Trusting In God’s Mercy

I want to write to you about all the craziness that is going on in our world today. There are so many problems with the weather going on around our world. Some don’t believe it’s anything out of the ordinary. Some believe, myself included, that the concept of Climate Change has a lot to do with the many powerful storms on the planet these days. I can’t understand how some will not question the possibility that the fossil fuel industry and humanity’s pollution is not contributing to climate change. Many of the world’s top scientists believe we do indeed contribute to the power found in these latest storms. The modification of the weather has been well documented for years now as well. Research “weather modification” and decide. One major problem is the main stream media news outlets are not reporting on any of it. They are barely even mentioning the topic of climate change. It’s as if they too are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps they are. They certainly are in the pockets of the military industrial complex. They practically cheer whenever our military makes a move against another country. Personally, I am a Catholic Christian and these events around our world truly frighten me, but I believe in Christ Jesus and I trust in His plan for the human family. The Holy Spirit is in charge of this path for humanity. He created each of us and will never let go of His children. Christ Jesus died for all humanity. No one knows who will be in Heaven or not. No one knows when the end of God’s plan for humanity will be either, not even the Son of Man knows when the end will be. At least, if we trust in the Gospels. There are many false prophets out there claiming the end is upon us. Do not listen to them. Remember, not even Jesus the Christ knows when this will all end. So, please for the love of God do not listen to those who claim to know the world is ending. We are called to trust in God’s plan wherever it may lead. Do what you can to fight for a clean and healthy planet. Fight for the rights and for justice for everyone. Every human being on this planet is a child of God. We are not called to judge them, but to love them as we love ourselves. Fight for the voiceless, the poor, the outcasts, the forgotten. Fight for the injustices that we see every day in the news and on the internet. Make sure what you are being exposed to is true. There is a great deal of “fake news” out there groups and individuals with their own agenda’s. Make good choices that reflect Christ’s teachings. “Do not judge lest you be judged” “Love as God has loved you” and above all trust in His mercy. Be prepared and continue to walk in the light, knowing that God has us all in the palm of His hand.Pray for the Hermits of the Holy Cross. We will continue to keep each of you in our prayers.

Peace and Goodness,

broMark

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Carrying Our Cross

What’s the point to all this suffering I endure, that any of us endure, especially on a daily basis? Do you ever ask yourself or ask others this question? I, like you, get frustrated at times, overwhelmed at times, angry at times, envious of others at times, and resentful at times. It’s human nature to break down at times. Life can at times be pretty overwhelming. I personally believe that that is alright. I often see others around this world suffering at a depth far greater than I. I see that I am not alone in this mystery. For those of us who are followers of Christ Jesus, we have been shown that what we are doing when we accept our suffering is called “carrying our cross”. He gives suffering a job description. Christ Jesus showed us how it’s done by carrying His own cross. One thing I did notice, Jesus never said we had to be crucified on that cross. He told us only to carry the cross. Some of course, have died carrying their cross. Why didn’t Christ help us with understanding this mystery of “carrying our cross” so it would be easier to accept it?St. Paul, as well, desired to be free from his cross, his affliction. In fact, he asked Jesus three separate times if he could be freed from his suffering, but Jesus told Paul “My grace is sufficient for you”. (2 Cor. 7-10) What does this, “My grace is sufficient for you” really mean? I know how this could be taken as Jesus brushing Paul off but it’s actually a pretty profound statement. Christ teaches St. Paul and us that suffering is inevitable, there is no getting around it because of humanity’s fall. However, from now on since the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus we won’t ever be alone with carrying our cross. My Holy Spirit, My grace will be with you. In the Greek language, the language the New Testament was originally written in, the word used for the Holy Spirit is Άγιο πνευμα which means breath or wind. Christ Jesus literally breathes within us, the grace the Holy Spirit flows through us, helps us up when we stumble, carries us when we are too weak to move forward on the journey. Our spirit, therefore, is in union with the Holy Spirit. The highest level of the spiritual journey according to the Mystical Doctors of the Church St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross is called the Mystical Union or the Mystical Marriage. How amazing is this. This is such a profound hope for us. The eternal Christ rose from the dead so we too will be eternal. The journey, our journey, must include this cross, the acceptance of our suffering, for it is the most profound command given to us being followers of Christ Jesus. With Christ, our suffering is transformed into healing for others and for our world, for ourselves. Christ even stated, “if you don’t carry your cross you cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27) So my sisters and brothers, remain strong with the suffering you endure each day. Carrying the cross has meaning and Heaven awaits us, peace in our heart will be with us knowing we’ve accepted His command. It is a command that will bring us into mystical union with the Divine. Have a most blessed day.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Mark

