Sunday, 15 January 2017

Miracles or Fairytales?

A while ago, I wrote my favourite blog post. It has since become the most popular post on this page (please note: by this I mean more than 3 people have actually read it, and as far as I’m aware I haven’t been excommunicated as a result…).

I finished the post with these words:
“Tell Jesus about your lack of wine, your blindness, your lamentations, your sufferings and your burdens. Offer up to Him what cripples you and know He will fix it… be audacious, expect miracles.It will change your life.”

Allow me to take it a little further (or backwards… or something… hear me out).

I know God has wonderful plans for me – ‘plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11). I know that Jesus has my back. I know that He wants more wonderful things for me than I could ever dare dream of. All of this I know, so if you’re still reading and expecting me to say that all of my past words were simply naïveté, I’m sorry to disappoint you – I still vehemently hold that hope is a virtue.

I will say this though: for the last little while, I’ve been wondering – are we expecting miracles or fairytales? Are they two different things?

My main gal St. Therese of Lisieux tells us with her wonderful, enviable simplicity that “our desires are not fancies.” Looking back on my own life, I remember one occasion where I truly felt that the King had truly satisfied even the least desire of my heart. I was in Sorrento, Italy, and having been away for almost 7 weeks, was feeling very homesick. That Sunday morning, I left my travel buddy asleep and walked to the closest Catholic Church for mass, fighting tears. I walked into the Church of Santa Maria Della Grazie ("Holy Mary of Grace"), where, during communion, 7 elderly Dominican nuns (some too frail to even walk), started singing one of my favourite hymns. Suddenly, as I sang along in my own language, I felt like I was home. Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all.

However, as much as that experience and many others have given me the audacity to ask great things of The Lord, where is the fine line between ‘the king satisfies even the least desires of our hearts’ and ‘life is not a fairytale?’

Reflecting on this as of late, all that came to mind was the man, who upon falling into a well, had faith that God would get him out. Several people came, offering him a way out – all of their attempts to help denied when the man said that he was relying on God to get him out. He drowned, and when facing judgement, asked God why He didn’t pull him out of the well. God’s reply, of course, was that He had sent several people to get him out, but they had been rejected because the man had been too stuck on how HE wanted God to save him and could not see past his own idea of what being saved was.

Sometimes we are just like that man. Sometimes, we ask Jesus for something, expecting a miracle, then are perhaps too blind to recognise when He grants it. Sometimes we don’t know if it’s really what we need because we are too stuck in our own world and too fixated on our own (perhaps shallow) desires to see that God isn’t necessarily satisfying our most immediate desires (to immediately teleport us out of the well), but, like the loving Father that He is, is instead fulfilling the deepest desires of our hearts (freedom), even if we don’t know it yet.

Let’s make this as simple as possible. Luke 11:10-11 tells us:
“… everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?”
Imagine me asking God for a pizza. Out of nowhere comes a pizza – well, sort of. The pizza is cheeseless. Now, if my short time in France taught me anything, it’s that life is happier with cheese in it, so, for the time being, let’s call this half a miracle. I may give the pizza back and say ‘I know you can do better. I expected a miracle. This is OK I guess, but could you send me one with cheese next?’ What I seem to have forgotten, however, is that God is, first and foremost, my Father. He knows that as a woman of Middle Eastern descent, lactose and I don’t get along all that well. God is the cheeseless pizza chef – the chef who gives me what I need and not necessarily what I immediately want, ensuring both effective digestion and my lasting happiness.

Excuse the psychobabble. My point is this: real faith isn’t just expecting miracles, it’s expecting, trusting in and relying on God’s miracles and not our own. It’s trusting that dreaded answer given to you by Jesus: that voice crying out to you despite your best efforts to silence it.

