Keep your eyes open!...


December 23, 2009 



(Isa 9:6-7) For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

A Nativity Sermon by Pope St Leo the Great (5th century)

Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.Christmas2009

No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.

In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God's wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its Creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.

And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvelous work of God's goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God's own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God's kingdom.

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.


Come all with happiness, come all with joy, come all with gladness, all you sons of man.
All wisemen and scholars, all elders and young, all men and women, all you sons of Adam.

+ Come hear from me, for I proclaim to you, that the true God has come, and took flesh from the Virgin.Orthodox Nativity
+ Truly she gave birth to Him, truly without blemish, truly she gave birth to the Word, with her true virginity.

Who of the wisemen, or scholars on earth, can obtain the heavenly thought, to speak of the honor of the Virgin.
Seven ranks of angels, seven great hosts, seven ranks in Zion, chant to the Virgin.

+ The whole creation together, glorifies the Virgin, from where the sun rises, until its setting.
+ For God is the true God, God the Logos of the Father, God the Son of the Virgin, the daughter of Joachim and Anna.

Jesus Christ the name of salvation, Jesus Christ the sweet name, Jesus Christ the life-Giver, was incarnate of the Virgin.
As was spoken, through Isaiah the prophet, "Behold the Virgin will conceive, and give birth to Emmanuel."

+ All nations and all tribes, all nations the Orthodox people, every harbor of salvation, came forth from her.
+ For Moses the law giver, Melchisedek and Aaron, Mark the Apostle, take pride in the Virgin.

The Cherubim with the six wings, the Seraphim full eyes, all the ranks of angels, glorify the Virgin.
Every tree of life, that paradise adorns, that all virgins adorn, is the Virgin Mary.

+ Glory be to God the Father amen, glory be to His beloved Son, glory be to the Holy Spirit, we magnify the Virgin.
+ The throne of the Highest, carried by the Cherubim, the light of the firmament, is the Virgin Mary.

Rejoice O my Lady the mother of my Lord, rejoice O queen the mother of the King, rejoice O true bride, who gave birth to the Bridegroom.
Solomon the Son of David, Samuel the prophet, Sawerus the patriarch, glorify the Virgin.

+ Your greatness O Mary, is higher than the heavens, you will bear a Son, and His name will be Emmanuel.
+ Nobody can resemble you, in heaven nor on earth, I am not capable, of speaking of your honor.

He who created heaven and earth, who comes from the Father, came and dwelt in your womb, for nine full months.
Hail to the fountain of living water, hail to the golden vessel, hail to the unblemished ark, in the tabernacle of testimony.

+ The adornment of all virgins, and all souls of the Orthodox, all souls bless them, O Virgin Mary.
+ O shining dove, O perfect grace, O rod of Aaron, that blossomed and brought forth fruit.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

19. It is one thing to be humble, another to strive for humilty, and another to praise the humble. The first belongs to the perfect, the second to the truly obedient, and the third to all the faithful.

December 22, 2009 

(Rev 22:20) He that giveth testimony of these things, saith: Surely, I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

EXCERPT: The Golden Compass by Fr Joe Borg

The true Golden Compass for humanity is Jesus Christ. He is not just the Compass. He is the way who leads us to the Father. Finding Him means finding the Father because He and the Father are one. Christmas is the ideal occasion for us to discover that He became man only because He is madly in love with each and every one of us. Christmas is the time when we reciprocate His love by trying to love others the way He loves them. Christmas is the time when we discover the joy of all this.

It's the season to be jolly

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about this joy on December 13, just before reciting the Angelus. The secret to experiencing true joy is not found in accumulating lots of things, but from feeling loved by the Lord and being generous to others, he said. Real joy is feeling that one's personal and social life "is touched and filled by a great mystery, the mystery of God's love."

How can one experience joy when one lives in a sea of problems and difficulties? The Pope said that the Holy Family, gathered in a stable and facing so many hardships, does not on the surface, look like a very lucky family.

"And yet, they are full of an intimate joy because they love each other, they help each other" and above all they are certain that their lives are fulfilling God's work, commented Pope Benedict. True joy, therefore, "does not consist in having lots of things, but in feeling loved by the Lord, in letting ourselves be a gift to others, and in loving ourselves," he said. To feel joy, people need love and truth and to be close to God, who "warms our hearts and responds to our deepest needs," added the Pope.

It's the season to be radical

Christmas brings with it a radical development in the history of humanity. God shared our humanity so that we humans could have a share in His divinity. Quite naturally this has myriad implication on the level of personal, communal and political way of living for all men and women. Christmas should be the guarantee that all humans should share in the freedom of God and live in true freedom. God is a community of persons so Christmas should instil a spirit of solidarity and community. By becoming man, God got involved in human history to free humanity. Involvement is the name of the game for Christians.

Christmas is the promotion of a way of life. It promotes the integral development and the freedom of all men and women. Christmas promotes human dignity. We preach this Gospel. This is our mission of evangelisation. John Paul II said that "Human promotion must be the logical consequence of evangelisation, which tends to the integral liberation of the person."

