Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy On Us

Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy On Us

Friday, October 12, 2012

Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil

Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil

     I found this article via a link on Facebook. I was deeply impressed by the expansiveness of its detail on the subject matter. Narcissism and evil are two words commonly tossed around, without any real discussion occurring regarding the substantial meaning of such terminology. Years ago I read something that explained the difference between acquired discernment and infused discernment. Similarly, one could employ the same distinction between acquired knowledge and experiential knowledge. There is a lot of value to the wisdom that evolves from cutthroat heartache and experience.
     Evil often is no further away than the proximity of family. Good can give birth to evil, and evil can give birth to good. God has privileged my journey to expose me to facets of evil I could have never anticipated, much less created in my experience. Significant to myself, is that the realization and recognition of evil leads one to the awesome identification with God. God becomes even more real, more apparent, and more evidenced against the backdrop of evil, whether it be human or supernatural. Applying such insight and knowledge to real life situations and relationships is the challenge.
     Years ago there was a possessed individual being exorcised in our diocese. This is not public or common knowledge, but merely known to those who assisted in praying for the individual. He was hostaged by Lucifer. It was a scene out of an inexplicable, paranormal movie. There is no substitute for the real thing. Frighteningly real is satanic power and presence. Yes, it demonstrates all of those bizarre manifestations most only read about. Frighteningly real for sure. Yet the fear passes. The phenomena dances only in that moment of prayerful confrontation, and it is agonizing and would seem eternal, but it does pass. The only reason I am sharing this tale is because it is a backdrop so to speak, a frame of reference or measure, for a bigger, more insidious facet of evil.
     To me, the worst cases of obsession (common) and possession(rare), are not always the most severe diabolical conditions. The condition itself of course is unpleasant and undesirable by standards of sanity and common sense. However, it is often our relationship to the person in the condition of bondage that is most frightening. A person who we have no personal relationship to, no invested interest, even in such grave spiritual condition poses no threat to our person. Like I mentioned above, sometimes the worst of evils is too close to home, so close in proximity, we are blind to see it. It would be to painful to expose its existence to our psyche.
     We first must contend with our own sinfulness and personal evil inclinations, in my opinion, before we can even become spiritually qualified to discern it in others. Frequenting the sacraments, particularly confession, and much time in sacrifice and prayer accomplishes this initial obligation. We do not have to be spiritually perfect to discern, but at least spiritually fit. We have our good days and bad days, our successes and our failures, but we keep on in our pursuit of remedy to our fallen nature. Once this has become a regular practice, we can now look beyond ourselves and learn from the world we exist within, and in the immediate sense, that includes those personal relationships of family and intimate friends.
      In the Our Father prayer, we petition God to "deliver us from evil." Early on in conversion, it never occurs to us that it will be from those family and friends that God's removes us from the source of evil. Satan likes to hide, to masquerade, to present himself as good and ideal. We only need to look at the fruit, and not only the fruit of human condition and concupiscence. That is a predictable and to be expected variable. We all have it. The rotten fruit of evil cannot remain hidden or masked. Love is transparent always. Evil tends to opacity. Our senses sharpen over time with prayer and sacramental frequency because we begin to share deeply and intimately in Divine life and nature. It requires a degree of mental preparation and spiritual reinforcement to prepare us for the unpleasant reality of what needs to be pruned.
     Soul ties are powerful, yet bondages must be broken when exposed to the light of Christ. If someone in our close circle lives in evil, they must be pruned, even if it is a spouse, parent, or a child. Tough love as the psychologists feed us, is easy love, because it is boundary motivated and so selfish, and self-interested. It exalts the self at the expense of a weaker human being. Tough love has absolutely nothing to do with authentic love. The Cross. Now that is tough love. The Cross is the ultimate and consummate act of love. True charity. The annihilation of self.
     Somewhere in scripture, it says, 'purge the evil in your midst.' It took me twelve years to realize the greatest evidence of evil in my life was my own mother. Who wants to admit they are borne of such? God was speaking to me for years on this matter, and through other people. One priest said stay away from her, she is abusive. Another priest said she fit the profile of a psychopath. A lay person with a tremendous gift of prayer said I was dealing with the jezebel spirit, and to read the book, People of the Lie, by Dr. Scott Peck. She said this book is about your mother. Social workers told me to stay away from her. Yet, the bondage I was in to the maternal relationship, blinded my judgement and closed my ears to what highly qualified people were telling me. Aren't we supposed to honor thy mother and father? Yes.
     Nope. Honor the fact that God enabled them to bring you into this world. Honor their spiritual role and dignity as a human being, as a child of the Almighty. We do not honor the dishonorable behavior, sin, and/or evil. We do not honor lies. We do not honor spiritual abortion. We do not honor disobedience. And we surely do not honor the devil as he sometimes inhabits a soul. When people grow cold and seek no type of help whatsoever, and as a catholic, they absolutely refuse to go to confession, yet continue to wreak havoc and destruction in the lives of others; yes you are dealing with a demon without question. The humbling opportunity for me was despite my education, and experiential knowledge, I was so deeply deceived. Some parents do not love their offspring. They abuse them, scapegoat them, and make every attempt to destroy their lives and reputation because they cannot look at the evil within. That typifies a narcissist to me. When Peter stated, "Resist the devil, and he will flee!", you cannot successfully do that when you have a wide open door through a relationship.
     I knew God was calling me out on the carpet for years, to vanquish this deadly spiritual poison from my life. He kept whispering to me, how much unnecessary suffering and torment do you want? In faith, I made the decision. More importantly I acted on that decision. And I have peace now. I didn't cause it, I couldn't change it, and without cooperation even God cannot fix it. So put down the snake that keeps biting you. It wasn't the external evils of the world that was tormenting me, but the flawed thinking and emotional sentimentality,  that kept a wide open door into my soul. Blood is thicker than water, but not biological blood. The Blood of Christ is what IS thicker than water. The only nail that was sufficient to lock that open door once it was closed, kept the bloody palm of Christ nailed to the cross. Praise you Jesus for your freedom from imprisonment.
     

