LOVE HAS A FACE; part 1

tabernacle

If love had a face, what would it look like?

I read a great quote by Heidi Baker about revival looks like. She talked about how it looks like stopping daily for the one in front of you and looking into his or her eyes.  We have to see the “one’.  If we cannot see the “one”, we will not be able to deal with the multitudes.  If we see the “one”, we will understand suffering, because we will see one child that is dying from cancer. We will see one mother angry that God would take her innocent child. We will see the one widow trying to not lose her faith as she tries to imagine how she will raise up her children alone. We will see one man struggling with pornography and the impact it has on his marriage.  Revival is about looking into the eyes of the “one”  and seeing Jesus looking back at you.

So it seems to me that revival is about an encounter of love. If love has a face, then it has to be our face. We have to be willing to look at one another with love in our eyes and love in our hearts.  The Church needs lovers. It needs people filled with love and overflowing upon all that they encounter.

The Church needs a radical army of laid down lovers willing to see Jesus in the lost and the broken. We need a generation of Christians who are so full of passion and intimacy that they run into the darkness without fear to bring in the lost bride. Those who do not know love hide in darkness. We, who are lovers of Jesus are to hide in the light of who He is. We are to carry his light in our vessels of clay, we are to be tabernacles, the hands and feet of Christ. That is what love looks like. It looks like you and I opening our hearts to the divine life of the trinity and allowing Him to transform us and conceive his truth, life and love into the very tabernacle of our souls and then sharing that love with others.

lost bride

Love is not a mission or a program or a feeling or even an action or act of the will. Love is a person. God himself is love and He desires to form us into little Christ’s so that we can be the face of love to world that  is desperate for love.

So why is it that when we are desperate for love that we seem to be incapable of giving and receiving it? Because you cannot give what you do not have. Why don’t we have it? Because many us have wounds from our childhoods caused by a lack of love or a distortion of what love actually is…

“Wounds caused by a lack of love, or a distortion of love, are often at the root of our brokenness. That’s why we call it ‘healing broken hearts’…healed by a positive experience of love. It is not enough to discover the roots of conflict. We must fill the emptiness with the merciful love that flows from the heart of Jesus.”- Fr. Emiliano Tardif, Jesus Lives Today

People are not perfect. The imperfect a person is the worse they may wound or hurt you. The expression “hurt people hurt people” comes to mind.  The thing is…we must first encounter and receive love personally before we can be the face of love to others.  So if we are not encountering love in the people we meet then it may be because those people are hurting and are in need of healing. People are hurting because of a lack of love and affirmation.

“Love does not start with a good program. It cannot. It starts with being in love, being intimately connected to Jesus. It starts with knowing first that I am loved. I cannot give what I do not have. It is supernatural. It cannot be apart from Him. All living fruit in my life has come only from a living relationship with Him.” Michelle Perry

We need healing so we can hold all of the love that God desires to pour into our hearts. Without healing, we leak like a sieve…the graces we receive from prayer and sacrifice just leak right out of the cracks. The enemy of our soul has us believing that none of this works, God is not real or that prayer and sacrifice don’t matter. The reality is we are barely able retain the graces God is giving to us much less share with anyone around us when we don’t address the places we are leaking.

leaky cup

We don’t need more programs. We don’t need more catechesis. We don’t need to focus on teaching the rules of religion. The “how’s and what’s” are killing people’s love. What we need is healing. We need to seek healing for our own broken hearts so that we can love others better.

love card

 

We are all family. Love desires to see the one in front of you. Love means stopping for the one and making a connection because every person is awaiting your face of love is asking themselves “Can you look past my pain and addiction and love me anyway? Can you see beyond the masks I wear to who I really am? Will you love me even when I disappoint and hurt you?”

I realize that stopping to see the “one” may be a bit frightening for some of you because “seeing” might compel us to become involved and that involvement would surely entail risk. Risk might mean personal cost and this is why so many people wear masks, hiding there pain, their fear and the broken places where they feel thew will be rejected or abandoned. However, I KNOW that we are on the cusp of a major revival. I KNOW that many people are praying for courage and beginning to say yes to the Holy Spirit so they can be the radical laid down lovers for Jesus Christ that the world needs so badly. I know because I am in that army.

What is the key to revival? SIMPLY PUT IT’S deeply and intensely Loving your Neighbor. Radical intimacy is needed because love has a face and it is not something it is someone and that someone is you. Are you so full of passion for Jesus that no matter what you are asked to do you will say yes?

Perhaps you are worried you won’t do or say the right thing. Well the truth is that there may be NOTHING you will be able to do but you can listen to their stories and pray with them. All we need to do is all things in love. Even the tone of our voice or making eye contact in a loving way can be an invitation to a hurting and lost soul to enter into deeper intimacy and this prepares the way for relationship with Christ, when they see Christ in us.

One thing we need to be better at is empathy. Many of us are sympathetic but not empathetic. What people desire is connection and when we are empathetic we connect to something in us that understands the pain or suffering in the other person in a real and personal way and we feel WITH people. Sympathy is a pat on the back and usually starts with words like “At least….” where we try to makes someone feel better or try to make them see the bright side or we say “when life gives you lemons make lemonade!” Well, if you lemons are the death of spouse how do you make lemonade out of that? This short video says all that you need to hear about how and why we need to STOP being sympathetic and learn to be empathetic so that we can honor one another in a more intimate and connected way.

