Keep your eyes open!...


December 21, 2007   




Nuclear- arms proliferation, environmental pollution and economic inequality are threats to world peace - but so are abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage, Pope Benedict XVI said in a his message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace.

“The Human Family, a Community of Peace” is this year’s papal message for the World Day of Peace, which will be observed Jan. 1.

Presenting the nuclear family as the “first and indispensable teacher of peace” and the “primary agency of peace,” the 15-page document links sexual and medical ethics to international relations.

“Everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of new life ... constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace,” Benedict writes.

Regarding actual military conflicts, the pope laments African civil wars and violence in the Middle East.

Condemning what he describes as a global “arms race,” Benedict calls for a “progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons.” In his message, the pope also endorses greater cooperation on environmental protection, writing that “further international agencies may need to be established” for the purpose. He also calls for an “equitable distribution of wealth” in a globalized world.

Cardinal George: Pope's Peace Message Is "Urgent"

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

6. It is worth investigating why those who live in the world and spend their life in vigils, fasts, labours and hardships, when they withdraw from the world and begin the monastic life, as if at some trial or on the practising ground, no longer continue the discipline of their former spurious and sham asceticism. I have seen how in the world they planted many different plants of the virtues, which were watered by vainglory as by an underground sewage pipe, and were hoed by ostentation, and for manure were heaped with praise. But when transplanted to a desert soil, inaccessible to people of the world and so not manured with the foul-smelling water of vanity, they withered at once. For water-loving plants are not such as to produce fruit in hard and arid training fields.

December 20, 2007   

(Luke 2:7) And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. 

LINK: Christmas, Anti-Christ and Catholic triumphalism- Recent attacks against Christmas are nothing new - the Church has been defending Christmas against a concerted, diabolical attack for almost 2,000 years


The beautiful custom of setting up mangers to commemorate the birth of the Infant Jesus was started by Saint Francis of Assisi.

It was the year 1223. Saint Francis went to Rome to obtain from Pope Honorius III authorization to celebrate Christmas in a totally new way. Saint Francis chose a forest in the vicinity of the village of Grecio, in the region of Umbria, not too far from Rome, where a good friend of his lived, the noble Giovanni Velita.

About 15 days before Christmas, Saint Francis said to him: “If you want to celebrate the feast of the Divine birth in Grecio make haste to prepare what I indicate to you.

“So that we can properly remember the circumstances in which the Divine Child was born and all the inconveniences he endured as he lay in the manger on straw between an ox and an ass, I would like to re-create this in a palpable way, as if I had seen it with my own eyes.” Many religious and the residents of Grecio and the surrounding area were all invited for this special commemoration. Just before midnight, the Franciscan friars went in procession to the spot chanting the antiphons of Advent. They were accompanied by the villagers who carried flaming torches.

The wind blew strongly and the light of the torches projected their flickering shadows on the dense forest. However, in the clearance where the crib had been set-up, there reigned an ambience of sacrality and peace; only the cold was a nuisance.

When the village bell of Grecio began to toll midnight, a priest began to celebrate Mass. The altar had been placed in front of the crib with the ox and ass on either side. A beautiful full-size statue of the Child Jesus rested on the straw.

As is well known, Saint Francis never wanted to be ordained a priest out of humility. Because of this, as deacon, it was his duty to solemnly sing the Gospel of that Christmas Mass.

After the reading of the Gospel, all waited attentively to hear the sermon that Saint Francis himself gave on the grandeurs and mercies of the Savior of the human race, who that night was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Saint Francis spoke words with a supernatural sweetness about the poverty in which the God-man was born and about the insignificant city of Bethlehem. It is difficult to imagine the fiery love that the sweet, clear, and sonorous voice of Saint Francis produced in the hearts of those privileged to hear him.

At the end of his sermon, Saint Francis bent over to kiss the statue of the Divine Child. At this moment a miracle took place that only he and Giovanni Velita saw. The statue became alive. It was as if it had been woken from a profound sleep with Saint Francis’s kiss, and then the Child Jesus smiled at Saint Francis.

At the consecration, when the bread and wine truly become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Saint Francis was able to contemplate the Messiah in two ways: in the form of the Holy Eucharist and laying in the manger.

At the end of the solemn midnight Mass, and after having incensed the manger, the friars returned to Grecio and the villagers to their homes. Everyone was full of supernatural joy.