Saturday, September 15, 2012

From Spirit Daily

The Gift of Miracles,  Fr. Robert DeGrandis (with Linda Schubert), a book that finally addresses the miracles available to us, that have happened to others, with testimonies and pointers on unleashing the power of God. What are miracles? What are their characteristics? What are the "action steps"? Have miracles occurred in places like Medjugorje? How do we pray for them? CLICK HERE


 
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THERE ARE MANY LAYERS TO THOSE WHO RISE WITH THE 'YEAST' OF OTHERS INSTEAD OF THAT FROM GOD

There are many layers to the "you" that is you and it is not until you peal the false layers and get to the essence of the you who God created that you have a clear path to completing your purpose in life.
These layers are placed on you by others and also by yourself and they pile up if we focus or fret about the expectations of other people instead of focusing on the perspective of God.
When we are "who" others want us to be, we usually are not who God had in mind. It's like yeast. There's good yeast and there is bad yeast. Good yeast builds us up. Bad yeast puffs us up. Good yeast is what helps us grow in a way that feeds those we encounter while false yeast or too much of it from too many "cooks" causes a product that's more air than substance. Perhaps that is why the holiest Bread we know is unleaven (it is where God resides.)
Seek bread not for its height but for how it multiplies.
The giant sins of materialism, sensuality, and pride (grossly underestimated in our time) afflict so many who seek religion but not the spirit thereof. It is Styrofoam.
There is falsity.
Styrofoam is 98 percent air and two percent plastic.
Neither does the plastic dissipate (it lasts a hundred years; and for us, perhaps eternity).
When we have pain, it is time to step back and evaluate the pain because there are many times when God uses pain to call us back to who we really are.
Pain is a sign.
Illness is a sign.
Accidents are no accident.
Imbalance in the spirit translates to the natural.
There is purification through pain because it brings us to this realization.
Much pain we can avoid by praying with fervor to be pure and to be who we really are, which pokes a hole in the falsity that is like a balloon and barrier around us.
There are layers put on us at school, at play, at work, at home, at the club, and we must peel them off like the layers of an onion and sometimes with the same tears.
You curl your hair and uncurl it and tint it and color it and change the color and make it long and make it short and switch the brands for your clothes and it is a mirage.
The real "you" has nothing to do with the material and has to exert little effort to exude attractiveness.
The real "you" is beautiful because it is the truth. It is the Truth of the One Who formed you. It is your destiny (and you won't reach your destiny without it).
It needs no costume.
It needs no makeover (or facade).
You are most beautiful or handsome when you love.
No one who loves is unattractive (despite physical features, which love overcomes).
Others will see that (if subconsciously).
In Heaven, the purity of your soul will form your identity.
It is radiant.
When you are who you really are, there is peace, and no tranquility without that. The soul will not rest until it expresses its authentic self. "There is no greater wealth than a pure heart," said Our Lady of Kibeho, while a seer from the approved site added, "If we are in revolt, it is because of the world's riches. At present many people are rich, to such a degree that they can no longer taste the things of God."
The real "you" has little to do with the clothes you wear or car you drive or house in which you live.
There may be indications there. There may be signs of humility (if your home is humble). There may be signs of cleanliness (if your home is clean). There may be orderliness (which is good).
But most everything else is a mirage.
--Michael H. Brown
 