Hermits of the Holy Cross

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Reflections On the Spiritual Journey

Reflections on the spiritual journey

by: bro.Mark
I have not written a personal blog in quite some time. I am sorry for this. I have not felt very good for a very long time because of my disability. I thought about what I could write that would be inspirational and lift your spirit. I did not want to write something that would bum you out so I kept procrastinating. I thought to myself, I could write about how when my energy gets low and I don’t feel good I don’t want to do anything. I thought maybe you could relate to this. It’s much like when you work and work and play and play, your always on the go, then boom, you get the flu. Your body just automatically shuts down. Your brain doesn’t work so quickly when your body feels down. You don’t want to do anything other than lay on the couch in front of the TV as your body begins the healing process. But with permanent disability, my disability, and the limitations my body finds itself dealing with, the healing process is not coming to me as quickly as I had hoped. I find this to be extremely frustrating. I use to be such an active person. I loved going out, driving, visiting others. Now, I am alone a lot of the day. Not many come to visit me. I did consecrate myself to the eremitical life, so I have no right to complain about how many come to visit me. I chalk it up to another one of my many frustrations. The constant physical pain that drains my energy, that makes me want to lay on this bed of mine and move as little as possible is something I cannot escape from. At times, I feel in prisoned in my own skin. Pain makes my body feel terrible then that feeling brings me down psychologically. So, then, I feel that depressing cloud floating over my head and this becomes, as well, a piece of the war puzzle I find myself battling. I pray and pray that God will take this cross from me but to no avail. I attempt to offer up my suffering for others instead, with the hope that it will help heal our world in some small way. I want it to help the world in a big way, but I don’t want to get to cocky with my efforts. I should be grateful and trusting my efforts will be accepted by God at all. I have learned through the years of studying and living my spiritual life that prayer is not just reciting a plethora of words or incantations. Prayer to me is a relationship between two people in love. Me and Christ Jesus. Two hearts growing into one, my heart will melt or fuse into the very Heart of Christ Jesus. I pray that each and every day I will be gifted with the energy to become the very best person God has created me to be. That I will become the very best hermit I can be. To be the best brother, son, and friend to others in my life and a friend to those who may one day come into my life. The daily degradation of my physical body is a reality I must continue to face and embrace. The limitations that this physical degradation impose upon me must also be embraced, along with the many frustrations that will come along with them. I can view these new physical limitations can either be viewed as a cloud floating over my head or can be viewed as inspirational to me. This outlook is something I can control. This outlook gives me hope to continue to be open to growth and branch out no matter what obstacles spring up in my life. I have chosen to let every day become a new adventure and a new challenge. I am trusting God will gift me with the grace I need to carry this cross, growing more deeply in the spiritual life. I understand that growth is never easy, for the many years of living my life with physical disability, I have experienced this truth. Yet, not every difficult experience will teach me something. Or will they? Perhaps so. What matters is that I remain open to new possibilities. I have made it my life’s work to be a positive vessel for God’s healing in our world. I pray for more sisters and brothers to aid me in this journey where ever on this earth you may be living. I will continue to pray the Holy Spirit will guide others to offer their lives to the healing of our world. Please pray for me and for each of the Hermits of the Holy Cross.