Christmas is an eminently political feast. It is a celebration of involvement in the human condition; it is the clarion call of the victory of the meek and the humble; it is the ultimate defeat of the haughty; it is the bridgehead of solidarity. This is the looking glass that Christians must be gazing at during Christmas time. This is the looking glass which shows the real solution to the economic difficulties that we are facing. We should resist the temptation of looking for salvation at the neo-liberal theories that value the market more than the human person.

A really happy Christmas can only be enjoyed to the full if we Christians individually and together as a church discover and incarnate in our society the social and political dimension of Christmas which emanate from its religious dimension.


Send your Christmas greeting to the pope
Bethlehem ready for Christmas
Christmas spirit grips Viet Nam's big cities

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

19. It is one thing to be humble, another to strive for humilty, and another to praise the humble. The first belongs to the perfect, the second to the truly obedient, and the third to all the faithful.

December 18, 2009 


(Luk 2:10-14) 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. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.

Christmas is a time of hope

RELATED: Nativity scene: A reminder of the true meaning of Christmas

: Life gets more meaningful with love

We celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, the outpouring of God's love in great abundance into each of our hearts.

It is God's love for you and me: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (John 3:16).

Christmas is therefore a reminder of God's love for us.

What does God's Love mean to us? In today's context, it is time for self-introspection in the light of this Love.

Poor self-esteem is a common problem affecting many individuals in every strata of every society. The hurt and bruises inflicted on hearts and minds lead many to believe that they are worthless and are of no value to anyone.

As members of a wider community, we need to reflect on this issue.

What can we do to bring God's Love into hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters who feel unloved and worthless?

St Francis de Sales a very wise, loving and spiritual guide (and a 16th Century Roman Catholic Saint and Bishop of Geneva) said, "You learn to Love by loving,"

Hence, the journey of Love begins with each one of us loving one another.

Many people radiate Love through their speech, action and even appearance.

God's Love is constantly pouring abundantly into our hearts and we in turn need to pass this love on to others.

The journey of Love continues when we accept it is God who provides us with blessings more than what we deserve.

When we accept that every blessing comes from God, then we have the inner desire to share and give freely to those who are in need.

Jesus Christ himself said: "You received freely; give freely." (Mt. 10:8)

When we start loving and sharing the blessings, we create an environment in which Love abounds and life thrives. That is what Christmas should mean to each of us.

Whoever we are, whatever we do, and wherever we live, all of us need to realise that all of us are precious in the eyes of God.

We are unique.

God proclaims His great love for us, saying, "You are precious in my eyes, and honoured and I love you". (Isaiah 43:4).

Once we believe we are a precious child of God and we are unique, we will not feel inferior, insecure or jealous when we come across another who is more able, more good looking or more talented.

Rather our identity in God will help us to acknowledge and appreciate the other as a precious work of God's creation.

As a child of God, we establish our self-worth and self-esteem, making life as the greatest treasure and gift to us.

Jesus taught us to pray: "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Jesus wants each one of us to build heaven on earth in our journey here.

Finally, the mystery of Christmas: God Almighty comes down to earth to save humans.

God has given the human nature a divine dignity.

Therefore, let us celebrate Christmas by loving, sharing the blessings we have received, and promoting and defending our human dignity irrespective of whom we are and where we come from.

I wish you God's Love and Blessings for Christmas and throughout 2010.

POPE PAUL VI: "We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and humanity... [so] let us rejoice."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

18. It is one thing to exalt oneself, another not to exalt oneself, and another to humble oneself. One person may be judging others all the day long; another does not judge others, but he does not condemn himself; a third, although he is innocent, is always passing judgment on himself.

December 17, 2009 

(Joh 17:20-23) And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me. That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them: that, they may be one, as we also are one. I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.


Orthodox, Catholic Faiths Inch Closer
Minsk suggests hosting first meeting of Orthodox, Catholic leaders
Russian Orthodox uneasy with Protestant trends
Catholic schools an oasis in Bosnia's ethnic strife
Moscow patriarchate sets familiar conditions for Pope-Patriarch summit meeting

CHIESA EDITORIAL: For Rome and Moscow, It's Spring Again

Moynihan Report: ROME-MOSCOW RELATIONS BEGIN NEW ERA- Orthodox Archbishop Offers to Help Europe Fight Secularism

Things are moving on the Eastern front. And more movement may be coming soon, as an old winter chill in Rome-Moscow relations seems to be thawing, with profound consequences for Europe and the entire world.

Vatican observers have been following these developments with great attention. "For Rome and Moscow, It's Spring Again," the respected Italian Vatican observer Sandro Magister noted in a Dec. 11 column.

This improvement in relations is due in part to many quiet steps taken by the Vatican under the direction of Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's chief ecumenist, who led the Vatican delegation to a week-long theological dialogue in Cyprus, and by Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Pope's very able nuncio to Moscow.

Magister, however, was commenting on two key recent events: (1) the upgrading of relations between the Holy See and Russia, and (2) the publication in Russia, for the first time ever, of a collection of Benedict XVI's homilies.

