God exists; that is the real message for Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed. (Pope Benedict XVI)
This is the true gift of our faith; to know that God is real. From this comes a hope and a burning in our hearts so bright that nothing or no one can take it away. We can live in the knowing that no matter what we do He will always be there to make sure we know we are always forgiven and deserving of His love. This is what shapes how we spend every day, and even how we make every decision within those days.
Today we get to joyfully say, Alleluia! We have missed this joy for the last six weeks. It is our sincerest prayer that, whether this is the first time you will celebrate mass for a long time, or whether you go every day, may Jesus Christ who is alive in you in a very real way today, share one light with you that will set your heart on fire.
Pope Francis expresses this so perfectly, “Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and opens our hearts to Him. Today is the celebration of our hope, the celebration of this truth”; nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from His love. (Rom 8:39)
May you feel His streams of grace and mercy in a tangible way this Easter.
Sent with a sincere prayer of gratitude that you share in our family at My Saint My Hero.
Christine and Amy
We love that we gather outside the doors of the church carrying palms and enter the sanctuary together as one community, reenacting the very moment when the community flooded the gates of Jerusalem proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.
We all know the suffering that took place days after this proclamation and we know the TRUE victory HE won for us all on EASTER.
-Amy and Christine
I just arrived back in the States from a very special trip to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. At each place, I was asked the same weird question, “What else in you needs to die before I bring you back to life?” I was at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher the first time I heard those words. I had my hand in the hole of the rocks where Jesus’ cross was placed when He was crucified, where, in a very literal sense, God died. “Madi, what else needs to die?”
As I stood in one of the little chapels of the Magdala Center along the Sea of Galilee, I gazed upon a mosaic of Jesus taking the hand of a little girl and telling her “Talitha Koum.” “Little girl, arise.” I heard the words again, “What else needs to die?” I didn’t get why He was asking me that question, like “Jesus, what the heck dude, aren’t you life itself? Why are you asking me about death?!”
But the thing is – death isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning! Three days after God died on the cross, He rose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene first, to anoint her with the mission of spreading the message of life. After the whole town knew that Jarius’s daughter was dead, Jesus took the little girl’s hand and told her to rise and be who she was called to be. In order to show His resurrection power, Jesus had to die. There is no resurrection without death. What else in you needs to die so the Holy Spirit can empower you into who you are called to be; because that person, empowered by the Holy Spirit, being exactly who you were made to be, will change the world.
The question kind of reminds me of Bob Goff’s (author of Love Does) practice of quitting something every Thursday. Sometimes it’s small stuff like biting his nails, sometimes it’s big stuff, like dropping out of board positions of important companies and organizations. I think the idea behind it is revolutionary and gets to the same question… what no longer has a place in your heart or life? What is holding you back from being who you were created to be? What is getting you stuck in a rut? You don’t have to be the person you used to be. That’s why Jesus came, to give us life, new life, life to the fullest. When we lose our lives we find them. When we die He gives us new and better life. It’s not morbid at all. It’s the story of the gospel.
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary
Recent posts by Madi – The Garden & Hearing God
In this Lenten season, may we join our hearts in prayer as we walk to the cross together… may we be granted a “Servant’s Heart!”
We are reminded of the words of Visionary Mirijana during our most recent pilgrimage in Medjugorje, “When I get down on my knees to pray I don’t ask for help in this or that… I simply pray that Jesus will make my heart like His so I may love like He loves… if I love like Him all else will be well.”
Let’s embrace the holy season of Lent and be encouraged by these words of Pope Francis:
“During Lent, Let us all ask the Lord: Fac Cor Nostrum secondum cor tuum – Make our hearts like yours. In this way we will receive a heart that is firm and merciful, attentive and generous… a heart that is not closed, indifferent, or prey to the globalization of indifference.”
May we embrace this prayer in all we do. One way to do this is to ask that all our conversations be graced by this love and be edifying. “When we speak gracious words it is like honey for the body and food for the soul.” Proverbs 16:24
May your Lenten journey be a time of many graces and the joy of being made new, in Jesus Christ.
Blessings, Amy and Christine
My sweet sister and I sat in the car the other night and she asked me what it meant to hear God. And I said, “What the heck, lets just ask Him to speak to us.” We sat there, waiting on God and after not even 2 minutes she said, “Madi, God showed me a movie of you on a mountain surrounded by people who needed help and all you did was love them. I felt like God was saying that He is going to send you to all the people who are poor and tell their stories with your camera.” OKAY. My sister just prophesied and spoke life and a dream over me. This is real life. Arise. Go change the world.
One of the most powerful things we can do for another is to speak life over them, to call things into existence with life giving words, to remind one another who we are in our deepest identities and prophesy how the Spirit is moving in our lives.
For Lent each of us at My Saint My Hero are praying for one person every day. We invite you to join us, and we also invite you to take it a step further. Did you know you can hear God? Did you know He never stops speaking to us and that He WANTS you to know and hear His voice?? I invite you to ask God to speak to you for another, and then declare that word over the person you are praying for. It can be a picture, a word, a bible verse, even a song. So close your eyes and just rest, and don’t doubt that you can hear God. If my 10 year old sister can hear God, so can you.
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary
Recent posts by Madi – The Garden
The Garden. In the word, we see the Garden is the meeting place of God, where Adam and Eve walked with God without fear or shame, in pure intimacy with Him. It’s where Jesus knelt as the soldiers came and the deepest of darkness fell upon Him, where He chose us, to be our Redeemer, where heaven meets us. It’s where Mary Magdalene stood, weeping after she couldn’t find Jesus in the tomb when she heard the Gardener say her name.
