Keep your eyes open!...


January 31, 2005

(Gen 8:8-9) Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him.


Two doves released by children from the windows of the Vatican on Sunday to symbolise peace initially refused to take flight, causing the Pope to take the matter literally into his own hands.

A boy and girl released the birds from the window from which Pope John Paul had told pilgrims of the need to teach the young about peace. First the doves refused to leave the window ledge and when the Pope brushed them off, one flew back into the room.

The Pope himself then launched the bird once more into St Peter's Square but it flew back a second time, raising a chuckle from the 84-year-old pontiff. An unseen aide then threw the dove out again and it flew away.

The presence of the children was to illustrate the Pope's message that the young have to be taught to make peace.

"In the Gospel, Jesus proclaimed: 'Blessed are the peacemakers', even the very small can be such," he told thousands of the faithful in the square below.

"We need to beat injustice with justice, lies with truth, revenge with forgiveness, hatred with love. This lifestyle cannot be improvised, it needs to be taught from childhood," the Pope said in a croaky and wavering voice.

VIA TeagueFamily: A Request from the Pope

His Holiness is specifically requesting that we pray for him in the knowledge that his time among us is limited. Please pray an "Our Father" for him; then copy and forward this to as many people around the world as possible. Pope John Paul made this request about 3 weeks ago, upon praying the Angelus before the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. He says that only through prayer will he be given strength. Let us help the Pope whose prayers have helped so many of us. Please send this to all your friends. With your cooperation, in just a few days, millions of us will have offered their prayers for John Paul II, and by the same token,offered their prayers to God. Let us never forget the power of prayer.

VIA TeagueFamily: Just a Word of Encouragement from Mark Shea & Jeff Cavins

It is an honor and a pleasure to share with you our recently produced two-minute flash movie tribute to our Catholic Faith, "Proud to Be Catholic." Enjoy the presentation -- and please be sure to forward it to your family and friends!

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

31. If you find within yourself an abyss of pride and vain esteem, bury these passions in the abyss of the humility of the Sacred Heart, wherein you must lose all that stirs you interiorly, so as to be arrayed in His sacred annihilations.

January 29, 2005


"If you ate only one meal a week would you survive?  It is the same for your soul. Nourish it with the Blessed Sacrament." (Bl. Andre Bessette)

HOMILY BY FATHER ALTIER: Reading (Hebrews 7:25-8:6) Gospel (St. Mark 3:7-12)

In the first reading today, Saint Paul continues talking about the priesthood of Jesus. He tells us that Jesus is our high priest and that it is fitting that we should have such a high priest who is holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and higher than the heavens. He has no need, like the other priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, because He did that once for all when He offered Himself.

Now we have to look at what exactly that means, because, of course, we offer sacrifice day after day. Every time we come to Mass, we offer the sacrifice of the Mass, and so it would seem on the surface to be in contradiction to what Saint Paul is saying. But the reality is that “Jesus, having offered Himself once for all” means it is once that He offered Himself on the Cross and that sacrifice is for all time. When we say “once for all” we would normally assume that might mean “once for everyone” or “for all people” or something along those lines. But in the understanding of the sacrifice that is offered, remember that it is the exact same sacrifice that is being offered at Mass. He is not being offered again; He is being offered still. It is one continual sacrifice that is being offered until the end of the world. He is not offering over and over again, but rather He continues to offer His one sacrifice, and so He does indeed live forever to mediate for us.

The only reason this can happen, as Saint Paul makes clear, is, number one, because He has entered into the sanctuary – not the one made by human hands but the one that was made by God. Remember that on the mountain Moses had a vision of the worship of heaven, and he was told to make a tabernacle, a tent, that was patterned after what he had seen. The high priest, when he would enter into the Holy of Holies, would go in there once a year, but it was into a temple that was manmade, a copy of the original. But Our Lord Himself has entered into the original, into the worship of heaven. Therefore, the sacrifice that He offers is an eternal one, because, as Saint Paul makes clear, after the law had already been enacted (indeed many, many years after the law had already been enacted) there was a promise that the one who would be this priest would also be the Son of God. The second psalm says, You are My Son, this day I have begotten You, and we again read in Psalm 110 about the Messiah who was the Son and who would be this priest forever. So He has a priesthood that does not go away. Therefore, since He is the eternal Son of God and because He is God, He has a sacrifice that He has offered and that sacrifice will stand before the throne of the heavenly Father forever. It will never ever stop.

That is the sacrifice we have at Mass. It is literally the same sacrifice that took place on Calvary two thousand years ago. When you are at Mass, you are at Calvary. You are there at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady. You are the beloved disciple who is right there as Jesus looks down at His mother and says, Behold, your son, and then looks at you to say, Behold, your mother. This is what goes on at Mass because you are present at the sacrifice of Jesus, the one sacrifice that is offered for all time, the one sacrifice that is offered continually without end, the one sacrifice that has united us with Him. That is what is going on. Even though we are here in a building made by human hands, what is happening on the altar is something which is eternal and we enter into the worship of heaven.

If we think about what happens at Mass, we saw earlier that way back Moses had the vision of the worship of heaven and made a tabernacle based on what he saw. In the New Testament, something similar has occurred. Saint John, in the Book of Revelation, had a vision of the worship of heaven and in that vision he saw the Mass. If you read the book of Revelation carefully, you will see every single element of the Mass is right there. And so what we are doing is engaging in the worship of heaven even while we are here on earth because it is not just something natural being offered to God; what is happening is something supernatural as the heavenly Father gives us His Son in the form of bread and wine, and as Jesus continues to offer Himself in sacrifice for us.

When we understand what is really going on and we see the dignity of what is happening here, it is then that we are called to enter more and more deeply into the action of the Mass, into the sacrifice that takes place upon the altar, to unite ourselves with that sacrifice and to be one with Christ, because this is preparation for eternity, this is what we are going to do forever. We are going to be at the eternal Mass. We will no longer be doing this in a sanctuary made by human hands because the Lord has opened the sanctuary for us in heaven. Even though what is happening here is real, it is merely a foreshadowing of what is to come; but the glory of the heavenly worship is what is being offered to us. We have the opportunity to unite ourselves with the angels and the saints in the worship of Jesus Christ, in honoring His sacrifice in the most fitting manner, and to prepare ourselves for what we are going to do for eternity.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

29. When our Lord inspires us with some good deed, He also gives the strength to do it.

January 28, 2005


A study conducted on the case of a statue of the Madonna reported to have shed tears of blood a decade ago concluded that the event has no human explanation, an Italian newspaper reported on Sunday.

