your eyes open!...
August 31, 2017
(Mat 28:20) .... And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.
NEWS REPORT: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter
REV. JOHN H. HAMPSCH, C.M.F: Where is God When I Need Him?
“Where’s the milk?” asks the time-pressed, breakfast-hustling husband.
“Where it always is—on the shelf in the fridge,” chirps the patient wife.
Life is punctuated with countless seemingly “urgent” questions that
have simple and often overlooked or even ignored answers. One such
question that bounces around in the mind of almost every human,
sometimes almost as a petulant demand, at other times, just a silent,
drifting cloud of wonder, is this:
Where is God when I need him?
To that challenging and often anger-darkened question, Jesus, in his
serene majesty—like that indulgent wife countering the querulous
husband--provides a simple but often overlooked answer, clearly,
succinctly and trenchantly: “Surely I am with you always, to the very
end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). Right here with us!? So that’s where he
is! That promise implies not only perpetuity (“until the end of the
age”), but also continuity (“always”).
That divine presence almost cries out for our sustained awareness. The
positive love-charged awareness of this truth is called the practice of
the presence of God. When practiced in the midst of suffering—“when I
need him”—it is not only comforting and consoling, but also enormously
The basic truth of our Creator’s unwavering presence is reasserted
insistently throughout his word: “God has said, “Never will I leave
you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5); and this segues into a
quote from Psalm 118, urging us not to fear adversities. God’s promised
presence was given to all of Israel (Deut. 31:6), and reaffirmed to
Joshua (Josh 1:5) and Solomon (1Chron. 28:20).
However, Jesus also tells us that someday our very demanding
questioning about his presence in our anguish (“when I need him”) will
become irrelevant to us: “You are now in anguish. But I will see you
again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away
from you. On that day you will not question me about anything” (John
“On that day”—the day of his Second Coming—our petty questioning of
God’s presence “when we need him” will seem utterly silly. On that day
faith-anemic souls—that’s most of us—will be embarrassed by having
questioned or doubted God’s presence in our suffering, especially as we
recall Jesus’ own question, in response to our question: “When the Son
of Man comes again [to restore peace to fallen humanity] will there be
any faith left on earth?” [at the close of the great tribulation] (Luke
Job, though he was the holiest man on earth in his time, questioned the
Lord about the apparent “absence of God” in time of suffering, often
with no answer to prayers for relief (like Paul’s apparently
non-answered prayer in 2 Cor. 12:8-9. Job’s questioning of God was
countered by God questioning him (Job 40:4). Then the Lord staggered
him with a stultifying theophany (42:3-6) that answered, for him alone,
his questions as to why innocent people suffer, with God often
apparently absent or ignoring them. That answer will be crystal clear
to each of us at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming (John 16:23).
As spiritually anorexic children of God, we have a starving need to be
nourished with God’s life-sustaining love, while at the same time never
denying that suffering itself is a mystery for us in this life—an
ineffable, inscrutable, and disturbing mystery. Jesus’ prophesied
period of our non-questioning coincides with the non-suffering
period—“when your hearts will rejoice.” That mystery ends with the
Parousia (Jesus’ Second Coming) and will be clear throughout eternity.
The mysterious aspect provides the perfect opportunity to practice
faith. The stronger our faith in the face of mystery, the greater the
As we grow in our reliance and trust in God’s loving presence, and in
his mysterious providence that fashions crowns from crosses, we’ll find
ourselves, like Paul, advancing from complaint to gratitude (2 Cor.
12:9) for our life’s lacerating thorns. As we strive to cope with our
harrowing trials in this vale of tears, while snuggling into God’s
compassionate embrace, heaven itself will begin to come into view even
as we suffer. But this “joy in facing trials of many kinds” (James
1:2), and Jesus prophecy, “your hearts will rejoice” can be experienced
only by those whose faith in God (trust) is firm enough to avoid
petulantly demanding answers to “where is God when I need him?” We’ve
all heard the many “why?” questions uttered by persons suffering pain
and misfortunes. Why me? Why this hurt rather than another kind? Why
doesn’t God answer my prayer? Why does God allow others to cause or
aggravate my suffering? Why do some get miraculous healings and I
don’t? Why does my suffering last so long?, etc., etc.
