Saturday May 14, 2022

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For you this week:

  • Reflection for Saturday: Are sacrifices always God’s will?
  • Inside the Ministry: We still need a bilingual webmaster
  • This week’s WordBytes faith-builder: The Highest Form of Friendship
  • Footsteps to Heaven podcast: Hide in the Father’s Arms

This week’s Trivia Challenge: Jesus said what is the greatest display of love? (Check your answer at the end of this newsletter.)


Saturday May 14, 2022

ScripturesActs 1:15-17, 20-26
Ps 113:1-8
John 15:9-17
bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/051422.cfm
Podcast:
bible.usccb.org/podcasts/audio/2022-05-14

Saints Calendar:
gnm.org/saints-find/saints-calendar

“So that My joy might be in you and your joy might be complete… love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (From Saturday’s Gospel reading)


Reflection for Saturday:
Are sacrifices always God’s will?

hands holding an offering of love in the form of a heartIn Saturday’s Gospel reading, Jesus describes love as the ultimate gift of service: laying down one’s life for one’s friends.

As he has loved us, so are we to love others. To remain in his love, he says, we have to love as he loves, even to the point of making sacrifices for one another.

Loving others is not always convenient or pleasant. Loving others does not always fit into our agendas. The good news is: The more difficult it is, the more like Jesus we become.

However, this does not mean that every time someone needs our sacrificial love we’re called to give it. Jesus didn’t waste time with those who didn’t want to believe him, and he warned us not to cast our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). He lifted up the lowly at every opportunity but he didn’t invite all of them to become a member of his group. And he didn’t give himself to the Cross until the time was right according to God’s schedule.

We need good discernment through the Holy Spirit to know: Am I to lay down my life for this person? At this time? Or does God have other plans? Often, good discernment about such matters requires input from Spirit-filled friends or counselors. It’s too easy to conclude “no” when we don’t like what God is asking of us, and it’s too easy to conclude “yes” when guilt urges us to do more than we should.

Take as an example what I’ve recently been through in serving as my mother’s caregiver. When we took my parents into our home 10 years ago, the calling was obvious. They had great difficulty living in a house by themselves. There was no one else in the family who could or would take them in, and they could not afford to move into an assisted living facility. Honoring my parents, in keeping the 5th Commandment, meant making space for them in our home despite the fact that spiritually and philosophically we are very different. It meant going the extra mile for them, even though they did not (often could not) do the same for us.

But as they aged, Ralph and I aged too. As their needs grew, our abilities to help them declined.

In December of 2016, my dad had a bad fall that put him in the hospital and then a rehab center and eventually a nursing home. Even though he wasn’t living in my house any more, he still required a lot from me. He passed away on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2020. Throughout it all, God’s hand has been clearly involved in the details as we’ve continually relied on his help. He gave me supernatural energy and cheerfulness for caregiving.

Several months ago, that energy disappeared. After examining my conscience and trying to will myself into being a joyful caregiver for Mom, I realized that God had withdrawn his divine anointing — his plans for us had changed.

In his great love for us, God respected and cared about the realities of my own aging and the health problems of my husband Ralph. Mom’s needs increasingly interfered with my calling to make Ralph the higher priority, and they interfered with Good News Ministries, but I resisted the idea that God wanted me to become less responsible for Mom.

Moving her out to a facility didn’t seem loving. It felt like I was just getting rid of her. However, my sense of responsibility for her was more than God assigned to me. Over-responsibility is a sin. I didn’t understand that yet.

Last November, Ralph and I went away on a much-needed, week-long vacation while a friend stayed with Mom. But halfway through the week, Mom fell and went to the hospital with a small brain bleed.

When she came home from the hospital, I was hit by severe back pains that totally disabled me. Doctors failed to cure me. A few people told me to put Mom into a facility. I thought they were speaking the world’s message of “get rid of her, don’t make sacrifices”. So I turned to God and said, “If You want Mom to move out, make her to bring it up. I don’t want to be the one to suggest it.”

