Keep your eyes open!...


July 31, 2015  

(John 3:16) For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

SAINT IGNATIUS: God our Lord would have us look to the Giver and love Him more than His gift, keeping Him always before our eyes, in our hearts, and in our thoughts.

AUDIO SANCTO: Renewing the Face of the Earth

LINK: A Simple View An Exposition of the Catholic Christian Universe- On Balance by Jim J. McCrea

BLOG: The Gospel in a Nutshell by  Dom Gérard Calvet OSB*

ONE DAY, as we were asking a Carmelite sister to tell us how she made her prayer, her heart to heart with the Lord, she responded that, for thirty-five years, one phrase of the Gospel was enough for her, and she returned to it without ceasing. It seemed to her that drawing on another source would be to be unfaithful to her particular vocation, or at least to the attraction which the Lord had given to her for her time of mental prayer. It is very true that the interior life, more than a response to passing impulses, is chiefly an effort to persevere in the direction of a continuous line flowing form the first grace.

The phrase that our Carmelite was taking in this way was drawn from the Gospel of John: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). The whole doctrine of salvation is contained in these few words: the divine paternity, the redemptive Incarnation, the role of faith, the drama of reprobation and the perspective of eternal happiness. The ancients gave a name to this verse of the Gospel of Saint John: they called it Evangelium in nuce, the Gospel in a nutshell. Let’s read it slowly and lets pause over each word so that we draw out the sap. This is perhaps the surest way to approach the great mystery of the Incarnation, this essential mystery, source of all the others, by which God touches the world. Lets try!

God so loved the world… Everything flows from the Trinity. Everything that is divine, everything that comes down from God and leads man to God can only be an outflowing of the love of the Trinity: God so loved the world... There is a great consolation and sweetness in this profession of faith in divine charity. It is something that makes the fear and the news of the worst catastrophes [1] lose their strength, like smoke that is blown away by the wind. So is there bad news? Can it be as bad as renouncing Love?

One can say that the race of saints has for two thousand years been working and plowing this field and have only been drawing the consequences of this essential good news, invoked so often: Deus caritas est. God is love. But according to a logic which made the ancient Greeks mock, it was necessary, so that this love express itself, so that it pour itself out on man, that God send His Son. This is the second part of our phrase.

... that he gave His only Son...

Here is what the poor inhabitants of this earth couldn’t imagine or conceive. Neither did they even dream of it in their myths and fables: Heaven crossing the frontiers of this earth, the angels singing the glory of God above the stable, a world transfigured by the unspeakable presence of a Divine Person, One of the Trinity, Unus de Trinitate, will say the Fathers, who learns to walk, to read and to write, a God-Man who plays, who cries, who sings, living the same life as his human brothers and sisters, born of a woman, bent under the Law, working and suffering, dying as the offering of a propitiatory sacrifice. Unimaginable: rising from the dead and sharing with human beings the gift of the Spirit, making his brothers and sisters members of His Body, sanctifying though faith and the sacraments, and through living a new life. This is what we call the redemptive Incarnation and it makes faithful hearts sing a song of thanksgiving until the end of time. Nothing strikes us more insistently than Saint John speaking of this unfathomed mystery: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you” (1 Jn 1,1-3). It seems that the Apostle stays dazzled by the great miracle and that he never ceased to be amazed with joy and enthusiasm by remembering it.

... so that whoever believes in Him may not perish...  Here for us to see is the great virtue of Faith placed at the centre of this affirmation, between the proclamation of God who loves the human race and each one of us and the announcement of the promises of eternity. To believe, to invest in and build one’s life on the word of God, God whom we will never see here below: this is not just the price and pledge of salvation. It is already to enter into the life of God: The one who beleives in the Son of God has the testimony of God in him (I John 5:4). The believer carries inside an inner awareness which is the living sign of his or her belonging to God. The Holy Spirit gives testimony in our own spirits that we are sons of God (Rm 8:16). Maybe more than visible victories, this is the victory over the world: This is the victory over the world, our faith (I Jn 5:4). There are so many statements about the first of the theological virtues. No opinion, no merely human belief can overcome such a divine certitude. It helps and upholds the soul of a Carmelite during her two hours of daily mental prayer; it supports the patience of the persecuted and the courage of the martyrs faced with the great trial.

Pay attention to this brief expression of St. John: “...will not perish...” suggests the essential evil from which the faith delivers us, the terrible end which is damnation. In his brilliant Mémorial Blaise Pascal says of this: May I never be separated from from You! Only souls of prayer and meditation can begin to understand the idea of the cost of separation from God and from eternal life; they alone taste ahead of time the goods of eternity, because through the mist and fog of our exile, and the obscure night of faith, they mysteriously embrace, in advance, the One who contains in Himself the totality of all future joys. It is truly where our meditation reaches its conclusion.

...but have eternal life... What is eternal life? “This is eternal life, that they know You, and Him whom You have sent, Jesus Christ” (Jn 17:3). Eternal life means the soul in the state of grace, passing from the regime of faith to the regime of vision. It is the bird inside the egg in the state of a chick, and suddenly appearing free, in the fulness of Heaven. The soul which has entered into eternal life blossoms in Paradise. She is born of God. Mustn’t we sacrifice everything right now? Which of us wouldn’t want to have a foretaste of something of what God has promised in eternity? Ah! How much our poor hope would be revived! How we would find ourselves more fully grown, if a little of the light of glory which has been promised to us would light up our vision and transform us interiorly!

