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, that all things are possible and just as He healed the paralytic in the Gospel, He still heals people today. Next I pray that they be totally open to all the graces God wants to pour on them then pray in tongues and finish thanking Jesus for what He is going to do and pray that He be glorified.

We have to understand that God wants us to come to Him, to seek His help and guidance.  He wants to heal and bless us.  He also wants to use us to bless and heal others.
This is a talk given to a local charismatic prayer group.