Author: Renewal Ministries Staff

Happy Father’s Day to Our Father in Heaven!


The following post was originally written by Rachel Herbeck for the Be Love Revolution blog June 13th, 2018.


What do you think Jesus will get God the Father for Father’s Day? A Father-Son fishing trip to Alaska? I know, I know, they probably don’t celebrate Father’s Day in Heaven. But as we approach Father’s Day, I realize that I often forget that Jesus and the Father aren’t just two members of the Trinity; they are Father and Son. Salvation History shows us that relationship with great intimacy and tenderness. Jesus’ death and resurrection reveal to us the Father’s heart of perfect love and His destiny for our lives, while His earthly life models for us how we are to live in relationship with the Father.

Jesus’ Passion: An Expression of the Father’s Heart

Before Jesus was born of Mary, He lived in perfect glory, intimacy, and unity with His Father and the Holy Spirit. After the fall of Adam and Eve, God desired man to be restored to his original glory. That means that the Father desired you and I to be with Him in Heaven, sharing in the love, intimacy, and glory that He had with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, before the foundation of the entire world. Let’s stop here for a moment. Can you believe that? The surest thing that you know about your future is that God the Father has plans for you to share in the very glory and love that flows between God the Father and His Son, Jesus.

You know how the story continues: the Father sends Jesus to bring all men to Himself. The Father wanted you to be with Him so much that He gave up His only Son to make that possible. But the Father doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t just want us to share life with the Trinity as citizens of Heaven (as if that wouldn’t be enough), He wants us to share life with Him as His very children. This is an incredibly important and intimate detail. Isn’t it much different being a member of someone’s family than it is their friend? St. Paul writes, “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He destined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5). The Father allows the blood of His Son to be shed so that through that blood, we become heirs of the Kingdom of God and adopted children of the Father.

Jesus’ death and resurrection reveal to us the very desire of the heart of His Father: to be with us, as near to us in love as possible for all eternity.  Behind Jesus on the cross is a Father who weeps for His pained Son but rejoices that His Son has come to bring us Home to our Father. Read More»


Rachel Herbeck is the youngest daughter of Renewal Ministries’ staff members Peter and Debbie Herbeck. Rachel is a graduate of the Catholic Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She has worked in ministry to junior high, high school, and college age girls. She currently resides in St. Paul, MN where she serves as the policy and outreach coordinator for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.


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Reflection: Rooted in Jesus

The following was taken from a letter written by Peter Williamson in response to a talk by Sr. Ann Shields given June 3, 2018. (If you click the link to listen to the talk, we recommend jumping over the first two minutes.)


Wasn’t it great to hear Sr. Ann Shields speak to us about intercession last Sunday? If you missed, I highly recommend you listen to her talk.

Two things have stayed with me from Sr. Ann’s talk. First, the illustration she drew from Andrew Murray about the grapevine that produced more grapes than all the other vines in the vineyard because of its extraordinarily deep and long root system that extended to the Thames river. We too can bear much fruit if we sink our roots deep in intimacy with Christ and drink deeply of the living water that he supplies.

The second thing that struck me was the importance of praying and living according to God’s will, rather than our own. We need to ask the Lord to show us how to pray, and we need to be willing to surrender out time and preferences and will to him.

So here’s my prayer for us individually and as a community!

Lord, help us to sink our roots deep into you. Help us to pray at all times in the Holy Spirit. Help us to slow down and listen to you. And help us to pray with great faith, according to your will and purpose.

In particular, Lord, we pray for miracles. We pray that you reveal your power to the sick among us, to those among our family and friends who have wandered from you and need conversion. Do whatever it takes to turn them back to you and the path of life!

Reveal yourself also to our neighbors and co-workers and those in the city and country where we live, and for the whole world. Your love extends to all; save those most in need of your mercy! . . . Let us Christians be radiant with your light and love. Work signs and wonders that will show those around us who you really are!

Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayer!

Spreading the Gospel in Ethiopia

University students were each given a Bible blessed by Bishop Scott McCaig and Bishop Lesanu.


The following article, written by Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinator Nancy Greenhaw, originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ June 2018 newsletter.


In Ethiopia, Catholics are less than one percent of the population and are very persecuted. Nevertheless, the bishop of Bahir Dar, Bishop Lesanu, gathered nearly one hundred eager college students for our first set of workshops, which will be the focus of this report. Bishop Scott McCaig and Companions of the Cross seminarian Marcus Schonnop, who has finished six years of seminary, joined our team.

It was impressive to see Bishop Scott wear his black long clerics to match Bishop Lesanu, who interpreted for him and also gave teachings. Bishop Scott told them,

“Jesus is still concerned for the poor, saving souls, and healing the sick, but He only has your hands, your feet, and your voice.”

Marcus also riveted the students with his testimony. This young priest-to-be shocked them by saying he had been an atheist! His roommate in college was an informed, serious, and joyful Catholic. During the three years that Marcus tried to prove his friend wrong, Marcus came to know and understand the truth of Jesus and the Catholic Church. He was in Adoration one evening, and after seeking the Lord with his head for all that time, Marcus came to know Jesus in his heart. Marcus challenged the students to be strong witnesses of their faith to all they meet at the university, because like him, many are searching for the truth.