And that is exactly what Saint Paul peacefully explains to the Corinthians, when he describes to them this nobility and this new liberty which belongs to the Christian who lives by and according to the Holy Spirit, “because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [2]. And all of us, with faces uncovered, reflect like a mirror the glory of the Lord, we are transformed in this same image, going from glory to glory [3], from and through the Lord who is the Spirit” (II Cor 3:17).

We know that this present life is eternal life already begun, but we don’t really believe it. We know that visible things are only for a time, and that the invisible are eternal, but we don’t live like that. How little preachers speak of the invisible and eternal realities! How rare are those who speak of the joys of paradise! And even so, through all the beauties and all the kindness of this earth, will we have a thirst for something else?

*Founder and First Abbot of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux. From an article first published in Itinéraires.

[Translated by Fr. Paul J. McDonald]

1.“The just man (who is inhabited and transformed by holy charity), has no fear of evil news.” Psalm 112, which goes on to say, “with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord. With a steadfast heart he will not fear...” Translator
2.“If the Son of man sets you free, you are free indeed.” Tr.
3. St. Paul is talking about the Christian life on this earth ! Tr.

DYNAMIC CATHOLIC: God values freedom so much that he gives you the freedom to reject him. Without freedom there is no love, because we can only ever love to the extent that we are free.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

37. He also said, 'Humility is the ground on which the Lord ordered the sacrifice to be offered.'

July 28, 2015  

(2Pe 3:3-7) Knowing this first: That in the last days there shall come deceitful scoffers, walking after their own lusts, Saying: Where is his promise or his coming? For since the time that the fathers slept, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they are wilfully ignorant of: That the heavens were before, and the earth out of water and through water, consisting by the word of God: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of the ungodly men.

HEADLINE: Boy Scouts of America ends ban on gay leaders

FATHER BROOM'S BLOG: Do We Live in the Age of Slavery Right Now???


The Roman civilization in the West lasted almost 1000 years, partly as a republic and partly as an empire. Roman culture dominated the known world and impressed itself so deeply on the Mediterranean world that even now, 1500 years after it collapsed, it still echoes throughout Western culture in art, law, architecture.

The point is that to have grown up as a Roman, to have come to manhood in this culture, must have made a young man feel in some sense like he was a master of the universe. Rome ruled the world, and to be a Roman, especially as a young man growing up in that milieu, must have been heady.  

Generation after generation of young men inherited from their fathers the built-in assumption that Rome ruled the world and always would — that Roman life was indomitable. The Roman legions defeated every foe; the gods of Rome were worshipped in every corner of the empire; the whole world even spoke the same language of the caesars.

And then one day, after centuries of rule, rumors started circulating that barbarians were raiding and pillaging the next town — that the legions had been defeated, and their town was next. And the next morning, the young men, the young proud men, the heirs of the greatest civilization known to mankind, woke up to the barbarian hordes marauding through their streets.

They were witnesses to the end of their civilization — these young men, expecting to continue to be the masters of the universe as their fathers had been and their fathers had been, and all the way back for centuries. Now, it was all over. As young boys they had dreamed the Roman dream, even begun to live it. Now, the dream was over.

They would be the first generation of young Roman men in centuries whose lives would not be like the lives of all those earlier generations. Their fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers had been born and lived and died under Roman rule, living the Roman dream. This would not be the case for them. Nothing would ever be the same again. The future their fathers had envisioned and worked to make real would never exist for them.

When a civilization comes to an end, there is always some generation of young men — the generation of young men — who are present to the final curtain. This has happened many times in history. Various young men have been the witnesses to the end.

And here’s the point of all this: Young American males  today are now in the same position — the cadre of young men who are not allowed to dream the dream. Yours is the first generation of young American men who will not be able to secure the American dream; your economic future is fading as every economist is predicting.

Your psychological and emotional and spiritual well-being are so deeply threatened, in fact already damaged, that there is no way to reverse this calamity — no earthly means. Put frankly, your life, for the first of a number of generations in America, will not be like all the others before you.  

If you are around 30 or younger, you will have to face the music, fair or not, that the world is not the same world it was when your fathers were your age, and as a result you won't be able to live like they did, won't be able to have the expectations of just some peaceful uneventful future as previous generations did. The world has changed, which means your lives will have changed. You will have to face situations that your fathers never had to face, that your grandfathers couldn't have imagined.

If you are a faithful Catholic, you will need to re-build the world, or your children will have to after a period of persecution. If you are not a faithful Catholic, you will perish.

These are the last days of this civilization — and that means that boys will have to become men very fast.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

36. He also said, 'A brother asked Alonius, "What is humility?" The hermit said, "to be lower than brute beasts and to know that they are not condemned."'

July 24, 2015

(Exo 20:13) Thou shalt not kill.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Marriage, family and the raising of children with a strong faith — these things are under great pressure today from the surrounding culture. The future in Philadelphia and worldwide will have big challenges for anyone serious about being Christian. It will need a new generation of disciples formed by joy and perseverance. The family is where new life begins: new life for the world; new life for the nation; new life for the Church. It’s where we learn love and patience, and how to work with others in peace.

CATHOLIC REVIEW: Abortion’s 'Zong Massacre'

In eighteenth-century England, many good Christian people ignored the inhumane treatment of slaves. Slavery was far away. It did not involve them. They were too busy.

Then in 1781, an overcrowded slave ship, named the Zong, veered off course, and began to run low on water. The crew reviewed the insurance policy, which stated that no reimbursement would be dispensed if slaves died of natural causes on the ship or on shore, but a claim could be made if cargo was thrown overboard to save the other cargo. Since slaves were considered cargo, the crew decided to jettison 133 slaves overbroad, letting them drown in the ocean below. In a sad twist, the ship arrived at port with 430 gallons of water to spare.

