"But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days says the Lord. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be my people." ~ Jeremiah 31:33


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Patchwork Heart
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We are living in unprecedented and uncertain times. The entire world has been affected by a global pandemic, it has reached nearly every corner of the earth and affected nearly every person on the planet in some way. If you or a loved one has not contracted the disease, you are probably suffering in some other way from the fallout of schools, businesses, and all forms of public entertainment being shuttered. As a human family, more especially as Americans, this is the first time we have experienced the rapid spread of illness, death, job loss, and freedoms being restricted in our lifetime. As people of faith, it is only natural for us to turn to the Church in difficult times. Unfortunately, in this time many of us are finding that no matter how hard we pull and push on the doors of our Church they too are closed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Church has been absent or silent during these times. Many priests and bishops have become creative offering drive-by confessions, parking lot and online Masses to help nourish the faithful. However, for those of us who regularly participate in the sacramental life of the Church, it hardly seems adequate. These efforts might be admirable but they don't satisfy our deep hunger for the mercy and nourishment that only God can give us by living a consistent Sacramental lifestyle of regular confession and reception of the Eucharist. Simply, to those of us who have been living that way for years, they are as essential to us as water and air. Suddenly and seemingly overnight, we’ve found ourselves parched and gasping for air, desperate for the Living Water to flood and satiate our souls once again. As this crisis continues we are becoming increasingly famished, fraught, and frantic in our search to return to the Eucharistic table. We’ve moved from hoping and praying for our priests and bishops to open the doors to interrogating them and demanding they no longer sanction us from the Sacramental lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to for years. Some of us have outright criticized the character of our pastor or bishop publicly, others repeatedly quote canon law and constantly question the decisions of Church leadership on social media. In the midst of the crisis unlike any of us has ever seen, Jesus, who as Sovereign King and Omniscient God reigns over us and knows the outcomes of the times and seasons, is asking us an important question to each and every one of us desperately desiring to receive Him sacramentally again. He inquires, “What if you have received the Eucharist for the last time? If so, will you still follow me?” With your famished, fraught, and frantic heart will you live the Gospel to the best of your ability? Will you serve the poor, preach, evangelize, and lead souls astray back to Christ or will you walk away with a flash of anger at those keeping you from living a Sacramental lifestyle. Desperation often leads to desolation, being gracious for the gift of faith God has given to us through our baptism and confirmation leads to a contagious generosity. Therefore, while we are unable to fully experience the “source and summit of the Christian life (cf. CCC 1324),” let us remember that Christ calls us to personal holiness in all seasons of our lives. 
Patchwork Heart
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“Who has measured with his palm the waters, marked off the heavens with a span, held in his fingers the dust of the earth, weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or instructed Him as a counselor? Whom did He consult to gain knowledge? Who taught Him the path of judgment or showed Him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:12-14 Recently, God has called me into a period of transition in my life to focus on expanding the mission of Patchwork Heart Ministry. Each new day is unpredictable, vastly different than the previous and can be filled with skyrocketing highs or rock-bottom lows. The reward of success is constantly and relentlessly paired with the added stress and responsibility of starting and operating a non-profit. In one of those rock-bottom stressful moments, earlier this month I was trying to hold it all together and began complaining to God, as I began reading Him my shopping list and asking Him for His intervention in my day, He stopped me in my tracks and began reading His list back to me. “If you think you are trying to hold it all together, have you forgotten what I’ve held together. Remember when my Son laid his life down for you? Well, as I was torn to pieces watching Him suffer for you did the world implode? Did gravity disappear? How about the stars, did they cease to give light? As I watched him breathe His last breath, did I forget to sustain the life of every other living creature and human being?” I sheepishly responded “No.” Suddenly, my issues seemed so small and insignificant and I sat there in awe of God. I know if I was watching my innocent Son be executed, I wouldn’t be concerned about the needs of anybody else, worried about paying the electric bill or other temporal matters. But even when God is humiliated, mocked, scorned, crowned with thorns, beaten and crucified, “He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45 NABRE).” Simply, if God can look down from heaven and watch His only begotten Son’s flesh be brutally torn apart by us sinful human beings and resist the urge to turn all the galaxies into dust, I’m confident that He can help me handle not only my worries, problems, insecurities and issues but your's and everybody's. Therefore, this Lent, let us intentionally spend quality time reflecting on the Paschal Mystery and allow ourselves the opportunity to realize the magnitude of what it means for our salvation and the salvation of the world.
Patchwork Heart
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We are all a great deal luckier that we realize, we usually get what we want - or near enough.  ~ Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Just about everyone knows that the only way to get into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is with a Golden Ticket. According to the vision of Roald Dahl, you can’t enter the famous Chocolateer’s world of pure imagination without one. There are only five authentic tickets and they are hidden inside an ordinary Wonka Bar. The reclusive Wonka knows, the demand of chocolate-loving children will outweigh the supply of golden tickets and madness will likely ensue in sweet shops all around the world. Children everywhere push their parents to the brink of insanity with requests for more chocolate in hopes of winning the ultimate prize. For the vast majority, their dream of touring the enchanted factory comes crashing down just as fast as their blood sugar levels, but the sugar rush is extended for the five Golden Ticket finders; Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee and Charlie Bucket. Regardless of their circumstances or status they have gained entry into the sweetest place on the planet. Their invitation comes with a lifetime supply of chocolate and a notice that one of the five golden ticket holders will receive an additional grand prize.  Immediately upon arriving at the factory, some of the kids (with parental encouragement) begin to compete with one another trying to endear themselves to the noticeably odd Wonka. Ironically it is by jostling for supremacy that the most fierce competitors lose out on the ultimate prize. Gloop’s gluttony, Violet’s hunger for worldly status, Veruca’s greed and Teavee’s self-centeredness end up costing them greatly. Only the disadvantaged Charlie Bucket proves to be humble and docile enough to worthily inherit the fortune. Grace, God’s free gift that enables us to know, love and serve Him is a lot like a Golden Ticket. God both announced and demonstrated by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, that everyone has an opportunity to receive eternal life. While it is an equal opportunity for everyone, we have to show more than a passing interest. In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:4-8, 13:18-23), Christ reveals the large number of people who for one reason or another only show minimal or have a self-serving interest in the Gospel. A casual acquaintance doesn’t cut it when Christ desires your friendship. In other words, if you spend all your time just looking through the window at the Wonka bar your odds of obtaining a Golden Ticket are nearly zero. Often, grace like finding a Golden Ticket is surprising and unpredictable. Some have to open hundreds of candy bars, others only have to open a handful to find it. Regardless of how many wrappers you you have discarded, finding the Golden Ticket of grace is only the beginning. Your response to the invitation of God’s grace is exponentially more important. Your soil has to be fertile in order for the seed of grace to flourish into faith. A surefire way to lose out on your inheritance is approaching the Gospel by asking “what is in it for me?” Rather, Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).”  Have you found your Golden Ticket? If so, don’t let gluttony, worldly status, greed or self-centeredness stand in the way of your heavenly inheritance. Still looking for your invitation? Stop looking at the Church from the expressway and open the door, what is inside just might surprise you.

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Patchwork Heart Ministry
P.O. Box 563
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

Phone: +1 424 704 3278+1 424 704 3278

E-mail: info@patchworkheart.org


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