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Monday, June 28, 2010

Fr. Hermanagild Jayachandra, S.T.D.


Are you afflicted? Fr. Herman is committed to helping those in need of healing and prayer, and those who are oppressed by the world of evil and darkness, and is available to help discern your spiritual needs.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another article on Fr. Euteneuer and his new book.

I strongly recommend every practicing catholic and/or christian read this book. The information will be invaluable and educational.  It could be considered a reference manual for navigating through the cyclothymic tension and spiritual current of today's world.  The author brings experience that may seem rare or uncommon, yet is highly significant and relevant to contemporary culture and the current times. You will not be disappointed. June 16, 2010 Click here to receive our twice-weekly newsletter

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Matt C. Abbott June 11, 2010

Exclusive excerpt from Father Euteneuer's book on exorcism

By Matt C. Abbott

Below is the Introduction (not currently available on any other website) to Exorcism and the Church Militant, a new book authored by Father Tom Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.

I've quoted the courageous Father Euteneuer several times over the last few years. He was ordained a priest in 1988 for the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., and served in parishes in that diocese for 12 years before being given permission by his bishop to work full-time in pro-life ministry with Human Life International, where he has served as president since December 2000.

Father has been performing exorcisms for seven years with approval from numerous dioceses in the United States. His interest in the ministry was a natural outgrowth of his work in the pro-life field, which deals with the organized power of evil on a global scale. Exorcism has allowed him to combine both his years of pastoral experience with his expertise in the pro-life movement; and in the last several years, he has performed dozens of full exorcisms and many dozen deliverances on afflicted persons.

The book — with a foreword by Father John Corapi — is accompanied by two companion editions: Demonic Abortion (due for release on July 7), which explains the demonic nature of abortion and the culture of death from an exorcist's point of view; and Discernment Manual for Exorcists and Pastoral Ministers, which is intended to equip persons engaging in spiritual warfare with all the proper tools of discernment.

Many thanks to Father Euteneuer and Stephen Phelan, communications director for HLI, for allowing me to reprint this Introduction.

Introduction (minus footnotes) to Exorcism and the Church Militant

Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground. (Eph 6:10-13)

Ergo, draco maledicte et omnis legio diabolica, adjuramus te per Deum + vivum, per Deum + verum, per Deum + sanctum... Vade, satana, inventor et magister omnis fallaciæ, hostis humanæ salutis. Da locum Christo, in quo nihil invenisti de operibus tuis; da locum Ecclesiæ uni, sanctæ, catholicæ, et apostolicæ, quam Christus ipse acquisivit sanguine suo.

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill a most dramatic mission; it is perhaps the most dangerous and exhilarating of missions ever entrusted to men. It is the mission of saving souls.

This mission cannot be accomplished without entering into conflict with "the world, the flesh and the devil." It is not a mission for the fainthearted or for those who wish to take the wide road to heaven. It is the path of warfare, of spiritual battle. And although we know that Our Lord has fought that battle before us, and won, every age of the Church must take up arms anew and fight it until the end of time. Let it be said with certainty that those who embrace wholeheartedly the Church's mission to save souls will live a difficult life, one full of challenges and at times real sorrows, but, at the same time, a life imbued with immense blessings that accrue only to those who risk everything for Christ. It is for those who "fight the good fight" for souls in hand-to-hand combat with the devil that this book is written, to support, encourage and strengthen them in their conflict with the forces of evil arrayed against man's salvation. Theirs is the work of the Church Militant.

The Real Power of Satan

In today's day and age, Satan is growing exponentially more powerful due to the enormity of human sinfulness, and the Church must confront his power either willingly or unwillingly. Satan is normally "hidden in the dark sea of human sin and error," like Leviathan of the Old Testament, but nowadays he is walking tall in powerful structures of sin like abortion, pornography, sex slavery, rapacious greed and terrorism. He flexes his muscles in the massive diffusion of errors and sinful practices like the doctrines of myriad false religions, pernicious ideologies like radical feminism and "pro-choice" extremism, the militant homosexual movement and the aggressive mass media which is the ministry of propaganda for Satan and all his works and all his empty promises.

