Keep your eyes open!...

A Chronicle Depicting the Lateness of the Hour

Spirit Daily  Saint of the Day  Contemporary Christian Music

April 30, 2002


Pope John Paul II on Sunday urged the faithful worldwide to pray in an "uninterrupted and unanimous" effort to bring peace to the Middle East.

The pontiff has repeatedly called for peace in the region, urging an end to the conflict in five-consecutive Sunday addresses, including his Easter message.

"During the month of May, uninterrupted and unanimous prayer to heaven should rise up from every part of the world in order that initiatives are finally found to relax tension and bring dialogue to the land of Christ and in every other place on the planet marked by violence and pain," the 81-year-old pope said from his window overlooking thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for his weekly address.

"With the international situation," the pope said Sunday, "where so many needs and problems emerge and, in particular, in front of the drama of the Holy Land, which knows no end, we must turn with faith to the maternal intercession of the Virgin."

RELATED: Pope Sending Special Envoy for Bethlehem Talks


A Christian church leader on Monday called for a crackdown on a paramilitary Muslim group suspected of involvement in the brutal killings of 12 Christians in Indonesia's Maluku province.

Several religious leaders have claimed the Laskar Jihad, or Holy War Troop, was behind Sunday's attack in Soya, a Christian village on the outskirts of Maluku's provincial capital, Ambon.

The slayings threaten to undermine a fragile peace pact, signed in February and meant to stop three years of sectarian violence that has killed up to 9,000 people in Maluku, which is divided into Christian and Muslim sections.

About a dozen men armed with guns, grenades and daggers attacked Soya before dawn Sunday, torching at least 30 homes and a church. A six-month-old child was among the 12 victims. Initial reports said 14 villagers had been killed.

RELATED: 14 Christians Killed in Indonesia

MORE: Vatican reaches out to Islamic world

SEE ALSO: Anti-Semitism Is Deepening Among Muslims

Saudi government official cleric Shaikh Saad Al-Buraik: "People should know that Jews are backed by the Christians, and the battle that we are going through is not with Jews only, but also with those who believe that Allah is a third in a Trinity, and those who said that Jesus is the son of Allah, and Allah is Jesus, the son of Mary".

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

19. When we suffer from the superior honourable dishonour, scolding or punishment, let us remember the fearful sentence of the Judge, and we shall kill with meekness and patience, as with a two-edged sword, the irrational sorrow and bitterness which will certainly be sown in us.

April 27, 2002


(1Co 12:12)  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

Excerpt from 'Man the Dwelling Place of God' by A. W. Tozer

.....Our particular care is not for those who God has already honoured with the vision beatific, but still travelling toward the City of God. We all belong to each other; the spiritual welfare of each one is or should be the loving concern of all the rest.

We should pray for an enlargement of soul to receive into our hearts all of God's people, whatever their race, colour or church affiliation. Then we should practice thinking of ourselves as members of the blessed family of God and should strive in prayer to love and appreciate everyone born of the Father.

I suggest also that we try to acquaint ourselves as far as possible with the good and saintly souls who lived before our times and now belong to the company of the redeemed in heaven. How sad to limit our sympathies to those of our own day, when God in His providence has made it possible for us to enjoy the rich treasures of the minds and hearts of so many holy and gifted saints of other days. To confine our reading to the works of a few favourite authors of today or last week is to restrict our horizons and to pinch our souls dangerously.

I have no doubt that the prayerful reading of some of the great spiritual classics of the centuries would destroy is us for ever that constriction of soul which seems to be the earmark of modern evangelicalism.

For many of us the wells of the past wait to be reopened. Augustine, for instance, would bring to us a sense of the overwhelming majesty of God that would go far to cure the flippancy of spirit found so widely among modern Christians. Bernard of Cluny would sing to us of 'Jerusalem the Golden' and the peace of an eternal sabbath day until the miserable pleasures of this world become intolerable; Richard Rolle would show us how to escape from 'the abundance of riches, the flattering of women and the fairness of youth,' that we may go on to know God with an intimacy that will become in our hearts 'heat, fragrance and song'; Tersteegen would whisper to us of the 'hidden love of God' and the awful Presence until our hearts would become 'still before Him' and 'prostrate inwardly adore Him'; before our eyes the sweet St. Francis would throw his arms of love around sun and moon, trees and rain, bird and beast, and thank God for them all in a pure rapture of spiritual devotion.

But who is able to complete the roster of the saints? To them we owe a debt of gratitude too great to comprehend: prophet and apostle, martyr and reformer, scholar and translator, hymnist and composer, teacher and evangelist, not to mention ten thousand times ten thousand simple-hearted and anonymous souls who kept the flame of pure religion alive even in those times when the faith of our fathers was burning but dimly all over the world.

They belong to us, all of them, and we belong to them. They and we and all redeemed men and women of whatever age or clime are included in the universal fellowship of Christ, and together compose 'a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,' who enjoy a common but blessed communion of saints.


What is meant by "the Communion of Saints"?
St. Robert Bellarmine on the Mystical Body of Christ by John A. Hardon, S.J.
Catechism of the Catholic Church- The Communion of Saints
The Communion of Saints- There Are Saints and There Are Saints

SEE ALSO: Devotion to St. Rita highlighted in new movie

PREFABRICATED SAINTS?! By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

Saints are not prefabricated. Too many people seem to think that they had a halo handed to them at their Baptism. Let's blame some of their biographers who sometimes picture them as a spiritual elite dispensed from the normal struggles and ups and downs of average mortals. Be sure of one thing: saints are made, not born!

The truth is that they are ordinary persons like ourselves, full of the same miseries, and subject to the same weaknesses. The start of their great holiness was usually quite simple and ordinary. In fact, it seems to be a law of Divine Providence that the higher the holiness, the more hidden and simple the beginnings of it.

Holiness is like a mighty river. It owes its greatness to the dozen of smaller streams that feed hundreds of rivulets...and to thousands of raindrops that dropped from the skies. You'd hardly notice one of these tiny rivulets; but you can't fail to admire the strength, beauty, and majesty of a mighty river.

So it is with great holiness. It starts with the raindrops of many actual graces from God. When these daily graces are faithfully corresponded with, they grow into the streams of growing sanctity. Finally, they lead to an immense river of God's sanctifying grace that sweeps all before it. Yet, it all started with seemingly insignificant graces.

Why is this growth so tiny and so gradual at its beginnings? Because essentially holiness is but the life of grace. Planted at Baptism, it is subject to the normal laws of growth and development. God rarely produces a saint by casting him into a mold and producing a finished product. Rather, the Master Workman puts together the pieces until His masterpiece is completed.

There are hundreds of examples to prove that great holiness usually has small beginnings. With Francis of Assisi, it started when he bypassed a beggar; with Ignatius of Loyola, it began with boredom during his convalescence from battle wounds. With some other saints, it started with a close look at a corpse.

