Keep your eyes open!...


March 27, 2004


BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN: Joy is not the same as pleasure or happiness. A wicked and evil man may have pleasure, while any ordinary mortal is capable of being happy. Pleasure generally comes from things, and always through the senses; happiness comes from humans through fellowship. Joy comes from loving God and neighbor. Pleasure is quick and violent, like a flash of lightning. Joy is steady and abiding, like a fixed star. Pleasure depends on external circumstances, such as money, food, travel, etc. Joy is independent of them, for it comes from a good conscience and love of God.

ONLINE ARTICLE: The Divine Romance: Dying And Behold We Live

IN THE NEWS: Sheen steps closer to sainthood

VIA Dave Sheehan: Poem recited by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

I slipped his fingers, I escaped his feet.
I ran and hid, for him I feared to meet.
One day I passed him fettered on a tree.
He turned his head and looked, and beckoned me.

Neither by speed nor strength could he prevail.
Each hand and foot was pinioned by a nail.
He could not run nor clasp me if he tried.
But with his eyes he bade me reach his side.

"For pity's sake" thought I, "I'll set you free."
"Nay. Take this cross" said he, "and follow me.
This yoke is easy, this burden light.
Not hard nor grievous if you wear it tight."

And so did I follow him who could not move.
An uncaught captive in the hands of love.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

25. He who discourses subtlely and discerningly on stillness stirs up the demons against himself, for there is no one else who can so expose their indecencies.

March 25, 2004

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Oh Mary, Mother of Christ, may the infinite saving power of your son’s Redemption shine forth again throughout the world! May it put a stop to evil and change people’s consciences! May your Immaculate Heart light the way to hope for all people!”

LINK: Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

VIA Phillip and Jayne Teague: The Great Sacrament of Reconciliation

The cry, “Repent!” stirs up negative connotations of some sneering self-righteous Bible-thumper looking down his nose at you as he screeches out, “Repent, you sinners!” To repent implies a movement from freedom to slavery, from happiness to misery, from a smile to a grimace. In fact the opposite is true. Repentance is really the path from garbage to glory, from gloom to joy, from prison to liberty. Repentance is a choice for platinum over tinsel, for marble over veneer, for substance over ashes. Authentic repentance always generates delight and puts a spring in your step. Self-absorbed bitter ego-centrists who refuse to repent are not happy. The saints on the other hand are the most exultant people on earth.

The saints possess God who is the source of all happiness. Every good thing in life and everyone we love is an image of the goodness and beauty of God. The good that we love in the things of this world, and even more the people who we love are a reflection of God. God is the origin, the fullness and the perfection of all our loves in this life. Indeed, our desires for the good and the beautiful are without limit. As St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” God is the consummation of all our loves. St. Augustine was also right when he said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances, to seek Him the greatest adventure, and to find Him the greatest human achievement.”

The heart of Jesus’ mission was to call us to repentance, to apply the fruits of His Passion, Death and Resurrection in our lives. To repent is to accept the grace of salvation won for us on Calvary. As Pope Pius XI said, “Place one drop of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ on your heart and fear nothing.”

As Catholics we have the superlative means of repentance available to us: the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance, Confession. The great thing about the sacraments is that they don’t depend on us. Sacraments do not depend on the priest; they don’t depend on the Christian; they depend on Jesus. Sacraments are the touch of Christ: physical tangible signs that Jesus left us, to be present with us throughout time. Jesus embraces us in the sacraments. Through them we know and experience that He is still with us.

