Keep your eyes open!...


August 31, 2012 


(1Th 5:17) Pray without ceasing.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Prayer is not a waste of time, it does not rob much space from our activities, not even apostolic activities, it does the exact opposite: only if we are able to have a life of faithful, constant, confident prayer will God Himself give us the strength and capacity to live in a happy and peaceful way, to overcome difficulties and to bear witness with courage".

REFLECTION: Turbulence, in the Sky and in the Church by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

I don’t recall if it was on my flight to or from my Florida vacation this summer, but at one point the pilot announced, “Folks, we expect to be passing through a little turbulence in a few moments, so we’d like you to return to your seats and check your seatbelts to be sure that they’re securely fastened.

And please remain seated for the duration of the flight.”

Now, if you fly very often you’ve probably heard similar announcements. Turbulence isn’t at all unusual. It’s caused by unstable air that’s often found on the edge of a thunderstorm, or while passing through a cloud bank or flying over mountains. Turbulence usually isn’t harmful to the plane which is built to withstand tremendous forces, but it can be dangerous if unsecured bodies or other objects fly around the cabin.

It strikes me that the turbulence in the air is a fitting image of the turbulence in the Church these days. And in this case it’s being generated by both external and internal forces.

First, the Church is being buffeted by external forces found in the changing winds of our contemporary world.

These include threats to religious freedom, in our own country where the federal government is interfering in the life of the Church, and even more dramatically in other countries where Christians are being attacked – suffering violence and even death – simply for being Christian and practicing their faith. Another source of turbulence for the Church is the relentless challenge to traditional moral values which are pivotal for the Church and society – the dignity of human life and the definition of marriage for example. And we know that the Church is passing through the dark clouds of secularism, atheism and hedonism that make the living-out of the Christian Faith more perilous everyday.

But some of the turbulence is coming from unsettling forces within the Church too.

Here I think of the rapid decrease in sacramental practice among the faithful – with fewer Catholics attending Sunday Mass, young couples living together without the blessing of marriage, parents not having their children baptized and educated in the faith, and more of the faithful even eschewing the traditional funeral rites of the Church.

The Church suffers today from the widespread lack of knowledge and understanding of the fundamental doctrines and moral tenets of the Catholic Faith. So many, even among the faithful, are unable to explain what the Church teaches and why, often leaving it to the secular media to present and apply our doctrines.

The Church is roiled with controversies among its members, with headlines and the blogosphere pitting the “Vatican against the Nuns,” with priests in Western Europe defying their bishops and disobeying key teachings and disciplines of the Church, and even the Vatican itself seemingly unable to govern – with backroom intrigue, public conflict among senior prelates, investigations of the Vatican Bank, and leaked confidential documents of the Pope.

Is there any question that these are turbulent times for the Church? How does one survive the journey through the unfriendly skies the Church is navigating?

Well, the first thing is to keep some historical perspective. The Church, like the planes in which we travel, is built to withstand the significant turbulence that’s part of our journey, and has done so for two-thousand years. As challenging as these times are, there have been worse, much worse, and the Church has survived both the external attacks on its existence and mission, as well as the embarrassing defects of its all-too-human leaders and members.

Some are now predicting (perhaps hoping for) the total collapse of the Catholic Church. Consider this quote: “People look upon the Church and say, ‘she is about to die. Soon her very name will disappear. There will be no more Christians; they have had their day.’” It’s instructive to note, however, that this description of the dying Church was used by St. Augustine 1600 years ago! It reminds us that our moment in history is but one brief passage in the long and rich history of the Church.

Second, we can point to all the good things the Church represents and does every day. Even during these discomforting times the Catholic Church is a large, diverse and vibrant community with many, many dedicated and fully-engaged clergy, religious and laity. The Church continues to offer a positive and fulfilling perspective of human life and illuminates the path to eternal salvation. More than any other institution on the planet, the Catholic community provides a vast array of pastoral services, educational opportunities and social services – genuine expressions of charity, justice and peace – in our own country and around the globe. It’s important to be aware of and proud of all the good the Catholic Church does every day!