The exuberant, fun-loving, sensitive Francis returned to the beggar and offered him help. Later on he gave away everything and became wedded to Lady Poverty. He knew that God finds an empty heart irresistible. And he was right. God began to pour such a love into the heart of Francis that eventually it led to the seraphic transformation at Mt. Alvernia.

The passionate Ignatius was mending wounds received at Pampeluna. To ease his boredom, he took to reading. Fortunately the only available books were a life of Christ, and the lives of the saints. These started the reformation and the resolutions that changed the life of the founder of the Jesuits...and the countless thousands that have followed him.

Suppose Francis hadn't returned to help that beggar? He might have broken the link in a chain of graces that led to the holiness of one of the most beloved saints in history. And suppose Ignatius hadn't tried to ease his boredom with some inspirational reading. The Society of Jesus might never have been founded and its great and varied works, never accomplished.

And so it is with any saint. Their start was hardly different from anything that could happen, or has happened, to any of us. Sanctity is the only true success in life, and this success has its start in a very ordinary and sometimes hidden way. Indeed, it could happen to you...and it should!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

18. Let your reclining in bed be for you an image of your declining into the grave, and you will sleep less. Let your refreshment at table be for you a reminder of the grim table of those worms, and you will be less indulgent. And in drinking water, do not forget the thirst in that flame, and you will certainly do violence to your nature.

April 26, 2002

(Jam 1:2-4)  Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Catholics should "be confident that this time of trial will bring a purification of their Catholic community," the pope said, "a purification that is urgently needed if the church is to preach more effectively the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its liberating force."

Excerpt from article by Father Roger Landry

It's a tough time to be a priest today. It's a tough time to be a Catholic today. But it's also a great time to be a priest and a great time to be a Catholic. Jesus says in the beatitudes we heard today, "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you falsely because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward in heaven is great." I've been experiencing that beatitude first hand, as some priests I know have as well. Earlier this week, when I finished up my exercise at a local gym, I was coming out of the locker room dressed in my black clerics. A mother, upon seeing me, immediately and hurriedly moved her children out of the way and shielded them from me as I was passing. She looked at me as I passed and when I had gone far enough along finally relaxed and let her children go - as if I would have attacked her children in the middle of the afternoon at a health club. But while we all might have to suffer such insults and slander falsely on account of Christ, we should indeed rejoice.

It's a great time to be a Christian, because this is a time in which God really needs us to show off his true face. In olden days in America, the Church was respected. Priests were respected. It's not so any more. One of the greatest Catholic preachers in American history, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, used to say, that he preferred to live in times when the Church has suffered rather than thrived, when the Church had to struggle, when the Church had to go against the culture. It was a time for real men and real women to stand up and be counted. "Even dead bodies can float downstream," he used to say, pointing that many people can coast when the Church is respected, "but it takes a real man, a real woman, to swin against the current." How true that is! It takes a real man and a real woman to stand up now and swin against the current that is flowing against the Church. It takes a real man and a real woman to recognize that when swimming against the flood of criticism, you're safest when you stay attached to the Rock, on whom Christ built his Church. This is one of those times. It's a great time to be a Christian.


Pope Set Tone at Church Abuse Summit
Pope's remarks turn church on a dime
US CHURCH STATEMENT- From crisis to 'a holier priesthood'


The Holy Father on Monday welcomed 85 participants in a meeting of The Bible Societies and remarked that the Societies "exist to open the inexhaustible riches of Sacred Scripture to all who will listen, and that is a noble Christian service, for which I give thanks to God."

He noted that "for many years your Societies have been engaged in translating and distributing the text of Scripture, an essential part of proclaiming Christ to the world. For it is not just words which we must speak: it is the Word of God Himself!"

"The urgency of this task," the Pope stated, "demands that we commit ourselves to the cause of Christian unity, for division among the disciples of Christ has certainly impaired our mission. Your meeting therefore draws together members of different Churches and Ecclesial Communities. ... Whatever differences remain between us, the promotion of the Bible is one point where Christians can work closely together for the glory of God and the good of the human family."


Pope to visit Azerbaijan
Russian Catholics See Change Soon
John Paul II to Consecrate Divine Mercy Basilica in Poland

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

17. When they weep, some force themselves unseasonably to think of nothing at all during this blessed time, not realizing that tears without thought are proper only to an irrational nature and not to a rational one. Tears are a product of thought, and the father of thought is a rational mind.

April 25, 2002

(Isa 33:7-8)  Behold, the valiant ones cry without; the envoys of peace weep bitterly. The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceases. Covenants are broken, witnesses are despised, there is no regard for man.


Details of Israeli Approved Clinton Peace Proposal Rejected by Arafat

ROSS: The ideas were presented on December 23 by the president, and they basically said the following: On borders, there would be about a 5 percent annexation in the West Bank for the Israelis and a 2 percent swap. So there would be a net 97 percent of the territory that would go to the Palestinians.

On Jerusalem, the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem would become the capitol of the Palestinian state.

On the issue of refugees, there would be a right of return for the refugees to their own state, not to Israel, but there would also be a fund of $30 billion internationally that would be put together for either compensation or to cover repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation costs.

And when it came to security, there would be a international presence, in place of the Israelis, in the Jordan Valley.

These were ideas that were comprehensive, unprecedented, stretched very far, represented a culmination of an effort in our best judgment as to what each side could accept after thousands of hours of debate, discussion with each side.

RELATED: Palestinian Security Chief Says Coordination 'Over'

REVIEW ARTICLE: Not Quite an Arab-Israeli War, but a Long Descent Into Hatred


How Terrorists Use Children
Schoolboy Suicide Attacks Dismay Palestinians
Brutalised by war, a savage mob turns on its own
Despair and frustration widen ranks of recruits
West Bank Vigilante Killings Rise


Israel urges Jews to leave France
Berlin Police Suggest Jews Consider Hiding Faith
World Jewish Congress in emergency session on anti-Semitism
Israeli doctors risk expulsion from world body
Anti-Jewish violence leaves Europe on edge


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

16. It is not to a wedding banquet that we have been called here- certainly not- but He who has called us has called us here to mourn for ourselves.

April 24, 2002

(Mat 18:5-6)  "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.


Pope John Paul, formulating his own zero tolerance policy on child abuse by priests, told American Catholic leaders Tuesday that pedophilia was a crime that had no place in the Church.

Addressing a crisis meeting of top U.S. churchmen and Vatican officials, he also offered comfort to victims of pedophile priests and said he hoped the scandal that has rocked the United States would lead to "a holier priesthood."

"The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society: it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God," he said.

But he said the crisis went beyond pedophilia.

"The abuse of the young is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the Church but society as a whole. It is a deep-seated crisis of sexual morality," he said.

He also said the recent scandals should not stain the entire U.S. church and asked American Roman Catholics to support their bishops and priests in a time of unprecedented crisis.

"A great work of art may be blemished, but its beauty remains," the Pope said.

The Pope said he hoped the crisis would lead to "a purification of the entire Catholic community," adding that "so much pain, so much sorrow, must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church."

