From Prodigal Daughter to Bride of Christ

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Me, You and the Bride of Christ. Throughout the Bible we read about the spousal relationship between God and His people. Jesus, Himself, is often referred to as the groom who will return for His bride. Who then, exactly, is His bride? Today’s spiritual safari guide blog post will explore this question in two ways:
  • First, by inviting you to join me, Lisa Flood and Susie MacKenzie on Catholic Community Radio’s The Kingdom Road as we discuss my own faith journey from Prodigal Daughter to Mystical Bride of Christ. Each of us is called to an intimate relationship with the Divine Trinity: Heavenly Father, Beloved Spouse and Holy Spirit, Who is Love Itself. Please join us live on Monday, August 7 at 3:30pm on WQNO 690 AM in New Orleans, WPYR AM in Baton Rouge, or on demand (after original broadcasting) at http://www.catholiccommunityradio.org/the-kingdom-road.
  • Second, by contemplating a beautiful poem and meditation written by today’s guest spiritual safari guide, Jodi Awbrey, entitled, A Jewel on the Bride’s Dress. Enjoy!

A Jewell on the Bride’s Dress by Jodi Awbrey

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          I remember my wedding day so clearly.  We had prepared for this day for an entire year.  It was a journey of sorts. It was exciting, but if I am being honest the planning could be frustrating at times. I really didn’t care much about china patterns or the color of our future bath towels.
          But, you better believe I cared about my dress.  I wanted my future husband to be in awe when he saw me walk down the aisle.  That dress had to be perfect.  I had to be perfect for him.
          In Jesus’ time, weddings were quite different.  The bride did not show up at the synagogue to get dressed and walk down the aisle with her father.  In those days, the bridegroom would come to the bride’s house to retrieve her.  She knew he was coming and made herself ready for his viewing when he arrived. They would then parade back to his house for the wedding feast.
          So it is with Jesus, the bridegroom.  He will come for his bride, the Church, when she has made herself ready. John writes about this in Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready”.
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          Just as I was a bride that readied myself for my betrothed that day, so the Church is right now readying herself for the return of Christ her bridegroom. And, who is the Church?  You and me.  I like to picture myself as a sparkling jewel on her magnificent dress.
          Just as I encountered challenges preparing for my own wedding feast, so too will the Church.  So too will I have troubles.  Sometimes my jewel will not shine very bright.  But as always, Jesus is the Good News and He planned it all out for me so I could shine that jewel right up. He knew my journey would be difficult at times, and this is what He did for me….and you!
The Wedding Guest’s Journey
You invited me to the wedding feast, sealed me to You and gave me a map for my journey. This, at Baptism.
You offer the finest food to strengthen me as I travel the road that can be difficult at times. This, in the Eucharist.
You provide access to emergency services to heal and return me to the path if I am injured or off course. This, in Reconciliation.
You ensure I have all the supplies needed to prepare me for any situation I may encounter. This, in Confirmation.
You give me a way to call home, hear your voice at any time so I know You are always with me. This, in Prayer.
You give hope and guidance through the story of those that have journeyed before me. This, in Holy Scripture.
You offer companions so I do not get lonely or discouraged as I travel. This, in the Communion of Saints.
You remain present with me as I travel, providing guidance and encouragement along the way. This, in the Holy Spirit.
You arranged access to your own special tour guide and finest accommodations so that I have all that I need to reach my destination. This, in the Church.
And, in the event of tragedy, help is readily available for healing of any kind. This, in Anointing.
All these gifts you give to me because you love me and desire that I attend the Wedding Feast. All these gifts I gratefully accept because I love You and long for the Wedding Feast.
But, what gift will I have to offer to You, my Lord, when I arrive?
As I journey,
I will be present to all that You have provided me,
so that I will know You,
so that I can prepare my heart to give to You,
so that You will know it is me when I knock on the door to enter the Wedding Feast.
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Jesus knew my journey would be difficult at time but He planned it all out for me so I could find may way to the Wedding Feast!

Jodi Awbrey is a Catholic wife and mother residing in Mandeville, LA. After 20 plus years working in the Information Technology field, she felt called in 2014 to leave her post in the business world to focus on living out her vocation with her family and actively participate in the New Evangelization.  She is passionate about spreading the Gospel message through facilitation of Bible studies in her Parish.

Jody Awbrey’s FaceBook Page

Closing 3:00 Prayer for Divine Mercy.

Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).

Jesus, I trust in You. Amen

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

Click on the link above to learn more about Karen’s non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about her upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. Thank you and God Bless!

Vanity…..It’s Not What I Thought

Vanity…….Its not what I thought by Jodi Awbrey, this Friday’s guest spiritual safari guide. Join us on a virtual pilgrimage as we discover a sure fire way to quiet the voice of doubt yapping in our mind’s ear.