 
 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hypocrisy

     Something captured my attention when I was quickly glancing over facebook today. The name Mark Shea and the name Fr. Peter West. It made mention of controversy. I did not give it another thought until this evening. I found this interesting article on a blog.
     I know very little of Fr. Peter West. However, I have experienced a taste of Mr. Shea. In reflection, it is interesting that the message of this previous Sunday's mass comes to mind. A homily teaching about hypocrisy. Instructing about the man behind the mask. As I write this now, Mr. Shea comes to mind.
    I have never read any of his books and clearly do not intend to. I do know he recently came out with a book about mercy, and in my opinion, he is clearly the least qualified to write on such a subject. I encountered him during the Corapi scandal on facebook. He actually addressed me personally and with great malediction. The atrocious things he spoke about Fr. Corapi, a priest of Jesus Christ, were pure scandal. Demonic. Free of any element of brotherly love, charity, and mercy. It truly opened my eyes to the hypocrisy of what could only be deemed a catholic celebrity.
     Mr. Shea has a provocative personality, and it gains him great attention in the catholic blogosphere. It is all about fame, notoriety, and making money in the end. His postings on facebook forced me to block him, in that such reprehensible comments should never be repeated or proliferated to others. So many catholics are deceived by this man. He does not serve Jesus, but himself. Shameful.
    

 Mark Shea: Worst. Person. Ever.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Pharisees are back at it again.


     In the past year or so we lost two priests, both of whom were dearly loved by too many catholics to number, Fr. Euteneuer and Fr. Corapi, from the public and spiritual arena. Both men suffered severe accusations and yet to be substantiated allegations from two separate women, who interestingly enough, were employed by the priests. Remember, there are two sides to every story, and then there is the truth. We may never get the full scope of truth regarding either scandal. The mainstream, liberal and secular media is clearly not interested in anything catholic, therefore the titillating stories of Corapi and Euteneuer must play and replay themselves withing the realm of catholic commentary. Very few catholic public figures run to the defense of either of these men. Suffering servants of Christ. It is clearly not personally profitable to defend or write in a positive, uplifting light about either of these priests. Money and reputation is preferred over charity.
     Like I said, there are two sides to every story, and the catholic media and all of its bloodthirsty denizens spiritually lust for the down and dirty, spiritual pornography and abortion of a neighbor and brother's good name; for it promotes its own agenda of selling books, soliciting speaking engagements, feeds the blogosphere, and takes the focus off of one's own personal need to examine conscience and repent. We are all of one body, with Christ at the head. What can the world at large possibly do to us, if we as Christians and catholics devour one another? Satan ultimately has the last laugh.
     The tragedy is the overlooked contributions to the church, on the part of both Fr. Corapi and Fr. Euteneuer, evangelization calling many home and converting others. Both these shepherds have done more than most of us will ever do in a lifetime, to round up 'the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' The reproach placed upon these two chosen and called servants of Christ has literally been rammed down our throats, with a satanic intensity fueled by mass malevolence. The activity of the devil is underscored by the behavior and words in the reaction to the scandals, far more so than the alleged actions of either of these priests. And what about the victims?
     If one victim was a legitimate candidate of the exorcism ministry and rite, clearly she is no innocent bystander. For an individual to merit exorcism, one must have committed grievous sins against the Holy Spirit, and that is in most cases. What are her sins? Should we not barrage the blogosphere with details of  her fall from grace, with juicy nuggets of her sins, justifying why she became possessed or obsessed in the first place? She did not qualify for much less have an exorcism sanctioned on her behalf, due to purity and innocence. Get real.
     Likewise, in regards to the other scandal, once again the victim is not completely innocent. She had a well documented history of alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution, domestic violence an arrest record, and many different husbands. Her sins have been made public, yet the standard of moral substance is somehow higher or more authentic, because she is a convenient, alleged 'victim'? Where is her culpability? Or is she blindly forgiven while the priest is crucified? In that situation, absolutely nothing has been admitted to or proven against on the part of the priest.
     Unfortunately, public scandal of any form, feeds our own hidden appetite  for evil, due to our own spiritual disease and condition. We love to devour one another with violence, if the truth be told. The reality of who we ALL are arises when such scandals unfold. We love to destroy the good name of a neighbor, as long as our own reputation fails to be compromised. We build up our own gravely disordered egos, and self-love, by sacrificing other imperfect Christians. If popular catholic writers and public figures spent a minute fraction of the time praying, as they do proliferating gossip, the church would be a different place. However, choosing charity does not fill bank accounts.
    And now Fr. Euteneuer is in the news again. The 'victim' is suing for millions of dollars. She is so damaged she needs millions of dollars to heal. If money were necessary for truth to prevail and healing to occur, we should all be billionaires. We must forgive, or our soul dies. We have forgotten the Our Father. I must close with mention of a wonderful article I read, written by Jenn Giroux. I love sharing the wisdom of a woman wearing God's common sense and charitable fairness. Please do read it.