RELATED: How to Make a Good Confession

VIA Desert Voice: The only thing that separates us from God is either pride or fear; either pride in that we do not want to be restored and we want to wallow with the pigs and we want to stay in our sin, or fear that God might not want us back. Either way, it is a lie of the devil. And so when you look at your sins and the devil tells you that you are worthless, that you are no good, that you are unacceptable, that you are unlovable, that God does not want you, that God cannot forgive your sins because they are so huge, tell that vile creature to take a hike. Come back to God. Refuse to listen to the devil’s lies and look at the truth. Jesus Christ came and took your sins to Himself, all of them. The biggest sin that you can commit, the biggest and worst thing that you can even think of, is as nothing compared to the infinite mercy of God. Nothing that we can do is even close to being unforgivable. Everything that the devil tells you is a lie. Reject his lies, and listen again to the words of Saint Paul as he tells us that he has been made a co-worker, an ambassador for God, “as if Christ were appealing through us: Be reconciled with God!”

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

23. When the watchman grows weary, he stans up and prays; and then he sits down again and courageously takes up his former task.

March 23, 2004

(Mat 26:52) Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.


The assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin Monday as he left morning prayers marks a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and the end rhetorically and practically to the peace process.

The death of the wheelchair-bound cleric, the spiritual leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement, is also likely to lead to a dramatic upsurge in Israeli-Palestinian violence, analysts say.

"The [peace] process has been dead for a long time, but talk about it continued by the Americans, Egyptians, Palestinians, Israelis, and Jordanians.  Now even the talk about the peace process will be put to rest for a period of time," says Ali Jarbawi, a political scientist at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah.

More than 200,000 Palestinians gathered Monday for funeral procession of the 67-year old sheikh.  "Everyone here is like another Sheikh Yassin," says Iyad Hamdi, a stern-faced university student spray painting a message of revenge near the place where thousands of chairs were assembled for mourners.  "Of course there will be more martyrdom operations.  Because of this, another million people will will come out to take his place."

His friend, Mohammed Abdel Latif, says the assassination will only encourage more Palestinians to sacrifice themselves for the "cause," as Yassin did.  "Hamas will not die with Sheikh Yassin," he declares.

According to the Israel Defense Force (IDF), Yassin was directly responsible for dozens of attacks that claimed the lives of Israeli civilians, foreign citizens, and security personnel.  During his public appearances, Yassin repeatedly called to continue the "armed struggle" and to carry out terrorist attacks.

REACTION: Vatican condemns killing of Sheikh Yassin
COMMENTARY: Addressing terrorism
ANALYSIS: Yassin’s Killing Opens New Chapter in Israeli-Palestinian War


Arabs call for revenge
World reaction to Israel's killing of Hamas leader Yassin
U.S. says Israel has right to self defence
Alleged Qaeda Letter Threatens U.S. Over Yassin Death
Palestinian Leader Arafat Worries He's Next

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

22. Take up your seat on a high place and watch, if only you know how, and then you will see in what manner, when, whence, how many and what kind of thieves come to enter and steal your clusters of grapes.

March 20, 2004


(John 14:27) Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.

VIA Nadine:

How To Achieve Peace of Soul!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

Used with permission, from the Passionist Priests

More books, pamphlets and columns on peace of soul have probably been written in the last decade than in all the time since the birth of Christ. No generation has sought peace more desperately than our own. Yet, this desirable state of mind and heart seems to be more elusive than ever.

Why should this be? God promised us peace in the words of Isaias: "Lord, thou wilt give us peace." At the birth of our Blessed Lord the angels promised peace to men of good will. It was one of the last things promised by our Lord before His death, and the first after His Resurrection: "Peace be to you." (Luke 24:36)

The booming psychiatric trade indicates much is to be desired in the lives of individuals. Divorce and juvenile delinquency attest to lack of peace in the home. And the "Cold War" is sufficient proof of the lack of peace on the international scene.

The fact that our human hearts instinctively desire and seek peace of soul is evident. Could it be that we're looking of it in the wrong place? Or that we're not willing to pay the price for it?

True peace of soul will ever be the product of warfare and victory. In the spiritual realm it comes to those who wage a total warfare against sin and selfishness. It is a gift given to everyone who surrender to the demands of the Risen Savior telling us "to seek the things that are above."