And finally, we should remember that the Church has survived the years and continues to carry on its mission because it’s so much more that just another human organization. The Church was founded by Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit. While its members are human, its mission is divine. “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of time,” Jesus promised.

So, fellow traveler, be of good cheer. Do not be afraid. Without a doubt the Church will survive the turbulent skies of the moment and will arrive safely at its final destination. But in the meantime, fasten your seatbelts. Might be some rough skies ahead!

VIA Jim McCrea: This is from St. Rose of Lima whose feast we celebrated recently. This is an excerpt of what was in the breviary:

Our Lord and Saviour lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.”

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: “Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”

Frank Rega: I have a new Padre Pio book out. It is called The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata and Other Wonders of the Saint. It is available in Print or Kindle editions.  Below is the table of contents. Some of the articles are brand new, others have been published in Catholic magazines. Thank you!

Introduction i
1 The Truth about Padre Pio’s Stigmata 1
2 Padre Pio and the General - a Study in Bilocation 17
3 Padre Pio, a Patron Saint for the Unborn 31
4 The Pope, Padre Pio, and a Miracle 41
5 Padre Pio's Secret: his Shoulder Wound 59
6 Salvation Outside the (Visible) Church 65
7 The Gemma Di Giorgi Mystery 83
8 Padre Pio and Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae 101
9 Padre Pio and the Tale of the Empty Tomb 117
10 The Amazing Story of Giovanna Rizzani 125

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

17. Do not distress yourself on account of any distaste or dryness you experience in God's service. He wills that you should serve Him fervently and constantly it is true, but without any other help than simple faith, and thus your love will be more disinterested, and your service the more pleasing to Him.

August 30, 2012

(John 6:53-56) Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. (6:55) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. (6:57) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: A celebrated Eucharist imposes on us and at the same time renders us capable of becoming, in our turn, bread broken for brothers, coming to meet their needs and giving ourselves.

CATHOLIC ONLINE: The Importance of a Eucharistic Life

AUDIO LINK: Divine Love Made Flesh by Cardinal Raymond Burke

EXCERPT: Fr. Joseph Esper's Homily

St. Robert Bellarmine was a cardinal who lived at the beginning of the 17th century; he was a man of immense learning and intelligence, but also very humble and gentle. He was involved in many of the religious controversies of the day, but-unlike many religious leaders among both Catholics and Protestants-he was always kind and respectful in opposing and correcting the errors of his opponents. An example of this is to be found in his defense of the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. Many Protestants rejected the Catholic teaching that Holy Communion truly is the Body and Blood of Christ, and instead claimed that it's merely a symbol and that Our Lord's words in the Gospel aren't to be taken literally. Instead of denouncing or condemning this mistaken opinion, St. Robert Bellarmine merely corrected it with a very simple and easily- understood illustration. Imagine, he said, a wealthy man who announced that in his will he was leaving his house to his son John; would anyone understand the man's words to mean, “I leave to my son John, not my home itself, but a nice painted picture of it”? Or what if a royal prince promised you 100 gold coins, and-in fulfillment of his words-sent you not the coins themselves, but a beautiful drawing of them? Would you think that the promise had been kept, or would you feel cheated? (Rengers, The 33 Doctors of the Church, p. 495). In the same way, St. Robert claims, Jesus would not have spoken so strongly about the need to eat His Body and drink His Blood, and then provide us only with an image or symbol of the actual reality. No, God's word can be trusted, and His generosity can be relied upon-and so we, as His children, must logically and confidently believe in the reality of the Eucharist. In this sacrament we truly receive the Body and Blood of Christ, not just a symbol of it, and our response to this gift must demonstrate our belief and express our gratitude.

