• From the Desk of Stella Davis

      My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

      I am writing about love this month. At our breakfast meeting in January, there were five prophecies from the Lord, and every one of them spoke about love...so I will continue to speak about it!

      Do you feel genuinely loved, or is there a nagging sense of emptiness in your life that never seems to go away? Some people, in a search for fulfillment, enter into unwise and sinful relationships. Others turn to career advancement, the pursuit of success and wealth, or endless shopping, or a quest for pleasure. But there is NO substitute for genuine love.

      As our creator, God has placed a hunger for love in each of our hearts. There is a longing within us that can never be satisfied completely by others because every human relationship eventually brings disappointment. Only the Lord can fill empty hearts. Because He doesn’t want anyone to feel starved for love, He has made provision for us to experience the joy and fulfillment only available in the Eucharist and in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, instead of turning to Him, many people continue to live with the heartache of feeling unloved.
      Perhaps you’re unsatisfied in your relationships and are longing for more, but you don’t really believe it’s causing problems in your life. That’s because it’s possible to become accustomed to the emptiness and think it’s normal. The symptoms are still there, waiting for you to open your eyes and face them. 

      Those who feel unloved often have trouble loving themselves. This could be due to feelings of rejection that manifest as a sense of unworthiness. Another symptom is a tendency to be jealous of others who seem to have better relationships than we do. With a focus on what’s lacking in our lives, self-pity soon follows. Even when we’re with others, we may feel isolated and alone. It just seems like everyone else is satisfied and fulfilled, while we’re lonely and empty. The most defeating aspect of being starved for love is that it makes us unable to freely love others. That’s because genuine love is a selfless commitment to another person. It flows from a heart seeking to do what is best for someone else. However, if our emotional bank is empty, we’ll be on the lookout for someone to meet our needs, rather than someone to love. The only solution to this cycle of self-defeat is to let God satisfy us with His love.

      That is why we need to understand the characteristics of divine love. First of all, the Lord is the true source of love. The Bible says that God is love – it is His nature. This means it isn’t conditioned upon our behavior or lovability (1 John 4:16). Whenever we feel unloved, the problem is our perception. The only way to live securely in God’s love is to believe and abide in it. Instead of focusing on our own unworthiness, we need to count His Word as true, accept His love by faith, and filter all our experience through this truth. The more we get to know the Lord through His Word and prayer, the more we’ll abide in His love and feel it surrounding and upholding us. When people fail us, our hearts will find comfort in the guarantee of God’s love for us!

      His love restores: God’s love is not just a warm fuzzy emotion but is expressive and active. THE proof is found in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He first shows us His love by meeting our most urgent needs – to be forgiven and then restored to fellowship with Him. Once we’ve entered into that relationship through Christ, He continues to demonstrate His love by restoring us in other ways too. He brings healing to our hurts and sorrows, rebuilds our sense of self-worth, calms our fears with a sense of security, and satisfies our longings until we’re emotionally complete. God’s love flows through us to others, like a fountain overflows to the people around us. (1 John 4:19). Instead of seeking someone to meet our needs, we’ll be able to give sacrificially of ourselves to benefit others.

      God has given me an awesome sense of love for people I don’t even know. The same thing can happen to you. When He plants His love in your heart, it grows and matures, satisfying your emotional hunger and filling you up to overflowing so you can express love freely to others! Freely you have received. Freely you must give!


      In His Love, My Prayers,
      Stella Davis

       

    • Our Medjugorje Pilgrimage

      Medujugorje-Dubrovnik Tour With Stella Davis/CWIA
      October 24-November 2, 2012

      "Come, says my heart, seek God's face. Your face, Lord, do I seek." (Psalm 27:8)

      Our pilgrimage to Medjugorje/Dubrovnik was a wonderful, spiritually rich experience. It is difficult to put into words the impact that such a trip can have. The reasons for going were different for everyone. Some may not have known why they were going. But we all received a special touch from God as we sought Him.