This is where I'm thankful for my friends. They know me, and they encourage me to ask the Lord what He wants of me and trust that He will make His answer clear. I am thankful for their advice, their meanness, their softness, their clarity. I would not deserve them if I lived 300 years. They taught me to pray until God can no longer hold back His peace from me – to storm Heaven until Heaven comes to my help. Then, when things get EXTRA crappy, they climb into the well with me, pull me up onto their shoulders and remind me that things really aren't that bad as long as I have people I love beside me.

As difficult as some situations are, I pray that I never accept something I shouldn't because I'm afraid that’s all God has in store for me, and I also pray that I accept, with gratitude and a heart full of joy, the gifts God has given me.

Lord, do not allow my pride and shallow desires stop me from recognising the miracles all around me. For this, I pray.

Santa Maria Della Grazie, Sorrento Italy.

Friday, 30 December 2016

5 Cheesy Lessons From The Year That Was...

As 2016 comes to an end, I sit and reflect on the year that was. 

The things I've learned are simply things that those smarter than me always tried to drill into me - things that are best learned with experience and better understood through trials than from joys.

These are the five cliches I've been fortunate to have reconfirmed to me in 2016:

1. God takes with one hand and gives with the other. 
I've had some of the greatest and some of the toughest times of my life this year. During the good times, I've asked God to give me the grace of gratitude. During the tough times, I've felt myself running around and around in circles, only realising the stability I've been searching for has been standing waiting for me - Waiting. For. Me. To. Just. Look. Up. 
#2016kylietip During the tough times, look around at who's beside you. Appreciate those who call you just to cheer you up, be grateful for the friend who texts you just to tell you you're amazing or that they're praying for you. Renew your gratitude for those who have probably always been your pillar of support but often go unnoticed: your parents, best friends, cousins, siblings. It may feel like God is pulling you, roots and all, out of the ground that you're standing on - just know He's watering that very same soil with the other. 

2. Ask Jesus what He wants of you and be brave. 
These are words spoken once by Pope Francis. simple, yet ever so profound. Even during the good times, pray that tough prayer that breaks your heart. BUT, here's the key: even when He gives you His gentle, dreaded, persistent answer, swallow your fear and do what you know you need to. Only then can you be truly sure of your decision.
#2016kylietip Just do. Trust in Him. Even if it breaks your heart, inner peace is something that cannot be bought.

3. You accept the love you think you deserve. 
Despite what Chbosky may think, this isn't something you learn just being a wallflower. Have the courage to demand more of the people around you. Nobody that ever expected nothing of their loved ones and friends was ever happy: set your standards high, know what you deserve and accept nothing less. As an aside, I'm not necessarily talking about romantic love here, but all relationships. My good friend Eleanor reminds us: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent - don't give your consent to be treated as anything ordinary, you are far from.
#2016kylietip You're amazing - you are unique, wonderful, perfectly made. Believe that and you'll never let anybody dare treat you otherwise. Even if sometimes you feel a little alone, at the very least you'll always be able to trust that you won't let yourself down, even if so many do.

4. You only make people better by treating them like they *are* better. 
This is a nuance to the last point. Nobody is perfect, least of all you. Expect better of people, but know that *you* make people better only by showing them how truly amazing they are, and then treating them as such. Nobody ever wants to change for an asshole, but everybody wants to live up to what the people around them think they are.
#2016kylietip Be a friend, forgive others, set examples, watch people around you grow as a result. 

5. The things you're passionate about make you who you are: don't let anybody convince you otherwise. 
Passion is what drives humanity toward good, beauty, truth, progress. Nobody ever achieved anything by giving up when things got hard or when they were mocked for that one thing they just refused to give up on. However minuscule it is or however silly it may seem, just know that indifference never achieved anything. Again channelling Mrs. Roosevelt: the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
#2016kylietip Hold on to the things that make your heart flutter and your brain hurt. Don't ever let go of what you know is your contribution to the world around you. 

So. What about 2017, then? 
In January, while on a spiritual retreat with some of my favourite people in the world, I wrote myself a letter. It got mailed to me recently to remind me of how I felt that weekend - unfailingly my favourite weekend of every year. The last few words I wrote to myself summarise my 2017 resolution (and indeed my entire #lifegoal).
Love recklessly, pray ceaselessly. All is in that.