You are loved,

b.Mark

Hermits of the Holy Cross

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Feeling Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt yourself being overwhelmed because of the weight of your cross? You don’t want to find yourself upset with God, but gee wiz there’s only so much you can take. Sometimes you need a break from the weight. I feel this almost on a daily basis and I let God know this isn’t working for me anymore. I’m trying my best, but I keep stumbling and falling. God seems silent. Even though my heart knows He’s not. I often find myself asking for help from His Mom, Our Blessed Mother, Mary. Mom’s usually have that compassion and care we all desire. I also find myself asking all the Saints for help as well. And of course we can’t forget the angels, most especially, our Guardian  Angel. I named my Guardian Angel years ago.  I think it was 1987 when that happened. His name is Jeremiah. I chose that name because I wanted my own child to have that name. However, I never did have kids of my own mostly because it wasn’t in God’s plan for me. The reason I bring all this up is because there are many individuals in our life that are willing to help us, especially those we believe are now in Heaven.  By the way, we can even ask help from those we may believe are still in Purgatory. If you believe in Purgatory that is. Personally, I’m Roman Catholic so I believe there is a place we can go to finish up our purification if we have not done so completely while on Earth. I am now 54 years old and reflecting on how fast the years have gone by, purgatory seems like an added gift to me. Especially, when compared to eternity and what that really means. The weight of my cross doesn’t seem so heavy after I reflect on eternity and the many people I know are helping me with carrying my cross.  I invite you to reflect on who your favorite Saints are and ask them to intercede for you. They will be more than happy to assist you. They’ve made it to Heaven. Reflect on the fact you have a Guardian Angel. Name your Angel. Begin a personal relationship with them. They are there for you to assist you and protect you. Invite our Blessed Mother to comfort you. I often ask Her to keep me protected under Her mantle. She does. There have been to many times in life that I just believed I could no longer make it through, but when I seek their help the grace of God has always been there for me. I believe it will be there for you as well. And if you find yourself being overwhelmed with frustration and hopelessness, call out, God’s grace will indeed flow through you. You will experience the strength of God working in you and through you. Keep the faith, hold tight to the cross and muster through. Even though life is messy at times, God sees your heart and your intention. When we are trying our best God never asks any more from us. Please know too, that there are others with very heavy crosses all around the world. You are not alone when it comes to suffering. Just watching one hour of nightly news will reveal this to you. Be patient and know God loves you. I love you too. Let’s pray for each other as we move forward through life.Have yourself a blessed day.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Mark

Hermits of the Holy Cross

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The Purpose of Pain

The Purpose of Pain

2/9/2017

by: Bro. Mark
I want to share with you a mystery many seek to understand. You may ask how is it that I have come to understand this mystery? I am not someone who is high up on the “spiritual guru” ladder. In fact, I am one of the lowest members. I don’t have a monastery to take care of. I am in no way a Saint. All I have to give is my prayers and the offering of my suffering while I lay on this bed, confined to being one who is “home-bound” because of my physical disability. But as I settled into my new reality, I succumbed to the truth that I can no longer participate in an active ministry. I use to be a certified hospital chaplain in my hay day. I learned a great deal when I turned to the spiritual life, a contemplative lifestyle. I learned what is needed most in this world is a spirit, a heart, completely focused on Christ Jesus and to share the love that pours from His Sacred Heart. We are to focus on that which is eternal. This life we now live goes by in the blink of an eye. Patiently bear all the hardships for Christ Jesus, because the suffering we endure does have true meaning and true purpose. You see, the mystery I learned, is that our sufferings have meaning, purpose. Suffering creates an energy. We can know this through our own experiences with suffering. We find ourselves really tired when we have pain. This is because an energy is released in our body when we experience this pain. We sleep a lot, we feel irritated, we are sometimes unpleasant to be around when we are in pain. This is the energy I speak of. This is the energy that Christ Jesus takes from us when we freely give it to Him. He then transforms this energy into a healing balm. The Holy Spirit then uses this transformed balm wherever the Spirit sees the most need. Now remember, Christ Jesus, died for All people, so that this healing balm can go anywhere in the world the Holy Spirit deems appropriate. This is the mysterious treasure that gives us great hope. The cross each of us carries every day can be carried with pride, with love, with faith, with the hope that one day we will see all the wonderful things the Holy Spirit was able to accomplish, because we said yes to Christ Jesus and offered what we had to Him, which is our sufferings. St. Paul tells us we are partakers in the divine nature through baptism and co-heirs with Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:17) We are also Co-creators with Him. In 1Col. 1:24, St. Paul states, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, the Church.” We participate in the redemption of our world and we participate in the healing of a new creation. We do this by carrying our own personal cross. In three of the Gospels, Jesus tells us to “take up your cross and follow Me. (Matt 16:24; Mark 8:34; & Luke 9:23) This is powerful stuff. Some will laugh at it, some will mock it, some will reject it. What I ask is to be open to what Christ Jesus teaches us regarding our personal suffering, to the cross and to what St. Paul teaches us about how we are called by Christ to share in establishing a new creation. Suffering does produce energy. We experience it at a human-body level. Therefore, if this energy can produce negative effects on us and within us, why is it not possible for Christ Jesus to transform this power into something profitable? A healing balm that soothes and re-creates the world. This mystery brings the cross into the forefront of our lives, bringing with it the virtue of hope. Hope provides the strength to embrace our personal pain and continue to walk the path in front of us knowing through faith that Christ Jesus does walk To sum up this message I am sharing with you is that the cross truly has meaning. Our crosses produce the energy that God needs to bring an everlasting healing and the introduction to a new creation. We are participate in this process. And finally, this is a tremendous gift to the world in which we live. Embrace this gift with your whole heart and continue to keep your eyes on the prize which is eternal salvation in the heavenly kingdom where “all tears will be wiped away and death shall be no more.”(Rev. 21:4)

