Posted by: wordofthevine | July 8, 2014

Striving Eagerly for Spiritual Gifts!

“So with yourselves, since you strive eagerly for spirits, seek to have an abundance of them for building up the Church” (1 mary_holy_spiritCorinthians 14:12)

I was touched by this scripture from 1 Corinthians one day when I was experiencing dry and difficult prayer. I felt thirsty and hungry for the “brush of God” in my heart.  I came to realize that part of receiving spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ is to experience the need for God anew, to be empty, waiting to be filled. Part of being ready to receive something new means, being open and available to wholeheartedly welcome the gift. God brings that about usually by bringing us through dry, and difficult prayer. Rather than to fall pray to thinking that all is lost, we should be encouraged.

We just navigated having two daughters get married this summer within 3 weeks. We also had extended family and a former foreign exchange student that we had hosted stay with us for an extended period in between the weddings. This week after all of the chaos and joys of the weddings were over, I felt rather spent. It was then that I realized that this spent feeling was precisely where God had wanted me for He was doing something new in me. When I am spent, I am not in control, for I am needy before God. God wants us needy before Him because He has so much in His hands to give us. When we are self-assured we do not hunger and thirst for righteousness or the spiritual gifts that build Him up in us and in the world around us. Next time you feel spent, or dry in prayer, learn to recognize the signs. You are being prepared to move out in a new spiritual gift or to “speak a new and foreign tongue” to build the Body. ~ Mary

Posted by: wordofthevine | July 2, 2014

Developing Wisdom!

“The path of the just is like shining light, that grows in brilliance till perfect day”(Proverbs 4:18.)

To tell you the truth, I sat up in bed and went to my prayer closet one night recently. I just could not sleep and I turned to the Lord for a few minutes of prayer. I had made a decision a febordercollie21w days ago that just wasn’t sitting well with me. Even though I have always had a small dog in the house, I had gotten a 5 month old collie puppy. My older kids had challenged me, “You have all these sons and you have these little lap dogs!” I had been out on a walk and ran into a friend who told me about this beautiful collie. She is a very beautiful dog. She heals when I walk her, which I have to do twice a day,  and has not had any accidents in my house. For all purposes, she is very good, but she is so big and her kennel takes a lot of space. When she wags her tail, she cleans off my coffee table, while her nose is even with my kitchen table. I just haven’t been comfortable. Before I had bought her, I had prayed and thought this interior rub was just a sign that I needed to stretch myself. No, I think I should have listened more closely and not moved ahead so swiftly.

“The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom, at the cost of all that you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). I think, sometimes we obtain this wisdom and understanding when we reflect on our decisions and behaviors and accept the suffering that comes when we do. We have 20/20 vision often in hindsight. Sometimes, no matter how discerning we try to be, we only tumble into truth when we choose something that just does not work for us and we have to work to figure out why and what God was leading us to. Sometimes we choose something good, something best for someone else and not for us. We need God to fine tune our vision so we can walk more clearly in his light. We do this well sometimes and we learn when we stumble too. This is how our light grows and how we become more just. We learn from our mistakes while we also savor our successes with God.

I decided to work with the breeder to find a new home for this beautiful and well bred collie. If you’d enjoy a well behaved, beautiful collie, please let me know. God seems to be directing me to “walk a straightforward path, to not stumble” (Proverb 4:11-12).  What about you? Can you chalk up some of your less than perfect decisions to this process of growing in light and understanding? ~ Mary

Posted by: wordofthevine | June 22, 2014

Developing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in us!

Maybe it is because I have been working and planting in my large garden that this line from Servant of God, Archbishop Luis Martinez jumped out at me, or madancing-with-godybe God was giving me a little nudge to be more intentional in the spiritual life. He wrote, “It is obvious that the spiritual gifts do not develop to the same degree and with the same perfection in all souls, any more than do the virtues. Like the virtues, the spiritual gifts are vital seeds that need to be cultivated.

How do we cultivate these gifts, of knowledge, understanding, wisdom, good counsel, awe, fortitude, and piety? We try to encounter the Lord with us and guiding us to live with his priorities…to love when he would love, to be empty of selfishness and flexible when our preferences are put aside. We practice good choices in the midst of obstacle, which means we grow in the virtues and in our ability to love when it challenges as well as enriches us. We also grow in moving in the way of Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, when we practice following through with the inspirations of the Holy Spirit when they come to us.

