My dear GEM Family:
We have just emerged from our holiest liturgical season of the year – Holy Week. Our Lenten pilgrimage of prayer, fast, and abstinence prepared us well to journey with Jesus and the universal Church as He ascended Mount Calvary to His crucifixion and death on our behalf. In silent adoration, repentance, and gratitude, we acknowledged Jesus as our unblemished Lamb of sacrifice taking upon Himself our sin so that we might be immersed in His righteousness! Even as Satan was gloating over Jesus’ demise assuming arrogantly that He was demolished once and for all, convincing rays of resurrection told another story. The repentant criminal entered Paradise! The centurion came to believe that Jesus, whom he crucified as a criminal, was indeed the Son of God! The veil of the Temple’s Inner Sanctuary was shred in two, signaling the replacement of the Mosaic Covenant with the New and Everlasting covenant in Jesus, and breaking down the separation between God and His people, making Jesus Emmanuel, God with us. During the Easter Vigil, the Exultet Hymn expressed our adoration, joy, and praise of Jesus as the Light of the world represented by the Paschal Candle. In witnessing the baptisms of the catechumens during the Easter Vigil, we were reminded of our own baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus which were made present for us in the Liturgy. We emerged from the Holy Week Services with a profound sense of awe and amazement as we were touched deeply by the mystery of God’s love and compassion shown to us in His Son, Jesus. As one of our participants said in small group, ‘I will never be the same;’ Alleluia! Our Lord has been raised from the dead, to die no more! We will go to our death and one day will rise with Him to die no more! The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us and we now live in His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Risen Son, full of grace and truth.
During Lent, we had a special prayer intention that a deeper process of re-creation would take place in our hearts, transforming our relationship with the Blessed Trinity and all our human relationships. We prayed that such a transformation would carry over into our daily lives, creating an increased awareness of God’s Presence and Love around and within us, and a greater zeal to work generously for the expansion of God’s kingdom in the hearts of those around us. While the Sun and rain transform nature, manifesting God’s glory in lavish tones, the Divine Son, our Risen Lord, has done it for our hearts, renewing them through His Sacred Mysteries in ways we could never fathom. May we continue to live with renewed spirits in the peace and joy of the Risen Lord!
Registrations for our GEM pilgrimage to the Holy Land have been coming in, slowly but surely. We will keep sending out our flyer about the pilgrimage from January 25 to February 3, 2020 periodically, to give you all the information for registration. The season of discerning whether the Holy Spirit is prompting you to visit the land of the Holy Family and registering as pilgrims is upon us. If you have made up your mind believing that it is God’s desire for you, please register, the sooner, the better. We are hopeful that God who has begun a good work through this endeavor will bring it to a holy completion for all of us.
Among the most recent developments in the month of April, I would like to highlight our seminar on ‘A School of Prayer and Holiness’ that took place on April 6, 2019 at our Conference Center, High Hill, Texas. The response was very positive, and the universal sentiment among the participants was that they had come to a deeper appreciation of our Catholic vocal prayers, and received a new understanding of how these prayers have brought countless disciples into profound communion with the Blessed Trinity.
Another highlight from April 25-28, 2019, Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon, was the women’s silent directed retreat weekend that we had at our Retreat Center at High Hill, Texas. 7 women made the silent retreat, praying between 5-7 hours daily, along with Mass and Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and meeting daily with a retreat director to receive a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s workings in their souls. The unanimous conclusion was that the retreat has brought them to a deeper appreciation and commitment in their relationship with the Blessed Trinity. They have decided to continue to meet as a group to encourage one another as disciples of Jesus.
Lastly, we are in the process of putting various elements together in order to launch online groups for formation in discipleship, using our manuals and other written and audio reflections. We are in discussions with GEM members as to how best to do this new ministry. We are putting together a pilot project and will keep you informed of our progress in the months to come.
We continue to pray that 2019 will be a blessed year for you, that your commitment to holiness will grow stronger and deeper, and that your desire to witness to Jesus by helping others to know Him in a personal and intimate way will intensify. Please continue to pray for God’s Embrace Ministries, that we serve God’s covenant family wherever we are, generously and joyfully. May you be blessed in God’s Embrace! You are in our daily prayers.
Sincerely in Jesus Christ,