When these are only SOME of the people who make up your
universe, you're bound to come out OK (at least...)

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Don’t Wake Jesus – He Hears You When He is Sleeping…

Let’s call him Jonathan. Jonathan is my brother in Christ. He is tall, dark, handsome, intelligent and witty. He is fun-loving and loud and always the life of the party. He is as passionate as they come, and more annoying than you could ever begin to imagine. He wears his heart on his sleeve, will give up everything for those he loves and is much too loving to hold a grudge or act out of spite. He also has a potty mouth, a quick, explosive temper and will openly tell you that patience is not his strong suit, mainly because he doesn’t try hard enough.

He is also living proof that you can fall in love absolutely in love and then… well, forget.
Jonathan used to love the rosary. Jonathan knows it is a mortal sin not to attend mass on Sundays. He knows this so well that if he did happen to go to mass and had not attended confession, he would not dare receive communion.
It was the fact that he knew all of this and yet was not in a state of grace that truly broke my heart.
Jonathan went from daily rosaries and weekly mass to desperate, sporadic prayer and mass a few times a year. He went from examining his conscience regularly to ignoring that little voice in his head (God’s) and that loud voice in his ear (me) telling him he was selling himself short, that he was missing the mark, that he was made for greatness and yet was settling for much less than mediocrity.
My heart was so broken by this that it caused many an argument between My Lord and I. I would tell Him how much I was hurting (like He didn’t already know). I would lament HIS lack of action (humble, I know). I would cry and I would beg and I would ask Him why He was ignoring me, why I couldn’t hear or feel Him – why He wouldn’t just fix it.
I would pray (not hard enough), then I would do everything I could to bring Jonathan back. I tried lecturing him (FYI – it never works). I tried encouraging him by working my own Sunday mass times around his schedules and begging him to come. I tried asking his friends to come with me, hoping if they came he may be more inclined to make an effort. I tried everything I could think of.
Everything, that is, except leaving it to God.
I’ve told this story in part before.
At my first silent retreat, I took to reading ‘Confessions’ by St. Augustine. Augustine was a wicked youth. His mother, St. Monica, prayed for him so earnestly that even on her deathbed, she told him that his conversion was all she lived for. Augustine recorded her words to this effect: "son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled."
Mama Mons, as I like to call her, never gave up on Augustine, no matter how wicked he got or how hopeless the situation seemed. One day, while she was weeping and begging a Bishop to speak to him and convince him out of moving to Milan, lest he be lost forever, the bishop got frustrated and wisely told her, 'the son of all these tears cannot be lost.' It was in Milan that he met St. Ambrose and was converted - the rest is history.
Monica’s steadfastness and the faith of this wise bishop convinced me that the son of all my tears would not be lost, either. My beloved Lord was not ignoring me – rather, He was simply sleeping in my boat, and, like the apostles, I lacked the faith to let Him weather the storm. In order for us to allow the Lord to deliver, we must keep Him company, not disturbing His slumber. This means prayer and trust, hand in hand, never neglecting one or the other.
With this in mind, St. Rita (patroness of impossible causes) joined Augustine and Monica in Our Church Triumphant dream-team. Most efficaciously of all, this team was captained by the Queen of Heaven and Earth, who could not ignore the pleadings of Jonathan’s earthly mother after she entrusted her son’s soul to this marvellous advocate.
It was this abandonment to Christ that was finally the catalyst for Jonathan’s coming home, and it was, without a doubt, the most wonderful miracle I have ever witnessed. After what felt like many, many tears over many, many years, what we had most desired happened  in the most sublimely simple and yet most astonishingly wondrous fashion.
Jonathan met a couple of wonderful Catholics who simply and subtly loved him into Jesus’ embrace. They watched sports together, found things in common with him and through the world of friendship, showed Him Christ.
Very soon after this, Jonathan went to mass of his own accord. The week after, I looked over at the confession line during mass and saw him standing there, waiting to receive the healing of Christ. My joy in seeing that cannot ever be described. Only in Heaven can anybody ever comprehend what I felt in that moment. It was then that the reality of Christ’s love became evident to me: Christ desires Jonathan so much because his soul is more precious than all of creation.
The creator of Heaven and Earth fashioned the stars and allowed the oceans to roar for Jonathan alone. He came to Earth, suffered, died, resurrected, ascended, sent His Holy Advocate and now waits in the tabernacle day and night for Jonathan alone. He waits day and night, captive, alone, abandoned – all for Jonathan alone.
The Lord answered our pleadings because He does not want to spend eternity without His most precious children. Our requests are not foreign to Him – He knows the deepest desires of our hearts, and He desires our salvation and the salvation of those we love more than we ever could. Jonathan taught me that nobody is ever lost. Jonathan taught me that love conquers all, that Our Lord does not let us suffer in vain, and that hope is a virtue that can overcome all hardship.
Expecting miracles of our Lord is not self-absorbed, and it is not naiveté. It is what He asked of us when we were told to put our trust in Him – and when we do, OH the rewards.
How can we ever doubt His love when miracles surround us in every moment? If only we had the eyes to see and the hearts to believe…
Jesus calmed the storm... but not before letting the disciples
know He would probably have preferred
a few more minutes of shut-eye...

