Keep your eyes open!...


June 21, 2012 


(Jas 1:2-4) My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations: Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience And patience hath a perfect work: that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing.

FIRST THINGS: Christianity is Not for Quitters

: Prayer Opens the Way to the Mystery of God's Plan

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Our prayers are often a request for help in our hour of need", he said. "That is natural because we need help, the help of other people and of God. We must also bear in mind that the prayer Christ taught us, the Our Father, is just such a petition. With that prayer the Lord teaches us our priorities. Yet, although it is natural to ask for things in prayer, that is not the only reason to pray. There is also cause to give thanks, ... because we receive so many good things from God. Thus prayer should also be praise and, if we open our hearts, we come to realise that, despite all problems, creation is beautiful and good".

In chapter one of his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul praises God "because 'he has made known to us the mystery of his will'. ... For believers 'mystery' does not so much mean the unknown as the merciful will of God, His plan of love which was fully revealed in Jesus Christ and offers us the chance 'to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth ... and depth' of that love". The unknown mystery of God has been revealed and it is that God, ever since the beginning and for all eternity, loves us.

"In prayer we learn to see the signs of this merciful plan in the journey of the Church", the Holy Father concluded. "Thus do we grow in the love of God, opening the door for the Blessed Trinity to come and dwell among us, bringing us light and warmth and guiding our lives. ... Prayer generates men and women not animated by egoism, desire to posses and thirst for power, but by gratuitousness, the desire to love and serve. In other words, they are animated by God, and only in this way can we bring light into the darkness of the world".

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan

[Rom. 8:2-13; Matt. 10:16-22] He that endureth to the end shall be saved.

And do we have anything to endure? In this nobody is lacking. Everyone's arena of endurance is vast; therefore our salvation is at hand. Endure everything to the end and you will be saved. However, you must endure skillfully; otherwise you may not gain anything by your endurance.

First of all, keep the holy faith and lead an irreproachable life according to faith; immediately cleanse every sin that occurs with repentance.

Secondly, accept everything that you must endure as from the hands of God, remembering firmly that nothing happens without God's will.

Thirdly, give thanks sincerely to God for everything, believing that everything which proceeds from the Lord is sent by Him unto the good of our souls — thank Him for sorrows, and for consolations.

Fourth, love sorrow for its great saving worth and cultivate your thirst for it, like a drink which although bitter, is healing.

Fifth, keep in your thoughts that when a misfortune has come, you cannot throw it off like tight clothes; you must bear it. Whether in a Christian way, or in a non-Christian way, you must bear it nonetheless; so it is better to bear it in a Christian way. Complaining will not rescue you from misfortune, but only make it heavier; whereas humble submission to God's Providence and good humour relieve the burden of misfortunes.

Sixth, realize that you deserve even a greater misfortune — realize that if the Lord wanted to deal with you as you rightly deserve, would such a small misfortune really be enough?

Seventh, most of all, pray, and the merciful Lord will give you strength of spirit. With such strength, others will marvel at your misfortunes which seem like nothing to you.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

12. When you are in trouble and anxiety, go and plunge yourself in the peace of this adorable Heart, which no one can take from you.

June 20, 2012 

(Luk 13:25-27) But when the master of the house shall be gone in and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without; and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answering, shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. Then you shall begin to say: We have eaten and drunk in thy presence: and thou hast taught in our streets. And he shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

EXCERPT CATHOLIC CHRONICLE: Reality check: The LCWR, CDF and the doctrinal assessment by Bishop Leonard P. Blair

When you are in a position of leadership or authority, it is a great cross sometimes to know firsthand the actual facts of a situation and then have to listen to all the distortions and misrepresentation of the facts that are made in the public domain.

Having conducted the doctrinal assessment of the entity known as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), I can only marvel at what is now being said, both within and outside the Church, regarding the process and the recent steps taken by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to remedy significant and longstanding doctrinal problems connected with the activities and programs of the LCWR.