By Christmas, I was still in a lot of pain and Ralph’s heart condition had worsened. Mom recognized that we are no longer able-bodied in caring for her. She said to me, “I believe I should move out. Let’s find an assisted living facility for me.”

Nonetheless, I still felt guilty about “getting rid” of her. So the next day I met with a faith-filled friend to talk it over. As we sat on my back porch, an osprey flew by. This was the first time I saw an osprey in my own yard. My friend and I marveled at the sight. And then, the next day, in the mail came a post card advertisement for a retirement facility named Osprey Heights. God wanted me to be sure he’s directing the whole thing!

Osprey Heights is a new apartment building with all the amenities of an assisted living facility. The next day, we toured it. How funny and humbling that I needed a wheelchair while my 90-year-old Mom walked the tour! Mom loved the place and picked out her apartment. Soon after, my back healed with the help of ice packs and lots of loving care from my dear husband.

Unfortunately, the facility’s opening has been greatly delayed. It’s been a very long wait for all three of us. This delay became a bigger concern when we learned that Ralph needs open heart surgery. He wants privacy during his recovery. And I do not have the stamina to care for him and my mother at the same time. But God is working a plan! He cares about every little detail. And meanwhile, I’ve got plenty of opportunities to practice the right balance between sacrificial love and loving by letting go. I often pray, “Father God, Mom’s Your responsibility more than she’s mine. I’m doing too much again. Take over!”


Inside the Ministry

We still need a bilingual Website Assistant to work on our Spanish website. Without this extra help, our Spanish site will continue to deteriorate. This new team member must be is fluent in English, Spanish, WordPress, and SEO — someone who needs no training and and has a great desire to serve the Lord. This assistant will update all the pages of the site to match the English site and prepare it for a new design. Hours are flexible. It’s paid work for someone who lives in the US. Know someone? Apply at gnm.org/about-join.


WordBytes

This week’s recommended faith-builder:
The Highest Form of Friendship

True friends look at each other through the eyes of God. This means that we must first be IN God so that we have HIS eyes. The friendship must glorify God, serve God, enjoy God, bring us closer to God.

“The devil sets many snares here which are hardly detected by those who are content to serve God in a superficial way.” (St. Teresa of Avila)

For more on this, visit wordbytes.org/spiritual-growth/highest-form-of-friendship.

WordBytes is a library of Catholic faith-building articles by Good News Ministries. Come on in and explore! Visit WordBytes.org today.


Footsteps to Heaven podcast

Hide in the Father’s Arms

Have you ever been in this kind of a situation? You’ve got a plan. You’ve prayed about it. God has called you to it. You feel anointed to do it. You feel gifted to do it. You feel like God is putting things into place for you to do it — and then things go wrong. That’s what I want to talk to you about in this podcast. Learn how to prevent things from going wrong, or when they do go wrong, how to handle it by relying on the fact that you can hide from evil in the shelter of the Father’s arms.

Listen to this podcast @ gnm.org/footsteps88.

Or watch the video @ gnm-media.org/hide-in-the-fathers-arms. Or if you prefer to read it, download the transcript at this link.

Sign up for early access to podcasts. New episodes of the podcast show Footsteps to Heaven are published before this newsletter goes out. You can be notified as soon as new ones are published! Subscribe at gnm-media.org for the podcast videos or at footstepstoheaven.com for the audio-only version.


Trivia QuestionAnswer to this week’s Trivia Challenge:
Jesus said what is the greatest display of love? Answer: To lay down your life for a friend.


God bless you!

Every morning, I lift up in prayer everyone who helps Good News Ministries in any way (donors, volunteers, prayer supporters, etc.) and all the prayer requests posted on our site. What can I cover in prayer for you? Post your prayer request.

How else can the team and I serve you today? Visit our homepage.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.

Terry ModicaYour servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries
gnm.org

Let’s connect in GNM’s community: See you there!

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