And this "springtime" has a goal, Magister argues: "the defense of the Christian tradition" in Europe and around the world.

So what we have, essentially, is the announcement of a new alliance on the world stage between two powers that have long distrusted each other: Rome and Russia.

Incredible as it may seem -- given that just 20 years ago Russia was the atheist, Church-persecuting Soviet Union -- this is what seems to be occurring right before our eyes.

On Dec. 9, following a meeting in the Vatican between the Pope and the president of Russia, Dimitri Medvedev, Russia and the Vatican announced "the establishment of diplomatic relations between them, at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See, and of embassy on the part of the Russian Federation."

The week before, Benedict XVI had received Medvedev in audience at the Vatican and gave him a copy, in Russian, of the encyclical Caritas in Veritate.

On Dec. 2, the day before Medvedev met with the Pope, a book published by the Patriarchate of Moscow containing the main speeches about Europe made over the past 10 years by Joseph Ratzinger, as cardinal and Pope, was presented in Rome.

The entire volume is in two languages, Italian and Russian -- again, a sign of the ever-closer relations between Russia and Rome.

Kindred spirit

Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the head of the patriarchate's department for external Church relations, wrote the introduction for the book. The archbishop is an increasingly important figure in the Russian Orthodox Church, and in the Orthodox world. (The previous occupant of this post, Kirill, was elected patriarch of Moscow earlier this year, which suggests the possible future importance of Archbishop Hilarion himself.)

In his introduction, Archbishop Hilarion, 43, sets forth his vision for Europe, and the new "alliance" needed to realize that vision. It is a remarkable text, which we can only touch upon here.

Magister was so impressed by this introduction that he wrote: "Those who expect an Orthodox Church removed from time, made up only of remote traditions and archaic liturgies, will come away shaken from reading the introduction to this book. [...] "The image that emerges from it is that of a Russian Orthodox Church that refuses to let itself be locked up in a ghetto, but on the contrary hurls itself against the secularist onslaught with all the peaceful weapons at its disposal, not excluding civil disobedience against laws 'that oblige the commission of a sin in the eyes of God.'"

Those in the West, both in Europe and in the United States, who feel that unjust laws have been passed that cannot be countenanced by Christians, will find a kindred spirit in Archbishop Hilarion.

The title of the Orthodox archbishop's text is, "The Help That the Russian Orthodox Church Can Give to Europe."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

16. All visible things get their light from the sun, and all that is done according to reason gets its force from humility. Where there is no light, everthing is dark; where there is no humility, all that we have is rotten.

December 16, 2009 

(Mat 9:37-38) Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

HEADLINE: Soldier's death led Catholic priest to become chaplain

Capt. Matt Foley hasn't presided over any weddings or christenings since he arrived here in April - not much call for those services in a war zone.

But the Army chaplain and Catholic priest who spent much of his childhood in Wauwatosa stays very busy ministering to nine companies in the 82nd Airborne Divisional Special Troops Battalion, delivering care packages, checking on soldiers' welfare, presiding over Catholic Masses as well as handling any calls for a priest.

And like all military chaplains, he cares for all service members regardless of their religion.

His job is very rewarding though he says the toughest part is getting to know people and sharing in sacred moments with them such as funerals and prayers and then seeing them leave when their unit returns home.

"You'd be amazed how much support we get here," said Foley, 47. "It's been eight years (since the war began in Afghanistan) and people are still sending packages which is very gracious."

Foley's journey to Afghanistan was circuitous, starting with his decision to become a priest. While attending Marquette University in the early '80s, Foley had a nice girlfriend and was majoring in political science with an eye toward law school. But he felt himself drawn to the priesthood and left Marquette in 1983, enrolling at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Chicago, where his morals and canon law classes were taught by Milwaukee's new archbishop Jerome Listecki.

He was ordained in 1989 and spent five years at a parish on Chicago's west side and then six years in Mexico. He returned to the west side of Chicago in 2000 where, in 2006, he presided over the funeral of Pfc. Daniel Zizumbo, a soldier killed by a makeshift bomb in Afghanistan whose parents were Foley's parishioners.

Zizumbo's death was motivational for Foley, whose brother and college roommate served in the Army and whose uncle was an Army chaplain in Vietnam. On the second anniversary of Zizumbo's death, Feb. 27, 2008, Foley was sworn in as an Army officer by his brother Michael, a lieutenant colonel.

"I'm a Catholic priest and I know there's a shortage of Catholic priests in the Army. I thought it was my time to serve," Foley said in his office at Enduring Faith Chapel at this large air base north of Kabul.

VIA IRAQ: Christians in Basra subdued for holiday

HEROISM CHRONICLED: The Miracle of Father Emil Kapaun series

Part 1: In Korea, Kapaun saves dozens during Chinese attack
Part 2: Through Death March, Father Kapaun perseveres and inspires
Part 3: In icy POW camps, Kapaun shares faith, provisions
Part 4: As hundreds die, Kapaun rallies the POWs
Part 5: Kapaun leads camp prisoners in quiet acts of defiance
Part 6: Kapaun forgives guards, welcomes death
Part 7: POWs call him 'a hero and a saint'
Part 8: Former POWs say his miracle was providing them hope

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

15. Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven, and holy humility opens it; but I affirm this and I worship a Trinity in Unity, and a Unity in Trinity.