The biggest distortion of all is the claim that the CDF and the bishops are attacking or criticizing the life and work of our Catholic sisters in the United States. One report on the CBS evening news showcased the work of a Mercy Sister who is a medical doctor in order to compare her to the attack that she and sisters like her are supposedly being subjected to by authoritarian bishops. The report concludes with a statement that the bishops impose the rules of the Church but the sisters carry on the work of the Church.

Unless the sister in question is espousing and/or promoting positions contrary to Catholic teaching—and there was no reason given to think that she is—then the Holy See’s doctrinal concerns are not directed at her or at the thousands of religious sisters in our country like her to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for all that they do in witness to the Gospel.

What the CDF is concerned about, as I indicated, is the particular organization known as the LCWR. Its function, responsibilities and statutes were all originally approved by the Holy See, to which it remains accountable. While it is true that the member communities of the LCWR represent most of the religious sisters in the United States, that does not mean that criticism of the LCWR is aimed at all the member religious communities, much less all sisters.

FULL CDF REPORT: Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

CNA: News analyst examines media failures on Catholic issues

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

10. Have recourse trustfully to God's loving kindness and He will not forsake you, for He longs to bestow His graces. Though you may have had the misfortune to offend Him, He is always ready to receive you, provided you return humbly to Him.

June 15, 2012 


(1Jn 5:6-8) This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth. And there are Three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are one.

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Most sacred Heart of Jesus, pour down Your blessings abundantly on Your holy Church, on the Supreme Pointiff, and on all the clergy. Grant perseverance to the just, convert sinners, enlighten infidels, bless our parents, friends, and benefactors, assist the dying, free the souls in purgatory, and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Your love.
- Indulgence of 300 days, once a day - Pope Pius X, 16 June 1906

NCR: Open Your Home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: How Enthronement Will Change Your Family Forever

A Brief History of the Devotion

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion that focuses attention on the physical Heart is the symbol of His redemptive love. Although tradition often situates the beginning of the practice of the devotion to the year 1000, it might be more accurate to place its birth during the time of the great mystics [St. Anselm and St. Bernard] between 1050 and 1150. By the middle ages, because of a strong emphasis on the Passion of our Lord, and because of the efforts of St. Bonaventure and St. Gertrude the Great, the devotion became popularized as a means of worshipping the mystery of Christ, living in the Church.

This devotion was promoted by great Saints, including St. Albert the Great, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis de Sales, as well as the great religious orders, such as the Benedictines, the Dominicans, and the Carthusians. However, it must be recorded that the Saint who is most often associated with this devotion is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque [1647-1690]. After she received the Vision of the Sacred Heart, which popularized the devotion, she was scorned by her mother superior who thought her to be delusional. The Saint took ill. Mother superior told St. Margaret Mary that she would believe the miracle of the vision if the Saint were cured. She was and St. Margaret was able to promote the devotion under the guidance of her spiritual director, St. Claude Colombiere. Several books have been published on her extensive letters, sayings and the revelations given to her by Our Lord.

Her private revelations promoted the establishment of a liturgical feast day and the practice of offering reparation for the outrages committed against the Blessed Sacrament on the First Fridays and the Promises of the Sacred Heart.

St. Alphonsus was heavily influenced by St. Margaret Mary in his own devotion to the Sacred Heart.

In modern times it was Pope Pius IX who, in 1856, established the Feast of the Sacred Heart and encouraged the efforts of the Apostleship of Prayer-------a confraternity of faithful Catholics who encourage groups, families, and communities to consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart.. In 1928 Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparation to the Sacred Heart. In 1956 Pope Pius XII published his encyclicalHaurietis aquas on the nature of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

The devotion is usually practiced in preparation for the Feast of the Sacred Heart following the Second Sunday after Pentecost. It is also practiced in conjunction with the monthly
First Friday observance that is traditional in many parishes.

VIA THE PHILIPPINES: The Sacred Heart Devotion and St. Margaret Mary

In the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus gave these twelve promises for those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart:

I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

I will establish peace in their families.

I will console them in all their troubles.

They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.

I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.

