Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy On Us

Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy On Us

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Prayer For the Abortionists Who Kill the Unborn

Holy Spirit seal all of us and your lost children in the Blood of Jesus. Holy Spirit our Advocate, we call on your power and intercession, for God alone can change the human heart, and His mercy is particularly close to those furthest away from Him. We ask all the angels and saints in Heaven, who sit and gaze upon the Throne of the Almighty, to petition our Good Lord to assist us in our earthly intercession for the souls of the abortionists. May the Finger of God touch the darkest recesses of their souls with grace, and remove the scales from their spiritual eye, and elevate their intellects to the Truth of Life. Enable those in pure darkness to truly see that all human life, in all forms and at all stages, is preordained and precious to the Creator.We ask that St. Michael the Archangel, emissary of the Heavenly Host, to go before us in battle, for our battle is not against flesh and blood and other people, but against the principalities and malevolent powers of darkness, who seek to ruin all souls, and to devour the lives of the unborn. Deliver the abortionists from the darkness that enslaves their minds. Send your Holy angels to wage war over all of the clinics that destroy life. Give us strength Lord to seek your Divine Intercession in our prayers; empower us, emblazon us, enable us to endure. Take the burning ember of hope sequestered in the deepest darkness of all human hearts, and set it on fire with your Grace, to see You, to seek You, and to desire your Salvation. May every knee bend and tongue confess that Jesus IS Lord. We humbly pray. All glory and honor and praise be to God. We adore you, oh Christ, and we bless You, for by Your Holy Cross, You HAVE redeemed the world. Amen.

It is Him, Not I, They Despise.

Evil trembles and ultimately must flee in the Presence of Him. As we are temples of the Holy Spirit, we are radiant receptacles of His True Presence; therefore it is highly logical and to be expected those fueled by evil desires and self-will, will mistakenly persecute, attack, scandalize, and calumniate us as well. For they don't fully comprehend and neither do we, it is Him they despise and reject, and the Presence within that is most provocative. For too many years, I could never understand the rejection on the part of my family, and even Catholic 'friends'. It seemed so irrational because in my conversion experience, which continues to unfold, I was steadily climbing toward Him. The graces He fed me as food for my journey were a constant deluge; and the preeminent benevolence and unconditional acceptance given me by the good Lord Himself, were the antithesis of how others in my life treated me. If I could only elaborate for but a minute about the absolute filth of lies, gossip, and downright evil behaviors demonstrated toward my person, by my own family, most would find it hard to believe or at least questionable. However, God sees everything and He has proven Himself to be my only Advocate and Defense Attorney through the nastiest of moments. For those easily fooled and who thus befriend persons who commit such grave evils against their offspring; well such persons are deceived by the glittering allure of falsehood, manipulated by the fallen 'angel of light', just as I was for most of my life. Not today. God's desire is to ultimately bring us into the fullness of His Truth, His reality, and to manifest in our lives the greatest good. It oftentimes can take years to 'see the light.' As long as the blinders are removed and the scales are plucked from our eyes, and there is no hindrances to spying Grace, we can keep moving forward and progress in the spiritual life. Some people though prefer the blindness of deception; it is more comfortable and familiar, and it justifies their core desire to devour others because their own rampant pride balks at self-examination. In the end, our greatest persecutors sling the filth our way,  the rotten fruit of their own corruption, and they cannot stand their own miserable condition of soul, so they project it upon the one designed by God's grace to withstand the attack. The weaker would crumble and lay slain under such crucifying attacks, but not God's true children. He allows such unjust heartache to grow us, to reinforce our weaknesses, and to strengthen the muscles of our battle arms. We must also detach ourselves of all that clings to us, and holds us back. Pruning, you could call it. He uses the evil of others to prune us indeed. Always, remember it is Him, and not us, that is under attack, slander, and scandal. His Presence within, emanating from our person, is the revulsion to the wicked.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comment on: A Personal Interview with Fr. Frank Pavone.

Dear Friends,
I frequent a website called the Integrated Catholic Life and it has become one of my favorite sources of great articles and topical discussion. I occasionally will comment on some of their featured articles, written by a variety of wonderful catholics. I encourage you to check out this website and to participate by posting your own personal feedback.

July 29, 2010 • 8:27 am .I remember the first time I visited an abortion clinic in Charlotte, NC to assist a fellow catholic with sidewalk counseling. The wave of nausea that overcame me literally and physically upon my arrival at the clinic was only hindered by the tantamount wave of evil that infected my senses. The vast overwhelm of demonic presence was unanticipated, but should have been expected. I supposed this is why I always carry holy water, exorcised salt, and blessed oil on my person. It was a shocking exposure to the reality of the forces of evil behind abortion, that most of us comprehend on an intellectual and theological level, but may not necessarily experience on a sensory and interior level. The gravity of the warfare is that real and that strong. Oh how God will instruct the ignorant, and he did for me that particular day. What surprised me the most, is that it seemed the vast majority of women were there for abortions under coercion, even being held at knifepoint, by family and loved ones; yet these women would cry tears of desperate confusion because they did not want to abort their unborn child, they merely felt they had no other option. Just the simple act of demonstrating concern for them and their unborn child is oftentimes all it takes to get them to leave the property. The problem is not enough people are on the frontlines of the defining point of the battle, to safely lead these women out of the devil's murderous way. Our lives have become too busy with self-determined agenda, and we prefer the multitude of group activities offered in our local parish, and it seems prayer is the least of our priorities these days. The sunday mass obligation has become an opportunity to revisit church friends and to catch up on the latest. The noise level before the priest even leaves the sanctuary at the closing of the mass is painful. The sanctuary has become a residence for checking text messages and voicemail, for I see more cell phones pulled out after mass than rosary beads. The race for the door and the congestion in the parking lot only underscores the lack of interest in prayer. The best moments of spiritual communion to be had are in the quietude of the sacred environment of the sanctuary; after we have received Him in the Sacred Species. Too miss such an opportunity for private contemplation in the aftermath of the sacrifice at Calvary is a tragedy. The vacancy of prayer in the church resembles the emptiness of much needed participation in sidewalk counsel at the abortion clinics. Yet, there is no shortage of attendance at the parish picnic, golf outing, chrisitan coffee house, to name a few events. I have said before that one can assess the spiritual fitness of any given church community by reviewing the contents of the parish bulletin. More often than not it resembles the social agenda of the local country club. Sad but true. We seem to be bringing the world into our church, and not carrying the church into the world. On a positive note, at the largest church in the Carolinas, one women waited out in the narthex when mass was letting out, wearing a sign that proclaimed, 'I regret my abortion.' Talk about humble but Godly boldness! She is an active pro-lifer in the diocese. I have come to realize that Jesus really does spend too many hours alone, hidden in the tabernacle, waiting for souls to visit Him and to ask for graces. He is overloaded with too many graces to number, waiting to unload his Divine burden, upon any soul unpreoccupied enough to pay Him a visit. Such a deluge awaits us all. Unfortunately, the smoke of satan has entered the church, for her members put the welcome mat out for the enemy himself; and one mere but significant fruit of this reality is the number of unborn children dying everyday because we are too busy with ourselves to show up at the clinics, and to assist in rescuing God's most vulnerable and innocent.