      We arrived in Dubrovnik on the afternoon on Thursday, October 25. Our tour guide, Slavenka, met us at the airport and we were immediately impressed by her ease and her upbeat manner. "No problem!" she told us, as we all rooted around for money to give the bus driver in exchange for bottles of water. "You have come to the land of no problems!" What a greeting!

      We then drove to Medjugorje from Dubrovnik. The scenery was breathtaking and Slavenka began to acquaint us with the history of the area. As we approached Medjugorje, she talked about its history and the history of the apparitions of our Blessed Mother, and what makes Medjugorje such a wonderful, peaceful, spiritually enriching place. It was clear that she wanted our trip to be spiritually meaningful to us.

      We came into Medjugorje after dark, so were unable to see much of the town or surrounding areas, but were all struck by the loveliness of our hotel--more stately and upscale than any of us had expected. Our host and his staff welcomed us with the same laid-back, smiling air with which Slavenka had welcomed us at the airport, and then a delicious dinner was served family style in the hotel dining room. We enjoyed wonderful meals and fellowship in that dining room throughout our stay. And even celebrated two birthdays! The hotel staff made a lovely birthday cake for two members of our group.

      On Friday morning we traveled as a group to the orphanage in Medjugorje where, in the courtyard there, we joined many other pilgrims to pray the rosary as we waited for Vicka, the visionary, to speak to us. Vicka's countenance was so filled with peace, joy, and love, that if our pilgrimage had only included that opportunity to see her and hear her speak, it would have been worth the trip. She spoke to us about some of the primary messages of the Blessed Mother in Medjugorje--that the rosary is our strongest weapon, and if we pray the rosary in our families, Satan can do no harm. She encouraged us to open our hearts, add prayer to every day, put Holy Mass in first place, and accept Jesus without any fear and without excuse. She talked also about fasting, about heaven and hell, and encouraged us to pray for peace in our hearts and in our families--from that, peace will spill over into the world. At the end of her talk, Vicka prayed over us intently for a long time. It was beautiful and moving.

      We then attended the English-language mass at church, as we did every morning that we were in Medjugorje. Every mass was inspiring and intense because there were so many devout people there, ready to worship the Lord and eager for a touch from Him.

      We climbed Apparition Hill that afternoon. It was wonderful to pray the rosary in that place where so many apparitions had occurred, and to end at the statue of the beautiful Queen of Peace. There was such a feeling of peace at that spot. Several of us then returned to church for the rosary and the 6 PM mass in Croatian. Having the mass available in English via earphones was terrific.
      The rest of our stay in Medjugorje was filled with wonderful opportunities. We visited the Cenacolo community (the community for those recovering from addictions), where we heard powerful testimonies from two young American men. We visited "the castle," home of Patrick and Nancy, where Patrick entertained us with a beautiful testimony delivered in a very light-hearted way! We visited Fr. Jozo Zovko's church for a private mass on Sunday and were all able to see the famous statue of the Blessed Mother that is associated with Medjugorje. We had wonderful opportunities for adoration, confession, the rosary, mass in Croatian, and to pray the Chaplet of Peace after the evening of mass. Confession in Medjugorje was a very powerful experience for some of us. We were given permission to climb Mt. Krizevac, which some of us did, and got to pray the stations on the way to the top and then see the enormous cross there. We also participated in prayer meetings back at our hotel, within our group, and those were powerful and anointed, as well.

      It was difficult to leave Medjugorje, where all of the devotions felt so intense. You had the sense the entire time that you were in a very special place and near to the heart of God and the Blessed Mother.

      Our time in Dubrovnik, however, was very rich and enjoyable. We were able to see beautiful churches, the ancient pharmacy, and even took a boatride on the Adriatic, a wonderful experience! We stayed in a wonderful hotel and enjoyed delicious meals. The day trip into Montenegro was also a very blessed experience. The Lord blessed us with lovely weather for much of the day, and the scenery was simply breathtaking.

      Our tour was very well-led by Stella Davis and Father John Brady, and by our tour guides. We were all abundantly blessed, and I am sure that we will all see much fruit in our lives as a result of traveling to Medjugorje and Croatia this year.

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