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A Chronicle Depicting the Lateness of the Hour

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January 31, 2001

(Rev 18:2-3)  With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."


U.S.  consumer confidence plummeted to its lowest level in four years in January, a private research group reported Tuesday, further boosting hopes that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again to help a sputtering economy turn around.

The survey comes as Fed policymakers launched a two-day meeting that many analysts expect will result in another rate reduction.  The closely monitored report is the latest piece of data suggesting that the economy has slowed significantly.

The Conference Board's key gauge of consumer confidence fell to 114.4 in January from a revised 128.6 in December.  It was the lowest consumer confidence reading since a 114.2 measurement in December 1996 and the fourth consecutive monthly decline, the New York-based group said.

"Consumers' increasing pessimism about the short-term outlook has sent the Expectations Index into territory normally seen prior to a recession," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center.  "But consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions, while declining, does not yet suggest the economy has completely run out of steam."

A plague of job cuts
Fed Meets, Seen Cutting Rates Sharply Wednesday
Council on Foreign Relations Predicting Major Market Upheaval
Replaying 1929!

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

69. At the start of the spiritual way, the soul usually has the conscious experience of being illumined with its own light through the action of grace. But, as it advances further in its struggle to attain theology, grace works its mysteries within the soul for the most part without its knowledge. Grace acts in these two ways so that it may first set us rejoicing on the path of contemplation, calling us from ignorance to spiritual knowledge, and so that in the midst of our struggle it may then keep this knowledge free from arrogance. On the one hand, we need to be somewhat saddened by feeling ourselves abandoned, so that we become more humble and submit to the glory of the Lord; on the other hand, we need to be gladdened at the right time through being lifted up by hope.

January 30, 2001


A new telescope solely designed to search for messages from aliens will start scouring the skies early next year.  The 1.8 metre Optical SETI Telescope now being built in Harvard, Massachusetts, will look for messages from the stars written in pulses of laser light.  Years of SETI -- Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence -- projects aimed at listening out for radio signals have so far yielded nothing.

But some experts think researchers might be looking for the wrong kind of message.  They believe a technologically advanced race might be more likely to communicate using pulsed laser beams rather than radio.  The new telescope will search for brief pulses of light, scanning the entire northern sky once every 200 clear nights. "The new Optical SETI Telescope will allow us to search the entire northern sky for such signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy."

Other Earths: Are They Out There?
Self-made cells show life could come from space


An airport in southern Siberia was shut down for an hour and a half on Friday when an unidentified flying object (UFO) was detected hovering above its runway, the Interfax news agency reported.

The crew of an Il-76 cargo aircraft refused to take off, claiming they saw a luminescent object hovering above the runway of the Siberia's Barnaul airport, local aviation company director Ivan Komarov was quoted as saying.  The crew of another cargo plane, refusing to use the runway for the same reason, landed their jet at another airport, Komarov said.

The UFO took off and vanished from the airport 90 minutes later, according to the report.

RELATED: Mysterious light streaks across sky

(2 Th 2:11-12)  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

68 (cont.). In the time of contemplation we must keep the intellect free of all nd image, and so ensure that with almost all our thoughts we shed tears. When it is at peace in times of stillness, and above all when it is gladdened by the sweetness of prayer, not only does it escape the faults we have mentioned, but it is more and more renewed in its swift and effortless understanding of divine truth, and with great humility it advances in its knowledge of discrimination. There is, moreover, a prayer which is above even the broadest scope of speculation; but this prayer is granted only to those who fully and consciously perceive the plenitude of God's grace within them.

January 29, 2001

(1 Tim 2:1-4)  I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.


President George W.  Bush pushes two planks of his "compassionate conservative" agenda this week: a plan to help poor senior citizens buy medications and an effort to offer "faith-based" solutions to social ills. As part of his "compassionate conservative" philosophy, Bush argued during last year's presidential campaign that the government should turn first to faith-based organizations, charities and community groups to help people in need.

To mobilize "armies of compassion," Bush proposed extending to all taxpayers the federal charitable tax deduction, which allows some people to deduct money given to charity from their taxable income.  Bush aides have said this could boost charitable giving by billions, funding private groups the White House believes are better at providing services than the government.

Bush also plans to set up a White House "Office of Faith-Based Action" to help religious groups become eligible for federal funds for their social programs.

"A compassionate society is one which recognizes the great power ...  that faith can play in lives of everyday citizens," Bush told reporters last week. "We in government must not fear faith-based programs, we must welcome faith-based programs."

Bush meets Catholic leaders to push Faith-based solutions
Bushes Attend Largely Black Church

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

68. Our intellect often finds it hard to endure praying because of the straitness and concentration which this involves; but it joyfully turns to theology because of the broad and unhampered scope of divine speculation. Therefore, so as to keep the intellect from expressing itself too much in words or exalting itself unduly in its joy, we should spend most of our time in prayer, in singing psalms and reading the Holy Scriptures, yet without neglecting the speculations of wise men whose faith has been revealed in their writings. In this way we shall prevent the intellect from confusing its own utterances with the utterances of grace, and stop it from being led astray by self-esteem and dispersed through over-elation and loquacity.

January 28, 2001


Angels hovered over the bodies of her dead friends.

Katie Gonzalez, the sole survivor of a car crash last month that killed six of her teen-age companions, recalled that vision during a press conference yesterday at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron.

The 14-year-old Milton Township girl said she saw women clad in flowing white robes standing over the bodies of Jeffery P. Kaufmann, 18, the car's driver; Cory M. Pelfrey, 18; Paul E. Marshall III, 15; Bruce T. Camp Bell III, 14; and sisters Christine K. Elliston, 13, and Jennifer L. Elliston, 14, just after the Dec. 27 crash in Canaan Township.

Katie said she struggled to look at the faces of the women, but was unable to make out any features. She did, however, notice that figures appeared to be stroking the foreheads of the students at Creston Middle School and Norwayne High School.

Katie said there was not a "lady in a pretty white robe" standing over her as she lay in a creek bed writhing in pain from injuries suffered in the late-night crash.  It was then she realized that she had apparently survived.

The crash and the vision, she said, have changed her life. "Before this, I smoked, and I wasn't very religious," she said. "Now I've quit smoking, and I'm trying to head in a better direction."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

67 (cont.). Therefore, when we have been made ready, we begin to long sincerely for this gift of contemplative vision, for it is full of beauty, frees us from every worldly care, and nourishes the intellect with divine truth in the radiance of inexpressible light. In brief, it is the gift which, through the help of the holy prophets, unites the deiform soul with God in unbreakable communion. So, among men as among angels, divine theology- like one who conducts the wedding feast- brings into harmony the voices of those who praise God's majesty.