December 11, 2009 


(Joh 19:26-27) When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

INTERMOUNTAIN CATHOLIC: Together we celebrate San Juan Diego and the Virgin of Guadalupe

VIA A MOMENT WITH MARY: Chronology of Events related to the Miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe

1525 - The Indian Cuauhtlatoatzin was baptized by a Franciscan priest. He received the Christian name of Juan Diego.
1531 - Year of apparitions to Juan Diego.
1567 - The new church ordered by Archbishop Mont˙far was completed.
1666 - A formal inquiry and investigation was conducted by the Church from February 18th to March 22nd in order to give authority to the tradition.
1946 - Pope Pius XII declared Our Lady to be the Patroness of the Americas.
1976 - Dedication of the new basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, located four miles from central Mexico City.
1988 - The liturgical celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th was raised to the status of a solemnity in all dioceses in the United States.
1999 - Pope John Paul II, during his third visit to the shrine, declared the date of December 12th as a Liturgical Feast for the whole continent.

: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Queen of the Americas

Many Masses will be held throughout the world on Dec. 12th dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe or el dia de La Virgen. This will be happening in many communities throughout the United States and Mexico. Actually just after midnight at the start of Dec. 12th, the celebrations will already have started in the Basilica of Guadalupe located in Mexico City (usually carried live on Univision television).

On Dec. 12, 1531 the Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian named Juan Diego for the second time asking him to go to the local Catholic Bishop, requesting that a religious site be prepared at the present location of the basilica. Both times she appeared as an Indian in dress and physical features. Juan Diego was clearly frightened, but did as the Lady had requested when he appeared at the Bishops door with his cloak filled with flowers. The Bishop had asked for a sign, and when the cloak was opened he was convinced by the brilliance of the flowers. Today the cloak of Juan Diego is still visible in the basilica and has been studied for many years. It still has the imprint of the flowers.

The words she spoke to Juan Diego “Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed. “ In 1531 when La Virgen appeared, the United States did not exist. She was known as the Queen of Mexico but as she is more recognized, she is now known as the Queen of the Americas.

From the website, “The Basilica as well as other chapels in the sanctuary are the center of fervent religious activity, around the clock: - at least 30 masses are celebrated every day of the year – hundreds of baptisms are celebrated every week, as well as holy matrimonies, first communications and confirmations celebrated.” The Basilica of Guadalupe is only second to the Vatican, as the most visited Catholic religious site in the world.

When I was 13 years of age we had a shrine dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe in our home. We then lived in a house at 234 North 7th Street, next to the Kroger’s Store. Mi Madre prayed everyday to Our Lady with the lighted candle always present. I remember her soft voice as she prayed in Spanish. One evening I asked her “Who do you pray for?” She replied “Usted!” That reply caught my attention quickly… I didn’t ask her why. I did feel a bit of fear. Why did mi madre feel that she needed to pray for me? I was 13 years of age then, and did not realize that I would need those prayers later in my life.

The Basilica in Mexico City was a place where many Mexican Americans soldiers of World War II, Korea and Vietnam would make a pilgrimage. During these stressful years, they would promise to La Virgen that they would make the trip to pray and thank her for their safe return back to their hometowns. At the Basilica they would mix with the indigenous Indian people of the area and people from around the world.

Journalist, Tony Castro of the Los Angeles Daily News has written about his friend Lawyer, Alex Jacinto who is very much devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jacinto possesses a life-size digital copy of Our Lady which he keeps in his office. Several days a week he delivers the painting to various sites to be exhibited. He has special equipment to transport the photo which also fits perfectly in his vehicle. He also is active in various Latino activities. He comments “Ethnically, I am Mexican American, politically I am Chicano. And today I am Guadalupano .” A Guadalupano is a person of the church’s society dedicated to promoting and bringing awareness to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Castro comments in an article “When he was 10 years old and visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Alex Jacinto was struck by a sight that stayed with him the rest of his life. An old Indian Woman crawled on her knees the length of the holiest shrine in the country to visit the image encased beyond the altar. I looked at this poor woman saw that she was completely enwrapped in prayer and I thought, ‘this poor old woman doesn’t have an education, doesn’t have anything, but she has something I don’t have. She has faith.” On December 12th, Jacinto will be among the countless people kneeling in prayer for blessings and hope.

Rudy Padilla can be contacted at [email protected].

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

10. He who has been united with humility as his bride is above all gentle, kind, easily moved to compunction, sympathetic, calm, bright, compliant, inoffensive, vigilant, not indolent and free from passion; for the Lord remembered us in our humility, and redeemed us from our enemies (Ps 135: 23-24), and our passions and impurities.

December 10, 2009 

(Heb 13:2) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.