The question, “Where is God when I need him?” is a generic question
that implicitly embraces many forms the “Why?” questions. All such
“why” questions clearly reflect a weakness in one’s faith, and
ultimately an absence of trust in God, as well as an insincerity in
reciting the Lord’s Prayer—“Thy will be done,” because when unaware of
his presence they don’t relate to him in a personal way, and hence
don’t see the Lord as being “in the driver’s seat” by his loving
providence, by which all unavoidable sufferings are the unfolding of
Commenting on Paul’s words, “In God we live and move and have our
being” (Acts 17:28), St. Anthony Claret remarked that in his own life
he felt that he related to God like a fish in water or a bird
surrounded by air.” This brought him overwhelming support in his many
hardships and sufferings.
St. Teresa of Avila said, “Those who pray or offer their sufferings
while aware of God’s presence, feel that he is looking on them, while
others may go for days without even once recollecting that God sees
them at every moment.” This insight of St. Teresa is reminiscent of the
words of James 4:8: “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
And that scriptural pericope is reminiscent of this bumper sticker that
I saw recently, which epitomizes the entire spiritual issue of
cultivating the practice of the presence of God—especially for
“IF YOU FEEL FAR FROM GOD, GUESS WHO MOVED!”
MEDITATION REV. JOHN H. HAMPSCH, C.M.F: Nothing Left But God
by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[I Cor. 1:26-29; Matt. 20:29-34]
The two blind men of Jericho cry out, and the Lord returns their sight
to them. But could these blind men have been the only ones in those
places? Of course not. Why did these receive vision, but not the
others? Because those did not cry out; and they did not cry out because
they did not have hope; they did not have hope because they did not
please God; they did not please God, because they had little faith.
When true faith comes to man, he begins to please God from that very
moment; with pleasing God hope comes hope, and from all of this comes
prayer, compelling every help from above. Such people meet no refusal.
They know both how to ask, in fact know that they should ask, they
understand the limits to their asking, and they have patient
persistence in prayer. All of this is indispensably necessary for
success, for prayer by itself has feeble wings.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"
21. Some have extolled those who are eunuchs by
nature, because they are delivered from the martyrdom of the body; but
I daily extol those who make themselves eunuchs by castrating their bad
thoughts as with a knife (cf. Matt. 19:12).
August 29, 2017
(Mat 25:37-40) Then
shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry
and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? Or when did we see thee a
stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? Or when did we
see thee sick or in prison and came to thee? And the king answering
shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of
these my least brethren, you did it to me.
CNS: Catholic groups are mobilizing to help in Hurricane Harvey's aftermath
Catholic dioceses and charities are quickly organizing to help in
the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with heavy
rains and winds of 130 miles per hour late Aug. 25 into the Rockport,
Texas area, northeast of Corpus Christi. The National Weather Service
said in a tweet Aug. 27 that the rainfall expected after the hurricane
and storm are over "are beyond anything experienced before."
The hurricane, named Harvey, is said to be the strongest one to hit the
United States in more than a decade and perhaps the strongest one to
make landfall in Texas.
Catholic Charities USA, as well as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Disaster Services, announced early on Aug. 26 that they're mobilizing
to help an as-yet-unknown number of persons affected by the hurricane.
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops has a list of charities
helping with the disaster listed on its website at https://txcatholic.org/harvey.
Authorities reported at least five casualties as of Aug. 27, but
because of safety issues, not many emergency teams have been yet able
to respond to the aftermath and much of the damage is unknown. Texas
Gov. Greg Abbott declared the state a disaster area, which will allow
federal money to help in reconstruction. Catholic groups said they want
to help with the immediate needs of the communities affected.
"We will be sending in rapid-response teams to help our impacted St.
Vincent de Paul councils and we are coordinating nationally with the
Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta and (Catholic Charities USA),"
said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops, on Aug. 27 urged "all people of goodwill to closely
monitor future calls for assistance for victims and survivors in the
days ahead." The cardinal also is the head of the Archdiocese of
Galveston-Houston, one of the hardest-hit areas. "Hurricane
Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in a catastrophic and devastating way this
weekend, bringing with it severe flooding and high winds which have
taken human life, caused countless injuries, and severely damaged homes
and property throughout the region," said the cardinal in an Aug. 27
news release. "The effects of this storm continue to put people in
harm's way, with horrific scenes playing out all around, such as those
of people trapped on their rooftops as water continues to rise around
them. Many dioceses of the church in the United States have been
affected; many others will be as the storm continues."
CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF GALVESTON-HOUSTON: Donate now and help families recover from Hurricane Harvey
DAILY CALLER: There’s A Catholic Priest Kayaking Around Houston Saying Mass For Victims Of Harvey
A Catholic priest in Houston, Texas, kayaked from his home in the
flood-ravaged southeast portion of the city Sunday in search of higher
ground, where he hoped to say Mass for those dispersed by Hurricane
Father David Bergeron, CC set off by kayak from his home early Sunday
in search of displaced Houstonians, particularly those stranded in the
streets, who may wish to attend Mass, Houston’s NBC affiliate KPRC
reported. Bergeron said he tried to purchase wine for the liturgy at a
convenience store, but was precluded from doing so by Texas’ so-called
“blue law” which prohibits the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays.
Bergeron likened the experience to that of the first Christian missionaries in the Americas.
“This is how America was evangelized — by canoe,” he said.
Father Bergeron is a Quebec-born priest and associate director at Houston’s Catholic Charismatic Center,
a large congregation of Roman Catholics who identify with the
charismatic movement. The Center was not open Sunday given the grave
weather and travel conditions.
VATICAN RADIO: Pope Francis: prayers for flood victims in Bangladesh, India, Nepal
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"
20. With beginners, falls usually occur by reason
of luxury; with intermediates, because of haughtiness as well as from the
same cause which leads to the fall of the beginners; and with those approaching
perfection, solely from judging their neighbour.
August 28, 2017
(1Ti 2:1-4) I
desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers,
intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings and for
all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable
life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the
sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved and to come
to the knowledge of the truth.
FOX NEWS: Pope Francis, Christianity threatened in ISIS propaganda video that Vatican aide calls worrying
Pope Francis' top aide said a propaganda video released by
Islamic State group militants in the Philippines threatening the
pontiff is worrying but notes Vatican security was already at a high
Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See's No. 2
official, said he has seen the video of militants desecrating Christian
statues and threatening the pope by saying they'll come to Rome, as
they tear in half photos of him and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
The video was mostly filmed in the Philippines, where ISIS has been
clashing with government forces for control of the city of Marawi,
Parolin said: "Obviously, one cannot help but worry, above all for the
senseless hatred that it is." But he said the Vatican has not added
more measures to its already bolstered security.
Pope Francis, right, hugs Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prior to the start
of a meeting with elderly faithful in St. Peter's Square at the
Vatican, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)Expand /
Collapse An ISIS propaganda video shows photos of Pope Benedict XVI,
left, and Pope Francis being torn in half.
In the video, aimed at attacking Christianity, a narrator celebrates
“the truthful soldiers of Mohammed” who are fighting in Asia. It shows
them setting a church on fire.
The video also features ISIS militants wrecking decorations in a church, including statues of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph.
“Remember this, you kuffar, we will be in Rome, we will be in Rome,
inshallah,” a supposed terrorist named “Abu Jindal” says to the camera.
Photos of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI are shown being ripped in half.
“After all their efforts, it would be the religion of the cross that
would be broken,” the narrator says as footage of a church in flames
rolls in the background. “The crusader's enmity toward the Muslims only
served to embolden a generation of youth.” The propaganda was
distributed by ISIS-aligned media organization Al Hayat. It also
includes violent clips from fighting scenes in Marawi City – showing
dead soldiers and jihadists shooting with AK-47s – while the narrator
urges East Asian Muslims to come and “perform jihad,” Catholic News
CATHOLICCITIZENS.ORG: Muslims are taking over Europe faster than we realize
REVIEW: "It's a War on Christians": Muslim Persecution of Christians
RELATED: ISIS says it wants to rebuild the Muslim caliphate in Spain
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
Certain learned men have well defined renunciation,
by saying that it is hostility to the body and a fight against the
August 25, 2017
(Rev 7:9-10) After
this, I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne
and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their
hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God,
who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb.