God doesn't play games with us, especially when it comes to questions of salvation and eternal life; the readings we've just heard are meant to be taken very seriously. The 1st Reading from the Book of Proverbs speaks of wisdom personified, an expression of divine love and truth, offered to all who will accept it. Wisdom calls out to us, “Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” The ultimate foolishness is to doubt God's word; true understanding can only occur when we trust what God has revealed to us. Wisdom's invitation to eat of her food and drink of her wine is a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, and as St. Paul tells us in the Letter to the Ephesians, we must make the most of the present opportunity. Not all Christians believe in the Eucharist, and not all Catholics come to Mass each weekend; instead of wasting God's gifts in this way, we are called to come to the Lord's table with joyful and grateful hearts, for Jesus is offering us the gift of eternal life. Our Lord makes it very clear in the Gospel that His words are not to be understood in a symbolic or sentimental way; He says quite clearly and unmistakably, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. . . . the one who feeds on Me will have life because of Me.” Jesus speaks so vividly and directly not only to proclaim the truth, but also to confront us with an either/or choice. Either we believe His words, or we don't-and if we do believe, our actions here at Mass should reflect this fact.

MORE: The Eucharist as the Hound of Heaven

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

13. My sweet Jesus, I unite my soul to Thy soul, and my heart, my mind, my life, and my intentions to Thine; and thus united, I present myself to Thy Father. Receive me, O Eternal Father, through the merits of Thy beloved Son.

August 29, 2012

(Nah 1:7) The Lord is good, and giveth strength in the day of trouble: and knoweth them that hope in him.

: Our Lady of Prompt Succor

During the French Revolution of the late 18th century, priests and religious were persecuted and often had to go into hiding in order to administer the Sacraments and keep their vocation and apostolates. This is what happened with the Ursuline nuns of the Convent of Pont-Saint-Esprit. One of the nuns, Agathe Gensoul, who could no longer use her religious name, Mother St. Michel, still lived her vocation, starting a school with another Ursuline, Sophie Ricard. Agathe had a cousin who was an Ursuline also, but who lived in America, in New Orleans, which had been at that time under Spanish domain, but had been taken back by the French. Fearing French persecution, the Spanish Ursulines there went back to Spain, which left the convent in need of more nuns.

So Agathe or Mother St. Michel, applied to the bishop for the transfer to New Orleans, who refused her request because of the trouble in France. He told her that the Pope would have to approve her move. He, however was under house arrest. The situation was near impossible. But this did not discourage Agathe, who immediately wrote a letter to Pope Pius VII, but after three months, she was still without means to send it.

One day, while praying before a statue of Mary, she was inspired with this prayer:

"O Most Holy Virgin Mary, if you obtain a prompt and favorable answer to my letter, I promise to have you honored in New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor." She not only found a way to send the letter a few days later, but the Pontiff replied within a month! He granted his permission, blessing her new undertaking, which surprised the bishop who asked to bless the statue that Mother St. Michel had carved to take with her to New Orleans.

The statue was enshrined in the Ursuline convent there on December 30,1810. Two years later, another miracle would be attributed to the Virgin under this title. A terrible fire ravaged the city in 1812, and the wind was rapidly driving it in the direction of the convent of the Ursulines. One of the nuns, Sister St. Anthony, placed a small replica of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in her window that faced the approaching fire, while Mother St. Michel prayed aloud, asking Our Lady for help. Immediately the wind changed direction of the flames. Mary's help has been sought from the shrine ever since, both in time of war [the Battle of New Orleans] and during the threat of hurricanes, a persistent peril on the Gulf Coast.

LINK: Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor

SPIRIT DAILY Archives (2001): Oh New Orleans, shed ye the darkness or face disaster

DAILY COMET (La.):  Many New Orleans church properties still in limbo

: Catholic Charities USA And Its Local Agencies Prepare For Impact Of Isaac

PRAYER FOR PROTECTION FROM STORMS: God our Father, Creator of the Universe and Lord over all creation, we humbly stand before you as your children in thanksgiving for your loving care and protection. We ask that you keep us safe from all hurricanes which may threaten us in the coming seasons. Protect us from all fear and anxiety of storms and give us an ardent trust and hope in Your love and mercy. You alone have the power to command the sea, the wind and the rain. You alone bring peace, calm, and safety. Father, we thank you in advance, for you are our only Refuge. We ask this through Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and Patroness of our Diocese, pray for us.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

12. We must keep control over all our senses by holy interior recollection, banishing all useless reflection and introspection; these only serve to disturb us and deprive our soul of that peace without which it will never be the sanctuary of God.

