This ‘n’ That from Elizabeth Ministry International

Have you heard of the wonderful FREE app called Laudate? It has the daily and Sunday Mass readings, Liturgy of the Hours, Saints of the Day, meditations from the Church Fathers, and much, much more, including the complete New American Bible! A wonderful tool to keep your prayer life going as fast as your life is! As they say, “Check it out!!”

First of all, our prayer needs: We ask you to be praying for the students of RECLAiM; there are more than a thousand men or women (and millions more who don’t know about RECLAiM!) who currently need healing and freedom from the effects that pornography use has on their lives. Lord Jesus, touch these men and women who have recognized a need to turn from sin and Satan’s allurements to you, Jesus. Give them courage and perseverance. Touch their minds and hearts; heal the wiring in their brains that causes them to seek comfort and pleasure in unhealthy ways. Especially, Lord, as they go into a holiday weekend, in the change of their schedules and time for leisure, give them the wisdom to choose healthy interaction and behaviors rather than those that are not healthy. Let them find comfort and support through your Holy Word in the Scriptures, in You, Jesus, who are the Living Word sent from the Father.

Touch also, Lord Jesus, pastors and ministers, especially marriage and family ministers, who have an opportunity to communicate the support and healing that the website ReclaimSexualHealth.com can provide. Help all those who work on the RECLAiM staff, including coaches, mentors and ambassadors. Help the leaders of the various churches to recognize and to combat the evils of pornography. In places where marriage between one man and one woman is not honored, please, Lord, bring clarity of thought with compassion. From so long ago, you commanded that we Honor Our Fathers and Our Mothers! Give wisdom to all those in healing professions to carry out your command, that the vocation of fatherhood and motherhood would be honored and respected.

Lord, many pastoral ministers will be gathering in Dayton for the convention of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM) July 16-19. Protect them in their travels, and let the gathering be blessed with the power and fruit of your Spirit!

We also ask, Lord Jesus, for the needs of Elizabeth Ministry, that you would be with those couples who are seeking to conceive. You have brought them together through the Sacrament of Matrimony; now bless their union with the children that they long to bear. Bless Denise and her husband, and all other couples who seek wisdom and comfort as they wait for the gift of children. If, Lord, your plan is otherwise, lead them into the direction that you have chosen for them, and let them joyfully follow you, Lord, who are always the Good Shepherd who truly does care for your sheep. Teach these couples to rest in your care.

 Lord, there are also those couples who have conceived and are bearing this wondrous gift of life! Some have miscarried in the past, like Julie and Rusty, and so many others. Help them to trust in you and let go of the fear that the same event of miscarriage might be repeated. Give them the wisdom to seek medical care, healthy diets, or whatever else will bring their babies to healthy births. Bless, Lord Jesus, their little ones, whose angels always see the face of your heavenly Father! Help all of us as well, to grieve with those whose babies have died. Help us to honor those lives, no matter how small!

 There are those couples–and sometimes single women–who are bearing children whose healthy births are in jeopardy. Jesus, be with Shannon and her husband and family! Their baby, Frances, may be born into your kingdom rather than into their arms. [Baby Frances was born Thursday evening, June 26th, and lived long enough to celebrate her birthday and be baptized. She passed into the arms of Jesus early the following morning, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.] Console them in their sorrow! Let them recognize the gift of a saint for your kingdom, even as they grieve their loss here on earth. If it be your will, let Frances be born well and healthy. If it also be your will that Frances would need long-term care, give her parents and family the strength and generosity that such a gift requires. Lord, Jesus! Your will be done!

Bless also and protect Becky’s baby, and Becky herself, in the complications of their pregnancy. Help Becky and her husband to attentively watch for any signs of stress and difficulty as that baby continues to grow. As the time of delivery comes, let that little one be brought forth healthy and strong! Bless also Becky’s sister, Angie, who is also pregnant. Help those two sisters to support one another lovingly. Bless also their parents, Jeannie and Bruce, founders of Elizabeth Ministry. How easy it is to support others, but how difficult it may be when one’s own children and grandchildren struggle with fear or sorrow. Be with them, Lord Jesus! Give them the gifts of hope and courage, joy and peace!

 Bless and protect also, Lord, the staff of Elizabeth Ministry International, especially Abbi who continues to struggle with her diagnosis of cancer. Heal her, Lord, by the mighty power of your word! Give her wisdom and strength as she struggles with the health needs of her family and parents as well.  “By the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls!”

 As always, Lord Jesus, be with the many Elizabeth Ministers across the world who seek to provide support for other women and their families! Bless and protect these women and their many churches, pastors, deacons, elders, and pastoral ministers who are seeking to build and strengthen your church with a respect for life from conception to natural death. In places where a respect for life has been lost or forgotten, revive your Spirit! Renew the hearts and minds of your people!! Bring a new vitality to your people, Lord! Stir up your Spirit and Come!

 Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the many men and women, individuals and monastic communities who are committed to praying for the needs of Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM. Bless them, Lord Jesus, as well.

As always, May the Name of Jesus be loved and honored! Amen!

For more information about the work of Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM, please see www.elizabethministry.com and www.reclaimsexualhealth.com.