Never in all of history have we seen evil promoted so effectively and the true good so roundly mocked and rejected as in this age of extreme technological prowess. Although evil has existed since the dawn of time and manifested itself to the world, the difference between the modern world and past generations is that Satan has a greater ability to use groups and institutions for increasing his wicked reach into human life and society. No longer is evil just practiced in the haunts of cemeteries, seedy parlors and hidden covens. Nowadays, objective evil is displayed out in the open air with impunity, celebrated in the public forum and strategized in plush board rooms. Whole industries and power groups are dedicated to its promotion and dissemination, and sometimes the sheer power of these industries of immorality defies imagination. They target the younger generations with an immense seductive force, and the young are almost entirely unequipped to deal with this tyranny of sin due to unparalleled attacks on faith, marriage, family and innocent human life in modern times. Not only do young people not know the truth about their salvation; they don't even know that they don't know it.

The 21st century is a moral and spiritual battlefield of such immense proportions that no era of human history will have ever seen a war like it. Satan is using the cumulative force of this world's sinfulness to re-define life as we know it. Now, this war is not just against trained combatants. It is total war against all that is sacred and natural. It is a war against humanity itself, something unseen before in all of history with the possible exception of atheistic Communism.

The devil now arrogates to himself the right to control the totality of human existence even in so-called free societies: from manipulating the very act of creation (in vitro fertilization, cloning, Human Genome); to the authority over life and death (abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia); to the definition of human sexuality and marriage (birth control, divorce, homosexual unions); to the very prospect of human annihilation (nuclear war, genocide and the impending New World Order). Nothing escapes the rebellious forces of hedonism and secularism in their violent march through our world. They creep into the fabric of our lives and families like a vapor until they have poisoned the entire environment and make everyone believe that their toxicity is "normal." If the measure of a war's ferociousness is the number of casualties, the modern war to exterminate souls is unprecedented in the history of humanity; it is nothing short of history's worst nuclear holocaust in spiritual terms.

Malachi Martin, in the 1992 preface to his book, Hostage to the Devil, said that "ritualistic Satanism and its inevitable consequence, demonic Possession, are now part and parcel of the atmosphere of life in America....such pervasive cultural desolation is the most fertile ground one could possibly imagine for the causes of Possession to take root and flourish in almost unimpeded freedom." It must be kept in mind that such a frightening observation was made at a time before the advent of the Internet, the massive diffusion of New Age beliefs and the Harry Potter books and movies. Martin's observations suggest that this evil is so all-encompassing that only the authority of God Himself, borne and administered by the Church, is adequate to meet this challenge.

The Authority of the Church Militant

We know from our catechism that the whole Church of Christ is not confined just to this earthly realm. The battle against Satan has already been won in heaven and purgatory, and only in this earthly realm is the devil allowed to work. God, in His Mercy, certainly has not abandoned us to the forces of evil, though. There is one spiritual force on earth that can counter the hubris of Satan and his apostate angels and conquer them. That force is the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," which, in my opinion, has been singularly unprepared for and unengaged in the hard work of spiritual warfare since the Second Vatican Council. By this I mean that if the institutional Church on earth were ever to train its members to be spiritual combatants and aggressively apply its great authority against the power of evil in this world, the evils mentioned above would simply not be able to exist in their potency or scope. As it is, the Church has yet to seriously enter the battle and become what it is called to be, namely, the Church Militant.

The hour is late, Satan's forces are already assembled, and the Church's army and its officers must stir for battle. The trumpet call of Christ our Commander beckons. Souls are at stake, and the devil's only real hope for victory is that the Church will sit this one out. The devil certainly "knows that his time is short" and would be much shorter should the Church of Christ ever take the call to spiritual warfare seriously. When our Lord healed a paralytic by forgiving his sins and restoring him to health, the Gospel said that "a feeling of awe came over the crowd, and they praised God for giving such authority to men." Indeed, that spiritual authority has been given to the men of the Church for the protection, sanctification and saving of souls — it only has to be used.

Goals of this work

First goal: to communicate a proper understanding of exorcism

The transformation of exorcism into a popular cultural phenomenon in recent decades has led to a major distortion of both the Church's mission to expel demons and the power of the devil. A main concern of this present work is the taking back of this important pastoral ministry of the Church from the realm of the internet, movies and tabloids and placing it back in the hands of priests where it belongs — the true officers of the Church Militant.

Exaggerated pop images of exorcism falsely define people's understanding of the Church's ancient ritual that is meant to liberate victims of the devil from these very deceptions. Popular movies like The Exorcist (1973) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), while containing some truthful elements, have done very little to present a correct picture of exorcism itself. These movies and others, for the sake of sensationalizing the power of the devil, present the Church and her priests as being the underdogs in a fight against the devil and oftentimes as weak or reluctant combatants. While there are certainly moments of heroism depicted in these movies, the devil is shown as powerful and tantalizing, sort of like one who always seems to have the upper hand against the Church. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Exorcists are never in a position of subjugation to the evil one during the course of an exorcism, nor is the devil ever entertaining and enthralling like he is portrayed in the movies. He is pure evil, and that is never lost on the one who has to face him down in a possession.