January 27, 2001


Canadian officials are considering a recent suggestion that the government set up a publicly funded surrogate-mother system. The idea came out of government-organized consultations on reproductive technology that involved medical experts and public health advocates, officials said.

Some participants suggested "a public registry of surrogates who would receive modest compensation for their services," a Health Department document summarizing the talks said.  It said the compensation could be similar to Employment Insurance benefits.

Health Department spokeswoman Jennifer Woodside said a public surrogate system was one idea under consideration as the government works on legislation on new genetic and reproductive technologies. The idea of a state-funded surrogate program - already dubbed "rent-a-womb'' by Canadian media - is likely to raise controversy if it is pursued further.


Green light for embryo cloning in Great Britain
A revolutionary war over stem cells
Alternative to stem cell therapy developed
Stem cell research racing ahead despite political uncertainty
Biological Alchemy


Do No Harm; The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics is a national coalition of researchers, health care professionals, bioethicists, legal professionals, and others dedicated to the promotion of scientific research and health care which does no harm to human life.  Do No Harm bases its activities on the principles set forth in "On Human Embryos and Stem Cell Research:  An Appeal for Legally and Ethically Responsible Science and Public Policy," prepared by The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

RELATED: Anti-abortion group goes to court over embryo cloning research

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

67. All God's gifts of grace are flawless and the source of everything good; but the gift which inflames our heart and moves it to the love of His goodness more than any other is theology. It is the early offspring of God's grace and bestows on the soul the greatest gifts. First of all, it leads us gladly to disregard all love of this life, since in the place of perishable desires we possess inexpressible riches, the oracles of God. Then it embraces our intellect with the light of a transforming fire, and so makes it a partner of the angels in their liturgy.

January 26, 2001

(Rom 8:22-23)  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


Holiday quake, richter 7.9, rocks India
Earthquake Shakes Northeast Ohio
Philippine Volcano Puffs Gas, Ash
Volcanic Ash Rain Falls on Indonesia Village
Mexican Volcano Spews 'Huge' Column of Ash, Smoke


Christina Gallagher had a vision during prayer on Friday, November 24, 2000, in which she witnessed enormous lightning bolts, exploding from flashes and filling the entire sky, followed by forked lightning everywhere and then a combination of both.  She could then see a road, and people traveling in cars, terrified and bewildered by the catastrophic lightning, and thinking it was the end of the world, though she knew it was not.

She then saw a vision of widespread flooding with a wide expanse of water pouring down as if from a high mountain and a similar scene with an avalanche of 'glar' or mud, and this was followed by volcanoes erupting.

After this, Christina was shown four angels positioned at the four corners of the earth, and one was holding a dish full of fire, and another what seemed like a pole.  She could hear a voice during this, a voice she knew that was not of God and it kept repeating "Control, control!"

Then Christina saw a black horse, with a rider who had long hair, which was strangely illuminated.  The rider, who carried a bow and arrow in his left hand, was going into and through a severe storm, which Christina could experience.  Then she could see arrows (from the bow of the rider) piercing through a document which was being held by a man of huge proportions.  The figure was so large that she could only see it from the neck to the chest and hands.  She was made aware that the gigantic figure signified the present state of humanity, prideful and arrogant, and thinking to take over even the place of God, but she knew that God was not going to allow this to happen.  She also knew that the horseman with the bow was one of those she had seen before, mentioned in the Bible, and she had previously seen him with other horsemen, on horses of red and white colour.

Source: Christina's webmaster, Marita Wojdak.
Christina Gallagher's web site can be found at:

(Rev 6:5-6)  When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

66 (cont.). God is not prepared to grant the gift of theology to anyone who has not first prepared himself by giving away all his possessions for the glory of the Gospel; then in godly poverty he can proclaim the riches of the divine kingdom. This is made clear in the Psalm, for after the words 'O God, in Thy love Thou hast provided for the poor', it continues, 'The Lord shall give speech to those who proclaim the gospel with great power' (Ps. 68:10-11. LXX).

January 25, 2001

(Mat 28:19-20)  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


The event organized, on January 19 and 20, to celebrate of the 10th anniversary of the publication of Redemptoris Missio (RM), highlighted the prophetic value of this papal encyclical and its profound insight regarding the situation of Christians and the world at large.

With painstaking magisterial work, the RM stitched together activity in curia and activity for the poor; catechesis and social work; dialogue with other religions and proclamation: all this fits together to make up the mosaic of the Church’s mission to the world.  But even this mosaic needed a generative point, a source from which all this could come forth.  This is why RM underlined that the "subject" of missionary activity, (indeed the main agent) is the Holy Spirit, and the document urges missionaries to aim not for specialization in this doctrine or that, but rather to strive for holiness, an intense prayer life, communion with Christ and with others.  Without this vertical dimension the Church’s missionary activity was in danger of leveling out to become a horizontal managing of ecclesiastical or social problems.

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival
Chinese welcome the Year of the Snake

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

66 (cont.). Understanding this, we should reject, in a spirit of true service, the senseless presumption which arises from wealth and we should hate our own desires- which is to hate our own soul (cf. Luke 14:26). Then, no longer possessing wealth which we enjoy distributing, we shall begin to feel our worthlessness intensely, because we find we cannot now perform any good works. Certainly, provided there is some good in us, we gladly obey the divine command and, as long as we are well off, we enjoy giving things away. But when we have exhausted everything an ill-defined gloom and a sense of abasement come over us, because we think we are doing nothing worthy of God's righteousness. In this deep abasement the soul returns to itself, so as to procure through the labour of prayer, through patience and humility what it can no longer acquire by the daily giving of help to the needy. For it is written: 'The poor and needy shall praise Thy name, O Lord' (Ps. 74:21. LXX).

January 24, 2001


Roman Catholics still dominate the U.S.  Congress, according to the latest survey conducted by Americans for Religious Liberty.  The survey found 150 Catholics in Congress -- 91 Democrats and 59 Republicans.  Catholic lawmakers most often represent districts in the northeast, the Great Lakes region, and California.  Baptists are the second-largest group in Congress, with a total of 72 Baptists -- 37 Republicans and 34 Democrats.  Methodists are the third most-represented denomination with 65, followed by Presbyterians at 49.  Members of Congress from these three Protestant denominations are primarily from the south.

COMMENTARY VIA Alan A Trombetta: PLEASE pray that ALL those in Congress who profess the same G-d will line up with the same Biblical political point of view.  For instance, how can Ted Kennedy, a died in the wool Catholic, be pro-abortion?  Can prayer change him?  Only as we pray for his (and others) 'true' conversion will we find out.  Right now, get on your knees and remind G-d to save Ted Kennedy.