Corriere della Sera said it viewed the document ordered by the Civitavecchia diocese to review the case from several points of view and was put together by theologians, historians and doctors. It published what it said was a summary of its findings.

Corriere, Italy's leading newspaper, said the document critically analyses all testimonies given at the time, as well as all possible explanations for the phenomenon.

"Everything - they (the experts) say unanimously - indicates that in that corner of the earth at the gates of Rome an event took place that has no human explanation and points at the mystery of the Supernatural," Corriere wrote.

The Corriere article was written by Vittorio Messori, a leading Catholic author who helped Pope John Paul II write the best-selling book Crossing The Threshold Of Hope in 1994.

Healings by the Madonna of Civitavecchia. A Theological Commission Researches the Case

March 1996 - According to Bishop Girolamo Grillo of Civitavecchia/Turin, Italy, more than 20 extraordinary events have taken place since a statue of Mary is said to have shed bloody tears last year. Healings of persons afflicted with cancer and drug addiction are among them. Bishop Grillo was interviewed by the daily news, "La Stampa," on the anniversary of the phenomenon. The happenings are attributed to the intercession of the Mother of God.


(Luke 19:41-44) And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

+ Then: Jesus' visitation was not acknowledged with the appropriate response; Now: Mary's repeated visitations have not been acknowledged with the appropriate response

+ Then: Jesus in the outskirts of Jerusalem; Now: Mary in the outskirts of The Vatican

+ Then: In Jerusalem not one stone was to be left upon another; Now: In The Vatican not one stone is to virtually be left upon another.

We view this as the last warning from our Heavenly Mother. It took ten years to confirm that the event was true because the timing was perfect.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

28. Be faithful in the practice of virtue, never willfully neglecting any occasion thereof.

January 27, 2005

(1Pe 3:15-16) But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

EXCELLENT REVIEW: Church Indulgences Explained By Fr. William P. Saunders

NEW RESOURCE: Catholic Apologetics Manual (pdf file)

VIA Ronald Smith: Some of you know and some do not know that my "apostolate" for the past twelve or so years has been to defend our faith by doing free Catholic research for anyone on any Catholic question. I answer all questions in writing with quoting Church documents and other exceptional sources and footnotes so that the requestors and readers may go to the source documents used if they so desire.

Here is an example of a Q&A from a reader of your website:

Free Download Acrobat Reader for PDF files:

VIA Austin Ruse:

We at the Culture of Life Foundation and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute are proud to announce a new news and commentary website on social policy.

It is called and can be reached here:

We will have brand news posting many times a day. We will publish six bi-weekly columnists who will cover the waterfront on questons of social policy from a conservative and Christian point of view.

The Friday Fax, and Culture & Cosmos will be published here each week.

We also have a very active web-blog, with three terrific bloggers, Justin Torres, Bradford Short, and David Fredosso. You can join their conversation here:

Key into the blog and you can actually join the conversation. We are posting all responses, within reason, from our readers.

Go now to

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

27. Try to draw profit from and make good use of the holy affections that you receive from the Sovereign Goodness, endeavoring to benefit by them. Be ever attentive to good inspirations, for the Holy Spirit breathes where He wills. Grace is offered, but if refused, never returns. Therefore let us profit by it.

January 26, 2005

(John 15:12-13) "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


The Vatican on Tuesday praised an Italian woman who died after refusing cancer treatment that would have required her to have an abortion. Rita Fedrizzi died this week, three months after giving birth to a baby boy.

Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano compared Fedrizzi's decision to that of an Italian pediatrician Gianna Beretta Molla, who died in 1962 after refusing to end her pregnancy despite warnings that it could kill her. Beretta Molla was made a saint by John Paul II in 2003 and has become a symbol for opponents of abortion. The Roman Catholic Church considers abortion a grave sin.

Fedrizzi, 41, who refused the abortion and cancer treatment, found out she had cancer about the same time she learned she was pregnant, the Vatican paper said.

"She was aware that if she gave birth she wouldn't have had any hope of surviving," the Vatican newspaper wrote. "Despite that she went through with her choice, the choice of welcoming new life even at the cost of her own death."

Besides Federico, born after six months of her pregnancy, she left two children, ages 10 and 12.

"Rita's choice, which I always shared, was a choice of faith," her husband, Enrico Ferrari, told the Italian news agency ANSA.

"Whenever someone recommended abortion as the only way to escape (death), she would say, 'It's as if they're asking me to kill one of my other two children to save my skin.' She welcomed Federico as a gift, the husband was quoted as saying.

Fedrizzi was buried in Pianello del Lario, near Como, on Tuesday.

RAI state TV said the woman was very active with a Catholic group devoted to the Virgin Mary.


In conjunction with the Church's "Year of Eucharist",, Adoration for Vocations, and Serra International are collaborating with the Holy See's Congregation for Catholic Education in launching a campaign to assist dioceses and parishes in establishing new Adoration for Vocations sites worldwide.

The campaign, entitled "In Response to His Holiness, Worldwide Adoration for Vocations", began in Rome on November 24, 2004 with Pope John Paul II blessing six monstrances, representing each of the six continents, which will be used to promote the effort worldwide.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officially launched the campaign in North America on January 12th, beginning with Adoration for Vocations at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC and concluding with Mass in the Crypt Church.

Adoration for Vocations provides the concrete tools and support needed to launch Eucharistic Adoration groups worldwide thus helping the lay faithful to rediscover the gift of the Eucharist while promoting vocations to the priesthood and all forms of consecrated life.

OF INTEREST: Sister retires after more than 60 years helping the sick and poor

SEE ALSO: Altar boy, 89, is still kneeling

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

26. Forget your own interests and leave the care of yourself to your heavenly Father. The further you withdraw from self, the closer you draw to God.

January 25, 2005

(Jude 1:20-23) But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.


In December 2003, just after Pope John Paul II named Raymond Leo Burke as the city's next archbishop, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee, a native St. Louisan and an old friend of Burke, said, "Ray's a most lovable guy, with a big heart, a ready smile, a balanced man with great common sense and with a towering intellect."

Some of those qualities were lost on St. Louis Catholics. Shortly after he arrived, Burke said he would not give Communion to Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic and possible presidential candidate. That moment would begin a year shaped by controversy and would put Burke on a national stage where he remains today.