Have a most blessed day!

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Mark

Hermits of the Holy Cross

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When does an Ideal become an Idol?                                                                                                                

QUESTION:  Do our Words defend our Myths or convey our Reality?

I am fast approaching my 65th birthday.  The mental processes of the aging mind shift somewhat, as do the perspectives and over-all viewpoints regarding the many questions of life and the manner in which one might still contribute to the healing of our World.

For myself, I have been blessed to have been invited to a Christian Monastic Benedictine Spiritual Path and to share in its Practices and Traditions.  Over many years of doing so, I have come to realize that even a worthy ideal, such as the Path proposes, can easily become an idol if one allows it to degenerate into a routine one comfortably settles into, rather than a living and dynamic Path of Spiritual Transformation.

The life of a Monastic requires a very moment-to-moment commitment, if it is to bare fruit.  Decisions need to be made daily about what constitutes distraction from that life of prayer, with all that it entails.  It becomes obvious that a Path lived from the mind alone cannot insure longevity and perseverance.  The spiritual heart itself must also embrace the choice to be a person of prayer, if the will is to feed off of that ground of being where God can be found, and not off its own imagined holiness.

Today – I look at my core value system:  Not what I believe in my head to be true about myself, but what I am actually living; actually putting into practice.

In Christ,

T of HHC

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ANGELS AND SAINTS OF THE ORDINARY

ord-stsEver since I was a child growing up in my particular Catholic Religious climate, spiritual role models called, “Saints” were always held up before my eyes as God’s especially chosen ones that I should strive to be like (but could only emulate, after all) in every way I could.  And I truly did try.  But I also believed they were created different somehow from a regular human being.  I had understood, as children often do, that the secret of their spirituality was in their hearing of supernatural voices and their seeing of other-worldly visions.  Or in their being willing to be beheaded or tortured without complaint or care, if it was God’s will for them. Even into adult-hood, I carried some of these exaggerations and misunderstandings.  It definitely colored my perception in favor of the extraordinary.

I wonder now how much joy in the daily and ordinary moments of life I missed because of such imaginings as I had stored away in my unconscious for so many years?  How many Angels and Saints of the Ordinary were in my midst every day that I never acknowledged or thanked God for?  And how many are, even now?!

I realize now, of course, that in Heaven, there is and can Only be Saints.  Maybe not Officially Canonized, but still Saints.  Whether their purgation and purification was (or is) here below or was (or will be) in the afterlife, our Religion tells us that no one enters Heaven unless they are purified and made holy by God first.  ie: Sanctified. ie: made Saints!

Therefore, as Christians, the Good News of our Faith tells us all that we are already triumphant, by the mercy and grace of God. And that through the blood and merits of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, we will All one day be Saints.

