Christ loves us so much and He longs for a personal relationship with each one of us. All He asks is for our love in return. He is not interested in how many tasks we complete in a day, but rather how we loved today. I imagine Him standing beside us, reaching out His hand and asking us to walk this life with Him as our guide. I love the verse, “knock and the door will be open.” I imagine knocking on doors of heaven and being flooded with renewing love as they open.
During Advent, let’s open the door to our hearts so wide that God’s love comes bursting through. You are His light in the world because He lives within you.
Let’s pray together: Heavenly Father, Blessed Mother and all the angels and saints in heaven; we come before you now and ask you to hold our hands as we walk together in this season of Advent towards the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Lord, we thank you for the longing in our hearts to encounter Jesus in a new way this Advent season, and we ask that His love awakens within us. May the celebration of His birth be a new birth within us, and may the spark in our hearts ignite into a flame for Christ—a flame of love so bright the whole world can see. Change me Lord, renew me Lord, make me an instrument of your LOVE today and always. AMEN
“Virgin Mary birthed Him into the world the first time and will make him burst out everywhere the second.” St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
Together in prayer,
God exists; that is the real message for Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed. (Pope Benedict XVI)
This is the true gift of our faith; to know that God is real. From this comes a hope and a burning in our hearts so bright that nothing or no one can take it away. We can live in the knowing that no matter what we do He will always be there to make sure we know we are always forgiven and deserving of His love. This is what shapes how we spend every day, and even how we make every decision within those days.
Today we get to joyfully say, Alleluia! We have missed this joy for the last six weeks. It is our sincerest prayer that, whether this is the first time you will celebrate mass for a long time, or whether you go every day, may Jesus Christ who is alive in you in a very real way today, share one light with you that will set your heart on fire.
Pope Francis expresses this so perfectly, “Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and opens our hearts to Him. Today is the celebration of our hope, the celebration of this truth”; nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from His love. (Rom 8:39)
May you feel His streams of grace and mercy in a tangible way this Easter.
Sent with a sincere prayer of gratitude that you share in our family at My Saint My Hero.
Christine and Amy
We love that we gather outside the doors of the church carrying palms and enter the sanctuary together as one community, reenacting the very moment when the community flooded the gates of Jerusalem proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.
We all know the suffering that took place days after this proclamation and we know the TRUE victory HE won for us all on EASTER.
-Amy and Christine
I just arrived back in the States from a very special trip to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. At each place, I was asked the same weird question, “What else in you needs to die before I bring you back to life?” I was at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher the first time I heard those words. I had my hand in the hole of the rocks where Jesus’ cross was placed when He was crucified, where, in a very literal sense, God died. “Madi, what else needs to die?”
As I stood in one of the little chapels of the Magdala Center along the Sea of Galilee, I gazed upon a mosaic of Jesus taking the hand of a little girl and telling her “Talitha Koum.” “Little girl, arise.” I heard the words again, “What else needs to die?” I didn’t get why He was asking me that question, like “Jesus, what the heck dude, aren’t you life itself? Why are you asking me about death?!”
But the thing is – death isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning! Three days after God died on the cross, He rose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene first, to anoint her with the mission of spreading the message of life. After the whole town knew that Jarius’s daughter was dead, Jesus took the little girl’s hand and told her to rise and be who she was called to be. In order to show His resurrection power, Jesus had to die. There is no resurrection without death. What else in you needs to die so the Holy Spirit can empower you into who you are called to be; because that person, empowered by the Holy Spirit, being exactly who you were made to be, will change the world.
The question kind of reminds me of Bob Goff’s (author of Love Does) practice of quitting something every Thursday. Sometimes it’s small stuff like biting his nails, sometimes it’s big stuff, like dropping out of board positions of important companies and organizations. I think the idea behind it is revolutionary and gets to the same question… what no longer has a place in your heart or life? What is holding you back from being who you were created to be? What is getting you stuck in a rut? You don’t have to be the person you used to be. That’s why Jesus came, to give us life, new life, life to the fullest. When we lose our lives we find them. When we die He gives us new and better life. It’s not morbid at all. It’s the story of the gospel.
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary
Recent posts by Madi – The Garden & Hearing God
In this Lenten season, may we join our hearts in prayer as we walk to the cross together… may we be granted a “Servant’s Heart!”
We are reminded of the words of Visionary Mirijana during our most recent pilgrimage in Medjugorje, “When I get down on my knees to pray I don’t ask for help in this or that… I simply pray that Jesus will make my heart like His so I may love like He loves… if I love like Him all else will be well.”