The owners of the ship then decided to make an insurance claim against the lost cargo, which were the murdered slaves. A lengthy legal case arose from the claim, and soon abolitionists caught news of the incident. They began to use the story in their literature in order to stir the English population out of their apathy.

How could you sit there and do nothing when innocent people were being killed? How could Christians not care that slaves were thrown overboard for money? The Zong massacre opened the veil covering the horridness of the slave trade, and allowed people to get a glimpse of its inhumanity.

Recently, two videos (here and here) have been made public showing high ranking officials in Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of aborted babies. The dialogue is stomach-turning and heart-wrenching in the way these individuals discuss babies as a commodity for exchange. Most people were shocked and disgusted at the videos, but the abortion industry has tried to fight back. Planned Parenthood has called the videos dishonestly edited and claimed the tissue was donated not sold. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, even apologized for the tone of the individual in the video.

The outrage is not about the tone of the individual in the video! It is not about the delivery of the content. It is not even about the trafficking of body parts. The videos pulls back the screen surrounding abortion, and show us its ugliness. It is the dismembering of little human lives, and that can longer be denied. That is the cause of the outrage. Americans can longer sit on the sidelines, and do nothing.

The outrage of the Zong massacre led to the formation of the Abolition Society, which in turn led to the outlawing of the slave trade, and then slavery itself. Likewise, these videos could be the catalyst to defund Planned Parenthood, and then start the process to end abortion for good.  

Meet the 38 Companies That Donate Directly to Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood gets over $500 million annually in public funds. Here's where it goes.


42 Years After Roe v. Wade, More than 56 Million Abortions Later, Abortion Wages True War on Women
More Black Babies Die in Abortions in New York City Than Given Birth
Dismembering Babies Profits Slaughterhouses

EDITORIAL: ‘What has happened to America?’

On Nov. 13, 1965, Conchita, (One of the seers of Garabandal) had a long conversation with the Lady of Garabandal and Albrecht Weber, a German author of a book on Garabandal, asked Conchita some of the Lady’s comments. Conchita spoke to the author and told him this: “Can you imagine how somebody could kill children in the womb without thereby killing the mother?”

The author spontaneously answered, “No! What gave you that idea, Conchita?” “Well, the blessed Mother spoke about this, and she let me know that this will happen with the overflowing of the chalice.” (In her second message of June 18, 1965, the Virgin said, “Before the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over,”)

It disturbed Conchita very much because she hadn’t understood at all how this killing could be effected, and nobody had been able to make her understand it at all. Conchita would soon learn enough about abortion because it was legalized even in her native country.

Just recently, people in charge of planned parenting are now “illegally” selling (hearts, lungs, kidneys, muscles etc.) body parts of aborted fetuses to those who need them. This should enrage people beyond belief.

If we can kill aborted babies, maybe the time will come when those who need body parts may kill older healthy people for their body parts. This sounds like a nightmare, but with what has been happening in America today, this scenario might happen.

In the web site — — read the message of Akita and what Sister Sasagawa was given on Oct. 13, 1973, about the chastisement, and you can understand that the chastisement will occur in our  lifetime.

When the availability of abortion and other offenses against God becomes normal, everyday occurrence, then society is on the road to perdition and the moral fiber of the nation begins to collapse — that’s when the chastisement will appear.

The selling of body parts of an aborted baby will bring about the chastisement sooner than people realize. In the third statement that Sister Sasagawa quoted, it gives Christians a remedy — the Rosary and The Sign of the Son to stop the chastisement.

We need more than saying the Rosary; we need to eliminate the liberal politicians who have destroyed America for political gain and heaven help these United States because the chastisement is inevitable. What has happened to America? Where are the politicians who see this as a horrific injustice? Is it possible for the voters to make America great again? I wonder?

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

34. He also said, 'The tools of the soul are these: to cast oneself down in God's sight; not to lift oneself up; and to put self-will behind one.'

July 23, 2015

(Pro 22:7) The rich ruleth over the poor: and the borrower is servant to him that lendeth.

THE TABLET: Archbishops accuse Tsipras of 'mishandling' crisis

The head of Greece’s Catholic Church has accused the Socialist-led Government of Alexis Tsipras of mishandling the current crisis, as European Union ministers announced a new rescue plan in return for far-reaching reforms.

“The harsh reality we cannot ignore is that Greece cannot get anywhere without the European Union,” said the Bishops’ Conference president, Archbishop Frangiskos Papamanolis of Syros and Santorini. “But I have to say with regret that the past six months have been a waste of time, since our Government hasn’t understood the situation. Tsipras inherited a very bad situation. But he also won the election with promises he could not keep.”

The archbishop spoke as EU leaders announced a new 86- billion-euro (£60bn) bailout to save Greece’s faltering economy in return for new spending cuts and higher taxes, despite the rejection of further austerity in a 5 July national referendum. He told Italy’s Servizio Informazione Religiosa news service that Greece needed to “regain confidence”, adding that a government of national unity could be helpful if political parties “put aside their special interests”. Meanwhile, another archbishop told The Tablet the worsening crisis had “severely hampered” the Catholic Church’s pastoral work, making it unable to pay taxes, maintain its buildings or provide services for migrants and refugees, adding that Greece's predominant Orthodox Church was still shunning minority denominations.

“As a formation of the left, Tsipras’s governing Syriza party is less tied to the Orthodox Church than its right-wing predecessor - but its stance towards Churches has been ambivalent and we haven't seen any concrete improvements,” Archbishop Sevastianos Rossolatos of Athens said in a Tablet interview. “Although it promised to be more objective towards minorities when it won power last January, it’s since been too preoccupied with the economic crisis to take steps to ensure equality. Meanwhile, Orthodox clergy are all paid by the state, whereas Catholic priests and bishops get nothing, and the Orthodox maintain a hostile attitude and view any ecumenism as a danger.”