"He has a very clear vision of what his responsibilities are to the church as a shepherd of the church," said Molly Kertz, director of the Archdiocese of St. Louis' Pro-Life Committee. "He doesn't waver, he doesn't hesitate ever."

"He is compelled by the Gospel in his religious convictions," said Monsignor Vernon E. Gardin, archdiocesan vicar general and a clinical psychologist. "Unfortunately, people sometimes confuse religious conviction with emotional rigidity. He is a man of moral integrity and he can't equivocate on the teachings of the church."

Burke has said that just because the elections are over, it doesn't mean that he will stop paying attention to how Catholic political leaders are voting. Last year, Burke had a couple of meetings with Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, a Catholic who supports abortion rights. He has said previously that the only reason Catholic politicians in his new archdiocese had yet to receive letters from him was because he had not had the time to discover who deserved them.

Taking the heat when you're the new guy can be difficult, and Burke did not have the luxury of a honeymoon in St. Louis. At the very beginning, he dove into the deep end. But the people who know him best say he is a kind man who leads a simple, holy life. His favorite activities are walking, reading and bird-watching. They say he is guided by his faith in Jesus and his love and respect for the Catholic church.

"You have to pray a lot and be courageous," he said last week. "The fact of the matter is that the church is in the world."

Burke sees his role as protecting the church and his flock.

Like a dog who doesn't bark when a thief approaches, he said, "a shepherd who doesn't shepherd is useless."

"Sometimes I bark," he said.


The Pope stressed yesterday that the Catholic Church believed abstinence and fidelity within marriage, rather than condoms, were the best way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Pope's words, addressed to a Netherlands ambassador Monique Frank, took on an added significance because it was his first direct comment on the controversial topic since a Catholic official in Spain last week appeared to question the Church's stand against condoms.

"The Holy See ... believes prevention through education about the sacredness of life and the correct practice of sexuality - that is, chastity and faithfulness - is necessary above all other things in order to prevent this disease responsibly," the 84-year old pontiff said in his written address.

He also took the opportunity to reiterate the Vatican's condemnation of the Netherlands' legalisation of euthanasia four years ago.

"The Holy See has made known its clear position and invites Catholics in the Netherlands always to show their absolute respect for human life, from conception to natural death."

IN THE HEADLINES: Hundreds of fetuses buried in service at Catholic church

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

25. I beg of Him with all my heart to make you ever faithful to what He asks of you, ready to sacrifice to Him all that costs you the most, according as He makes His will known to you; for there is no middle course; He will have all or nothing.

January 21, 2005



The Tongue

(Jam 3:5-10) Even so the tongue is indeed a little member and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell. For every nature of beasts and of birds and of serpents and of the rest is tamed and hath been tamed, by the nature of man. But the tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we curse men who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

The importance of controlling the tongue in the spiritual journey can not be underestimated.  One look at the list of seven capital sins is enough to alarm the believer of the tongue's importance.

Seven Capital Sins


The tongue is conspicuously involved in five of the seven capital sins, as noted with asterisks above.  In pride, anger and envy the tongue is used in the verbal expression of these sins. In gluttony and lust the tongue is actually the member of the body that carries out the sin.

Abuna Sidrak, a Coptic monk, comments on the importance of taming the tongue in this excerpt from Journey Back to Eden by Mark Gruber O.S.B..

"The tongue is frequently the special foothold of temptation, either in terms of gluttony or in terms of malicious or deceptive speech. So the taming of the tongue- especially as St. James speaks about it in his letter (James 3:1-13)- is the primary ascetical work of the monk, and of every Christian. It is by fasting, most of all, that we are able to train the tongue. Fasting from all kinds of food, in all kinds of ways, deprives the tongue of the prior right it would like to claim over our body.

Abuna Sidrak said that fasting from words, fasting from a volume of speech, being willing to humbly accept the yoke of silence and quietude- this too deprives the tongue of the mastery of our hearts and minds. The tongue is a very useful tool for the art of love and for the art of prayer, but it is also the means by which we afflict others and even our own selves. So it must, more than anything else, be called into holy obedience to the Gospel. It must become the locus from which we allow the grace of the Gospel and the merit of the Cross to win for us a liberation from evil."

Little wonder then, that the first miracle of the newborn Church at Pentecost involved a supernatural subjugation of the tongue.

(Act 2:4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

(Act 2:7-8) And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galilean? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born?

Likewise the Gift of tongues, one of the nine charismatic Gifts of the Holy Spirit, allows believers to delegate the use of the tongue in complete submission to the Holy Spirit.

(1Co 12:7-10) And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: To another, faith in the same spirit: to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit: To another the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning of spirits: to another, diverse kinds of tongues: to another, interpretation of speeches.

Believer must not despair in this mission to control this unruly organ.  We have the promises of Jesus that with Baptism we are a new creation (2Co 5:17), that He will make all things new (Rev 21:5), and that all things will be made subject to him (Phi 2:9).

(1Co 12:31) Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.......

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

21. You must be indifferent to all created things and especially to the impulses prompted by your self-love and your own will.  This self-will He wishes you to sacrifice as often as He gives you the opportunity thereof, by breaking and thwarting it, until it is wholly destroyed and extinct, in order that the Will of His divine Heart, alone, may reign in you.

January 20, 2005

(1Co 12:27-28) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.

VIA Ronald Smith: Throughout the Church's history the term 'apostolate' has consistently referred to work accomplished on the Lord's behalf, applied in a very specific sense to the work carried out by the non-ordained." Some of you know and some do not know that my "apostolate" for the past twelve or so years has been to defend our faith by doing free Catholic research for anyone on any Catholic question. I answer all questions in writing with quoting Church documents and other exceptional sources and footnotes so that the requestors and readers may go to the source documents used if they so desire. If anyone who reads this missive has a question that they need researched and answered, please do not hesitate to ask me. I have amassed quite a hard copy and electronic library of research materials over the years. I have the most current church documents on liturgical rubrics and our liturgy.

VIA Ed Working: Back during the summer I started “blogging”. What started out as a just for fun thing has developed into my own mission, as little as it may be to proclaim the Church’s Truth via the internet and my own journey into a deeper walk with Our Lord and the Sacraments of the Church. I am a convert to the Church so everyday is a new discovery and a new joy. What I have noticed as I am sure you do too is that many people are using the internet searching for answers to lots of things besides just directions to places and recipes. I have noticed that many people just stumble into sites (both good and bad) therefore it is my hope and prayer that someone will stumble into a solid Catholic site which would lead them to eventually take the leap and attend Mass and go to Confession. My little site may not reach out to scores but maybe if just one person goes from my site to a site like yours onto EWTN or the Vatican site and so on then maybe, eventually, that person may end up stopping to meet Our Lord in Church and the Sacraments. For myself I just continue to pray in the Adoration chapel at my parish and attend Mass and Confession and pray my office and rosary and offer up my sufferings and prayers for the conversion of those in my life and the world.