A correct understanding of exorcism can also divest many people of a dangerous fascination with the occult. No sane person who truly understands the nature of demons would be fascinated with them or their works. Due to its mysterious nature, exorcism will never be totally removed from popular distortions or fear, but priests can assure that the Church's rightful patrimony is understood by the faithful and people who need sacramental assistance against demons. The priest's work is to fortify Christians to "reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises."

The organization of the chapters in this book is meant to introduce people to the diverse dimensions of exorcism. Through a discussion of the nature of Christ's high-priestly ministry of exorcism, the nature of the demonic forces that afflict men and the rightful authority of the Church over evil, readers will understand better the theological and pastoral dimensions of exorcism. Furthermore, I have made every attempt to rely on only the most reputable sources on exorcism from the tradition and modern writings that are tested and orthodox. I pray that this work will become a resource for many in their fight against the forces of evil.

Second goal: to motivate priests

Exorcism is best understood in the context of evangelization and the care of souls, and, as such, is the proper office of ordained Catholic priests. As such, the second purpose of this work is precisely to help Catholic priests recognize that exorcism is a normal and very important form of pastoral ministry in the care of souls. In times to come, priests will be increasingly called upon to expel real demons from truly demonically-afflicted individuals who have, in one way or another, fallen into the seductions and empty promises of the master deceiver.

Occult influences have been unleashed into our modern world like the emptying of a demonic Pandora's Box of unclean spirits. The popularity of the New Age movement, the rise of Satanism as an organized and institutionalized force, the flood of satanic video games and Heavy Metal music, the massive diffusion of occult terminology and images through the immensely-popular Harry Potter series and other youth-targeted entertainments, like the rash of modern vampire movies, assure that Catholic priests will be very busy in the next decade.

To aid priests in a proper understanding of the nature of exorcism, one chapter explains how exorcisms are actually conducted, which may help to take away some of the mysticism or fear related to a ritual that any priest can perform (with the proper authorization). I also attempt to provide some clarity in the nebulous area of differences between the ministries of exorcism, deliverance and healing and some practical rules for discernment of ambiguous cases. Chapter 7 will show priests that exorcism is a truly pastoral ministry, worthy of their engagement, and will give them principles and best practices for helping their parishioners discern the presence and power of evil in their lives. It concludes with some of my personal recommendations for resources on spiritual warfare and discernment which will be helpful to any priest wishing to give people guidance and direction in these matters. The bibliography included at the end of this book will be a resource for information on exorcism and deliverance.

This book is essentially for priests, but it may be read with benefit by any lay person who is interested in spiritual warfare. It offers only one priest's point of view but has been written after fairly extensive consultation with other priests in the ministry and attempts to be as comprehensive as possible on the subject while keeping the text relatively short and readable. I have organized six of the seven chapters in a short question and answer format to facilitate the book's use as an ongoing reference source, and not just something that is read from cover-to-cover. The detailed Index and Table of Contents are given for this same purpose.

As in all things related to faith and morals, I submit my views on these matters to the final judgment of the Church's Magisterium and welcome any feedback and correction from priests, more capable than I, who are involved in this ministry. We can all benefit from further fraternal dialogue on these matters. It is my thesis that the devil's spiritual warfare on our flocks will intensify as the years proceed and that all Christians, but especially priests, will have no choice but to engage more deeply in the spiritual battle for souls. There is no time like the present to begin the training.

A Note on Terminology

A final note on terminology: in this work I use the word "exorcism" to speak about something very particular, albeit complex. Exorcism is often confused in religious and secular parlance with "deliverance" (which is defined more distinctly in Chapter 5), but in this book, the term "exorcism" will always mean what the Church means by it: namely, a rite for expelling demons from persons who are possessed, authorized by a bishop and limited by canon law to the ministry of priests. Solemn exorcism has a long historical development and practice and a theological grounding in the Tradition of the Church. It should also be understood that this work only deals with "exorcism" as it applies to the Roman Catholic Church. There are other expressions and understandings of exorcism in the Eastern Church and Protestant churches which I do not attempt to illuminate in any systematic way in this work.