Monday, 22 February 2016

Christians, We Need to Learn to Shoosh!

This blog post may seem like an admonition: it’s not. Well, it may be. OK, it is – for some.

This is not an attempt for *me* to justify *myself* as much as it is a plea to Catholics – especially young Catholics – everywhere.

When I tell people I’m Catholic, there are a wide range of reactions I often receive.

From ‘me too’ to a smile or even a blank face, from ‘I'm not religious but-that-Pope-Francis-is-really-something’ to ‘DO YOU KNOW PELL SHOULD BE IN JAIL?!?!?,’ telling people you're Catholic is always a hoot.

My favourite reaction? It may surprise you:

“You’re Catholic? Wow, I didn’t even know! You seem so… well, normal!”

Now, I know it seems crazy. I *like* when people don’t know I’m Catholic, I *like* when people see something in me and are surprised it comes from my feeble attempts to be utterly devoted to Christ. The reason for this?

I want people to see my joy and ask me where it comes from. Maybe I oversimplify things, but to me, our faith is simple. Judgment is even simpler. What we will be judged on? Read this – salvation summarised beautifully by Blessed Mother Teresa:
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.’” (Matthew 25:35-45)
Let me add something to this wonderful woman’s words: you will not be *positively* judged on how much of a despondent Christian you are or how many ‘this is why you need to change’ discourses you give throughout the day.

Our faith is simple. 

I can imagine people’s reactions to this – “BUT BUT BUT we are called to be ‘in this world, but not of this world…’” (John 15:19)

YES, but chill. Not being of the world doesn't mean loathing all earthly things and becoming a bitter, preachy misery to be around - it simply means being able to withdraw yourself from the world and value heavenly things above things that will perish. 

Our faith is simple.

Let me make the point of this post easy-as-pie: you can talk about Jesus without mentioning His name. That is actually what ‘preaching without words’ IS.

Instead of feeling the need to walk up to someone and randomly ask them about the state of their spiritual life, PRAY FOR THEM.
Instead of having a deluded sense of ‘humility’ and talking about every one of your earthly talents as distractions from your spiritual life, or ultimately useless because-you’re-not-going-to-sing/dance/slam dunk-your-way-to-Heaven, use that talent for good.
Instead of telling people you are a Christian, let them know you are Christian by your love (ahem… your SILENT love).

Our faith is simple.