The veracity of this event can be certified by the sanctity of the one who experienced it, as well as by the miracles that happened afterwards. The straw from the manger was carefully kept by the people and was an efficacious remedy to miraculously cure sick animals and an antidote against many other diseases.

This devout and hitherto unknown institution of the manger was enthusiastically received by the faithful. Saint Clare of Assisi established it in her convents. Every year she set-up the manger herself.

The Franciscan friars also spread this custom far and wide. Whether composed of figurines artistically carved from clay, porcelain, or wood, the crib became the very symbol of Christmas.

From the majestic cathedral to the simplest rural chapel, from the palace or mansion to the humblest abode, Catholics worldwide, since that time, have had the pious custom of setting up a manger. In this way they repeat the custom that Providence inspired from the seraphic Saint Francis of Assisi in the remote year of 1223.

VIA THE PHILIPPINES:  Symbols of Christmas

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

5. Having resolved to run our race with ardour and fervour, let us consider carefully how the Lord gave judgment concerning all living in the world, speaking of even those who are alive as dead, when He said to someone: Leave those in the world who are dead to bury the dead in body. His wealth did not in the least prevent the young man from being baptized. And so it is in vain that some say that the Lord commanded him to sell what he had for the sake of baptism. This story is more than sufficient to give us the most firm assurance of the surpassing glory of our vow.

December 19, 2007   

(Luke 2:9-11) And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Prepare for the coming of the Lord, since those who know the joy of that hope, know it does not disappoint, so renewed, they should pray for peace in the parts of the world in conflict, for all our brothers, especially children, who can benefit from the gift of peace, which we all need."


Even Christmas joy can be “wrong” if it is a joy which originates in a culture where “happiness is an idol”, instead of that joy of hope found in the Saviours’ birth. This Sunday is known as “gaudete” Sunday” or the Sunday of “rejoicing” and it offered Benedict XVI the opportunity to reflect on the Christian sense of the season leading up to Christmas.

“The mystery of Bethlehem – the Pope told the 30 thousand people present in St Peter’s square for the Angelus prayer – reveals God –among-us–, the God who is near to us, not only in the sense of time or place; he is near to us because he “married” our humanity; he took our condition on, choosing to be like us in every way, except in sin, so that we could become like Him. Christian joy therefore, lies in this certainty: God is at hand, is with me, in joy and sorrow, in sickness and in health, like a friend and faithful spouse. This joy remains even in the face of trials and sorrow, but not only on the surface, it is a joy that lies in the deepest innermost heart of he person who entrusts himself to God and confides in Him”.

“Some – he continued – ask themselves: but is this joy still possible today? The answer is given, with their very lives, by men and women of every age and social condition, happy to consecrate their existence to others. Was blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta not perhaps the best example of this true evangelical joy, in our times? She lived in daily contact with misery, human degradation, death. Her soul knew the trial of the dark nights of the faith, and yet she gifted God’s smile to all”. Benedict XVI then quoted a phrase of Mother Theresa, where she used to say: “We wait impatiently for Heaven, where God is, but it is in our power to know heaven even here on earth in this very moment. Being happy with God means: loving like Him, helping like Him, giving like Him, and serving like Him”.

“Joy – repeated the Pope – enters the hearts of those who put themselves at the service of the smallest and poorest. God resides in those who love in this way, and he animates them with joy. If instead happiness is made an idol, then the road to true joy, the joy of which Christ speaks, is impossible to find. Unfortunately this is the proposition of cultures which place individual happiness in the place of God, a mentality which finds its emblematic effects in the search for pleasure at all costs, in the spreading of the use of drugs as an escape, a refuge in an artificial paradise, which reveals it to be just an illusion. Dear brothers and sisters, even at Christmas you can make a wrong turn, and mistake the real feast with that which does not open hearts to the joy of Christ”.

RELATED: Prayers and Customs of Christmas and Advent

LINK: Christmas Carol Has Special Meaning

IN THE NEWS: War on Christmas Continues says Catholic League

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

4. Let us listen to what the Lord said to the young man who had fulfilled nearly all the commandments: 'One thing though lackest: sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor and become a beggar who receives alms from others'.

December 18, 2007   

(Rom 10:15) And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things?

Vatican defends duty to evangelize and accept converts

The Vatican on Friday published a doctrinal note highlighting the need for believers to evangelize to non-Catholics, denouncing a "growing confusion" on the subject.

At the same time it stressed the importance of not using "undue pressure" in seeking to spread the word of the gospel.