August 28, 2012

(2Ki 2:19-22) And the men of the city, said to Eliseus . Behold the situation of this city is very good, as thou, my lord, seest: but the waters are very bad, and the ground barren. And he said: Bring me a new vessel, and put salt into it. And when they had brought it, He went out to the spring of the waters, and cast the salt into it, and said: Thus saith the Lord: I have healed these waters, and there shall be no more in them death or barrenness. And the waters were healed unto this day, according to the word of Eliseus, which he spoke.

Claretian Teaching Ministry: BLESSED SALT by Fr. John Hampsch, C.M.F

There is a renewed interest today in the ancient sacramental of blessed salt, especially by charismatics, in healing and deliverance situations, etc. To understand its proper use and its efficacy, it would be helpful to review the Scriptural symbolism and its history, since Vatican II urges us to participate “intelligently and actively” in the use of sacramentals, just as in the use of Sacraments.

Salt in the ancient world was a precious commodity (even monopolized by the royalty in Egypt and Persia). Roman soldiers were partially paid with packets of salt (”sal” in Latin); this was the origin of our word “salary” and of phrases like “worth his salt,” etc. Being costly, it was an appropriate offering to God as a “covenant of salt” (Lev. 2: 13; II Chron. 13:5; Num. 18:19) used in sacrifices by the Isrealites (Ezek. 43:24) and for the accompanying sacrificial meal (Gen. 31:54).

Belief in its preservative and healing properties led to its use to dry and harden the skin of newborns (Ezek. 16:4) and to prevent umbilical cord infection. Used for 3500 years to preserve meats from deterioration, it became a symbol of preservation and spiritual incorruptibility that was to characterize anyone offering sacrificial worship. Shared at the sacrificial meal, salt became a symbol of friendship and hospitality, a custom-symbol still used today in Arab culture.

Jesus referred to this salt-symbolized friendship covenant in Mark 9:50: “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another”–that is, “preserve that quality (flavor) that makes you a blessing to one another.” (Note the double symbol of preservation and flavoring.)

This double primary symbolization is also found in Paul’s advice in Col. 4:6:”Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” That is, let it be wholesome and savory, preserved from the corrupting conversation of worldlings (3:8 and Eph 4:29). (His use of the word salt may also have referred to another of its symbols: spiritual wisdom, since the Latin word for savor or taste, “sapientia”, is the same as for wisdom.)

Some or all of these symbols may have been implied in Jesus’ words to his chosen ones, describing them as the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). He especially indicated that they were to oppose the world’s corruption, reminding them that, as salt must preserve its own anti-corruptive quality, they too must preserve their anti-corruptive influence in a sin-corrupted world. (See Luke 14:34).

The blessing promised by God on food and water, as well as the prevention of miscarriages and agricultural catastrophes (Exod. 23:25-26) was extended by God through Elisha in Jericho (II Kings 2:20-21), when he was inspired to put salt into the contaminated water. Adding salt to already brackish water to decontaminate it, made the miracle all the more impressive, since one would expect the opposite effect. This first miracle of Elisha is the primary Scriptural basis for the sacramental use of blessed salt today, as the Roman Ritual indicates.

As a Catholic sacramental, salt blessed by the liturgical prayer of a priest may be used by itself, unmixed, as in exorcisms, and formerly in the exorcistic prayer at baptism, or it may be mixed with water to make holy water, as the Ritual prescribes (reminiscent of Elisha’s miracle). In whichever form, it is intended to be an instrument of grace to preserve one from the corruption of evil occurring as sin, sickness, demonic influence, etc.