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Slidewinder’s Plot

We’re all aware of the opportunities that have come to us through the internet. We also know the ease of finding (and challenges of avoiding!) pornographic material found there. The effect that pornography has on the minds, hearts and spirits of the young–and all of us, the not so young–is also clear.
I began to consider (after reading The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis) how Satan might view pornography. As I thought about it, I became all the more convinced of our need to plead the protection of the Lord Jesus and that of the guardian angels and archangels on behalf of those individuals who are fighting against the demons of pornography every day. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12 The following might help us to recognize and reflect on the battle that is being waged.

My Dear Cousin Screwtape,
As in eons past, the activities of several of our fellow demons had proven so successful that I wanted to bring to your attention a new opportunity. As you’re certainly aware, human technology has developed an interesting avenue for our work. We had been quite successful in subverting Man’s spiritual nature by showing him erotic pictures to rouse his animal nature. Oh, my! I find I’m using their grammatical forms in the masculine, which I am told is no longer acceptable! Besides, the whole concept of masculine and feminine reeks of the detestable procreation of humanity. The nasty vermin! Why should they have this apparent wonder of sexuality but not us? At any rate, we know that to make sexuality–basic animal instincts–into an ambivalent and androgynous condition (certainly a good thing for us) is to cause our patients to lose all sense of their male or female identities as (gag!) Children of the Divine Enemy. What a wondrous outcome! When these disgusting bipeds lose their sense of sexual identity, they also cease to recognize such entities as “Father,” (which again I gag at the word!). What a delightful situation! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We have always aimed toward the web of deceit as well as conceit, and our patients are falling hook, line and stinker into our hands. Their most fascinating “web”–as they call it, “The Internet,” an outgrowth of their technology–which had been intended to bring people together is actually having the opposite effect, to our devious benefit. My understanding is that the Divine Enemy had originally proposed sexuality to bond one man and one woman together–a totally illogical concept. Even from the beginning, say their writings, “They were made male and female and told to become one flesh.” How ridiculous! (One plus one equals one???) Fortunately for us, part of this “Internet Web”–at least the part they call pornography–is leading our subjects to be self-centered, rather than other-centered. I don’t recall which of our fellows is responsible for this outcome, but we have, as I say, been quite successful. At any rate it has become a delightful situation for us! No longer only pictures or photographs, but now live-action sexual encounters–which certainly appeal to a lower animal nature–are now available in this Internet whenever and wherever our subjects might want them. None of this one-to-one “bonding” thing! To our benefit, the bonding effect of sexuality is being forsaken, and the apparent delights of sexual activity are becoming self-gratifying. What was intended to be a unitive behavior is instead becoming totally self-centered and self-seeking. Sexual activity is even becoming less productive. The nasty bipeds are somehow becoming smart enough to avoid reproducing! How perfect for our purposes! When our subjects become self-seeking, they no longer love, as love is OTHER-seeking. Death to generosity! Death to faithfulness! Death to love!

One of the Enemy’s favorite lines identifies Himself as Love: “[The Enemy] is Love, and he who abides in Love abides in [the Enemy] and [the Enemy] abides in him.” (Even quoting His lines makes me quite nauseous. Pronouncing His Proper Three-Letter Name is totally disgusting. Four-letter words are much to be preferred; I can think of many delightful four-letter words, none of which is Love. But speaking the Five-Letter Name–which is the human Name of His Son–is excruciatingly more painful! That Five-Letter-Name sounds far too much like Love. Self-giving. Generosity. Kindness. Ugh!)

Pardon me while I get a refreshing whiff of putrid air.

So it appears that our Enemy supports and intends to share this ridiculous concept of Love! His goal was that these Disgusting Creatures, his “Children,” were to be selfless, totally self-giving, like His Royal Self and His Son! Totally “Other-centered.” Disgusting! This tendency must be eradicated at all costs! Self-centeredness is more appealing! Much more desirable! So much more like us! Pornography! Self-“Love”! Bring it on!

As you see this Internet is very beneficial for our purposes. Where sexuality is no longer associated with Love, all of human society breaks down. No more Love! No more “Father.” No more children of anyone! No more generosity or faithfulness or trust! Human society turning in on itself is certainly to be desired. Relationships break down! Hatred grows as Love dies! I can almost taste it!

So you see, my Dear Cousin, this opportunity has become a project of Yours Deceptively, I’m proud to say. I see it as an opportunity to destroy all that the Divine Enemy has planned for humanity. There are already thousands and even millions of our patients who are becoming our slaves. Their minds are ours. Their divinely planted instincts toward kindness and other-centeredness have broken down. They have become enslaved to pornography, spending huge amounts of energy and time (which I certainly don’t understand, since it’s beyond our realm) on themselves! What an outcome! Patients to subjects to slaves for Our Kingdom! Marvelous!

So, My Dear Cousin, continue to rally our troops to this insidious cause. When we succeed, it is nothing less than the end of our Enemy.