For the sake of those that will take these words out of context: I am NOT telling people never to mention the name at which all knees bow. What I am telling people is that as Christians, we are called to be *in this world.* What that means is that even if we are not *of this world,* we still need to live *in this world,* and evangelisation does not mean cutting yourself off from normalcy and joy and choosing instead to bulldoze over people on your high horse, all the while proclaiming their ignorance when they don’t succumb to your “wisdom.”

Loving Jesus is great but ultimately hypocritical if we treat others as inferior because they see things differently to us. 
Going to church is great, but not if it means you go there simply to belong to some sort of exclusive cohort of other holier-than-thou’s.
Talking about our faith and being open about our convictions is great, but can be more harmful than good if we do it without the tact it requires (Note: if you don’t know the tact it requires, shoosh – you’ll do *much* less damage)

Our faith is simple.

Evangelisation is not about ripping out pages of the Summa and shoving it down people’s throats. It isn’t about making sure people notice the shrine hanging around your neck. It’s not even about TELLING people you are a Christian. It’s about BEING a Christian. AS A CHRISTIAN, more is expected of you - that is, more love, less talk.

Be someone’s friend: listen more than you speak. Love them, and the rest will come.

When you are perfectly yourself, perfectly NORMAL and perfectly holy, you glorify God. Dare I say, He probably dances around His throne at the very sight of it.

Just shoosh, God won’t be mad, I promise.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Purgatory: The Supernatural Waiting Room

Everybody has their own idea of Heaven. Whether one sees it circling in the eyes of their children or wafting in the smell of their morning coffee, everybody – dare I say, even those who don’t believe in eternal life – has an idea about what ‘Paradise’ means for them.

When I think of Heaven, I often think of Our Lord’s words: ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?’ (John 14:2) I imagine a room, set aside for me when I was just a thought in the mind of God – a willed, necessary thought who came to be simply because I was loved (I am loved, I always will be!). Allow me to speak to you of the childish little analogy that takes form in my mind. In my room, I see my guardian angel dancing around the room fluffing my pillows and baking me cookies. My Heaven shoes get more sparkly everytime I increase in grace. In this world, calories don’t exist and there is no pain. There are no goodbyes. I am embraced in love, sharing in the friendship of the Holy Trinity.

I often muse on my little room in the mansion of my Lord because it helps me understand the gravity of sin. When I sin, I imagine my guardian angel closing the door to my personal mansion in Heaven. Every time I confess, the world I was made for becomes a reality again.

I know I’ll see souls in Heaven that I wish I knew on earth, and I also know I’ll reconnect with souls I now share or did share a connection with. I know I’ll see the teenagers I minister to and love so much and I know I’ll see members of my family there. Other members I pray I may share Heaven with, and I pray for them more fervently than I pray for anything else in my life.

Now, I know, I know, ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9), but I can still meditate on it! Heaven is beyond our wildest contemplations, but even God spoke analogously in order that we may dare to live for the greatness we were meant for.

But here’s the thing – the real reason I’m writing this. Heaven is what we were meant for, but Heaven is not something that comes about because of some gooey oozy ‘growth’ experience. Heaven is hard work (it’s Hell that is easy). This is why a very holy priest preached last week that one who does not pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory will one day be accountable before God. Praying for the dead is a necessary act of mercy. Now, there’s no point praying for a damned soul (they’ve permanently chosen to cut themselves off from God), and there is no point praying for a soul in Heaven (they’ve won the race already!), so who are we praying for? We are praying for the souls in purgatory – what we call the ‘Church Suffering.’

St. Jean Vianney pleaded with his parishioners to pray for him after his death. He preached incessantly about his fear that he would spend generations in purgatory because nobody would offer masses for him after his death, under the presumption he was already a Saint. We need to pray for the souls in purgatory!

