Our Lady’s Messages: May, 2011

May 02, 2011

Dear children; God the Father is sending me to show you the way of salvation, because He, my children, desires to save you and not to condemn you. That is why I, as a mother, am gathering you around me, because with my motherly love I desire to help you to be free of the dirtiness of the past and to begin to live anew and differently. I am calling you to resurrect in my Son. Along with confession of sins renounce everything that has distanced you from my Son and that has made your life empty and unsuccessful. Say ‘yes’ to the Father with the heart and set out on the way of salvation to which He is calling you through the Holy Spirit. Thank you. I am especially praying for the shepherds (priests), for God to help them to be alongside you with a fullness of heart.

Confession

Remember when you pray the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the rosary that God assumed Mary, body and soul, into Heaven so she could be our guide to eternal salvation.  Also remember the Second Glorious Mystery of the rosary.  Jesus ascended into Heaven to judge the living and the dead.  However, while He is our ultimate judge, He does not wish to condemn us but instead wants us to live with him forever in happiness.  May we try to avoid sin and receive mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation to show that we want to live in God’s grace as much as He wants to give it to us.

May 25, 2011

Dear children! My prayer today is for all of you who seek the grace of conversion. You knock on the door of my heart, but without hope and prayer, in sin, and without the Sacrament of Reconciliation with God. Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness. Only in this way can I help you, hear your prayers and seek intercession before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Think about Mary’s message when you pray the Third Luminous Mystery and remember that Jesus calls all of us to lead a life of conversion.  May we turn away from sin and strive to live in God’s grace.  We should remember that each day is an opportunity to forge a deeper relationship with God.

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Gospel for May 8, 2011 — Awareness

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The Gospel for Sunday, May 8 is from Luke 24:13-35 where some disciples of Jesus met Him on the road to Jerusalem but did not recognize Him.  They did not realize Jesus was with them until He ate with them and broke bread similar to what He did at the Last Supper.  Only then did they realize how foolish they were that they did not recognize Jesus in their presence.  Likewise, when we pray the rosary Jesus is in our presence both listening to us and trying to guide us to His kingdom of Heaven.  But often we do not recognize Jesus’ presence in our prayers or in our lives.

This Sunday’s Gospel follows the same theme as last week’s in that it shows that all too often we look for God in our lives in all the wrong places.  Last week Thomas the apostle had so little faith he would not recognize Jesus’ resurrection until he saw Jesus face to face.  And now in this week’s Gospel two of Jesus’ disciples did not recognize Jesus although they were walking and talking with Him.  They did not see Jesus despite the fact that He explained all the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets explaining His death and resurrection.  And yet they still did not recognize Him.  We too often fail to recognize Jesus in our lives although His truth is all around us.

I touched on this briefly when discussing Doubting Thomas and how we do not always take those telling the truth seriously.  In this case I mean the truth of Jesus Christ as taught through the Catholic Church.  We hear this truth all the time whether it be during Mass, in the Catechism or Bible, Papal decrees, or simply the Church’s traditions that have been practiced for centuries.  We hear them and yet we so often do not follow them because we do not think of them as Jesus’ teachings.  We hear them as the thoughts and opinions of fellow humans much like the disciples in the Gospel thought that Jesus was just some normal traveler.  And so we do not give the Church’s teachings the consideration they deserve and go about living counter to its teachings.  Would you argue about abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, and human cloning if you stood face to face with Jesus?  Probably not.  So why do we so readily argue with His Church and disobey His teachings?  Are we like the disciples in the Gospel who discovered how foolish they were for not recognizing Jesus in their presence?