In this work, I am also very careful about the term possession which often gets used to describe demonic infestations of a lesser severity. Too-liberally labeling demonic activity as "possession" creates the unfortunate impression that the devil has more power over us than he actually has. The term "possession" will apply to those individuals whose bodies and faculties are judged by the Church to be fully or near-fully taken over by demonic forces and who lose most or all of their freedom to fight the evil one on their own. They need the help of the Church, and it is these afflicted individuals who are the proper subjects of the Church's ministry of solemn exorcism.

Finally, according to custom and general usage, I usually refer to the devil and his minions with masculine pronouns rather than to try to encumber the text with neutral pronouns which attempt to describe spiritual beings as genderless. Since Scripture and Tradition generally refer to demons with masculine pronouns, that will be sufficient enough reason to do the same in this work.

St. Michael, Patron of Exorcists

May St. Michael the Archangel, heaven's exorcist angel, defend us in our battles against "the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness," help us minister to the many souls who are immersed in the devil's darkness, and draw us into the reign of Light of the true Shepherd of our souls, Jesus Christ.

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer

Human Life International

March 3, 2010

(The book's official website is

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.

(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at


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Suffering and the Cross part 1

Suffering & Cross What can we learn from suffering? Sometimes we get stuck asking the question “Why do we suffer?” instead of asking “What can we learn through suffering?” When we ask this question, we realize that God allows the things he hates (e.g., sin and suffering) so that the things he loves (e.g., virtues, compassion, love, and new life) may grow. Sometimes suffering is necessary to achieve some good. In the Gospel of John (16:21), Jesus speaks of the suffering of a woman in labor. Although her pain is great, her joy is complete with the birth of her child. Sometimes when we are in the midst of suffering, it is difficult to see the good that can come out of it. However, whether it is the birth of a child or the development of a virtue, good often does follow from suffering. Suffering helps bring us closer to others. Through our own sufferings and heartaches, we come to understand the pain of others. Just as Jesus shared in our sufferings, we too are called to share in the sufferings of others. Suffering helps us to be better Christians and more Christ-like. In many respects, suffering is a gift, as it can teach us to be better Christians by teaching us about patience, humility, and compassion. Think about Job in the Old Testament. Job was a wealthy and revered man who was blessed with good health and a large family. And, in the eyes of the Lord, Job was good and righteous. However, Satan stripped Job of his earthly possessions, his family, and his health. Although Job endured great suffering, he remained steadfast in his faith in God. Moreover, his great suffering helped to purify and strengthen his love for God. Recall too the lives of the saints and martyrs. In Philippians 1:12-13, we read that St. Paul was not concerned with his own suffering; rather, he was pleased that his “imprisonment in Christ’s cause worked out to the furtherance of the gospel.” Likewise, St. Stephen and thousands of other martyrs not only grew closer to God in their suffering, but they chose a life (and death) of great suffering for their love of Christ. In their suffering, they remembered the Lord’s promise that “Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12). And, most importantly, recall the passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As St. Francis de Sales reminds us, “Look intently and frequently on Christ Jesus, crucified, naked, blasphemed, slandered, forsaken and overwhelmed by every kind of weariness, sorrow and labor. Remember that your sufferings are not comparable to his in quality and quantity, and that you can never suffer for his sake anything equal to what he has suffered FOR YOU.” How amazing is God’s love for us! Our powerful, all good, and everlasting Lord – the Creator of the entire world – humbled Himself to take on the form of a man, and not just any man, but a slave. And, He obediently accepted death – death on a cross – because of His infinite love for us (Philippians 2:7-8). Suffering reminds us to look ahead to our eternal life with God. Sometimes, suffering forces us to take a time-out from this life. When we suffer, we are forced to ask the hard questions in life. We are forced to examine the meaning of life, and the meaning