"There is today a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective," the document endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI said.

The Vatican reminded believers that Christianity has always involved evangelization to non-Christians, even at the price of martyrdom. Non-Catholic Christians should also be welcomed into the Church, it said.

"The Church's missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify pluralism...," it said.

The document also said that "this perspective naturally requires the avoidance of any undue pressure."

"To lead a person's intelligence and freedom in honesty to the encounter with Christ and his Gospel is not an inappropriate encroachment, but rather a legitimate endeavor and a service," it said.



COMMENTARY: Why Mission?

Every person on earth has right to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Everyone deserves an opportunity to respond to it, and the freedom to accept or reject it.

Every Christian has a duty, not to impose our belief on others, but to proclaim our faith through our words, actions and lives.

The Spirit invites us to listen to the poor, the powerless, the oppressed, even to those of different or no faith, and to hear what God is saying to us through them.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

3. After our renunciation of the world, the demons suggest to us that we should envy those living in the world who give alms and console [the needy], and be sorry for ourselves as deprived of these virtues. The aim of our foes is, by false humility, either to make us return to the world, or, if we remain monks, to plunge us into despair. It is possible to belittle those living in the world out of conceit; and it is also possible to disparage them behind their backs in order to avoid despair and to obtain hope.

December 14, 2007  


(Eph 1:9-10) 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 fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.


A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (I)

While the Blessed Virgin was on earth, all Israel was awaiting "the One to come"

When she was a little child, the Virgin Mary waited, in the midst of her people Israel, for the coming of the Messiah, who had been heralded not just by only one prophet, but by a long succession of men who, as time went by over the centuries, foretold and kept adding to previous prophecies. She waited in the midst of a small nation, tossed by history, which had survived every confrontation with the empires surrounding it and which was to remain the only nation that was able to resist the break-up of the ancient world and to preserve its identity intact. Israel always held on to the unshakeable knowledge that it was destined to be the instrument of divine providence and have a global significance. The time of the Messiah's coming, clearly yet mysteriously heralded by the prophets, was constantly sought. And this period of expectancy and fulfillment had become so clearly defined and precise at this particular moment in history, that more than 100 Messianic candidates had been identified by the historians. "As the people were in expectation" (Lk 3:15) when John the Baptist appeared, they all asked him, "Are you He who is to come, or shall we look for another?" (Lk 7:19).

This was an absolutely unique period in history, and, according to many experts, this singular aspect of Christianity is, of itself, sufficient to set it apart in the religious history of the world.

A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (II)

"The scepter shall not pass from Judah until tribute be brought him"

The first of the prophecies foretelling the coming of the Messiah is found in Genesis (Gen 49:1-10) when Jacob, the son of Isaac, blesses his son before his death. "Gather round, so that I can tell you what is in store for you in the final days." And he continues, "The scepter shall not pass from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute be brought him and the peoples render him obedience." This passage which has always had Messianic significance for the exegetes of Israel, took on new significance at the time of the Blessed Virgin, after Herod 1st had been made King of Judea, bringing to an end the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty.

From then on, the Jews of Israel would be governed by an Edomite, the son of a Nabatean woman, who came from an Arabian tribe; even though he had converted officially to Judaism, Herod was a friend of the Romans. Judea thus became a vassal province of Rome and remained so until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. When Octavius confirmed Herod 1st as the King of Judea, Samaria, Idumea and Galilee, also offering him the Golan plateau and the cities bordering the Mediterranean which he had been formerly compelled to give to Cleopatra, an earthquake struck Jerusalem and claimed 10,000 victims. With the accession of Herod 1st, authority passed to the Romans and the sign presaging the coming of the Messiah was fulfilled because the scepter had left Judea for good. Thus the Jews could now quite rightly reply to Pilate at Christ's trial, "We have no king except Caesar" (Jn 19:15).

A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (III)

“In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” The second important prophecy foretelling the time of the Messiah’s coming could be found in the last book of the Old Testament, Daniel, which, by the time of the Virgin Mary, had already been put together and read in that form for two centuries. In Chapter 2, the book recounts the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in which he sees a stone shattering a great statue made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay. The king is troubled and cannot sleep until Daniel is able to interpret it correctly for him: “After you another kingdom inferior to you shall arise; and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, (...) shall it break in pieces and crush…” (...) “As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.” (...) “In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty of it be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever…” (...) “The great God has made known to the king what shall happen hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation of it sure” (Dan 2:39-45).