REPORT: Greece's hard-pressed Catholics keep up hopes for better times

SKY NEWS: Greece: Unwanted Children Abandoned In Crisis


STRATFOR: An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis
STRATFOR: The Greek Vote and the EU Miscalculation
AINA.ORG: Germany, Greece and the New World Order

OPINION: Greece — The One Biggest Lie You Are Being Told By The Media

EXCERPT: The Greek Orthodox Bishop Who Stood Up to the Nazis (WW2)

On March 23, 1943, during the Nazi occupation of Greece, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Damaskinos, signed his name on a letter addressed to the collaborationist Prime Minister K. Logothetopoulos. The letter, composed by the poet Angelos Sikelianos, was a courageous defense of the Greek Jews who were being rounded up and it was signed by other prominent Greek citizens. “The Greek people were rightfully surprised and deeply grieved to learn that the German Occupation Authorities have already started to put into effect a program of gradual deportation of the Greek Jewish community of Salonika to places beyond our national borders, and that the first groups of deportees are already on their way to Poland,” the archbishop wrote. “The grief of the Greek people is particularly deep … ” When the Germans continued with the deportations, Damaskinos called the police chief of Athens, Angelos Evert, to his office and told him, “I have taken up my cross. I spoke to the Lord, and made up my mind to save as many Jewish souls as possible.”

When General Jürgen Stroop, an S.S. officer and police official for Greece, found out about the letter, he threatened to shoot Damaskinos. The archbishop — evoking the fate of fellow hierarchs who had run afoul of the Ottomans — told the German officer that “according to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hung and not shot. Please respect our traditions!” Damaskinos was undeterred.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

33. A brother asked Poemen, 'How ought I to behave in my cell in the place where I live?' He answered, 'Be as prudent as a stranger; and wherever you are, do not expect your words to be taken seriously when you speak, and you will find peace.

July 21, 2015

(Exo 14:13-14) And Moses said to the people: Fear not: stand, and see the great wonders of the Lord, which he will do this day; for the Egyptians, whom you see now, you shall see no more for ever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

MSGR. CHARLES POPE: Do Not Be Afraid, For Evil Cannot Withstand the Power of Jesus


: *The Devil-Your Greatest Enemy!* by the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

A recent TV mystery thriller presented a most absorbing story of a talented artist who made a contract with the devil and wound up by losing his soul.  It was good in making the devil very real, but poor in making the artist too powerless. For there are two mistakes commonly made regarding the devil-to underrate his abilities, or to overestimate his powers.

Of one thing we can be sure-the devil exists! He is brilliant, though completely misguided, genius. He has angelic knowledge and a profound insight into your weaknesses. He is a shrewd, and talented director using every possible trick to achieve his end-to drag you into the pits of hell forever. He is your enemy and he hates you-just as he hates God!

In any total warfare the first aim of prudent strategy must be to know your enemy, his strength and weaknesses, and the strategy he'll pursue. This is true, above all, in the warfare of life. To be blind to the existence, the deceits, and the cunning of the devil is like an ostrich burying its head in the sand-you're going to get your wings clipped!

The greatest success of the devil in this age has been to convince a lot of people that he doesn't exist-that he belongs in the same category as goblins and fairies. He laughs at this stupidity as he goes underground where he can do his dirty work unobserved and undetected. Here this fifth columnist works untiringly to undermine the work of God in your soul.

If some make themselves an easy prey to the devil by denying his reality, others may go to the other extreme and blame everything on him...even the things they do on their own.

Let us not forget that the world and the flesh are also an abundant source of temptation. And while the devil does use these for his own ends, some people are push-overs even before the devil appears on the scene.

But let us consider the strategy that the devil uses on good people who are sincerely striving to love and serve God. In general, he tries to blow them up with pride and then cast them down by discouragement. He does everything in his power to stimulate their desire to dominate, to rule, to be esteemed, all of which are contrary to the humility and simplicity preached by our Lord.

He encourages what appear as virtues, but what are really mockeries of true virtue. The devil may inspire mortification, for example, but only of the "showy" variety-especially where it can be observed by others. Never does he encourage self-denial of our will, our judgment, or our opinions. Yet, our Lord told us to deny ourselves.

The devil tempts us to a show of piety and pious practices where it can be seen and esteemed. He very cleverly teaches a hundred and one ways of drawing attention to one's self-tempting one to be an exhibitionist either in dress or actions. He gets otherwise good women to wear styles that not only sin against modesty, but also against charity by the temptations they cause others.

He tries to attract a spiritual person to the sensational and the extraordinary, hoping there-by to distract him from the essential though hidden means of sanctification. He encourages a false humility that is proud of appearing humble and depreciating itself publicly.

The devil stirs up a false hope in our souls by making us depend more on our good works than on the saving mercy of God. He tempts us to sin and then tells us to give up. He wants us to be impatient with ourselves and our failings just to make us vexed, confused, and overanxious in general.  He shows his face in a bitter and critical zeal that is opposed to true charity.

Of another thing be sure-you can beat him down and you can do it every time. But you can't do it alone! That would be like trying to take on an armored division with your bare hands! You need humility to make you depend on the grace of God. You need prayer to make the strength of God your own.

You need spiritual help of the sacraments to keep up your defenses. You need the help of that Victress of all God's battles-Mary, the Mother of God. Above all, you need Christ, her divine Son who destroyed the power of Satan forever on a hill called Calvary. You need, finally, contempt for the devil. For while he is very real and very powerful, he is still powerless when you use well these weapons of God. So, use them well-and often!

