We all know the gospel passage of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This is one of my favorite stories for the language is so powerful. There is the presumption that the devil is in control of the world as he tempts Jesus. If you recall, he promises Jesus the world provided Jesus just bow down to the devil. Thankfully, Jesus knows better and shuts the devil down. With each denial of temptation, Jesus gains power against it. I love it! We gain strength against the devil each time we resist temptation. It is at this moment in the gospel that Jesus takes control so everyone watch out! From here, Jesus heads to Capernaum and gathers the disciples. Jesus starts taking back the world. He claims it for himself. Be cautious of the sin of presumption. Don't presume heaven is a given, one must align themselves with Jesus and do what He says. He has to recognize you and know you, for you are His, but is He yours?
When my family and I vacationed in Italy, it was one of the best experiences of our lives. The highlight of our trip was visiting Rome and attending Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. In the basilica there is a huge altar honoring the Chair of St. Peter. Breathtaking!
The Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in February. It brings to my mind the lineage of the popes through the ages who have led the people of God, focusing on the mission of Christ who came not to abolish the law of the prophets, but to fulfill them. It makes me think of how popes have struggled through conflict, indeed--sin, some not so successfully, to Christ's vision of a more sincere, more perfect fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
In His continuation of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's message to us is ultimately that of love - to be reconciled to your neighbor - to respect your brothers and sisters.
Let's be mindful of the legacy that the popes have left us - to fulfill the Law and the Prophets more perfectly through Christ's command to love one another. St. Peter, pray for us!
Our Catholic faith has many fascinating elements to it. Not many people pay attention to the mystics. These are individuals who possess a gift that allows them to participate in a different level of awareness and connection to Jesus and Mary. There are many Saints who were mystics. They experienced visions and participated in interactions that are, for lack of a better phrase, out of this world.
There is one such mystic today who is a wife, mother of six, and a Secular Franciscan named Anne. She experiences interior locutions. An interior locution is a mystical concept used by various religions, including the Roman Catholic Church. In an interior locution, a person reportedly receives a set of ideas, thoughts, or visions from an outside spiritual source. Interior locutions are most often reported during prayers. An interior locution is a form of revelation, but is distinct from an apparition or religious vision because no supernatural entity is reported as present during the interior locution (forums.catholic.com). I learned of her writings a few years ago, and with skepticism, read them. Even though her texts carry the Imprimatur, I always went into them with a prayer on my lips and in my heart not to fall prey to anything that wasn't Truth. I don't believe I have. I wish to share some of what Jesus told Anne to write. These messages are in line with the gospel. They are simple and clear. Peace!
I am Jesus. I am God. I am complete in myself. I am present in your world and I am present in Heaven. You see. I am omnipresent. Even if you wish to, you cannot remove yourself from my presence on Earth. I created Earth. You might say the earth belongs to me. All on it are also my creation. You, dear beloved one, were created by me. Do I say that you belong to me? I say it in another way. I say, I 'want' you to belong to me. I want to possess your heart. Why do I use the word heart when truly it is your soul that I seek? I use the word heart because people characterize the heart as the place where people hold the love they possess. If you have love, people say you have it in your heart. The heart is known as the source of love and the receptacle of love, so I, Jesus, tell you that I want to possess your heart. When it is all simplified, as it should be, I am saying that I want you to love me. I love you. There is no problem there. I love you today and I will always love you. A difficulty we have is that you do not know me. The only way for me to teach you to love me is for me to reveal myself to you, to allow you to know me. For that reason, I come to you today. I reveal myself to you through these words and through the graces attached to them. If you read these words and sit in silence, you will begin to know me. If you begin to know me, truly, you will begin to love me. Forget anything that tempts you to move away from these words and graces. Rest. Be with me. Allow me to teach you about myself.