Your Renowned Cousin,

Slidewinder

 

Of course, the letter above is fictional, but the need for prayer and spiritual warfare is very real. Pornography is beginning to be recognized for what it is and what it does: It destroys trust, threatens marriages and breaks up families. The innocence of young children is being stolen. Pornography use takes an enormous toll on the conscience and self-respect of each person who has developed a dependence on it.

Bishop David Ricken, of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, has asked all who work with Elizabeth Ministry (for the care of women in the childbearing years) and RECLAiM (with the online program for the healing of pornography use and other unhealthy sexual practices) to be assiduous in prayer (Acts 1:14). He has asked us to come together and pray for the protection of God’s work in us. We ask that you also join us in prayer. Bishop has recommended the recitation of the prayer of St. Michael the Archangel three times daily. If you’re able, please take an hour of adoration weekly or pray the Rosary daily as spiritual warfare. Thank you.

Please present to the Lord these specific needs:

 For the needs of RECLAiM:

For students of RECLAiM, those men and women who are personally fighting their habits of porn use, and for those who support and counsel them with Christian Biblical and moral teaching.

For priests, deacons, pastors and church leaders of all denominations who work with young people, couples preparing for marriage and couples in marriage crisis, that their teaching would be aligned with the teachings of Christ and his Church.
For the education and training of priests, especially as they counsel men and women in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 For morally strong Christian and Catholic entertainers and film producers.

For the needs of Elizabeth Ministry:

For women who are bearing children with life-threatening challenges, especially Shannon and their daughter Frances, who carries Trisomy 18. Lord Jesus, give Shannon and all mothers comfort, courage, hope and strength as the time of their children’s birth comes closer.

 For women and families with new babies, especially those who were born prematurely. Continue, Jesus, to strengthen and heal their small bodies, especially their eyes and their hearts, that they may grow to be strong and healthy.

 For all women who are pregnant, especially those who are not married or who are considering abortion. Jesus, help them to see and recognize the wonder of life. Give them counselors and friends who can speak truth to them, truth that leads them to life for their children.

 For parents whose babies have died either in utero or after birth. Lord Jesus, Have mercy! Help us to support them in their grief and sorrow. Give us the words to say as they struggle to understand and accept Your choice for the lives of their children.

 For Elizabeth Ministers around the world, as they meet with women who are undergoing the challenges of childbearing. Give wisdom to both “Mary” and “Elizabeth” as each seeks and shares their concerns and experiences, that they may know the place that each woman has in God’s loving plan. Give courage and peace, as well, to those women who have learned that they are unable to bear children. Lead them to the alternative opportunities that you, Lord, have for them.

 For the spread of pro-life ministries such as RECLAiM and Elizabeth Ministry, for those who develop and lead these programs, for those who travel and speak to promote them, and for open hearts and spirits in those to whom they speak.

 For all who struggle with cancer and other life-threatening or debilitating diseases.
For the physical protection and healing of all who serve you, Lord Jesus!
We ask all these things in Your Mighty Name, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, now and forever!

Amen! and Alleluia!

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Life Springs Forth

I don’t know where you are, but here in Wisconsin, Spring is in Full Blush! It’s delightful to watch the trees come to life again. How do they do that? Sure, they’re trees; it’s in their DNA. (Maybe. I don’t know; I’m not a tree specialist, botanist or whatever!) First you see the little clumpy buds. After a few days they form the leaf clumps. Maybe blossoms. Before long, the leaves on a maple tree are shaped like maple leaves, and eventually–on their own time schedule–the leaves on an oak tree become oak leaves. And suddenly, on a sunny day, Ta-Da!! We Have Shade again!! Amazing!!

Do we need to know how trees do it? No, probably not! Can we delight in the beauty of creation–or actually the Creator who made trees to do that? Absolutely!!! The Master Architect knew that snow would break down leaf-laden branches, so he designed them to give up their leaves, that we might understand death, and life after death!

A few weeks ago when the sugar maple sap was running, and the trees were wearing their sap buckets, it occurred to me how fun it would be to put a bucket at the same height on a telephone pole nearby and see if anyone would notice and get a chuckle or two. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in my yard…!

Seriously though, one could say that spring is creation’s celebration of Christ’s Resurrection! We’ve grown to expect spring, and look forward desperately to it, especially after a really cold, long winter. I often wonder what early civilizations thought of the changing seasons, the changing lengths of daylight, and the changing moons. It must have been frightening! No wonder they began to worship the sun or the moon, just in case! We do know that the early Israelites “marked the times and seasons” with festivals, new moons and Sabbaths. Even now, some civilizations don’t use calendars; they record time with the changing of the seasons: planting, harvesting, rainy or dry seasons.

As Christians, and especially as Catholics, we have Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and “Ordinary Time” (which means weeks listed in numerical order, rather than “time when nothing is happening.” We’re currently in Easter Time, of course, celebrating and remembering Jesus’ Resurrection, and soon it will be Pentecost. As the seasons have changed, winter has turned to spring, the “dead” has come back to life. Joyfully, There’s More!! Here’s another amazing thought:

JESUS’ RESURRECTION IS THE “SECOND BIG BANG“!!!