We later realized that Bishop Scott, Marcus, and Lloyd were all converts to the faith and originally the only Catholics in their own families! Now Marcus’ parents are Catholic as well.

One day, Bishop Lesanu and Lloyd taught as a team on apologetics. It was a great mixture; you could witness both men getting more excited to be Catholic as they preached! The students had many questions, and Bishop Scott stepped in to give clear, concise answers that prompted more questions. These young people were hungry for the truth of their faith!

On another day, Bishop Scott talked to the students about the importance of Mass and how we enter into holiness through sacraments and prayer, especially the rosary. He stressed that we will not grow without a personal prayer life. He said the best way to grow in faith is to pray with Scriptures every day.

Marcus then taught on Lectio Divina. He said to ask the Holy Spirit, “What is going on?”—and then we can talk honestly, and Scripture will speak to our hearts. He told a personal story about asking the Lord how to obtain more holiness. The Lord took him to the story of David and Goliath, in which David had five smooth stones. In meditation, God said to Marcus that the five stones were: prayer, sacraments, the rosary, fasting, and community. The kids loved it!

Our next talks were with “One Year for Jesus” missionaries—a group that included seven seminarians. Last year, Bishop Lesanu had only one seminarian! Before my talk on the Five Keys to spiritual freedom, Bishop Scott gave a testimony about how, during his time as an exorcist, he only had to use the ritual of exorcism very rarely, because by taking people through Unbound’s Five Keys, almost everybody was set free. He explained:

It was only in the most severe cases that I had to use the ritual of exorcism. Unbound ministry’s Five Keys are basic biblical principles, and by applying them to people who have been demonized, it is remarkable how powerful they are. I encourage you to really internalize what you’re hearing and learn how to lead someone to faith and how to make a good repentance.

Learn what it means to forgive from the heart and how to teach that to others. Learn what it means to renounce evil by name, to understand your authority that you have received from Jesus to tell demons to go, and to pray blessings into people’s lives—to restore and heal what has been broken and distorted. You will discover, as I have, that it does wonders in people’s lives. It sets them free and gives them tools to set others free. Even when we had to use the ritual of exorcism, all we did was weaken the demon to the point that the person could cooperate with Unbound; then we were able to close the entry points and push the enemy away.

This is not just a tool for ministry or deliverance. This is a way of living out your own life, because we are called by the Lord to live with faith, repent of our sins, forgive our enemies, renounce evil, destroy the works of the enemy and live under the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

I use these principles in my own life very often.

If somebody treats me poorly, attacks me, or says bad words about me, and I feel anger rising up inside of me, I stop and walk through the Five Keys. In faith, I declare,

‘I’m here to work for You, Jesus. I’m here for Your favor, Jesus, not theirs. I repent of the anger and the hatred that’s going through my heart right now.’

‘I forgive this man, and I pray Your blessings upon him. I release him to You. I forgive him with all my heart. I renounce the evil and anger and all of the evil spirits behind it. I renounce the spirit of vengeance and all evil spirits associated with them. I renounce the spirit of self-hatred and all evil spirits associated with it, in the name of Jesus Christ. I command all those spirits that I have renounced to get out of here now.’

‘In Jesus name, I pray for a blessing: “Lord give me the grace to love this person, give me the grace to love my enemy like You command in the Gospel. Help me to be humble, kind, and gentle. Help me to treat them fairly, to be long-suffering, and to win them over with love.’

I cannot recommend the Five Keys strongly enough.

We departed for home feeling that the Lord had been with us throughout our trip, accomplishing His will and plan. I think the Lord is opening doors in Ethiopia!


*For more on the Five Keys, check out the book Unbound»

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Lose Hope

The following article originally appeared in the newsletter of Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinators Don and Pat Turbitt. Their daughter, Lisa Turbitt Cunha, passed away at age fifty-four on April 1, after a three-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer. She is survived by her parents, her husband, and her three children. Our prayers are with Lisa and her family. 


“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer,

I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).


There are few sadder sights on earth than the sight of a person who has lost all hope. But if you place your faith in God, you need never lose hope. God is so good and His love endures forever. He has promised us who believe in the the gift of eternal life and He always keeps His promises. This is exactly what we experienced in the passing of our precious daughter, Lisa, early on Easter Sunday morning. We always kept the door of hope open until she breathed her last breath.

If you find yourself falling into worry and discouragement, consider the words of Jesus. He said, “I have overcome the world.” Our world is indeed a place of trials and tribulations, but if we put our trust in God, we can become more and more secure in Him. The Lord Jesus Christ brings us peace and joy. Let us ask for the grace to receive these gifts more abundantly.

We can receive these gifts today and never lose hope. Our God is faithful to bring His word to pass. For those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one, remember this, God alone controls the passageways of death!

Amen!