Now, after Nebuchadnezzar came the Persians aided by the Medes, then the Greeks who, under Alexander, dominated the whole earth, then the Romans, who by means of iron, reduced all their adversaries to dust, until, in the first century, Israel was divided between the iron of Rome and the clay of Herod. The stone which was to break the statue was to become a huge mountain that would fill the whole earth. The humble Virgin, mother of Our Lord, perhaps had an inkling of the lowly beginnings of this Messianic kingdom which “would never be destroyed and would remain forever” - reflecting, like Blaise Pascal who was to write about the prophecy of the little stone that became a mountain, “It was foretold that Jesus Christ was to have lowly beginnings and would grow in stature.”


A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (IV)
A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (V)
A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (VI)
A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (VII)
A Time of Waiting Unique in World History (VIII)

Source: Jesus Hypotheses by Vittorio Messori, Saint Paul Pubns. (1978)

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

2. After our call, which comes from God and not man, we have left all that is mentioned above, and it is a great disgrace for us to worry about anything that cannot help us in the hour of our need, that is to say, the hour of our death. For as the Lord said, this means looking back and not being fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Knowing how fickle we novices are, and how easily we turn to the world through visiting, or being with, worldly people, when someone asked Him: 'Suffer me first to go and bury my father,' our Lord replied, 'Let the dead bury their dead.

December 13, 2007   

(John 20:22-23) When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

Few Confessions- Sacrament's Decline Has Church's Attention

"The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light." — St. Augustine 

When he was a freshly ordained Catholic priest at Christmastime 49 years ago, the Rev. Henry Cody recalled the long lines for confession at his former parish in Naugatuck. Priests took confessions for three days.

"I remember the senior curate saying he wanted to make sure and wish me a Merry Christmas 'because this may be the last time you have any Christmas spirit,'" said Cody, now pastor of the Church of St. Timothy in West Hartford, laughing. "It was hour after hour after hour. It's not that way anymore."

Advent and Lent draw more people to confession than the regular Saturday afternoon sessions during the rest of the year, but many never go at all. Across the country in the past several decades, the number of Catholics who confess their sins and seek God's forgiveness — formally known as the sacrament of reconciliation, or penance — has dropped dramatically.

A Georgetown University study in 2005 found that 42 percent of Catholics didn't go to confession, a steep decline from the early 1980s, when "The Notre Dame Study of Catholic Life Since Vatican II" found that 26 percent of Catholics didn't go.

Various reasons for the slide have been offered. Some Catholic leaders and theologians say a softer stance on the sacrament since Vatican II, the 1960s reform council, convinced some Catholics that the sacrament was not necessary. Others point to the sexual abuse scandals that have tainted priests throughout the country, or to a perception that confession is perfunctory and trivial.

Connecticut priests say they've seen the decline here, but most say the main reason isn't Vatican II, abusive clergy or anything else but the loss of moral responsibility in a permissive and selfish culture that has smothered the sense of sin.

"We are last to blame ourselves and quick to blame others," said the Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman for the Hartford Archdiocese. "That's probably one of the reasons we've experienced a decrease, because human nature being what it is, we don't want to accept personal responsibility.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Bishops Want to End The Confession Crisis


CATHOLIC ONLINE: An Examination of Conscience

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

1 (cont.). But having shaken off all ties with earthly things and having stripped himself of all his cares, and having come to hate even his own flesh, and having stripped himself of everything, he will follow Christ without anxiety or hesitation, always looking Heavenward and expecting help from there, according to the word of the saint: My soul hath cleaved after Thee; and according to the other ever-memorable man who said: I have not wearied of following Thee, or have I desired the day or rest of man, O Lord.

December 12, 2007   


Today the statue of "Divine Motherhood" stands on the Guadalupe River in Spain. From 711-1326 it was lost. In 1326 Our Lady appeared, and the statue was found in a cave on the Guadalupe (Wolf ) River. A shrine and monastery was built. The monastery is called the Royal Monastery of Guadalupe. It houses the statue of "Divine Motherhood".

It was there, that Columbus, and the Franciscan Friars, who sailed with him to America, prayed.

It was also there, that Cortez and the 12 Franciscan Friars, who sailed with him to the Americas, prayed.

When Juan Diego in 1531 was told by Our Lady on Tepeyac, The Hill to the pagan Mother God , to tell the Spanish Bishop that she wished her image to be called "de Guadalupe", we can certainly see what a confirmation he must have received.