The Last Words Of 25 Catholic Saints
These priests were martyred for refusing to violate the seal of confession
What Did the Saints Say about Islam?
CATHOLIC STANDARD: Communion of saints can intercede for Christian unity, Cardinal says
FR. ED BROOM, OMV: Church Triumphant: Ten Insights into the Saints
EWTN: The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ by Fr. William G. Most
Speaking of full membership in the Church, Pius XII, in his Encyclical
on the Mystical Body, said it is the society of those who have been
baptized, and who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by
their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.
The Church came into being when
Christ died on the Cross, but it was formally inaugurated on Pentecost,
when He sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised. St. Paul speaks of all
Christians as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one
Mystical Body (Cf. 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23;
3:19; 4:13). St. Paul did not use the word Mystical. It was developed
more recently to bring out the fact that this union is unique, there is
no parallel to it. It is not the same as the union of a physical body,
nor that of a business corporation.
The Church, the Mystical Body,
exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its
members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Church
suffering means the souls in Purgatory. The Church triumphant is the
Church in heaven. The unity and cooperation of the members of the
Church on earth, in Purgatory, in Heaven is also called the Communion
of Saints. When St. Paul uses the word "Saints" in opening an Epistle,
he does not mean they are morally perfect. He has in mind Hebrew
qadosh, which means set aside for God, or coming under the covenant.
Being such means of course they are called to moral perfection. But of
course, not all have reached it in this world.
The word "Saint" in the modern
sense means someone who has been canonized by the Church in recent
times, or was accepted as such by the Church in earlier times. If a
person is shown to have practiced heroic virtue--beyond what people in
general do - in all virtues, the title "Venerable" is given; with two
miracles by that one's intercession, the title is "Blessed"; two more
miracles can lead to canonization and the title of Saint.
REVIEW: The Church Triumphant
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
Do not trust that because of abstinence you
will not fall. One who had never eaten was cast from Heaven.
August 23, 2017
I will hear what the Lord God will speak in me: for he will speak peace
unto his people: And unto his saints: and unto them that are converted
to the heart. Surely his salvation is near to them that fear him : that
glory may dwell in our land.
Fr Brian McCoy SJ.:
One of Ignatius’ gifts was to encourage people to be active in the
world but also to be contemplative – people who could enjoy the depths
of silence as much as the heights of social engagement. A tricky
balance. Without this balance of contemplation and action we can easily
become either inwardly self-focussed, even narcissistic, or outwardly
other-focussed and superficial. We can either withdraw from the world
or we get caught up in it. I suspect that, in our ever-busy and
demanding world, the latter becomes the more real possibility. We risk
making quick and impulsive decisions, responses arising out of heat and
emotion. We don’t take enough time to consider with care and to listen
to our deeper spirit selves before responding. I recommend the
quiet and prayerful space of Sevenhill. I know that not everyone can
easily access such a resource. However, it is here to remind us to
treasure space, quiet and silence, to listen to and respect the deeper
movements of our hearts and souls, to respond to the issues of the day
with conviction but calmly and respectfully. The gift of contemplation
enriches those important decisions we need to make.
MARK MALLET BLOG: Fake News, Real Revolution
EXCERPT ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT ADDRESS: What’s next: Catholics, America and a world made new
So what do we do about our situation? How do we live the Gospel
faithfully in such a different new culture? It’s part of our American
DNA to want a well-crafted strategic plan to get the Church back in the
“influence game.” But cultures aren’t corporations or math problems.
They’re living organisms. There’s no quick fix for problems we behaved
ourselves into, and the culture we have is a culture we helped make
with our appetites, distractions and compromises.
The only way to create new life in a culture is to live our lives
joyfully and fruitfully, as individuals ruled by convictions greater
than ourselves and shared with people we know and love. It’s a path
that’s very simple and very hard at the same time. But it’s the only
way to make a revolution that matters.
When young people ask me how to change the world, I tell them to love
each other, get married, stay faithful to one another, have lots of
children, and raise those children to be men and women of Christian
character. Faith is a seed. It doesn’t flower overnight. It takes time
and love and effort. Money is important, but it’s never the most
important thing. The future belongs to people with children, not with
things. Things rust and break. But every child is a universe of
possibility that reaches into eternity, connecting our memories and our
hopes in a sign of God’s love across the generations. That’s what
matters. The soul of a child is forever.
