Sunday September 25, 2016 Remain

Posted September 25, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion how can the love of God remain in him?  1 John 3:17

There is often opportunity to give to the poor.  Every day when I walk the streets of Orlando on my way to an appointment, I see a homeless person.  They are on the street corners with signs asking for food or money for a bed for the night.  My friend, Scott Billue, who works in ministry to help,  tells me NOT to give them cash because that goes to drugs or liquor so I started carrying food and gift cards for McDonalds.

My small gestures cannot cure the problems of even one person but they help me remain in the LOVE of God.  Each person is asked by Jesus “Who do you say I am?” Is Jesus the beggar on the street corner?  Is He the homeless person who needs a shower and a haircut?  If my job is to remain in a relationship with Jesus, how can I be sure where He will appear next?

I believe God asks me to remain faithful to HIM!  No matter what the circumstances might be.  Today the Gospel is about seeing the poor and assisting them out of their misery.  Lazarus, the poor beggar lay at the door of the rich man who had five brothers who were all living a life of selfishness and greed.  They were ignoring the needs of those who were in plain sight.  This rich man was condemned to hell while Lazarus remained resting in the lap of luxury in heaven.  Jesus rose from the dead to give me a new lease on life.  When I don’t see the needs of the poor and share my worldly means, I will be condemned.  Compassion is a two way street!

Lord open my eyes to the needs of those around me.  Show me the best way to be of service to relieve the suffering in the most compassionate way possible. I wish to always remain securely in the love that You shower upon Your faithful followers

Friday September 23, 2016 Stigmata

Posted September 23, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

From now on, let no one make troubles for me, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.  Galatians 6:17

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, or Padre Pio, as I grew up knowing him.  He was an Italian Capuchin priest who was a remarkable preacher and has a reputation for sanctity that was known worldwide.  He bore the visible stigmata (Stigmata is a term used by members of the Christian faith to describe body marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists, and feet. Wikipedia).  He prayed to have these removed because he was under suspicion, false accusations and much investigation because of them.  In his case these signs were more “Stigma” than stigmata.  Padre Pio bore it well and said, “It is under the cross that one learns to love.”

No one wishes to suffer, whether that suffering is in our body, our mind or in our spirit.  There is a time for everything. A time to be born and a time to die, A time to plant and a time to sow.  A time to kill and a time to heal.   I love the song Turn , Turn, Turn based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-11.  Padre Pio came to embrace his suffering when God said NO.  So for 50 years he bore the bloody marks at his wrists and feet, a constant reminder of God’s presence.

I wonder about this phenomena.  There have been 400 reported cases since the 13th century.  God has allowed His people to be a living witness to what His Son endured on Good Friday.  Women and men have born the wounds.  Some have had the marks of the Crucifix, others the nails and some even the lance.   It is amazing to me how a cup of blood and fluid oozed from Padre Pio’s body each day and there were doubters.  Then I think that there are some who doubt the moon landing.  Faith is a gift and only those who are called will ever receive it.

Lord help me to believe with all my heart.  Open my mind to see You ever present among Your people.  In some You are manifest in very unique and special ways.  I am grateful that You continue to love me even when I sin. 

Thursday September 22, 2016 Heart

Posted September 22, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?  Was not my soul grieved for the needy?  Job 30:25

Job went through a deep soul searching to try and figure out where he went wrong.  He was convinced that God was punishing him by his “friends” when disaster after disaster befell him.  But what he asks himself is not what sin he committed but where he did not measure up.   He knew he did not sin outright by breaking the ten commandments BUT what he challenged himself by asking… Did I lose heart for those in need?

Jesus told us that we would always have the poor.  I really believe that this is not because we cannot find a way to feed everyone and house every person but because we need to have a way to demonstrate love.  If our wealth was so evenly distributed that no one needed anything, I am sure our lives would become quite self-centered.  Each of us NEEDS to feel passionately about someone or something bigger than ourselves.  It gives me focus and shapes me to have something that I know needs my attention.  For me, helping to provide educational opportunities so that women can achieve equality and have the security to provide stability for themselves and their families is my driving force.  For others, providing medical services to poor and indigent, helping those who are walking with a child who is abused or has cancer, assisting veterans who have been forgotten or feeding the hungry of all ages… draws a passionate response from the deepest part of their soul.

Jesus tells us to be His disciple means to follow HIM with a willing heart.  He will bless you and me not because of our ability to fix these problems but because of our availability.   He will use each one of His children to make life better for others because we are open and willing to be His hands and feet.

Lord, I am empty and a sinner unlike Job who was a perfect example of Your holy child.  Help me to constantly be open to allow You to fill me and allow me to serve You and those You place in my path.  Help me to have a HEART for those who need me.   

Tuesday September 20, 2016 Burning

Posted September 20, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scripture to us?”  Luke 24:32

Have you ever felt your heart burning?  Not the indigestion kind of heartburn but the on fire kind of feeling when you hear a stirring sermon or witness someone who is living the Gospel… like Mother Theresa or Pope John Paul ll.  I have had many moments when my heart burned for love of Jesus but the first will always be the most significant.