I was wondering if I could have your permission to link to your site on my little weblog?



"Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory.

"Therefore, keep me, above all things, from sin.  Keep me from the death of deadly sin which puts hell in my soul.  Keep me from the murder of lust that blinds and poisons my heart.  Keep me from the sins that eat a man's flesh with irresistible fire until he is devoured.  Keep me from loving money in which is hatred, from avarice and ambition that suffocate my life.  Keep me from the dead works of vanity and the thankless labor in which artists destroy themselves for pride and money and reputation, and saints are smothered under the avalanche of their own importunate zeal.  Staunch in me the rank wound of covetousness and the hungers that exhaust my nature with their bleeding.  Stamp out the serpent envy that stings love with poison and kills all joy.

"Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth.  Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice.

"But give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace.  Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens.  And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love.  Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone."

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

20. Let us not waste time reflecting so much upon our troubles, either past or present.  We must think about them as little as possible, for they have less power to harm us when we disregard and ignore them.

January 19, 2005

(Rev 12:9-10) And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

POPE JOHN PAUL II COMMENTS ON REV. 12: After the dramatic scene of the woman with child "clothed with the sun" and of the terrible red dragon (see 12:1-9), a mysterious voice intones a hymn of thanksgiving and joy.

The joy stems from the fact that Satan, the ancient adversary, who stood in the heavenly court as "accuser of our brothers" (12:10), as we see him in the Book of Job (see 1:6-11; 2:4-5), was "cast out" from heaven and therefore no longer has great power. He knows that "he has but a short time" (12:12), because history is about to undergo a radical change of liberation from evil and that is why he reacts "in great fury."


A Vatican university is to offer the first official qualification in Satanism for Roman Catholic priests in an effort to counter what it calls "a worrying increase in interest in the occult."
The school of theology at Regina Apostolorum, one of Rome's most prestigious pontifical universities, has devised a two-month course including how to carry out an exorcism, in response to warnings that a half-million Italians have had contact with satanic sects.
The first series of four-hour lectures, to start next month, will cover the anthropological, theological and liturgical aspects of Satanism, and will include instruction by an exorcist within the Roman Catholic Church.


PRAY!: Fear Of Ghosts Torments Tsunami Survivors


In what ways are we to think like angels? I was shocked to learn that so many were offended by my statement that "we are to think like angels", as if the mere idea was blasphemy; but again I say to you, unless we can begin to throw off our old habitual ways of thinking, and begin to walk in the holiness and steadfastness exhibited in angels, we will not survive the days ahead. The church must undergo total reformation of our thoughts, and conform our minds to the mind of Christ, walking as angels walk under the unction and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Of course we are not to worship or focus our lives on angels, but we can learn by their example, and one of their greatest examples is a life based on holiness. These angelic beings, who live and dwell in the presence of God, would never dream of committing an act of sin or walking short of the glory of God, because it would cost them the anointing and their intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We must live the same way, a life of purity and holiness if we are to dwell in the presence of God. We must learn to think the same way if we are to overcome in the days ahead, taking our orders not from man, but directly from the Throne, whereas it is important that we will be at the right place at the right time during some of the coming judgments which are about to manifest. The greatest place of refuge cannot be found on a map, but is a life of purity, holiness and intimacy with God.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

19. By wishing to do much, we often spoil everything, constraining our Lord to leave us to act alone and withdraw from us in sorrow.

January 18, 2005


Pope John Paul II has granted a plenary indulgence for Catholics who participate in veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist. He has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who recite Vespers and Night Prayers before the tabernacle.

A plenary indulgence is the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin. The indulgences are subject to the usual conditions: that the individual seeking the indulgence must make a full sacramental Confession, be free from all attachment to sin, receive the Eucharist, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

For those who "through illness or other just cause" cannot visit a church to venerate the Eucharist, the decree allows a plenary indulgence if they "make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire,… and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament."

RELATED: Norms on Indulgences

VIA SAR LIST: Your Legacy

Father Larry Vallone, a Missionary of the Blessed Sacrament returned to our parish, St Dominic’s in Panama City, Fl. on this week end to speak on Perpetual Adoration. He came two years ago just after we had started Perpetual Adoration to speak on this subject. The changes in our parish in the past two years have been truly remarkable. We started Adoration with one day a week on the initiative of one lady with about 30 people. We now have hundreds coming to Perpetual Adoration 24/7 and it has brought many blessings and a few medical miracles. This story is repeated in parishes around the world. We have added a permanent Adoration Chapel thru private donations and Jesus has sent two deacons and two beautiful additional priests (retired but still active full-time) and we have a new and dynamic young pastor.

Father Vallone’s main focus is on opening chapels around the world for full-time devotion and honor to Jesus in Perpetual Adoration. The following are some salient points that Father Vallone made this morning:

It is Mary who motivates us to stay close to Jesus in our Faith. (Please say a Hail Mary to our Blessed Mother for all her help in our lives). When we come to Adoration of Jesus it makes the Father very pleased as well as Our Lady. Mother Theresa said: “If Jesus had not given us the Eucharist, we would have forgotten the Crucifixion in our rebellious nature.” When we meet God in the next life, He is not going to ask you if you were famous or how much money you made. He is going to ask you how you manifested His Kingdom on earth. Did you spend your allotted time giving honor and glory to His Name? Are you willing to spend one hour a week with Him in a chapel?

Jesus said: “There is no greater love, than a man give up his life for his friend.” Jesus gave up his life for you – an Act of Redemption. He proved His commitment to you and He knows you very well. If we do not focus on spending time with Jesus then God will slowly fall down on our list priorities. The purpose of our life is to spread God’s Kingdom on earth. You can do this by coming to Mass and to Perpetual Adoration for one hour a week. It is important for us to realize that thru prayer we spread The Father’s Kingdom on earth.

In Detroit there was pastor who told his congregation about a dream he had. In the dream two angels came holding scales. On one scale was the hours he had spent watching TV and on the other scale was the time he had spent in Adoration. The scale with the TV hours was heavily lopsided and the angels were frowning. He told the parish he got the message and sold his TV.

