This book includes prayers, teachings about purgatory, real-life stories, meditations, quotes from the saints, and more. You can use this book however you like - as a daily devotional, as a year-round "novena" (to follow the seasons) - or just pick it up and read as the Spirit leads you. click here 


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DON'T LET OTHERS DRAG YOU ONTO THE DESERT OF THEIR SHORTCOMINGS, EGO, AND EMPTINESS

Do you ever let the emptiness of others create an emptiness in you? Do you encounter aridity, or spiritual attack (oppression), due to the pretensions of others? Are you subject to others' shortcomings?

We all do -- feel that aridity. And sometimes we are the transmitters of it.

Call it aridity. Call it the desert. For many, it is a constant state because they have not filled their lives with what's worthwhile, what is part of their mission -- and expect us to do this for them.

While exercising charity and sympathy, and full of love -- while praying favor into their lives -- we should always be careful not to catch the "emptiness" bug and we should not let others make us feel guilty because we're not doing for them what they should be doing or should have done for themselves.

How often this happens (and causes a guilt trip)! Emptiness comes in many ways.  It comes through laziness: There are folks who simply are paralyzed by their inertia -- just won't take the discipline and energy to move forward. They blame anyone or anything around them, or contrive a malady. Woe to them. And woe to us, if we do this. It goes to the sin of sloth, which attracts demons, as does pretension, which causes us to be "puffed up."

When a person is puffed up, he or she may appear big but can be moved by the slightest wind.

Note how often in deliverance spirits are cast out through the breath -- air.

When we're "empty," we are quick to take umbrage; we constantly look for slights. We drain energy from others (because we're on "empty"). We blame friends or relatives or co-workers for everything that's "wrong" in our lives.

There are those who suffer phobias. They're afraid of experiencing life. There are those who are never content, no matter what good happens to them. They complain about the weather when it's too hot, when it's too cold, when it's too wet, when it's too dry. There are the fearful. Remember this: it is impossible to be fearful, negative, and joyful at the same time. Behind their cordiality is often emptiness. Behind our cordiality, at times, is aridity. Dry, wind-blown dunes of sand.

If you feel this -- a space in your soul -- fill the emptiness with new challenges, with new interests, with reading, with praying, with going somewhere new, with the Word of God, which brings contentment. Joy is truth. It fills you. And it takes you beyond hard times.

No difficulties survive longer than hope does.

Hope and joy are partners.

Both fill us with the right stuff.

(Fear fills you with stale air.)

They are opposites of each other and so can't exist in the same place (for fear requires a vacuum). Joy is rich in the real things. And there is no way to buy it. Try, try, try, so many do; they accumulate things. But things have no substance spiritually.

When we leave vacant space within, it can be the home or resting stop, as I said, for spirits. There are those who have pretense. Pretense is the first stage in obsession. This is a hollow shell, a false exterior. It is worrying about appearances. There are those who have large egos. Same thing. An ego is a balloon; it is filled with air. (All it takes is a pinprick.)

(Remember the Hildenberg?)

The fruit of arrogance (a "blowhard") is frustration. He seeks after himself and keeps finding nothing.

Don't inherit their wind. They are the kind who grip, who grab at you, who demand, who are always the "victim." Pray for them but don't become trapped by them.

Be charitable. Compassionate. Help them in any way you are meant to, that doesn't infringe on God's Plan for you. Make a habit out of aiding the lonely, the unhappy, the the negative. Be a joy to them. Joy is a marker that you are living and thinking right.

Don't lose that nor let others take it from you; nor be suppressed by the egos of others. Don't let them tear you down, make you feel like someone other than yourself, or take you on a "guilt trip." Don't let them make you feel or do what your spirit does not want you to feel or do, nor go where your spirit does not want to traverse. Don't accede to their demands that you "be like them," that you fill the void caused by their way of life. 

Approach it always with prayer, which fills you with wisdom and leads to perspective. "Prayers of praise" -- said the Pope -- "bring us this joy, the joy of  being happy before the Lord. Letís make a real effort to rediscover this!Ē And bring it to others -- instead of them bringing emptiness to us. The Holy Spirit gives you your identity. It does not come from others. Never concede to appease. Your name -- and destiny -- are written in God's Heart.

Beware those who treat every aspect of living as a threat and never grow nor mature nor find true joy as a result. Help them with your joyful faith. But let no one and nothing steal your joy. For at the end of this journey on earth we die into our joy or lack thereof. Love them, but don't let them pull you into their mire -- or desert. The One you owe is God, Who fills you with life abundantly.

[resources: A Life of Blessings, What You Take To Heaven, and The Other Side]

[See also: retreats Midwest retreat: Kansas City and Louisiana]

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