My husband is in formation for the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. He just completed pastoral education at the hospital. One day he walked into the pastoral care office and saw a stack of bibles. He felt the Holy Spirit nudge him to take a bible with him. At each room, he turned to the Lord and asked, “Do I leave the bible here?” The Lord kept moving in his heart to say no, until the last room on his list to visit. There he felt the Lord say, “Now go in there. Here is where you leave the bible.” John went in, sat down at the bedside and listened to the woman and her concerns, something, in his quiet manner, he is really good at. Almost at the end of the session, “The woman piped up and said, “You know, I really want to read my bible, but I left mine at home.” John was able to hand her the bible and share the story of how the Holy Spirit had nudged him. We want to follow, and  not discount, those seemingly ordinary, yet extra-ordinary inspirations.  Where has the Holy Spirit been nudging you? ~ Mary


Posted by: wordofthevine | June 18, 2014

The Power of Suffering with Jesus

Let me say that I am sorry! I have not added new content to this blog for a while. We are in the season of weddings in my1380449_10200730437448314_225844702_n household with two daughters being married in June and July this summer. From now on, I will be attentive to this site as I am finding my head above water now.

Have you ever suffered inside when a friend does something that hurts you? This was me a short time ago. A family friend that I have not seen for several years and who lives a few states away had arranged to visit us when he was coming to Iowa for work. During a phone call, when he had not mentioned anything about this visit, I asked him about it. Yes, he was coming to Iowa, but no, he would not be available for the visit because of how the schedule worked out. At the time, I felt the sting of disappointment, but I was able to move with it and respond matter a fact with it.

It was only when I was trying to fall asleep that I could tell I was more deeply bothered about it. I was disappointed and hurt.Weren’t we important to him to work in some time for a visit. I just seemed to lay there and note this and ask Jesus to share in this with me. While this helped me, it was not until, I asked Jesus to unite this interior rub with his own that things changed. I turned to Jesus and said to him, this also happened to you, Lord. Take this and use it with your own pain for I know that many people everyday probably are occupied and unavailable to you. You have a tender heart too! Wow! The pain lifted and I felt a new and surprising release from this interior broil. Now, we have to be careful not to “spiritualize” our feelings, but when we use them and discover the truth of the Gospel through these human responses, it builds our faith and deepens our union with Jesus. Our struggles can be door ways to deeper realities.

Where have you struggled lately? I encourage you to share this with Jesus, bring it into his gaze on you and feel him with you in it. Too, go the extra step too, surrender the pain to him for he gladly accepts everything we give him and especially our intimate human struggles. He thirst for this union with us!The Cross is a very real reality in each of our lives and when we know how to engage it here and now, can be an ongoing source of renewal in our lives. Embrace yours today! ~Mary

Posted by: wordofthevine | May 2, 2014

The Sacred Heart is the Holy Eucharist!

Servant of God, Father John Hardon, S.J. spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament. He wrote talks and books there, conversing with adoremonJesus as he worked. Hhardon-facee wrote: “The Sacred Heart is the Holy Eucharist. He said, “Why do we say that?” We begin by saying that “the Sacred Heart signifies Christ’s love in three ways: God is love, God is loving and God loves with human feeling.” He describes that through the Eucharist, the incarnation of Jesus is not time bound. Jesus is there with a human heart, mind and soul, as someone who is tender to us and who feels. He desires, loves and inspires us through the Eucharist. He “brings us into being and also brings us into being as creatures who are capable of love. God loves with human feeling, wit human emotion, human sensibilities and human sensitivity.”Father Hardon describes that “God in the Holy Eucharist is man indeed, but with all the supreme sensitivity. Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is is a sensitive Christ. And, the Holy Eucharist is the whole Christ with His human heart.”

What are we to do with these beautiful words of Father Hardon? We are to act on them by going before the Blessed Sacrament, Our Jesus and share our hearts, our experiences, our joys, sorrows and needs. He awaits us with boundless graces that are ours just by asking. We are to return this sensitive human/divine love of Christ with our human love. We do this in faith for by doing so, we can live and love extended outward in Christ’s love thorough us. We are to do , what Father Hardon suggests: “By totally and constantly conforming, submitting and surrendering our lives to Him. This is the sacrifice  God wants of us during our lives; allowing Him to move our wills. Every moment of our lives, then, is a providential expression of God’s love for us, inviting us to respond no matter what the cost is to ourselves.”