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

32. Poemen said, 'We ought always to be absorbing humility and the fear of God, as our nostrils breathe air in and out.

July 16, 2015

(1Ki 18:36-39) And when it was now time to offer the holocaust, Elias, the prophet, came near and said: O Lord God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel, shew this day that thou art the God of Israel, and I thy servant, and that according to thy commandment I have done all these things. Dear me, O Lord, hear me: that this people may learn that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw this, they fell on their faces, and they said: The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.

ICN: Mary's Habit, Carmel's Way by Fr Damian Cassidy, O.Carm

I wonder what you were thinking when you dressed this morning. Had you already laid out your clothes for the day? Did certain expectations dictate your choices? The simple fact is that how we dress can say a lot about who we are, what we do, how seriously we take life and its tasks. I have clear memories of one Christmas, when a child, having received a soldier's outfit as a present and I can remember, to this day, the sense of pride and purpose that those play clothes invested me with.

I also wonder whether, as you dressed you might have put on your clothes over two squares of brown cloth that make up the Carmelite Brown Scapular. Millions of Catholic Christians around the world wear this garment but may be unaware of its story or symbolism. Tradition has handed on to us the story of St Simon Stock. Simon was an Englishman and one of the early leaders of the Carmelite Order. Indeed, it was Simon who led the Order through the time of transition when the hermits who had found a natural home in the hills of Mount Carmel found themselves in a different reality in the Europe of the thirteenth century and who were called to respond to the needs of the Church by living their life in the midst of the people, especially the poor and the marginalised.

Tradition tells us that Simon, a man who by his vocation was dedicated to God in a life of prayer and service, had a special devotion to Our Lady. From the earliest times Carmelites have felt a kinship to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She has a special place in our communities as the mother of the house. Around her we gather in service of her Son. The scapular as worn by Carmelites is seen as marked by this relationship of prayer and service. This part of our habit that was originally an apron, becomes for us a sign of commitment for those who seek to labour in the Lord's vineyard.

One of the ways that emerged for people to associate themselves with the work and spirituality of a particular group within the Church was to wear a token of the religious habit. Originally for those who sought a kinship with Carmel, the white cloak was the thing that set us apart. Bur slowly the Brown Scapular began to capture the imagination of the people. I also see a relationship with the Tallit, or prayer shawl, worn by orthodox Jews. For the Jewish people the Tallit is a garment that manifests the relationship they have with God. When at prayer, they cover themselves with the Tallit, a symbol of the intimacy of God covering them with his love. During the day a small Shawl is worn, like our scapular, that they can see and touch as a reminder that they belong to God, that they have been chosen by him. Those who wear the scapular are people who seek to live out their relationship with God through prayer and the service of God's people.

This year sees the 750th anniversary of the death of St Simon Stock in Bordeaux in 1265. Upon his death people prayed for favours from him. Soon his body was brought to the Cathedral in Bordeaux where a chapel is dedicated to him. In 1951 the Archbishop of Bordeaux brought his cranium back to Simon's old home at Aylesford, and since then the relic has rested in the chapel dedicated to his memory. To the Carmelite friars who live and work in Aylesford the relics are a reminder of the beautiful truth of our vocation; that we are to be people seeking a vital and intimate relationship with the God who brought us into being and this relationship is to be lived out in the service of others.

A great preacher of the life lived by St. Simon Stock was Fr Malachy Lynch, who was the first prior of Aylesford since the reformation. Fr. Malachy would refer to those who wear the Brown Scapular as the "use me today apostolate". Those who wear this simple garment make a statement in this scrap of clothing. I belong to God and, with him, I want to be of service to his people.

So what are you wearing today? What does your dress say about you to others? How does what you wear affect your attitude to life and its cares? Today I will put on my habit and go out to those pilgrims who will come to our Lady's Shrine at Aylesford. I will do so in the knowledge that millions across this good earth will do the same and touch the lives of the people that they will meet in the course of their work and play. And the world is better for it.

ZENIT: Brown Scapular: a "Silent Devotion"- Carmelite Recounts Mary's Promise to St. Simon Stock

A Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel For a Special Need

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this my necessity. There are none that can withstand your power. O show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee. (3 times)

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times)

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

28. Mathois said, 'The nearer a man comes to God, the more he sees himself to be a sinner. Isaiah the prophet saw the Lord and knew himself to be wretched and unclean (Is. 6:5).

July 15, 2015

(Psa 83:1-4) A canticle of a psalm for Asaph. (83:2) O God, who shall be like to thee? hold not thy peace, neither be thou still, O God. (83:3) For lo, thy enemies have made a noise: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. (83:4) They have taken a malicious counsel against thy people, and have consulted against thy saints. (83:5) They have said: Come and let us destroy them, so that they be not a nation: and let the name of Israel be remembered no more.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: “Russia welcomes the decision reached today in Vienna on settling the situation around Iran’s nuclear program and the approvals of the P5+1 group and Iran on their overall action plan. We are sure that the world today breathed a sigh of relief.”

SYRIAN LEADER BASHAR ASSAD: “We are quite assured that the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue, with greater momentum, supporting the just issues of peoples and working for peace and stability to prevail in the region and the world.”

HEADLINE: Kerry, Zarif named candidates for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

: Vatican Welcomes Iran’s Historic Nuclear Deal

The Holy See welcomed Iran’s historic nuclear deal and expressed hopes that more future breakthroughs be on the horizon on other issues.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said that “the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See.”