Jesus wishes you to come to Him with all that happens in your life and talk to Him. You have to make an act of the will to come to Him – the choice is yours. Adorers all over the world say when you spend time with Jesus for one hour a week it results in calmness, peace and joy they experience no where else. God does have a plan for each person on earth – did you go ask Him about His plan for your life. Are we following our plan or God’s? If you come to Jesus each week, He will show you how to be a defender, promoter, and evangelist of His Kingdom on earth in your life. Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical, said: “The church draws its life thru the Holy Eucharist”. This is why 2005 is dedicated as “The Year of The Eucharist”.

God is the author of life. St Augustine said: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee!. Jesus is God with us in Eucharist everyday. Jesus has already given His Heart to you. Will you give Him your heart? Our heart is filled with joy when we spend time in our lives with Him. The Lord will not be outdone in generosity for the time we spend with Him.

Many people ask” “How do we pray in Adoration?”. The truth is you can pray anyway you wish. The focus is on Jesus. It reminded Father Vallone about a story in St. John Vianney’s church about an elderly man who came every day to spend one hour before the Blessed Sacrament. After several months, St John Vianney asked what the man said in his prayer. The man looked puzzled and replied: “I don’t say anything. I look at Him and He looks at me.” Keep it simple. If you forget to pray for something, just open your heart to the Lord and let Jesus use your prayers however He wishes. Give all your burdens to Jesus , He is waiting to take-up your burdens.

One last reminder: Each day you are writing Your Legacy on how you spent each second and you will take that Legacy with you when you go to Heaven. When you are standing in front of Jesus, will your Legacy say you spent one hour each week in Perpetual Adoration with your best friend?


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

18. Go courageously to God, along the way He has traced out for you, steadfastly embracing the means He offers you.

January 13, 2005


(Mat 9:37-38) Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."


Pope John Paul II has written a prayer that is part of his message for the World Day of Vocations. It reads, "Our Lord, who was sent by the Father as a sign of his most holy love, give your Church the gift of young men who are willing to take up the yoke, to be one of the brothers who are a demonstration of your presence of renewal and salvation. Instil in the hearts of these young men the desire to be testimony of your power and love in the world today. Fill them with your Spirit of strength and prudence, so that they are capable of discovering the whole truth about themselves and their own vocation".

In his message, the elderly pontiff recalled that in the Catholic church today, "we need holy priests, whose soul is completely devoted to serving God. There is an urgent need to build up a wide and far-reaching pastoral service of vocations, which will reach the parishes, education centres and families, inciting a greater reflection on the essential values in life, which find their resolution in the answer that each one is invited to give to God's call, especially when this requires the total commitment of oneself and one's own energies to the Heavenly Kingdom's call".

An appeal like this is addressed in particular to parents and teachers, so that they know, he explained in his message, "how to guide the youth on their path to holiness. Please set an example of generous faith in Christ for them," the Pope asked the adults. "Encourage them not to hesitate in taking up the staff, answering the Lord's call without hesitation, which for some will be to a family life, and for others a consecrated life or the priesthood. Help them to know how to tell which is the right path for them, and to become true friends of Christ and his genuine disciples".



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Read the true story of thousands of rugged American GIs who beat a path to an isolated hilltop friary in Italy during W.W. II. There they would meet Padre Pio, the twentieth century mystic and “flying monk” who lived there. They were among the first to bring back to America the astounding story of St. Pio, the “second St. Francis”, who now has a world-wide following in the millions.

Recently canonized, Padre Pio was the first Catholic priest to receive the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, which he carried for fifty years. By the time of his death in 1968 in Italy, he was world famous, and stories of his wonders and miracles are countless. St. Pio’s spiritual gifts included bilocation, reading souls and hearts, apparitions, battles with Satan, communication with angels and with souls in Purgatory, miracles and cures. During W.W.II, American soldiers crammed his mountain-top friary to see, hear and be near a living saint. Allied airplanes were unable to bomb his town because he appeared to the pilots in the clouds as a "flying monk" to stop them. Although a cloistered friar, he built one of the greatest hospitals in Europe, largely with American financial help. For book excerpt see

Frank M. Rega of Millsboro, Delaware, presents a truly unique portrait of Padre Pio (St. Pio of Pietrelcina), in this work published by Aventine Press. A comprehensive biography of the saint is interwoven with the intriguing story of the Americans who sought out the “Holy Man on the Mountain,” and made him known in this country. The author presents much previously unpublished material, gleaned from interviews with American GIs and others who met and knew Padre Pio. Other information from Italian sources, translated by the author, is available for the first time in English.


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

13. Our falls are the result of the continual revolt of our passions. But we need not be troubled, cast down or discouraged by them: we must do violence to ourselves and draw profit from them.

January 12, 2005

(Rom 8:22-23) We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


The Earth is still ringing like a bell two weeks after the South Asia quake and tsunami disaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said Sunday.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Herb McQueen from the Australian National University as saying that a gravity meter was still detecting ringing from the massive earthquake deep below the Indian Ocean early morning, Sunday, Dec. 26 that measured 9.0 on the Richter Scale. It set off catastrophic tsunamis, or tidal waves, that killed at least 150,000 people on the shores of a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.

Normally a reasonably large earthquake will continue reverberating for a couple of days on our charts, but this one has been going steadily for the last 12 to 13 days and shows no signs of letting up actually, McQueen told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. There is still a measurable oscillation ... I've never seen the earth ringing this long after an earthquake, he said.

EDITORIAL: God’s Finger

SEE ALSO: Some See God's Hand in Remade Landscape


NASA scientists studying the Indonesian earthquake of Dec. 26, 2004, have calculated that it slightly changed our planet's shape, shaved almost 3 microseconds from the length of the day, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters.

Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Dr. Richard Gross of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said all earthquakes have some effect on Earth's rotation. It's just that the effects are, usually, barely noticeable.

This one was not usual: The devastating megathrust earthquake registered nine on the new "moment" scale (modified Richter scale), making it the fourth largest 'quake in one hundred years.

According to their latest calculations, the Dec. 26th earthquake shifted Earth's "mean North Pole" by about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in the direction of 145 degrees east longitude, more or less toward Guam in the Pacific Ocean. This shift is continuing a long-term seismic trend identified in previous studies.

The quake also affected Earth's shape. Chao and Gross calculated that Earth's oblateness (flattening on the top and bulging at the equator) decreased by a small amount--about one part in 10 billion. This continues the trend of earthquakes making Earth less oblate. Less oblate means more round.