We should remember this Gospel reading when we pray the Third Luminous Mystery of the rosary and remember Jesus’ proclamation of Heaven and His call to conversion.  Really meditate this week on the areas in your life where you do not hear Jesus through the Church’s teachings and challenge yourself to learn what Jesus is trying to tell you through His Church.  You will probably not be converted in some of your beliefs overnight.  But just researching what the Church really believes and teaches and humbling yourself to the possibility that there might be areas of your life where you have not let the Holy Spirit guide you is a huge step in the right direction.  There is no doubt that questioning your deeply held beliefs is hard especially if Jesus leads you in a direction that runs counter to popular opinion.  But the Third Luminous Mystery points out that we need to choose whether to live for God’s kingdom or our earthly kingdom.  Do you see that Jesus walks beside you every day and is trying to lead you down the right path or are you too wrapped up in living solely for what this world has to offer?

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Gospel for February 27, 2011 — Choices

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The Gospel for February 27, 2011 is from Matthew 6:24-34.  Jesus tells us not to put the riches of this world in front of the majesty of Heaven.  He says, “No one can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  He then asks us to put our faith in Him and not worry so much about acquiring earthly possessions.  The Third Luminous Mystery of the rosary echos this same theme when Jesus asks us to put living for God’s Kingdom before our earthly one.

Jesus’ statements in this Gospel lead to a lot of confusion.  Why is He telling us not to worry about what we will eat, drink, wear, or live?  Don’t we have to work and earn a living so that we have a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear?  After all, I don’t think He wants us to be homeless and dieing of starvation.  I don’t think Jesus is calling for a total collapse of society because no one needs to put in a hard day’s work.  Or is Jesus telling us we do not have to work at all and God will just give us everything we want on account of our faith in Him?

Any reader of this blog or the Gospel obviously knows that Jesus isn’t literally telling us not to work.  Jesus understands that we need to work and provide for ourselves and others.  He is not telling us to be slothful and just await for God to “bail us out.”  Jesus’ main point is that our earthly pursuits should not be the focal point of our lives.  We should work, but not solely for the earthly wealth and power.  As in the Third Luminous Mystery of the rosary, Jesus asks us to live for His Heavenly kingdom of Heaven first.  He asks us to convert from our native, earthly focus and orient ourselves towards God.  We do this by consciously making a clean start with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, praying more, and really letting the Holy Spirit guide us through life.

According to the Gospel, God will provide for us.  Note that Jesus does not say that our faith will give us an easy life free of burden and responsibility.  This is not what Jesus meant by providing.  Just look at many of the saints.  Their lives were not easy.  Many of them were persecuted, ignored, hated, and even martyred.  But in the end they were all blessed with eternal happiness because they chose to live for God’s kingdom first.  In the end, God did provide for them with the ultimate gift — Heaven.

We have a choice.  Where are we going to put our priorities?  Are we going to choose living for all the good things of this world or all the great things in Heaven?  We only have so much energy and time in the day so we do have to make a choice.  We cannot live for God’s kingdom by accident.  If we do not explicitly choose to live for God, we naturally tend to drift towards living only for this world.  That means we need to make many small decisions every day to choose God’s love over earthly pursuits.  Do we choose to set aside time for prayer?  Do we go to Sunday Mass and treat it seriously and with respect?  Do we receive the sacraments (particularly Reconciliation)?  Do we go out of our way to avoid sin even if it makes our life harder?  Do we help our brothers and sisters, particularly our enemies or those in need?  Those are just a few  of the choices we need to make that will either bring us closer to God or away from Him.  This week is a good time to pray the rosary, focus on the Third Luminous Mystery, and ask yourself, “Who will you serve?”

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Gospel for January 30, 2011 — Challenging Yourself

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The Gospel for January 30, 2011 is from Matthew 5:1-12 most famously known as The Beatitudes or The Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus gives hope to those who feel hopeless and lost in a world that does not always seem good or fair.  He talks about how He will comfort the poor, the meek, and the persecuted in Heaven.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus proclaims the greatness and majesty of His kingdom of Heaven which is the central theme of the Third Luminous Mystery.