Listen to this: “Scientists seek to understand the created world through observation and reason. Very often, the evidence is unavailable, or there are missing pieces of data. So, science formulates a theory to propose what might likely be true based on what information is available….. A good case in point is the attempt to explain the origin of the universe. There is evidence that can be observed: matter and energy expanding outward over time. But, there is also a point at which the evidence is not available. So, the scientists formulated a theory, based on what they can observe; it is commonly called the “Big Bang.” …. [T]he revealed truth that religion provides is as follows: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). This is a truth that science cannot know by observation. Science can only approach the truth from another vantage point, and a limited one at that.
“All of this leads to a thought on the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the central truth of the Easter mystery. This, too, is reality that is beyond the reach of science. In some ways, we can think of the Resurrection of Jesus as the second “Big Bang.” Much as the first one (if that is indeed what occurred) unleashed the creative force of God’s will, the Resurrection of Jesus has unleashed the creative force of a new creation, willed by the Father. And, just as the Word was present “in the beginning” of the first creation, “and apart from Him nothing came into being” (cf. Jn 1:1-5), so the same Word (this time made flesh in Jesus Christ) is the source of the new creation.
“Jesus is the source of creation and the new creation—“Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5). He is “the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13).” from Bishop James Johnston Jr., of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, the Catholic Diocese in Southern Missouri, as quoted in his “On The Way” column, (http://dioscg.org/wordpress/?p=11344.)

So, what about you and me? How do we mirror Jesus Resurrection? How has this “Second Big Bang” affected you and me? How have we changed? How have we put on Life? Have we changed since last year or several years ago. Have we put on Life? The “New Evangelization” is calling us to grow holier, more prayerful, more engaged in our faith and our relationship with Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit. More ALIVE!

It’s easy to tell if a tree isn’t alive. No leaves. No growth. In some cases, no fruit.

We have a plum tree. It’s maybe four years old now, and either the squirrels and birds are eating the fruit that we don’t see, or the tree just isn’t bearing fruit. As one statement on the internet says about plum trees, “No plum tree should stand alone,” and the same is true of Christians. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” He also says, “I am going to the Father and we will send you the Spirit.” (OK, my translation.) So of course even the Father doesn’t stand alone! Here’s an interesting passage from the Gospel of John chapter 15. Jesus starts speaking of the true vine and his Father, the Vinedresser, and how necessary it is that the vine bear fruit. At the end of John chapter 15, Jesus is speaking of “bearing witness.” Hmmm. Interesting! So what are we doing to bear: fruit or more fruit? Witness or “more witness”! Looks like there are only two choices: bear fruit/witness or get pruned. What is the Lord calling YOU to do??? And if you get pruned, it’s to bear more fruit! Don’t let yourself get lopped off and thrown away!!!

One of the things we’re called to do is to pray and intercede for one another. Here are some of the prayer needs that we see around RECLAiM and Elizabeth Ministry, and of course asking others to pray with us is a subtle way of acknowledging that prayer does reach the Father who will mercifully respond to his children’s needs:

Jesus, we continually ask your mercy on all RECLAiM students. Guide them and keep them faithful to the retraining of their minds and the changes in their behavior. Give them the wise support they need from friends, spouses and counselors. Bless also the RECLAiM staff, ministers and all who work with RECLAiM. Provide an opening, Lord Jesus, for the further education of the clergy and parents in working with youth and children who have developed a dependence on pornography. Set them free, Lord!!! Work as well, Lord Jesus, in the minds and bodies of those with all sorts of addictions. Jesus, Set them free!!!

Thank you, Jesus! Little Therese (born prematurely at 1 lb 9 oz!) is finally out of NICU and home from the hospital!!! Her eyesight is being carefully watched, as with that of all early premature babies. Protect her and all preemies, that their underdeveloped eyes and optic nerves may continue to develop properly, to give them healthy vision. Touch their little hearts as well, Jesus, and keep them steadily beating! And keep those little ones growing!! Help their parents and families to be patient and attentive to their baby’s needs, as well as the needs of older siblings, without growing weary. Help all of us who are near families with needy new babies to be generous doing what we can to support their families! Bless as well the doctors and medical staff members, that they may be sensitive to the needs of parents and other siblings.

Oh, Lord! “Sheila’s” unborn baby, “Frances,” has been diagnosed with Trisomy 18! Give “Sheila” and her family the courage and peace they will need as Frances grows in utero, until her due date in late June. In spite of the negative prognosis, let her be born healthy! If your plan would be otherwise, let Frances’ family courageously witness to the value of her life! Give them the grace they need to lovingly care for Frances for as long as she needs care, until you call her from their side.

And, Oh Jesus! There are so many women who grieve! So many miscarry! So many grieve abortions that they had earlier chosen out of ignorance or fear! So many who would lovingly raise children aren’t able to conceive! So many struggle with the children that they have! Heal family life! Help these women, their husbands, and their families, Lord! Heal and give wisdom! So many children are being victimized, neglected and abused! Lord! Set our culture free from the serious devaluing of children! Help us to see children as your gift to us!

Lord Jesus, “Christy” has serious post-partum depression and has been hospitalized. Please deal with the situations that cause stress; heal her and give her hope! Bless as well her husband and children, as well as her extended family, that they may be supportive. Bless and protect the physical and emotional health of all new mothers.