If you want to see the face of Europe in 100 years, barring a miracle,
look to the faces of young Muslim immigrants. Islam has a future
because Islam believes in children. Without a transcendent faith that
makes life worth living, there’s no reason to bear children. And where
there are no children, there’s no imagination, no reason to sacrifice,
and no future. At least six of Europe’s most senior national leaders
have no children at all. Their world ends with them. It’s hard to avoid
a sense that much of Europe is already dead or dying without knowing it.
But here, we still have time. And here, in this room, today, what can we start to do?
Hell has been described in a lot of ways, from a soulless bureaucracy,
to a furnace of fire, to a lake of ice. But I think C.S. Lewis put it
best in one of his novels when he says that hell is noise. If that’s
true, and I think it is, then much of the modern life we share we also
make hellish, by filling it with discord, confusion and noise. Every
day, every one of our choices is a brick in the structure of the heaven
or hell we’re building for ourselves in the next life. And we’ll never
understand that unless we turn off the noise that cocoons us in
consumer anxieties and appetites.
Silence is water in the desert of modern desire. God spoke to Elijah
not in the majesty of a storm but in a small voice heard only in
silence. When Cardinal Robert Sarah writes about “the power of silence”
– his book, The Power of Silence, is terrific by the way; buy it from
Ignatius Press – he reminds us that God renews the world by first
renewing each precious, immortal individual person in the quiet of his
or her soul. God is not absent from the world. We just make it
impossible to hear him. So the first task of the Christian life today
is to unplug, carve out the silence that allows us to listen for God’s
voice, and make room for the conversation we call prayer.
If we don’t pray, we can’t know and love God. C.S. Lewis reminds us
that we’re embodied spirits. Our bodies are part of our prayer. We can
and we should pray anytime and everywhere. But kneeling down in worship
at some point in the day acknowledges that the God of Israel is the God
who made the stars without number. It helps us remember God’s words to
Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job
38:4). Our humility in prayer is an act of justice. Fear of the
Lord – the respect and worship due our Creator – is the beginning of
wisdom. And wisdom, as I said earlier, is the framework of a fully
So we need to create silence. We need to pray. And we need to read –
above all the Word of God, but also history and biographies and great
novels. If we don’t read, we condemn ourselves to chronic stupidity and
a conditioning by mass media that have no sympathy for the things we
believe. Television is not a channel for serious thought. It’s often
just the opposite.
And the internet, for all its advantages, is too often a source of
isolation. The Hulu television series, The Handmaid’s Tale, which is
based on the Margaret Atwood feminist novel, is nominated for 13 Emmy
Awards this year. It’s very well done. It’s also fiercely
anti-religious in its content. The point is: If we fill our heads with
poison and junk, we make ourselves angry and dumb.
Finally, we need to be skeptical about the world, while we also engage
it with our faith. That means vigorously advancing our social
ministries, which are vital expressions of Christian charity. It also
means getting and staying involved politically. We can never build
heaven on earth. But we can make this world at least a little more
loving, free, merciful and just by our actions in the public square.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
Throughout your life, do not trust your body,
and do not rely on it till you stand before Christ.
August 21, 2017
(Gen 1:14-15) And
God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to
divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for
seasons, and for days and years: To shine in the firmament of heaven,
and to give light upon the earth, and it was so done.
SOLAR ECLIPSE LINKS
Eclipse Live Stream
See How the Solar Eclipse Will Look From Anywhere in the U.S.
During Eclipse, 'Your Eye Can Scorch'
CATHOLIC EXCHANGE: Mary and the Great American Solar Eclipse
FR RICHARD HEILMAN: Striking Phenomena During this Centennial Year of Fatima
EXCERPT ALETEIA: The Surprising Liturgical Coincidence of the Solar Eclipse
While the upcoming solar eclipse may not be a sign of the “end times,”
it does occur on a significant day and year of the Church’s liturgical
The eclipse will occur on August 21. The primary feast for this day is
Saint Pius X, a pope who chose the motto “to renew all things in
Christ.” He is most well known for lowering the age of Holy Communion
and said, “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”
Another celebration on August 21 in the Church’s calendar is Our Lady
of Knock. It was on August 21, 1879 that the Virgin Mary appeared to 15
people in a small parish church in Ireland. Three figures appeared,
that of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. Furthermore, a
witness described, “Above the altar and resting on it was a lamb and
around it I saw golden stars, or small brilliant lights, glittering
like jets or glass balls, reflecting the light of some luminous body.”