The following meditation was found in Lisa’s journal:

Meditation

Jesus,

When I see you, the world stops.

Love enters my world and it stops.

All that exists for me is You and my eyes staring at You.

No noise.

No other people.

No thoughts or worries.

No yesterday.

No tomorrow.

The world just stops and it is a beautiful place.

And there’s only You.

When You’re gone, the world starts again and

I don’t like it much.

I can live in it, but I don’t like it.

I just walk around in it,

And wait to see You again

And wait

For it to stop again.

I love it when it stops.

It’s the best thing

I’ve ever known or ever felt,

The best thing, and that is

Why I stare at You.


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Non-Negotiable Silence

The following article originally appeared in Sr. Emmanuel Maillard’s November 2017 monthly report from Medjugorje and was re-printed in Renewal Ministries’ May 2018 newsletter.


 

Thieves in our midst!
Every day, new means of communication are made available and placed on the market for us to buy. They are touted everywhere: television, radio, mobile phones, Twitter, Internet, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If these “modes” are supposed to help us communicate, then why have fellowship and relationships between people deteriorated? Why are families increasingly torn apart? Who are these thieves who come to subtly steal away our time of listening to one another, to participate in the joy of fellowship and unity of hearts?

A trap for our relationships with others
Families should be “a place of understanding and kindness,” according to one of our Blessed Mother’s recent messages in Medjugorje. But through television and all of these different devices, too many families have allowed thieves to sneak into their midst. Thieves who steal their time, family conversations, and time that otherwise would have been spent paying attention to one another.

Of course, these technologies are not all bad! They are often very useful and the only means of communication between households that are miles apart. However, our frantic, systematic, and indiscriminate use of them has turned these technologies into real domestic tyrants that control us.

These new forms of communication steal our ability to have a deep inner life and to listen to God and to our neighbor. They steal our ability to adore the Living God, which makes the grandeur of man. They suspend us in a state of distressing superficiality that we are getting used to, and it is a disaster. It is almost like a drug addiction. When we worship God, we become what we truly are in the eyes of the Creator, while these impostors deprive us little by little of our beautiful identity.

Many families are suffering from a critical lack of communion. Where love is not expressed, every person tries to survive his imprisonment by seeking compensation through all-out communication. Oh, if only we knew how much God wants to talk to us! After all, His first commandment begins with “Shema Israel,” “Listen Israel!”

A pitfall in our relationship with God
The Lord said to St. Faustina:
“In a chatty soul, I find no rest.
The incessant turmoil exhausts me, and in this tumult,
the soul cannot hear my voice.”
God indeed speaks to every soul, but only a small number of them hear the murmur of His voice. Today, many people are afraid of silence—afraid of having to face themselves. Noise enables us to forget our inner emptiness by pretending to fill it. What an illusion! Poor heart, it cannot find true joy! Poor heart that does not know that only God can fill it, and which forgets its capacity to be filled!

How can we keep a pure heart?
When we are criticized or hear unkind words, they hit us like a wave hits the shore. It can hit a rock and bounce back with even greater violence: This is what happens when we respond, justify ourselves, or further spread these words around. But the wave can also run aground on the sand, lose its strength, and end up disappearing: This is what happens when we meet criticism, slander, and hatred with silence, as Jesus did during His Passion. Thus, violence runs aground in our silence and simply disappears.

“Never enter into a (combative) discussion,” shared the Mother of God in one of her messages at Medjugorje! For instance, if someone curses God in your presence, pretend not to hear it. Do not respond, do not argue back. But in your heart, bless the Lord with all your heart, say as many praises as you can. Your blessing will cancel out the effect of the blasphemy, and God will be glorified.

Three filters
The philosopher Socrates gave us some very good advice. When we hear something bad being said, and we want to repeat it to others, let’s first put it to the test of the “three filters”:
1. Is it absolutely true?
2. Is it a good thing to say?
3. Is it useful to say it?
If it is neither true, nor good, nor useful . . . let’s forget it! Let us take the Mother of God as our example. She was silent as she carried Baby Jesus in the quiet of her heart. She did not cry out from the rooftops, “Guess what! I have the best news ever for you!”

St. Faustina: “Silence is a sword in spiritual struggle.”
St. Faustina made the above statement in Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. She continued,
“A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words, and quickly want to answer back, without having any regard as to whether it is God’s will that we should speak.”

“A silent soul is strong. If it perseveres in silence, no adversities will harm it. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In a silent soul, God works without hindrance.” (477)

“The Holy Spirit does not speak to the dissipated and talkative soul, but speaks by silent inspiration to the soul that knows how to keep silent. If silence were strictly observed, there would be no murmurs, no bitterness, no slander and gossip. Love of neighbor would not be tarnished. In a word, many flaws would cease to exist. A mouth that keeps silent is pure gold and is a testament to inner holiness.” (145)

Elsewhere, Jesus also said to her:
“Try to live in silent reflection in order to hear my voice, which is a murmur; only souls remaining in silent recollection can hear it” (1779).