As in the case of all sacramentals, its power comes not from the sign itself, but by means of the Church’s official (liturgical, not private) prayer of blessing–a power the Church derives from Christ himself (see Matt. 16:19 and 18:18). As the Vatican II document on the Liturgy states (art. 61), both Sacraments and sacramentals sanctify us, not of themselves, but by power flowing from the redemptive act of Jesus, elicited by the Church’s intercession to be directed through those external signs and elements. Hence sacramentals like blessed salt, holy water, medals, etc. are not to be used superstitiously as having selfcontained power, but as “focus-points” funneling one’s faith toward Jesus, just as a flag is used as a “focus-point” of patriotism, or as handkerchiefs were used to focus faith for healing and deliverance by Paul (Acts 19:12).

Thus used non-superstitiously, modest amounts of salt may be sprinkled in one’s bedroom, or across thresholds to prevent burglary, in cars for safety, etc. A few grains in drinking water or used in cooking or as food seasoning often bring astonishing spiritual and physical benefits, as I have personally witnessed many times. As with the use of Sacraments, much depends on the faith and devotion of the person using salt or any sacramental. This faith must be Jesus-centered, as was the faith of the blind man in John 9; he had faith in Jesus, not in the mud and spittle used by Jesus to heal him.

In light of this, we can see why Vatican II states that “there is hardly any proper use of material things which cannot thus be directed toward the sanctification of persons and the praise of God.” (art. 61 of Liturgy document). Hence new sacramentals may also be added when rituals are revised (art. 79). Blessed salt is certainly not a new sacramental, but the Holy Spirit seems to be leading many to a new interest in its remarkable power as an instrument of grace and healing.

Any amount of salt may be presented to a priest for his blessing, using the following official prayer from the Roman Ritual:

“Almighty God, we ask you to bless this salt, as once you blessed the salt scattered over the water by the prophet Elisha. Wherever this salt (and water) is sprinkled, drive away the power of evil, and protect us always by the presence of your Holy Spirit. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

CATHOLIC DOORS: Frequently Asked Questions regarding BLESSED SALT

LINK: Blessed Salt – Powerful Stuff

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

11. One of the ways most pleasing to God of keeping ourselves in His holy presence, is to enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to commit to Him all the care of ourselves. We must abide therein as in an abyss of love, and lose in it that which is of ourselves, so that He may substitute that which is of Himself.

August 24, 2012

(Php 4:6-7) Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


EXCERPT: Anxiety by Fr. Joseph Esper

Some saints were as prone to worry and anxiety as the rest of us are.

But, by placing their trust in the Lord's presence and care, they were able to overcome their fears. Some of these fears were relatively minor ones, as faced by Bl. Helen of Udine, who, during a period of distress, was terrified even of loud noises. Others were serious fears, as faced by St. Augustine of Canterbury, the abbot of a monastery in Rome. In the year 596, he was chosen by Pope St. Gregory the Great to lead a group of forty monks on a missionary journey to England. (There were some scattered Christian communities there, but the island as a whole was pagan and uncivilized.) Augustine and his companions set out, but on reaching France, they were frightened by stories of the dangerous waters of the English Channel and the fierce temperament of the Anglo-Saxon tribes. Leaving his companions there, Augustine hurried back to confer with the Pope. Gregory encouraged the worried missionary and sent him back on his way, after telling him, "He who would climb a lofty height must go by steps, not by leaps." Augustine returned to the other missionaries; they crossed over into England and there experienced great success in spreading the Gospel.

It's said that the words "Be not afraid" appear in Scripture 366 times — one for each day of the year (leap years included). Certainly we need this sort of ongoing reminder and encouragement; life can be difficult and is often filled with anxieties, great and small. Jesus told St. Martha that, unlike her sister Mary, she was "anxious and troubled about many things." Martha took this correction to heart and learned to trust in the Lord — so much so that later, even as she grieved the death of her brother Lazarus, she was able to acknowledge Jesus as the Resurrection and the life. Martha's sister St. Mary Magdalene likewise acknowledged Christ's power on this occasion; she was one of the few followers of Christ who, on Good Friday, dared to proclaim her loyalty to Him publicly by standing beneath His Cross, and for her courage and devotion she was rewarded by being the first witness of the Resurrection.