Lord Jesus, we continue to ask your help with Abbi’s needs. Her parents are both in seriously ill health as well. Please send your guiding and guarding angels around all of her family. Please continue to heal Abbi from the cancer that has been attacking her sinus passages, and give her a triple portion of courage, strength and trust!

Thank you, Lord, for the steady healing of Bruce’s knee surgery. Protect him and all recovering medical patients from infection or discouragement.

Continue, Lord Jesus, to bless and protect all those who work with Elizabeth Ministry. Bless especially those working to bring about the timely publication of the new Pastoral Guide: Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Newborn Loss. Continue, Lord Jesus, to bless the work of Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM, for your glory and the healing that comes through your Resurrection and the new life that we Your Body may now experience.

All these things we ask in Your Mighty Name, Lord Jesus, now and forever. Amen!

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Resurrection Presence

Have you seen Jesus today?  Why is it that he sneaks in and out of our lives so subtly? As a matter of fact, what a strange word! “Subtle”: textured, like cloth on a loom; finely woven. Sub. Below. Undercover. But in “subtle” the “b” is silent! It’s almost the way Jesus is. We sense his presence and just as quickly, he’s gone again! In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus walks with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. He’s there suddenly, walking with, and just as suddenly vanished. Why does he keep doing that?

Palm Sunday, he’s there, honored and celebrated. All week he’s there. Seems like he always has been and always will be. But sudden upheaval! Overnight he’s gone! Tortured! Crucified! Dead! With hardly a trial.  No more to be seen…..! End of story!

Just as suddenly, Jesus returns; after having been dead and buried, he returns! New and never to die again! A new day! A new creation!! And then suddenly he vanishes. Why does he keep doing that to us?

Another Thought: I like the image from the Gospel according to Matthew. On the first day of the week following Jesus’ crucifixion,  “…there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Now that’s attitude!  Death could no longer hold Jesus! If death could no longer hold Jesus, what’s a big stone to block the way of people seeing that Jesus’ body is no longer inside? There could be nothing to hold Jesus back.  The problem was that the people couldn’t see inside to notice that he was no longer there.

So the angel came and rolled back the stone for the sake of the women outside. Not only did he roll back the stone, but, with an air of authority, the angel sat on it, as if to say. “No problem here! Just a pebble blocking your way!”

The angel also rolled back the stone for the sake of the guards, “who were shaken with fear and became like dead men”! Since the guards had no faith and no expectation of seeing anything at a tomb, of course they were shaken! (I’d like to hear their original story–the one they told the chief priests before they were bribed to tell another one! I’ve often wondered whatever happened to those guards in their later life. Did they also have faith?) The women, however, were also shaken, as the angel said, “Do not be afraid….”, but they were “seeking Jesus the crucified.” The angel’s act of removing the stone was to clarify, substantiate and increase their faith. Our human nature goes on an attitude of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” They saw and believed!

When we experience “stones” blocking our way to Jesus, how do we respond? Fear? Undoubtedly! Hopelessness? Perhaps. Or do we expect an angel to roll back our stones so that we may see the presence of the Newly Risen One? Or do we sense Jesus walking with us suddenly, subtly? Is he suddenly there “like the dewfall” as we hear at Mass? Yes to all of the above! Perhaps if we were to see him continually, we’d cling to him as Mary Magdalen did, rather than appreciating his comforting Presence in the sudden moments when we do experience him among us! Perhaps he’s saying to us, “Keep looking! The more you look for me, the more often you’ll find me!”

May we see Jesus in the subtle ways he presents himself now. May he send angels to remove the stones that block our awareness of his presence!

Lord, Jesus, help our faith grow. More precious than fire-tried gold, you value it! Purify our faith! Lead us to you, Lord! Help us to see you! Show yourself to us! Open our eyes! Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord! Cleanse our hearts! Remove the blocks, the stones, from our path to you!

There seem to be many stones blocking our paths to the Risen Lord. Here are the ones we know; this is our opportunity through prayer to ask the Lord to send an angel to roll back the stones in the paths of our brothers and sisters:

Lord Jesus, protect and bless with courage and perseverance the students in the RECLAiM program that you may break the hold of their addictive dependence on pornography. Protect and bless as well the mentors, coaches and team leaders of RECLAiM. Send your powerful archangel Michael to keep all of them–students and leaders–safe from the wiles of Satan, our ever-active adversary. Protect as well those who travel to promote the truth of your healing power through RECLAiM. Let hearts be open to the work that you, Lord, are doing, that the good news of your healing power may spread.

Lord Jesus, You who made us and have the power to heal us. In Your Name we ask your mercy and presence to heal the many who are physically suffering. Protect, comfort and heal Abbi following her cancer surgery. Speed her healing and make it so that she doesn’t need chemo. Reach into the bodies and spirits of all who suffer from cancer;  keep them from depression. Give them courage and peace, and their families as well.  

Lord Jesus, remember Bruce as well, a primary leader of RECLAiM, that You would speed the healing of his knee replacement surgery. Make him a patient but persevering patient!