The impossible task of conversion of the Aztec Nation was accomplished through this image of Guadalupe, with the conversion of 3000 people a day for 8 years. ( That was 9 Million conversions) . This was the most monumental conversion in all of Christian History.


LINK: Our Lady of Guadalupe versus the Culture of Death

MORE: Could Islam be conquered not by the sword but by a river of love?

OPINION:  Her message to the bishop was that God’s church should be built out on the fringes of society, amidst the poor and the downtrodden. The vision challenged the powerful conquerors, the Spaniards of Mexico City, to change their way of thinking and acting. It challenged them to move out from their position of power and influence to the periphery; to leave their magnificent cathedral and build God’s house in Tepeyac – among the poor and the despised, away from the center of power and culture and education and the arts.

Guadalupe is a "vision" story and, like all such stories, tells us something about God and something about ourselves. More precisely, it tells us how God wants to be among us. St. Juan Diego’s vision of where God wants to be or whom we should listen to should come as no surprise to us. Throughout history, God has consistently chosen to be with poor people. In that respect, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s message to St. Juan Diego at Guadalupe is a restatement of Jesus’ mission: That God is in those who are hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, naked, sick, stranger, and suffering. The challenge for us is to heed the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the message of Christ’s Gospel, and reach out to those who belong to the margins of our society.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 2- "On Detachment"

1. The man who really loves the Lord, who has made a real effort to find the future Kingdom, who is really pained by his sins, who is really mindful of eternal torment and judgment, who really lives in fear of his own departure, will not love, care or worry about money, or possessions, or parents, or worldly glory, or friends, or brothers or anything at all on earth.

December 11, 2007   

(Mat 24:12) And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.

LINK: Pope Laments Christmas Consumerism

LINK: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Less Like Christmas

COMMENTARY EXCERPT: One day I saw a commercial by Hyundai, the car manufacturer. The ad featured people singing holiday songs but substituting the words with "Duh". Apparently, if you're thinking of a new car, well, duh, of course you should get a Hyundai. The singers, wearing robes like a choir, formed a circle and in the middle was the focus of their adoration...a Hyundai vehicle. Then the camera focused on a bearded man holding a lamb, clearly meant to be Jesus paying homage to the car.

A few days later I saw another commercial, this one by the company that operates Stone Mountain Park just outside Atlanta, Georgia. The ad was filed with pictures of colored lights, festive scenes, candy canes, happy children, and multiple shots of a jolly Santa Claus in his bright red suit. As the music rose to a climax, the narrator spoke the following words, "Come and see what Christmas is really about."

My third experience involved a movie due out soon called The Golden Compass. It's about a strange world and a child of destiny come to rid it of the domination of those who determine what others can believe. Though heavily marketed for children, the story is a combination of fantasy and social satire created to make a point. The author of the original books has made it clear what that point is, saying he was "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief" and later, "My books are about killing God."

These experiences have bothered me a great deal. The Hyundai commercial depicts Jesus worshipping their vehicle. The Stone Mountain commercial subtly tells us Jesus is not the reason for the season. New Line Cinema develops a movie based on a message intended as an attack on Christianity. All three occur specifically and intentionally during the very season the vast majority of Christians have set aside to honor and proclaim the birth of Christ. Do you believe these result from mere coincidence? I do not.

RELATED: Red Bull pulls nativity ad

CATHOLIC RESPONSE: Imitating the three Magi this Christmas

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 1- "On Renunciation of the World"

14. Some build bricks upon stones. Others set pillars on the bare ground. And there are some who go a short distance and, having got their muscles and joints warm, go faster. Whoever can understand, let him understand this allegorical word.

December 8, 2007   


PRAYER OF POPE JOHN PAUL II (December 8, 2003):

Queen of peace, pray for us!

Our gaze is directed toward you in great fear, to you do we turn with ever-more insistent faith in these times marked by many uncertainties and fears for the present and future of our planet. Together we lift our confident and sorrowful petition to you, the first fruit of humanity redeemed by Christ, finally freed from the slavery of evil and sin: hear the cry of the pain of victims of war and so many forms of violence that bloody the earth. Clear away the darkness of sorrow and worry, of hate and vengeance. Open up our minds and hearts to faith and forgiveness!

Mother of mercy and hope: Help every human being of every race and culture to find and embrace Jesus, who came to earth in the mystery of Christmas to give us 'His' peace. Mary, Queen of peace, give us Christ, true peace in the world!