Additionally, “a farmer in the distance, about half a mile away from
the scene, went out to have a look at his land. He saw something that
attracted his attention; he described what he saw as a large globe of
What’s interesting is that Our Lady of Knock spoke no words as at other
of her appearances. Soon after, cures were reported at the site of the
apparition and Our Lady of Knock is still strengthening the faith of
the Irish and other devotees from around the world.
Last of all the solar eclipse occurs during the year of the 100th
anniversary of Fatima. The famous apparitions of Mary ended with one
last “Miracle of the Sun” that occurred on October 13, 1917. People
describe what they saw that day as the sun “dancing” in the sky; they
were able to gaze at the sun without hurting their eyes. It was a
miracle witnessed by thousands of people.
In Christian symbolism the moon is often seen as a symbol of the Virgin
Mary, since it reflects the light of the sun just as she reflects the
light of the Son of God. At the same time, in Revelation she is
described as, “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet”
All of these events and symbolism can come to mind on Aug. 21 as we
enjoy the eclipse (take the needed precautions to protect your eyes!),
remembering Mary’s role in Salvation History. She is the one in whom we
find refuge in times of trial and who intercedes on our behalf.
A MOMENT WITH MARY: In Knock, the Virgin appeared with Saint Joseph and Saint John
On the rainy Thursday evening of August 21, 1879, at about 9 o'clock in
the evening, at Knock Mhuire (County Mayo, Ireland), Mary McLoughlin,
45, and Mary Byrne, 29, saw a vision of the Virgin at the south gable
of Knock Parish Church. Surprised, the women alerted several others in
the village. Sixteen more people ran to the place and all of them saw
the Virgin for nearly two hours. Those who left and later returned
continued to witness the apparition.
The Virgin stood about two feet from the ground. She was clothed in
white robes with a brilliant crown on her head. She was in an attitude
of prayer. Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist stood at her
side. The witnesses also saw an "altar" with a lamb and a cross.
Although the witnesses standing before the gable were drenched, no rain
fell in the direction of the gable. The apparition was fully silent,
and physical cures followed it.
On the altar, the sacrificial Lamb evokes the sacrifice of Calvary,
made present every day during Mass. Saint John the Evangelist appeared
as a priest, designating Mary present at the foot of the Cross given by
Christ as his Mother to the disciple by the words: "Woman, behold, your
Son." Each one of us is called to become a member of Christ, and to
participate with him and Mary in the mystery of Redemption.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
A fox pretends to be asleep, and the body and
demons pretend to be chaste; the former in order to deceive a bird, and
the latter in order to destroy a soul.
August 18, 2017
(1Ti 4:1-3) Now
the Spirit manifestly saith that in the last times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of
devils, Speaking lies in hypocrisy and having their conscience seared,
Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to
be received with thanksgiving by the faithful and by them that have
known the truth.
“People say for the sake of negative tolerance [i.e. “not offending
anyone”] there must be no crucifix in public buildings. With that we
are basically experiencing the abolition of tolerance, for it means,
after all, that religion, that the Catholic faith is no longer allowed
to express itself visibly.”
EXCERPT CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: Without Christian witness and culture, the West cannot resist Islam
Seventy-nine years ago, the indomitable Hilaire Belloc wrote The Great
Heresies. Within that category, to the amazement of many a reader, he
named Islam. Most commentators tend to regard Islam as a new religion
appearing in the seventh century. Belloc thought otherwise. He
maintained – and demonstrated very convincingly – that Islam is a
heretical spin-off of Christianity. In actuality, the principal
doctrines of Islam are appropriations of Old Testament teachings
assumed into Christianity: the unicity of God, His transcendence, human
immortality, divine justice and mercy. It denies, with a passion, all
the “distinctives” of Christianity because, it seems, the Christians
Mohammed encountered were Nestorians – themselves Christian heretics.