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I grew up in a house full of boys. Life as the only girl of five lends itself to being a rough and tumble kind of kid. My wardrobe was made up mainly of sports T-shirts, athletic shorts and whatever running shoes my mom could find on sale. You won’t be surprised to know that I was the last in my group of friends to wear makeup. Minimal time was spent in front of the mirror making myself look presentable, much to my mother’s dismay. That being the case, I would have never thought vanity is a sin that would plague me. However, I recently discovered just how wrong I was.

Over the course of several months, I had been watching a very dear friend pour herself into her work. She had gotten a new job, and was surpassing the expectations of every one around her. She was defying all odds, doing wondrous things with minimal resources. I sat in awe of her wondering how she was able to move those mountains. The answer was right in front of me, but I did not discover her secret until we were chatting one day. Her key to success had been a much increased prayer life and a heart on fire for Jesus. I was truly happy for her.

As we sat and talked, she shared with me her dreams for the future in her still somewhat new position. Now, you have to understand that I am a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of girl. So the more she shared with me, the larger the pit in my stomach grew. She was dreaming big and fast, and for my risk averse mind, I found that to be very scary. As I drove home and thought about how amazing she is, I knew that I had total confidence in my friend. After all, she had Jesus on her side.

The next morning I was still thinking about her. My new found confidence did not erase all worries for her well-being. It was then in the midst of my morning prayers when it came to me out of the blue, or so I thought at the time, what I must do. I needed to pray a Rosary lifting her up once a week. That was it. Who can’t use more prayer, right? Even better, she and I needed to pray this Rosary together. After all, when two or more are gathered in His name………

I immediately jumped out of my prayer chair, ran to my phone and texted her with my great plan to ensure her success. I just knew I would get an immediate response with a big fat “YES”. Five minutes went by, and no response. Thirty minutes…….nothing. I decided to go take my shower to pass the time. Still no response when I checked my phone. It was in that very moment, standing in my bathroom dripping wet that things took a turn.

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The voice of doubt found its way in, and it was loud. The voice, like a Chihuahua yapping in my mind’s ear, persisted throughout the day. It berated me and fed on my self-doubt about who I am and what I had done.

Who am I to think the Holy Spirit would send me on a mission to help my friend? I am so silly sometimes. I bothered my friend, put her in an incredibly awkward position. She does not have time to pray the Rosary with me. She’s busy and her life consists of so much more important things than mine. I am so embarrassed. What does she think of me now? She probably wonders how someone like me, so insignificant, thinks I have the right to ask her to pray with me. She is probably rolling her eyes at me right now wondering why I bothered her knowing she is so busy. Why did I sent that text?

I felt helpless and alone. I didn’t know what to do next. So I did nothing. As I wallowed throughout the day entertaining the thoughts that annoying Chihuahua was feeding me, I sank lower and lower. The deeper I sank, the further I moved away from my life line. Oh I did think about praying, but what was the point now? The thought even popped into my mind that I should just stop praying so hard because it is taking up my time and it is not doing any good. Ridiculous!

That was when I stopped, turned to Jesus and said, “That is not your voice. I know your voice. You have never once spoken accusingly to me. You only ever encourage me. And when I commit my blunders, you pick me up and make all things new. Help me Jesus. Help me turn this nonsense around.” And of course, He did.

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You pick me up and make all things new. Help me Jesus.

Through some additional time in prayer, I realized that my suggestion was in fact good and was prompted by the Holy Spirit. It came from a stirring in my heart to perform an act of love for my dear friend. What can be wrong or silly in that? That annoying Chihuahua usually shows up when I am doing something in the love of Christ. He’s always lurking around and will do just about anything to distract me so that I take my eyes off Jesus. St. Peter took his eyes off Jesus when walking on water, became distracted and frightened of the turbulent wind and began to sink, (Matthew 14:30), just like me.

So how does vanity play a part in all of this? As soon as doubt crept in, my thoughts went directly to worrying about how my friend might view my invitation to pray and what she might think of me as a person. When my faith was shaken and I took my eyes off Jesus, I made it all about me. My concern was no longer for my friend’s well-being, but rather about how I might be viewed in her eyes. Had I continued down this spiraling path of self-absorption, I could very well have begun to act out of pride versus love toward my friend. No matter what sins we struggle with, they can start so small and end up so big.

But knowing and accepting that pesky little Chihuahua will continue to nip at me in some way makes it better. When his voice of negativity shows up, I can stop there and know that it is not the voice of Jesus. He wants to steal my peace, separate me from my Lord. But Jesus, being the Good News, told St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I am weak. I am susceptible to self-doubt and vanity. I will be plagued by the Chihuahua for the rest of my life because I live in a broken world. But my God is bigger and His grace is sufficient to make me strong enough to overcome my weakness and share in His victory!