Are you ready to reach out for the lost? Are you ready to be a radical laid down lover for Christ? Well, honestly, sometimes the way Jesus begins is by undoing us so that He can put us back together in a more whole and perfected way. We need to be transformed from the inside out. This happens with our own personal encounter. Encountering does not always feel warm and fuzzy or profoundly healing, sometimes it is more as though He comes and sits on you to make a point.  Sometimes pain and suffering is the only thing that will make us give in and stop running and surrender to Him and allow Him to do His work in our hearts and heal and transforming us so we can radiate love to everyone around us.

radiate

It is not what He is building around us it is what He is building inside of us that truly matters. We need to focus on the eternal things. Everything around us is in a state of decay, houses, cars, things rust and break down but Holy immortal souls are being lost and the Holy Spirit desires to set the world on fire with the burning love of the Trinity.

love looking

If love has a face, it is my face and it is your face and we have to look at one another with love in our eyes and love in our hearts. Who do you need to forgive so that you can begin loving them?

If you desire to be the face of love then pray this prayer right now!

Come Holy Spirit! Father, please come and heal my wounded and troubled heart. I beg you to heal the torments that are causing anxiety in my life. I beg you, Lord Jesus in a particular way, to heal the underlying source of my sinfulness. I beg you to come into my life and heal the psychological harms that may have struck me in my childhood and from the injuries they have caused throughout my life. Lord Jesus, you know my burdens. I lay them on your Good Shepherd’s Heart. I beseech you—by the merits of the great open wound in your heart—to heal the small wounds that are in mine. Heal my memories, so that nothing that has happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety.  I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive. You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart, please, heal my wounded and troubled heart. Heal, O Lord Jesus, all those intimate wounds that are the root cause of my physical illnesses. Jesus, I offer you my heart. Accept it, purify it and give me the sentiments of your own Divine Heart.

Come Holy Spirit and Heal me. Heal me from the pain caused by the loss, death or abandonment of  my loved ones. Grant me the grace to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that you are the Resurrection and the Life. Make me an authentic witness to your resurrection, your victory over sin and death, and your loving presence among all men and women. Amen

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing”. 1 COR 13:1-3

 

 

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What Is Trust? Week 1 Day 1

trust

I have received profound healing in my relationship with God through the Hearts A Fire retreat’s written by Fr. Michael Gaitley. 33 Days to Merciful Love is proving to be a beautiful and wonderful book that I believe is a gift to the Church for these times. We are now in a time where so many of us have been wounded by people and sometimes even by the Church herself.

hurt churchWhen the Church is who hurts us, we may be tempted to believe that God is not Good or that we are not good or deserving of anything good. I have met many people deeply and profoundly wounded by the Church. This has created a huge division in our world. I believe this book/retreat is a tool that can begin to heal division and bring all Christian souls together with one uniting purpose; to receive the merciful love of Jesus Christ and then to bring it to hurting souls in our broken world.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (397) it says that “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart…” lets talk about what this means. First of all we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Male or female we are icons of the truth, life and love of God walking around on earth and we are supposed to be making visible the invisible reality of God through the living our of our lives in union with God. However, when the devil comes and whispers his lies, we can in a sense, divorce ourselves from God and accept the proposal of the evil one.devil liar

Why do we do that? Because the father of lies wants us to believe that God is not trustworthy and does not want to honor our desires.  He begins by planting seeds of doubt. We doubt that God loves us, doubt that He desires to bless us, doubt that he will honor our desires. This doubt leads us to fear. In our fear, we may respond by grasping or taking instead of remaining in a place of trust.  Doubt means to be uncertain, to fear, to be afraid. Why do we plan and strive for what we think will bless us rather than wait for God’s timing or say on the matter? Because we are afraid and we hide ourselves. We turn away from God. Fear-is-a-Liar

Now that we understand that the evil one uses doubt to tempt us to believe his lies, we need to identify what our desires are and where we may have doubts so that we can invite the Holy Spirit it shine his flashlight of truth there and help us to come back into union with God.light

Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you won’t acknowledge.” This is so true! We must first see where we are being lied to before we can divorce ourselves from the liar and come into union with God and his truth and will for our lives. If we pretend that we don’t need God or that what we are doing is God’s will when it isn’t we will remain miserable, lost and afraid.

By inviting the Holy Spirit in, we expose where the enemy of our soul (Satan) has put fear into our hearts. Adam and Eve were afraid and so they hid themselves. God desires for us to take off the fig leafs we hide behind. He wants us to not be afraid because He promises us that He will always show up. He wants to honor our desires and he wants to heap a double portion of blessings upon each of us. The question is, do we believe Him and what, if any, lies are obstacles to His truth coming alive in our hearts? One way to discover the answer to these questions is to journal. journalWhen we journal we contemplate, we meditate, we hold truth in our hearts and ponder it thus allowing it to be birthed within us. It is in this secret place where the Holy Spirit begins to speak to us. It is as if the Holy Spirit is a flashlight that illuminates things that we cannot see in the darkness. When we journal, our thoughts and emotions as well as our will is engaged and in this sacred place and time the Holy Spirit shines His healing light on the broken places in our hearts, minds and souls. He speaks to us gently there telling us what it is he wants us to know about his love for us.

After reading through “What is Trust” (Week 1 Day 1) I have put together some thoughts and questions to ponder and journal through.

Do we believe God is trustworthy? Are you afraid that God cannot be trusted to honor your heart’s desires?  Why or Why not?

Where have you felt God has not shown up in your life or where do you feel you are still waiting for him to bless you?

Think of one memory in which God did show up or bless you?

What is it that you desire God to do in your life?

Now quietly pray to the Holy Spirit to come and shine a light on this desire and ask Him to show you what He wants you to know about this desire of your heart.

 

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy, Help me better to know the great and unsurpassable goodness of God. Amen