MORE FROM Norma McCorvey: As a friend of John Ashcroft, I can tell you that the attacks against him are nothing less than the expressed anti-Christian hatred of the extreme left in this country.  Please, both prayer and action are necessary.

My prayers are for my country in this hour, as is the case with many of you.

I have taken the ACTION of signing this petition and pray that you will also ACT by signing it, too.

Peace in Christ to you,
Norma McCorvey former Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade and Director of Roe No More Minsitry (


President Bush Makes First Decision Against Abortion
Bush branded a bully for funding ban over abortion

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

66. The Lord will demand from us an account of our help to the needy according to what we have and not according to what we have not (cf. 2 Cor. 8:12). If, then, from fear of God I distribute in a short space of time what I might have given away over many years, on what grounds can I be accused, seeing that I now have nothing? On the other hand, it might be argued: 'Who now will give help to the needy that depend on regular gifts out of my modest means?' A person who argues in this way must learn not to insult God because of his own love of money. God will not fail to provide for His own creation as He has done from the beginning; for before this or that person was prompted to give help, the needy did not lack food or clothing.

January 23, 2001

(Rev 6:5-6)  When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"


A key gauge of U.S.  economic activity fell sharply in December, signaling continued weakness in the U.S. economy. The New York-based Conference Board said its Index of Leading Economic Indicators, which has been statistically revised, fell 0.6 percent to 108.3 last month after drops of 0.4 percent in October and November. Three consecutive declines in the index traditionally has been seen by analysts as a signal that the U.S.  economy is headed into recession.

But Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said in a statement accompanying the report that "the cumulative decline is ...  still below the threshold of what would be considered a recessionary signal." "The overall signal remains one of moderation in the pace of economic activity, but no recession looming on the horizon," he added.

RELATED: Wall St. focus on earnings


VIA  Richard Hubbell:  "This is apparent that the public preference for stock is not only as marked as ever, but also the will to speculate is still a speculative fever not be overlooked.  The prompt return of huge speculations in a liberal manner in which current earnings are again being discounted indicate that it will be difficult to quench the fires of stock market enthusiasm for long."

That optimistic quote is from the Barron's trader column of March 24, 1930.  The high of the post-crash bounce was on April 17, 1930, from which point the market collapsed nearly 90 percent, reaching its low four years later in the summer of 1934. As Mark Twain once said "history does not repeat, but it rhymes." We are (in Jan 2001) in a post crash bounce right now - but if history "rhymes" will last a few months following the pattern set in 1929-1934 - from there the pattern says that we are going to see significantly lower stock prices in the next few years (not just a few months) to come.

Make up your own mind - but at least be aware of the past pattern - and the possibility that the worst is still to come.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

64 (cont.). Even if we do go to court and recover all we claim, we do not thereby free the criminal from his sin. Human tribunals cannot circumscribe the eternal justice of God, and the accused is punished only according to those laws under which his case is heard. It is therefore better to endure the lawlessness of those who wish to wrong us, and to pray for them, so that they may be released from their guilt through repentance, rather than through restoring what they have taken. Divine justice requires that we receive back not the objects of theft, but the thief himself, freed through repentance from sin.

January 22, 2001


Incoming U.S. President George W.  Bush will encounter a world dominated by peace among nations, but a shaky peace requiring active engagement to contain civil strife from Africa to Central Asia, according to a recent report.  The study by the University of Maryland"s Center for International Development and Conflict Management called for low-key diplomacy, humanitarian support and efforts to limit the sale of arms and insulate countries from "spill-over violence."

Of the 160 countries evaluated, the report flagged 33 at risk of violent conflict and instability for the foreseeable future -- mostly in Africa and Central Asia.  "Almost every nation in a broad belt across the middle of Africa -- including the Congo -- exhibits a volatile mix of armed conflict, unstable political institutions and limited resources," the report warned.  Problem states in Asia and the Middle East included Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Algeria and Tajikistan, it said. In Eastern Europe, Russia, Bosnia and Croatia showed a mix of stabilizing and destabilizing factors, it added.  All Latin American and Western democracies -- with the exceptions of Guatemala and Peru -- were ranked as highly stable in the report, titled "Peace and Conflict 2001: A Global Survey of Armed Conflicts, Self-Determination Movements and Democracy."

Gulf welcomes Bush, wants fair Mideast hearing
The New President and the View From Abroad - A STRATFOR commmentary

(Mat 24:6-8)  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

64. I have heard certain pious men declare that, when people rob us of what we possess for our own support or for the relief of the poor, we should prosecute them, especially if the culprits are Christians; for, it is argued, not to prosecute might encourage crime in those who have wronged us. But this is simply a specious excuse for preferring one's possessions to one's self. For if I abandon prayer and cease to guard the door of my heart, and begin to bring cases against those who wrong me, frequenting the corridors of the courts, it is clear that I regard the goods which I claim as more important than my own salvation- more important even than the commandment of Christ. For how can I possibly follow the injunction: 'When someone takes away your goods, do not try to recover them' (Luke 6:30), unless I gladly endure their loss?

January 20, 2001

(Deu 30:19)  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live...


From his national platform as the Nebraska doctor who beat back an anti-abortion attack, Dr.  LeRoy Carhart has begun raising thousands of dollars to help fellow abortion providers open clinics, fight legal challenges and offer services to low-income women.

The goal is to eventually raise $10 million, enough to help finance 20 to 30 new abortion clinics and keep providers such as Dr. Bruce Steir - a Californian who had a patient who died after undergoing a second-trimester abortion and has since pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter - from being bankrupted by legal fees.  Money also would be set aside for women who otherwise might not be able to afford an abortion.

Carhart said such a venture wouldn't have been possible without the notoriety that has come his way since winning the first abortion case to go before the U.S.  Supreme Court in nearly a decade.  "If this had been a search for glory," he said, "I would be the winner.  But that didn't even enter my mind when I filed my lawsuit against the state.  I thought it would all be over at the first trial level." Carhart's constitutional challenge of a ban on a controversial abortion procedure ended up spanning three years and turned him into a hero in abortion-rights circles.


Attention March for Life Participants!!!

We encourage all pro-life people to come to the Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, to be held on January 22, 2001, the 28th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

Fr. Frank Pavone will be greeting people at the steps of the Supreme Court as Marchers arrive at that point. Look for the "Priests for Life" !

MORE: Solemn Mass for Life to be celebrated at the National Shrine by Archbishop Keeler.


VIA Father Meinrad Miller, OSB: 138 people will be leaving from Benedictine College tomorrow for a 24 hour bus trip for the March for Life.  Please pray for us and all who will be marching.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

63 (cont.).Thus it was that our Lord Jesus, 'when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten' (1 Pet. 2:23); He even kept silent when stripped of His clothes and, what is more, prayed to His Father for the salvation of those who were maltreating Him. The men of this world, however, never stop going to court unless, as sometimes happens, they are given out of court more than they are actually claiming, especially if they have already been receiving interest on the sum involved. In such cases, their justice often becomes the occasion for great injustice.