Jesus, so many babies, born and yet-to-be-born need your touch and healing. Continue to protect little Therese who is now up to 33 weeks, having been born at 26 weeks . Protect her eyesight; keep her growing healthy and strong. Help her to bond with Nikki and Alex, since she may now be touched and held. Protect and care for Lauren and Kyle’s unborn child, who they’re told has serious heart problems. Protect and strengthen Lauren and Kyle as well; protect them especially from fear. Newborn baby Rose Marie was born with spinal bifida and is recovering from surgery. Protect her and her parents. Protect all parents who have learned of the presence of their newly-conceived babies, that they may CHOOSE LIFE for them!

We also bring before you, Jesus, all of our previous needs:

                    -for parents whose expected children died before birth; console them in their sorrow.

                    – for healthy marriages and those who are engaged and planning to be wed. Help those who struggle with contraceptive use; help them to choose and develop the communications skills needed for natural family planning, as well as those who support and teach NFP.

                    -for those unable to conceive, that, in their sorrow and confusion, you might direct them to the further plan you have for their marriage.

                    -for those with same sex attractions, that their confusion may be cleared and the direction of their hearts and spirits might be in conformity with Your will for them as men or women.

Lord Jesus, our needs are many, and most of them haven’t been mentioned. You know, Lord what we need most of all. Help us to love as You love and to forgive as You forgive. As we continue throughout this Holy Season of Easter, draw us closer to You and to one another. Help us to recognize You and the way You work in us today. Heal our world; give our national and world leaders wisdom that we might become a people after Your Own Heart. Blest be the Mighty Name of Jesus, now and forever!

In consideration of the appearance and disappearance of the Resurrected Jesus, read Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two (Holy Week to the Resurrection) especially Chapter 9, part 2b, “The appearances of Jesus in the Gospels.”

 

 

 

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Prayer News and Reviews

A Blessed Feast day Honoring Saint Joseph!

Have you ever made plans and had them blown to the winds? I suppose Saint Joseph surely must have felt that way! He was betrothed to the beautiful and virtuous virgin Mary, and suddenly she says, “Guess what, Joseph! I’m pregnant, but I had an angel tell me that it’s OK because I’m to be the mother of the Messiah!” (Have you seen the movie Mary of Nazareth? If you haven’t, you must!) What trust Joseph must have had! And what courage and conviction we see in Mary!

It sounds “virtuous” when it’s Mary or Joseph, but what about when it’s You? Plans are made; reservations and flights are scheduled, and then……Or not! All of us–at least those with children–have been properly prepared for a big occasion, the children are in their best clothes and you’re even on schedule, and suddenly you hear the unpleasant sounds, and an urgent voice:  “Mom, Katherine just threw up on me.”

So, Blessed Saint Joseph, Pray for us!

Our plans for the immediate future had included a flight to Phoenix for a Men’s Conference on Saturday, March 22nd, with Husband Michael representing RECLAiM there. A three-week visit with sister and brother. Maybe a road trip to Southern California. Warm weather, which is especially appreciated here in Wisconsin. No snow banks, puddles, icky dirty snow or potholes. Palm trees and warm breezes. Returning to serve at another Men’s Conference in Sioux City. (Ah, finally exercising the Ministry the Lord has for us.)

And then:  News that a favorite uncle is dying in eastern Iowa. (Nowhere near Sioux City!) OK, a visit there. Back home. News that Favorite Uncle has died. (Thank you, Lord, for setting him free!) Funeral likely on Thursday! (OK, that’ll work; we’ll still get to Phoenix….) Oh, Funeral on Saturday??? (HMMMf! Now what???? So much for the Men’s Conference….! Any day but Saturday!)

So, the Lord asks us, as He’s asked all of us more than once in the past:  Am I Lord of your life? Are you willing to trust Me again?  “For my thoughts are  not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

So, like Mary and Joseph who  had their plans changed more than once (and for life-threatening reasons!) each of us has had a few twists and detours in our roads! But when those twists and detours do come up, how do we respond? Frustration? Disappointment? Anger? Selfishness? Unfortunately, most of us would say Yes. (At least for a few moments!) And then Reality sinks in: Do we have a home to come back to? Is this a Life-Threatening Situation?  Or is it simply an opportunity to grow in spiritual maturity and to love as Jesus loved?

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Lord Jesus, There are so many situations in life that are only tests. Help us when we encounter frustration. Help us to see the bigger picture: Loved ones are missing; Console the sorrowful! Families are broken by war and political unrest; Give strength to the weary! Homes have been destroyed; Children are fearful; Lord Jesus, Let the little children come to you! Help us to shelter the oppressed! Give us wisdom and patience, courage and gentleness! Let us be other-centered. Cleanse our selfish hearts and give us generous hearts!

Thank you for your prayers on behalf of our Little Ones! I learned that “Bresail” is actually Bresaiah [Bre-say-ah]. We need to keep up the prayers that she would learn more quickly to suck, breathe and swallow. Pray for her parents, Katie and Mitch, especially for a good job for Mitch.