Jesus wants everyone to know that there is more to our existence than what we see, hear, smell, and feel.  And it does not matter how successful you are in this lifetime because you worldly successes won’t amount to anything in His kingdom.  This message is hard to fully realize since many times we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel when we suffer or make sacrifices for doing what is good and righteous.  But the entire point of praying and meditating on this rosary mystery is to ask God for the faith to see the glory of His kingdom even when it seems like our good acts have little impact in this world.

Let’s break down the Beatitudes into its core message since it is sometimes lost in Matthew’s poetic language.  If you want to live for God’s kingdom, this is what Jesus asks you to do:

  • Be devout in your faith, but do not show it off for the sake of looking holy.
  • Work towards righteousness by not being afraid to call good things good and bad things bad.
  • Be merciful, especially towards those who make life the most difficult for you.
  • Be pure of heart by avoiding sin and the near occurrences of sin.
  • Work towards peace even if it is just within your own heart.
  • Endure persecution, insults, and attacks against you for doing what is good even if the world considers it bad.

This is not easy.  No one said living for God’s kingdom would be.  But that is the point of praying the rosary; to ask for the strength and guidance to live, not for the world, but for Heaven.  I know that sometimes the Beatitudes can sound a little dry when read during Sunday Mass.  I know I sometimes zone out because I’ve heard it so many times.  But it is so important to not only know the Beatitudes, but to live them.  Ask yourself this in your prayers this week, “Am I living The Beatitudes?”  Listen to them one more time from the movie, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  It is my favorite Biblical movie because scenes like this bring life and energy to Jesus’ message that is sometimes lacking during Mass.

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Our Lady’s Messages: December 2010

Our Lady’s December 2nd,  2010 Message to Mirjana:

Dear children; Today I am praying here with you that you may gather the strength to open your hearts and thus to become aware of the mighty love of the suffering God. Through this His love, goodness and meekness, I am also with you. I invite you for this special time of preparation to be a time of prayer, penance and conversion. My children, you need God. You cannot go forward without my Son. When you comprehend and accept this, what was promised to you will be realized. Through the Holy Spirit the Kingdom of Heaven will be born in your hearts. I am leading you to this. Thank you.

Mary talks about gathering strength and becoming aware of the love of a suffering God.  Any of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the holy rosary fit this theme.  Jesus suffered in the garden, was scourged, crowned with thorns, carried the cross, and eventually crucified.  He is the greatest model of showing strength in the midst of difficulty and suffering.  Mary asks all of us to think about Jesus’ suffering when we encounter difficult times in our lives.

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When faced with difficult challenges it might seem so easy to “run away” and hide whether that be physically, mentally, or spiritually.  Maybe we hide from our troubles with drugs, alcohol, or deviant behavior.  Maybe we avoid attending Mass, praying, and receiving the sacraments in order to avoid taking a deep look at ourselves and realizing where we fail to live as Jesus calls us.

Mary wants us to take a deep look on how we live and notice areas where we do not live as Jesus desires.  She says that we need to realize our deficiencies if we are to convert and start living for Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven.  There is an obvious reference to the Third Luminous Mystery in Mary’s message.  But much like many people in Jesus’ time we have a tendency to back away from this challenge of conversion.  When Jesus stopped healing people and giving out free bread and fish people quickly abandoned Him.  Even His apostles fled and hid when the Romans arrested Jesus.  Mary asks us to resist that temptation to run and hide from the path Jesus lays before us.  Even when the entire world seems against you for following Jesus’ Will remember that Mary, the saints, and the Holy Spirit are in your corner to support you.  With their help, you will have enough energy to conquer whatever the world throws at you.  All you need to do is supply the will to face those challenges instead of running and hiding.