January 17, 2001


Scientists say they used a particle accelerator to smash the nuclei of gold atoms together to make the highest density of matter ever created in an experiment. The accelerator, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, smashed the nuclei together at nearly the speed of light, Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists said at a conference Monday.  Physicists who studied the debris streaming from the collisions concluded that densities more than 20 times higher than those within the nuclei of ordinary matter had been produced.  Temperatures in the compressed matter topped 1 trillion degrees.

The scientists believe that large amounts of matter so dense and so hot last existed a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the explosion credited with giving birth to the universe. Physicists hope the violent collisions will break protons and neutrons into their subcomponents - quarks and gluons - further revealing the internal structure of nuclei.  Although the measurements reported Monday cannot determine whether that goal has been achieved, they strongly suggest that further collisions will bring the so-called "quark-gluon plasma'' to light.


Hundreds of Christians in Indonesia have gathered around a house in the capital Jakarta to catch a glimpse of what they say is an apparition of Jesus Christ. Christians claim the stained white wall in front of a small house, which is owned by a Muslim, shows Jesus looking towards heaven with outstretched hands.

However, not everyone in the crowd was convinced.  Some people said they could not see anything on the wall, which is discoloured with light brown water marks. The house's Muslim owner, Ajum, said the image first appeared last night. He said: "I do not mind Christians believing it is an image of Jesus and crowding around the house but I would prefer if they did not hold midnight prayer vigils."

The sightings coincide with a wave of attacks aimed at Indonesia's Christian minority.  On Christmas Eve, bomb blasts which ripped through churches in nine cities killed at least 15 people and injured scores of others.  Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation.  Christians make up less than 10% of the country's 203 million people.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

63. Whoever has participated in divine knowledge and tasted the sweetness of God should not defend himself in law, and still less prosecute, even though someone should go so far as to strip him of his clothes. The justice of the rulers of this world is in every way inferior to that of God or, rather, it is as nothing when compared with it. For what is the difference between the and those of this world, if it is not that the justice of the latter appears imperfect when compared with that of the former, so that we call the one human and the other divine?

January 16, 2001


Digital technology is giving new leads in understanding a phenomenon that continues to puzzle science: the mysterious eyes of the image of Virgin of Guadalupe.  Engineer José Aste Tonsmann of the Mexican Center of Guadalupan Studies says he believes the reflection transmitted by the eyes of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the scene on Dec.  9, 1531, during which Juan Diego showed his tilma, with the image, to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga and others present in the room.  In his research, Tonsmann used a digital process used by satellites and space probes in transmitting visual information.

He insists that the image "that has not been painted by human hand." As early as the 18th century, scientists showed that it was impossible to paint such an image in a fabric of that texture.  The "ayate" fibers used by the Indians, in fact, deteriorated after 20 years.  Yet, the image and the fabric it is imprinted on have lasted almost 470 years ago.  Tonsmann pointed out that Richard Kuhn, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, has found that the image did not have natural, animal or mineral colorings.  Given that there were no synthetic colorings in 1531, the image is inexplicable.  In 1979, Americans Philip Callahan and Jody B. Smith studied the image with infrared rays and discovered to their surprise that there was no trace of paint and that the fabric had not been treated with any kind of technique.  "[How] it is possible to explain this image and its consistency in time without colors, on a fabric that has not been treated?" Tonsmann asked.  "[How] is it possible that, despite the fact there is no paint, the colors maintain their luminosity and brilliance?"



If you're not too worried about current problems - the intifada, the water shortage, or the religious divide - then a government statement that says Israel is likely to experience an apocalyptic earthquake within 50 years probably won't shake you up.  But a rough estimate of up to 10,000 dead, 22,000 injured, and a $50 billion damage bill might just put a damper on your day.  The above figures were released yesterday by Israeli Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer after having been kept secret by the Knesset earthquake procedures steering committee when its report was published last year.

Death Toll Tops 600 in Central American Quake
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Quake, aftershock rattle Los Angeles area
Moderate quake rattles northwestern Turkey

(Rev 6:12-13)  I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

62 (cont.). In my view, then, the man who in a spirit of devotion makes controlled use of his incensive power will without doubt be judged more favourably than the man who, because of the inertness of his intellect, has never become incensed. The latter seems to have an inexperienced driver in charge of his emotions, while the former, always ready for action, drives the horse of virtue through the midst of the demonic host, guiding the four-horsed chariot of self-control in the fear of God. This chariot is called 'the chariot of Israel' in the description of the taking up of the prophet Elijah (cf. 2 Kgs. 2:12); for God spoke clearly about the four cardinal virtues first of all to the Jews. This is precisely why Elijah ascended in a fiery chariot, guiding his own virtues as horses, when he was carried up by the Spirit in a gust of fire.

January 15, 2001

(Mat 16:27)  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.


As Cuba struggles to overcome an economic crisis triggered by the collapse of the former Soviet Union and exacerbated by the U.S. trade embargo, Miraculous Medallion Roman Catholic Church in south Havana is trying to fill gaps in the nation's social safety net.  Cuba's older citizens- one out of every four Cubans will be over 60 by the year 2025- have been particularly hard hit by economic need. While most citizens don't pay rent and receive much of their food at heavily subsidized prices, elderly Cubans often live alone on monthly pensions of about 80 Cuban pesos , or less than $4- not enough to cover other necessities.

At Miraculous Medallion Church, more than 100 elderly people every weekday visit the center established for them in Santos Suarez, a once fashionable neighborhood now characterized by pothole-marked streets and once splendorous homes crumbling in disrepair.  Miraculous Medallion's priest, the Rev. Jose Maria Lusarreta, saw the need for some kind of help for the neighborhood's elderly when he arrived from Spain six years ago.  Many older people lived by themselves in extreme loneliness and poverty.  Lusarreta established the center in a two-story building next to the church.  Here, volunteers try to "create an environment of hope," ensure that people are not alone and that they are enjoying themselves, while improving their diet, said Lusarreta, himself now 62.  Lusarreta and a dozen volunteers seem to do magic with donations of cash and clothing from private individuals, churches, and local governments in Spain.

"We owe our well-being to Father Lusarreta", said Nicolasa Ordonez, 97.


VIA Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, S.T.L.:God's Divine Mercy more available now, after the Jubilee Year, than ever before!  Listen to the beautiful words of the Holy Father.