Two-year-old Maddie is home from the hospital, but her parents are having a difficult time keeping her blood sugars steady. Pray for Jackie and Matt.

Tiny Therese is now up to 2lb 12 oz and has been switched to low-flow oxygen. Her heart rate dips throughout the day, which isn’t unusual for a preemie of her size. There is no swelling due to her brain bleed. Thank you, Lord!! Continue praying for her parents, Nikki and Alex, that they receive the support they need to continue with courage and patience.

Please pray also for 11-month-old Aadyha  [AH-dee-ah] and her parents. Aadyha has received care at Milwaukee Burn Center and is back at home after receiving second and third degree burns covering the palm of her hand. (She had enjoyed ‘kissing the little girl in the fireplace mirror’ and tried it when there was a fire burning…! Oh, Jesus, help her!!) Please pray that the nerves and muscles in her hand will completely heal to normal use.

Along that line, see a blog by Mark Shea, about the miraculous healing of another child burn victim: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/private-revelation-i-had-something-weird-happen-to-me-once

Please continue to pray for Tom and Amy who buried their miscarried son, Gabriel on March 10th. Lord Jesus, console them in their sorrow! Mary, please join us in presenting to your Son the needs of these little ones! Let them be protected from  harm in the womb!

Please continue prayers for “Alice” who is scheduled for surgery on April 14th. Alice has cancerous growths in her sinuses, but the swelling must be gone for  her surgery to be successful. Pray for her and the unpleasant side effects of the medications.

Thank you, Jesus, for protecting Jeannie from serious colon concerns. Continue to strengthen her and restore her to full health and vigor!

Lord Jesus, our needs are many, and most of them haven’t been mentioned. You know, Lord what we need most of all. Help us to love as You love and to forgive as You forgive. As we continue in this Holy Season of Lent, draw us closer to You and to one another. Heal our world; give our national and world leaders wisdom that we might become a people after Your Own Heart. Blest be the Mighty Name of Jesus, now and forever!

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Prayer News ‘N’ Views

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What’s UP with Prayer?

A blessed and holy Lent to each and all of us!

We at Elizabeth Ministry International have just come off a series of Mother and Daughter Retreats over the past two weekends, and are looking forward to the Feminine Genius Conference this Saturday, March 8th. What wonderful opportunities for women to gather and build up godly relationships! Bless the speakers, Lord, and all who gather!

Little did I know or realize that the theme of the Feminine Genius Conference was to be the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary! That’s exactly the focus of reflections I hope to be using in this blog. Of course the Lord is at work!

So What’s UP with Prayer? “U Pray! You Pray!” Whatever you’re doing can be an opportunity for prayer! Changing your baby? “Thank you, Lord, for diapers. Bless the mother who’s budget is stressed with diapers! Thank you, Lord, that our daughter is healthy and happy. Bless the mother who’s tending a sick baby today! Give her courage and patience, and heal her little one.

One of the prayer needs we currently see is for a tiny baby, Therese (pronounced Te-rez) who is now up to 2 pounds! Here’s the update from Jennifer in Florida:

After being on hospital bed rest for nearly two weeks with a partial placental abruption, Nikki went into labor on the night of the tenth [of February] and gave birth to sweet baby Therese on February 11th at 10:07am. She was only 24 weeks and 4 days and weighed 1lb 9oz. She was born on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Therese is currently in the NICU at [the] Hospital and all the nurses have noticed that she is a feisty little girl.  She will probably be in the hospital for at least the next four months. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We hope this site will help keep everyone connected during our family’s new journey.

Therese has been doing well the past few days. Praise God!! I always tell the nurses that no news is the best news. It was a crazy day in the NICU and there are many other little souls that need our prayers. I don’t know all of their names, but please pray that their guardian angels would protect them from harm.

So, Lord Jesus, do bless and protect these little ones whose angels in heaven always see the face of your Father.  (Matt 18:10) Bless their parents as well as the doctors, nurses and technicians who work with them. Give them wisdom and patience. Blessed Mary, be with those parents! As you left the limited security of a simple stable’s shelter, and moved into the unknown path to Egypt, give them the comfort of your presence!

There’s also Katie and Mitch’s baby, Bresail here in Wisconsin. She’s home from the hospital after 18 days in NICU, but she’s having problems sucking, breathing and swallowing in proper order.  Lord Jesus, give Katie the security of knowing that “this too shall pass.” Protect Bresail and let her grow to be healthy and strong. Give Mitch the job that he needs to provide for the needs of his little family.

There’s also Maddie, a two year old daughter of Jackie and Matt. She went from the ER to Children’s Hospital with apparent diabetic shock or a seizure. Bless and protect them, Lord! Give wisdom to doctors and all those who care for Maddie so that they find the root of  her problem. Keep Maddie from fear and help her to communicate her needs!  Help all young children! Protect them from harmful and fearful memories. Give them the comfort and security of your sheltering presence, Lord! And put those big strong arms around their parents as well!

And Lord, while we’re on the subject of medical care, meet the needs of St. Gianna Molla Guild. Give wisdom to those who provide medical care and work with physicians and ethical issues. Lord Jesus, our world needs your help! So many doctors and health care workers need wisdom. Speak truth to their hearts and clear away the dross and the fog!