Allegations and lawsuit about Fr. Tom Euteneuer: Can we believe anything this woman says?


    
  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Random thoughts of many years ago.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin."
-Hebrews 4:15


     The pain often arises, engulfing the senses and flooding the being of the human person. The despair that can weigh upon the human soul, though it may suffocate and congest the ordinary senses, the clarity and sting of such pain unleashes the blockage, so to speak.
     When it seems we have hit a barrier, and the more effort we exert to submit to God's will, to seek Him, to follow Him; the cloud of impermeable darkness cloaks the heartbeat of the soul and chains the man within, and we exist as a true prisoner.  Yet He never really abandons us, and we are merely prevented from satiating our senses in the delights of spiritual ardor. Mystical communion. We perceive only a cloud of defilement.  Burdensome heaviness may roll in as an unanticipated tide and one can never predict its onset.
     It is like being beaten with the agonizing club of emotional and mental anguish. It appears to reopen wounds prematurely protected by the armor of a scar. And we our beaten and clubbed, and have the spiritual wind knocked out of our soul. The eyes are pummeled with the blinding grit of confusion and a cloud of despair. In this state, all it takes is the opportunity of distracting temptation and agreement with the 'lie', and it will invite the adversary's merciless retribution. Revenge for loving God, and being loved by Him.
     And the big 'loser' treads the unknown of the night's darkness; stalking, hovering, lingering like the foul order he is. The temperament of the atmosphere will fill with an unknown dread. And the weak human senses fearfully respond with a fight against fear, trepidation, anxiety, and the imminent and irrational thought of pending danger. It is a cold, physical fear gripping the soul, tormenting all reason. The soul receives a mindless attack on thought, and the notion arises of an invisible yet formidable being seeks its physical death, but clamors violently for the soul's spiritual death.
     The enemy mocks the sweet caresses of Divine comfort, and grazes the body with the presence of the purely unknown, whispering without words; a hidden agenda, a taunting threat, that he is not completely gone. All one can do immersed in such suffering, is to bemoan the appearance of the loss of grace. Questioning is this my lot in life; to vacillate in ongoing, engagement of the battle of wills? As real as it may seem, it is merely the ceiling of threat, the imagined barrier to freedom, a dark cloud attempting to beat us down every step of the little way to Him.
     The individual desires to impale and destroy the barrier of the soul's opposition, and we do need reinforcement of the Almighty. The barrier is obviously demonic. And the only alleviation is prayer, for it elevates the spirit and will flood the senses with cauterizing peace. Prayer reinforcement does not vanquish the difficulty of circumstance. Prayer in His Presence will enable us to endure the tortures, with being overly distracted, or alienated by the sufferings themselves. Prayer, mass, the rosary minimize the potency of temptations assailing the mind, and we must grow out of our lack in consistency of discipline.
    In my opinion, there can never be too excessive or extreme of measure taken to combat such oppressive resistance to the soul's progress.  It is a daily battle, literally. Our selfish desires to be 'normal' begets the ongoing question of why God, do I have to suffer through such. We straddle a divide of indecision and just when we believe we have made the final choice for Him, we are back in the battle with the world, people, the flesh, and our own respective iniquities.
     Due to our frailties and human limitations, the Advocate will visit us frequently through these dark nights, for reasons foreign and incongruent with human understanding. We may be hyper alert to the menacing, stalking, and unwelcome presence in our immediate environment; the black foe,who sulks, awaits licking his chops for he wants our blood literally, intimidating our weakness. He may appear ominously as the leader of the demonic visitation, yet we can be deluged by a multiplicity of unwelcome visitors to our soul.
     The weaker visitors create a frenzy of nonsense, belches, groans, and impish, hysterical laughter; and periodically will pummel the bed as to vibrate it violently; yet such infernal annoyances accomplish little compared to the bigger 'man'. The leader of darkness. he is a presence of nothingness, lifelessness, lack of goodness and vitality; he is just blackened dread of stalking intent, like a guard at the gate of the soul's imprisonment. The Master will infuse the soul with consoling quiet. It permeates and stills the entire being. He enters into our imprisonment, imbues a strength within our suffering moments, and we can finally escape and gain freedom in the confines of Love.
     The feverish, powerful touch of His Holy Hand will awaken us throughout the dark night, and one can burn within this incubation of powerful reinforcement. The embrace of secure touch, as He holds the hand of the soul, binds us to the Truth of Him. By Him, we are pressed upon the Heartbeat of the Father, and despite the legitimacy of our sufferings.
     The abandonment we experience submerged in the darkness is an intellectual illusion, a masked deception. The danger to the soul is when we are gripped by the futility of such a profound lie, a place where we vacillate frequently and miserably, we believe ourselves to be forsaken and forever abandoned. Yet this same testing ground and trial, is ultimately what is required to burn away the barriers to the inheritance of the witness to an unseen faith; the promise of an unrealized hope, an the progression to a higher level of trust. Trust in a love that never fails but only endures for Eternity.
    It is a love that fights daily for every created soul, Imago Dei, and grieves the loss eternally for too many souls. Yet despite such profound grief, and within such grief, we must continue the fight no less, and never give up in the battle for eternal salvation. Such suffering is an unpleasant, burdensome map, directing and guiding the purpose of daily living. We are baptismally called to fight for each soul with the same insatiable love God possesses, and with a high degree of willingness to sacrifice everything and anything, and to ultimately give it all for the love of God alone.
     We simply can look to the Cross. Despite our frequent falls, we will arise time and time and time again. It is the lesson of the saints. He places that fighting instinct in His children. What other choice do we have?  How do we love creation similar to Him?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Compassion Living in the Spirit of St. Francis, by Ilia Delio, O.S.F.