Message, 25. December 2010:

Dear children! Today, I and my Son desire to give you an abundance of joy and peace so that each of you may be a joyful carrier and witness of peace and joy in the places where you live. Little children, be a blessing and be peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Mary’s message if short and sweet.  She asks us to rejoice in the Third Joyful Mystery — Jesus’ birth.  And while She delivers this message on Christmas, we should remember Jesus’ birth throughout the year.  God did not take on human form so that we may remember Him and live according to His Will for just one day.  Jesus didn’t teach us about His Heavenly Kingdom, suffer, die, and rise again only so we would have a reason to decorate our houses with light displays and hit the malls to buy gifts for people.  Jesus came into this world so that we may follow His message of joy and peace every day of our lives.  Mary asks us to spread that peace and joy by first embracing it in ourselves.  So as we start a new year ask yourself, “are you a living blessing and sign of peace?”  If not, how can you convert your heart to live as Mary asks us to live?

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Our Lady’s Messages: November 2010

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November 02 2010 Message to Mirjana at Medjugorje:

Dear children; With motherly perseverance and love I am bringing you the light of life to destroy the darkness of death in you. Do not reject me, my children. Stop and look within yourselves and see how sinful you are. Be aware of your sins and pray for forgiveness. My children, you do not desire to accept that you are weak and little, but you can be strong and great by doing God’s will. Give me your cleansed hearts that I may illuminate them with the light of life, my Son. Thank you.

Here’s a little news flash for all of us — we are not perfect.  We make mistakes.  We fall in and out of sin and hence we fall in and out of God’s grace.  Many of us would rather ignore this simple reality and believe that everything we do is just fine.  Or we think that because we do not suffer any consequences for certain actions in this world that we can continue to do them with impunity.  We make excuses like, “it’s legal so it’s moral.”  Or, “that’s an old rule that no one follows anymore.”  Mary points out that the longer we fool ourselves into thinking we are perfect the weaker we become.  And that becomes a vicious cycle because when we are spiritually weak we are more susceptible to Satan’s lies and  temptations which only puts us further away from God’s grace.

The Third Luminous Mystery calls us to acknowledge God’s kingdom of Heaven and convert.  This rosary mystery echos Mary’s message asking us to take a critical look at our lives and improve in areas where we are spiritually weak.  Jesus calls us to constantly examine our thoughts, words, and actions and ask ourself, “Am I living for God’s glory or my own?”  We all have a choice.  We can choose to live in ignorance of God’s laws and hope that we will never have to answer for our sins.  That is an incredibly risky and foolish gamble because the consequence of being wrong is eternal damnation.  Or, we can acknowledge our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In doing so we “accept that we are weak and little” as Mary says but at the same time striving to be “strong and great by doing God’s will.”

November 25, 2010 Message at Medjugorje:

Dear children! I look at you and I see in your heart death without hope, restlessness and hunger. There is no prayer or trust in God, that is why the Most High permits me to bring you hope and joy. Open yourselves. Open your hearts to God’s mercy and He will give you everything you need and will fill your hearts with peace, because He is peace and your hope. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Like many of Her earlier messages, Mary asks us to just slow down and take some time to pray.  I find Mary’s observation that our hearts are full of “death without hope, restlessness, and hunger” interesting.  I echoed something similar in my post about Jesus’s teachings on the End Times and our final judgment.  I observed that without God in our lives we are destined to just stumble pointlessly through life, die, and turn into nothingness.  But Mary says that there is so much more to us than what we can experience in this world if we only open ourselves up to God.  She promises us peace, joy, and hope.

Let’s look at our options.  On one hand we can choose a life of pointlessness, misery, and despair.  On the other hand we can choose peace, hope, and joy.  We make that choice by deciding that we will consciously acknowledge God’s kingdom of Heaven, pray to Him, and put our trust in Him.  What do you choose?

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Our Lady’s Messages: October 2010

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Mary’s message at Medjugorje on October 2, 2010:

Dear children, Today I call you to a humble, my children, humble devotion. Your hearts need to be just. May your crosses be your means in the battle against the sins of the present time. May your weapon be patience and boundless love – a love that knows to wait and which will make you capable of recognizing God’s signs – that your life, by humble love, may show the truth to all those who seek it in the darkness of lies. My children, my apostles, help me to open the paths to my Son. Once again I call you to pray for your shepherds. Alongside them, I will triumph. Thank you.