What instructive meaning has the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin for every Catholic?

The Immaculate Conception teaches Catholics to know in some measure the infinite sanctity of the holy Trinity which makes sin so hateful and detestable to Him. The Heavenly Father could not see His beloved daughter for one moment stained by sin. The Divine Son could not ' wish to choose for His mother a virgin upon whose soul there was a vestige of sin. The Holy Ghost whose most pure bride Mary is, was not willing that her heart, His dwelling-place, should ever be for one instant soiled by sin. Behold how God detests sin!

The Immaculate Conception also teaches us the inestimable treasure of sanctifying grace. Mary received this priceless treasure from God even in the first moment of her conception, without it she would never have become the Mother of the Saviour. Thou, my Christian, hadst not this treasure at thy conception, it is true, but thou didst receive it in holy baptism; there God's hand arrayed thee in the white garment of innocence; there He sanctified thy soul, and the Holy Ghost selected it for His dwelling-place. Mary preserved this inestimable treasure until death, she was always blooming as a pure lily, the breath of sin never soiled her loveliness. Ask thyself: Do I still possess this treasure, which was given to me in holy baptism; have I preserved my soul's beauty from the poison of sin, have I soiled it, destroyed it, lost it? Oh, if thou hast lost this precious gift, how unhappy art thou! if thou hast had this great misfortune to have stained thy garment of baptismal innocence by sin, Mary, the peerless virgin, has borne for thee the Saviour whose precious blood cleanses from every sin, whose infinite merits will restore to thee sanctifying grace, if thou art contrite and dost confess thy sin. But for the Saviour this treasure would be forever lost to thee, and thy soul forever forfeited. But for this Saviour Mary would not have been preserved from original sin, would not have received sanctifying grace at her conception.

We can here learn the necessity cf salvation through Christ, gratefully thank God who has given it to us, and praise Mary who had the grace to conceive and give birth to Him. In the Immaculate Conception, O Christian, thou canst learn to know something of the priceless value of virginity. Jesus chose a pure and immaculate virgin for His mother, who should be the mirror of all virginal souls, her most pure and immaculate image should be continually presented to the corrupted world to show how virginity is esteemed in the eyes of our Lord.

Ephesus: The feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary's house


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 1- "On Renunciation of the World"

13. The man who renounces the world from fear is like burning incense, that begins with fragrance but ends in smoke. He who leaves the world through hope of reward is like a millstone, that always moves in the same way. But he who withdraws from the world out of love for God has obtained fire at the very outset; and, like fire set to fuel, it soon kindles a larger fire.

December 7, 2007  

(Gen 3:15) I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall cursh thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

: The Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart by Thomas J. Euteneuer

Michael J. Coppi: The Triumph of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a war of Holy against Evil by Paul Martina

I was in the military for many years. I am now in the Militia Imaculata. I have been in wonder at the lack of understanding of the messages of Father Gobbi, and other seers regarding the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I know I think in a militaristic fashion but this is a battle of good and evil so just bare with me and I will eventually get to the point.

During the late 80s and all of the 90's many people were called back to a life of grace in the Roman Catholic Church. It's as if a grace bomb went off. Many people were awakened from a sleeping life of complacency.

The messages to the world from heaven seemed to increase in dramatic proportion. More and more people started to say the Rosary, go to confession, and return to the Eucharist. Consecration of your life to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus and the Holy Spirit increased in dramatic proportions, only heaven knows the exact number of souls that set themselves aside for a holy purpose.

If you are going to war many preparations must be completed. Equipment must be manufactured, troops trained, logistics for supplies must be carefully planned. If we look at history most wars were lost on pure logistics. No supplies and no food, you can't fight for long. Our country has a great logistical dependency on Oil in the middle east for example.

Logistics of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Grace!

But let's examine that simple word in greater detail.

Jesus Christ has delegated the crushing of the head of the serpent to his mother. Why? Because He loves her.

Mary has asked for all of her children to participate in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Why? Because she loves us.

God will assist us when we pray? Of course, but God will also always honor our free will, so there are some conditions to this assistance.

1. We must be in the state of grace. We cannot receive grace if we are not in the "state of grace". Confession and repentance.

2. We must ask for the grace. God does not just want us to drop him a telegraph, He wants a real relationship and for us to truly understand that we depend on Him for grace. He wants us to continually ask for grace.
There are some events we can do with God that have extremely special meaning to Him. These He has deemed will call on special graces (Attend Mass, pray the Rosary, etc...). These are battleships of grace.