   


     I was provided an opportunity to review a book. With earnestness of intention, I circumstantially became extremely busy and it delayed my attempt at book review. And I do say attempt because when I share opinion of my own, naturally an indirect review of some books that have influenced me infects my writing. I opted to read the book Compassion and to specifically attempt to assess its contents. It posed a challenge.
     The title compelled my selection. Compassion. So many are attracted to the life of St. Francis. The lover of Lady Poverty. Lover of animals. One of the first, speculated stigmatics. Compassion is what attracted me. Why? The world and the church in the world comprehensively is starving for compassion. Dying and disintegrating slowly everyday due to compassion's absence. The saints radiated compassion like the sun emanates light. Clearly in this darkened world we have so few saints, and lack of compassion reveals this tragic truth.
     The book itself by author Ilia Delio failed to impress me as an authoritative encyclopedia on the subject of compassion. I never read a book from beginning to end, cover to cover. I peruse through the shell of composition, to scavenge for the meat of substance. One could speculate Compassion has great content. In my opinion the content is disorganized. The writing trends to very intellectually challenging depths of quasi-mystical reflection, but flags me as being generically esoteric with contrived enigma, under the guise of sound theological content. For the spiritually unstable it could be misleading in some of it's ideas and 'truths'.
     The red flags of unintentional deception on the part of the author, popped up rather quickly when I began to read. We do not have to read an entire book to discern whether or not it is theologically safe and fruitful, in terms of our catholicity. Buzz words like ecological, creation, evolution, consciousness, universe with the occasional namedropping of Teillhard de Chardin or Thomas Merton, and my new age meter goes off the map. Ding, ding, ding. And I am done. Why? If a glass of water is 99.99 percent pure, it is the .01 percent contaminate adulterating its purity, rendering it toxic. New Age and any illusion created by false spirituality is toxic to the soul. And just like that I am done. The book is nothing I want to fill my mind with, much less risk recommending for somebody else's detriment.
     Honestly, I found some wonderful anecdotal, inspiring quotes. For example, " If we are to live compassionately today, then we need to feel the pulse of life in the concrete pain of existence." Another one I enjoyed is, " If we can control our relationships, our loves, and our dislikes, we not only control evil unwittingly, but we can become evil unknowingly." Very true. The author is great at offering little palatable nuggets of wisdom. On the other hand, the content in some of the chapters takes the mind of the soul into directions I deem cleverly deceptive, leading to true confusion. There is nothing new under the sun, and timeless truth possesses a preferable clarity for any reader. Never assume because a book is written by a religious of any type, that it is theologically sound. Religious orders have often been the biggest promoters of new age thinking.
      The book has a great title. Compassion. If you want to read about compassion, volunteer at a soup kitchen, take in a homeless person, or spend time with a drug addict. You gain compassion only by practicing it, but first you have to see if you have any. There is no how to method even offered by the greatest saints. Suffer and submit, and your life will read the greatest story of compassion. My recommendation is there are far better books to read to develop understanding of compassion, or to learn about St. Francis. The best way to learn about the life of any given saints, is to begin with reading their actual works. The ideal way to learn about compassion is to pray, diligently practice your faith, and let God do the rest. I would not personally recommend buying this book. Pax Christi.