They also found the earthquake decreased the length of the day by 2.68 microseconds. (A microsecond is one millionth of a second.) In other words, Earth spins a little faster than it did before.

RELATED: Earthquakes rearranging Earth's map

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

12. Virtue does not consist in making good resolutions, nor in saying fine words, but in keeping one's resolutions and carrying out one's good intentions.

January 11, 2005

(John 16:33) I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."


Faced with the tragedies on the scale of those generated by the December 26 tsunami, Iraq, Middle East and Africa the Pope calls for the international community "to not lose heart, to overcome difficulties however great they may be, by favouring and enforcing human bonds above all else.

Christmas joy, the Pope stressed, has been marred by "the inane December 26 tragedy, which has struck a number of South-East Asian countries, as well as the easternmost coasts of Africa. That event struck a sombre closing note to the year, one marked by other such disasters: cyclones in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, the locust swarms in North-Western Africa, the barbaric acts of terrorism which have bloodied Iraq and other nations, including the Madrid attacks, the Beslan hostage crisis, the inhumane treatment of the peoples of Darfur, the cruel acts of violence which occurred in Africa's Great Lakes district".

"Our heart - Wojtyla added - is troubled and anguished, contributing to a dark foreboding over the fate of mankind; foreboding tempered by signs of peace from Bethlehem".

"Peace is an essential prerequisite to other fundamental achievements - the Pope explained -, it is a dream that carries through in generations. Yet war is a fact which continues to involve states, ethnic groupings, entire populations; such conflicts are the cause of innumerable deaths, suffering and evil".


Yossi and Inbar Gross were spending their honeymoon in the Thai resort of Phuket when the area was overwhelmed by a wall of water. "We and this Palestinian couple jumped on the roof of this Ford van," Yossi Gross told Army Radio. "Below us was a raging river, a sea that washed up into the city and dragged everything along with it. Everything was wrecked." Gross said they stayed with the Palestinian couple from eastern Jerusalem on the van's roof for more than four hours before they were able to climb down, according to Haaretz. Later, the Palestinians gave them money and assistance that enabled them to get to Bangkok and board a flight for Israel, Gross said.

MIRACLE REPORT: A Ray of Hope in Southern Asia

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

11. Great graces are often attached to what seems trifling.

January 10, 2005

VIA Dr Stephen A Rinehart: Baptism of Jesus

Luke 3: 15 - 17, 21 – 22, Matthew 3: 13 – 17, Mark 1: 4 – 11, John 1: 29 - 34

When Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized, John said: “It is you who should baptize me!” and Jesus reply was: “John, allow it that all Righteousness may be fulfilled”. After this, John was again assembled with a group of people, and Jesus approached the group. John told them what had happened. He said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" He told them that he had seen the Spirit of God coming down on Jesus in the form of a dove. John said this had been a sign to him because God had revealed to him that the person on whom he saw a dove descending would be the Son of God.

Jesus is Holiness itself and He went into the river Jordan to make the waters holy – to bring the Spirit of God to mankind (“Living Waters of Salvation”). The Jordan did not make Jesus holy. Jesus was thirty years old when he was baptized by John. The baptisms performed by John were not the Sacrament of Baptism for it was Jesus who instituted the Seven Sacraments.

John baptized with water and repentance but it was John who said: “There is one greater than me who am to come and He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus said of John, “He is the greatest man to come and there shall be none to come greater than he, yet the least in Heaven are greater than John.” Tradition holds the Jordan River stood still at the time of the Baptism of Jesus. It was one of three Manifestations of the Trinity and Jesus as the Son of God; the other two were at the Birth of Jesus (visit by the Kings) and the Transfiguration.

When Jesus was baptized it was an Epiphany (i.e., a dramatic event). The event opened Heaven (for the first time) and we see the Trinity revealed when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a Dove and The Father said: “This is My Beloved Son in whom I AM well-pleased!” (Recall I AM is the name G-d The Father revealed to Moses).

A valid baptism can be performed in another non-Catholic church by pouring water or total immersion and saying the words: “I baptize you in the name of The Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” You can only be baptized once (there are conditional baptisms given to non-Catholics coming into the church in the event their baptism was not performed in a valid manner).

Pope Pius X stated there are a group of errors called “modernism” that have one common theme: “everybody goes to Heaven no matter what state your soul is in when you die”. These errors deny the Eucharist (“the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion”) and the Immaculate Conception. They say you don’t have to be baptized until you are an adult because it is not important. Canon Law 70-7 of the Church states the parents of a newborn are under a grave obligation to have the child baptized within two weeks unless there is a good reason to delay. Baptism frees the soul of all original sin and allows God to form an image of Jesus Christ in the soul. Most souls will spend a lifetime developing their image of Jesus in their souls.

We are baptized as a Prophet, a King and a Priest (a reflection of The Trinity). We relive our baptism every day in a baptism of trials, joys and love. Salvation is won each day in Jesus Christ as the image becomes clearer and brighter as grace increases. If we earn Heaven thru living our Baptism each day in Jesus, you will not be surprised what you shall you see in the Face of God on that Great Day.

VIA MissionMoments:

"Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."

These words spoken by Jesus to Saint John the Baptist have particular significance for the people of our day. There can be no Peace without Justice, God’s merciful justice. Such Mercy is poured out upon mankind in the fulfillment of all righteousness.

Praise you Lord for your kindness and mercy. Praise you Lord for your Love and Mercy.

RELATED: Baptism Is Key for New Evangelization, Says Pope

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

10. Our self-love is so subtle; at times it makes us believe that we are seeking God, because we are so much attached to the things of His service, that we feel some annoyance when obliged to leave them. This is because we seek our own satisfaction rather than God; a heart that wishes for Him alone, finds Him everywhere.

January 7, 2005


VIA Jim McCrea: The Blessings of Eucharistic Adoration

It is a good idea for every Catholic to go to Eucharistic Adoration regularly. If one has Adoration nearby, why not schedule an hour a week? (or whatever can be managed). A supernatural radiation emanates from the Host, which over time heals, strengthens, and supernaturally educates those present.

I have someone who is converting to the Catholic Faith. I brought him to Eucharistic Adoration for the first time. He was never there before, but I could see that he was wrapped up in recollection before our Eucharistic Lord. After, he said that he felt that he was soaking in something he could not explain. He was mystically experiencing the Holy Spirit like never before - a sense of infinite peace and light.

It is amazing how many Catholics and even priests know that Adoration exists, but somehow they think that it makes no practical difference in one's life. They believe that it is simply a devotion that some people are into and others are not.