Why do we need purgatory? To answer this, let’s go back to my little room. Not going to purgatory would be like me walking in wearing muddy gumboots and treating my palace like a construction site. I need to be purified and set free from the consequences of my sins before entering into eternal glory. What do I mean by the consequences of my sins? Allow me to use another analogy. Imagine a plank of wood with nails driven into it. If I take the nails out and throw them into the ocean, as far as I’m concerned, those nails no longer exist. But, the fact that the nails are gone does not mean the holes in the wood are miraculously filled! Sin has consequences, and our being forgiven from our sins reconciles us to God (who takes the ‘nails’ out and throws them in the ocean), but this does not fill the ‘hole’ created by sin.

Sound harsh? Far from it.  Purgatory – what the Catechism calls the ‘final purification of the elect’ is, in fact, an act of mercy. Without this purification, almost all souls would be damned. Instead, the God who desired friendship with us even to the point of death and suffering purifies us with the fire of His Sacred Heart. His love fills the holes in our soul we make every time we sin. But that’s not all. Even more mercifully than this, we have the opportunity to make reparation even while on earth through the sacrament of penance. St. Catherine of Siena clarifies to us that souls who perform worthy penances on earth ‘pay with a penny the debt of a thousand ducats’ (let’s pretend we know what a ducat is – or, if you don’t want to pretend, replace ‘ducat’ with ‘dollar’). She helps us understand the importance of this great sacrament by taking this point further saying that he who waits for purgatory to purify themselves ‘consents to pay a thousand ducats (dollars) for that which he might have paid before with a penny.’

Now do we understand the maternal love and mercy behind Our Lady’s exhortation at Fatima? ‘PENANCE, PENANCE, PENANCE.’ Understand it, because this ‘Star of the Sea’ is the consolation of the poor suffering souls in purgatory, constantly bringing them refreshment. Penance is a response to the merciful actions of God, not an act of supernatural spite!

As children of this most amiable mother, let us always offer prayers for our suffering brothers and sisters in purgatory. Let us constantly consider the Church Suffering to be as helpless infants in need of their mother, the Church.

Let us pray especially during November, dedicated to the Holy Souls. 

Then, one day, when we walk into our little room, we will see them – righteous and white as snow – so many of them coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are, and they will say: ‘a poor soul you prayed for in Purgatory.’

My favourite artist, William Bougeareau, once painted 
this picture of the angels carrying a suffering soul to Heaven. 
The Church teaches this is achieved by our prayers!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Expect Miracles

I can honestly say those words have changed my entire outlook on life. I was commanded to BE AUDACIOUS in what can only be described as an off-the-record remark at a LifeTeen training conference.

My first response? I AM AUDACIOUS. I’M SO AUDACIOUS. I SMELL of audacity. No, I REEK of audacity! It's in my blood. It's in my veins. I’M THE VERY DEFINITION OF AUDACITY.

That was pride talking. Then, just as quickly as it flared up, my pride was shattered.

Have a read of this:
On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:1-5)

Nothing stick out to you? Read it again, and again (and again!).

'The Mother of Jesus was there; Jesus was also there.'
Let’s think about that for a minute. Put it in modern terms.
CNN REPORTS: ‘The concert was a huge event! The mother of Taylor Swift was there, and Taylor Swift was also there.’
What St. John did is the modern day equivalent of CNN making the superstar a side note at her own concert and focussing on her mother being there to encourage and watch. Instead of leading the story with the Lord of Heaven and Earth (whose ‘glory was manifested’ by the end of the account), John made Mary the focus. Is this not ridiculous? Is it not strange? Mary became the centre of the story of Jesus’ first public miracle! In fact, John calls this a ‘sign.’ Hold up, Mary was the focus of the first public sign that points to the fact that Jesus is God? Does this not show us how pivotal she is? Does it not highlight to us the importance of her role here?

Why was she the focus of John’s story? Because she was the reason the miracle was performed. BECAUSE OF HER AUDACITY.

Our Lady didn’t ASK Jesus if they should do anything. She told him what the problem was and EXPECTED that her Son would perform a miracle. She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t doubt. She didn’t even consider (even though she knew!) that Him revealing His glory would bring forward the hour of His passion. SHE WAS AUDACIOUS.