How can you begin to slip into the Church to console the Heart of Jesus? When, today, can you call out to Him with the ordinary seeming pleas for insight, help or love?  Many times we underestimate the power of these everyday moments, when offered to the love of God become contemplative encounters and offerings? Act today and become resplendent in the love of God!~ Mary

Posted by: wordofthevine | April 21, 2014

Being Guided From Within

“Beloved, leOXYGEN VOLUME 13t us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I write this to you…but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you as his anointing teaches you about everything and is true” (1 John 4:7-8,11,1:26-27)

In this period after Easter, we need to delve into what it means to live in the Spirit. We want to know, this new reality of life in the Spirit that is at our fingertips- God’s love abides in us and guides us to all truth. This fundamental truth is behind all the FourteenRules of the Chain of Love that we have been discussing here. God wants to teach us to cultivate an interior disposition to receive, respond and act in his grace for others, to be a living sacrifice that will usher in a new Pentecost of Grace. How are we to start this?

We review the Fourteen Rules of the Chain of Love that are posted on the home page of Incarnate Institute. Pick one to focus on this first week of Easter. Read over them and see where the Spirit that abides in you will lead you to dwell, for we see that, like fingers on a hand, all the virtues are connected. When you grow in one holy direction, you also make head way in others.

Behind all the “Rules,” the virtue of purity stands clearly out. The Lord wants our hearts to be free of patterns of sin, addiction or even mundane attachments to our comfort zones. He wants us able to be moved from within, to walk in his Spirit with his priorities (the salvation of the world.)

What catches you and limits your freedom. Is it a concern of measuring up to the scrutinies of other people or their example, is it earthly appetites of gluttony or greed? Is it your own need to control your environment to prevent anything that would take you out of your routine. Let me tell you, the Holy Spirit is, at times, the great shake up. He wants us to move in grace and love and to be teachable from the inside.

Think about it today. Pray with the Chain of Love and make one simple resolution to listen and respond to Jesus who abides now within you!~Mary

Posted by: wordofthevine | April 13, 2014

The Virtues and Resolutions for Holiness

Concepcion and the Living Cross of the Apostolate of the CrossMore than just rules for the spiritual life, the virtues and our own resolutions for that matter, are templates for us to follow as we struggle against our own tendencies that are less than loving. If you have ever purchased a new pair of shoes and had to pull out a cardboard mold from inside your shoe before you could try them on, the virtues and the summary of these good habits in the Chain of Love, are just that- a form or pattern that helps us hold our “Jesus shape” until we react transforming union with him. Our destiny is to walk in his footsteps to and through the Cross. On the Cross, we are most ready and receptive to be filled to the brim with His loving, Holy Spirit.

We want to be systematic in growing more open, more responsive to the graces that God constantly showers upon, although sometimes unrecognized, so we present no obstacles to moving in His preferences and perspective that percolate through our human reactions and resources. We want to progress and grow into the reality of the Cross, as a true path to sanctity through studying the fourteen principles of the “Chain of Love” the daily system of resolutions for holiness of Venerable Concepción Cabrera and her spiritual family. These principles encourage us to take our lives seriously as the ways and means of holiness. These principles lead us to discuss the virtues and to formulate a personal plan for holiness by reviewing our own stories, needs and experiences so we can incarnate Christ from the inside out, where ever we go.

We investigate the virtues, not that we can become perfect, for in our human lives this isn’t possible. We look at the virtues because they are movements of loving God better. Love stops at nothing short of surrendering all to God. He is not taken back by our weaknesses, but rather, he is attracted to us in our deepest needs. When you see that you may have fallen short, rejoice that you see this and have confidence that He meets you there. What will transform the human heart is to transform it in pursuit of love. Jesus is most tenderly moved by our hopes and our efforts. The goal is that, once examined in the light of the virtues, that our hearts can radiate the living presence of God to others!

In our time, the light from the virtues is very important for each of us, the laity and the ordained alike, for this is the time where we are expectant that God is acting to bring about an intimate “Interior Pentecost of the Heart” which will enable us to love others in the Holy Spirit. God has a mission to impact others for each of us, an unrepeatable mission that will be left undone, if we do not form ourselves and respond personally to the graces that Jesus liberated for us. The Holy Spirit wants to act in our time in us and through us to manifest His Kingdom on Earth. We have gifts that make us holy from the inside and gifts that propel us and empower us to act in the lives of others and the Church. Let the Holy Spirit begin with us!