Islamic theology is very simple: easy to understand and easy to
practice. That said, having traveled extensively throughout the Middle
East and North Africa, I must say that the level of theological
ignorance of the average Muslim is even greater than that of the
How did Islam expand so rapidly, especially in Christian strongholds
like North Africa? Belloc puts it succinctly: “It won battles.”
Further, he prognosticated that Europe would become easy prey to
Islamicization because “it has forgotten its nature in forgetting its
religion.” As the European Union was being finalized, Pope John Paul II
pleaded with the leaders to acknowledge – even in a sentence or two –
the Christian roots of Europe. He was roundly ignored. Belloc saw in
this attitude (already in place in his time) a European death wish
which would result in “the return of Islam.” Belloc wasn’t Madame Zelda
on the boardwalk gazing into tea leaves or crystal ball; he was merely
an astute student of history and human nature. I don’t think he would
take delight in saying to his European descendants, “I told you so!”
How else does Islam gain adherents, even suicide bombers? By
highlighting the immorality of the secularized (pagan) West. Abortion,
artificial contraception, same-sex “marriage”, pornography and gender
theory are all abhorrent to “People of the Book” – or should be. Yet
are those not the sacred cows of all liberal western democracies –
constituting “the Great Satan”? As horrifying and despicable as the
various ISIS-inspired attacks are, can we admit that much of what
presents itself as “modern” culture is repugnant to the God of
Revelation? Long before Charlie Hebdo in Paris made the fatal mistake
of caricaturing Mohammed, it had been spewing blasphemies against
Christ and His Church. Just before the massacre in the Paris concert
hall, a Satanic song had been sung. Ariana Grande informed the tween
girls at her concert about her sexploits with her latest boyfriend.
What I am saying is just this: If the Christian witness were strong, coherent and consistent, Islam would not gain a foothold.
Where does all this leave us?
Eastern European countries like Hungary and Poland, castigated by the
EU for supposed insensitivity to immigrants, has shown the way firstly
by strengthening their Christian identity; interestingly, one does not
find jihadist assaults there. Poland’s bishops – and national leaders!
– even rededicated their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
First, Catholics cannot afford to be deluded about the nature of a
religion that almost equals Catholicism in number of worldwide
adherents. While the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra Aetate identifies
points of commonality between Islam and Christianity (as it does
likewise for Judaism and other religions), that irenic presentation
does not pretend to be the full story. Indeed, contrary to the
theologically naive diocesan employee in Florida, there has never been
any “official” teaching of the Church on Islam (or on any other
religion, for that matter). Pick up Belloc’s book for a solid analysis
of Islam, so that you can make an intelligent, informed contribution to
much-needed interreligious conversations; such conversations cannot be
conducted in any worthwhile way when we deal with fantasy, instead of
reality. Another fine work is 111 Questions on Islam: Samir Khalil
Samir S.J. on Islam and the West.
Second, and most importantly, we must do everything possible to return
the secularized West to its Christian roots. That will happen one
believer at a time. Our commitment to a biblical way of life will be
the best response to Islamic extremism. After all, didn’t Our Lord tell
us: “When a strong man, fully arms, guards his own palace, his goods
are in peace” (Lk 11:21)?
CATHOLIC HERALD: Money can’t save German Catholicism
THE CATHOLIC THING: To Convert America
If anyone should want to convert America, or even his friends or
himself, he must risk the death of love. At the present hour we are in
a dark night of the Church. The usual ways are lost. There is little
comfort in the visible Church now. The liturgy, set upon by thieves, is
lying in the ditch; contemplatives are mouthing political slogans in
the streets; nuns have lost their habits along with their virtues,
virgins their virginity, confessors their consciences, theologians
their minds. And, if this is true, it is a “happy chance!” – because
there is absolutely no reason left to be Catholic now except the only
one there ever really was – that in the invisible life of the Church
you will find the love of Christ. But if the Church were lost? That can
never be, because, as St. Peter said, there is a soft and gentle candle
flame like the vigil light that burns beside the Blessed Sacrament, “a
light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star
arise in your hearts.” “Lead, kindly light,” Newman had written:
Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene – one step enough for me.