And the battle rages on.

Anne Rice Breaks Up With Christianity via Facebook

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From The Late Saint John Paul II, The Great.


Mel Gibson and the Cleverness of Satan: “It is the Reality” « HLI America

Mel Gibson and the Cleverness of Satan: “It is the Reality” « HLI America

Vision Quest

We may have the best of intentions, strive for the loftiest of goals, and desire the noblest of pursuits; such objectives reveal spiritual valiance. However, without the requisite changes in our actions, demonstrated by the daily toil, discipline, sacrifices, successes, failures, and a willingness to surrender to and cooperate with God's grace, all within the confines of our vocation; we will merely vacillate in a self-delusion preoccupied by wishful thinking, maintain a homeostatic condition, and advance to nowhere in this life; and we may never get to the next life. Let the childlike aspirations of our creatureliness be transformed, via simple trust and Divine reliance; from interior daydreaming, into mature testimony to and veritable expression of the Will of our Creator. Such daily election, and consequent action, distinguishes a life misguided by the psyche versus a pilgrimage gloriously engineered by the pneuma. Today, may such Higher purpose be our vision quest alone.

Mystical Rose, pray for us; intercede for us.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Power of Perseverance | The Integrated Catholic Life

The Power of Perseverance The Integrated Catholic Life#comment-448

New Age Nunsense

Pray for our religious.

Special report:


The infiltration of New Age practices into convents and retreat houses operated by Catholic nuns appears to have reached the level of an epidemic, with so many reports that at times it appears difficult to find one that doesn't allow such spirituality, at least to some degree.

Such may be hyperbole but what is not hyperbole is that esoteric spirituality has spread -- in alarming measure -- through what is left of female American religious in a way that recalls the startling prevalence of sexual abuse among male religious counterparts.

That's not to say that most religious have gone occult. And it is certainly not to cast aspersions. The majority of nuns are in their seventies or eighties -- beyond active involvement in activities such as operating a retreat center. Moreover, those who are linked to these practices often appear to be good, well-meaning women who have simply followed the spirit of our time.

But the question is what that spirit is and the trend -- contravening Vatican teaching -- is as widespread as it is troublesome. One thing is clear: the call of Vatican Two for women to distinguish themselves spiritually has been answered in virtually every part of North America in a totally unexpected way: establishment of mysterious, Eastern-style meditation.

When we ran an article on this several weeks ago, we were deluged by instances -- many dozens -- in which Eastern contemplation, labyrinths, Reiki, or other exotic non-Catholic methods of spiritual development were present at Catholic retreat centers -- almost surely unknown to the Vatican.

The examples seem daunting, and because of their serious nature, we are going to let this report proceed at length.

One example: the Portiuncula Center for Prayer, modeled after St. Francis and run by Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

Located less than an hour southwest of downtown Chicago, this Catholic center offers therapeutic massage, Reiki, reflexology, holistic facials, and Zen Shiastsu (which taps into the “energy” points around the body). It also has a “labyrinth” which it describes as “an ancient circular diagram” consisting of a “single concentric circular path with no possibility of going astray. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives; it touches our sorrows and releases our joys. So walk it with an open mind and an open heart.”

Labyrinths are a meditation, relaxation, and spiritual tool that invite a person to walk towards the center with a problem, prayer, or idea.

Once at that center, the person spends some time in quiet thought, then lets go and makes the journey back out of the labyrinth to reengage with the world with a “clearer” heart and mind. While they are even to be found in some churches, the way they are used evokes worry in many circles.

“Like Stonehenge, they are geographic forms that define sacred space,” says website dedicated to the practice -- and referring the famous spot in England where monuments were erected by occult Druids for ancient solstice rituals, among other non-Christian mystical practices.

“The labyrinth is a large, complex spiral circle which is an ancient symbol for the divine mother, the God within, the goddess, the holy in all creation,” quotes a website critical of its use.

When paganism is refined in modern terms, it becomes the “New Age,” a modern amalgam of practices often preaching that each human is “god” and viewing the Creator as a less personal and universal “energy” that is not usually identified as the “Holy Spirit.” It was of course paganism that Christ descended to battle.

Two other remarkably widespread practices are Reiki, which taps into the “energy” around us, and the “enneagram” -- a controversial way of categorizing personalities. The energy of Reiki is the “ki” of Eastern religions, which tends too rapidly toward psychic energies and earth spirits. The symbol of the enneagram was promoted by a famed occultist named Gurdjieff and bears certain resemblances to the way personality types are discerned through a zodiac (though in this case the discernment comes by way of “self evaluation”).