1) We must surrender our minds to our Lord by living according to His law: "Much peace have they that love thy law, " Psalm 118 guarantees. The Gospel, containing revealed information on where to find peace, is the "Peace Plan" of God.

Obviously, it would be presumptuous to hope for peace without even consulting the Gospel. Yet, there are those who never do. The Creator, Who designed your human nature, reveals a way of life productive to peace. It must be studied and applied.

2) We must surrender our wills to our Lord by making the love of God the supreme goal of our life on earth: "Submit thyself to Him and thou shalt have peace." Charity is the perfect way of surrendering our hearts to God, and one of its first effects of peace.

A lot of people lack peace of soul because their desires are in conflict with the will of God - and thus with their human nature.

Once they make the "great decision" - that is, the resolution to make God's will the norm of their actions - they will find peace. Of this, you can be sure.

3) Finally, we must surrender our hearts to the Presence of God. God did not design the human heart to be separated from Him. Without Him there's an unsettling restlessness that nags us and leaves us without peace. As St. Paul writes: "He is our peace." (Eph. 2:14)

We must never forget that our model for peace is a battle-scarred warrior who won a total victory over sin and death by unconditional surrender to His Father's Will. Only thus, did He merit the glorious peace and victory of the Resurrection. It's ours also to share. But we must be willing to pay the price!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

21. Those whose mind has learned true prayer converse with the Lord face to face, as if speaking into the ear of the emperor. Those who make vocal prayer fall down before Him as if int he presence of the who senate. But those who live in the world petition the emperor amidst the clamour of all the crowds.

March 19, 2004

(Mat 25:40) And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

VIA Dave Sheehan: Please note that St. David's Relief Foundation is returning this summer to Bosnia. The 1st week will be spent in the Bosnian countryside rebuilding a school house.

The 2nd week will be spent in Medjugorje.

Details are located at

If anyone needs information about what it is like to be a volunteer, please email me.

Thanks & God bless to all,
Dave Sheehan Crowley
(Fort Worth), Texas
email: [email protected]

VIA PWHS: THE PRAYER WARRIORS OF THE HOLY SOULS (PWHS) is an apostolate of the MONFORT FOUNDATION, INC., a Catholic, non-stock, non-profit foundation, whose Founding-President is Cong. Narciso D. Monfort, M.D., of the 4th District of Iloilo, Philippines. The objective of this organization is TO CREATE AND SPREAD AWARENESS OF THE PLIGHT OF THE HOLY SOULS.

The PRAYER WARRIORS of the HOLY SOULS have dedicated themselves to pray, offer masses, do works of mercy for the intentions of the holy souls, and to recruit more members who will identify with the cause of assisting the holy souls reach their state of perfection so as to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

Last July 29, 2003, the PRAYER WARRIORS of the HOLY SOULS celebrated the 11th anniversary of its Foundation Day.

SEE ALSO: Purgatory Project

VIA Dan Lynch: The Feast of St. Joseph

From Scripture we know that the great virtue of St. Joseph was his obedient faith. "He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife." Mt 1:24. He did this in spite of the fact that Mary's pregnancy was apparently visible to everyone. He took her in the mystery of her motherhood and acted in obedient faith, as did Mary when she said, "Let it be done to me according to your word." Lk 1:38. "Blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed." Jn 20:29.

As the Second Vatican Council teaches, "The obedience of faith must be given to God as He reveals Himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals and willingly assenting to the revelation given by Him." St. Joseph is the model of this obedient faith.

He obeyed the command of the angel and took Mary as his wife in marriage and virginity in a communion of love with God and each other.

To read the rest of this article, please click here .

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

20. Do not fear the noises of prankish demons, for mourning does not know cowardice and is not scared by them.

March 18, 2004

(Mat 10:24-25) The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?


For 22 years Sister Ileana Benetello, of a Franciscan order of nuns from Padua, has helped run Bethlehem’s Baby Caritas Hospital, a pediatric medical center for poor Catholic children. She works together with 6 other nuns of the same order, 5 of whom are Italian.