I participate in a book review program with The Catholic Company.  For additional information on Compassion; Living in the Spirit of St. Francis, or to find other wonderful reading materials, sacramentals, and catholic products; please visit The Catholic Company.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Have A Say!

I Have A Say

Check this out!

     This is a wonderful and growing campaign. Any opportunity for the church and her members to voice their position publicly is a blessing. I pray the media exposure of the church militant and her focus will change the outcome of the upcoming, presidential election. We will not remain silent. Hi five to this priest for taking the time to DO SOMETHING!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where Do You Go?

 











     I want you to consider your life as it is right now at this moment. You may be sitting at home watching your favorite television program. You may be headed out the door to your local supermarket to pick up a few necessary grocery items. You may be doing laundry. You may be reading a fabulous book. You may be entertaining company. You may be praying. You may be facebooking. You may be tired and cannot wait to retire for the night. There are a list of optional activities you may be doing at this moment, in the next moment, or perhaps tomorrow as your day begins.
     Let us discuss the first option. You are sitting at home watching your nightly television program. Imagine you actually own four televisions, in four different rooms of your home; but you can only watch what he is watching. You better have already made dinner and served him. It becomes quiet in the room and your attention is not interrupted, so you dare to sit down, dare to eat your meal, and dare to turn on a television so you can relax. I think not. He comes out of hiding, and demands to know why you are not in the room with him, watching his preferred program. For convenience and solitude, you chose to eat privately, but he insists you watch a television show that he is interested in. If you express your own personal preferences or wishes, something is most likely to get broken. The meal will turn cold and inedible quickly. Besides your appetite will disappear altogether, buried beneath anxiety, fear, and inevitably a deluge of tears. Rage is your appetizer, main meal, and dessert for the evening, again. Where do you go?
     Let us discuss the next option. You need to run to the grocery store for a few household items. Milk for the morning coffee, food for the dog, and toilet paper for the obvious. Maybe you will pick up a redbox rental while at the supermarket. You cannot drive to the store, because you do not have a car. He does. You cannot borrow the car, because he will not allow you to get a driver's license, much less pay for it. So you must negotiate with him in order to be transported to the store. You better have food benefits, because he cannot manage a dime, and is not about to spend money on toilet paper. You should have some cash hidden somewhere after you endure the frequent humiliation, of going to your pastor for financial assistance. He works when he can, but it is his money and under his ultimate control. Soap, toilet paper, and laundry detergent are not necessities according to him, because the last twenty dollars in the household budget are for drugs. And if your lucky enough to negotiate a ride to the store, prepare your ears for the barrage of profanity that will accompany your entire trip. Sometimes he becomes so enraged during the ordinary practice of responsibility, he occasionally leaves you at the store. Where do you go?
     Third option. Laundry. It never ends. You wake up in the morning and want to cry because the pile of dirty clothes never dissipates. It is always there. He reproduces that massive pile every day. You can have it all done and perfectly folded, organized, and put away, but it grows back violently. And if the demanded item is not washed or dried, he grows violent. The cartoon, the Tasmanian devil; he spins and moves so quickly, he leaves chaos and clutter everywhere he roams. I remember one time being in front of the washing machine and unexpectedly getting hit in the face near the eye, hard and swiftly. It happened so quickly and fiercely, I was stunned and momentarily blinded. Where do you go?
     Fourth option. Let us not even discuss reading a book. It will never happen with any degree of success, unless you can guarantee he is asleep, dead to the world due to manic exhaustion, or he has left for work. You could steal a quiet moment within the confines of your imprisonment to journal thoughts, but hide your documentation, for if he finds it it will be ripped to shreds, for no thoughts or emotions are your own. The ONLY thing that remains personal, private, and ultimately yours is suffering. You will have no choice but to find God in the pit, for that is where you exist. He is there.
     "Oh, you gotta get out of there." "Oh, he is a psychopath." "Oh, you gotta leave him, get away from him." You hear this from any and every acquaintance ALL the time. DUH!!!!! No car, no money, no job, no resources, and really no family and friends, so WHERE DO YOU GO? I remember when my son was still an infant, watching him hold the baby in one hand and hunting knife in the other. I can still remember vividly the sensation of the tip sticking in my back. At that point I was already covered with injuries. He attempted to crush my ribs with his full body weight and knees, but within an instance he came to his senses. He went in the bathroom, guilt-ridden with remorse, crying, saying take the knife and please kill me. Where do you go?
      I will tell you where you can go if you can find it deep within your victimization, and summon up the courage to blindly trust, when the world dictates and indoctrinates ever so differently and with contradiction. You go to the feet of Jesus, even if a fist is in your face. You go to the foot of the cross, even if your beaten from head to toe, hair pulled out, broken bones, spittle in the face, existing in psychological terror. Do you think Jesus has not experienced domestic violence? I think this is why when I would plead with God to help me, beg Him to open a window because clearly a door was not being availed, and tell Him I was so angry at Him; the Lord would whisper to me the same thing over and over again. " Having done everything, stand firm with faith as your shield." I would tell God if I have to endure this any longer, I going to have a nervous breakdown. He would reply, "No your not. Stand firm with faith as your shield." Needless to say I lived in agony. Forget the physical violence and the mental abuse; the spiritual annihilation was the foundation of the torment.
     I understand today, God clearly had a plan for me to gain something through this situation. What the world would consider horrific, I had a subtle notion that the Lord permitted man's a misuse of free will to bring out a greater good. The perpetrator would go into rages, his eyes would blacken, pupils dilate, foam would seep out of the corners of his mouth, and he made an eerie grumbling sound that was low in volume but reminded me of an animal. And then the altercation would ensue and the experience became surreal because I could not feel the blows most of the time, and I could only see Jesus. Jesus looking upon his tormentor. And I intuitively knew God had given this man no authority to end me life and I would survive the episode. Fear is misleading for it contaminates the imagination with what could happen, and blinds the person from God's knowledge of what ultimately will happen. As miserable as I was at times in this journey, my suffering had eternal value, and today I certainly will not waste it.
     We must remember every perpetrator was at one time a victim, usually of the same violent acts they commit against their intimate partners. It is about power and control, and not anger, mental illness, or addiction. These exacerbating facets are involved usually, but that is not the origin of domestically violent behavior. People whisper behind your back as to why you would be with such a person, or remain. It never occurs to such persons to speculate why does he hit her? I say who is the greater perpetrator; the person who commits this violence or all the people who know about it and do nothing to help the women and their children? Which is the lesser of two evils or are they equivalent? Can you imagine if Jesus avoided every sinful person during His torment, and refused to forgive His batterers, how many souls would be lost? Do you realize we are those same persecutors of the beloved body of the Lord when we sin?
     The story does not end here, but the Lord is writing the outcome with my cooperation. I can say this. I am free from insanity, emotional pain, and anger and bitterness toward this individual. I spent more than two years observing and experiencing the gravity of his spiritual sickness. It was far more painful being on the outside looking in, than anything he had done to me. That is grace. I remember the devil telling me his soul belonged to him(satan). He kept saying over and over again, " He and I are one.... He is ours, he has always been ours."  I told that nefarious nag, "Only God determine man's salvation." Now that it is Lent, I reflect on these moments of tough experience, and I continue to find healing, peace, and grace, and love for the sinner. Thank you Jesus for even the smallest taste of this cross.
     