So, Today, I embrace those of my Faith and all others on this Path with me, whether in my immediate circle of family and friends, or my extended family of friends all over the Country and beyond.  And I acknowledge each of you, in the very Daily and Ordinary circumstances of your lives – in your illness, in your struggles, in your anxieties and fears, in your lonely hours, in your simple joys, in your wonder and awe of God’s many daily little ordinary miracles that often go unwitnessed if not for your precious eyes, and in your great Faith – and I ask God to allow you to glimpse, even now,  in a moment of grace, the glorious dwelling that He is preparing for You and for all His Saints…Amen!!

Blessings from a Disciple of Jesus and Hermit of The Holy Cross

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Embracing A Mystical Life

Embracing A Mystical Life

by: bro.Mark

The ancient Christian Masters of Spirituality are the go to if you desire the deepest understanding of the mystical life. I.e. mysticism; contemplation; meditation. The way in which the master’s prayed and developed an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus. They modeled perfectly how the mystery can be experienced, loved and lived. One of the greatest Saints and Doctors of the Church was St. Theresa of Avila. She is proclaimed one of the greatest teachers and doctors of mysticism, speaking in the light of revelation, for the edification of all the faithful. She is a wonderful fountain and wealth of mystical knowledge. The beauty of learning from her is due to the fact that she is so down to earth. The Way of Perfection and the Interior Castle are two of her all time best sellers. Both are a delightful read, bringing the loftiness of Heaven to earth. Developing your spiritual life can seem scary, but when you see it in the light of relationship it becomes more embracing. When you are willing to enter into the mystery, the contemplative life unveils immeasurable possibilities for union with the infinite. The God of all creation invites us into this intimate relationship and it is up to us to say yes, just as our Blessed Mother said yes, to the mystery of the Incarnation. The masters of the mystical way are at our finger tips, are there for us, invite to grow in the most profound relationship of love. The mystical life answers why we are here on earth, answers the ultimate question as to why we were born into this world, which is the development of our relationship with our Creator and Love. So when you take the hand of the great Mystics they will lead you to find the answers to life’s most difficult questions, if only you say yes to the invitation. Each of us has received the vocation to become a temple of God. Scripture calls it “to become temples of the Holy Spirit”, created to receive into ourself the glory of God. Humanity is the boundary between the visible and the invisible, a mediator between the Creator and creation. This vocation is found in many religions and in humanism but it is only the Son of God that unites the two. The Incarnation re-opens to humanity its creative destiny. God set us on earth to contemplate the visible world and to be initiated into the invisible world to resemble God by simple submission to the Divine will. We bear the imprint of the incomprehensible Godhead. We thirst for mysticism. Many in the West are searching in the East. We must re-discover the mystical traditions in the Christian Faith here in the West. For mysticism is an existential attitude, a way of living at a greater depth in our daily lives, uniting the Divine with the human. “Did I not call you gods” Psalm 82   Our goal as Christians in Christianity is ascesis, the Greek word for ascetics, a spiritual combat, which is far more difficult than the battles of men. The objective of this battle is to let go. To let go that we may enter into contemplation with the One who created us for just this purpose. It demands a true opening, an emptying within us that love may completely fill us. It is this love that we truly seek. We look for love in so many ways other than from the One who created us, the One who redeemed us, and the One who sustains us. This Trinity of Love patiently waits for us. The more we wait to open this door to true love the more we loose out to a true union. Athletes sacrifice all, empty themselves completely to obtain the trophy of perfection. Asceticism is a spiritual exercise in which the spirit, the soul, the body, is purified leading us into contemplation. In this contemplation our human nature becomes a glorious temple. We become a “priest” in the temple of His own body dedicated to the service of God. St. Paul teaches us that the Christian life is a daily offering of ourself in spiritual sacrifice to God. The Saints then, teach us that we are nothing without the light of Christ Jesus shinning through us. They show us what a glorious destiny we have in God. They point the way for us to become par takers of Divine Nature. As our friends, they intercede before the throne of God for us, for they have won the fight and are now in the presence of God. There lives are an example that teach us how we too can be with God eternally. May the mystical doctors of the Church inspire you to study, to meditate, to contemplate, to enter into a deep relationship with Christ Jesus and His mystical Heart of love.
Your brother in Christ,