Obedience to a Catholic Bishop
Requirements for a Valid Catholic Marriage

Dawn: Sunday, October 11th, 2009

I have been going to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for 2 hours on Tuesday mornings 3am-5am, and added a couple of months ago Sunday mornings from midnight-2 am. I enjoy going in the middle of the night. I don't have to maneuver my days around it, and I (usually) am alone with Our Lord. I try to schedule 2 hours together at a time, as it is an 18 mile drive one-way.

Saturday night the 10th, I arrived just before midnight. I pray a special devotion for Adoration-for the souls that will die that day, especially those who are unprepared. It is associated with Divine Mercy.

Saturday morning-Our oldest daughter Courtenay had just left with her Army National Guard Unit, and flew to El Paso for 2 months-then they will deploy to Iraq for a year. Of course, being a mother---when the time came for her to leave, I cried.

A little about our Adoration Chapel. You need the combination to open the door, and come in the back door by a strip parking lot along the street. Walk up the hallway, make a right through a library, then another right into the Adoration Room itself. Kind-of like a big U through the building. There are 4 chairs and 4 kneelers on the left wall, along the windows, and 3 chairs with 3 kneelers along the solid brick wall on the right. There is a beautiful plaster relief of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, He is sweating blood, and an Angel holding a chalice. In front of that is an altar with symbols of the Alpha and Omega-with the Last Supper in between on the front facade. A crocheted tablecloth covers the altar. Christ is in the center in a lovely Monstrance. 2 plaster angels kneel on each side, in prayer, and there are 2 large candelabras with 5 white candles in each. Lovely. Very peaceful there, especially in the middle of the night. The floor is tile. The altar is elevated somewhat---the tile forms (kind-of) like a step (or kneeler) across the front. I have made a habit of sitting in the 2nd seat from the front on the left, at the foot of the cross that hangs there on the wall.

I haven't had anyone come in during these wee hours---although I have been in there at other times during the day and night. When people come in, they sit in the chairs or kneel pray on the kneelers in front of the chairs. Always.

So, Sunday morning, I finished my Divine Mercy devotion, and had started on my Rosary. I heard the (combination) door, and a man's footsteps up the hall-through the library, so I turned around (of course, wanted to face whomever is coming in at 1:05 am-I had looked at my cell phone). A tall slim man in a grey suit walked in. He didn't have a dress shirt or tie, but (maybe) a sweater under the jacket. Darker Grey than the suit. The jacket had pinstripes. He was handsome, with salt-and pepper hair.

He turned and walked into the room, passing the holy water font at the doorway without blessing himself. But he seemed to be familiar with where he was going.
I said, "Well, hello."
As he was walking up, he said, "God Bless you."
I replied, "God Bless you." And, he hesitated slightly, putting his hand on my shoulder as he passed me.
I didn't feel threatened. His voice was clear-it had an assurance to it (commanding?). I wondered if he was a Priest, although he wasn't dressed like one.
He passed me and walked up to the Altar, and kneeled on the tile, in prayer, with his head hung forward. *The tile rises like a step in front of the altar.*
The bottoms of his shoes were tan in color, I remember.
I continued with another decade of my Rosary, all was quiet (I didn't look at him), and when I finished the next decade, I looked up at him.
He had his arms spread apart, holding onto the altar with his head hung well down.
I said a short prayer that God would hear this man's prayer, and grant him what he was praying for.
I went back to my Rosary, and prayed another decade.
I heard the noise of movement, and looked up once again. He was still on his knees, but (prostrate?)---his head was to the ground-in front of the Altar & Monstrance.
Not wanting to stare, I went back to my Rosary.
Soon, he arose, turned and while walking out, he once again put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the face and said, "You will be blessed, my Child." And started to walk out.
I was startled, and said something (stupid) like, "Have - a - nice - day."
He turned, not blessing himself with the holywater again, walked back through the library...
My mind started racing. I thought: Was that a priest? He called me a child. Then, I just knew. I knew-he was an Angel!
By this time he was walking down the hall. By the time I walked through the library, and turned by the stairway to the hall, I heard the back door closing, so I hurried to the kitchen (to the right) and looked out the windows.
No car in the lot. He couldn't have left that quick-by car anyway. I didn't see him walking away. He disappeared into the night.

I think he was there about 10 minutes.
I looked at the time (about 20 after) then quickly wrote down what he'd said (not wanting to forget his exact words).
I believe he was an Angel. Was he my Guardian Angel? The thought crossed my mind. I thanked My Lord for this. It was so cool.
Why did he call me "my child?" I mean, he looked about my age (51). I would not have been a child to him.
And, he said I would be blessed, "You will be blessed my child."

Well, when I have received a Signal Grace before, I always realize it in my heart-for what it is. I believe he was an Angel. I did then-right after it happened.
A lot of stress in me is gone. Anxiety I had has been relieved. My heart feels at peace.

I told the 2 Sisters who replace me at 2 am what happened. Sister Nathaniel asked me if he had long hair, I said no. But he was handsome. She thought he may be my Guardian Angel. Sister Kathleen listened intently to what I had to say too. His shoes on the wooden floors sounded like men's dress shoes. He didn't have any jewelry on-that I saw.