How could being before the literal physical Lord make no practical difference to a person? With the proper disposition, one is gradually transformed into His likeness, and untold blessings are given to those present.

For a priest who starts to regularly adore, the difference would be like night and day. He may go from being ineffective, overseeing a chronically lukewarm parish, to spiritual dynamite who totally transforms the parishioners to being on fire for the Lord.

RELATED: Eucharistic Adoration by Internet


"Blessed is he that waiteth" (Dan. 12:12).

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God's warriors than standing still.

There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption?

No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid.

Wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him. Believe that if He keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come, and shall not tarry.

Wait in quiet patience. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses. Accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, "Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities; but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon Thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for Thee in full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower." --Morning by Morning

Wait patiently wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father's holding,
And only wait His grand divine unfolding.
Then wait, wait, Patiently wait.
Trust, hopefully trust, That God will adjust Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings.
Then trust, trust, Hopefully trust.
Rest, peacefully rest On thy Saviour's breast;
Breathe in His ear thy sacred high ambition, And He will bring it forth in blest fruition.
Then rest, rest, Peacefully rest!

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

7. I think you would please our Lord by going to Him with the dispositions of the prodigal son, in such wise that fear may not banish confidence. It is not said, however, that this son, after having returned to his father, left him a second time.

January 6, 2005


Several years ago, I mentioned to the people here that the labor pains had begun. And labor pains, just like a woman who is preparing to give birth, start out relatively easy and distant. Then they get closer together and they get stronger. They are getting much closer and much stronger, and that is not going to stop as we continue forward. Things will continue to progress. Things on that level will continue to get worse.

Once again, there is only way we are going to be able to remain faithful – and that is prayer. If you do not pray every day deeply in your heart, you will not make it. Am I clear? If you do not pray deeply in your heart every single day, you will not make it. The time is short, the devil is rampaging, and he wants your soul. You have a free will. You have to make a choice, and you have to put your choice into practice. If you are going to say that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, if you are going to say that you want to go to heaven, then you cannot just simply give lip service to the Lord anymore. You must live the faith that you profess or you will be lost. That is how critical the time is in which we are living.

I think we are all well aware of the number of people who are falling away from their faith. It is happening in droves. Yet, at the same time, God is preparing for His new Pentecost. We are seeing unprecedented numbers of people coming into the Church. Still an average of 300 Protestant ministers every year are becoming Catholic in the United States. The number of mediocre Catholics who are walking away from the Church is growing, and the number of good Protestant people who are becoming Catholic is growing. We are getting the better deal.

But the reality is we need to pray and we need to look at our own attitudes. There are many, myself included, who were hoping that 2004 would bring the beginning of all these various things. Yet if we look at our own dispositions, perhaps in God’s mercy He is giving us a chance to rethink them because it is very easy to sit back and look at all the evil in the world and root for God to come down and wipe it all out and hope that all these people get trashed. That is not God’s way. God is just and He will deal with the evil. He is also merciful. Recall the words of Saint Peter that if God seems to delay, the delay is intended for salvation, so that more souls will be able to be saved. It is not our task to sit back and pray that lightning would fall from the sky and kill these people. Recall what Jesus did to James and John when they suggested that might be a possibility: He rebuked them. So He will with us.

Our hearts must be like His heart, and that is to be merciful. We need to pray for the conversion of sinners. We need to pray for these poor souls who are not praying for themselves. We need to pray for the people who are falling away from their faith or have fallen away. We need to pray for those who do not know Jesus Christ. That is our task. If our disposition has been wrong, then God is giving us a greater opportunity to get our own disposition correct. Otherwise, we are the ones who are going to have to stand before God one day and answer for why we were not merciful, for why we were not like Him. That will not be a happy day for us if we are sitting back saying that we are followers of Jesus Christ and members of Jesus Christ but we are not living the life of Christ. It is necessary for us to live what we profess.

All too many Catholics like to give lip service to Jesus and then they run around like a bunch of pagans but they do not want to live their faith. God is right here in the Blessed Sacrament. He is exposed on 55 altars in the Twin Cities area 24 hours a day, and we do not have enough Catholics to sit in front of Him. That is a scandal. Why is it that we as Catholics do not want to pray? Why is it that when we know we have God right here we ignore Him? Why do we think that when things get difficult we are going to turn to Him when we do not turn to Him any other time? See the principle: If you are accustomed to turning to Jesus in prayer, when times are difficult you will turn to Him again; and if you are accustomed to not praying, when things are difficult you are going to try to rely on yourself because you won’t pray. Now you begin to see that this time that is merciful may be merciful for us, as well as for the rest, because we need to get our act together. We cannot be sitting back in judgment of other people because we ourselves need to put things in place.

We must pray. We must frequent the sacraments. We must strive to live holy lives. When all is said and done, right toward the end of this whole mess, whenever that will be, the Church will be crucified. If you will remain faithful to Jesus, you can be crucified with Him. It is the greatest privilege that any Christian person has ever had in the history of the world. Are you willing to go to Calvary with Jesus Christ? Are you willing to allow yourself to be crucified with the Church? It is not going to be a cakewalk. If we are not living it now, we certainly will not then. Remember the words of Our Lord. Number one, He asked the question, When the Son of Man comes, will He find any faith on earth? Number two, He said, If the time were not shortened, even the elect would fall astray. This is not going to be easy, it is not going to be fun, but it will be holy. It is the most incredible privilege that anyone could ever be granted, but it will not be forced upon any one of us. We have to make the choice.

That is the direction we are headed. There is much to come and we do not know the timing. But it will be fairly soon because the birth pangs have already begun and they are getting stronger. So now we have to put it into practice. We have to make a choice. The dichotomy is getting clearer, and we praise God for that. We see it in our young people who are rejecting the worldly ways and are striving to live a spiritual life. We see it in various elements of our world where you can see the good coming up strongly. There is much, much hope, and that is where we need to focus ourselves. Let the world far apart; just keep your focus on Jesus and pray. If you get worried about all the things that are happening out there, you are going to take your focus off the Lord and you are going to be in trouble. Keep your focus where it belongs and you will be just fine. But that requires that you do one thing: pray. What is a Christian person all about if it is not prayer?

