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Anni Ink Slingers Vocations

Contemplating Eternity: Living for the Here and Now

I am grieving for a man I have never met.

The news of this man’s death came in the middle of the work day, and as I processed through the many swirling emotions from this news, I began to recognize where my own emotional response was coming from – the root of my response, if you will.

This man is the father of a person who is very close with my family. He’s the father of someone I admire for strength, perseverance, bravery, and fidelity to God’s will. This man has many children, all of them still practicing the Catholic Faith faithfully.

I was – and am – shocked at how this man’s loss on the world has impacted me personally, having never met him.

As I sat in daily Mass after hearing the news, I held my sleeping little boy and watched my eldest going through motions of Mass that he had never done unprompted before. I began marveling at the way our lives impact others – those we meet in person, and those we may never meet.

Our society lives in a time where we rush everything. We want instant gratification, and we want to be everywhere, do everything, and see everything. Rarely do we sit down, take a breath, and simply existwith our thoughts, with our prayers, with our families. We live in the “here and now,” trying to be all and do all for everyone. And, we sometimes have a tendency to forget about the larger picture.

I know I have previously quoted Lieutenant General (Retired) Hal Moore in saying, “I’m in the business of eternity, and I hope I am successful in that business.”

Simply put, eternity is our larger picture.

Heaven is our larger picture.

God is our larger picture.

From the day we are born, we desire something more, and we spend most of our childhood and adult lives seeking that “more.” Yet, it shouldn’t be a surprise when it is argued that we will never be fully satisfied and filled on this side of eternity. We exist for but a blink, on this earth. Eternity is vastly greater than our here and now.

However, if we are to set our sights on eternity, as Hal Moore reminded us to do, then we must first recognize how the “here and now” should effect everythingwe do, and everything we are.

God has called each of us to greatness. He has chosen each of us for this time in history, and asked us to trust His judgment by handing over our own desires, to let His plan unfold.

Our lives, as they are today, are preciselyhow He asks us to grow closer to Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 states,

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

How does this guidance manifest in our lives?

For unmarried individuals, it’s by being faithful to God’s call to focusing on your education, your career, your home life, etc.

For married couples, it’s by strengthening your marriage, focusing on the spiritual, emotional, and physical needsof each other, rather than the desires for bigger and greater.

For parents, God’s will manifests by living bravely as you form your children in spiritual matters, just as much as you focus on giving them their own heart’s desires.

Our commitment to God throughout our various roles in our lives is what will set us apart from others; it will also be how we are most tested, and how we ultimately grow closer to God.

As I considered the man I had never had the opportunity to meet, and his surprising impact on my life, I began to recognize each of us have that opportunity to impact countless others we may never meet.

Just like we have the opportunity to pass along our genetic makeup to our children, and our physical traits to the generations that come after, so too do we have the opportunity to pass along the lessons of what we value most in life.

At the end of my life, I don’t want the biggest house, the best car, or, as much as I may joke, all the chocolate in the world.

Rather, I want the values of loyalty, love, faithfulness, and peace to be seen in the ones I leave behind. I want my children’s children to know that their parents learned how to love God, and be faithful to God, through the actions and prayer of their grandparents.

I want my children to have the faith in God as an ever-present, loving Father, when they can no longer pick up the phone to call me.

There is so much pain, anger, and despair in today’s society. Yet, how much of that can be mitigated by a return to the basics? How much of the pain, anger, and despair can be countered with the focus on knowing and loving God, and trying to be faithful to Hiswill, rather than our own? How much can be balanced when we consider the way we want to impact not just our daily lives, but with a focus on the ones we will leave behind at the end?

If we are focusing on what we want our future generations to know about us, how are we letting it guide our actions today?

Please join me in praying for the repose of the soul of the man I have never met. Please join me in lifting up his family and friends in prayer as they grieve their loss.

And, please join me in rejoicing always, praying unceasingly, and giving thanks to God – for He, and His will, is always good. Let us use this faith to turn to the One Who simply desires a relationship with us, to grow closer to Him.

Let us commit to living for eternity, by shaping the actions of our “here and now.”

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Anni Ink Slingers Mary Prayer Revelation: Public vs. Private Rosary

Contemplating Eternity: The Encouragement of Our Lady of Fatima

We are living in dark, perilous times – no darker and no more perilous than the times preceding today’s society. However, as our society seems to descend into moral relativism, eschewing the notion in natural truth and law, many of us holding on to the belief in our Faith, and in God, are left holding the draw strings of a bag whose bottom is slowly coming unraveled.