Mary talks about patience and love in Her message which is a central theme to The Fourth Joyful Mystery of the holy rosary — The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.  We recount the story of Simeon who waited and prayed in the temple his entire life before seeing the Anointed One, the baby Jesus.  Patience is a virtue that is often found lacking in today’s culture of instant gratification.  Whether it be new gadgets, a new home, a promotion at work, or a relationship many of us don’t have the patience to wait and build up something we will appreciate.  We often hear stories how people’s impulsiveness ends in misery when hasty marriages turn rough or they get in way over their head trying to live a lavash lifestyle.

Similarly, we are often impatient with God’s plan for us.  We want God to answer all our prayers instantly to get us out of difficult situations.  When we don’t get that instant response we believe God is not listening or does not care.  But perhaps God does answer our prayers and we just do not see it.  Perhaps we become so fixated on a single solution that we do not see the alternative and better path God provides.  And that is why Mary asks us to be patient so that we will notice the signs God lays before us on how to live in His grace and one day enter His heavenly kingdom.  Remember, Simeon was graced with seeing the Anointed One before his death.  Simeon had faith that God would reveal Himself at the appropriate time.  Mary asks us to show that similar faith and patient love.

Mary’s message at Medjugorje on October 25, 2010:

Dear children! May this time be a time of prayer for you. My call, little children, desires to be for you a call to decide to follow the way of conversion; therefore, pray and seek the intercession of all the saints. May they be for you an example, an incentive and a joy towards eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Mary asks us to follow the way of conversion which is the message of The Third Luminous Mystery of the rosary — The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Call to Conversion.  Notice how She uses the word “decide.”  Ultimately, it is our choice whether we want to convert our ways to God’s ways and build a meaningful relationship with Him.  Living in God’s grace requires effort and is not something that happens by accident.  No one ever became a saint by accident.  All the saints made a conscious decision to follow God.  Similar to Mary’s first message, deciding to follow God also means showing faith and patience to follow the path He lays before us.  It may not be an easy road or one that we would have chosen ourselves.  But it is the road that ultimately leads to His kingdom.  But no one can walk that road for you.  You have to decide whether you will follow that road wherever it takes you.  Ask yourself, “did you decide to follow God today?”

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Our Lady’s Messages — August 2010

In Mary’s first August message at Medjugorje, she asks us to live for God’s Kingdom of Heaven which is echoed in my rosary meditation on the Third Luminous Mystery. In Her other message, she asks us to pray.

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In Mary’s first August message at Medjugorje, she asks us to live for God’s Kingdom of Heaven which is echoed in the rosary meditation on the Third Luminous Mystery.  In Her other message, she asks us to pray.

Mary’s message to Mirjana on August 2, 2010:

Dear children! Today I call you, together with me, to begin to build the Kingdom of Heaven in your hearts; that you may forget that what is personal and – led by the example of my Son – think of what is of God. What does He desire of you? Do not permit Satan to open the paths of earthly happiness, the paths without my Son. My children, they are false and last a short while. My Son exists. I offer you eternal happiness and peace and unity with my Son, with God; I offer you the Kingdom of God. Thank you.

Mary’s message echos one of the main themes of the Third Luminous Mystery — The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Call to Conversion.  She wants us to understand the temporary nature of this life and the permanent nature of God’s kingdom in Heaven.  As Christians, we do believe that there is a Heaven where we hope to spend all eternity.  But how many of us work in this life for that Kingdom?  Mary wants us to take a hard look at ourselves and how we live and ask, “Am I on the path that leads to God’s kingdom or an earthly one?”

