This week's news:
- Reflection for Saturday: Don't just grow older. Grow bolder.
- Inside the Ministry: What's ministering to people most?
- Footsteps to Heaven podcast: Why I believe that "The Warning" is true
Saturday September 19, 2020
The seeds that fell on rich soil are the ones who, when they have heard the Word of God, embrace it with a generous and good heart. They bear fruit through perseverance. (From Saturday's Gospel reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
Don't just grow older. Grow bolder.
What's the secret to becoming the seed that Jesus plants in fertile soil? And bearing good fruit through perseverance?
Detachment. Detaching from the worldly path. Detaching from the rocky ground of life's hardships. Detaching from the prickly thorns of sin.
For the past several weeks I've been meditating on the word "detachment", asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what I still need to detach from. The most recent attachment that I'm letting go of is the fear of losing my reputation and damaging the reputation of Good News Ministries when I write about or podcast about a Church teaching that some people don't want to agree with.
Behind every fear is a truth that demolishes the fear. Fear tells me that I need to protect myself from the disapproval of others. It's the old natural instinct of self-preservation.
The truth about this is that if God tells me to do something, my reputation doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is obedience to the Lord. Otherwise I will be accountable (when I die or when the Great Warning happens, whichever comes first) for all the ramifications and all the ripple effects of the damage I caused by disobeying him. I will be accountable for the sins others commit because I did not warn them when God told me to speak up.
Detachment from self-preservation is not easy. I thought I had made good progress a long time ago. But recently, as I exercised obedience to the Lord on Facebook, I had to battle that old fear again.
God of course helps us to detach whenever we turn to him humbly with a true desire to detach from whatever it is we've been holding on to that is not of the Lord. Having a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit is key to getting this help. It is the Holy Spirit who changes us when we are willing to let God the Father mold us like a potter who's creating a better vessel.
In the late 1970s, when I first let the Holy Spirit fill me and change me, I learned that boldness is a gift of the Spirit. So I prayed for holy boldness. One day I saw an old woman who was very feisty. She was feisty in a good way, for good reasons, and I wanted to emulate her boldness. So I said to myself, "I want to be like her when I'm old. But why wait until then? I want to become feisty now!"
Now that I am an old woman, would anyone describe me as feisty? I've never heard anyone say that about me, but someone recently accused me of being emphatic -- as if that were a bad thing. I was being emphatic in a truth that I was trying to explain. I rejoiced that I was considered emphatic. This is another word for holy boldness.
On Facebook, where it is supposed to be easier to post boldly because you're not actually face to face with anybody, I have found it more challenging to be emphatic -- maybe because other people feel freer to be more assertive and aggressive on social networks.
We are now living through a unique opportunity to fulfill our calling to be bold Christians. Never before in our lifetimes have so many people been headed towards hell. Never before has the need to speak boldly been so important. Never before in our lifetimes has sin been so rampant, even within the Church, making the need to speak boldly about sin so vital for the sake of our world as well as the souls of the sinners.
God is calling on all of us who truly follow Christ and who truly, humbly want to be holy and obedient to the Lord. He is calling on us to be bold. Emphatic. Feisty for the sake of the truth. I was convicted of this very strongly by the Holy Spirit two Sundays ago when I read and heard the reading from Ezekiel 33. If we do not speak up and a sinner dies unrepentant of his sins, our own soul is in danger of hell. That's how important the sinner's soul is to the Lord!
(In the podcast that I recorded afterward, which you will find below in this newsletter, I unpack this scripture in light of the darkness that's filling the world today.)
Applying this lesson to my Facebook experiences, I lost one or two, perhaps more, subscribers of Good News Ministries. One of them posted a comment on Facebook to state publicly that, because she disagreed with what I had posted, she was leaving Good News Ministries after many years of enjoying it, and she would no longer support it with her donations. I posted a reply saying, "If the Lord Jesus has been ministering to you through anything you've subscribed to in Good News Ministries, don't give that up. Let it continue ministering to you. Just stop following me on Facebook." But she chose to completely separate herself from me and from Good News Ministries.
The truth is: I'm not worried in the least about losing her donations, which wasn't much anyways, because the Lord will always provide what's needed for the work he calls us to do. (If I were to stop obeying him, then I would have every reason to worry about the ministry's finances.) I am far more concerned about the condition of her soul than the loss of her support.
Persecutions are increasing rapidly against Christians who speak boldly, but this is not a reason to be silent. The most difficult persecutions to cope with come from within the Church. It's happening because, for way too long, many people -- including priests (even bishops!) -- have been silent about sin and repentance. They have had one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God, hiding their guilt under the blanket of moral relativism. This is very dangerous to their souls but also to the souls of others who need them to speak with clarity about the truth.
BUT, the fear of being persecuted for speaking the truth boldly had better not stop us, for then we would be gravely disobeying the Lord. Read again Ezekiel 33. Open your bible and read the first 9 verses.
So get ready! The need to speak up boldly is becoming greater and greater every day. Join me in repenting from holding back. Join me in repenting from the fear of persecution. Join me in repenting from being attached to self-protection. Take it to the Sacrament of Confession. And ask the Holy Spirit every day to fill you with holy boldness.
(Was I feisty enough in this reflection?)
Inside the Ministry:
What's ministering to people most?
On our home page site, the most popular page is "A Prayer to the Holy Spirit" @ gnm.org/holy-spirit.
On our WordBytes site, the page that people are currently most interested in is "Coronavirus, Chastisement and Cure" @ wordbytes.org/holyspirit/coronavirus-chastisement-and-cure.
And not surprisingly, the most-used page in our Media Center is the one that gives you the podcasts of the Good News Reflections. Find this @ gnm-media.org/podcasts/good-news-reflections.
What's your favorite? Nominate a page for a future edition of this newsletter. What page do you think others should be sure not to miss?
Footsteps to Heaven podcast
Get early notifications! Sign up at footstepstoheaven.com
Why I believe that "The Warning" is true
Do you know how to read the signs of the times? In this episode, my good friend Bill Snyder talks to me about how God has worked in my life to convince me that Jesus is coming soon with a “Warning” for non-believers and a Second Pentecost for the true followers of Christ. My story begins in 2001 when the scandal of priests sexually molesting children first became public. At that time, I felt very strongly that God wants to purge the Church from all sorts of abuses. Since then, the world has become much darker, and we are called by God to read the signs of the times as watchmen, as described in Ezekiel 33:1-9.
Bill joined this episode because he wanted the audiences of his podcast show, Young Catholics Respond (patchworkheart.org), to listen to the previous episode of Footsteps to Heaven, which goes in-depth about "The Warning" (footstepstoheaven.com/holiness/the-warning-and-other-prophecies).
Listen to this podcast @ gnm.org/footsteps81.
God bless you!
Thank you for reading this newsletter.
Your servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
And when you have to look at others, see them through his eyes.