At another Franciscan center in Scottsdale, Arizona, is not only the enneagram but “aqua yoga.” Many Catholic convents, retreat houses, and parishes are embracing this technique of meditation and relaxation -- often as a mere physical tool but nonetheless in contradiction to a Vatican document on the New Age, "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life,” that prohibits it.

The argument for it: 16 million Americans now use yoga and find health benefits from what is simply an exercise in breathing. The concern: yoga is from Eastern pagan religions and like Reiki can tend toward a deeper involvement in mysterious energies. In some cases, “mantras” (a word used over and over) are employed and such mantras can be the name of Hindu or other “gods.” The Beatles brought a focus on yoga when they studied it with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s. Before that, it was popularized by deep occultists known as Theosophists.

In some cases, centers that hold seminars in Reiki and enneagram are receiving funds through diocesan appeals. Defenders say there is a Christian type of Reiki that is different than the New Age version, and others say that “healing touch” ministries are similar to the laying on of hands common to Christians. Neither, argue others, is there anything wrong with healing oils.

Such is confusing in that in its 2003 document the Vatican explicitly warned that “there is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric,” and covering “a wide range of practices” including “kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage, and various kinds of ‘bodywork’ (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch, etc), meditation, and visualization... The source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner or cosmic energy.” It also cited the enneagram -- along with more blatant New Age articles such as crystals, strongly warning the faithful away from them.

That document was written by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, which also named the enneagram as a subject of concern.

There are those who take issue with some of what the Vatican cited, especially chiropractic and acupuncture methods. But it is beyond dispute that exotic new spiritual ways have overtaken many nuns (and in some cases priests) -- apparently revealing a yearning for something more than the dry theology that has dominated Western seminaries for more than a half a century.

Dominican sisters in Houston offer tai chi (also involving ‘ki’ energy) along with the labyrinth -- using the occult ying-yang symbol (right) in their literature. Benedictine Sisters of Mount Scholastica in Atchinson, Kansas, meanwhile, have named their retreat area the Sophia Center -- after the feminine form of God.

“Sophia is the name often given to the feminine image of God as portrayed in the wisdom books of the Bible,” said a nun there, Sister Linda Herndon, in response to a query from us.

In Cleveland, a former mother house at a Catholic high school has been converted into a retreat center called “River’s Edge,” offering yoga, quigong, Reiki, and other esoteric “wellness” programs (while ironically, across the way, is the monastery of the Poor Clares [below, left] -- a shining light in the darkness).

“My brother’s dear wife is in the last stages of ovarian cancer and near death,” writes Ruth Stamps of Blue Ridge, Georgia. “She is not Catholic, but a devout Evangelical Christian. At one point, she considered going to River’s Edge for their cancer support group, but found this place’s agenda too weird and New Age! The Cleveland area seems to be eaten up with this stuff, but it does not apparently reflect on the Cleveland Diocese itself.” Enter the center.

“I left a job as a fifth grade teacher at a parochial school after three years because I could no longer tolerate or ignore the watering-down of the faith,” wrote another woman named Coreen Herrick. “My most recent experience with New Age happened this summer at the St. Edmund’s retreat center near Mystic, Connecticut. The ‘nun’ invited retreat members to join her after dinner in the ‘touching of hands’ massage. Of course, it was cloaked in therapeutic terms. But I knew better. This same nun also (even though this was a silent retreat) engaged us in a ‘pagan’ spirit ‘blessing’ before the meal.”

There are sisters who are Reiki “masters.” You can find them in the Midwest. Or in Kentucky. There are monks. “Encountering Divine Goodness in Earth and Cosmos: New Ways of Being in the World,” says an advertisement for a retreat at Loyola House in Guelph, Ontario.

In Ringwood, New Jersey -- where it is once more Franciscan nuns -- the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is a lonely place (with Host exposed, left), but presumably not so the lessons in Reiki in the same complex. In many cases, questionable spiritual practices are part of the solemnity of Lent.

Nor is it confined to North America. “Another sad example comes from the UK,” notes a viewer named Ken Simpson. “At the shrine of St Jude, Faversham, Kent, the Carmelite priest in his sermon asked people to put feet flat on ground, ‘to feel the earth,’ lay hands open, 'not to hold on to anything, then to breathe out the badness from inside, and then to breathe in God’s goodness.’”

Is that really bad? How far do we go with this? Can we overstate the case? Might not some of it be okay -- just oddly expressed?

In some cases, perhaps. But in others, the psychic is clearly predominant.

There is dream exploration. There is guided imagery. There are non-Christian healing rituals. Once again -- time and again -- there are the enneagram and labyrinth. Or Yoga.

Ask those at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, or the Holy Spirit Center in Encino, California.

“Out of all of the New Age stuff, the labyrinth is the most pervasive,” notes another viewer. “It seems to pop up everywhere -- we were at St. Anne’s shrine in Sturbridge [Massachusetts] looking around -- thought the place very beautiful and appeared holy -- until we noticed the new meditation labyrinth had been created on the grounds. I think people read about these fads and are duped and they get no direction from priests and pastors.”

In Santa Fe, a practicing shaman is involved in church fund-raising.

In Brooklyn, New York, according to another correspondent, a parish called St. Ephrem has advertised Reiki in its weekly newsletter and “because of this I encouraged my wife to stop attending and to go to another Catholic church. I’m not sure if they still offer this,” says a resident named Gerard Mastrapasqua. The cases go far beyond even those we reported previously.

No doubt, good people get wrapped up in this. Also no doubt: we should be careful not to condemn. When we are on the other side of the veil, there will be surprises. But we are called to obedience and especially to stay away from anything that leads to strange, universal “spirits” or that see God as a cosmic energy.