I could not describe his face if I had to. But, I would know him again if I saw him.

I asked my Guardian Angel (in prayer)---was that you?

- - - - - - -
Now that some time has passed, I still relish this.
He was so devout, so reverent, so "worshipping" of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist! It reminded me of the Angel at Fatima (St. Michael)-how he would prostrate before the Holy Eucharist!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

9. In union with humility, it is impossible that there should be any appearance of hatred, or any kind of dispute, or even a sniff of disobedience, unless perhaps the Faith is called in question.

December 9, 2009 

(John 16:33) These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress. But have confidence. I have overcome the world.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Mary Immaculate helps us rediscover and defend what is inside people, because in her there is perfect transparency of soul and body. She is purity in person in the sense that the spirit, soul and body are fully coherent in her and with God's will. Our Lady teaches us to open up to God's action and to look at others as he does, starting with the heart, to look upon them with mercy, love, infinite tenderness, especially those who are lonely, scorned or exploited. "[W]here sins increased, grace overflows all the more."

IN THE NEWS: Pope keeps Spanish Steps tradition in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday lamented what he described as a steady diet of news about evil in the world, saying it hardens hearts, as he prayed at the Spanish Steps in a Christmas season tradition.

Shoppers who jammed the narrow streets, including Via Condotti with its posh shops, paused from buying Christmas gifts to catch a glimpse of Benedict as he was driven in a glass-sided popemobile to the square below the Spanish Steps.

"Every day, through the newspapers, television, radio, evil is reported, repeated, amplified, making us used to horrible things, making us become insensitive, and, in some way, poisoning us," the pope said after kneeling in prayer before a statue of the Virgin Mary to mark the Dec. 8 Catholic feast day in her honor.

"Hearts harden and thoughts darken," Benedict said.

He also complained that the mass media "tend to make us feel like spectators, as if evil regards only others and certain things could never happen to us."

Instead, Benedict said, "we are all actors, and for better or worse, our behavior has an influence on others."


'Worst of times' an opportunity
Toledo area Catholic network offers help, hope
HELPING HANDS: Catholic Charities provides start for thankful immigrant

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility"

2. This subject sets before us as a touchstone, a treasure preserved in earthen vessels, that is to say in our bodies, and it is of a quality that baffles all description. This treasure has an inscription, which is incomprehensible because it comes from above, and those who try to explain it with words give themselves great and endless trouble. And the inscription runs thus: Holy Humility.

December 8, 2009 

(Luk 1:28-30) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

LINK: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed
(Holy Day of Obligation)

We celebrate Tuesday the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is a special Marian celebration for Filipinos who regard Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as the National Patroness.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined by Pope Pius IX in the bull Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, although, even before the dogma was proclaimed, many Christians already believed in Mary's sinless stature from the moment of her conception until her last moment on earth.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception declares that Mary, the mother of Jesus, unlike all other human beings, was conceived without original sin. This is a special favor given to her by God since she was being prepared to be the mother of God's only begotten Son, Jesus our Lord.

In the Gospel of Luke, it is written that when the angel sent by God to announce to Mary that she would be the mother of His Son, the angel greeted Mary as being "full of grace" or "highly favored daughter" (cf. Luke 1:26-28). It must be stressed that Mary had received grace from the very beginning, not because of any merit on her part. It was purely out of God's goodness.

Pope John Paul II, a Marian devotee, said in 2003: "Chosen in advance to be the Mother of the incarnate Word, Mary is at the same time the first-fruits of his redeeming action. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in anticipation, preserving her from original sin and from any contagion of guilt." Some theologians regard the conception of Mary as the "dawn of salvation." It was through her that God started to carry out his loving plan of salvation.

God looks with favor upon all of us too. This is the reality that our Christian faith tells us. Like Mary, we have been privileged to be recipients of God's ineffable grace and limitless love. The Holy Book tells us that even before we are born, God had carved us in the palm of His hands. (cf Isaiah 49:15)

The challenge of this feast is for us to live our lives like Mary. Mary, aware that the grace of God was at work in her, lived a life of obedience to God's will. She remained sinless until the very end. We, too, must strive to live a good life. We, too, must seek always the will of God in our lives.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in this special Year for Priests and Year of the Two Hearts for Lay Participation in Social Transformation, may the example of Mary, who proclaimed the goodness of the Lord in her "Magnificat," also announce the Good News and denounce what is sinful, evil, and unjust in our society. May the sinless Virgin Mary lead us to Jesus, our true Peace.

VATICAN RADIO: An Abbot's Reflection on the Meaning of the Immaculate Conception

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

18. Honesty is unmeddling thought, sincere character, frank and unpremeditated speech.

December 4, 2009 


(Rom 1:20-21) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks: but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened.

ZENIT.ORG: Pope Notes Limits of Looking Through a Telescope- Cautions Against Being Blinded by Scientific Success

EDITIORIAL (LA Times): What do scientists think about religion?