Expect miracles.

How many times do we go to Jesus and tell Him what is lacking? How many times do we say ‘I have no wine’ and actually EXPECT (rather than simply wish) that He will perform a miracle in our life?

We need to imitate her in all things. We need to go to Jesus and tell Him we have no wine. THEN, even when our obstacles hit us square in the face, we need to hand him our stone jar filled with water and KNOW that He will fix it. We need to tell Him that we will do whatever He tells us.

See, rather than Our Lady simply submitting, her instruction to ‘do whatever He tells you’ is a statement of faith. Let me make this easier to understand. For all the Maronites – don’t forget she was a Middle Eastern mother! I know from experience that when my mother tells me to do something (or even if she hints it), she expects that I will do it. When I tell her I can’t, her response ‘do whatever you want’ is not a submission – it’s a command! What she is really saying is ‘make your mother happy. If you love your mother, you will do this.’

Boy, did He love her. He loved everything about her, and she was far from a damsel in distress, she was perfect – and man, was she AUDACIOUS.

He loves us, too. He loves us beyond our wildest contemplations. I’ve said it before: His plans are unimaginable, inexplicable.They make our wildest human reveries look like fairy tales written by Ebenezer Scrooge.

Expect miracles. Don’t simply tell Jesus your problems, expect Him to fix them.

Matthew 9. Four stories of the healing power of faith in less than 30 verses!
The healing of the paralytic: “when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven’ … and he rose and went home.”  
The rising of the dead: “… a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, ‘my daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live’ … He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.” 
The healing of the haemorrhaging woman: “… she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her, He said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well.”  
The healing of the two blind men: “… the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘according to your faith be it done to you.’ And their eyes were opened.” 
These people were healed because of their faith. They were AUDACIOUS. They weren’t TRYING Jesus, they knew He could do all things and that he WOULD if they had the audacity to simply go to Him.
Still not clicking? Fine. I hear ya.

Let me tell you about my miracle. After praying for the conversion of a soul very dear to me (among other things) for a long time, I would lament God’s silence. I couldn’t see what was happening. I felt I was getting NOTHING.
***Cue Meltdown***
‘Why? Why don’t you help? Why don’t you want me to turn to You? Why are You ignoring me? How do You expect me to trust You if I run and ask You to tell me how to fix this AND. YOU. JUST. DON’T?’

Little did I know He was actually answering but my pride had simply made me deaf to Him. He was laughing at my dreams and saying ‘is that it? Just wait – wait and see what I have planned!’ My Lord, did you deliver…

My problem was that I didn’t give it to all Him and tell Him I was expecting a miracle. Instead, Little Miss Control Freak wanted to maintain her hold over the situation (you know, the hold I didn’t have in the first place). It was only when I gave up control and told Jesus that it was His problem to fix, it was only when I told Mary that this soul was hers and reminded her WITH AUDACITY that she promised she would not rest until all her children were with her in Heaven that my world (and more importantly, the lost soul’s world) was changed. I needed to truly know, that ‘the son of all these tears would not be lost.’[1]

Tell Jesus about your lack of wine, your blindness, your lamentations, your sufferings and your burdens. Offer up to Him what cripples you and know He will fix it. 

Be audacious, expect miracles. It will change your life.

Engrave this in your souls and hearts of gold and fire: 
immense confidence, unshakeable confidence 
in this King of Love, who is called Jesus - Saviour. 

[1] I owe St. Monica so much. In her son Augustine's classic, 'Confessions,' he relays the story of this saintly mother who never gave up on him, no matter how wicked he got. One day, while she was weeping and begging a Bishop to speak to him and convince him out of moving to Milan, lest he be lost forever, the bishop got frustrated and wisely told her, 'the son of all these tears cannot be lost.'
It was in Milan that he met St. Ambrose and was converted - the rest is history.
Mama Mons, thank you. Pray for us.