Examples? The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet have status at the U.N. Check them out. Daring to try new symbols? There are the Sisters of St. Martha of Prince Edward Island. A labyrinth can be found at another beautiful retreat center (in Tony Malibu, alongside grottos devoted to the Blessed Mother). If you’re in Wisconsin and want the enneagram, this is your spot.

One group of Dominican nuns in Grand Rapids calls itself “Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares.”

Maya Abdominal massage or a drum-making workshops or Chinese Essence Qi Gong or “Feng Shui for the Soul”?

Go to the Sisters of Mercy in New Jersey.

Beginners in yoga can find Catholic resources in Arlington, Virginia. (“The priests and nuns there seem like good folks, but the labyrinth seems like a bad idea,” notes a viewer). Integrated energy healing, Reiki, angel healing? Go here.

“In every woman there is a queen, speak to the queen and she will answer!” says another Catholic group (“Called a Circle of Wisdom”).

This is what we really think it is.

Holistic health? Go here; you can “develop your spiritual muscles” and learn yoga by visiting these nuns. “Celebrate the arrival of winter and our turning toward the light during this season of peace, love and joy. Bring bells, drums, rattles to join in the songs and holiday),” they say; massages and labyrinth [as pictured left) here; for Danville, Pennsylvania, you can get a labyrinth retreat here; an especially beautiful labyrinth is available [pictured below, right] at Marie de la Roche Province in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. Reflexology? Our Lady of Grace Retreat Center on Long Island has what you want; get in the “Zen Spirit/Christian Spirit” here; head to Northport for reiki. And so on. While we have to rely on field reports -- and thus can't verify each one -- those we were able to check out have proven to have what was reported.

These are confusing times and while the Vatican document seemed aimed at society at large [a “pastoral" document to warn the faithful, it said], the New Age, it now is clear, had already infiltrated deeply into the Church itself -- to a degree much beyond that raised as a concern in the early Nineties. Such is the perplexity of our times that a Cardinal has said he was fascinated by a Hindu experience.

We are certainly to be open and ecumenical -- full of love, at every turn, finding common ground -- at the same time that we must guard against paganism.

“In St. Peter Hospital in Albany New York, they have a pamphlet for yoga and other connected exercises, with the picture of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh [in an] advertisement on the first page, in the lobby of the hospital,” a medical doctor informs us.

It is one of many Christian hospitals with a New Age slant.

In Austin, Texas, the Seton Family of Hospitals run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul has a center called “Seton Cove” that like so many others offers touch massage, a labyrinth walk, and “chair massage” -- a seeming far cry from the prim conservative nature of St. Elizabeth Seton [left], its patron. It doesn’t even help if a hospital is named St. Mary's.

Some of the links to the occult are direct and startling. Noted a writer from the Winnipeg, Canada, of a meeting that was focused on writing for the parish bulletin: “Somehow the conversation turned to ecumenism, and the stewardship coordinator mentioned an article in our local newspaper about ‘the study of wicca and how it is “parallel” to Catholicism.’ Of course I immediately disagreed, but she proceeded to defend the study as being ‘in tune with mother earth.’ I just sat there with my mouth open! Our priest said nothing!"

Wicca is the formal name for witchcraft. “Each year I have purchased a planning calendar from the Sisters of St. Joseph of LaGrange -- Ministry of the Arts. Some major feast days and saints’ days are noted,” writes Barbara Garfield of Ryegate, Montana. “However, as I paid closer attention to the entries this year, I see there are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and other feasts listed. That did not bother me as I have tried to become familiar with other religions and their practices. What does bother me are the entries for Samhain (wicca) for October 31 and Samhain (Celtic) for November 1 (as well as All Saints).”

In Seaford, New York, writes another worried viewer, was a visiting woman evangelist who "would come out in a costume that looked just like a priest and pretty much ran the whole retreat while he sat on the side.

“Each night they did a ritual. The first night we all lit candles. We were told to bathe ourselves in the light. No mention of Jesus being the Light. Then they had us march around until we ended up in a big circle around the perimeter of the Church. It looked like a witches' coven.”

Circling it like Joshua circled Jericho -- or something else?

Meanwhile, St. John’s University in New York offers its downtown campus for advanced Reiki courses. The list seems endless.

The Daughters of Wisdom, sponsors of Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center in Litchfield, Connecticut, originated in Poitiers, France in 1703. Founded by Saint Louis de Montfort and Blessed Marie Louise Trichet, the aim of the congregation is to seek Divine Wisdom.

Now such wisdom -- at that has turned into an interfaith one -- includes the labyrinth.

We are sorry to prolong this. But the extent of such practices is almost certainly unknown by the Vatican.

“I am beginning to become so disenchanted with my parish, St. Matthias in Somerset, New Jersey, that I have chosen so far to split my Sunday giving between my parish and another church 45 minutes away in Newark,” noted one more distressed website viewer. “I have always had concerns about the permanent Reiki section in the Sunday bulletin, but when I also saw that brochures were also prominently displayed at the exits right next to those for ‘spiritual direction’ (both ministries provided by the ‘Reiki master’), I felt really sick. Last year I worked up the nerve to ask a deacon, who directed me to the Pastor. I went to him and he told me it was completely harmless: 'Trust me, I’ve had Reiki therapy and I would tell you if it were harmful.’ He told me not to pay attention to those ‘conservatives.’”

And indeed, we do not want to go overboard with this. Our greatest calling is love for one another in circumstances that are often strenuous. But the occult can have long-term ramifications.

Tai chi is offered at St. Joseph Dwelling Place in Ludlow, Vermont -- tapping once again into that 'chi' or Ki. Is that always bad, especially when associated with martial arts? It is a question. In Ontario, the same. "I also went to a Capuchin Retreat House in Mt. Washington Michigan. They have since started 'massage therapy' and who knows what else," writes another viewer.

The Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, reportedly have a labyrinth on their property. “I just read the article today on the new age and Catholic retreat houses. I have discovered such practices in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Visitation Spirituality Center here in Monroe, Michigan,” reported yet one more viewer.

“I wrote to you a little over a year age on a group of these nuns in Baltimore,” reported another, part of the mail barrage we received. “I ran a retreat house, and one of the groups turned out to practice Zen Buddhism, after telling me they weren’t Buddhist. They had a statue of Buddha, incense, gong, candle, and flower. This is idolatry.”

Does this not matter to the bishops?

Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church in Alexandria, Louisiana. What is going on there?

“How glad I am to see a place to report rampant New Age practices in Catholic retreat centers,” writes yet one more viewer. “Here are a couple of places I wish to report. The first is the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Click on the link, scroll down, and you will find retreats on the labyrinth, Zen, Christian yoga (whatever that is!), Meyers/Briggs personality inventory, Reiki, and special retreat for gays and lesbians.”

“My mother was New Age almost before the New Age got here, and ended up worshiping Satan,” notes a viewer, who like many preferred anonymity. “My twin sister is New Age (deeply) and seemingly can’t be talked or prayed out of it. Since my baptism into the Church 33 years ago, I’ve been warning many people about the occult. Lots of them were nuns -- including a prioress at a convent outside of Boston. Only that prioress seemed to listen. No one else. My sister is a medium and channels spirits who sound so wise, profound, and compassionate that their writings fooled an abbot of a monastery into approval. (Her vocabulary, when she is channeling, is far above her own vocabulary.) I know that lately I’ve been hearing hints from her that she likes the idea of ‘androgyne,’ a combining of male and female in one person to make them ‘complete.’ To me that commits an error so severe that the person has crossed over into Satanism.”

For your discernment.

“It seems to me that the devil made huge inroads into Catholicism by distorting the Vatican II teaching that Catholics should respect whatever of truth lies in other religions,” frets an e-mailer named Trudi Lawrence. “Monks, nuns, and probably priests mistakenly and unguardedly went looking for truths there that they thought Catholicism didn't have."

Maybe all they had to do was look deeper.

'Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer: Spirit & Life - Vampire Logic'

I remember when I came to Charlotte ten years ago, I soon became aware of the Harry Potter phenomenon proliferating through cultural popularity. It was the latest fascination, the latest trend, and people demonstrated extreme preoccupation with America's latest obsession. The only prior exposure I had to to Harry Potter, was a visit to a store in a local mall. I noticed a tremendous amount of merchandise consuming the shelf space of this particular shop. As I studied the variety of 'stuff', I discovered a name attached to the objects: Harry Potter. What is this? I wondered. Never heard of it and never seen it. One thing became emphatically clear as I continued to peruse the merchandise; this is witchcraft. My immediate and thus only discernment was, this is NOT good at all. The obvious fact to me was Harry Potter was the kids' version, hidden behind the disguise of children's fantasy, of the occult. What I was not prepared for was the popularity of it within the catholic church culture, and the quick spread of the sale of pagan books throughout the catholic schools. As a person who was new to the spiritual battle, I was suffering at the hand of preternatural reality without understanding such; yet I pondered as to why anyone would possess curiosity much less interest in subject matter that was clearly evil. I was trying to avoid the demonic and exercise my faith, and Harry Potter fans, both children and parents, were immersing themselves completely into such clandestine wickedness. People, particularly catholics, just don't get it! I just thank God that I DO through His grace of discernment; and I thank Him for priests like Fr. Tom, who have the courage and chutzpah to expose the absolute danger and wrongfulness of those people who choose to seek the evil we asked to be delivered from. The vampire epidemic saturating America's senses is only distancing the masses from authentic good and God, and it speaks of the condition of collective mankind's soul; and it is full of sin and a propensity toward evil. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Click on the link below.

'Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer: Spirit & Life - Vampire Logic'

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Jezebel Spirit

Learn about the Jezebel spirit, and how to prevent her influence and to combat her victoriously.

Family Healing


Be Ready to Sacrifice to Save Souls

A priest's homily.

Be Ready to Sacrifice to Save Souls

Are We Not All Hypocrites From Time to Time?

Years ago, while sitting in the breakroom of a workplace, I heard a co-worker make the comment, " I don't go to church because all Christians are hypocrites." I hear that alot. Actually, I have made the statement several times myself. I remember saying to the gentleman at the time, " By noticing and judging another's hypocrisy we are in a sense a hypocrite ourselves. The fact that we sin shows us, if we are willing to look at ourselves honestly rather than fondly, that any of us are subject to our own personal hypocrisy, by virtue of the incapability to be who we say we are, think we are, and wish we were. Especially for any committed and practicing catholic, when we fall we have violated our own creed. Also, being victimized by unjust judgements and criticisms is part of the journey in life; yet are we not guilty at times of making the same, self-righteous observations against others? The deeper and more painful experience of going through the spiritual trial of violent persecution, unchecked slander, and continuous calumniation is the burden of the sanctification process. Look at the example of the saints? I have endured such constantly over the years, and at the hands of a close family member. It is not pleasant to go through, but it can reveal to ourselves the limits to our ability to forgive, and to pray for one's enemy. Pride is always the blinding factor, whether it be the cause of our victimization at the hand of another, or the weapon we use to annilate others under the smug, self-deception of 'righteousness.' Follow the link below. Tell me what you think.

Are we not all hypocrites from time to time?

Put a Gag Order on the Gaga Puhlease.

Spirit Daily has always been my preferred website. I find many interesting articles and valuable links to other catholic resources. I like reading my 'daily nugget' so to speak. Lately, I have been perusing The Integrated Catholic Life. It is completely different from Spirit Daily, but equally valuable for finding substantial, daily inspiration. I like to comment on some of the articles. So please do share your thoughts.
Put a gag order on the Gaga puhlease.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What Can Catholics Learn from Lady Gaga?