A Moment with Mary: The Student and the Man with the Rosary

More than a hundred years ago, a man traveling in a train found himself seated next to someone who appeared to be a wealthy peasant with a rosary in his hands. "Sir," the student addressed the old man, "do you still believe that old stuff ?"

"Yes," the other replied, "I certainly do. What about you?"

The student burst out laughing and went on: "I don't believe that silly stuff. Follow my advice: throw your rosary out the window and learn what science has to say about it."

"Science? ... Maybe you could explain it to me?" replied the man humbly, with tears in his eyes.

The student noticed the emotion on the face of his traveling companion and to avoid hurting his feelings further, told him: "Please give me your address, I will send you some information."

Then, glancing at the business card the man had taken out of his inside pocket, the young man fell silent. The card read: Louis Pasteur, Director, Scientific Research Institute, Paris

EXCERPT POPE JOHN PAUL II (General Audience, July, 1985): May a reference to an Italian scientist, Enrico Medi, a few years deceased, be sufficient. At the International Cathechetical Congress of Rome in 1971 he affirmed: "When I tell a young person: Look, there is a new star, a galaxy, a neutron star 100 million light-years away, yet the protons, electrons; neutrons and mesons which are found there are identical with those which are found in this microphone... Identity excludes probability. That which is identical is not probable... Therefore there is a cause, outside of space, outside of time, the master of being, which made being to be in this way. And this is God...

The being -I am speaking scientifically- which has caused things to be identical at a distance of billions of light-years, exists. And the number of identical particles in the universe is 10 raised to the 85th power... Do we wish then to take in the song of the Galaxies? If I were Francis of Assisi I would say: O Galaxies of the immense heavens, give praise to my Lord, for he is omnipotent and good. O atoms, O protons, O electrons, O bird-songs, O blowing of the leaves and of the air, in the hands of man as a prayer, sing out the hymn which returns to God!" (Acts of the Second International Catechetical Congress. Rome, 20-25 September 1971, Rome, Studium, 1972 pp. 449-450).

Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 159: Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth." "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

17. Guilelessness is a joyous state of soul far removed from all ulterior motive.

December 3, 2009  

(Gal 4:4-5) But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.

ZENIT.ORG: Pope Benedict XVI: On God's Presence and Coming

EXCERPT HOMILY: Advent: Lessons on time by Archbishop George H. Niederauer

Time is a marvelous "present" which God keeps giving us.  How are we using it?  Are we burying ourselves in the past, pawing over its meaning, again and again?  Are we so totally distracted with our long-range plans that we miss Christ and others in the present?  Or are we just mechanically going through the motions of a kind of "rut" in life?  As followers of Jesus Christ we are called away from living in those ways.

As Catholics we believe that history is going somewhere, not round in circles, aimlessly.  Because of that faith we are not consumed with anxieties, like outcasts in an empty universe, scratching and scrambling for survival.  Remember one definition of an atheist: "a man with no invisible means of support." In contrast, we disciples are called to depend on the Lord, to be present to him, in everything, not just in a few "great moments" in life.  We Catholic Christian "lookouts" need constantly to familiarize ourselves and others with the "invisible means of support" in Christ and Christ's Church.  If we meet Jesus Christ as a friend each day–in prayer and in our neighbor–Christ our Judge will never be a terrifying stranger.


The story begins, as all good stories should, with a mystery, and a secret.  The anonymous Letter to Diognetus, written around 125 AD (and used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for December 18) discusses this secret plan of salvation from sin and death which St.  Paul calls “the Mystery.” The letter is addressed to a pagan reader and therefore is clear, simple, and unadorned.

First, the anonymous Christian author tells us about God.  “God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him,” he writes.  “So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.” Then, this early Christian tells us about God’s secret plan to end the reign of sin and death and bring about an “era of holiness” — though many have thought God would do nothing.

“God devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son,” he writes.  “As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us.  But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.” The author acknowledges that it took some time for this plan to unfold, many centuries in fact.

“When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire,”?the author says.  “Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them.  Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness.” Then God acted — Christmas, the Incarnation.

“When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death.  The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!).  He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals.” From a letter of St.  Athanasius (297-373 AD) to Epictetus we learn of the role in this plan of Mary.  (The text is in the office of readings for the feast of Mary, the Mother of God, on January 1).

“The Word took to himself the sons of Abraham, says the Apostle, and so had to be like his brothers in all things,”?Athanasius says.  “He had then to take a body like ours.

"This explains the fact of Mary’s presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake.  Scripture records her giving birth, and says: ‘She wrapped him in swaddling clothes.’ "Her breasts, which fed him, were called blessed.  Sacrifice was offered because the child was her firstborn.  Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth.  He did not speak of ‘what will be born in you’ to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from outside; he spoke of ‘what will be born from you,’ so that we might know by faith that her child originated within her and from her.

"By taking our nature and offering it in sacrifice, the Word was to destroy it completely and then invest it with his own nature, and so prompt the Apostle to say: ‘This corruptible body must put on incorruption; this mortal body must put on immortality.’” And so that is the news: a long-hidden plan to give life eternal to dying men, has, through Mary, brought us incorruptible life, and this divine plan is still unfolding today.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

16. Hypocrisy is a contrary state of body and soul interwoven with every kind of subterfuge.

December 2, 2009  

(John 3:19-21) And this is the judgment: Because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest: because they are done in God.

HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL: Get Ready for Christ Our Savior! by Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer

Frank Rega, SFO: Why they still fear Christmas!    

During this Advent, let us remember in prayer all of the unborn little ones who will never live to see their first Christmas, and for the conversion of those who are permitting this to happen.  We should especially pray for the pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians and activists, such as Pelosi, Biden, and Sebelius, whose Michael Corleone Catholicism will not save their souls.  In the Godfather, Al Pacino's character Michael Corleone, during a solemn Baptism ceremony, professes his loyalty to Christ and renounces Satan, with all his pomps and all his works.  At the same time, Corleone's henchmen, acting upon his orders, are committing a series of brutal murders in organized crime's gang wars.

In the real-life culture wars, Christophobia plays an integral part along with the crimes against the unborn, since a burgeoning, concerted attack is being waged on the Christmas season and the birthday of Jesus.  Just what are the "Happy Winterfest" folks afraid of?  Is it because December 25th flies in the face of the entire secular New World Order agenda, with its anti-family, anti-traditional-marriage, anti-childbirth, and anti-God satanic program?  As we know, the grinches even hate the very word "Christmas," attempting to eliminate mention of it in the public square.  But the more they attack this Holy Day, the more we should promote it, since it is a Divine wedge uprooting their evil machinations.  It teaches us that the birth of a child is something joyful and wonderful, not a "punishment" as the president of the United States once contended *.  Our president has also stated on more than one occasion that the United States is no longer a Christian nation.  This is religious indifferentism applied to politics.  It is a crude attempt at psychological manipulation, since people will tend to believe that this falsehood must be true, because the "president" himself has said it.  We may not be officially a Christian nation, but the great majority of our citizens still profess belief in Christ, and attend Christian places of worship.  Since Christ is God, this is the way it should be.  If we hold onto our Christian roots, and if true Catholics adhere to the Traditional Faith, we will undermine the agenda of the socialists, evolutionists, godless amoralists, and the abortionists' "organized crime" lobby, with their Corleone Catholics.  Right now the grinches are still confined to being the counter-culture, in terms of numbers at least, but their goal is to bury Christian America.

I believe one clue to this Christophobia to be found in the disturbing memo made available on the web by Randy Engel at her U.S.  Coalition for Life site,  In this heinous 1969 memo from Planned Parenthood to the Population Council, numerous strategies for controlling world population growth are outlined.  The current implementation of many of these proposed policies from forty years ago illustrates the power and influence of the Population Control machine.  For example, one of their nefarious schemes is to "encourage increased homosexuality." Yes, your children are being exposed to this life style not because anyone really cares about some nebulous self-fulfillment or self-expression, but because rampant homosexuality will contribute to population reduction!

Abortion, contraception, denigration of marriage, propagandizing women to abandon their homes and enter the workforce, control of education, etc., it's all there in this 1969 blueprint, including compulsory sterilization and child-bearing limits.

The celebration of the birthday of Jesus is the worst nightmare of the abortion / population control lobby.  During this season, the birth of a male child is literally glorified throughout the land.  This event is presented as a time of great joy and happiness, with hymns and special church services commemorating it.  The grotto of Bethlehem becomes an archetype of the domestic hearth, with a husband and wife presenting their lovely new-born baby to warmly-welcomed visitors and strangers.  And to make matters worse for the population control Christophobics, the spouses are of opposite sexes!  And that is why they are still afraid of Christmas.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

15. Guile is a science, or rather, a diabolical deformity, bereft of truth and thinking it can escape the notice of the many.

December 1, 2009 

(2Ti 4:7-8)  I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming. Make haste to come to me quickly.


Father Robert J. Fox passed away at his home on Thanksgiving day at 12:45 P.M. He died a peaceful and happy death. He was anointed the night before and he also offered Mass. A wake service will be held at the Shrine of The Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville Alabama. The body will arrive at 3:00 P.M. and the rosary at 7:00 P.M. His burial will be in Alexandria South Dakota at St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Church. Please check this site for more information for more funeral details.
Fatima Family Apostolate International dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima (30 November 2009)
OBITUARY (The Cullman Times): Father Robert Joseph Fox

EXCERPT CHAPTER 18: Fatima Today - The Third Millennium by Fr. Robert J. Fox

MORE: Words spoken by Mary at Fatima


PRAYER: O God, Thou didst raise Thy servant, Robert, to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, according to the Order of Melchisedech, giving him the sublime power to offer the Eternal Sacrifice, to bring the Body and Blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ down upon the altar, and to absolve the sins of men in Thine own Holy Name.  We beseech Thee to reward his faithfulness and to forget his faults, admitting him speedily into Thy Holy Presence, there to enjoy forever the recompense of his labors.  This we ask through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord.  Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

14. Simplicity is a constant habit of soul that has become immune to crafty thinking.
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