RELATED: Stories of broken victims lie behind Catholic summit


VIA [email protected]: We offer this reflection on Suffering-

VIA Nadine: Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation. -St. Augustine

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

15. Be concentrated without self-display, withdrawn into your heart. For the demons fear concentration as thieves fear dogs.

April 23, 2002

Mat 5:48  You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Pope: Priests must 'be perfect'
Pedophilia Meetings Watershed for U.S. Church
Cardinal Law wishes he could 'undo the harm'
Celibacy Message Sets Tone for Summit
Profiles: The eight US cardinals

MORE: New York Archdiocese won't endorse monsignor's comments on scandal

SEE ALSO: Vatican's Influence Is in Vision, Not Details


Pope John Paul II, lamenting that the Church of the Nativity has been the site of "clashes, blackmail and insupportable exchanges of accusations," on Sunday urged Israel and the Palestinians to have the courage to make peace.

The daily scenes of violence in Bethlehem, the pope said, compels the international community at all levels do everything possible to stop the Holy Land from being caught up in "a spiral of hatred and violence."

He prayed that Israel and the Palestinians learn to live together and that the church, and all sacred places in the Holy Land "be returned to prayer and pilgrims, to God and man!"

RELATED: Gunfire Snaps at Nativity Church

BOOK LINK: ‘Calls’ from the Message of Fatima by Sister Lucia

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

14. He who sometimes mourns, and sometimes indulges in luxury and laughter, is like one who stones the dog of sensuality with bread. In appearance he is driving it away, but in fact he is encouraging it to be constantly with him.

April 20, 2002





The Rev. Zlatko Sudac, 31, has attracted large audiences since he arrived on a Mass tour of the metropolitan area more than five months ago. Recently, thousands went to Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Greenwich Village, where Sudac celebrated two Masses instead of the one that had been scheduled.

Sudac claims to have supernatural gifts, including stigmata, or marks, on his body that resemble those on the body of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. The priest claims that the marks bleed spontaneously and that he can heal, levitate, be in two places at once and know the future.

The Rev. Giordano Belanich, a priest in the Newark Archdiocese, said Sudac received the stigmata on his forehead in 1999, a year after his ordination, and other gifts followed soon after.


Interview with Fr. Zlatko Sudac
Catholic Bulletin board discussion re: Fr. Sudac (includes personal encounter testimonies)
More on Fr. Sudac
Fr. Sudac's upcoming schedule (Next 4/20 Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, NJ)


FROM THE ARCHIVES- April 11, 1998

Church investigating priest said to be suffering from the stigmata

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (AP) - Parishioners say a Roman Catholic priest on this Caribbean island has "stigmata'' - bleeding wounds similar to those Christ suffered when he was nailed to the cross. A doctor said the Rev. Gerard Critch did not respond to medical treatment. The local diocese said in a statement "that something unusual took place is undeniable.''

Parishioners who touched Critch at a Mass last week said they were thrown to the floor by an invisible force, or felt injuries healed. "The wounds were real,'' said R. Allen Stanford, an American banker, who carried the priest to a car. He said oil was oozing from the marks on his feet, as it did from Jesus'.


Newfoundland Priest Reported With Stigmata
Newfoundland Priest At Ground Zero



On November 28, 1991, droplets of water welled in the eyes of a statue in the home of Fr. Bruse's parents. It was a statue of Our Lady of Grace. Soon, dozens of other statues began to weep anytime the priest was around, and thousands saw it. It had started at a point in his life when Father Bruse, a young priest, began to question whether he should be a priest at all.

The day after Christmas that year, Father Bruse complained of sharp pains in his wrists, and before long blood appeared to seep from unbroken skin on his wrists, feet, and right side. Meanwhile the phenomena included statues that not only wept but changed color-- followed by healing and the fruit the Church looks for: conversions. "There were spiritual and physical healings," said Father Bruse. "Then there were people coming back to the Church. If that's what the Lord wanted, He got it."

Father Bruse strictly obeyed his superiors, and at the height of the phenomena was under the strict control of the bishop. At one point, a statue wept in the bishop's very office. There was at least one claim of a bilocation in connection with Father Bruse (something that was frequently claimed for Padre Pio), and other unusual phenomena.

BOOK LINK: The Seton Miracles: Weeping Statues and other Wonders

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

13. Do not be like those who, in burying the dead, first lament over them and then get drunk for their sake. But be like the prisoners in the mines who are flogged every hour by the gaolers.

April 19, 2002


Excerpted from STIGMATA by Stan Griffin:

Ted Harrison, in his book "Stigmata: A Medical Mystery in a Modern Age," makes these statements:

" ... The marks provoke wonder, fear, awe, skepticism, cynicism, and both belief and non-belief... Whether the marks are psychosomatic, (mentally induced) physical, or bordering on the fraudulent (dishonest), the most important thing will be the response made by people ... when they see them.

"Stigmata will always be viewed with wonder and awe, and trigger ... a whole range of theological questions involving the nature of God and the relationship between God and all humankind.

"The phenomenon of stigmata began in a period of religious turmoil (unrest) but persisted into the age of reason and the modern age of skepticism and disbelief. Still it continues ..."


Critics who claim that the stigmata of the likes of Padre Pio are not authentic, have a tough opponent to contend with: modern science.

That was the crux of a message delivered by Dr. Nicola Silvestri to a conference this week in Rome. Silvestri is assistant director of health of the House for the Relief of Suffering, the hospital founded by the Capuchin friar in San Giovanni Rotondo.

"From the medical point of view, the stigmata cannot be considered as wounds or sores, because they do not heal even when treated," Dr. Silvestri explained. "They neither become infected nor do they decompose; they do not degenerate in necrosis, and do not exude a bad odor. They bleed and remain constant and unaltered for years, against all laws of nature."

The stigmata "are the exact reproduction, including the location, of Jesus´ wounds, according to studies of the holy Shroud" of Turin, Silvestri continued.

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968) once wrote that "the more Jesus wishes to raise a soul to perfection, the more the cross of tribulation increases," said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints. And the stigmata -- the wounds that resemble those suffered by Jesus during his crucifixion -- were among the Capuchin´s greatest physical sufferings.

The city of Rome is preparing to receive at least 500,000 pilgrims on June 16, for the canonization of Padre Pio.

MORE: List of known stigmatists who have been beatified or canonized

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

12. He who has obtained heartfelt tears will find any place convenient for mourning. But he whose weeping is only outward show will spend endless time discussing places and manners. Hidden treasure is safer from robbery than that exposed in the market; let us apply this to what we have just said.

April 18, 2002

(Mar 13:14)  And when you shall see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not (he that readeth let him understand): then let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains.


VIA David Hughes: Of the antichrist, the book of Daniel Chap 11 says: "he will not worship any God of the past, such as Venus, or the God that women love, rather he shall worship the god of arms, and he shall worship war."

Today, we have WAR ravaging the Holy Site of the Birth of Christ. There is something preposterous about this War at this Holy Site. It involves the two NON-Christian religions, desolating the Holy Place where the God Incarnate came onto the earth. It may not be significant, but - it may be. This WAR (which is the trademark 'worship' of the antichrist himself) - draws the three faiths, who name Abraham as their father, into a coalescence of WAR, centering at the place where salvation first came into the world. It is indeed a desolation of the holy place.