“It constitutes an important outcome of the negotiations carried out so far, although continued efforts and commitment on the part of all involved will be necessary in order for it to bear fruit,” he said in a written statement in response to reporters’ questions July 14.

“It is hoped that those fruits will not be limited to the field of nuclear program, but may indeed extend further,” he said, without specifying what other areas of progress the Vatican hoped to see.

Under the new deal, decades-long sanctions by the United States, European Union and the United Nations eventually would be lifted in exchange for an agreement by Iran to restrict its nuclear program to peaceful purposes.

The negotiations involved Iran and what is often referred to as the “P5+1,” or the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—plus Germany.

The U.S. Congress and Iranian authorities would still need to review the agreement.

In January and in April, Pope Francis had expressed hopes that negotiations would end in an agreement. In his Easter message April 5, he said he hoped preliminary talks then under way would “be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”

OVERVIEW: Highlights of the Iran nuclear deal

ANALYSIS: Iran nuclear deal much worse than experts predicted

OPINION: Iran Nuclear Deal Represents a 21st Century Munich Agreement


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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

23. John of the Thebaid said, 'Above all a monk should be humble. For this is the Saviour's first commandment, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

July 13, 2015

(Luk 2:19) But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

POPE FRANCIS: Mary is the woman of faith; she is the Mother of the Church; she believed.  Her life testifies that God does not deceive us, or abandon his people, even in moments or situations when it might seem that he is not there.  Mary was the first of her Son’s disciples and in moments of difficulty she kept alive the hope of the apostles.

ALETEIA: Pope Francis and "The Mother Wound"- The crisis in the family and the Marian cure was at the heart of the pope’s message as he visited Ecuador

MEDITATION: The Divine Motherhood of Mary Our Mother by Thomas M. Fahy

CHRISTIAN POST: Former Evangelical Megachurch Leader Ulf Ekman Who Converted to Catholicism Reveals Virgin Mary Led Him to Catholic Church

A MOMENT WITH MARY: Despite so many reminders from you, O Virgin Mary

Immaculate Virgin, Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, unmarried Bride of the Holy Spirit, you have shown over the centuries a special attention for France, eldest “Daughter of the Church.” For the last two centuries of revolutions, your apparitions have increased. Today we are at the culmination of a tragedy announced in La Salette (in the French Alps in 1846), which is the apostasy of this country.

Atheism has become a widespread belief supporting laws opposed to the truth of the Gospel but also to natural law. There are protests, but a sort of paralysis has overcome the political sphere.

The underlying reason for this lethargy is the abandonment of the practice of prayer, which has now become habitual in some believers despite so many reminders from you and the teachings of the Church. And this is occurring at the same time that the Muslims, in ever greater numbers, are showing the kind of outward reverence to God that the baptized have forgotten.

Virgin Mary, hear our plea. Everything is possible with God's grace but it solicits our freedom as creatures made in His image and likeness. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Father Patrick de Laubier
Excerpts from the Meditation of December 19, 2014

VIA A MOMENT WITH MARY: Every seven years they are taken out of the gold reliquary

For over 660 years, people have come on pilgrimage to Aachen, Germany to venerate four relics preserved in its cathedral since the time of Charlemagne.

Historical records show that Emperor Charlemagne received a gift of relics from Jerusalem around the year 800 AD. Since 1349, these relics have been presented to the faithful in Europe and around the world every seven years, and for that purpose, they are taken out of the golden reliquary of the Virgin Mary in the Aachen Cathedral for a period of ten days.

These relics are pieces of ancient fabrics described as:
RELATED: The Marienschrein at Aachen Cathedral: Reliquary of the Cloak of the Virgin Mary

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

22. He also said, 'Humility and the fear of God surpass all the other virtues.' 'The gateway is humility: our predecessors suffered much and therefore entered heaven joyfully.

July 9, 2015

(Mat 19:4-5) Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: To repeat what the Church believes and has been said many times before: Christians have a privileged calling to respect the God-given dignity of all persons, including those with same-sex attraction. That’s fundamental to Christian love and justice. We are accountable to God for the way we treat others.  But Christians also have a duty to think clearly, and to live, teach and work for the truth about the nature of human sexuality, the purpose of marriage and the integrity of the family. We cannot ignore or turn away from what the Church teaches on these matters without separating ourselves from Jesus Christ himself.



VIDEO HOMILY: Bishop Gracida Homily

INTERFAX RELIGION: U.S. decision to legalize same-sex "marriages" godless, sinful - Russian Church

Moscow, June 29, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has appealed to all Russian advocates of the American model of governance, asking them to think twice about the consequences of the United States' decision to legalize same-sex "marriages".

"The people who are into 'democracy the American way' and trying to reconcile it with traditional values need to think hard after this decision," the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax-Religion.

He pointed out to the kind of values that one is "trying to bring along with the U.S. social and political model."

"You might not be told that they want to force you to adopt such a godless and sinful thing as same-sex marriages. Remember: in reality they want to take your right to live according to the faith, take your soul, take your opportunity to build the life of your society and your state according to the eternal and invariable God-given moral laws," the priest said.

He said the thing he was most concerned about in this particular case is that the U.S. government is trying "to impose its anti-natural and post-human view on marriage on other countries."

The Russian Church representative recalled that one of these days U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who spoke on behalf of the majority of judges who made these decisions, said that same-sex couples were seeking to achieve same legal attitudes towards their union as heterosexual ones. The judge also claimed that the nature of marriage consists in the following: two people together can obtain freedoms, in particular, the freedom of expression, privacy and spirituality, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"Such attitude towards marriage is more than surprising. Marriage is not just a legal construct, it is not just a place where one exercises legal rights," the priest said.