After Jubilee, Nothing Is as Before, John Paul II Says

Thanking his collaborators for their work, the Holy Father said: now that the Jubilee is over, "nothing is as before." "In the historic transition that humanity is living, the Holy Year has had the providential function to make the echo of the ’Good News’ resound again": "At the beginning of the 21st century, the Jubilee has indicated a firm point from which one can begin again: Christ, the only salvation and hope of humanity." Now that the Holy Door has closed, the Pope said that in taking up again the "ordinary" way, it is necessary to be conscious of the fact that access to divine mercy is more open than ever.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

62 (cont.). Thus there is no doubt that if, when deeply depressed, we become indignant in spirit against the demon of corruption, this gives us the strength to despise even the presumptuosness of death. In order to make this clear, the Lord twice became indignant against death and troubled in spirit (cf. John 12:27, 13:21); and despite the fact that, untroubled, He could by a simple act of will do all that He wished, none the less when He restored Lazarus' soul to his body He was indignant and troubled in spirit (cf. John 11:33)- which seems to me to show that a controlled incensive power is a weapon implanted in our nature by God when He creates us. If Eve had used this weapon against the serpent, she would not have been impelled by sensual desire.

January 14, 2001


Pope John Paul, in his yearly "state of the world" address, said on Saturday the Middle East crisis risked spinning out of control and warned anything could happen unless Israelis and Palestinians learned mutual respect.  The Pope, addressing diplomats from some 175 countries accredited to the Vatican, also said respect for the environment and the proper use of scientific advances would be vital in the new millennium or the world could become "unliveable."

In his comments on the Middle East, the 80-year-old Pontiff appeared to be more critical of Israel than of the Palestinians but the tone of his address was one of deep and general concern.  Referring to the violence in which more than 360 people, mostly Palestinians, have been killed since September, the Pope said no one should be resigned to the fact that "a kind of guerrilla warfare has become an everyday event." He spoke of "the persistence of injustice, the contempt for international law or the marginalisation of Holy Places and the requirements of the Christian communities."

In other parts of his address, the Pope painted a potentially bleak picture of the world in the new millennium unless people learned respect for the environment and proper use of science.  "If people upset the balance of creation, forgetting that they are responsible for their brothers and sisters, and do not care for the environment which the Creator has placed in their hands, then a world determined by our designs alone could well become unliveable," he said.

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The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

62. The incensive power usually troubles and confuses the soul more than any other passion, yet there are times when it greatly benefits the soul. For when with inward calm we direct it against blasphemers or other sinners in order to induce them to mend their ways or at least feel some shame, we make our soul more gentle. In this way we put ourselves completely in harmony with the purposes of God's justice and goodness. In addition, through becoming deeply angered by sin we often overcome weaknesses in our soul.

January 13, 2001


Researchers have created the world's first genetically modified primate, a baby rhesus monkey whose name -- ANDi -- stands for "inserted DNA" spelled backward.  Born in October, the male monkey carries a tiny extra bit of DNA in a gene introduced as a marker that can be seen under a microscope because it glows green, researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University said.

Researchers hope they now can introduce other genes in rhesus monkeys that could trigger a host of human diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, breast cancer or HIV, allowing experiments to block them at the genetic level.

"I think we're at an extraordinary moment in the history of humans," said Dr. Gerald Schatten, who is leading the research at the university's Oregon Regional Primate Research Center.

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Researchers at the University of Vermont have helped clone a cow that could be resistant to mastitis, a discovery that could one day save the dairy industry billions of dollars.  UVM researchers cloned a gene that kills the bacteria that causes certain forms of mastitis -- a disease that inflames the mammary gland.  The gene was successful in staving off staphylococcal mastitis in genetically engineered mice.

"Our work has led to the world's first mastitis-resistant animals," Dr.  John Bramley, UVM's lead researcher and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said Wednesday.  "Tests show that the animals are perfectly normal, their milk supply is perfectly safe and their offspring grows well." "This is totally a first.  I think we're absolutely in the world lead here in that nobody has used molecular genetics to prevent disease before," Bramley said.

RELATED: 2 U.S. Scientists Share Wolf Prize

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

61 (cont.). The soul now has grace itself to share its meditation and to repeat with it the words "Lord Jesus', just as a mother teaches her child to repeat with her the word 'father', instead of prattling in his usual way, until she has formed in him the habit of calling for his father even in his sleep. This is why the Apostle says: 'Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with cries that cannot be uttered' (Rom. 8:26). Since we are but children as regards perfection in the virtue of prayer, we have need of the Spirit's aid so that all our thoughts may be concentrated and gladdened by His inexpressible sweetness, and so that with all our being we may aspire to the remembrance and love of our God and Father. For, as St Paul says, it is in the Spirit that we pray when we are taught by Him to cry without ceasing to God the Father, 'Abba, Father' (Rom. 8:15).

January 12, 2001

(Rev 13:14-15)  Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.


As the Internet continues to proliferate, it has become natural to think of it biologically — as a flourishing ecosystem of computers or a sprawling brain of Pentium-powered neurons.  However you mix and match metaphors, it is hard to escape the eerie feeling that an alien presence has fallen to earth, confronting scientists with something new to prod and understand.

The result has been an eruption of papers scrutinizing this artificial network and concluding, to many people's surprise, that it may be designed according to the same rules that nature uses to spin webs of its own.  The networks of molecules in a cell, of species in an ecosystem, and of people in a social group may be woven on the same mathematical loom as the Internet and the World Wide Web.

"We are getting to understand the architecture of complexity," said Dr.  Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, a physicist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana whose research group has recently published papers comparing such seemingly diverse systems as the Internet and the metabolic networks of life-sustaining chemical reactions inside cells.  The similarities between these and other complex systems are so striking, he said, "it's as if the same person would have designed them."

In the past, scientists treated networks as though they were strung together at random, giving rise to a homogeneous web in which nodes tended to have roughly the same number of links.  "Our work illustrates that in fact the real networks are far from being random," Dr. Barabasi said.  "They display a high degree of order and universality that has been rather unexpected by any accounts."


(Rev 18:2-3)  With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

61. When the soul is disturbed by anger, confused by drunkenness, or sunk in deep depression, the intellect cannot hold fast to the remembrance of God no matter how hard we try to force it. Completely darkened by the violence of the passions, it loses totally the form of perception which is proper to it. Thus our desire that our intellect should keep the remembrance of God cannot make any impression, because the recollective faculty of our mind has been hardened by the rawness of the passions. But, on the other hand, when the soul has attained freedom from these passions, then, even though the intellect is momentarily deprived by forgetfulness of the object of its longing, it at once resumes its proper activity.

January 11, 2001

Pope John Paul II: "The prophets remind us 'that we must commit ourselves to free the oppressed and bring justice to reign...'  The service of charity coherently associated with faith and the liturgy, the commitment to justice, the struggle against all forms of oppression and the protection of individual dignity are not, for Christians, expressions of philanthropy motivated purely by the fact of belonging to the human family.  Rather, they are choices and actions of a profoundly religious nature, they are true sacrifices and pleasing to God."