I was invited to attend a weekend retreat.  It was held at a church and we women slept on wrestling mats in the gymnasium.  I looked around and started to bolt.  This was certainly not what I needed or so I thought.  My confusion and anger ran very deep.  I had done it all “right” in my life and still I found myself divorced and alone.  In the typical fashion, witness talks had filled Saturday and we were invited to the chapel for Evening Prayer and reflection in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  The Scripture reading was on the Prodigal Son but was really about the Forgiving Father.  During that moment, my heart burned and I knew that I was forgiven for my anger and rebellion.  I knew that Jesus was walking beside me and that His love was enough to mend my broken heart.  When I realized that I was being the older brother filled with resentment, I accepted my Father’s everlasting love and began to heal.

Scripture is full of the wisdom that heals and sets a fire ablaze in the hearts of those who are opened to it.  Sometimes I have had to be pulled kicking and screaming into His loving presence but the fire that may have been banked can always be reignited if I will only stop and listen.  Lord I am so grateful that You don’t give up on me.  That You continue to fuel my tiny flame with Your love! 

Monday September 19, 2016 Anxious

Posted September 19, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

Yes we have spent a few anxiety filled days since Thursday morning when Gary awoke to a heart attack.  It was as we look back, such a God appointed situation.  I had arisen early and was fully dressed and praying when he came to tell me he was driving himself to the hospital  (Very Big Grin Here).  We arrived at the hospital at the change of shift so there were plenty of people to care for him and NO lines of people waiting in the ER!  He was into the Heart Cath Lab by 7:30 am and into his room in ICU by 9:30AM.  Miracle.

I asked for prayer and received it from you and many who we have never met.  Prayer and supplications were lifted and surrounded Gary, his medical team and me throughout the day.  We both keep remarking how God orchestrated everything for Gary’s deliverance during this very tenuous situation.   I am truly overwhelmed with thanksgiving as I write this and awestruck at how God helped me to remain calm and delivered the right people into my life to remind me that God had everything in His Hands.

Peace which surpasses all understanding is a gift that only God can give.  I knew that Gary would be given a new lease on life.  I pray that He will be able to dance at all of our grandchildren’s weddings, and live to see the next generation be born.  He has mastered the art of grand parenting and I would hate to deny the children of our future generation his doting love and extravagant devotion.  I am so grateful that God has been so generous with each of us.

It is hard NOT to be anxious when crisis looms.  Lord help me always put my trust in You!  I am grateful for Your deliverance and the divine choreography of the past several days.  Only You Lord could make everything work together for good.  I am indeed Your grateful daughter! 

Thursday September 15, 2016 Paraklesis

Posted September 15, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The word paraklesis appears twenty-nine times in the new testament.  It is translated as comfort here but the range of meanings encompasses comfort, consolation, and encouragement.  In this passage from St Paul it is translated to the word “Comfort” seven times.  This passage assures me that I can and should seek that comfort so I can in turn pass it on.  There is no substitute for the comfort of Jesus!  He stands firm when I am floundering like a small child in search of a shoulder to lean on or arms to feel protected in.

Jesus delivers His paraklesis in many ways to each of those who follow Him.  To me it may mean the calming rest in the storm of life.  To another it may mean consolation in times of loss or mourning and at other times and circumstances the blessed encouragement to go on in spite of bewildering odds. The Holy Spirit is the Paraklete and delivers to God’s people whatever form of Comfort, Consolation and Encouragement is needed.

I began this at 6 AM and it is now 3PM.  Gary walked in while I was typing and informed me he was going to drive himself to the hospital.  He was having shortness of breath, heaviness in his chest and weakness in his right arm.  I took one look at him and bolted from the chair… he had just gotten out of the shower and was sweating profusely.  We were at the hospital in 15 minutes and he was indeed having a heart attack.  They did a catheterization and inserted a stent in one of his arteries that was blocked 95%.  He is now resting in ICU and I am home for a few minutes letting the dog out.

Truly on this holy day… remembering Our Lady of Sorrows, I have received comfort from all the prayers and support from friends and family.   I have been consoled by the talented and dedicated medical staff and I have been encouraged by friends who came by the hospital, wrote emails and texted.  God has visited us through His people.  I am blessed and grateful for His Paraklesis who has embraced Gary and me during this time of affliction.

Wednesday September 14, 2016 Sufficient

Posted September 14, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Sufficient is a funny word.  Not many times do I think in terms of what would be sufficient.  In a more society… it is about how much.  What I want is not usually described in sufficiency but in the grandiose.  A bigger house, a nicer car, a better job, a more exclusive title at work seem always to have been what I was striving for.  Lessons of humility have taught me that when I am feeling the most weak and vulnerable is when God is able to do His best work.

Finding myself at the end of my abilities to achieve what I want is always where God lives.  When I struggle to achieve the wrong kind of reward, then I am frustrated and most unsuccessful.  When I do what I can and say to Jesus, “Could You please drive?” then and only then can I get to where I know God wants me to be.  Listening to my heart and admitting where I am lacking has always been hard for me.  I want to be able to do it all… easily.  That is NOT spiritual but totally human.  St Paul had it right!  When I finally empty myself is the only time when God can step in and dwell there.

Lord, I stand before You, emptying myself so that You can dwell in me.  Turn my weakness into Your strength.  Allow me to be Your Servant with the wisdom and sensitivity to work always according to Your Plan.  Fill me with Your Spirit so that the forces of darkness will not be victorious.