Tepid souls shall become fervent.

Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.

I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.

Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.

The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

LINK: Litany of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

7. Act towards our Lord with entire confidence and simplicity: do not spend time by dwelling too often on your past faults; this only serves to satisfy self-love and to discourage us.

June 13, 2012 

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

NCR: Praying For and With Pope Benedict

MARK MALLET BLOG: She Will Hold Your Hand

CNA: Hundreds of clergy unite to pray Rosary for world's priests

On June 15, as the Catholic Church celebrates both the Feast of the Sacred Heart and World Priest Day, over 500 priests and deacons will pray the Rosary at 60 shrines in 60 countries around the world.

“At this time in history, we priests need to pray more, and we need our lay brothers and sisters to pray for us, so we can become better and holier priests so as to better serve God and his Church,” said Father John Trigilio, president of the American Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, in a June 7 statement.

Vatican-based Cardinal Raymond L. Burke is involved in the effort, and will lead a recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

Clergy and laypersons can coordinate their own Rosaries with those taking place at the shrines, through a schedule available at

Thomas McKenna, executive director of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, pointed to the “indispensable” connection between the Rosary and the Catholic priesthood, in his group's statement on Thursday. He encouraged all Catholics to seek the Virgin Mary's intercession for the ordained.

“From Saint Dominic to Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI,” he noted, “Holy Mother Church has consistently and traditionally encouraged the faithful to pray for priests.”

PADRE PIO: "Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today."

Frank M. Rega: The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata Answering the carbolic acid accusations

Published in the June 2012 print edition of Catholic Family News
and scheduled for The Voice of Padre Pio, Sept-Oct. 2012, published by his Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy by Frank M. Rega

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

6. When you have committed faults, do not be anxious because anxiety, uneasiness and too much agitation withdraw the soul from God and cause Jesus Christ to withdraw from the soul. Let us, rather, ask pardon of Him and beg His Sacred Heart to restore us to favor.

June 12, 2012 

(Rev 12:7-13) And there was a great battle in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels. And they prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the man child.

NEWS HEADLINE: Syrian troops and rebels clash across country

Syrian troops attacked a rebel-held town in the centre of the country with helicopter gunships on Monday and shelled other restive areas across the country, activists said.

The aerial assault targeted the strategic river crossing town of Rastan that has resisted repeated government offensives for months, they said.

It is part of an escalation of violence in recent weeks that comes despite an internationally-brokered cease-fire that was supposed to go into effect on April 12 but never took hold.

"The regime is now using helicopters more after its ground troops suffered major losses," said Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "Dozens of vehicles have been destroyed or damaged" since the end of May.

Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi recently said that rebels are now using sophisticated anti-tank missiles. Videos posted by activists over the past week have shown many destroyed tanks and armored personnel carriers.

CUTTING EDGE: Syrian Christians Flee as they are Violently Dispossessed of Life and Property

The remaining Christians of Qusayr, a town near Homs, have fled for their safety. This followed an ultimatum from the chieftain of the forces opposing the Assad regime in Syria, Abdel Salam Harba. Reports out of Syria note that of the 10,000 Christians who once lived in Qusayr, only 1,000 had remained since the beginning of the conflict in 2011 between government forces and insurgents. Following months of threats, mosques in Qusayr broadcast an ultimatum from minarets that usually call faithful Muslims to prayer. The statements from the mosques declared, "Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, which expires this Friday." The ultimatum expired on June 8.

The Christians who had remained took courage from calls from an Catholic priest from Italy, Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, who had stayed in Qusayr for a week and called the faithful towards "praying and fasting for peace in the midst of the conflict".