“On a dark night, kindled in love with yearnings – O happy chance!” said St. John of the Cross.
The greatest need in the Church today is the contemplative life of
monks and nuns. The arguments and public martyrdoms are vain without
the sacrifice of hearts. And what are the arguments and sacrifices for,
except to bring us to the love of God? Apologetic has the mind of
Thomas and the sword of Paul and the heart of them both and all the
saints including, let us hope, the least of us. The spiritual life is
not just for the great saints; it is the ordinary way of salvation.
– from The Death of Christian Culture
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
He who drives away this dog by prayer is like
is like someone fighting with a lion; he who subdues it by resistance
someone still pursuing his enemy; but he who has once for all reduced
assault to nothing, even though he is still in the flesh, is as one who
has already risen from his coffin.
August 15, 2017
(Luk 1:46-49) And
Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his
handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me
blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and
holy is his name.
In her assumption Mary bridges for us our earthly and heavenly reality.
Saint John Paul II affirmed also that “Mary contributes in a special
way to the union of the pilgrim Church on earth, with the
eschatological and heavenly reality of the Communion of Saints, since
she has already been ‘assumed into heaven’” (Redemptoris Mater, 44).
Mary, as Mother of the Church, is for us a sign of hope and a source of
solace that the promise of eternal life is real, that the journey of
this life will end for those who are faithful in the joy of heaven (see
Lumen Gentium, 69).
DR. ROBERT STACKPOLE, STD: The Case for the Assumption of Mary
THE SHIELD OF FAITH: Padre Pio's Tribute to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
BISHOP TOBIN: Mary's Assumption: A Sign of Hope
EXCERPT VATICAN RADIO:
Pope Pius XII based his declaration of the Assumption on both tradition
and theology. The uninterrupted tradition in the Eastern Churches
starting from the first century, the apocryphal first century book,
Transitus Mariae, and the writings of the early Fathers of the Church,
such as St. Gregory and St. John Damascene, supported and promoted the
popular belief in the Assumption of Mary. There is a tomb at the foot
of the Mt. of Olives where ancient tradition says that Mary was laid.
But there is nothing inside. There are no relics, as there are with the
other saints. This is acceptable negative evidence of Mary’s
Assumption. In addition, credible apparitions of Mary, though not
recorded in the New Testament, have been recorded from the 3rd century
In his decree on the Dogma of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII gives four theological reasons to support this traditional belief.
#1: The degeneration or decay of the body after death is the result of
original sin. However, since, through a special intervention of God,
Mary was born without original sin, it is not proper that God would
permit her body to degenerate in the tomb. In other words, at the first
moment of her life, by a very special privilege of God, Mary was
preserved free from the stain of sin. At the last moment, by another
very special privilege she was preserved free from the corruption of
#2: Since Mary was given the fullness of grace, Heaven is the proper
place for this sinless mother of Jesus. Hence, unlike other saints, Our
Lady is in Heaven not only with her soul but also with her glorified
#3: Mary was our co-redeemer, or fellow-redeemer, with Christ in a
unique sense. Hence, her rightful place is with Christ our Redeemer in
Heavenly glory. (The term co-redeemer or co-redemptrix means
"cooperator with the Redeemer.” This is what St. Paul meant when he
said, "We are God's co-workers" I Cor 3:9.). Hence, it is “fitting”
that she should be given the full effects of the Redemption, the
glorification of the soul and the body.
#4: In the Old Testament, we read that the prophet Elijah was taken
into Heaven in a fiery chariot. Thus, it appears natural and possible
that the mother of Jesus would also be taken into Heaven. The Mother of
God was conceived without original sin. Consequently, she did not have
to wait, like the rest of us, for the resurrection on the last day.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
Let no one thoroughly trained in purity attribute
its attainment to himself. For it is impossible for anyone to conquer
own nature. When nature is defeated, it should be recognized that this
is due to the presence of Him who is above nature. For beyond all
the weaker gives way to the stronger.
Dr. Zambrano Home
2000: Bringing the World to Jesus
Tribulation Times Archives:
USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the
use of which
has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest
in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes. For more detailed information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of
your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain
permission from the copyright owner.