God is always up to something new, He is always doing a new thing. As you lie in the garden covered in dirt, surrounded by the ivy and wildflowers and oaks of righteousness, listen for His voice. Hear Him call you back into existence, let His voice thaw out your frozenness, to reawaken your numbness. Let Him bring life to your body, your soul again. Listen to Him call your name, hear the voice that breaks the silence, that ignites fireworks in our chest, that makes our heart stutter. Come back into the Garden.
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary
Recent Posts by Madi – Hearing God
Happy Monday Friends!! I am sorry I have not been on here much lately, but I promise I will be around more in the coming weeks. Yesterday’s gospel is pretty remarkably placed. My heart has definitely been troubled in the last few weeks, a bit afraid, and really unsure.
This summer I have the amazing opportunity to travel on behalf of My Saint My Hero to meet some incredible people, share our story and experience all that God has planned. I am not the only one that will have that chance this summer. However, it’s quite significant for me since I will run face to face with something that for the last 7 years I have hidden from, but was a huge part of my reversion to the Catholic Church. July 26, 2009 is a day that still plays on repeat in my head like it was yesterday. One month before the date, my Grandmother and Grandfather called to tell me news that would forever break my heart and mildly harden my heart. My Grandfather had cancer, it was bad, and the only way to potentially save him was to operate. One week later I’m in a car on my way to Vegas, several hours later I walk into a hospital room where he can’t move because they just operated on his spine to try to get the cancer out. It was worse than they thought, but with the treatment he would be better – at least that’s what they told me. Little did I know that would be the last time he would smile at me, kiss me, look me in the eyes and call me his little girl. I didn’t know I would never again dance in-front of the jukebox with him while he sang into my ear Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” or Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
I am sure you are all wondering how this has to do with summer travels… On July 26th, 2009, I got onto a bus at 6am to start what slowly became the WORST bus drive of my life. My best friend Amy was with me, along with all of my friends from Life Teen – we were on our way to Steubenville West in Tucson, AZ. I was over the moon and ready to find Matt Maher, the Bible Geek to ask for some autographs and pictures, and to just have a blast. I hardly slept the night before and walked out to find my car handles stuffed with vaseline (my friends and I had an epic game of pranking each other’s cars going on that summer). A few hours in – and after the bus broke down a few times – I got the phone call that my Grandfather went home to our Heavenly Father.
This summer on July 15th, for the first time since 2009, I will walk into the Steubenville arena I walked into 7 years ago – broken, angry and numb. To say “I’m ready” to return would be a lie. I am broken and scared. But I will let my heart be.
Your love Never Fails… it never gives up… and on and on and on it goes….
In death and life His love is quite apparent… This last week Amy shared the story about a funeral that we attended as one family. It was awful to sit there. I never had the chance to meet him, but I surely felt like I knew him. His mom would talk about him almost every day at work and tell me the stories about what her sons were up to in college, which always made me miss college more and more. Yes, I’m only three years (wait where has the time gone) out of school, but it sure doesn’t feel that long. He was actually supposed to come to the office the week that he passed to meet all our new team members since his last and to see how much we have grown, but God had greater plans.
Our Heavenly Father is so so so great and continues to be great in times of hurt, anger and despair. Last week’s Gospel reminded us of that. In Mass last Sunday the priest who presided the mass I attended talked about Christ being a much kinder man than he could ever be. He talked about how even that morning when the men caught all the fish, He looked at Peter who had already denied Him and welcomed him into His arms.
This Sunday, the Gospel continues to talk about the love of God – but more importantly how we live out our “YES” to Christ. Living out your “yes” can be harder that we think. It requires much time, energy and may even isolate you from others. A specific girl who is a high school student and a huge part of my life comes to mind. This last week she was picking which university she was going to attend in the fall and the icing on the cake came in a not so pleasant way. She rocked it. I looked at her later that night in the car, chuckled and said, “Well you have been asking God to show you the answer.” She then paused, chuckled and said, “Yeah, I have been.” The university she picked is going to be so lucky to have her, but also she is going to be able to live out her “yes” every day surrounded by others who support her.
This week take some time to listen to all of those voices that are in your life and think about which ones are really leading you closer to Christ and allowing you to live out your YES. If they have polluted your heart, purify it again and allow Christ’s never failing love to hold you and surround you. May He renew your YES.
“Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The Joy of the Lord is our strength.”
-Blessed Mother Teresa
Hi there! I hope your having a wonderful Sunday. I picked todays quote not only because I am over the moon that Blessed Mother Teresa is going to be a Saint in just a few months or that she is my name sake, but because she was an amazing women who truly understood how to be the face of Christ. The love of Christ, and abundant Mercy that she was able to show to numerous people who did not feel it from others in their community is truly inspiring.
Today’s readings are about serving, and not just serving yourself but the Church. Simon Peter sees Christ on the shore after a night of fishing, and a bit of disappointment since they were unable to catch any fish, making their morning far from joyful. It might have taken Simon Peter a moment to recognize that it was Christ walking along the shore, but when he did he jumped into the water and ran to him, full of joy. Similar to the way that we should be running to serve any and everyone; the poor man asking for some money to eat, the disabled who really just wants to know that they are important, the little child who just needs a smile, the mother who lost her son, a brother or sister in Christ who just needs someone with an open heart to listen. Everyone is broken and if as a community we choose to serve everyone in the way that they need, we can make a change. The community will radiate the joy of heaven here on earth, leading us all closer to salvation.
As I was writing this post I was sent a reminder that today is Good Deed Sunday, giggled and was reminded that God really shows us joy when we are serving him, but most of all because I had picked a quote from someone who lived a life of good deeds. This week I challenge you to take the time to serve someone that you would not usually serve.
Blessed Mother Teresa… Pray for us.