In another ominous development, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized computer generated pictures, and movies, which depict explicit sex with children. This too - is an abomination of desolation. "Unless you become as little children you can not enter the kingdom of God." Thus, the sanctity of children before God is clearly established. This legalization of the desolation of children sexually, matches, if not exceeds the outrage of abortion and homosexuality. This legalized sexual exploitation of children also, is an abomination of desolation set up in a holy place.

Finally, the whole inner sanctum of the Church itself is laid desolate by the sexual scandal of the clergy. On my local news today, a local priest was convicted of criminal sexual misconduct. He was a very well known local priest. This scandal of the "falling away" of the clergy, and the abomination of the scandal of our priests violating our children - is also an abomination of desolation.

When you take all of these things together, I can not help but wonder if the spirit of the abomination of desolation, is being fulfilled mystically - in it's completion - at this very time. An abomination of the sacred is clearly predicted by Christ to directly precede a great tribulation. I do not doubt that there may be another abomination of desolation. But, I think that the events of these days that are woeful harbingers for the future of humanity.

EDITOR'S NOTE: One might add a fourth unfolding abomination- the attempt to clone a human being as described in the following article: Cloned embyros implanted in several women.


Bethlehem monks make defiant stand in Nativity siege
Law Aimed At 'Virtual' Child Porn Overturned
Vatican's unprecedented summons

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

11. During prayer and supplication, stand with trembling like a convict standing before a judge, so that, both by your outward appearance as well as by your inner disposition, you may extinguish the wrath of the just Judge; for He will not despise a widow soul standing before Him burdened with sorrow and wearying the Unwearying One (cf. Luke 18:5).

April 17, 2002

(Gen 1:14) And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,


The finest gathering of all five bright planets in almost two decades is finally coming together in the western evening sky. The gap between the planets will noticeably contract with each passing night. Beginning April 14, the moon will pay a visit to four of the five planets. It will appear to pass by three planets on three consecutive evenings (April 14: Venus; April 15: Mars; and April 16: Saturn). It will then pass Jupiter’s vicinity on April 18. Meanwhile, Mercury, often called the “elusive planet,” will emerge into surprisingly easy view by the third week of April.

The five-planet array is a "standout" of the 21st Century, says Robert C. Victor, an astronomer who volunteers at the Abrams Planetarium of Michigan State University and has specialized in predicting and observing unusual configurations of the planets for nearly four decades.

Victor said there will be only three other chances in the coming 100 years to see five planets so tightly grouped, in September 2040, July 2060, and November 2100. "But the groupings of 2040 and 2100 will have some of the planets barely above the horizon as darkness is falling, so viewers will likely have to resort to using binoculars," Victor said. "None of these three groupings will be as accessible to casual skywatchers as the upcoming spectacular gathering in late April and early May."

Anyone with a clear view of the western sky will be able to observe the events as they unfold, night after night, with no equipment required.

The cluster follows another rare astronomical treat. The brightest comet for nearly eight years has been visible in the western sky after sunset for the last few weeks. The wandering comet, called Ikeya-Zhang after its Japanese and Chinese co-discoverers, re-appeared in the inner Solar System only a few weeks ago.  It would have last been visible in the 1600s.


Commentary by Lampholder Publications: The ancient Hebrew cosmologists would be in awe because this planetary conjunction will be very visible in the Middle East, and appear suspended in the evening sky over Jerusalem (and the entirety of Israel) which is of extreme importance, an ominous sign.

The Comet Ikeya-Zhang, not seen in over four Centuries, will streak past the Earth (within approx. 38 million miles) around April 30th in the constellation Draco (the Dragon) on its return trip around the Sun. Comets have long been portrayed as evildoers who bring with its sighting ominous events of great weather or war- related disasters. The Earth will pass through the center of Comet Halley debris trail on May 5th and along with it a a meteor shower (called Eta Aquarids/Aquarius) from the end of April to mid-May.

MORE: Is the planetary alignment a depiction of Rev. Chapter 6?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

10. Do not cease to picture and scrutinize the dark abyss of external fire, and the merciless servants, the uncompassionate and inexorable Judge, the bottomless pit of subterranean flame, the narrow descents to the awful underground chambers and yawning gulfs, and all such things, so that the sensuality of our soul may be checked by great terror and give place to incorruptible chasitity, and itself receive the shining of the immaterial Light which radiates more than any fire.

April 16, 2002

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "I invite prayer so that the current efforts to re-establish respect for people and property and to encourage a just and lasting peace are successful."


Weak, hungry and at growing risk, a group of Franciscan friars and nuns gathered in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem for a ceremony in which they agreed to continue to remain inside the besieged basilica, despite a lack of food and water.

The Israelis have said that the clerics are free to leave, but the Franciscans – traditional custodians of Christian sites in the Holy Land – insist that they must stay to protect the sanctity of one of their faith's most sacred shrines.

"The Israelis simply cannot understand that the Franciscans can't leave," said Canon Andrew White, the envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, "They are not staying because they want to be martyrs. They are staying to protect a holy site and there is absolutely no doubt that they will stay to the end."

POPE JOHN PAUL II:  "Continue with courage to resist and guard the holy sites"


Pope Prays for Mideast Peace, Beatifies Six
Gunmen in Bethlehem church offered trial or permanent exile
"Most wanted" Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti arrested in Ramallah
The Four Sticking Points
Mideast Photo Gallery


Pope John Paul II has summoned American cardinals to the Vatican for an extraordinary meeting to talk about sex scandals in the U.S. church. A source close to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the meeting has been scheduled for April 23-24. The source spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the pope wants to help. "He extended his hand in support to the bishops of the United States," Gregory said Saturday. "The Holy See has demonstrated an extraordinary openness in understanding the particular situation that we face in the United States."

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Bishop Gregory and Bishop William Skylstad, the conference vice president, will join the U.S. cardinals at the meeting. Walsh said she understood that 13 cardinals would attend, including two Americans who work at the Vatican.

MORE: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops-
Restoring Trust: A Response to Sexual Abuse

Irish Cardinal Promises Openness
Polish Catholics suffer a shock
Church will heal because of the 'average Catholic'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

9. Keep a firm hold of the blessed gladdening sorrow of holy compunction, and do not stop working at it until it raises you high above the things of this world, and presents you pure to Christ.

April 13, 2002


(Mat 28:20) ... And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.


Miracles of the Eucharist
Behold the Lamb of God... Inexplicable Eucharistic Phenomena
Eucharistic Miracles
Miracles of the Eucharist Throughout the World
True Stories of Eucharistic Miracles

BOOK LINK: Eucharistic Miracles By Joan Carroll Cruz


VIA Nadine: Eucharistic Miracle Daroca, 1239

This city in Spain is not the site but the home of this Eucharistic miracle that occurred during wartime between the Spanish and Saracens in the thirteenth century.