of death. And, we are forced to consider that this world makes no sense at all unless there exists some greater plan for us. Through it all, suffering inspires us to look ahead to the possibilities of eternal life – a life of truth, beauty, justice, and love – with God. The Lord reminds us to “Have no fear of the sufferings to come . . . remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10).Through our own sufferings, then, we are called to remember the sufferings of other Christians and of Christ Himself. Through our sufferings, we are called to be faithful to God, and to turn to Him for comfort. And, we are reminded that true peace and happiness can NEVER be found in this world; rather, as Christians, we must set our sights on the next world – and our eternal life with God. How are we to endure suffering? In modern society, we are taught that happiness is the ultimate goal. And, moreover, happiness is equated with immediate gratification, pleasures of the body and the palate, and possession of the “conveniences” created by modern technology. In this conception of happiness, suffering doesn’t seem to have a place. Yet, as Christians, we know that we are called to a life of holiness, and that the path to holiness often involves suffering. We believe that Christ saved us by His suffering, and that “we must work out our salvation in the same manner, through suffering and afflictions, enduring the injuries, denials and discomforts we meet with all possible meekness” (St. Francis de Sales). For Christians, then, suffering does have its place. If we are to be holy, we must endure our trials in accord with God’s will. When an evil happens to us, we must do all we can to remedy the situation. If we are at fault, we must humbly admit our transgression. And, if the evil is caused by another, we must bless that person and “never repay injury with injury” (Rom. 12:14, 17). We must be patient in our suffering – we must not complain or seek pity from others. We must consider the suffering of other Christians before us – and of Christ Himself. We must offer up our suffering to Christ. We must remember that our time on this earth is short and our trials shall quickly pass. Above all, we must pray. The great mystic Thomas à Kempis said that we should always let Christ’s promises strengthen and console us. Receiving Him will be a reward beyond all measure. Thomas à Kempis “speaks” for Christ as follows: “You will not labor here for long, nor will you always be burdened with sorrows. . . . The hour will come when blood, sweat and tears will be no more. All that passes away with time is of little importance, and it passes away quickly. Whatever you do, do it well . . . bear adversity with courage. Eternal life is worth all these battles – and more ... Oh, if only you could see the everlasting crowns of the saints in heaven and how much glory they now enjoy – those same saints who, when they were alive, were held in utter contempt by the world and were thought unworthy of even drawing breath . . . Are not all painful labors to be endured for eternal life. It is no small thing to lose or gain the kingdom of God! So, lift your face to heaven. Look at me and all my saints with me, they who in this world have had great contention. They are now joyful, they are now consoled, they are now safe, they are now at rest, and they will forever remain with me in my Father’s kingdom.” What is meant by redemptive suffering? Pope John Paul II wrote: “In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ” (Salvifici Doloris). St. Paul likewise realized that his sufferings had redemptive power: “I find joy in the sufferings I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” (Colo. 1:24). Some people are concerned that St. Paul’s words imply that Christ’s passion was insufficient for our redemption. Before Christ died, He cried out, “It is finished,” meaning that He had accomplished our redemption. But, as Pope Pius XII said in his encyclical on the Mystical Body (Mystici Corporis Christi): “In carrying out the work of redemption Christ wishes to be helped by the members of His Body. This is not because He is indigent or weak, but rather because He so willed it for the greater glory of His spotless Spouse (Church). Dying on the Cross, He left to the Church the immense treasury of the Redemption. Towards this she (the Church) contributed nothing. But when those graces come to be distributed, not only does He share this task of sanctification with His Church, but he wants it, in a way, to be due to her action. What a deep mystery . . . that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body offer for that intention, and on the assistance of pastors of souls and of the faithful…” Jesus wants to honor us, the members of His Mystical body by participating in His redemptive mission (Colo.1:24). Compiled by Fr. Herman (Feb. 11’07--the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes).