There's a saying that "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." Prayer is indeed the key to overcoming or coping with anxiety, for it reassures us of God's presence and reminds us of our need to rely on His strength, not on our own. As St. John Vianney said, "God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry."

COURAGEOUS PRIEST: How Do We Conquer Worry and Anxiety?

PETER KREEFT: Weakness Into Strength

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[II Cor. 7:1-10; Mark 1:29-35]

In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. Here is a lesson to get up early and devote the first hours of the day to prayer, in solitude. The soul, renewed with sleep, is fresh, light and capable of penetration, like fresh morning air; therefore it asks on its own to be allowed to go where all of its joy is found, to go before the face of the heavenly Father, to the company of the angels and saints. It is more convenient for the soul to pray at this time instead of later when the cares of the day already are piled upon the soul.

The Lord orders everything. You must receive a blessing from Him for work, for needed understanding, and for crucial strengthening. And hurry as early as possible, before anything interferes, to lift yourself in solitude to the Lord in mind and heart, and to confess your needs and intentions to Him, and to beg for His help. Having disposed yourself with prayer and thoughts of God, from the first moments of the day, you will then conduct the whole day in reverence and fear of God, with collected thoughts. From this come discretion, steadiness, and harmony in deeds and mutual relations. This is a reward for the labour which you compel yourself to undertake in your morning solitude. Thus, even for worldly people this makes good sense, and is not something alien to their goals.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

10. Let us adore and love God through the adorable Heart of Jesus: let us do all our actions in Him; let us beg Him to do all in us and for us, and to restore us to grace by uniting us again to His Father, when sin has separated us from Him.

August 22, 2012

(Deu 28:15-20) But if thou wilt not hear the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep and to do all his commandments and ceremonies, which I command thee this day, all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, cursed in the field. Cursed shall be thy barn, and cursed thy stores. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy ground, the herds of thy oxen, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be coming in, and cursed going out. The Lord shall send upon thee famine and hunger, and a rebuke upon all the works which thou shalt do: until he consume and destroy thee quickly, for thy most wicked inventions, by which thou hast forsaken me.

: Godless Existence Is The Cause Of The Economic Collapse

INTRO: Ann Barnhardt was living her dream. She had a successul commodities firm, helping farmers across the US and Canada to hedge their crop risks. Then MF Global blew up and Ann realized that no matter how carefully she invested her clients' money, it could always be stolen right out from underneath them. Therefore, in good conscience she couldn't continue the business, so she liquidated the assets and paid off her clients in full, so that they would never have to suffer an MF Global meltdown. She has mixed thoughts about it to this day, but she's absolutely certain she did the morally correct act. And while Ann's business ethics are very much intertwined with her religious beliefs, she's decided that she cannot live her life any other way.

RELATED RESEARCH REPORT: Now Banks Can Legally Steal Retirement Accounts

“If you don’t understand what ‘get the h*ll out’ means, there’s not much I can do for you,” Ann Barnhardt passionately told blogger Warren Pollock, as she warned viewers of systemic failure in the U.S. financial system, as well as the certainty that American savers will be robbed of their retirement, brokerage and savings accounts in the process.

Barnhardt, the former commodities broker, cites the latest and hushed court ruling in the 2007 case of a failed Chicago-based futures brokerage firm Sentinel Management Group—another Ponzi bankruptcy, according to her, totaling $600 million of segregated customer funds tied up in bankruptcy awaiting determination of whether those segregated funds will be used to pay off a “secured position” of a $312 million loan held by Bank of NY Mellon.