He pointed out that "marriage has a certain nature, it is created by God, primarily, not as a legal space for the exercise of rights but a place where man and woman in the union of love give life to children and bring them up."

"Marriage is a constant created by God and laid down in the human nature. And as the Orthodox commentator Sergey Khudiyev rightly put it, trying to change it with a legal decision is the same as trying to change the laws of nature with such a decision," the priest said.


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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

19. Theophilus of holy memory, the bishop of Alexandria, once went to the mount of Nitria, and a hermit of Nitria came to see him. The bishop said, 'What have you discovered in your life, abba?'  The hermit answered, 'To blame myself unceasingly.' The bishop said,That is the only way to follow.

July 7, 2015

(Amo 3:6-8) Shall the trumpet sound in a city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, which the Lord hath not done? For the Lord God doth nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion shall roar, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who shall not prophesy?


MARK MALLETT: The Hour of Lawlessness
MYSTICS OF THE CHURCH: The Great Storm Is Coming Upon Us
BLOG: Those who live in the Spirit will never be at home in the world, and indeed the world will hate them

PROPHETIC NOVENA FOR OUR TIMES: O Jesus I Surrender Myself to You


It’s not easy to be centred, rooted, secure in who we are, able to give the world our best. More commonly, we find ourselves adrift, unsure of ourselves, with most of what’s best in us still frustrated, buried, waiting for a better day. Too many things, it seems, conspire against us living out what’s truest and best inside us.

We’d like to be grounded, be ourselves, have a clear direction in life, be free of compulsions, and live out more our dignity, goodness, and creativity; but too many things push us the opposite way. Ideology, anger, bitterness, envy, restlessness, confusion, moral compromise, and the simple need to get by, all pull us down and we end up giving into various compensations (as substitutes for what we really want) and thus quietly despair of ever carrying our dignity, talents, and solitude at any high level.

Why does it happen? The fault is with prayer, or lack of it. We cannot stay steady in a churning sea without a good anchor, cannot avoid giving into compensation unless what’s highest in us is given enough expression, and cannot deal with the issues of finitude unless we have some transcendent focus. Unless we are anchored in something beyond the here and now there is a good chance that we will drown in the present moment.

Jesus models the kind of prayer we need to cope with a world that goes mad at times and with a heart prone to drink in that madness. The gospels describe Jesus praying in different ways, but sometimes they simply say: “He turned his eyes towards heaven!” The same expression is used of other great faith-figures – Stephen, Paul, the early martyrs – and it’s used of them at those times when the forces of madness are precisely threatening to kill them. When the world around them is going mad, they “turn their eyes towards heaven.” The phrase hasn’t been lost on artists.

Virtually every painting of someone being martyred has this motif, the martyr has his or her eyes lifted up towards heaven, in contrast to the eyes of the executioners and onlookers which are cast downwards in hatred, envy, and group-think or in the blank stare of mindlessness.

Jesus lifted his eyes towards heaven and that freed him of hatred, envy, group-think, and mindlessness. What does this mean? How did he turn his eyes towards heaven?

What made Jesus different (and what makes any prayerful person different) is not intellectual insight, superior willpower, less fiery emotions, or monastic withdrawal from the temptations of the world.

Prayer is not a question of insight, of being smarter than anyone else; nor of will, of being stronger than anyone else; nor of emotional restraint or sexual aloofness, of being less passionate than anyone else; nor of withdrawal, of being less exposed to temptation than anyone else. Prayer is a question of unity and surrender, of uniting one’s will with someone else and surrendering one’s will to that other. Prayer is the desire to be in union with someone, especially in union with that other’s will.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

18. Poemen said, 'Moses asked the monk Zacharias, who was dying, 'What can you see?" He said, "Nothing better than being silent, abba." Moses said, "Indeed, my son, keep silent.  At the moment of his death Isidore looked up to heaven, and said, "Rejoice, my son Zacharias, for the gates of the kingdom of heaven are opened to you."'

July 3, 2015

(Mat 9:36-38) And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd. Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

COURAGEOUS PRIEST: The Extraordinary Value of the Priesthood by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

EXCERPT CATHOLIC ONLINE HOMILY: On the First Solemn Mass of a Newly Ordained Catholic Priest

Preaching at the opening of St. Bernard's Seminary in Olton in 1873, six years before becoming a cardinal, Blessed John Henry Newman spoke of that present moment as "these perilous times."  He explained to the seminarians why he used such dire language:

"I know that all times are perilous, and that in every time serious and anxious minds, alive to the honour of God and the needs of man, are apt to consider no times so perilous as their own. At all times the enemy of souls assaults with fury the Church which is their true Mother, and at least threatens and frightens when he fails in doing mischief. And all times have their special trials which others have not."

"And so far I will admit that there were certain specific dangers to Christians at certain other times, which do not exist in this time. Doubtless, but still admitting this, still I think that the trials which lie before us are such as would appal and make dizzy even such courageous hearts as St. Athanasius, St. Gregory I, or St. Gregory VII. And they would confess that dark as the prospect of their own day was to them severally, ours has a darkness different in kind from any that has been before it."

And what made for such a perilous situation? 

Newman explained:

"The special peril of the time before us is the spread of that plague of infidelity, that the Apostles and our Lord Himself have predicted as the worst calamity of the last times of the Church. And at least a shadow, a typical image of the last times is coming over the world. I do not mean to presume to say that this is the last time, but that it has had the evil prerogative of being like that more terrible season, when it is said that the elect themselves will be in danger of falling away."

"This applies to all Christians in the world, but it concerns me at this moment, speaking to you, my dear Brethren, who are being educated for our own priesthood, to see how it is likely to be fulfilled in this country."