3. We can turn up the spicket of grace by our Consecration to Him through the Blessed Virgin Mary. A good soldier does what his sargent says. No soldier has been accused on treason for obedience of a lawful order. We can not be accused of not doing what God wants by listening to His mother.
She will always do the will of the Chief and Commander of Heaven. We do His will by listening to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Turn up the spicket of grace by becoming a Mamma's Boy!

So what? Well now I will finally get to the point.

The Triumph of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a war of Holy against Evil.

The logistics include the prayers of those in the state of grace calling down the assistance of God for this battle. Mary has already accomplished may parts for this battle.

1. Establish the supply lines. (The conversion of many during the 80's and
90's back to the state of grace)

2. Recruit and train troops. (The messages from Heaven calling us back to confession, rosary and the Eucharist).

3. Repair for battle. (Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.. The sargent that every troop should follow over the hill.)

People that are looking a MMP and say "Where is the Triumph?" Don't understand it, yet... but they will.... time I will give you a reflections on the events and how they relate to the Triumph and Chastisements and why these event will happen together.

LINK: Pope Highlights Mary as Solemnity Nears

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 1- "On Renunciation of the World"

12. When the soul betrays itself and loses the blessed and longed-for fervour, let it carefully investigate the reason for losing it. And let it arm itself with all its longing and zeal against whatever has caused this. For the former fervour can return only through the same door through which it was lost.

December 6, 2007   

(Mat 28:19-20) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Father Alex Roque, OMI:  When I think of England, I usually thing of the Anglican Church, forgetting that our Catholic Church is very much present in that Island Nation and I know that ministry there is not easy at all.

In fact, the Oblates, back in 2004, began a new type of temporary mission there which we called “Mission to Secularity” because of the problems that the Church has been experiencing there and by request of the English Bishops. As a result of the study and mission there (their work lasted 3 years) we are implementing permanent missions in various parts of the world. That mission in Birmingham, England will become a permanent mission with a whole new group of OMI's is being assigned. Here in the US, our first center will be some place in the Pacific Coast (it has been narrowed down, among others, to Seattle Washington or San Francisco, California)... both places noted for their ‘liberal and materialistic’ attitudes to life. I kept telling them that one good place here will be South Beach... since we are loosing our young people to all that secularist culture... they are not ready for them yet, I guess!

William, do keep these missionaries in your prayers -- One of them, my seminary brother and one of my best friends who wanted me to join them in this endeavor whose name is Fr. John Ettensohn, OMI. He has an interesting background which included working as News Anchorman to a TV Station in Sioux City (Iowa), Multimedia Director for the OMI US Province in St. Louis (MO), Pastor of a large parish in St. Paul, MN, 'Itinerant Mission Preacher’ throughout the US and Retreat Master in one of our largest Retreat Houses in Buffalo, MN. I know, because of this very diverse background, John will be one fantastic missionary and will make the difference to begin a difference to our US Culture!

RELATED: Available to be sent-  Fr. John Ettensohn, OMI

MORE FROM THE OBLATES: Missionaries gather here to discuss their role


Catholic Navy chaplain shares story of Iraqi conversion
Mission is sustained by education and charity
Pray the Rosary going house to house, Archbishop Evarist Pinto
Future of the Catholic Church in Cumbria

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 1- "On Renunciation of the World"

11. To lag in the fight at the very outset of the struggle and thereby to furnish a token of our coming slaughter is a very hateful and dangerous thing. A firm beginning will certainly  be useful for us when we later grow slack. A soul that is strong at first, but then relaxes, is spurred on by the memory of its former zeal. And in this way new wings are often obtained.

December 5, 2007   

(Mat 5:9) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


Pope Benedict XVI has replied to a letter from Muslim scholars, stressing the need for dialogue between Islam and Christianity and saying he would be willing to meet Muslim representatives, the Vatican said Thursday.

The pope expressed "deep appreciation for this gesture, for the positive spirit which inspired the text (of the letter) and for the call for a common commitment to promoting peace in the world."

The October letter by 138 Muslim scholars urges Christian and Muslims to develop their common ground of belief in one God. Among those signing were Muslim leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Europe and the United States.

"Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God," the pope said in his reply, which was sent via the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

"Such common ground allows us to base dialogue on effective respect for the dignity of every human person, on objective knowledge of the religion of the other, on the sharing of religious experience and, finally, on common commitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance among the younger generation," Benedict said.