“My Son exists.”  Mary’s short sentence is very telling.  The fact that She has to tell us that shows that many of us forget that Jesus Christ does exist and is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven.  As I said in the Second Glorious Mystery — The Ascension, we often forget that we must one day account before God for everything we do in this life.  We forget that admission into Heaven is not free.  We must earn our spot by genuinely loving God through good works and avoiding sin.  God desires all of us to experience the eternal happiness of Heaven, but He doesn’t force it on us.  We have to want it and work towards it.

Mary’s message at Medjugorje on August 25, 2010:

Dear children! With great joy, also today, I desire to call you anew: pray, pray, pray. May this time be a time of personal prayer for you. During the day, find a place where you will pray joyfully in a recollected way. I love you and bless you all. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Mary doesn’t get clearer than this.  Pray!  Before you flip to another web page or email, just take a minute, ONE MINUTE, to say a small prayer.  Or pick up a rosary and pray a decade.  Who knows, you might even like it.

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Becoming a Winner Through Sacrifice

Along with the rewards and benefits that come with membership in the Catholic Church comes duties, obligations, and even sacrifices. This article on the Catholic News Agency discusses how the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, says that modern society has lost the ideas of duty and sacrifice. I see the theme of duty represented in the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery and the importance of sacrifice shown in the Third Luminous Mystery. We should meditate on these mysteries for the strength and courage to do all that God asks of us.

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Along with the rewards and benefits that come with membership in the Catholic Church come duties, obligations, and even sacrifices.  This article on the Catholic News Agency discusses how the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, says that modern society has lost the ideas of duty and sacrifice.  I see the theme of duty represented in the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery and the importance of sacrifice shown in the Third Luminous Mystery.  We should meditate on these mysteries for the strength and courage to do all that God asks of us.

Through His death, Jesus showed us that we all have a duty to live and defend our faith.  As I said in my Crucifixion meditation, I feel that Jesus’ crucifixion is the ultimate example that we are all called to follow God’s plan even in the face of great difficulty.  It is our duty, as Catholics, to remain faithful no matter the earthly consequences our faith might bring.  I see so many instances where peoples’ duty to the Catholic faith stops as soon as it comes in conflict with their personal views, beliefs, or lifestyle.  However, the Church always reminds us that we have an obligation to put God first in our lives.  And while that can cause great hardship in this life, God rewards our dedication with everlasting life in His kingdom.

The Third Luminous Mystery, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Call to Conversion, outlines the need for sacrifice.  I typically see sacrifice in terms of fasting.  However, I often wonder what difference it makes whether I fast or not.  After all, am I a better person because I skip a dessert or give up drinking soda?  Do my prayers carry any more weight because I didn’t eat meat on a Friday?  When put into the context of the Third Luminous Mystery, sacrifice and fasting make more sense.  In his book, “Fasting,” Fr. Slavko Barbaric explains the sacrifice of fasting as “a call for conversion directed to our body… by which we become free from and independent of all material things.”  Notice how he echos the idea of sacrifice being a tool for conversion.  When we fast and sacrifice, we detach ourselves from the fleeting pleasures of this world and open ourselves to the much greater gift of God’s grace.  In other words, God is no more receptive to us because we fast (after all, He is already infinitely receptive to everyone) but we become more receptive to God.

Our duty as Catholics to live a life of sacrifice will not be easy.  However, Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues is very direct when he says, “God’s plan cannot be fulfilled except through sacrifice.”  In other words, sacrifice is not something optional for Catholics nor is it something we should only think about during holy seasons like Lent.   Yes, our faith can present challenges.  But what challenge can be so great that it is not worth the promise of God’s Heavenly kingdom?

Here’s a little snippet from the movie, “Rocky Balboa” where Rocky explains to his son that winning means being able to make sacrifices and endure life’s challenges.  Think about this philosophy in terms of your faith.  Are you a fighter or are you letting life’s hardships keep you down?  Do you have the conviction to really live for God’s kingdom by always striving to do God’s will even in the face of great difficulty?

PS: “Fasting” is out of print, but it is worth picking up a used copy.  It is only 47 pages (large type), but it is a great introduction on the importance of fasting.

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