The needs of Elizabeth Ministry continue to be many and serious, affecting a multitude of individuals and families. Please join us in prayer:
• For the healing of EM founder, Jeannie Hannemann, who had suffered a stroke several months ago, recently underwent a surgery to remove a kidney stone, and most recently suffered a severe concussion after a fall. Lord Jesus, bring about your healing work in her, especially that she would be able to sleep and be thus restored to health.
• For RECLAiM students, that they would succeed in overcoming unhealthy habits, especially the practice of pornography usage and its effects.
• For the spouses, marriages and families of our RECLAiM students, and all those who fight unhealthy sexual habits.
• For the spread of RECLAiM in the United States, in New Zealand and Australia, and throughout the English-speaking world.
• For all those who have asked our prayers, that they might overcome unhealthy sexual habits.
• For the finances to extend the RECLAiM program to those who would benefit from it.
• For the health of all who struggle with their sexual identity and their vocations in life.
• For parents who struggle with the choices made by their children, that healthy relationships would be restored.
• For parents and those who seek to be parents but struggle with infertility.
• For the parents and families whose children/grandchildren have died in utero, through miscarriage or stillbirth, that their grief may be healed, especially for a family whose conjoined twins have died.
• For parents/families who are currently expecting healthy babies, especially those with multiple births.
• For a greater respect for life from conception to natural death.
• For the needs of all who pray for us and with us,
Lord Jesus, have mercy on us and hear the prayers
of those who call on you. AMEN
How might you pray? May we ask you to pray the Canticle of Zachariah each morning and the Canticle of Mary, the “Magnificat” each evening? These are part of the traditional “Morning Prayer” and “Evening Prayer” of the Church that have been prayed by priests and religious men and women
for centuries. In addition to being ‘classic’ prayers of the Church, these prayers form the basis of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth, the “True Founders” of Elizabeth Ministry! Thank you!
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The mother sat with her children to tell them a story:
“Jesus wanted something big and strong to grow from a tiny seed.
Do you think it could do that?”
Once upon a time, Jesus told a story that we can find in the Gospel according to Mark (4:26-32), where He uses the example of a mustard seed, to explain the growth of the kingdom of God.
You may have shown your children a mustard seed; I know I did. Remarkably unassuming, isn’t it? (I just checked; no mustard seeds in my kitchen; I haven’t made pickles in years, but I did taste a bit of ground mustard. I definitely do think that’s what Jesus had in mind! You will remember the zing of ground mustard! Strong stuff, mustard!!)
I thought I had never seen a mustard plant, but I was wrong. Depending on where you live, you have probably seen many mustard plants. They are the bright yellow plants, wild mustard — considered an “invasive species” — that grows up in the spring and throughout the seasons along our interstate highways.
So what was Jesus trying to tell us about the Kingdom of Heaven? (Simple thought: It starts really small and unassuming but is made to spread wildly!)
Jesus spoke earlier in the Gospel of Mark, chapter four, of the Sower and the Seed. Many of those seeds planted met an untimely end, stomped on, drained of energy, scorched, withered or choked to death. Only a few of those seeds grew to their fullest potential. Why? It was the soil that made the difference.
Our work with Elizabeth Ministry is mostly involved with children and families. How are our ‘seeds’ growing? Are we growing seeds that end up unhealthy, or are we growing seeds to become the best of invasive species? Certainly we don’t want our seeds to be “thrown into the fire and burned.” Don’t we want, rather, to have our children and our Christian culture to be alive and spreading, brightening, coloring and making fruitful our increasingly unhealthy environment?
Are we teaching our children to be a “mustard seed” people? Are we giving them the best soil to encourage healthy growth? Spring is coming (for most of us!), and the time of planting will soon be upon us. Lent is also coming, a time of spiritual growth, and a time to consider how best to nourish the strongest qualities of spiritual health in our children: peace, patience, kindness, self-control, mercy, wisdom, prudence, chastity, and all the rest….
Back to the mustard seed and plant: One thing I’ve learned about mustard: the young plants are edible and healthy, but not the best thing for cattle! The leaves must be washed thoroughly, as insects and caterpillars like mustard, too. Also, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made mustard plasters to clear up congestion. This grandmother remembers mustard plasters….!
I also learned that mustard is related to canola, as is rapeseed. I don’t know enough about one or another, as I’m not a botanist, but rapeseed doesn’t sound good, does it? Sounds like something the Devil would put out there to confuse us from the real thing. However I guess the name comes from the Latin word for turnip, ‘rapum’.
One thing I do know, though: Jesus gave us the lowly mustard seed to understand the Kingdom of Heaven. My suggestion is to study all of chapter four of the Gospel of Mark; it’s loaded with good food for the growing soul! Mark 4 is also loaded with the potential for teaching and activities for our little and not-so-little ones! Coloring, drawing and building projects! Looking and finding! Games and projects! Weather and seasons! Planting and growing! Puppet shows and plays! Similes and metaphors! Reading and writing! A great opportunity to plant God’s Kingdom in our hearts and homes!