The Chicken Little sky falling mantra does not seem to be shouted from the rooftops as pervasively as it has in times past. Instead, we seem complacent to let each other live our own truths, without thought to a much larger truth.

This month is the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Final Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

Over the course of six months, Our Lady appeared to three small shepherd children, giving messages…

…and warnings.

Society was warned to repent and turn from sin…

…to recognize God in all His goodness and glory…

…to accept the Truth only God can offer us.

There is no timeline for when the warning will expire, since Jesus was pretty clear – only the Father knows the day, the time, and the hour.

Upon baptism and confirmation, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit sparked within our beings. As humans, longing for relationship, we constantly strive to seek the elusive relationship – the one that only God can provide… only He can provide a relationship with comfort, security, and true agape love. For, as Our Lady of Fatima explained during one of her apparitions,

Heaven is real.

Hell…

…is also real.

And, Our Lady of Fatima provides us with warning…

…and encouragement.

There are testimonies throughout history which indicate just how transformative the Rosary can be – for individuals, and for societies. In addition to this month being the hundredth anniversary of the final apparition of Fatima, this month is also the 446th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, whose outcome secured the victory of Christendom in the West over Islam. The success at Lepanto has historically been attributed to the power of the Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima reiterated praying the Rosary as an avenue to convert hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Our Lady of Fatima encouraged us to be on guard against sins of impurity, and to offer sacrifices throughout our days – offering up our small sacrifices for love of Jesus, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins.

One hundred years ago, Our Lady reminded us of a framework to succeed in getting to heaven.

But, as we are also warned in Matthew 7:13-14,

As Lieutenant General (Retired) Hal Moore once said during an interview with EWTN, “I’m in the business of eternity, and I hope I am successful in that business.” While difficult and wildly unpopular it is to do so at times, it is not impossible for us to keep an eye on the end goal of our eternal life. Even if it makes us stand out, and makes this life difficult at times, it is not outside the realm of possibility for us to keep eternal life at the forefront of our thoughts and actions.

Keeping our eternity in mind requires vigilance, prayer, sacrifice, and love.

It should also lead us to ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to ensure we are choosing the gate and the road that leads to eternal life?

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Advent Allison Anima Christi Bible

Line by Line Prayer Reflection, Anima Christi Part XI

This is the eleventh and final of a series of posts reflecting line-by-line on the Anima Christi.

anima christi XI


That with Your saints I may praise You forever and ever. Amen

This is the culmination of the entire prayer, its raison d’etre: to praise Jesus with the saints forever.

“After this I had a vision of a great multitude which no one could count from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, ‘Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the the throne and from the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshipped God and exclaimed, ‘Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen (Revelation 7:9-12)’.”

Well halleluia! That is from the apostle John’s visions of heaven, of course, and it is ours. But not only when we physically pass on from this world to the next. Eternity doesn’t begin when we die and are with Jesus. We’re in it now in this life on earth; eternity is not bound by time. We can, and indeed are directed to, praise God with all the saints (as well as the angels and the earth) throughout our lives.

From Psalms 148 and 150:

“Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him all you angels;
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Give praise, all shining stars;
Praise the Lord you sea monsters, you animals wild and tame;
You mountains, hills, fruit trees, and cedars;
You kings of the earth, young men and women, too;
Let them all praise the Lord’s name, for His name alone is exalted majestic above earth and heaven.
Praise with blasts upon the horn, the harp and lyre.
Give praise with tambourines and dance;
Praise Him with flutes and strings and crashing cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

When Jesus’ followers were praising Him during the procession into Jerusalem, some of the Pharisees told Him to rebuke them and Jesus said, “I tell you, if they keep silent, then the stones will cry out!” Let’s not keep silent, shall we? Let’s have the stones join us, not do it for us! Praise is verbal affirmation of admiration. It should be heard (and apparently, loudly). It is not always easy, even though we know of the greatness of God, His salvation won at such a cost, His beauty and holiness. The final chapter of Hebrews reminds Christians that we seek the city which is to come and encourages us to “offer God a sacrifice of praise (13:15).” Sometimes, praising God is like dragging a sacrificial animal, kicking and bawling, to the altar. Our Lord accepts that kind of sacrifice, too.

All of the precious lines of this prayer of entreaty for Jesus’ sanctification, saving, washing, strengthening, hearing, etc., lead to this. “At the hour of my death, call me and bid me come unto You that with Your saints I may praise You forever and ever.” May we move through life and death praising God eternally. We are the people He has formed for Himself and we will announce His praise (Isaiah 43:21). This Advent, let us make praise a part of our devotion (maybe even with dancing and cymbals!). Let all the earth praise His Name!