ANALYSIS: The Fate of Syria's Christian Minority


Caritas Lebanon reports that refugees are continuing to arrive from Syria as more Christians and Alawite Muslims fear they could become targets of Sunni Islamic militants who want to avenge the Houla massacre. On May 25-26 an attack alleged to have been committed by Syrian army forces and militia-supporters left about 108 people dead in Houla, including 49 children and 34 women. A Greek Syrian Catholic said that he left his village because of fighting between the army and rebels but especially because of a plague of kidnappings of Christians. Refugees said if other massacres happen, “Christians may pay a high price.” One Syrian priest said, “Everyone is afraid.... We don’t know what the future holds.” Muslim fundamentalists could take advantage of a regime change in Syria, he said, adding that the best way to deter extremism is for all citizens to work together. “Right now people think that if ‘they’ win, then ‘I’ lose. But we all can lose. We need to rebuild together,” he said.

MORE: Syria crisis: More Armenians flee as Middle East violence rages on

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

5. Keep your heart in peace and let nothing trouble you, not even your faults. You must humble yourself and amend them peacefully, without being discouraged or cast down, for God's dwelling is in peace.

June 8, 2012 


(1Co 10:16-17) The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body: all that partake of one bread.


Corpus Christi is a time to reflect again on those words. It is not a matter of all belonging to the same club – like the United Nations – which confers upon all members a similar status. Rather it is matter of believing that if Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, then the same Christ Jesus who is in me is also in the others who received Him. He is the same Christ Jesus who is in all those who ever received Him, going all the way back to the Upper Room on Holy Thursday. Corpus Christi is not, then, just a feast for the Church; it is also a feast for the world, for it offers to the world a unity and fraternity – a conviviality – that the world desires but cannot achieve.

A Reflection on Corpus Christi

What does Corpus Christi mean to me? It does not only bring the liturgy to mind; for me, it is a day on which heaven and earth work together. In my mind’s eye it is the time when spring is turning into summer; the sun is high in the sky, and crops are ripening in field and meadow. The Church’s feasts make present the mystery of Christ, but Jesus Christ was immersed in the faith of the people of Israel and so, arising from this background in Israel’s life, the Christian feasts are also involved with the rhythm of the year, the rhythm of seedtime and harvest. How could it be otherwise in a liturgy which has at its center the sign of bread, fruit of earth and heaven? Here this fruit of the earth, bread, is privileged to be the bearer of him in whom heaven and earth, God and man have become one. The way the Church’s feasts fit in with the seasons of the year is therefore not an accident. Consequently we must go on to discover the inner rhythm of the Church’s year and see the place Corpus Christi has within it.

First of all, clearly, it grows out of the mystery of Easter and Pentecost: it presupposes the Resurrection and the sending of the Spirit. But it is also in close proximity to the Feast of the Trinity, which reveals the inner logic in the connection between Easter and Pentecost. It is only because God himself is the eternal dialogue of love that he can speak and be spoken to. Only because he himself is relationship can we relate to him; only because he is love can he love and be loved in return. Only because he is threefold can he be the grain of wheat which dies and the bread of eternal life. Ultimately, then, Corpus Christi is an expression of faith in God, in love, in the fact that God is love. All that is said and done on Corpus Christi is in fact a single variation on the theme of love, what it is and what it does. In one of his Corpus Christi hymns Thomas Aquinas puts it beautifully: nec sumptus consumitur - love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives. And in giving it is not used up but renews itself. Since Corpus Christi is a confession of faith in love, it is totally appropriate that the day should focus on the mystery of transubstantiation. Love is transubstantiation, transformation. Corpus Christi tells us:Yes, there is such a thing as love, and therefore there is transformation, therefore there is hope.And hope gives us the strength to live and face the world. Perhaps it was good to have experienced doubts about the meaning of celebrating Corpus Christi, for it has led us to the rediscovery of a feast which, today, we need more than ever.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)

The Feast of Corpus Christi- Blessed Josemaria

The Corpus Christi procession makes Christ present in towns and cities throughout the world. But his presence cannot be limited to just one day, a noise you hear and then forget. It should remind us that we have to discover our Lord in our ordinary everyday activity. Side by side with this solemn procession, there is the simple, silent procession of the ordinary life of each Christian. He is a man among men, who by good fortune has received the faith and the divine commission to act so that he renews the message of our Lord on earth. We are not without defects; we make mistakes and commit sins. But God is with us and we must make ourselves ready to be used by him, so that he can continue to walk among men. (Christ is Passing By, 156)