VIA Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, S.T.L.: Just thought the concluding words of our Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation, might reinforce the desire of those of you who've expressed an interest in the new ecclesiastically approved community, the Missionaries of the Holy Trinity.  Far from passively awaiting the coming of the Lord, today, more than ever, missionaries are needed to spread the good news.

"Did we not celebrate the Jubilee Year in order to refresh our contact with this living source of our hope?  Now, the Christ whom we have contemplated and loved bids us to set out once more on our journey: "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" (Mt 28:19).  The missionary mandate accompanies us into the Third Millennium and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope "which does not disappoint" (Rom 5:5).

At the beginning of this new century, our steps must quicken as we travel the highways of the world."

(Mat 24:12-14)  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

60 (cont.). The soul, then, is first summoned to the struggle by the initiatory joy and then rebuked and tested by the truth of the Holy Spirit, as regards both its past sins and the vain distractions in which it still indulges. For it is written: 'With rebukes Thou has corrected man for iniquity, and made his soul waste away like a spider's web' (Ps. 39:11. LXXX). In this manner the soul is tested by divine rebuke as in a furnace, and through fervent remembrance of God it actively experiences the joy exempt from fantasy.

January 10, 2001

(Rev 8:10-11)  The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-- the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.


Anxiety about asteroids is afoot in Britain.  Indeed, some contend that the rest of the world- especially the United States and its space agency- is not sufficiently serious about defending the planet from soaring rocks.  After a British government report in September spelled out threats to humankind from hunks of cosmic debris, some members of Parliament said they could not rely on NASA to spot all such natural missiles well enough in advance.  They urged the United Kingdom to take up the lead as the world's asteroid cop.  "This is not science fiction," Lord Sainsbury, the British science minister has declared.  "The risk is extremely remote, but it is real."

NASA supports several U.S.-based surveillance teams, with the goal to detect at least 90 percent of asteroids about half a mile across whose orbits may someday approach Earth.  Experts think about 1,000 exist, and nearly 500 are already charted.  So far, none poses any immediate threat.  Asteroids of that size could devastate continents, or even threaten civilization.  But they are unlikely to hit more often than every few hundred thousand years.  The British worry that smaller, yet still dangerous, meteors ranging down to a few hundred feet wide are more common but are being ignored.

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Britons had front row seats on Tuesday night for a three-hour show billed as the most colorful lunar eclipse for a decade. Totality -- when the moon is completely covered by the earth's shadow -- saw the moon turn orange as the light from the sun was bent and filtered by the earth's atmosphere.

The moon "turning to blood'' was once seen as a sign that disaster would strike or that the gods were angry.  In some places it still fills people with fear. An estimated 1,500 white witches are planning to gather in Britain, Sweden, Iceland, France, Canada and Austria during the eclipse to ward off any doom it may bring, the BBC reported.

(Joel 2:30-32)  I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

60. Initiatory joy is one thing, the joy of perfection is another. The first is not exempt from fantasy, while the second has the strength of humility. Between the two joys comes a 'godly sorrow' (2 Cor. 7:10) and active tears; 'For in much wisdom is much knowledge; and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow' (Eccles. 1:18).

January 9, 2001

(Zec 12:3)  On that day I will make Jerusalem a weighty stone for all peoples.  All who attempt to lift it shall injure themselves badly, and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered against her.


Israeli experts say they fear Jewish fundamentalists are plotting to blow up mosques on a holy site at the heart of the Israeli-Arab conflict and could spark an apocalyptic holy war if they succeed.  In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made public this week, former Shin Bet secret service chief Carmi Gillon and former police commissioner Assaf Hefetz warned that an extremist strike "would likely lead to all-out war and unleash destructive forces that would imperil Israel"s existence." Control of the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Arabs as al-Haram al-Sharif lies at the core of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and is one of the most divisive elements in a new U.S. peace plan.

"These Temple Mount lovers want ideologically and practically to build the third Jewish Temple where the mosques now stand," said Yizhar Be"er, Director of the Keshev Centre for the Protection of Democracy in Israel.  "The result would be a total apocalypse because if a Jewish group bombed the mosques the Moslem world would declare a war on Israel," he said, adding that Jewish extremists had been helped with financial backing from fundamentalist Christians

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(Luke 21:9-10) When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened.  These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

59 (cont.). Those who meditate unceasingly upon this glorious and holy name in the depths of their heart can sometimes see the light of their own intellect. For when the mind is closely concentrated upon this name, then we grow fully conscious that the name is burning up all the filth which covers the surface of the soul; for it is written: 'Our God is a consuming fire' (Deut. 4:24). Then the Lord awakens in the soul a great love for His glory; for when the intellect with fervour of heart maintains persistently its remembrance of the precious name, then that name implants in us a constant love for its goodness, since there is nothing now that stands in the way. This is the pearl of great price which a man can acquire by selling all that he has, and so experience the inexpressible joy of making it his own (cf. Matt. 13:46).

January 8, 2001


"By fixing our gaze on Christ, the Great Jubilee has given us a more vivid sense of the Church as a mystery of unity.  "I believe in the one Church": what we profess in the Creed has its ultimate foundation in Christ, in whom the Church is undivided (cf.  1 Cor 1:11-13).  As his Body, in the unity which is the gift of the Spirit, she is indivisible.  The reality of division among the Church's children appears at the level of history, as the result of human weakness in the way we accept the gift which flows endlessly from Christ the Head to his al Body.  The prayer of Jesus in the Upper Room- "as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us" (Jn 17:21)- is both revelation and invocation.  It reveals to us the unity of Christ with the Father as the wellspring of the Church's unity and as the gift which in him she will constantly receive until its mysterious fulfilment the end of time".

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VIA Christine A. McWilliams: At our church, St.  Martha in Akron, OH, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord and begin a week long time of prayer for vocations.  That is to say, for perseverance of those already in the Priestly or Religious life, those in the process of entering their religious life, and for a fostering of vocations in the families and among the churches.  Father Mike did make reference to the decreased numbers of those in The Life, and mentioned his own call to which he responded later in life.

I may be dating myself, but when I was a kid priests, brothers, sisters, nuns, and deacons were folks we all looked up to as having responded to a Higher Calling.  Now the "higher calling" is that of a position higher in the company with all the attendant benefits including a six figure paycheck, a company car, and great retirement packages.  Have we really succumbed to the powers and principalities of this world so far as to deem them "higher" than God Himself?