In our time, the Holy Spirit is drawing us together, into being intentional disciples, people with a mission or apostolate. We need to learn from each other, laity and ordained alike, to become disciples and apostles for Jesus. The Apostleship of the Cross, a lay apostolate and community founded by Venerable Concepción Cabrera, is a beautiful example today of a community of lay persons in close mutual mission with the ordained, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. The Apostleship of the Cross follows and implements the Chain of Love to reach those in the world with the good news of the Cross, while the Missionaries guide and support their efforts all the time learning and listening to them intimately in retreat work, confession, spiritual direction and friendship.

From simple, practical discussions on holiness, we see that, like Venerable Concepción Cabrera, each of us can allow the acorn of our baptismal graces to become lofty oaks grounded in the life and Cross of Jesus. These conversations of the Chain of Love and the Virtues are for everyday people in love with Jesus, the lay person, the religious sister and the priest and deacon who want to stop for a moment in the whirlwind of life to sip and savor this “new wine” of life.

Posted by: wordofthevine | April 11, 2014

A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Maybe you read th194is and wondered why I would include it in a blog post.? It is because that God can speak to our hearts from any good and beautiful created good. I found this poem because my husband, an engineer, is developing his shadow side. He spied this book of poetry on the shelf  behind us in the quiet nook and cranny of a local coffee shop where we were eating. He opened the book and began reading out loud this “Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

This poem chides us to keep pushing into the “winds of life” to find God sustaining us. Longfellow asks us to become heroic in pursuing life in the depths.

What is truly remarkable, is that Longfellow wrote this beautiful poem from his own reflections following the death of his wife from complications of a miscarriage. He wrote it, it seems as a way to find his wife still with him in the providence and love of God, the true cement of his life.

We want to leave behind us “Footprints on the sands of time!” ~ Mary



    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Posted by: wordofthevine | April 7, 2014

Consecration to the Holy Spirit

I haFelixdeJesusve been writing a lot lately here and in other places about the Holy Spirit and learning to offer your life with Jesus through the Holy Spirit to be a redeeming force for others. We can do that you know by learning to harness the simple opportunities of daily life as “living sacrifices.” What are you willing to offer to the Lord for others; and how intimately are you willing to engage the process?

I am remembering a situation that my husband reminded me of [husbands are so good at doing that!] It was a situation at work with a co-worker that was fine, but we seemed at times to rub each other the wrong way because we just had different priorities. He said, “Why don’t you invite her over for dinner? I did and it turned the corner in our relationship to understand each other in context. At first thought, however, I was resistant. “Could I see her at work and then include her in my world and do it charitably? We each can if we can just get ourselves out of the way!

Sometimes, a daily resolution or prayer can help perk us so we are ready for the challenges that lay ahead of us in the day. I pray “The Consecration to the Holy Spirit” as a reminder of how I am trying to live in the moments of the day: surrendered to the Holy Spirit and as an offering for others! This helps liberate graces to the world and helps file off my imperfections in the meantime. We can make great growth in the spiritual life if we make intentions and learn to follow through! This prayer was written by Venerable Felix Rougier, M.Sp.S., the first master general of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.

Consecration to the Holy Spirit

O Holy Spirit, receive the perfect and complete consecration of my whole being. In all my actions grant me the grace of being my light, my guide, my strength and the love of my heart. I surrender myself to you, and I ask of you the grace to be faithful to your inspirations. Transform me, through Mary and with Mary into a true image of Christ Jesus , for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the world. Amen. ~ Mary


Posted by: wordofthevine | April 3, 2014

The Offering of the Incarnate Word

felix rougier father

Father Felix Rougier, M.Sp.S.

Sometimes it is great to find a new and inspiring prayer. I hope that you feel that way once you read this post. Copy this prayer off. Stick it in your Bible, journal or put it next to your prayer chair. It was written by Venerable Father Felix Rougier, M.Sp.S.

The Offering of the Incarnate Word

Heavenly Father, through the hands of Mary,

we offer you Jesus, the Incarnate Word,

the victim in whom you are well pleased. Moved by the love

of the Holy Spirit in our Hearts,

we offer ourselves completely with Him,

as living hosts. May we be a living sacrifice,

out of love for you in all the events of our lives,

obtaining graces for the world, the Church and

especially your priests and deacons.

Say this everyday in the morning and watch what qualities surface in your own life and those you pray for! ~Mary

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