According to a recent federal appeals court ruling Bank of New York Mellon’s secured loan will be put ahead of customer segregated accounts held by Sentinel—a landmark ruling that turns individual segregated accounts into the property of a third party under circumstances of duress. In other words, if a financial institution fails, clients, depositors and pension funds may not get some or all of their money back in a bankruptcy.

In essence, under the ruling, Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SPIC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and other insurance programs no longer will/can protect customer funds, leaving millions of investors, depositors and retirees unaware that they are no longer account holders of their own funds, per se, but, instead, have suddenly become stockholders of the institution with which they have deposited their money.

NEW AMERICAN REVIEW: Top Investors Warn of “Financial Armageddon”


Economic Collapse, We Still Don’t Get It
Liddick: Economic amnesia
Hyperinflation Is Not Inevitable (Default Is)

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

6. Now is the time to humble myself and show God that I love Him.

August 21, 2012


St. Pius X: Sanctity Alone 

"Sanctity alone makes us what our divine vocation demands, men crucified to the world and to whom the world has been crucified, men walking in newness of life who, in the words of St. Paul, show themselves as ministers of God in labors, in vigils, in fasting, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere charity, in the word of truth; men who seek only heavenly things and strive by every means to lead others to them." (Pope St. Pius X: Haerent Animo)

A WORD IN SEASON: Pius X's motto " to restore all things in Christ," echoed St. Paul.

For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (Eph 1:9-10, RSV, emphasis added).

One way Pius X considered this restoration possible was using the long-held formula from St. Louis De Montfort in True Devotion to Mary: "to Jesus through Mary." He reasoned that if God could trust Mary with bringing forth the life of Jesus into the world, she is surely a trustworthy path for bringing forth the life of Christ within believers.

"Could not God have given us, in another way than through the Virgin the Redeemer of the human race and the Founder of the Faith? But, since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Ghost and bore Him in her breast, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary." (Ad Diem Illum Latissimum, par. 6) 


Pope Leo XIII died on August 4, 1903, Cardinal Sarto was reluctantly named Pope after only a four-day conclave, by a margin of 55 out of a possible 60 votes. The humble farm boy told his fellow Cardinals that his name would be Pius. “As I shall suffer, I shall take the name of those Popes who also suffered." His coronation took place on the following Sunday, August 9, 1903. In the Vatican, the Pope made changes that impressed some and irritated others. He wanted to be a less formal and more approachable Pope. Each evening, he invited other priests and workers in the Vatican to dinner. To the chagrin of the Swiss guards, Pius X would often escape the Vatican walls through garden passageways unescorted and visit the sick in local hospitals.

Not surprisingly, his Papacy was marked by improving priestly formation, instituting better liturgy and music, and requiring quality preaching from priests and bishops. Always an educator, he modernized Canon law and introduced progressive scholarship through the biblical institute of Rome under the Jesuits. In 1905, he lowered the age of receiving the Eucharist for young people, still in effect today (around 7 years old). He fought against a theological teaching known as “modernism” that Pius X felt was a form of heresy and atheism. In his latter years, he preached strongly against war and violence. Pius X had vivid dreams and visions that a great war would break out in Europe in 1914 killing many innocents. His visions were about World War I and they were accurate. Pius X would not live to see the long-term effects of the disaster but his prophesies were chilling reminders after his death.

During his tenure, the Pope supported European immigrants who fled to North and South America. He formed many new Dioceses and appointed new bishops in the Americas. In the last year of his life, Pius X held many private audiences with the poor and sick. It was during there private visits with common people that rumors of miraculous cures began to spread throughout Rome. Among those cured through his prayers were two religious sisters who confirmed the healings after his death and promoted his canonization to sainthood.

On August 20, 1914, Pope Pius X passed to eternal life. The Italian press wrote, “ Saint Is Dead."   On his tombstone are the words: “Pope Pius X, poor and yet rich, gentle and humble of heart, unconquerable champion of the Catholic Faith, whose constant endeavor it was to renew all things in Christ...”