As was custom prior to battle, six Spanish commanders attended Mass and Confession prior to battle. On the outskirts of town, they were caught off guard by a surprise Saracens attack. The priest wrapped the six Consecrated Hosts in a corporal and hid them while the Spaniards fought back. After the conflict, which the Spanish won, the priest went to the site and found the Hosts had disappeared leaving six bloodstains. Credit for their victory was given to Our Lord through this Eucharistic miracle.

Each commander wanted the corporal venerated in his own town and in three different draws, the city of Daroca was picked. Two commanders disagreed and a compromise was suggested. The corporal would be placed on the back of a Saracen mule who would wander as he willed and where he stopped would be the resting place and home of the corporal. The mule stopped in the city of Daroca. Blood in the corporal has been analyzed and is of human origin.

O Lord, give us a deeper comprehension of Your death on the cross and victory over Satan just as the Spanish were victorious over the Saracens.

Adapted with permission from Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Cruz, 1987, Tan Books and Publishers.

VIA Richard Hubbell: Teresa Neumann entered into a lifelong participation in the Sufferings of the Savior for the conversion of sinners and to make reparation for the sins of mankind. Her Passion episodes were witnessed by hundreds of people, from the scientific circles to the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, by Hindu & Buddhist monks, as well as by alay Catholics, non-Catholics, and professed atheists. She came to be known as the Bloody virgin, or Passion Flower, of Konnersreuth.

From 1926 to 1962, Teresa Neumann no longer ate or drank anything, and lived solely off of the Body and Blood of Our Lord in Holy Communion. She was under continuous observation, whether she was awake or sleeping, and everything about her, every move she made, was scrutinized in attempts to catch her sneaking food or drink, which never occurred.

VIA [email protected]: The Bread that we need each day to grow in eternal life, makes of our will a docile instrument of the Divine Will; sets the Kingdom of God within us; gives us pure lips, and a pure heart with which to glorify his holy name,"- St.  Teresa of Benedicta (Edith Stein).

VIA [email protected] : At the Consecration of the Mass this morning I asked: Jesus, why did you not answer Pilate when he asked: "What is Truth"?

The Holy Spirit said I reveal this to you: "Jesus had already given the complete Truth to the World [His Flock] when He instituted The Eucharist [Truth] at the Last Supper!"

The complete Truth is given each day for us to partake of and no lie will be found in those in the State of Grace.  Those who take the Truth [daily] cannot be deceived by the Lie of the evil one {and recognize the lies of others as petaining to Faith}.

Symbolism is in the "breaking of bread" - the true texture is revealed!  To this day we call bread either fresh or stale when we break it apart!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

8. If nothing goes so well with humility as mourning, certainly nothing is so opposed to it as laughter.

April 12, 2002

(Mat 25:34-36) Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'


Mary Clarke was an all-American Beverly Hills beauty, accustomed to luxury and her weekend beach home. She had eight children before a divorce led her to tear up her life and start again.

So as a middle-aged California mother she crossed the border into Tijuana in the late 1970s. She traded her sparkling gowns for the simple black habit of a Catholic nun, her English for Spanish and her airy Los Angeles home for a musty Mexican prison cell. For the last 25 years, Sister Antonia, as she is now known, has been the Prison Angel of Tijuana, a tiny woman in a spotless white veil ministering to the miserable.

Her mission is practical: She provides aspirin, eyeglasses, false teeth and bail to thousands of petty thieves and other impoverished convicts. She washes and prepares for burial the grotesquely tortured bodies left in the gutters by drug gangs. She sings in the prison chapel to lift the spirits of the down-and-out and counsels rapists and drug traffickers as well as the guards who carry automatic weapons.

Inside La Mesa State Penitentiary, one of the roughest prisons in Latin America, she lives in a concrete room about 10 by 10 feet with pink walls. She keeps little more there than her English Bible and Spanish dictionary. Long-timers recall when the 5-foot-2 woman halted a riot, walking into a hail of bullets to demand that the shooting stop. Inmates, stunned that she would risk her own life and let the tear gas burn away at her Windex-blue eyes, put down their guns and jagged broken bottles.

"There is no other way to describe her. She is a saint," said the prison warden, Carlos Lugo Felix.

Lugo said her work extends to helping poorly paid police and prison guards. Those people get little respect, in part because so often those who carry guns in Mexico abuse their power. But Sister Antonia embraces them, raising money for the children of Tijuana's long list of murdered police officers and hugging the guards as she walks about the prison. She also gives the guards ethics classes.

Lugo said their Prison Angel should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, like Mother Teresa, who came to Tijuana in 1991 and chatted with Sister Antonia about their shared mission of bringing dignity to the poor.

Even with her serious heart problems and her chronic shortness of breath, Sister Antonia rises before dawn and seems to never stop moving. She is increasingly devoting time to organizing the religious order she recently founded. The order is specifically for older single, divorced or widowed women who have decided to devote their lives to the poor. It is called Servants of the Eleventh Hour, a reference to their late start in their vocation. Seven woman have joined.

"I can't die without giving other women, and someday men, the chance to serve as I have," she said.

SEE ALSO: Sister Sophie runs Bethlehem orphanage amid war and fear

(Luk 22:24-26) A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

7. Groanings and sorrows cry to the Lord. Tears shed from fear intercede for us; but tears of all-holy love show us that our prayer has been accepted.

April 11, 2002

(Mat 16:18)  And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Keynote Address-


Leaders of America's Roman Catholic schools can recite a daunting list of challenges - tight finances, teacher retention, shifting demographics.

But the ever-growing sex abuse scandal among clergy has left the vast network of schools, run mostly by lay people, largely unscathed.

"Our schools have never been more important to the church,'' said Michael Guerra, president of the National Catholic Education Association. "We will not be blind to the pain and grief that exists - we will simply redouble our efforts to convince people that we take the trust they have in us very seriously.''

With about 94 percent of their faculty and administrators now coming from the laity, Catholic schools have won wide praise - for higher-than-average test scores and graduation rates, and for their emphasis on moral values.

Admirers include inner-city minority leaders and Protestant conservatives, as well as Catholic parents whose children remain on parochial school waiting lists even as the scandal spreads.

Dentist Chuck Grelle, whose 18-year-old daughter will soon graduate from St. Louis' all-girls Visitation Academy, is skeptical of the church's handling of the scandal. But Grelle, like his wife a product of Catholic schools, said his heart remains in parochial education- and his church.

"It hasn't affected my faith at all,'' he said.

RELATED: Catholics Grapple With Scandal

SEE ALSO: Historic order faces bankruptcy

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

6. Greater than baptism itself is the fountain of tears after baptism, even though it is somewhat audacious to say so. For baptism is the washing away of evils that were in us before, but sins commited after baptism are washed away by tears. As baptism is received in infancy, we have all defiled it, but we cleanse it anew with tears. And if God in His love for mankind had not given us tears, those being saved would be few indeed and hard to find.