Sister Ileana, what’s it like living today in Bethlehem?

Life is not that which the mass media says it like, or at least it’s far from that what people experience on an every day basis. It is that of stability amid abnormal circumstances. In the last few months, people could move about relatively easily. Now both Muslim and Christian Palestinians feel like they are living in an open-air prison. They cannot move about freely to go to work, school and carry out life’s normal activities. And this holds true when traveling between Palestine and Israel, and within the Palestinian territory itself.

And what is the situation like for Christians in the Bethlehem?

Many of them are leaving, choosing to emigrate since Christians easily gain visas to go abroad. Our opinion that behind all this is a game being played between Israel and other countries, like Sweden and Canada. For example, in 2003 a thousand or so people left Bethlehem, that is, 10% of the town’s 10,000 Christians.

And the reason for such a mass exodus?

This is happening since Christians don’t accept the Muslim mentality which justifies terrorist strikes. And Christians tend be, culturally speaking, closer to Jews and feel a greater connection with the Jewish population. And this poses serious problems for them. Christians are wedged between Muslims and Jews, and they suffer the most, as they are weak. One must also point out that they find it hard to adapt. For example, unlike Muslims, they won’t take on construction jobs.

What consequences does the emigration of Christians have on the Holy Land?

It poses another serious problem: Christians who emigrate don’t understand what the situation is like for other Christians who can’t afford to leave the country. Then come the Muslims who, helped by other Arab countries, easily buy up their land and homes. Even demographically speaking, Muslims are stronger: they have an average of 10 children and 3 wives…Even in terms of schooling life isn’t easy for Christians who can send their children to school only with the help of donations from abroad and foreign sponsorships of their children’s education. Otherwise, they would have to attend public schools which are imbued with Islamism and where their chidren easily lose their Christian faith.

Is there hope for the future?

No one is giving in and peace is still non-existent. The rest depends on Jesus who taught us the law of forgiveness. Muslims and Jews still preach the law of retaliation, and what see its ill effects in action every day.

What keeps you moving forward?

Throughout all these tough times I have come to understand the importance of Jesus in our lives. It is He who keeps me moving forward.

REVIEW ARTICLE: The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian Authority

Passion gone from streets where Jesus suffered
Palestinian Christians: Victims, Not Partners
Letter from a home for the elderly in Jerusalem

BOOKLET: What is wrong with suicide bombings?  A Palestinian Christian perspective

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

19. The patience of the sailor is tested in the midday heat or when he is becalmed; and the lack of necessitities tries the perseverance of the monk. When the one grows discouraged, he swims in the water; and when the other becomes despondent, he mixes with crowds.

March 17, 2004

Saint Patrick of Ireland, Bishop and Missionary
Prayer for God's Protection and Christ's Presence: As I arise today, may the strength of God pilot me, the power of God uphold me, the wisdom of God guide me. May the eye of God look before me, the ear of God hear me, the word of God speak for me. May the hand of God protect me, the way of God lie before me, the shield of God defend me, the host of God save me. May Christ shield me today...Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen.


Not much known to the public is the fact that a Jesuit scholar, Father William J. Fulco, S.J., was deeply involved in the production of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. It started with a phone call asking him whether he would be interested in getting involved with a project that entailed translating an Aramaic script. Father Fulco is a professor of Mediterranean studies. While on a project in Jerusalem he received a call from Mel Gibson, who said, “Hey, Padre, it’s Mel. I’ve got a project for you.” Gibson’s explanation got the Padre excited. He accepted.

His role started as translator of an entire script into Aramaic. Then followed a debate whether it should be Latin or Greek. “We ended up with Latin for artistic reasons, and that was it; but that was a big job because I had to supervise the coaching of the actors in the pronunciation of it... saying their lines with understanding and expression.” But the role grew beyond being merely an ancient language expert. Father Fulco became an adviser on archaeological, historical, theological and biblical matters aside from dealing with the individual religious issues of the multireligious cast. When the controversy became public, he also had to deal with it.