And finally, in the spirit of "forewarned is forearmed," the ever-prescient Newman issued a clarion call to vigilance to those future priests:

"My Brethren, you are coming into a world, if present appearances do not deceive, such as priests never came into before, that is, so far forth as you do go into it, so far as you go beyond your flocks, and so far as those flocks may be in great danger as under the influence of the prevailing epidemic."

No doubt, many ecclesiastics at that event must have thought: "What's the old gent's problem?  Why put such a damper on this grand celebration?"  Well, consider what the American convert-author Walker Percy said to seminarians in Louisiana 110 years later:

"Never in history has modern man been in greater need of you. never has there been such loneliness in the midst of crowds, never such hunger in the face of satiation. Never has there been a more fertile ground for the seed and the harvest the Lord spoke of."

"All that is needed is a bearer of the Good News who speaks it with such authenticity that it can penetrate the most exhausted hearing, revive the most jaded language. With you lies the future and the hope. You and the Church you serve may be only a remnant, but it will be a saving remnant." 


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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

17. Moses said to brother Zacharias, 'Tell me what to do.'  At these words Zacharias threw himself at his feet, saying, 'Why ask me, abba?'  The hermit said, 'I tell you, my son Zacharias, I saw the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and so I cannot avoid asking you.'  Then Zacharias took his cowl from his head, and put it beneath his feet and stamped on it, and said, 'Unless a man stamps upon self like that, he cannot be a monk.'

July 2, 2015

(Mat 6:9-10) Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

EBOOK: The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity

An introduction to the revelations on the Gift of Living in the Divine Will to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, using only moratorium-free material

Rev. Joseph Leo Iannuzzi: New Q&A posted on website:

Question: The Church teaches that during the Mass “all generations of Christians are united with Christ’s offering”. Since the Mass has been celebrated for the past 2,000 years and during this time all generations were united to Christ’s offering, how can one assert that with the gift of Living in the Divine Will one has a “new” ability to influence all human generations (of the past, present and future)?

Response: The statement you cite is a paraphrase of the Catholic Catechism that states as follows: “The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ's sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering” (CCC, 1368). (continued PDF link)

VIA Frank Rega: Our Lord's Words to Luisa Piccarreta

From the Church-approved volume six of her spiritual "Diary," the Book of Heaven. Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia. 

"My daughter, when the soul does all of her actions for the sole purpose of loving Me, and wants no other recompense for her work but my love alone, she walks always in daylight - it is never nighttime for her."

"My daughter, true love forgets himself, and lives of the interests, of the pains, and of everything that belongs to the beloved."

"Indeed, there is no beauty that equals suffering for the love of God alone."

"My daughter, in the Creation I gave my image to the soul; in the Incarnation I gave my Divinity, divinizing humanity."

"Therefore,  hold peace as your greatest treasure if you cherish being united with Me."

"Oh, how difficult it is to enjoy pleasures, to dress luxuriously on the outside, and to despise those things internally!  On the contrary, the opposite occurs - that is, one loves in his interior, and enjoys, what surrounds him externally."

"My daughter, my Life manifests Itself in the creatures through words, through works, and through sufferings, but what manifests It more clearly are the sufferings."

"The Life of God in the soul is Hope, and the more you hope, the more Divine Life you contain within yourself.  Therefore, hope -- hope always."

"In fact, if the soul lets herself be dominated by the cross, the cross destroys three evil kingdoms in her, which are the world, the devil and the flesh, and it constitutes in her three more good Kingdoms: the Spiritual, the Divine and the Eternal Kingdom."

"Not only this, but since the other things had been created for man, and man for God alone and for His Delight, as a consequence he was not only to encompass all creation within himself, but he was to surpass it to the point of receiving the image of the Supreme Majesty within himself." 

"How much attention it takes so as not to let material things enter inside, if by necessity she has to deal with them!  You, my daughter, be attentive; otherwise, if I see anything which is not divine in you, I will not make Myself seen anymore."

"Stability alone is what reveals the progress of Divine Life within the soul, because, since God is immutable, one who possesses Him shares in His immutability in good."

"Daughter, let everything in you be sealed by love.  If you think, you must only think of love; if you speak, if your work, if you palpitate, if you desire . . .  If even just one desire which is not love comes out of you, restrict it within yourself, convert it into love, and then give it the freedom to go out."

"Everything, everything should be enclosed in one single word: 'Love.'  If the soul does not enclose everything in this, it can be said that she does not know a thing about loving Me, and according to how much the soul loves Me, so do I expand the gift of suffering."

"In fact, the mind nourishes itself with what it thinks, and by looking at God alone, of the things down here, she looks only at those that God wants, not bothering about anything else, and so she remains always in God."

"The weight of any action, be it even an indifferent one, increases according to the dose of love it contains, because I do not look at the work, but at the intensity of love that the working contains."

"Indeed that of the soul which pleases me most is perseverance, because perseverance is seal of eternal life and development of divine life."

"This is the order of my Providence, of my Justice and of my Love - that in each era I must have at least one with whom I might share all goods, and that the creature must give Me everything she owes Me as creature. . .  This is precisely why I choose victim souls. .  . During the time of My Passion I had my dearest Mother who, while I shared all my pains and all my goods with her, was most attentive as creature, on gathering within herself everything that creatures were to do for Me. Therefore in her I found all my satisfaction and all the gratitude, the thanksgiving, the praise, the reparation, the correspondence which I was to find in everyone else."

To learn more about the mystic Luisa Piccarreta, click Here.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

16. Serapion said, 'I have afflicted my body far more than my son Zacharias, but I cannot equal his humility or his silence.
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