"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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Written on Our Hearts: A Patchwork Heart Blog

Patchwork Heart
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Then Mordecai said: ‘This is the Work of God. I recall the dream I had about these very things and not a single detail has been unfulfilled.” ~ EST F:1 Over this past month, July 2017, I have witnessed many different aspects of the God interacting with His people. As a Youth Minister, I walked with a group of teenagers on a six-day mission trip to Kewaskum, WI and served the elderly suffering from loneliness in a nursing home, spending time and listening to the wisdom of their life experiences; all their joys and sufferings. In our work with the elderly I felt like I was on a spiritual seesaw. As we alleviated the pain of loneliness, we lifted them up, and they in turn lifted us up by pouring out a treasure of wisdom into our souls. It was a profound Christ-centered exchange for all of us involved. Returning from the mission I had the opportunity to travel Pittsburgh for the Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebration of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Thousands of Catholics, and even some non-Catholics from all over came together for a powerful conference. We prayed and sang in every tongue on earth and in heaven dancing in joy of the Holy Spirit. He once again renewed the faith of all in attendance and poured out grace in overflowing rivers of living water. There were many great signs and wonders worked throughout the weekend, healings both physical and spiritual but the most profound moment for me was my pilgrimage to the Ark and the Dove just outside of Pittsburgh. The Ark and the Dove Retreat Center is the site where in the winter of 1967, approximately twenty-five students from Duquesne University first experienced the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” in a tiny chapel. The powerful outpouring ignited a worldwide movement recognized by the Church as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. As I prayed in the chapel where the Holy Spirit descended during the Duquesne Weekend, there was a profound peace that stilled my soul. I gained a new strength and confidence, as the Spirit-soaked room saturated my soul. My final adventure this month was leading a group of teens to the Steubenville Youth Conference in St. Paul, MN. The power of the Holy Spirit was unleashed on 1900 young people as they prayed with heartfelt devotion was inspiring and uplifting. I watched as lives of young people were transformed and a fresh hope filled my heart knowing that the Catholic Church has a bright future filled with zeal. As I look back on the different ways I’ve encountered Christ and His Church this month, I’ve gained wisdom through serving the needs of others, experienced heavenly joy and helped build up the future of the Catholic Church.These action packed weeks have made a deep and profound impact on my spirituality, helped me become a better man and minister in the Church, and filled me with an immense sense of gratitude to God for these many summer signs and wonders He has worked in my life.
Patchwork Heart
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God’s Heart has many qualities, and it was fully revealed to us through the incarnation of Jesus. The Heart of Christ is the Heart of God. Let us take a moment to reflect upon the qualities of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Infant Heart of Jesus, Innocent and Pure, Sanctify Us. Childhood Heart of Jesus, Attentive and Obedient, Listen to Us. Baptized Heart of Jesus, Righteous and Beloved, Prepare Us. Tempted Heart of Jesus, Fortified and Steadfast, Strengthen Us. Professed Heart of Jesus, Wise and Compassionate, Guide Us. Miraculous Heart of Jesus, Powerful and Healing, Cure Us. Betrayed Heart of Jesus, Abandoned and Alone, Support Us. Scourged Heart of Jesus, Wounded and Scarred, Perfect Us. Crucified Heart of Jesus, Exhausted and Dying, Redeem Us. Risen Heart of Jesus, Restored and Living, Renew Us. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pray For Us. Amen Click the player below to hear a song composed by Jeff Jones of Sunknight Music based upon this prayer.
Patchwork Heart
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“Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:14 As Bert, the beloved chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, feels the winds change in the opening scene of the movie he chants; “Winds in the east, there's a mist comin' in, like somethin' is brewin' and 'bout to begin. Can't put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what's to happen all happened before.” He alludes to the arrival of the world’s most famous nanny - who soon floats onto the doorstep of the Bank’s home to animate the lives of Jane and Michael and answer the plea of their father George for a qualified and diligent caretaker. Her unexpected arrival is a pleasant surprise to almost everyone involved. She solves problems with a touch of magic and routinely suspends the laws of reality, to provide those whom she comes in contact with a reality check. Her iconic bag is filled with a unique combination of advocacy, orderliness and spontaneity. With these gifts she inspires people to live a joyful life with both freedom and self-control. Some are radically and instantly transformed by following this way of living; some are bewildered and astounded by the transformation in their loved ones lives. The effect of their encounter with Mary is so great that the children cannot imagine life without her ever again, and beg her to always be with them. Mary Poppins responds, “I’ll stay until the wind changes.” Assuring them that she will challenge and help them grow during this time of transition in their lives, serving as a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. In other words, the wind knows the needs of the Banks family and will provide for them the right person, in the right situation, for exactly the right length of time. Ultimately, when all relationships (and kites) have been mended, Mary Poppins magical umbrella catches a gust of the breeze that carries her onward and upward. Mary Poppins is a great example of what it means to be driven by the Holy Spirit in our lives. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you - oracle of the Lord - plans for your welfare and not woe, so as to give you a future of hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NABRE).” God created and uses our unique personalities, talents and gifts to place us at particular times throughout our lives in our families, jobs and various situations for the good of both ourselves and others. While we may not be delivered to the porch of our neighbors problems via magical flying umbrella (those looking to acquire the skill might ask St. Joseph of Cupertino for his intercession), we are created for a purpose filled life and empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of God. The powerful action of the Holy Spirit is recognized from the very beginning of scripture as the author of Genesis writes; “the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2 NRSV).” In other translations of that verse, the Holy Spirit is described as “a mighty wind (NABRE).” The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is also described similarly during Pentecost; “and suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were (Acts 2:2).” Christ promises that the wind of the Spirit will carry us and supply us with all that is necessary to spread the Gospel. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).” What is even more impressive than the power of the Holy Spirit is that all we need to do is open our hearts and the same Spirit that hovered over the waters of the deep abyss will dwell within our souls. We then can be the wind of change and transformation the world so desperately needs. Like Mary Poppins, when we allow the mighty wind to catch our umbrellas we will be given the fruits, gifts and charisms of the Spirit to do great works, glorify God in great tongues (yes, even greater than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious), and be witnesses of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Is it just me or is there a draft in here?

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