Let’s embrace the holy season of Lent and be encouraged by these words of Pope Francis:
“During Lent, Let us all ask the Lord: Fac Cor Nostrum secondum cor tuum – Make our hearts like yours. In this way we will receive a heart that is firm and merciful, attentive and generous… a heart that is not closed, indifferent, or prey to the globalization of indifference.”
May we embrace this prayer in all we do. One way to do this is to ask that all our conversations be graced by this love and be edifying. “When we speak gracious words it is like honey for the body and food for the soul.” Proverbs 16:24
May your Lenten journey be a time of many graces and the joy of being made new, in Jesus Christ.
Blessings, Amy and Christine
My sweet sister and I sat in the car the other night and she asked me what it meant to hear God. And I said, “What the heck, lets just ask Him to speak to us.” We sat there, waiting on God and after not even 2 minutes she said, “Madi, God showed me a movie of you on a mountain surrounded by people who needed help and all you did was love them. I felt like God was saying that He is going to send you to all the people who are poor and tell their stories with your camera.” OKAY. My sister just prophesied and spoke life and a dream over me. This is real life. Arise. Go change the world.
One of the most powerful things we can do for another is to speak life over them, to call things into existence with life giving words, to remind one another who we are in our deepest identities and prophesy how the Spirit is moving in our lives.
For Lent each of us at My Saint My Hero are praying for one person every day. We invite you to join us, and we also invite you to take it a step further. Did you know you can hear God? Did you know He never stops speaking to us and that He WANTS you to know and hear His voice?? I invite you to ask God to speak to you for another, and then declare that word over the person you are praying for. It can be a picture, a word, a bible verse, even a song. So close your eyes and just rest, and don’t doubt that you can hear God. If my 10 year old sister can hear God, so can you.
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary
Recent posts by Madi – The Garden
The Garden. In the word, we see the Garden is the meeting place of God, where Adam and Eve walked with God without fear or shame, in pure intimacy with Him. It’s where Jesus knelt as the soldiers came and the deepest of darkness fell upon Him, where He chose us, to be our Redeemer, where heaven meets us. It’s where Mary Magdalene stood, weeping after she couldn’t find Jesus in the tomb when she heard the Gardener say her name.
God is always up to something new, He is always doing a new thing. As you lie in the garden covered in dirt, surrounded by the ivy and wildflowers and oaks of righteousness, listen for His voice. Hear Him call you back into existence, let His voice thaw out your frozenness, to reawaken your numbness. Let Him bring life to your body, your soul again. Listen to Him call your name, hear the voice that breaks the silence, that ignites fireworks in our chest, that makes our heart stutter. Come back into the Garden.
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary
Recent Posts by Madi – Hearing God
Yesterday marked the 6th day in the Octave of Christmas. This Advent I have had the Life Teen Advent Companion in my purse for daily reflections. Life Teen has done a great job of breaking each day’s readings down, challenging and making Advent preparation manageable. Yesterday the companion challenged each of us to prepare our hearts to make 2016 a year to go deeper in our faith and to make a commitment to surround ourselves with those who are going to lead us closer to Christ – check out John 14:6. Surrounding yourself with those who lead you closer to Christ will only allow you to see the Truth, Goodness and Beauty of our Catholic faith, the earth our Heavenly Father created for us, and the true purpose of our life here on this earth. As you make your plans for 2016 and face this challenge, and I am sure many other challenges and goals you have set for yourself, turn to Mary and Joseph for faith, knowledge and wisdom and invite them to reveal to you the child from God filled with wisdom.
In preparation for New Years we thought it would be fun to give you a list of some things that Amy & Christine hope to do with their family to ring in 2016.
- Celebrate with those you love… Ring in the New Year surrounded by love! Give thanks for 2015 and say it outloud the 3 greatest things that happened in that year.
- Go see Star Wars as a family and wear some fun Star Wars apparel so we look a little goofy.
- Take a Family Pilgrimage to walk through as many “doors of Mercy” that you can (Christine plans to make a list and keep it with her so she can make sure not to miss any doors of Mercy that have been chosen in cities near and far all over the world!) Use this list to help you create your pilgrimage!
- Pack up the car and go somewhere you have never been as a family, and leave the electronics in the glove box.
- Go Kayaking or Paddle boarding
What are you going to do with your family? We would love to hear about how you plan to spend 2016, and how your family is going to live out the year of Mercy.