So, today I wish to challenge myself, and you all, to sincerely pray for vocations!  Use your own words, as long as they come from the heart of your being!  For those, like me, who find the words of those who've gone before to be helpful, here is a prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, show forth, we beseech Thee, in Thy Church the Holy Spirit with Whose power the apostles were so abundantly filled.  We thank Thee for the blessings bestowed upon the work of priests and religious; and we pray that Thou wilt add to the number of those who now pray, labor, and sacrifice themselves for Thy glory and the salvation of souls.  Give them unselfish zeal for They glory, O good Jesus, give us more priests and religious after Thine own Heart!  Amen!

Think about this: If we don't, who will? God bless you all!

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

59. When we have blocked all its outlets by means of the remembrance of God, the intellect requires of us imperatively some task which will satisfy its need for activity. For the complete fulfilment of its purpose we should give it nothing but the prayer 'Lord Jesus'. 'No one', it is written, 'can say "Lord Jesus" except in the Holy Spirit' (1 Cor. 12:3). Let the intellect continually concentrate on these words within its inner shrine with such intensity that it is not turned aside to any mental images.

January 7, 2001


With one tug and then another, Pope John Paul II pulled shut the Holy Door of St.  Peter"s Basilica Saturday, solemnly ending the Vatican"s Jubilee Year of repentance that drew some 25 million pilgrims to Rome.

"We know with certainty," prayed the pope, who knelt down with difficulty on the steps outside the door, "that the door of your clemency is never shut for those who believe in your love and proclaim your mercy." Later, during a Mass, John Paul reflected on the Holy Year"s major events, including a week in August when 2 million young people camped out in Rome and a day when he publicly asked forgiveness for the church"s wrongdoings over its history.  "The great Jubilee offered us a providential occasion to carry out the purification of memory, asking pardon of God for the infidelities carried out in these 2,000 years by the children of the Church," the pope told the crowd.

RELATED: Pope Ends Holy Year, Says Not Time to Rest


"We do not know what the new millennium has in store for us, but we are certain that it is safe in the hands of Christ, the "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev 19:16); and precisely by celebrating his Passover not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church will continue to show to every generation "the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world's origin and its final destiny leads".



The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

58. When our soul begins to lose its appetite for earthly beauties, a spirit of listlessness is apt to steal into it. This prevents us from taking pleasure in study and teaching, and from feeling any strong desire for the blessings prepared for us in the life to come; it also leads us to disparage this transient life excessively, as not possessing anything of value. It even depreciates spiritual knowledge itself, either on the grounds that many others have already acquired it or because it cannot teach us anything perfect. To avoid this passion, which dejects and enervates us, we must confine the mind within very narrow limits, devoting ourselves solely to the remembrance of God. Only in this way will the intellect be able to regain its original fervour and escape this senseless dissipation.

January 6, 2001

(Isa 14:13-15)  You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.


Noah's Ark has set sail again, crossing stormy scientific waters and buffeted by winds of controversy.  Unlike the Old Testament vessel, however, today's metaphorical ark is not carrying threatened animals two by two to safety.  Rather, if it lives up to its billing, it could produce potentially unlimited numbers of endangered creatures.

In the updated story, though, Noah is not the skipper of the rescue project.  Instead, it's the name given in advance to the clone of a dead gaur, an endangered wild ox found in India, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia.  The new Noah is expected to be born any day now to Bessie, a cow living on a farm near Sioux City, Iowa.  Cows have given birth to gaurs before, but this is the first time that one animal species is acting as surrogate mother to a clone--an exact genetic duplicate--of a different species.

RELATED: Clone scientists can grow sperm in laboratory


In a drab warehouse in St.  Louis, the biotech firm Incyte Genomics has stockpiled a remarkable collection: 15 million samples of human genes that promise to cure a whole host of ailments.  For a price, researchers can order up many of the genes Incyte has patented by availing themselves of the company's popular "clone by phone" service.  Overnight shipping is standard.

Now that the human genetic code has finally been deciphered, the rush is on to profit from the knowledge.  This month, the U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office is expected to finalize new, stricter standards that will determine when a company like Incyte can obtain a patent on a human gene.  Where the Patent Office draws the line will help determine which companies thrive–and which don't.

(1 Tim 6:10)  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

57. He who dwells continually within his own heart is detached from the attractions of this world, for he lives in the Spirit and cannot know the desires of the flesh. Such a man henceforward walks up and down within the fortress of the virtues which keep guard at all the gates of purity. The assaults of the demons are now ineffective against him, even though the arrows of sensual desire reach as far as the doorways of his senses.

January 5, 2001

(2 Pet 3:8-9)  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


With huge crowds waiting for hours under a cold rain outside St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican officials said Thursday they were keeping the Holy Door open late during the final two days of the Holy Year.Pope John Paul has been so struck by the tens of thousands of people snaking across the square that he has opened his studio window to give them special greetings nearly every day during the holiday week.

Vatican officials said Thursday the door would no longer be closed at 6 p.m.  The heavy, last-minute turnout "forces us, kindly, to keep the door open until the last pilgrim has passed through,'' said Monsignor Crescenzio Sepe, the Vatican's top official for the Holy Year activities. Pilgrims can gain an indulgence, or remission from punishment for their sins, by passing through St.  Peter's Holy Door, as well as the doors of several other major basilicas.  The passage must be accompanied by prayer and other actions such as confession and receiving Communion to meet all the conditions for the indulgences.

RELATED: Pope to cross Saint Peter's Holy Door in last Jubilee celebration


The Holy See Press Office officially announced the publication of a new document written by Pope John Paul II.  The document, a pastoral letter with the title "Novo millennio ineunte" (At the start of the new millennium), will be signed by the Pope on January 6.  As it was announced, the Pope's new pastoral letter will be signed after the Eucharistic celebration of Saturday, January 6, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord and the final day of the Great Jubilee 2000.

SUMMARY ARTICLE:  Pope who vowed to lead into the next millennium


The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

56 (cont.). We should therefore always be looking into the depths of our heart with continued remembrance of God, and should pass through this deceitful life like men who have lost their sight. It is the mark of true spiritual wisdom always to clip the wings of our love for visible appearances, and this is what Job, in his great experience, refers to when he says: 'If my heart has followed my eye...' (Job 31:7. LXXX). To master ourselves in this way is evidence of the greatest self-control.

January 4, 2001


VIA Richard Hubbell: The four D's-- Delight, Despair, Detachment, Desperation

Every year on New Year's Day I humbly ask the Lord what the coming year is going to bring.  This year I believe He stirred to life within me that there would be four "D" things coming our way in noticeable ways.  Delight on one hand, alternated with despair on the other hand.  It came to me that the election was a precursor/example of what is to come in this regard.  One day it was delight - then it would turn 180 degrees and it would be despair.  The effect of this "up and down" in the faithful is to produce holy detachment and a weaning away from things of the earth and a constant focusing and then refocusing on the Cross of Christ - which is the only stable and is unmoving object available to us in the universe.  The entire world is swirling and revolving around the cross with ever increasing and frantic movements.  It is as though we are being "made" to focus by this alternating delight and despair on the cross - and to look away from the passing distractions of the world in order to avoid vertigo and inner sea sickness.