    
      



Monday, March 5, 2012

Lenten 'Nuggets.'

     Where did the word nugget come from anyway? Most people think of chicken mcnuggets or chicken when they hear the word nugget. I do. Anyway, my concept of Lenten 'nuggets' will refer to the little inspirations, notions, or simple words of wisdom God often whispers into my congested ears. I am very, very busy and have been for some time. I have not always had access to a computer, so needless to say my blog is rather sad. Lol. Sometimes we have to take time to live and exist. I will share my random and boring thoughts, and finalize them with a Lenten 'nugget.'
     So far this liturgical season, I have learned one particular insight. Most people give up food items for Lent. I work at an ice cream place and decorate cakes, so ladies are always surrendering the chocolate fixation for Lent. Not me. I eat chocolate daily. I am often so exhausted, I must make a conscious effort to remember NOT to eat meat on Fridays. I am astonished at how weight obsessed even catholic women are when it comes to Lenten sacrifice. The practice of self-denial and sacrifice has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss, looking good, and vanity. Women are so darned vain. I do include myself in that equation, yet when I got beat up with a black eye and broken nose, and a massively swollen face, I was drained of much of my vanity.
    People who never practice prayer and fasting regularly make great aspirations to do so during Lent, but the weight loss motive hides behind their pride and vanity. Fasting is not for your bodily health or weight loss when it comes to spiritual purification. Yes, fasting combined with prayer is powerful and extremely efficacious. However, when it is motivated by hidden, self-centered motive, it is not powerful much less sacrificial. I had to get that off my chest. I am a female and I have found catholic women to really struggle with this beauty, weight, and vanity obsession. Jesus DOES NOT CARE what your body looks like. He cares about what you do with it and use it for.
     Honestly, giving up a favorite food item for Lent is probably the most sluggish path to holiness. It is easy and essentially accomplishes nothing in my estimation. Who cares? Dying to self is what it is ALL about for me. Daily. Jesus help me to DIE to self; my selfish, self-centered, self-preoccupied, self-absorbed, selfish self! Now that is what you call a sacrifice. I asked the good Lord to decide my sacrifice and cross for this season, and He has indeed done so. I was unwilling to pick my own sacrifice because I rightly assumed it would be self-involved. I am learning two things; listen more and talk less. God cares for me but does not care about what I think. Thank you Jesus.
     So I will close with my first Lenten 'nugget'; nugget number one. What I have gained thus far is knowledge that I need to practice daily how to love like Jesus. Very, very hard to do. If you think it easy then go find the closest, homeless, drug addict and tell me what you are willing to do for them. And do not insult the Divine Lord's intelligence by exclaiming, oh, I will pray for them. Stop praying as an excuse, and start doing. Catholics are lazy as all heck, and rarely endeavor out of their self-defined realm to practice charity. Charity is love in action. No excuses. What are you taking on or doing during Lent to help another human being in need. That is my nugget. We need to talk and proselytize less, and do SO MUCH MORE! When Resurrection Sunday arrives, my plan is to have my non-profit registered according to Jesus' timeline. I am going to build something to help women and children. How? I am clueless, but God already has it figured out.