Lord, Bless Shannon with their five children and new baby. She’s been overwhelmed! Help those bigger children to be helpful–and her husband to be patient, organized, sensitive and understanding–and keep their one-year-old from feeling insecure!

And, Jesus, there are so many women/couples who would love to have a baby and are unable to conceive. There are also women who are shocked that they have conceived and don’t know what to do and where to go with their babies.  Help them, Lord! Mary, you who know the confusion and anxiety of being pregnant and unmarried, help those women to bear their children with pride that they have chosen life for them.  Give those mothers and babies a future and a hope.

Jesus, there’s also “Annie” who’s in college, depressed and dealing with same sex attractions. Be a source of strength for her; speak truth to her heart and give her the support of Christian friends.

And Helen in California reminds us to remind You that they need rain! Some of us are tired of winter; some of us are tired of cold. You Who have power and authority over the winds, the waves, and the rains, give us what we need most. And patience, Lord!

April reminds us to pray for healthy marriages and couples who are preparing for marriage. Lord Jesus, please bless marriage counselors and FOCCUS couples, Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille leaders, and all who work with marriages that need help.

And Jesus, continue to help “Alice” and give her wisdom and courage in dealing with the cancer that has attached her sinus passages. Give her the familial support that she needs and the knowledge that your loving hand is upon her, protecting her, and healing her. Take care of all the details of her family’s needs as she goes in for treatment.

Jesus, we’re so glad you’re capable of multitasking!!! Thank you for meeting so many needs that your people have! Help us to keep before our eyes your loving care. Help us to be attentive to the needs of others, even as you were and continue to be. Amen!!

 

 

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Prayer Needs and Prayer Warriors Needed as Well!

Greetings, Elizabeth Ministers and Friends!

As you likely know, Elizabeth Ministry is a gathering of women who reach out to one another especially in the times and challenges of conceiving, giving birth and raising healthy and Godly children. In past years, women cared for one another over the back fences and along the clothes lines. Today, as many of us are farther away from our familial  support systems, we need the support of other caring women. Elizabeth Ministry is meeting that need with chapters in more than 700 Christian–mostly Catholic–churches, with women who are trained and committed to caring for their members and to reaching out to other women in need.

We now have the opportunity to express the needs we have and to provide prayer support in a newer technology! Elizabeth Ministry International, in Northeastern Wisconsin, (www.elizabethministry.com)  is the hub of Elizabeth Ministry. Our staff of caring women is here for you! We need your help too! We need prayer ministers across the country and would like to draw from the churches where we already have EM chapters. Would you like to help? Do you know women (and men!) who are recognized as prayer warriors? When you need someone to pray for you or with you, do you call on them? As it happens in life, many of the women who have been our strongest Elizabeth Ministers now have families grown and grandchildren coming. One of the best and most significant things they can contribute is their prayer! These are the women (and men!) that we need!

If you are committed to daily prayer, have an active email address, and know of others who pray regularly, please contact us at prayers@elizabethministry.com. Give us your name/s, location (and EM chapter), and the email address to which we can send prayer requests.  In many cases, the person/s needing prayer might be given confidential names, but they are real persons who very much need prayer support. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them!” We certainly need Our Blessed Lord Jesus to address the Father with us for our many needs!

We do have immediate prayer needs: One of our EMI staff members has just today received news that she has some cancerous growths in her sinus passages. Please begin praying for her. We also need prayer for a woman who has learned that she’s pregnant and is planning to abort.

Lord Jesus, we come before you asking for your mercy! You have the power to do all things; you have power and authority over the winds and waves. You have power over death and sickness, skin diseases, deafness and blindness! Touch these two women and all other women who need your help today, and set them free. Protect them from fear and anxiety; place the mantle of your love and protection around them. Bless their families and loved ones, and let them be supportive, speaking truth to them. By your power, Lord Jesus, bind up the powers of the Evil One. Protect also those who are in the path of storms, wind, rain and ice. Speak to us, Lord Jesus, of the gifts of prayer and intercession, for you have said, “Whatever you ask, I will give you!” We do ask life for this very small baby; we ask life and health for all who need strength in their challenges today. Thank you, Jesus, for listening to our prayer! Amen!!

Our bishop, the bishop of the Green Bay diocese, Bp. David Ricken, has asked us to pray the St. Michael the Archangel prayer three times daily. (He refers to it as ‘pest control’!). Please join us also in praying this prayer regularly.

PRAYER TO
SAINT MICHAEL  THE ARCHANGEL

St. Michael the Archangel,  defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,  O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,  thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen..

Thank you, Friends, for considering the ministry of prayer! Please contact us at prayers@elizabethministry.com if you’re interested in being a prayer minister. If you need prayer support, please also send us an email. “God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Elizabeth Ministry International’s Prayer Request Blog

Please feel free to send your prayer requests to prayers@elizabethministry.com. Your prayers will be passed on to multiple prayer goups and Elizabeth Ministry International Staff especially assigned to pray for you.  Please note clearly in your email if you wish to remain anonymous.

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