PHOTO OF RELIC: St. Pius [Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto] X, Pp.

OF RECENT INTEREST: Pope Pius X and the Olympic Games

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

5. You have only to unite yourself in all that you do to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the beginning of your actions, make His dispositions your own, and at the end offer His merits as satisfaction.

August 2, 2012


SUBSCRIBER POSTS:!forum/tribulaton-times

(Mat 13:47-50) Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT: Building a Culture of Religious Freedom

CARDINAL DOLAN: Fighting the Good Fight for Religious Freedom

: Catholics Share Bishops' Concerns about Religious Liberty

Today, the provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act that offers free contraception to women on employer health care plans goes into effect, though many religious institutions have a one-year reprieve. Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops' concerns about restrictions on religious liberty – including the contraceptive mandate – generally agree with the bishops' concerns. Yet the bishops' protests against these policies have not drawn much more interest among Catholics than among the general public. And there are no significant differences in the presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard about the bishops' protests and those who have not.

Nearly two-thirds of Catholics (64%) have heard at least a little about the bishops' protests, but just 22% of Catholics say they have heard a lot about them. Moreover, only about a third of Catholic churchgoers (32%) say their priest has spoken out on this issue at Mass.

By a 56% to 36% margin, Catholics who are aware of the bishops' protests say they agree with the bishops' concerns. Among all Americans who are aware of the protests, there is less support for the bishops' position: 41% agree with the bishops' concerns, while 47% disagree.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds large majorities of Catholics are very or somewhat satisfied with the leadership provided by Catholic nuns and sisters in the U.S. (83%), their own parish priests (82%), their diocesan bishop (74%), the pope (74%) and American bishops in general (70%).

BLOG: Religious Liberty Dies In America Today

REVIEW: Obamacare’s Fine on Faith: Trampling on Religious Liberty

LINK: The Catechism of St. Pope Pius X (ca. 1880)


Communion in Hand & Consecration
What About Abstinence
Funeral Eulogies
Wedding Ceremony Location

Note from Ron: To receive my Catholic Q&A reports please contact me with your correct email address.


Why Does God Allow Misfortune to Fall on Us
A Brush in the Hand of an Infinitely Perfect Artist
Five Ways to Stop Worrying Today
Find Balance

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

4. Everything depends on prayer well made; but in order to pray well, one must be very recollected and mortified.

August 1, 2012

(Joel 2:12-13) Now, therefore, saith the Lord. Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.

PORTIUNCULA INDULGENCE: First Plenary indulgence ever granted in the Church

THE FRANCISCANS: The Portiuncula Indulgence

Christian Witness List: The Great Pardon: The Portiuncula Indulgence

On a hot July evening in the year 1216 Saint Francis of Assisi at prayer devoured by his love for God and a thirst to save souls was visited upon by Our Blessed Savior and Our Blessed Mother. Our Lord spoke to him "Francis you are very zealous for the good souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation."
Francis answered that he wanted an indulgence to all those who enter this church,(The Portiuncula) who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins.

Our Lord consented to Francis' wish, but only after he received approval from Pope Honorius III. The pope granted this petition, and this indulgence has been extended to all parish churches throughout the world from noon August 1 until midnight on August 2.

The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi (for oneself or for a departed soul) are as follows:

* Sacramental confession (during eight days before or after the above dates)

* Participation in the Mass and Eucharist.

* Recitation of the Apostles' Creed, Our Father and a prayer for the pope's intention.

The Portiuncula Indulgence is a grace not to be missed, not only for yourself, but for the many souls suffering in purgatory. The dates are from noon on August 1 until midnight on August 2, the feast of Our Lady of the Angels.
CNA: A Primer on Indulgences

CATHOLIC ANSWERS: Myths about Indulgences

: The Historical Origin of Indulgences

PAMPHLET: Indulgences and Our Spiritual Life

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Union with God

3. If you wish to pray well, be faithful in the practice of mortification, avoid dissipation of mind during the day, and never commit any willful faults.
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