April 10, 2002

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Indeed, we are currently experiencing a very difficult international situation. But the Lord's victory and his promise to remain with us 'until the end of the world' are beacons of light beckoning us to meet the challenges before us with courage and hope."


From a mosque in Los Angeles to a synagogue in Miami Beach and throughout the nation, Americans are deeply conflicted about the bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians. They're also worried that suicide bombers will attack in this country and that U.S. soldiers may have to be sent to the Middle East.

Seventy percent say they think suicide-bombing attacks in the USA are a very likely or somewhat likely result of current Middle East violence, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll released Monday.

The poll finds that Americans' sympathies for Israel have increased slightly in the past month during the Jewish state's military offensive in the Palestinian territories. But condemnation of the bloodshed on both sides of the Middle East conflict has sharpened.


A Roman Catholic cardinal compared abortion, euthanasia and genetic experiments to the Sept.
11 terror attacks, saying Tuesday they all share a "contempt for human life." Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Vatican's point man on dialogue with other religions, made the remark in a message celebrating a Buddhist festival.

He appealed to Buddhists to work against "a culture of death, in which abortion, euthanasia and genetic experiments on human life itself have already obtained or are on the way to obtaining legal recognition."

In his statement, Arinze said: "How can we not make a correlation between this culture of death in which the most innocent, defenseless, and critically ill human lives are threatened with death, and terrorist attacks, such as those of 11 September, in which thousands of innocent people were slaughtered?" "We must say that both of these are built on contempt for human life," the cardinal said.


Cloning pregnancy: Fact or fiction?
French researchers clone rabbits from adult cells
Jumping genes make "designer" animals easy
Chickens Lay Eggs with a Little Extra - Report
Australia to approve limited stem cell research
Euthanasia Legal, Landmark Dutch Law Enters Force

WEB RESOURCE: Complete source of information on the aftereffects of abortion and post-abortion healing.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

5. If you possess the gift of mourning, hold on to it with all your might. For it is easily lost when it is not firmly established. And just as wax melts in the presence of fire, so it is easily dissolved by noise and bodily cares, and by luxury, and especially by talkativeness and levity.

April 9, 2002


An Italian priest was rescued on Monday after more than five months in captivity in the southern Philippines saying he lived off snake meat and lizard and attributing his release to the "miracle of prayer".

Guiseppe Pierantoni (44) was seized in October from his rectory in Zamboanga del Sur province on Mindanao island, 800km south of Manila, by a kidnap syndicate called the "Pentagon" group.

"I believe that after six months of living in the forest trying to escape ... the police and the army, it was a miracle to be freed and without any harm, without any particular suffering."

"I am really very, very thankful and very grateful to God and also to the Filipino government ... It was, I think, a miracle of prayer what happened to me," Pierantoni told a news conference in Manila to where he was flown to be presented to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"Thanks to the Divine Mercy that after the intense battle in the whole of Mindanao, at last, we have saved Father Pierantoni. This is a very beautiful gift for yours truly," Arroyo said in a weekly radio programme.

But despite his gruelling ordeal, Father Pierantoni said it was "interesting" to learn about his kidnappers' motives:  "It was an experience of dialogue, because they were Muslims with very simple ideas of their religion. It was interesting to listen to their experience of suffering and hopes of liberating Mindanao," he said.

The 45-year-old priest said he wanted to return home to reassure his elderly parents, who at one point had believed that he was dead, but that he would return to his parish in Zamboanga del Sur province soon.  "I want to go back to the south surely; I don't think they will kidnap me again, do you?"


Pope Denounces 'Thirst for Revenge'
Pope Calls Mideast Fighting Intolerable
Vatican Warns Israelis, Palestinians on Holy Sites
Israel-Vatican Relations Threatened
Vatican Urges Bethlehem Withdrawal
Bells Ring in Empty Bethlehem Churches Sunday

IN PICTURES: Bethlehem's woes

POPE JOHN PAUL II: In this complicated and difficult hour we repeat "Jesus, I trust in you," knowing that we are in need of that Divine Mercy that more than half a century ago the Lord generously manifested to St. Faustina Kowalska. Wherever trials and difficulties are harsher, may invocation of the Lord be more insistent, and imploration for the gift of the Holy Spirit, source of love and peace, be more heartfelt.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

4. A characteristic of those who are still progressing in blessed mourning is temperance and silence of the lips; and of those who have made progress- freedom from anger and patient endurance of injuries; and of the perfect- humility, thirst for dishonours, voluntary craving for involuntary afflictions, non-condemnation of sinners, compassion even beyond one's strength. The first are acceptable, the second laudable; but blessed are those who hunger for hardship and thirst for dishonour, for they shall be filled with the food whereof there can be no satiety.

April 6, 2002




Jesus said to Saint Faustina (Diary 699): "I desire that the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday) be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day at the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The souls that will go to Confession (can be during Lent) and receive Holy Communion (on this day, worthily)shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment."

Jesus said to Saint Faustina (Diary 699): "On that day (Divine Mercy Sunday) all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all Eternity."

By virtue of a Decree issued on May 5, 2000 by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Holy See proclaimed the Second Sunday of Easter also as Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II enthusiastically gave his blessing for Divine Mercy Sunday worldwide.

MORE FROM EWTN: The Feast Of Mercy

The Lord's desire for the Feast includes the solemn, public veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as personal acts of veneration and mercy. The great promise for the individual soul is that a devotional act of sacramental penance and Communion will obtain for that soul the plenitude of the divine mercy on the Feast.

The Cardinal of Krakow, Cardinal Macharski, whose diocese is the center of the spread of the devotion and the sponsor of the Cause of Sr. Faustina, has written that we should use Lent as preparation for the Feast and confess even before Holy Week! So, it is clear that the confessional requirement does not have to be met on the Feast itself. That would be an impossible burden for the clergy if it did. The Communion requirement is easily met that day, however, since it is a day of obligation, being Sunday. We would only need confession again, if received earlier in Lenten or Easter Season, if we were in the state of mortal sin on the Feast.

Find Churches in your area that are hosting a special Divine Mercy Sunday Celebration:


Preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday
The Feast of Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy Weekend 2002 at The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy


Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, Stanley, and the Pope
Faustina prophecy of cross in the sky found to link to Jerusalem miracle in fourth century

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

3. Repentance is the cheerful deprival of every bodily comfort.

April 5, 2002

(Mar 16:17-18)  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."


A retired New York City firefighter who beat cancer says he's alive today thanks to the miracles performed by a Catholic priest who will soon be made a saint.

What is particularly unusual about the claims by Anthony Fuina, 67, is that the man he says he owes his life to — Blessed Padre Pio — had died nearly 30 years before Fuina encountered him on a Long Island street.

Fuina's story, including his medical records, were forwarded by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to the Vatican as part of the evidence for Padre Pio's sainthood.

The Italian Franciscan priest will be canonized by Pope John Paul on June 16.

Fuina's amazing tale begins on March 7, 1997, after he had been diagnosed with a large bleeding tumor in his colon. He was driving on Division Ave., near his Massapequa home, to a real estate appointment. Later that day, he was to see his doctor and learn of his biopsy results.