- Imago Dei

Friday, January 6, 2012

Silence

     Silent. He is remaining silent. Who else do we know of remained silent, and said nothing in response to his accusers? Thank you Fr. Corapi for remaining silent, disappearing off of facebook, and taking down your BSD website. Thank you. Your soul is far more valuable to God, and your vocation is that much more precious to our Lord, than feeding the maelstrom of satanic, media chaos that plagues and darkens the world wide web. The malevolent machination of lucifer personified in the formidable foe of Jezebel. Often operating through women, but sometimes men, Jezebel feeds off of the prophetic pulse and choice blood of the Roman Catholic priesthood. Satan is after our priesthood. "Strike the shepherd, you scatter the flock." "No priest, no eucharist." Thank you for the unpleasant reminders of truth Fr. Corapi.
     Accusation is satan's fundamental nature, while mercy is reserved for Christ, and poured out by the blood of Jesus. Accusation is the deadliest of weapons because it can potentially destroy everything a man or woman has spent a lifetime working toward. Accusation is useful and potent because IT WORKS! The majority of the population is so spiritually blind and disobedient, they will believe anything, and without evidence, substantiation, or the slightest bit of probable credence. Why? It is easier to ingest and digest a lie, because truth in today's times is blatantly unpalatable. We don't want to hear it, and we despise anyone who wants to tell us, much less preaches it boldly and loudly from the rooftops. "People who do not stand for something(or someone), will fall for anything!" Thanks again Fr. Corapi, so terribly true. Accusation seeks, often obtains, and devours vocations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Accusation is the feast of the diabolical banquet, so it serves the enemy well. Fattens his or her pride. Gloating in spiritual gluttony and nefarious glory.
     If you want to know your value to God, look at the size of the weapon fashioned against you. Look at the size of the weapon fashioned against Fr. Corapi's vocation? Nuclear! What seems like a losing battle is merely a hidden, mystical victory.Who is attacking the 'vocations' of the 'professional' catholics? Who is attacking the likes of Raymond Arroyo and Mark Shea, and a few nameless others? No one! Why? Satan could care less about these 'professional' catholics because they are not a threat to his territory. Spiritually impotent indivduals. They adored Corapi when it elevated their professional status, but ran like scattering cockroaches when his hour of need arose. Fr. Corapi's hour of need was no different than the hour of need of the Lord. All the disciples fled, and a man had to be FORCED to assist Jesus in carrying His cross. That is how much we all love our Lord, if we are honest with ourselves. Run. Deny. Ignore. Accuse and stone the innocent, but don't you dare come to their defense. It is easy to be a coward yet you will never become a saint being spineless.
     So please remain silent Fr. Corapi. For a word from your lips feeds Jezebel's dogs. They love your blood for it is the choice wine of Christ. They have sucked you dry like the vampires they are, and tossed aside your remains. Yet the rejected keystone is the fundamental object that upholds the entire structure  It upholds the arch. Without the rejected, the structure collapses like a tottering house of cards. The church militant, spiritually speaking, seems to be on the brink of such a collapse; for the neo-paganists are now running the show. So it would seem. Read Psalm 18, and take hold of your 'bow of bronze'. It is the quality of the catapult. Remember the fate of Jezebel; the dogs lap up her blood. We pray for you always.
    

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