What Can Catholics Learn from Lady Gaga?

Daily Quote from Dr. Peter Kreeft

Daily Quote from Dr. Peter Kreeft

What Can Catholics Learn from Lady Gaga?

What Can Catholics Learn from Lady Gaga?

I found this link through Jude Thaddeus' facebook page. I found the writer's insights to be worth consideration and careful contemplation. Alleged seers and mystics, in addition to apparitions, have never been a particular interest of mine, yet Maria Esperanza's story and endowed wisdom maintains a character of authenticity and inspiration. Please check it out.

The website is, Mark Mallet, Spiritual Food for Thought:

Friday, July 16, 2010

What God Do You Worship?


    "The lack of order, organization, and purification within our interior faculties, will lead the human mind down a path of predictable deterioration. The end result will be psychological conditions littered upon a spectrum of insanity. Such soulish chaos compromises the natural cosmos of the human mind, as it separates its intellect from comprehending God's truths.The interior swing of the pendulum between chaos and cosmos defines the bipolar status quo of the culture, so logically such an impairment will proliferate epidemically; for the individual is a segment of the depraved culture. Remember the medical experts consider St. Therese, St. John of the Cross, and St. Francis ALL... to be undiagnosed bipolars; all of whom 'hallucinated' their Divine experiences.
     In contemporary times, bipolarity has become a mandatory qualification for sainthood, because it is the attack of the devil on genuine mysticism. Science has replaced spiritual discernment in the supernatural and spiritual profile of the human soul. Yes, the same science that trains our abortionists has become the preferred authority of the soul and spirit."

-Amy M. Ivsan

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I found this on Catholic Exchange via Spirit Daily website. Found it to be interesting.
Demonic Faith and Angelic Warfare

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St. Padre Pio Center for Deliverance Counseling

I found this website from a person's posting on facebook. I looked over the site briefly and it seemed genuine. I particularly liked the clarity and accuracy in their discernment of new age practices, and the readings and books offered on the subject matter. Check it out.

Seven StepsTo Self-Deliverance

Sunday, July 11, 2010

William James (1902)

William James in delineating the primary characteristics of mystical and conversion experiences, outlines many features that a psycho pathologist would more likely label as bipolar affective illness: hyperacusis, ecstasy, hallucinations(hallucinatory or infused, sense perception phenomena), knowledge " perceived as full of importance and significance," a loss of all worry," a passion of willingness," a sense of well-being, altered perceptions, and " a sense of perceiving truths not known before."  James stresses again and again his belief that the ability to experience religions or any other kind of ecstasy is exactly that - an ability, a gift, an aspect of temperament.

Found the above in a book. William James is commonly referenced in much religious and psychological material, particularly at the academic and research level. He wrote a book known as, " The Varieties of Religious Experience." Popular psychiatric, 'expert' opinion considers Roman Catholic sainthood to be the only qualification for this popular bipolar disorder. It is merely an often time attack on authentic mysticism, whether it be Divine or diabolical.  The idea of bipolar is a fine distraction and convenient deception on the part of the devil, often, to discredit the reality of mystical experience. It becomes an attack on God ultimately. One of the spiritual works of mercy is to instruct the ignorant. Experience is the greatest teacher.

He Says, " Everything In Life Is Fleeting Daughter, Hang On To Nothing."

Oh, when will this journey end. 
Trudging down a path without end in sight.
Assailed by misery from all sides. They look at this foolish man.
Crowding around Him from all sides.
They go before Him.
Follow closely behind Him.
To His left and right
not an empty place remains.
Who is this despicable fool?
Pathetic man is He.
Carrying a rough, wooden cross.
What a weakling.
He hunches over and struggles,
as He inches along this journey.
Amongst the ridicule,
the mockery,
the jeering,
and immersed in the sheer hatred of humans.
They spit.
They throw things at Him.
They push and trip Him frequently.
During a fortunate moment,
He is clubbed on the head.
And the crown of thorns he wears
oozes blood some more.
What a fool He is
to carry that miserable cross.
Yet He sees none of the circumstances of torture,
only the goal of death.
The prize IS death.
The multitudes that swarm around Him
have no idea of the precious treasure
he tenderly carries upon His brokenness
on this journey.
He knows though.
he loves.
He endures.
He suffers.
He dies.
The cross IS the cross.
We must remember that when we become an enemy of the world,
we are walking with Him.
To be rejected,
and considered to be despicable;
what remains hidden is
Him behind it all
and we have received a great grace.
It is going to be hard,
but more importantly
it is going to be painful.
Yet He is with you every step of the way.
This is WHO HE IS,
the great I AM WHO AM.
This is how the world treated Him,
and this is the condition
of those who follow after Him.
Persevere in the pain.
Embrace the cross.
Do not allow anyone to take your eyes
off of Him.
The world and the mind of man has
a reason,
a method,
an answer,
and explanation,
for everything.
It never reflects His hidden purpose,
rather it denies Him altogether.
Suffering only lasts for a season.
It will be over soon enough.
And He awaits our homecoming.
Pray without ceasing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

He Puts The Armor On You

" For our struggle in not with the flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. "

-Ephesians 6:12
Greetings brothers and sister! May the peace of Him reign upon you continuously but only in the moment for our Omnipresent God transcends time, is not subject to chronology, and thankfully He exists in every moment of our being. Saint Paul was a great soldier and waged war efficaciously, a highly successful warrior in the history of Christianity. I borrowed this particular quote out of the book of Ephesians of course, and it is captivating. What did Paul mean in his words on the subject of spiritual battle? Look at the definitive and descriptive terminology, such as struggle, flesh and blood, principalities, powers, world rulers, present darkness, evil spirits in the heavens, and let us begin to dissect each linguistic distinction individually. Yes, I know most of you are familiar with 'putting on the armor of God' so to speak, but I am a big believer in fresh perspective as a reflection upon timeless Truth.