The effect of this maddening swirling is going to be increasingly hard on those not firmly anchored in Christ - not a theoretical or historical Christ - but a real and personal Christ - and Him Crucified at that.  It will feel to them that they are caught in the vortex that sucks the water down the drain - swirling faster and faster and going down.  In a more limited way, it will also feel that way (swirling and sinking) to *us* - in those areas of our lives that are still unconverted I mean.  This is the desperation part.

The worldy stuff is going to be getting sucked down the drain.  This start noticeably in 2000 but it will be increasing as the year progresses and on into the future.  If we try to hold on to the worldy stuff we will just get sucked in after it, hook line and sinker.  If parts of us are still hanging on - and they are in all of us no matter how much we have progressed in our conversions - then we will have to decide which way we want to go - to hang on and swirled and sick - or to let go and find the Jesus on the Cross again.  The result is that there will have to be many hard decisions made.  Lots of swirling and dizziness - but relief as we let it go and focus on the cross and see Jesus hanging between the earth and the sky - and we once again see and experience the stability of the cross - and the stability and peace mixed with suffering with Our Blessed Mother Mary praying on Her knees beneath the cross.  That is the spot we will run for.  Next to Mother Mary at the foot of the Cross.  That will be our safe spot.

You can read this and take it for what its worth.  I certainly don't claim to be a prophet or a seer or a visionary or anything like that.  Like most of you, I am just a daily Mass person and also like most of you I am very devoted to Our Blessed Mother and to Our Sacred Heart.  Humanly speaking I am a notable sinner being quite stubborn, egotistical, self-willed and generally miserable and hard to live with, and those are my relative "strengths" because it only gets worse from there, as God only knows.  So exactly how much of this is from me - and how much is from heaven I can't say for sure.  You will have to prayerfully discern that yourself.

All I *can* say is this "Lord I do believe.  Help my unbelief."

May God bless you - and may you find true peace and stability with Mary at the foot of the Cross of Our Lord this year - and forever.

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PROPHECY FROM THE "DARK SIDE": Cuba's priests predict stormy, lusty 2001

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

56. Eve is the first to teach us that sight, taste and the other senses, when used without moderation, distract the heart from its remembrance of God. So long as she did not look with longing at the forbidden tree, she was able to keep God's commandment carefully in mind; she was still covered by the wings of divine love and thus was ignorant of her own nakedness. But after she had looked at the tree with longing, touched it with ardent desire and then tasted its fruit with active sensuality, she at once felt drawn to physical and, being naked, she gave way to her passion. All her desire was now to enjoy what was immediately present to her sense, and through the pleasant appearance of the fruit she involved Adan in her fall. Thereafter it became hard for man's intellect to remember God or His commandments.

January 3, 2001

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


The first eclipse of the Third Millennium occurs on Tuesday, January 9, 2001.  This event is a total eclipse of the Moon and is visible from Europe, Africa and Asia.

The Third Millennium began on January 1, 2001 NOT 2000 as was erroneously reported by the media last year. Our modern calendar dating system was devised in the sixth-century by the monk Dionysius Exiguous.  This calendar begins on January 1 of the year 1 A.D., not year 0 A.D. A little arithmetic will tell you that the First Century ended on December 31, 100 A.D., and not 99 A.D.  Similarly, the First Millennium ended on December 31, 1000 A.D.

The total phase of a lunar eclipse is called Totality.  At this time, the Moon is completely immersed within the Earth's shadow.  During the January 9 eclipse Totality will last 1 hour and 2 minutes. Unfortunately, the total phase of January's eclipse will not be visible from the U.S. since it occurs before moonrise.  Europe, Africa and Asia are better positioned to observe the entire eclipse, weather permitting.


PARAPHRASED EXCERPT FROM THE TALMUD: "When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for gentiles; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons time by the moon and gentiles by the sun."

A REMINDER: The Jubilee Year, the year of God's mercy, ends with the closing of the Holy Doors on January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany.

(Psa 122:6)  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

55. The soul will not desire to be separated from the body unless it becomes indifferent to the very air it breathes. All the bodily senses are opposed to faith, for they are concerned with the objects of this present world, while faith is concerned only with the blessings of the life to come. Thus one pursing the spiritual way should never be too greatly preoccupied with beautifully branched or shady trees, pleasantly flowing springs, flowery meadows, fine houses or even visits to his family; neither should he recall any public honours that he happens to have been given. He should gratefully be content with bare necessities, regarding this present life as a road passing through an alien land, barren of all worldly attractions. For it is only by concentrating our mind in this way that we can keep to the road that leads back to eternity.

January 1-2, 2001

(Lev 19:18)  "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.


Pope John Paul, delivering an anti-xenophobia message for the New Year, said Monday people of different cultures will have to live in mutual respect if they want peace in an age of migration and globalization.  The 80-year-old Pope also announced that his envoy in the Middle East had handed a peace message to Israelis and Palestinians urging them to return to the path of dialogue.

The Pope said that only through mutual respect and protection of cultures could a new era of fraternal solidarity be built.  "All should try to promote a culture of real solidarity and of justice that is intricately linked to the value of peace, which is the primary objective for every society and (necessary) for national and international co-existence," he said.  "This is even more necessary in the current world context, made complex by widespread human mobility, global communications and the often difficult encounters between different cultures."

After the mass, he announced that an envoy, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, had given Israeli and Palestinian authorities a personal copy of his message.  "On this special day, we must think of the Holy Land," the Pope said.  Etchegaray had asked Israelis and Palestinians to "continue along the path of dialogue in order to reach a much-desired peace, which is the essential foundation for fruitful coexistence among all people on earth."

MORE: Pope's thoughts turn to Holy Land strife as 2001 begins


Middle East Greets New Year with Guns
Blasts hit Israeli town of Netanya
Israeli security services alert for vigilante action
Israelis fear war plot by far right
Arafat Faction Calls for Uprising

(Psa 122:6)  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

54. When we become unduly distressed at falling ill, we should recognize that our soul is still the slave of bodily desires and so longs for physical health, not wishing to lose the good things of this life and even finding it a great hardship not to be able to enjoy them because of illness. If, however, the soul accepts thankfully the pains of illness, it is clear that it is not far from the realm of dispassion; as a result it even waits joyfully for death as the entry into a life that is more true.

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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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