By the way, my friend finally did respond to my text the following day. She had been sick with the flu. She welcomed the idea of praying the Rosary together and was touched by the offering to deepen our friendship in this way. I have a feeling the Holy Spirit already knew that would be the case!

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Jodi Awbrey is a Catholic wife and mother residing in Mandeville, LA. After 20 plus years working in the Information Technology field, she felt called in 2014 to leave her post in the business world to focus on living out her vocation with her family and actively participate in the New Evangelization.  She is passionate about spreading the Gospel message through facilitation of Bible studies in her Parish.

Jody Awbrey’s FaceBook Page

Closing 3:00 Prayer for Divine Mercy.

Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).

Jesus, I trust in You. Amen

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

Click on the link above to learn more about Karen’s non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about her upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. Thank you and God Bless!

How Do You Call Her Mother?

The Queen Mother: Beautiful and Pure by Jodi Awbrey, this Friday’s guest spiritual safari guide. Join us on a virtual pilgrimage as we discover the precious gift, promised and bestowed upon each of us and the entire human race.

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The Queen Mother: Beautiful and Pure.

How do you call her Mother, Mom, Ma’am, Ma? We all have our own ways of affectionately calling out to our mothers. Whatever yours may be, it is your own way of giving her that distinct title that says, “you are special to me and I love you.” Being from the south, we called our mother “Mamma”.

I was fourteen when she lost her battle with breast cancer. I have lived most of my life without her physically present here with me on earth. And since I was so young when she passed, I often think about who she was and who she might be today. With every new season of life that I enter or milestone I reach, I feel that I get to know her more deeply because of my own new insights gained into this earthly journey. When I became a mother, I was flooded with memories and a fresh perspective on things she had said or done. I find peace and joy in being able to connect to her in this way.

This past Mother’s Day, I gathered with my brothers that live nearby for a dinner in her honor. It was a wonderful evening and we really enjoyed being together. On the way home I continued reflecting happily on memories of our family and thoughts about all that our mother had done for us in her life. Anyone that knew her would tell you she was beautiful and funny, but we were the only human beings blessed enough to be on the receiving end of her motherly love. She gave her all to us. Everything. She loved us so much, she sacrificed her wants so that we would not need for anything.

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My Mother, she gave her all to us. Everything.

About one month later during my morning prayer meditation, I was abruptly lead to a question in my mind. I have this knowledge of who my earthly mother was, but what about my heavenly mother? Do I really know who she is? Sadly, my answer was “No, I don’t”. So my prayer quickly changed into a simple request of the Holy Spirit. I asked Him to tell me who my heavenly mother is. And this is what He whispered into my heart.

My Mother

My mother is a handmaid, She is a faithful servant, obedient to her master;

My mother is beautiful and pure, She is not tarnished by the brokenness that surrounds her;

My mother is filled with grace, She has been blessed and showers her motherly love upon me;

My mother brings the light of Love and Mercy to me, She gave up everything so I could be called daughter;

My mother freely accepted the sword that pierced her heart, She suffered great pain so that I would be saved from death;

My mother desires only good things for me, She leads me to the heart of Love so I can know what it means to be cherished;

My mother teaches me to pray, She shows me the path to righteousness and joy;

My mother is the Queen Mother, She intercedes on my behalf and draws me into relationship with the King of Kings;

My mother is Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant, and her Son is Jesus, My Lord.

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She suffered great pain so that I may be saved from death.

Jesus, hanging in agony and excruciating pain on the cross, uttered these words to John, “Behold, your mother”. Scripture goes on to tell us “from that hour the disciple took her into his home,” (John 19:27). On that plain and regular morning, from a place deep within prayer, Jesus told me who my heavenly mother is and asked me to take her into my home. My home is my heart, and there is where I will continue to grow in love and appreciation for all that she has done, is doing and will do for all of us……..She gave her all to us. Everything. She loved us so much, she sacrificed her wants so that we would not need for anything.

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My Mother: she gave her all to us. Everything.

Jodi Awbrey is a Catholic wife and mother residing in Mandeville, LA. After 20 plus years working in the Information Technology field, she felt called in 2014 to leave her post in the business world to focus on living out her vocation with her family and actively participate in the New Evangelization.  She is passionate about spreading the Gospel message through facilitation of Bible studies in her Parish.

Jody Awbrey’s FaceBook Page

Closing Prayer. 

Mary, Our Mother, I come to you with my needs and beg you to help me.

I honor you as my Mother and helper and trust in your love for me.

Lead me on the path of virtue, and preserve me from every evil.

Let me enjoy your protection and walk in your love and peace.

Guide me closer to Jesus, Who gave you to me to be my Mother.

Amen

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

Click on the link above to learn more about Karen’s non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about her upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. Thank you and God Bless!