Although Fuina had never picked up hitchhikers before, for some inexplicable reason, he stopped for a bearded stranger. The man had asked to be taken to a nearby church, Maria Regina, on Jerusalem Ave. about a mile away. "I approached Hicksville Road, and right there was this figure waving to me," Recalled Fuina, choking back tears.

Although Fuina was rushing to an appointment, he said he felt compelled to offer the man a ride. "I felt an immediate tie to this man whom I did not know," he said. "When he got into my car, I couldn't believe it," added Fuina. "The whole car lit up. He looked at me and said, 'Something is wrong — do you care to tell me about it?' "He started to pray over me in the biblical way of tongues and he blessed me. He put his hand right where the tumor was below my chest."

"I was electrified," said Fuina, a father of five. "I had such a euphoria about me. As soon as he stopped praying, every hair on my body stood up, and I had every conceivable goosebump you could imagine." Fuina said he felt a warmth where his tumor was located. "I started saying 'Oh my God, Oh my God.' I couldn't believe it," he said. "It was the most beautiful sensation I've ever had in my entire life."

All he could do was cry tears of joy. He begged the stranger to tell him who he was, and all he replied was, "I am a servant of God." Before leaving, the mysterious man told him, "The Holy Spirit has entered upon you. You are healed." After dropping the stranger off, Fuina wanted to go back, but when he looked in his mirror, the man was gone.

Fuina's spirits were buoyed when he learned that his tumor was benign. A short time later, his doctors were mystified when they sought to remove the large growth — only to find that it had vanished as quickly as the stranger who left his car.

Three years later, his fortunes took a turn for the worse when he was told by doctors at North Shore University Hospital that he had incurable esophagus cancer and only had months to live. Just before oncologists embarked upon a drastic campaign to save his life, Fuina's daughter Nancy gave him a wallet-sized picture given to her at a prayer group that day.

The snapshot made Fuina's jaw drop — it was a perfect likeness of the stranger he picked up three years previously. "Who is this man? Who is this man?" Fuina yelled at his daughter. Nancy patiently explained that the man was Padre Pio, a priest known for his healing powers and who also bore the stigmata — marks like the bloody wounds on the crucified body of Christ — for 50 years.

More puzzling still was this revelation: Padre Pio died on Sept. 23, 1968, in a remote mountaintop monastery in southern Italy. To many, Fuina's insistence that the stranger in his car was Padre Pio might seem absurd. And yet, Padre Pio was renowned during his lifetime among believers as having the power of bilocation — being in two places at once.

Regardless of who the stranger was, doctors were stunned three months later, in August 2000, to find that Fuina had rallied from the brink of death and that he had no trace of cancer. "He had very advanced esophogaus cancer," said his radiologist-oncologist, Dr. Mitchell Karten of the Nassau University Medical Center. "I'm a person of faith, and I do believe things are attainable through prayer. His chances of being cured were very, very remote. It's possible it was a miracle."

Fuina has no doubt that it was the long-dead priest who had visited him three years earlier who cured him. "I know who my cure was," said Fuina. "My cure is Padre Pio. He has changed our lives forever," he added, referring to himself and his family.

When Fuima and his wife, Barbara, join an expected million worshipers in Rome for Padre Pio's canonization in June, there will be one more sweet irony: The celebration will occur on their 40th wedding anniversary.

ALSO OF INTEREST: Rejoicing And Vigilantly Living in Hope - the 14th Pastoral Letter Given to the Catholic Faithful At Easter Time, 2002

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

1. Mourning according to God is sadness of soul and the disposition of a sorrowing heart, which ever madly seeks that for which it thirsts; and when it fails in its quest, it painfully pursues it, and follows in its wake grievously lamenting. Or thus: mourning is a golden spur in a soul which is stripped of all attachment and of all ties, fixed by holy sorrow to watch over the heart.

April 4, 2002

(Rev 6:3-4) When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword.


British Foreign Office minister Peter Hain has warned that the Middle East conflict risks spreading beyond Israel and the Palestinian territories and "drawing us all in".

Mr Hain told the BBC: "This is now the most dangerous conflict in the world and it could engulf the region and therefore draw us all in, with really serious consequences for the entire international community.

"I am really worried about the escalation of this crisis, not just in the region but internationally, that draws us all in." It was crucial, Mr Hain insisted, to act together to resolve a "desperate" situation. Both sides had to end the fighting and get round the negotiating table.

RELATED: EU chief urges America to step down in Mideast


The Palestinian Authority called on Palestinians on Wednesday to mobilize their resources to wage a prolonged struggle against Israel's invasion of Palestinian-ruled areas in the West Bank.

The Authority, in a statement carried by the official WAFA news agency, also accused the United States of backing Israel's "criminal aggression" and urged it to rein in the Jewish state.

"The Palestinian leadership urges our people to close ranks in a long-term struggle against this occupation and to mobilize all its confront this unjust and criminal war," the statement said.

RELATED: Iraq Boosts Suicide Bomber Payment


The Vatican said its officials have met over the past two days with the Israeli and U.S. envoys to the Holy See and a representative of the Arab League.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Holy See's position expressed in the meetings includes an "unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, from whichever side it comes," and a disapproval of the "conditions of injustice and humiliation imposed on the Palestinian people" as well as reprisals that it said "only increase the sense of frustration and hatred."

The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, James Nicholson, during his meeting with Vatican officials Wednesday, was given a diplomatic note which contained a message for President Bush, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy to the Holy See.

Italian news reports described the message as a personal appeal from the pope stressing the need to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.


SEE ALSO: For one day, Arab and Jews join to bury peace's friend

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

12. A vivid remembrance of death cuts down food; and when in humility food is cut, the passions are cut out too.

April 3, 2002


Israeli troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships on Tuesday fought fierce day-long battles with Palestinian militiamen in the narrow stone streets of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, while the intense bombardment of a Palestinian security compound in Ramallah ended with a U.S.-brokered surrender deal for hundreds of Palestinian gunmen inside.

By nightfall, Israeli helicopters were hovering over Manger Square and Israeli troops had fought their way to the doorway of the Church of the Nativity, one of Christianity's holiest shrines, where more than a hundred Palestinian militiamen, along with some civilian refugees, were reported to be holed up inside.

This fifth day of Israel's massive military offensive against what it calls the Palestinian's "terrorist infrastructure" saw a dramatic expansion of the operation, with Israeli tanks entering the Northern West Bank city of Jenin – which Israeli officials in the past have called a haven of terrorists – and F-16 jets pounding suspected Hezbollah positions in South Lebanon.

The action in the skies over Lebanon came after Israel said Hezbollah guerrillas fired a Katyusha rocket early today into the Northern Galilee, raising the prospect that the Mideast violence could spiral into a wider regional war.

The ongoing violence here appeared to be taking an economic toll as well. World oil prices hit a six-month high on concerns that the unrest could spread in the region.