Going to Communion every day for so many years! Anybody else would be a saint by now, you told me, and I, I'm always the same!
Son, I replied, keep up your daily Communion, and think: what would I be if I had not gone? (The Way, 534)

Have you ever thought how you would prepare yourself to receive Our Lord if you could go to Communion only once in your life?
We must be thankful to God that he makes it so easy for us to come to him: but we should show our gratitude by preparing ourselves to receive him very well. (The Forge, 828)

VIA Catholic Pacific Northwest:The Saturday after the feast of Corpus Christi is devoted to the Blessed Mother and focuses our attention on the mystery of her Immaculate Heart. This feast began to be celebrated during the seventeenth century bringing together centuries of devotion to the heart of Mary. St. John Eudes spent much of his life working to spread devotion to this feast.

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a feast day devoted to Mary and especially examines her life of purity. Many times the heart is used to symbolize the inmost depths of our humanity. This feast emphasizes the fact that Mary's whole being was pure and free of the stain of sin for the whole of her life. Through her love and devotion to God, Mary was chosen as the resting-place of the Holy Spirit mother of the Most High.

The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a counterpart of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrated the day before. Both feasts serve as an example to the faithful by showing us fellow human beings so devoted to the love and will of God that they overcame every temptation to sin.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has gained wide appeal in this century. At Mary's apparition at Fatima, this theme was expressed by the Blessed Mother to the three children.

In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior's Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession "peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue" (Decree of May 4, 1944).

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

4. It is His Will that we should apply to Him in all our needs, with humble, respectful, but very filial trust, abandoning ourselves entirely to His loving care like children to a good father.

June 7, 2012 

(Luk 20:25) And he said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar's: and to God the things that are God's.

ST. THOMAS MORE:  “I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH DOCTRINAL NOTE (2002): On some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life

MUST SEE VIDEO: Test of Fire: Election 2012

: Jealous God Obama Attacks Rival Religions

EXCERPT ANALYSIS: Catholic voters key to presidential win

"Religious liberty is becoming a major campaign issue as many Catholics, along with other Americans, are realizing that religious freedom and conscience protection can no longer be taken for granted," said Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Glendon, who grew up in a family of Massachusetts Democrats, is a registered independent and supports Republican nominee Mitt Romney. She said his "explicit promise" to reverse any regulation that restricts religious liberty is "reassuring."

Pete Flaherty, religious outreach director for Romney, said his campaign will try to reach Catholics individually, "diocese by diocese, parish by parish."

Romney, a Mormon, "stands shoulder to shoulder with the Catholic voter," said Flaherty, his longtime senior adviser. During GOP primaries, exit polls showed Romney won among Catholics in every state but Tennessee, and their vote decided close contests in Ohio and Michigan.

"Catholic voters will have a clear choice in this election, when it comes to protecting life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom and the recognition that economic growth lifts people out of poverty and provides them with the dignity of work," Flaherty said.

A Gallup survey in early May found Catholic voters evenly split for Obama and Romney, though white Catholics who identified themselves as "mostly" or "moderately" religious favor Romney and the nonreligious support Obama.

RELATED: Colleen Carroll Campbell: A sleeping church wakes up

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

3. Bury all your misery in the mercy of the loving Heart of Jesus and think of nothing but of pleasing Him by forgetting self. Henceforth let Him do all that He wills in you, with you and for you.

June 5, 2012 

(Mat 5:10-12) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.


Earlier this week we celebrated Memorial Day. For most of us, the holiday informally marks the start of summer. Over the next three months families will take their vacations, the pace of life will slow a bit, and people will have a little more precious time to relax and restore their spirits.

The purpose of recreation is to renew us in body and soul; to give us time to think; to reconnect us with family and the gift of being alive. For me, that usually means a week of fishing with friends, catching up on a pile of good books and enjoying a few good movies.