Suffering and The Cross part 2

Suffering & The Cross The Shrine at Lourdes was chosen last year for the World Day of Prayer, because it was the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In fact, it was on Dec. 8, 1854, that Blessed Pius IX, affirmed that “the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from every stain of original sin.” At Lourdes, Mary, speaking in the local dialect, said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” With these words, did not the Virgin perhaps wish to express the bond which joins together health and life? Just as death entered the world through original sin, so through the merits of Jesus Christ, God preserved Mary from every stain of sin, and salvation and life came to us (Rom. 5:12-21). The original plan of God for creation was thereby restored in Christ. The great work of Redemption, accomplished through the precious blood of Christ, began with the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In Jesus, every person is called to the fullness of holiness (Col. 1:28). Just as Jesus is the source of life which overcomes death, Mary is the solicitous mother who comes to the assistance of her children, obtaining for them health of body and soul. This is the message that the Shrine of Lourdes constantly presents to devotees and pilgrims. This is also the meaning of the physical and spiritual healings that take place in the grotto of Massabielle. From the day of her apparition to St. Bernadette Soubirous, Mary’s prayers “cured” pain and sickness, restoring health of body to so many of her children. However, her intercession achieved even more surprising miracles in the souls of believers, opening their hearts to re-encounter her Son Jesus, the true response to the most profound aspirations of the human heart. The Holy Spirit, whose power overshadowed her at the moment of the Incarnation, transforms the souls of countless sick people who turn to Him. Even when they do not obtain health in body, they can always receive something even more important—conversion of heart, the source of peace and of interior joy. This gift transforms their existence and makes them apostles of the cross of Christ, vessels of hope even when confronted with the most difficult trials. Suffering is part of the human condition, and man has to learn to accept and overcome it. But how can we do that, if not through the cross of Christ? In the death and resurrection of the Redeemer, human suffering finds its most profound meaning and its salvific value. The entire weight of the tribulations and sufferings of the human race is condensed in the mystery of a God who, assuming our human nature, denied Himself even to the point of making Himself “sin on our behalf” (2 Cor. 5:21). On Golgotha, He was weighed down with the sins of every human creature and, in the solitude of abandonment, cried out to the Father: “Why have you abandoned me?” (Mt. 27:46). From the paradox of the Cross flows the response to our most unsettling questions. Christ suffers for us. He takes upon Himself the suffering of all and redeems it. Christ suffers with us, giving us the possibility of sharing with Him our own sufferings. United to the sufferings of Christ, human suffering becomes a means of salvation. That is why the believer can say with St. Paul: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). Sorrow, accepted with faith, becomes the door for entering into the mystery of the redeeming suffering of the Lord. This is a suffering which does not take away peace and happiness, because it is illuminated by the splendor of the Resurrection. At the foot of the Cross, Mary suffers in silence, participating in a very special way in the sufferings of her Son. She became the mother of all people, ready to intercede so that every one can obtain salvation. It is not difficult to understand this singular participation of Our Lady in the salvific role of Christ. The miracle of the Immaculate Conception reminds believers of a fundamental truth. It is only possible to attain salvation by participating with docility in the plan of the Father, who willed to redeem the world through the death and the resurrection of His only-begotten Son. He wanted to show how He loves us. He wanted to show the horribleness of sin and the displeasure we earn by our disobedience to His commandments. He wanted us to know the costliness of attaining heaven. He also wanted to tell us how sin is infectious, like a ripple in a lake. With Baptism, the believer is inserted into this salvific plan and is freed from original sin. Sickness and death, although they continue to be present in our earthly existence, nonetheless lose their negative meaning. In the light of faith, the death of the body, conquered by the death of Christ (Rom. 6:4), becomes the obligatory passage to the fullness of immortal life. I recall what Mother Teresa said when she visited our seminary in Madras in the year 1963: “You are to become apostles of joy, to console the Sacred Heart of Jesus through joy. You have heavy crosses waiting for you in your future ministry. Remember the passion of Christ ends always in the joy of Resurrection; so when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the Resurrection has to come, the joy of Easter has to dawn. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ.” I know this has been repeatedly told to her sisters. God is love, and we are truly called to become instruments of His love on earth, not to become apostles of compromise of God’s teachings for the sake of peace. We do a disservice to our fellow man if we do not point out their error and ignorance. We are called to lift the veil of untruth and error and show the beauty of God and His plan for human beings. At Christmas in the Eastern Church, there is a practice of embroidering the swaddling clothes with the Sign of the Cross. Also, the figure of the Divine Infant is presented with arms extended, as he would be on the Cross. We have the same kind of baby Jesus in our parish. In those symbolic ways is presented the unity of the mystery of redemption, joy, and sorrow. From the wood of the crib to the wood of the cross, the mystery is one. The poverty, the abandonment, the rejection which Jesus suffered on the Cross, He already experienced at His coming. We need to understand that life should be the same. Just as beneath the Cross there was the comfort of loving hearts, so at Bethlehem He was greeted with the joyful welcome of pure hearts and the song of the angels. When we celebrate His coming every year with special solemnity, we greet Him with the age-old song, “Venite adoremus”, “Come let us adore Him.” Beneath the Cross, our prayer of worship is the same: ‘We adore thee, O Christ, and praise thee.’ In our lives, punctuated by the interplay of Bethlehem joy and Calvary sorrow; we are certain that the same love that made Him come and made Him die for us, is always beside us. This is the mystery of the Cross. Pray to Our Blessed Mother of Perpetual Help that she may help every Christian witness to the fact that the only authentic response to sorrow, suffering, and death is Christ, our Lord, who died and rose for us. Compiled by Fr. Herman April 11, 2004