While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. (From Saturday's Gospel reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
Which phase of love are you in?
Do you feel the Father's compassion for you? Jesus said: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37,38). However, to succeed at this, we need to first know that we are loved. We cannot give what we do not realize we already have.
Satan is constantly trying to tempt us into thinking that God does not love us -- not fully, not unconditionally, not always. And he uses as proof the adversities we face, the dry desert times of feeling spiritually parched, the winters of the soul when faith seems lifeless, and any other sufferings we endure.
Adversities are the birthing places of growth. Deserts are the soil where miraculous seeds sprout. Winter is a quiet season of preparation for the busy blossoming of springtime activities. Sufferings are the crosses that lead to resurrections and a renewed, stronger, more miraculous life in Christ.
It's up to us: We can either wallow in self pity, anger, resentment, and fear, or we can choose to turn to God like never before and discover greater intimacy with him.
There are three phases of our love relationship with God:
In the first phase, we typically make decisions based on the outcomes we desire. If they line up with God's will, we have made a good decision. This pleases God and we are glad to have pleased him. And God, doing his part, grants miracles to draw our attention and to build our trust. But there's not much inspired creativity here. There is no amazing harvest produced.
The second phase is the hardest phase -- and a very blessed phase. In order to invite us into greater intimacy, God removes some of the protection we've been enjoying and allows a crisis into our lives. This is not a punishment nor the abandonment of God. It's designed to make us aware of our weaknesses so we that will seek his strength.
This is not where God desires us to remain. It's just a phase! It's never permanent nor disastrous. If we embrace the lessons he's teaching, our love for God becomes full of gratitude, trust and conviction. Having realized our dependence on him and the supreme goodness of his strength and caring helpfulness, we want to do more for him than we did during the first phase. We make decisions based on his inspirations -- convenient or not. We want what he wants for the outcome. Cooperating with him is our top priority. This builds a partnership that will make a significant difference in the world. From this grows an amazing harvest.
And so we become much more useful to the kingdom of Christ. With the love of God empowering us, we love others so much that we are concerned about their eternal souls. We lead them to have the salvation that will immerse them in God's love for all of eternity.
Inside the Ministry:
Now we can reach young adults who are not in church!
It's happening! We now have a podcast studio. Soon I will send pictures. It's a place that Ralph calls "Terry's Hideaway", because it will allow me to seclude myself immediately after daily Mass so I can produce the Footsteps to Heaven podcast show. It will be my writer's studio, too, as I finish my book on "30 Days to the Heart of the Father" and future books.
Speaking of the podcasts, Bill Snyder (left in photo) is the newest member of the Good News team. A professional, enthusiastically Catholic podcaster, he's the one who edits what we produce. Pete Socks (on the right) is the director of BreadBox Media where the Good News podcasts are hosted.
Did you know that podcasts are the fastest-growing way to learn interesting things, because you can listen while driving, taking breaks at work, exercising, doing housework, or seeking an alternative to television?
It's also a favorite tool of young adults; 67% of the total podcasting audience in the U.S. are between 18 to 44 years old. At Good News Ministries, we're trying very hard to take Jesus to those who are least likely to go to church, and this is how we can do it!
Footsteps to Heaven is going to be my heart-to-heart podcast about becoming the saints that God designed us to be.
Life's a journey full of challenges. Sometimes we get stalled. Sometimes we get sidetracked. When we walk with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to the destination that God the Father designed for us, the results are better than we could ask for or imagine. This podcast series will provide faith-builders based on what I've learned from my own journey and what people tell me they're seeking in their daily struggles.
Please keep GNM's podcast ministry in your daily prayers, because there is an enemy that wants to interfere. This project -- like all projects that God inspires -- must be a community effort in order to succeed. We also need sponsors who will donate $10 per episode (estimating $120 per month) to be paid to BreadBox Media, who will in turn give Good News Ministries 70% of the income, which will help us pay for the podcast studio. Sponsors will be named and can write a commercial to promote their business, which will be added to the intro. Everyone who's interested in helping us reach more young adults should reply to newsletter to offer sponsorship.
Your servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries gnm.org
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
Look to the past with gratitude.
Live the present with passion.
Move into the future with hope.
Find creative ways to proclaim the gospel of joy! (Wisdom by Pope Francis)
Please minister to others by sharing this newsletter: Click the heart if you are reading this by email. Then share the page anywhere you can reach the people you care about.
From a subscriber named Bobby: "Too often Catholic pencil pushers use their hierarchy of intelligence, throwing out four syllable words, forcing the reader to open a dictionary, promoting self and not Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Other astute writers will quote from everything they have read and springboard into a verse or two from the Bible. What I like about GNM, you present the truth in a simple and non-compromising format that anyone can understand. Jesus taught on the level of the people who were listening."