The textbook definition of verbs and nouns provides clarity and specificity when evaluating particular terminology, however the repetitious use and element of personal bias tends to influence acute explanation of accuracy in term annotation, and words become overused, regurgitated, and eventually tossed around ever so casually, and the elementary meaning of definition becomes buried in the babbling brooks of verbal discourse and psychological thought, marked by human prejudice. Having expressed such a mouthful of thought, let us begin with the notion of struggle. What is the definition of struggle. What does Paul's analogical or metaphorical use of the term struggle imply? How do we interpret noetically an existential reality of supernatural nature further obscured by the invisible quality of preternatural activity.

It is safe to assume Paul maintained a personal struggle as every human soul does, in its respective and individual conversion process. An ordinary conflict between his own fallen nature and concupiscence and his desire to seek the Divine, to significantly respond to God's commission of his apostleship, and ultimately to cooperate with the grace God availed him in order to fulfill the will of God. A portion of Paul's struggle gravitated beyond his person and transversed into a wider struggle involving the body of the brethren, revealed by an awareness to be a potential libation due to the sacrificial endeavor demonstrated by the faith of the early Church. Despite the vast substance and work of Paul, he provides great advice, wisdom, and premonition in his teachings. Paul realizes in his very person he bears and thus reveals a bigger struggle taking place in humanity, and essentially in the universe. It has been presupposed and suggested that Saint Paul was the first stigmatic in the history of the Church.

Paul suffered heroically within the confines of tension between cosmos and chaos. The dictionary definition provides valuable clues regarding such cyclothymic tension:


1) to contend with an adversary or an opposing force.
2) to advance with violent effort.
3) to be coping with inability to perform well or to win; contend with difficulty.

Contemplate the above three-pronged definition and the word struggle takes on a vastly different imperative than the typical christian conversation regarding spiritual warfare. The struggle will always involve an adversary and Christian combat names its opponent as satan, for Jesus deemed him so, and Peter underscored our adversary's activity by his comparison to a 'roaring lion, prowling around, looking for someone to devour.' If you cannot recognize the struggle how can you identify your enemy, and if you cannot identify the opponent how can you effectively take him out. A sharp shooter does not aim blanks at an unknown target. He lingers hidden within the landscape of the warzone, periodically dodging bullets and getting grazed with shrapnel, but he never takes his eyes off of the enemy target. A sharp shooter is patient, gets wounded continuously as he labors toward his ultimate goal, but he is vigilant until the moment of opportunity for victory arises.

The battle lines were established in the book of Genesis. The struggle we discuss was clearly defined by God in the beginning, in the garden of Eden:

" I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head while you strike at his heel."

-Genesis 3:15

The victorious fruit of the struggle Paul speaks of consummates in the book of Revelation. The work of the sharp shooter becomes evident for its successful and final defeat of the enemy in the battle:

" Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus."

-Revelation 12:17

Hmmm. So the dragon wages war against 'her' offspring. Who is she and who are her offspring? Obviously she is the Mother of the Living, Blessed Mother, the orignal tabernacle of Eucharistic Presence. Our Lady is the receptacle of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh, One who would make His dwelling amongst us. The offspring suffer the scourge of the dragon's malevolence, permitted as an instructive discipline by the gentle Hand of Heavenly Father, for any good father disciplines his beloved child.

The scourge consists of a personal rejection of this world and its titillating offerings of counterfeit sacrament. The scourge leads to the decay, destruction, and the inevitable dissolution of all family unification and loyalty. Children become despised and categorically rejected by their deceived parents and vice versa. Spouses abandon themselves to lustful adultery, pornography, and a variety of enslaving but compromising behaviors and vices, but lack mutual respect, sacrificial love, and the desire to forgive; and their children become victims left behind inhaling the dust of paternal and maternal sin, as the marital covenant becomes darkened and defiled, and familial sin is passed on to the next generation. The scourge creates dissension in our holy houses and sanctuaries of worship, each participant no longer sacrificially seeking the good of his brother or sister in need, but pursues his own self-propelled agenda. Not only does Lucifer say he is going to attempt a coup d'etat of the Most High's throne, but his offspring winnow violently but clandestinely within parish communities, violently attempt to seek the same goal. The devastating result is that the dragon no longer has to directly attack the offspring of Mary, for the enemy is skilled at manipulating Her children to devour each other. God said love one another but the enemy moves in and says betray one another, detest one another, calumniate one another, avoid one another, and ultimately leads us to use one another for sinful purposes. We have allowed satan to feed our pride and spiritual hunger with counterfeit sacraments, and instead of edifying, elevating, and ennobling the brethren, we self-proclaimed Christians despise and devour one another and we are too blind to see the reality because we do not comprehend spiritual dynamism. Jesus Himself said, " Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Do you think that desperate request was for the multitudes of souls in the world outside of the church? No, sorry. Any catholic brother and sister needs to go home and stare squarely in the mirror of the closest bathroom, and look at what reflects right back at you, and that is for whom those words of Christ were spoken. You.

God operates in the spirit while satan is a spirit operating via our flesh. He tempts our flesh, pummels our flesh, takes the flesh of the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar of Holy Sacrifice and mocks it. The mass is the unbloody but re created sacrifice of Calvary. One element of the devil's black mass is the bloody sacrifice of abortion. Contrary to the undercurrent of contemporary fear, a black mass is more than pagan human sacrifice occurring in secrets sects of Luciferian worship. Witchcraft is more than mere blood-letting of sacrificed animals on altars of Mother Nature by wiccan goddesses, and the spell binding uses of potions, amulets, and talismans. If you do not think you have been influenced by paganism or esoteric practices or spiritual witchcraft then let me ask you this. Have you ever been involved in centering prayer, reiki, enneagram methods, or self-help phenomena? Have you visited a psychic, messed with tarot cards, or employed feng-shui?

" Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage, various kinds of "bodywork", visualization, meditation....nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music, or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally,
twelve- step programmes and self-help groups." 

- excerpted from Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life, a document created by two Pontifical councils

I could go on and on, ad infinitum, in my efforts to communicate the dangers of and correlations between overt satanic worship practices and covert new age procedure, but in the end the movement is the same and the corresponding nucleus of power and spiritual influence is fallen and corrupt and not of God. Honestly, how can one put on the armor of God and simultaneously be tinkering with and playing dress up with satan's costumes? Having defined the struggle, next we have been discussing the flesh and blood definition. What is the flesh and blood Paul refers to?

flesh and blood n.
1. Human nature or physical existence, together with its weaknesses.
2. A person's blood relatives; kin.
3. Substance and depth in artistic portrayal; life likeness: characters lacking in flesh and blood.

Too tired to continue..... so until next time.

Be Not Afraid!

Thanks to Maria I have the Pope Purse.  Now I must thank her once again for the Pope Pin.  It hangs on Baby T's bassinet, like a true relic, and his guardian saint keeps all the devils away.  More importantly, his intercessory guardian imbues grace, peace, and contentment over Jesus' baby boy. Thank you Maria and thank you JPII. We love you.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Once In Awhile Write Jesus a Thank You Card.

Thank you Jesus for the availability of Your True Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament.

Thank you Jesus for the gift of prayer, the ability to pray to Our Father, through the sacrifice of Calvary, endowed by the power of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.

Thank you Jesus as you capture all of the tears of the sorrowful, the abandoned, the cruelly abused and rejected, and those who suffer dearly in this world, in hope of the promise of eternal life.

Thank you Jesus for the kind, gentle sentiments you whisper to the battered soul and broken human heart.

Thank you Jesus for the invisible and mystical strength to endure all hardships at the hand of a cruel enemy.

Thank you Jesus for your ultimate and consummate defeat of satan; for freedom from slavery and bondage, from all who lord insanity, cruelty and misused authority over us.

Thank you Jesus for the grace to be willing to forgive our enemies and the desire to pray for them.

Thank you Jesus for the gift of discernment, which enables us to reject all that is unholy and profane in your sight, even if only we can reject such evil temporarily in our hearts alone, while our flesh continues to betray our will.

Thank you Jesus for giving us another day of life, sustaining our inability to barely survive at times mentally and spiritually, in a wicked and fallen world.

Thank you Jesus for every occasion of accusation at the hand of a human enemy, every time we are called evil when we are attempting to worship you, to spend time with you, and to receive you body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the gift of the Holy Sacrament.

Thank you Jesus for the times someone spit in my face, uncontrolled by the devil's rage, for it is not my face being spat upon but Yours.

Thank you Jesus for the intervention of the Hand of the Almighty Father and the intercession of the Blessed Mother, for I could not victoriously live another day of suffering without such a grace.

Thank you Jesus for the privilege and opportunity to suffer, to linger at times in a crucible of true misery, for it seems to be the only vehicle that establishes true intimacy with You.

Thank you Jesus for carving my name, the true identity of my soul, on the palms of your bloody hands, nailed to the Cross.

Jesus before me.
Jesus behind me.
Jesus upon me.
Jesus within me.
Jesus without me.

May the sunshine of your sacrifice forever captivate my soul, enslaving my heart toward authentic love.

May my tears always cleanse me of my sin, revealing the grace of contrition; a restoration that was purchased at a painful price for Your children.

Hide my mortal pain in the hidden countenance of mystical radiance, and reveal only the presence of you, Jesus.

Let my hands be Your Hands.
Let my eyes be Your Eyes.
Let my words be Your Word.
Let my touch prayerfully reveal the love of God for the wounded.

Forgive me of my sins dear Lord.

May my sorrows, losses, griefs, pains, and sufferings forever manifest as a gift of True Praise for you alone are Holy indeed.

You've Gotta Be Kidding!

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Matthew 5:11

     Jesus attended an event, one where I wasn't present, which allowed Him to make such a shocking statement. He was in heaven with His Father when the prophets died. He was there when they arrived and were introduced to the rewards that awaited them. He probably threw the party.
     Because Jesus saw, firsthand, the joy that Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others experienced, he can predict the same for us if we are mistreated. He tells us to rejoice when we face the hardships the prophets faced because He knows that we'll reap a future identical to theirs if we persevere through malignment, false rumors, and gross mis-judgement. 
     But excuse me for asking. What's the point of it all? Why is it necessary for us to endure these in the first place? Time wrestling with this text has led me to understand that it is about the cost of speaking on Jesus' behalf. Truth, pared down to its simplest form shakes up the arrogance of self-made religion. It shatters self-righteousness. It confronts pride. It smashes idols. It defies reasonable thinking. Whenever truth is presented, humility and faith are required. Anger is usually the initial response. People are indignant when the light of truth exposes their humanness. Retaliation is taken against the one who bore the message.
     Is Jesus familiar with the repercussions of those who strike back? Yes, He personally lived through acts of treachery. Who cold be a more perfect companion when rumors swirl around our heads?  He is the only anchor in the fury of such a storm.

You ask me to bear Your message. But oh, the cost. Help me. Amen.

Author- Christine Wyrtzen
Founder and Director
Daughters of Promise
Copyright 2003

This was emailed to be by Tracy Wattleworth years ago. I kept it for all this time. Contemplate the message for awhile, it speaks volumes to those who have ears that can hear.

Have you been baptized with the mystical fire?

Have you been baptized with the mystical fire?
Mary untie our knots.

Jesus I Trust In You

Jesus I Trust In You

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