Russian Patriarch Protests Israeli Actions in Bethlehem
Israel Jets Attack Southern Lebanon
U.S. Warns Against Travel to Israel
France Says It Must Not Become Arab-Jewish Battleground
Will Oil Be Weapon In Mideast War?


Some 200 Palestinian militants, many with weapons, have taken refuge in the Church of Nativity, one of Christianity's holiest sites, a journalist at the scene said on Wednesday.

"They have decided to take this church as a safe harbor," Marc Innaro, a journalist with Italian state broadcaster RAI, told Reuters.

He said the Palestinian militants, many armed, had entered the church, built over the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, on Tuesday afternoon.  Israeli tanks were deployed outside but the situation was calm early on Wednesday morning, he said.

RELATED: TIME Magazine: Worst-Case Scenario


(Psa 122:6)  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they prosper who love you!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

11. Anyone who wishes to retain within him continually the remembrance of death and God's judgment, and at the same time yields to material cares and distractions, is like a man who is swimming and wants to clap his hands.

April 2, 2002

(Psa 83:2-8)  For lo, thy enemies are in tumult; those who hate thee have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against thy people; they consult together against thy protected ones. They say, "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!" Yea, they conspire with one accord; against thee they make a covenant-- the tents of Edom and the Ish'maelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon and Am'alek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. [Selah]

EDITOR'S NOTE: The nations where the ten ancient people groups and tribes mentioned in Psalm 83 live today, are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories within Israel.  According to the commentary in the New American Bible, the described accord has not yet occurred in recorded history. This Psalm has been regarded as a Messianic Psalm by Hebrew scholars.


Arab world unites in anger at Israel's actions
Arab countries condemn US and Israel
Israel accused of dragging Mideast into war
Saudi Arabia contacts to halt Israeli onslaught against Palestinian
Day of Arab reconciliation
Behind the Arab-Iraqi reconciliation


Pope John Paul II asked people to pray for the town of Bethlehem on Monday, just hours after an incursion by Israeli tanks.

The pontiff appeared in the window of his study high above St. Peter's Square at noon on the day after Easter.  He told the faithful gathered below of his "apprehension and pain" and said Bethlehem was "in great danger."

"I hear sad and worrying news which has shaken the atmosphere of Easter Day, which should be a day of peace, happiness and life," the Pope told pilgrims. "The Pope, with great pain and worry, is close to our brothers and sisters there, as is the entire Church, which prays and works to end this painful calvary soon," said the Pontiff.

Israeli tanks rumbled into Bethlehem and other West Bank towns at sunrise on Monday, widening an operation Israel says is aimed at ending attacks by suicide bombers.  A few hours later, they pulled back to Bethlehem's outskirts. Witnesses said the tanks stopped about 500 yards from the Church of the Nativity, built over the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

RELATED: Palestinian gunmen slay 11 'collaborators'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

10. Never, when mourning for your sins, accept that cure which suggests to you that God is tender-hearted (this thought is useful only when you see yourself being dragged down to deep despair). For the aim of the enemy is to thrust from you your mourning and fearless fear.

April 1, 2002


Pope John Paul, in his Easter message to the world, said Sunday it seemed that war had been declared on peace in the Holy Land and appealed for an end to what he called a spiral of abuse of power and killing. In his message at the end of the service, the Pope spoke passionately of his deep concern for events in the Middle East, which he visited two years ago in a climate of relative peace.

Speaking in Italian, he called for an end to the "dramatic spiral of abuse of power and killings that bloody the Holy Land, plunged again in these very days into horror and despair." He continued: "It seems that war has been declared on peace. But nothing is resolved by war. It only brings greater suffering and death. Neither do retaliation and reprisals resolve anything."

The Pope, whose pontificate is now the sixth-longest in history, said the world had to act to end the tragedy of the Holy Land. "No one can remain silent and inactive, no political or religious leader," he said. "Denunciations must be followed by practical acts of solidarity that will help everyone to rediscover mutual respect and return to frank negotiation," he said. "In that land Christ died and rose from the dead, and left the empty tomb as a silent but eloquent witness (to the need to) remove every reason for hatred and revenge," he said.

In the message, broadcast around the world, the Pope also said too many people were still subjected to misery and violence and specifically mentioned Afghanistan. "In how many corners of the world do we hear the cry of those imploring help because they suffer and die?" he said.

RELATED: Pope's Easter Message: English Text


Jaime Cardinal Sin, archbishop of Manila, called on the people yesterday never to give up on truth and justice in a message for Easter Sunday. Following is the text of the cardinal's Easter message:

"Jesus is risen! We sing "Alleluia." And why do we rejoice? We rejoice because our faith in Christ has been vindicated. Truth has triumphed over falsity, justice over injustice, and tragedy has turned into happiness.

"At first, many thought otherwise. The suffering and death of Jesus apparently showed the triumph of falsity over truth, of unjustice over justice, of evil over goodness. The people He loved demanded His crucifixion. It was a story of betrayal and lies, dishonesty and meanness, unfaithfulness and wicked violence directed against an innocent and helpless victim. Jesus was scourged, mocked, led on the death march, nailed to the cross where he died, and was hastily buried in a tomb. If that were the end of the story, it would be a bad story, a tragedy. But the glory and power of God does not and there.

"Death is not the end of the story. There is one more chapter. The most important chapter must follow. And in the last chapter of the story of Jesus, we see rise from the dead in all glory and majesty. He is vindicated. His enemies are shamed and confused. Jesus regains his eternal glory with the Father. He is the Lord who will prevail over all humankind. For us, his embattled followers, this is good news.

"It is good news to know that truth is immortal. We can suppress truth, accuse it of being a lie, condemn it, torture it, kill it, bury it in the grave, but in the end, truth will rise again. Let us remember this and do not give up on truth even when everybody seems to give up on it. Do not give up on truth; do not give up on justice. Do not give up on doing the right thing. True will always be true. Just will always be just. Right will always be right even when the world around us would have it otherwise.

"Dear friend, Easter means Christ has won. We are an Easter people! We know that in Christ we shall overcome. In Christ we are victorious! Through the power of the Risen Lord, truth and justice will always prevail! Let us therefore remain faithful to the end, so that just as we share in Christ's passion, we too may share in His glorious resurrection!

"Happy Easter!"

RELATED: Meaning of Easter is often lost

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

9. Some inquire and wonder: 'Why, when the remembrance of death is so beneficial for us, has God hidden from us the knowledge of the hour of death?' - not knowing that in this way God wonderfully accomplishes our salvation. For no one who foreknew his death would at once proceed to baptism or the monastic life; but everyone would spend all his days in iniquities, and only on the day of his death would he approach baptism and repentance. From long habit, he would become confirmed in vice, and would remain utterly incorrigible.

Links  E-mail Dr. Zambrano  Home

Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

The Tribulation Times Archives:

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
June-July January July January July January July January July  January
August February August February August February August February August February
September March September March September March/April September March/April September March
October April October April October May October May October
November May November May November June November June November
December June December June December December December