"No toys for you, Jesus. No chocolates either. Instead I will give to Good News Ministries some money to get You, Jesus, what YOU want. Terry and her team know exactly what YOU want." (Quote by a faith-builder in Canada who donated $400)
What will you give to Jesus? With $35,000 by December 31, together we can bring more souls to Christ in 2019. $9,263 has been donated by 60 champions of Good News Ministries. You, too, can be a faith-builder!
Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, and he chose us ... (from Saturday's second reading).
Reflection for Saturday: Ignite Your Jesus Fire!
By Kathy Taylor, Donor Relations Manager
Some people like the idea of acting in a radical manner, no matter what they believe, while others prefer to think of themselves as radical without taking any actions.
Our Catholic Church needs members who think and act radically.
In the US, the recent wild fires in California, the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century, pulled our attention away from our own daily cares to the plight of those whose every last bit of possessions went up in flames. In just a short time, people saw their properties, homes, automobiles, and the lives of at least 88 people (possibly 196) consumed by the blaze. It was a mindless, destructive energy swallowing everything in its path regardless of status or expense.
"I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were kindled already!" (Luke 12:49)
Jesus desires to set the earth ablaze with his love, an energy that fills everyone and everything in its path with the power to lift everyone from his or her condition of sin to his consuming, healing, Spirit-filled life within the fire of his love.
We are all part of the fire of Jesus -- baptized, confirmed, fed with the very Body of Christ and graced with his forgiveness and salvation. Why have we received these blessings? Is it to pursue an easy life, striving to avoid difficulties and disagreements?
We are here, rather, to start blazes in the lives of those around us, to kindle love for Jesus in each person we meet, to assist the needy, feed the hungry, pray for those who seek our ruin.
We are here to introduce Jesus to our family and friends, not push him behind us and hide him from others.
We are here to be the fire that Jesus is waiting to start on the earth -- the loving, purifying, life-giving, fresh start to the world.
It's time to stir the embers, to make the flames of love for Jesus strong and visible in our lives.
Pray, visit Jesus, make good confessions, receive Jesus as often as you can, listen for Jesus to lead you in your life, and invite everyone you know to desire the energy they see in you.
May Jesus' love spread all over the world!
Inside the Ministry: How the Blessed Mother founded GNM
In October of 1993, my husband Ralph and I attended a Catholic Charismatic weekend conference. Note that this was October -- the Month of the Holy Rosary! The theme of the conference: "Do Whatever He Tells You" -- Mary's words at the wedding at Cana (see John 2:1-11). But we did not yet realize that she was directing us like she had done with the wine stewards.
Through the speakers at the conference, Mary challenged us to do whatever Jesus asked of us. It was a time of saying yes, but we didn't know what we were saying yes to! We thought it was just more of the same of what we were already doing in our parish.
The following January, Ralph took a vacation to attend a week-long school of Catholic evangelization that was run by a man named Charlie Osburn. Because we had young children to care for at home, I attended the next session, which was held in March.
A passion awakened in me. I wanted, more than anything, to share the Good News with as many people as possible. While praying about this in the school's chapel, I felt the unseen presence of a woman dressed in blue standing nearby me, off to the right. I had never before experienced anything like this. I knew it was Our Lady. I wondered, "Why would Mary be visiting me? I don't even pray the Rosary very often."
Back home in New Jersey, our pastor formed a team to begin evangelization revival conferences. This should have excited Ralph and me, but we strangely felt like we didn't belong there. We felt an inexplicable urge to move to Florida, which we at first misunderstood. In late summer, Ralph's company told Ralph to work out of the house instead of an office. God said, "Now you can move anywhere you want and still have the security of a job!"
And so we researched where to move to. God led us to a suburb of Tampa in Florida (although we first looked in other places). We moved into our new home on New Year's Eve and attended our first Mass on the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Then, a mere 30 days into 1995 (just enough time to get mostly unpacked), Charlie Osburn "happened" to be in town for a speaking engagement. Ralph and I attended, and when Charlie saw us, he suggested that we start Good News Ministries, pointing to several people one by one.
These were people who had been praying the Rosary asking God for two years to provide leaders who could organize and run Good News Ministries. They became our founding core team, and we became the answer to their prayers. Thus, on January 30, Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay was born. In October of 1995, we gave our first Evangelization School -- and we have never slowed down. The passion I felt that day in the chapel has only increased.
GNM soon grew into a global organization through the internet; we have been gifted by God to pioneer the use of digital technologies for the mission as they become available. In 1996, we built our first website back in the day when few people knew what a website could do. In 1998, we designed one of the first virtual tours on the internet, and we still have it on our website -- updated of course (have you seen our Virtual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land?).
It still feels to me like we have only just begun. There are more people who need to hear the Good News than when we began. The year 2019 looks very exciting with more developments in the technologies of Virtual Reality, videos, podcasting, WhatsApp broadcasting, and whatever else the Lord has in mind. The Blessed Mother still says, "Do whatever he tells you." What is she telling you to do about supporting this awesome mission?
Four Gifts for Jesus: An Advent meditation by podcast
When we prepare for Christmas, of course we think about how to show fondness and appreciation to the special people in our lives by choosing gifts that will be meaningful to them. And yet, assuming that we can actually find (or make) something that will be appreciated, will the gift really make a difference in the long run?
How many gifts have you given in the past that are now mere dust-collectors? Which ones turned out to be truly valuable with a long-lasting impact?
Since Christmas is the celebration of the birthday of Jesus, let's remember to give him gifts, too. God deserves more gifts than anyone else, but what can we give to someone who already has everything?
Or does he?
What gifts can you give to Jesus that will have an eternal impact, gifts that no one else can give him, gifts he doesn't already have?
Here are four gifts that you can give to Jesus this Christmas: your humility, your teachability, your desire to be holy with openness to his Holy Spirit, and your desire to continue the mission that he began by using your gifts, talents, skills, and passions. Discover the amazingly simple secret to giving Jesus your best in these four areas. Listen to our four short podcasts at catholicvr.net/four-gifts-for-jesus-podcasts.