And since all good things are meant to be shared, I can already recommend – in fact, enthusiastically recommend -- a film that no Catholic should miss this summer.

For Greater Glory opens in select theaters this Friday, June 1. Written, directed and acted with outstanding skill, it’s the story of Mexico’s Cristero War (also known as La Cristiada, 1926-29). Largely ignored until recently – even in Mexico – the war resulted from Mexico’s atheist constitution of 1917, subsequent anti-religious legislation and fierce anti-clerical persecution by the government of President Plutarco Elias Calles, who came to power in 1924.

The Catholic response to the Calles regime first took the form of non-violent petitions, suspended religious services and economic boycotts. But bloody popular resistance broke out in 1926. By 1929, 50,000 Cristero rebels were fighting the federal government. A small number of priests took up arms with their people. More than 90,000 persons died in the fighting. In the process, the authorities murdered thousands of Catholic laypeople and dozens of priests.

Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest, was executed without trial in 1927. Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, age 14, was shot to death for refusing to deny his faith in 1928. In both cases, the martyrs’ last words were Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!) The Church has since honored dozens of other Mexican martyrs for their heroism during the Calles persecution. By 1929, pressured by Cristero success and U.S. diplomacy, federal authorities agreed to ease some restrictions on the Church and end violent persecution.

By 1929, pressured by Cristero success and U.S. diplomacy, federal authorities agreed to ease some restrictions on the Church and end violent persecution. Mexico’s bishops accepted the brokered peace. The Cristero rebellion slowly died out. But the government soon betrayed its promises. Brutal anti-religious policies renewed and continued.

Federal authorities murdered hundreds of former Cristero leaders and thousands of former Cristero fighters in reprisals. And the government continued its belligerence against the Church throughout the 1930s – a campaign of atheist violence and antireligious hatred that provided the backdrop for two of Graham Greene’s finest books: his travelogue, The Lawless Roads (1939), and arguably his greatest novel, The Power and the Glory (1940). Of course, gripping history does not automatically translate into good drama. Too many films for the family and religious markets suffer from lots of good intentions, but a lack of resources, inadequate talent and weak professional skills. For Greater Glory succeeds where so many similar films have failed. Led by Academy Award nominees Andy Garcia and Catalina Sandino Moreno, along with Oscar Isaac, Eva Longoria, Ruben Blades, Eduardo Verastegui and others, the cast is superb. And the writing gives them the kind of robust material they need to work with: strong dialogue, fully developed characters, vivid moral conflicts in a time of revolutionary violence, and a compelling story that never lags, thanks to the skilled directing of Dean Wright.

To describe this film as stirring or powerful would do it a disservice. For Greater Glory is much more than an exercise in piety; it’s an extraordinary portrait of ordinary people struggling to defend their convictions. It’s among the most absorbing films by any director or movie studio that I’ve seen in the past few years.

One of the hymns Cristeros sang as they went into battle had these words:
The Virgin Mary is our protector and defender when there is something to fear,
She will defeat the demons, crying "Long live Christ the King!"
She will defeat the demons, crying "Long live Christ the King!"
Soldiers of Christ let us follow the flag that the Cross shows the army of God!
Let us follow the flag, crying "Long live Christ the King!"

We Americans in 2012 live in a different land in a different time. We’re blessed with freedoms the Cristeros could only imagine. But those freedoms depend on our willingness to defend them. Religious liberty is never guaranteed by anything but our own vigilance. Even in this country, contempt for religious faith, and especially the Catholic faith, is alive and well. For Greater Glory captures with memorable power and grace where that bigotry can lead -- and the cost of resisting it.

CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: The Story, Martyrs, and Lessons of the Cristero War


'For Greater Glory' - Catholic Church Has Drawn The Line In The Sand
Catholic Bishops Offer High Praise About 'For Greater Glory'
Catholics see a rallying cry for ‘religious freedom’ in ‘For Greater Glory’ film

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Peace- Trust- Abandonment

2. The Spirit of God does all things in peace. Let us have recourse to God with love and confidence, and He will receive us into the arms of His mercy.
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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