Mark

Hermits of the Holy Cross

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Our Journey Toward Union


by Bro.Mark

There comes a time in life where we come face to face with ourselves. The majority of time is spent with running toward a goal we desire to accomplish. It could be career or a championship belt. We empty ourselves. We sacrifice most everything to achieve our goal. We reach into our very soul and muster up all our strength. We walk the road of tribulation and suffering. We reach outward to fulfill an inner calling. When we were younger we experienced an inner calling. This calling was specific to who we are. It could have been a specific calling to help humanity in some way. Perhaps it was to be an architect or an engineer to build bridges or roads. Or how about a surgeon that healed people and gave others an opportunity to fulfill their own calling in life. But even through this dimension of our journey, we still find ourself searching for an inner fulfillment, to rest in that center within our soul where the peace and union with our Creator resides. We touch that peace and union with God in bits throughout our life as we journey along. It could be so delicate of a touch it passes our understanding. We experience these touches as a burst of joyful energy. We experience it as an explosion of love within the center of our being, like a warmth throughout our body. This gift is given to each of us as we journey through life. I believe these are love touches from God. God delights in His creation. He delights in life. When we stop and take a break from the journey we quickly come face to face with ourselves. We may be afraid to face ourselves because of the decisions we may have made on the journey. But with the grace God freely offers us we have an opportunity to embrace forgiveness, mercy and compassion. We can inwardly embrace God’s healing for our inner being. We touch peace, inner joy, contentment. We touch God. Actually, God touches us. For us, who are living with a physical disability, we have the opportunity to experience the touch of God more quickly. It’s not that we are more special than anyone else, it’s just that we come face to face with our inner self more quickly. Often times we are forced to stop the movement, the journey of fulfillment and rest in the nothingness of being. We surrender to the struggle. We are offered the gift of inner healing. We experience the closeness of God. We experience the knock on the door of our soul. We learn that God does not force His way in, but instead He gently waits for our invitation to welcome Him in to rest with us. He waits for our yes. We can’t see this encounter nor hear it, but we know the encounter is authentic for we experience it’s reality. We have difficulty expressing our encounter with others, but we know it took place. We understand that God seeks to remain hidden and this intimate encounter is but a moment in time in which God reveals a Divine Union. It is a gift bestowed by God where hope begins to take root within us. A hope that all our suffering in life does have meaning. Our physical disability has purpose. We did not ask for this heavy cross. Often, we push it away and seek to overcome it. What happens when we embrace it and accept it as the center of who we are? Do we experience God in its sorrow, in its pain? Will our willingness to embrace it bring us closer to God? I believe it will. I believe we will find the answers to our questions. I believe union with God will be experienced in this life. It may be a moment of Transfiguration, but it will provide the strength for each of us to continue the difficult journey until we meet God face to face and rest in Him for all eternity.
Have a most blessed day,

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Mark

Hermits of the Holy Cross

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Sacrificial Vessels

As Hermits of the Holy Cross, we offer ourselves as sacrificial vessels for the love of God, for the love of our salvation, Christ Jesus, for the good of His creation and the good of the human family. Yes, we are physically disabled. Our physical bodies may have their limits, but our spirits are whole and filled with the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. Some of us lay in our beds, some wheel our wheel chairs around stores, some carry oxygen tanks to breathe. We attempt to emulate the second person of the Blessed Trinity. Christ Jesus, who “tabernacled” amongst us, as a human person. We, at times, get mocked, laughed at, ridiculed, and sometimes beat up. In our ministry, we carry on with our efforts to spread peace and harmony in our world. We take whatever negative energies humanity reveals to us and we ask God to transform them with God’s redeeming grace. We don’t ask for gratitude, for the thanks is found in hearts that were once frozen now begin to melt with the love of God. We see it revealed when we witness someone help another cross a busy street. Our ministry lays hidden within our hermitages, our homes. We don’t boast of our talents. We work through the quiet reflections of Scripture, when the Rosary beads pass through our fingers and our lips quietly reciting the Hail Mary. We work as we suffer with agonizing pain and there is no escape from it. We work as we try our hardest to get a bit of exercise, walking with crutches around the house. Our ministry is a ministry of Light and Hope. “May your love be upon us Lord, as we place all our hope in You.”  

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