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

6. It is only necessary to say energetically "I will," and all will go well.

January 5, 2005



A Catholic View of Suffering
Bad Things Do Happen
A Look at Tsunami From a Biblical Perspective
Pope sees hope in victim relief


The tsunami waves have subsided, but a miracle is being talked about across Chennai.  It is the story of how St Thomas’ miraculous post kept the invading waves away, sparing the newly renovated Santhome Cathedral.

The Cathedral, the world’s second basilica built on an apostle’s tomb, has been giving shelter to hundreds of tsunami victims ever since the waves ravaged many buildings across the coast.

But even though the killer tsunami waves devastated the Chennai coast, Father Lawrence Raj, the parish priest of the Santhome Cathedral Basilica, says “the sea did not touch our church.” The reason?  “We believe the miraculous post of St Thomas prevented the sea waters from entering the church,” says Father Raj.

The church that sits at the site where St.  Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, was buried after his death in the year 72 is located a few metres from the sea.  While all the buildings on either side of the church were hit by the tsunami waves, the Santhome Cathedral remained unaffected.

Local people now say it is the St Thomas’ miraculous post that has kept the sea away on December 26. According to Father Raj, the legend is that when St Thomas planted the post at the top of the steps leading to the Cathedral, he said the sea would not pass that point.

The belief goes that a village in the Mylapore area was flooded when a huge tree trunk fell across the river.  The local king brought a royal pachyderm to lug it away, but the task seemed impossible.

Then, according to legend, St Thomas came along, removed the girdle from his waist and handed it to a bystander and asked him to yank the log with it.  He did so and the log was moved easily.

A mural in the Cathedral museum illustrates this incident.  Father Raj says the current post is believed to be from that same log of wood.



During his first two public audiences of 2005, Pope John Paul II reiterated his condolences for the victims of the tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26.

On January 1, as he offered his new-year's greetings to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, the Pope promised his "prayers for the victims of this catastrophe and their loved one." He had celebrated a Mass for their intentions the previous evening, in his private chapel. John Paul II voiced his "hope for better days" for the Asian communities hit by the tsunami, and his confidence that they would receive not only "the help of God" but also material assistance based on "the sense of human solidarity."

Appearing again on Sunday, January 2, for the Angelus audience at noon, the Pope remarked that "even in the most difficult and painful trials-- such as the calamity that struck southeast Asia recently-- God never abandons us."

Other Vatican officials issued their own messages of support for the Asian victims. Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, observed that "no one can feel a stranger" to those who are suffering. Cardinal Martino told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera : "In the fact of tragedies of this magnitude, mankind realizes his vulnerablility." He remarked that the natural disaster underscored "the mystery of suffering," which all men must finally accept.

"Perhaps God wants to test our capacity for solidarity," the Italian prelate said. After seeing the suffering of others, he remarked, "the temptation toward selfishness might be easier to defeat." The lessons of the tragedy could also help to form the members of the younger generation, he said.


CRS teams are working on the ground to bring relief to millions of people struggling to survive in the wake of the catastrophic tsunami. CRS and partners are addressing needs of displaced people and survivors. These efforts will provide:

* Food and food security for the most vulnerable survivors
* Medicines and life-saving medical assistance for communities and families
* Water and Sanitation through access to clean water and latrines
* Non-Food Items and Family Survival Kits to meet short-term household, hygiene and living needs (soap, cooking utensils, sleeping mats, water cans, plastic sheeting)
* Shelter and materials for temporary shelter that are adaptable for later use
* Rehabilitation of Livelihoods through resources and tools for long-term recovery


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

5. This strong insistence of grace that you feel amidst so many relapses is, to my mind, a very good sign, because it shows the ardent desire that God has to save your soul; this, nevertheless, He will not do without your cooperation.

January 4, 2005


Top Israel Rabbi, Indian Catholic Bishop, Anglican and Muslim Leaders Agree Tsunami is Warning from God

The recent catastrophe in Southeast Asia has led many to reflect on the shortness and instability of mortal life and turn their thoughts towards God. In the wake of the tsunami, religious leaders from various faith backgrounds have urged people to look at the disaster as a warning sign to a world which is far from God's ways.

Israel's Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar commented on the catastrophe last week saying "G-d is angry" and "we must pray more and ask for mercy." In comments to the Ynet website, he said: "The nations of the world are obligated to observe the seven Noahide laws, such as prohibitions against murder and illicit (sexual) relations... The deaths are very painful."

The Catholic Bishop of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands of India, Alex Dias, told the media, "I believe that the tsunami is a warning. A warning from God to reflect deeply on the way we lead our lives." The Bishop who is leading the main relief effort in the area continued, "We are too hurried today. We are rushing here, rushing there. Everything is a façade. There are lots of cracks and undulating things in our lives. A disaster like this is a word from God to think about those cracks and smoothen them out. We are filling our lives with so much that there is little place for god." He concluded, "In moments of grave crisis, we remember God and we should also think how to put him back in the primary position in our lives."

POPE JOHN PAUL II (1984): "Even if we must use great caution in judging human suffering as a consequence of concrete sins (this is shown precisely by the example of the just man Job), nevertheless suffering cannot be divorced from the sin of the beginnings, from what St. John calls 'the sin of the world.' . . . At the basis of human suffering there is a complex involvement with sin"

LINK: Predominant Religions-Visitor Statistics of Countries Affected by Asian Earthquake-Tsunami, December 26, 2004

EXCELLENT SPIRITDAILY REVIEW: Asian Tsunami Was Preceded by Prophecy and Followed by Reports of Miracles

FROM THE MAILBAG: Example of pre-Tsunami prophecy
VIA Timothy Snodgrass dated Nov 12, 2004: "On the early morning of 11/11 before the sun rose in the Philippines, I received the following vision: I was climbing a large mountain somewhere near the Indonesian coast, traveling upwards into a place of refuge. Upon reaching my destination in the mountains, I found a small city with a large population of Christians, and begin to prophesy to them about approaching judgments; but the inhabitants were spiritually blind, and could not receive the word. Suddenly, the gound began to shake, and every eye looked towards the coast. Like a small ripple in the crystal blue sea, the first tidal wave approached and had little impact. Those watching said, "Is that all!?". They began to mock God's grace and mercy demonstrated in the first judgment. But while they were mocking yet another wave approached, slightly larger; and then another, and another. Until finally one large ripple appeared on the horizon, so large that as it struck the hills on the coast the impact left a thunderous splash, towering perhaps a thousand feet into the air. Below us the water from the tsunami traveled along the river inland for nearly a hundred miles, destroying everything in it's path".


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4. What punishment will not that servant bring upon himself who knows the will of his Master and does not do it?

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