The message said the pope was confident that cooperation would then become possible in such areas as culture and the promotion of justice and peace.

MORE: Pope invites Muslim scholars to visit Vatican

RELATED: Christians, Muslims and justpeace in the Philippines

PAPAL NUNCIO: World cannot be at peace if Muslims, Christians are not

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 1- "On Renunciation of the World"

10. Those who enter this contest must renounce all things, despise all things, deride all things, and shake off all things, that they may lay a firm foundation. A good foundation of three layers and three pillars is innocence, fasting, and temperance. Let all babes in Christ begin with these virtues, taking as their model the natural babes. For you never find them in anything sly or deceitful. They have no insatiate appetite, no insatiable stomach, no body on fire, or raging like a beast; but perhaps as they grow, in proportion as they take more food, their natural passions also increase.

December 4, 2007   

Pope: Advent, Christ’s hope stronger than science


Catholic call for prodigals' return
Catholic women expand 'Merry Christmas' message
Christmas Season and Sunday Shopping


Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's The Church's Year
Originally published in German in 1880. Re-published in 1999 by Sarto House

What is the meaning of Advent, and what do we understand by the term?

The word Advent signifies coming, and by it is understood the visible coming of the Son of God into this world, at two different times.

It was when the Son of God, conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the immaculate Virgin Mary, was born, according to the flesh, in the fullness of time, and sanctified the world by His coming, for which the patriarchs and prophets had so longed (Gen. 49:10; Is. G4:1; Lk. 10:24).

Since Christ had not yet come, how could the Just of the Old Law be saved?

Immediately after their sin, God revealed to our first parents that His only-begotten Son would become man and redeem the world (Gen. 3:15). In the hope of this Redeemer and through His merits, all in the old covenant who participated in His merits by innocence or by penance, and who died in the grace of God, were saved, although they were excluded from heaven until the Ascension of Christ.

When will the second coming of Christ take place?

At the end of the world when Christ will come, with great power and majesty, to judge both the living and the dead.

What is Advent, and why has the Church instituted it?

Advent is that solemn time, immediately preceding Christmas, instituted by the Church in order that we should, in the first place, meditate on the Incarnation of Christ, the love, patience and humility which He has shown us, and prove our gratitude to Him, because He came from the bosom of His heavenly Father into this valley of tears, to redeem us; secondly, that we may prepare ourselves by sincere repentance, fasting, prayer, alms-deeds, and other works pleasing to God, for the coming of Christ and His birth in our hearts, and thus participate in the graces which He has obtained for us; finally, that He may be merciful to us, when He shall come again as judge of the world. "Watch ye, for ye know not at what hour your Lord will come" (Mt. 5:42). "Wherefore be you also ready; because at what hour you know not, the Son of man will come" (Mt. 24:44).

How was Advent formerly observed?

Very differently from now. It then commenced with the Feast of St. Martin, and was observed by the faithful like the Forty Days' Fast, with strict penance and devotional exercises, as even now most of the religious communities do to the present day. The Church has forbidden all turbulent amusements, weddings, dancing and concerts, during Advent. Pope Sylverius ordered that those who seldom receive Holy Communion should, at least, do so on every Sunday in Advent.

How should this solemn time be spent by Christians?

They should recall, during these four weeks, the four thousand years in which the just under the Old Law expected and desired the promised Redeemer, think of those days of darkness in which nearly all nations were blinded by satan and drawn into the most horrible crimes, then consider their own sins and evil deeds and purify their souls from them by a worthy reception of the Sacraments, so that our Lord may come with His grace to dwell in their hearts and be merciful to them in life and in death. Further, to awaken in the faithful the feelings of repentance so necessary for the reception of the Savior in their hearts, the Church orders that besides the observance of certain fast days, the altar shall be draped in violet, that Mass shall be celebrated in violet vestments, that the organ shall be silent and no Gloria sung. Unjust to themselves, disobedient to the Church and ungrateful, indeed, to God are those Christians who spend this solemn time of grace in sinful amusements without performing any good works, with no longing for Christ's Advent into their hearts.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 1- "On Renunciation of the World"

9. All who enter upon the good fight, which is hard and close, but also easy, must realize that they must leap into the fire, if they really expect the celestial fire to dwell in them. But let everyone examine himself, and so let him eat the bread of it with its bitter herbs, and let him drink the cup of it with its tears, lest his service lead to his own judgment.

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