“The film is not anti-Semitic; we have not made a mistake. It is a beautiful work of art. I gradually became more militant about it, and now I feel like I am doing something priestly, preaching the gospel, and it seems when you preach the gospel, it invites flak.... Tomorrow we have a big conference and we will be attacked again; but my feeling is, that’s the way it goes. This is the gospel. It is not anti-Semitic; it is preaching Jesus crucified. And Paul says in his letters that to preach Jesus crucified is a stumbling block and a scandal and that is not the wisdom of the world."


The Passion is Turning Things Upside Down
Poll: Film and Surrounding Debate Might Be Lessening Hostility Toward Jews
Jim Caviezel's risky sacrifice
Pope Meets Star Who Played Jesus
Gibson film realistic portrayal of Christ
Aramaic students, teachers say film helps preserve their culture
Phillipine Bishops impressed by "The Passion": "Mel Gibson is like Mother Teresa"


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

18. Shut the door of your cell to your body, the door of your tongue to speech, and the inner gate to evil spirits.

March 16, 2004


The series of articles posted last week contemplating the spiritual passion of our Lord Jesus Christ has been combined into one.  It is available at:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him"

(John 1:1-18).

St. Dionysius of Alexandria: The name Word bestowed upon the Son of God reveals better than any other name the mystery of the inner relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Holy Trinity, God the Father and God the Son. A thought and a word are distinct from each other in that the thought dwells in the mind, whereas the word is the expression of the thought; yet the two are inseparable. The thought does not exist without the word, nor does the word without the thought. A thought is like a word which is concealed within, and a word is that which gives expression to the thought. The thought takes the form of a word to convey the content of the thought to its hearers. Looked at in this way, the thought, being an independent principle, is the father of the word, and the word is the son of the thought. The word cannot exist prior to the thought, yet it does not originate from without; it comes from the thought and remains inseparable from the thought. Similarly, the Father, the supreme and all-encompassing Thought, produced from His bosom the Son, the Word, His first Interpreter and Herald


Eternal Father, I offer You the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all Its love, all Its sufferings and all Its merits:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

17. The monk is an earthly image of an anel who, with the paper of love and letters of zeal, has freed his prayer from sloth and negligence. The monk is he who openly declares: O God, ready is my heart (Ps 61:10). The monk is he who says: I sleep, but my heart waketh (Song 5:2).

March 13, 2004



(2Co 5:21) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

According to Saint John of the Cross the "dark night of the soul" is that stage on the mystic path when "spiritual persons suffer great trials, by reason not so much of the aridities which they suffer, as of the fear which they have of being lost on the road, thinking that all spiritual blessing is over for them and that God has abandoned them since they find no help or pleasure in good things". It refers to a state of intense personal spiritual struggle, including the experience of utter hopelessness and isolation.

If a human, even a saint like Saint John of the Cross, can suffer so at the loss of intimacy with God, it is beyond comprehension to fathom our Lord's suffering on the cross.

(Mat 27:46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"



(Luke 22:40-43) When he arrived at the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not undergo the test." After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.

Prayer connects time and eternity.  In our present time we can dedicate our prayers to our suffering Savior in Gethsemane. Each time we say the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary we join Jesus in the garden.  The angel that appeared to him, aware of our still unspoken prayers, can whisper our love, encouragement, and gratitude to Jesus in his grief filled hour.

Likewise, through a pious recitation of the Way of the Cross, we can comfort our Savior on the road to Calvary and through his final anguish on the cross.


Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: "The Mass is that which makes the cross visible to every eye; it placards the Cross at all the crossroads of civilization; it brings Calvary so close that even tired feet can make the journey to its sweet embrace; every hand may now reach out to touch its Sacred Burden, and every ear may hear its sweet appeal, for the Mass and the Cross are the same.  In both there is the same offering of a perfectly surrendered will of the beloved Son, the same Body broken, the same Blood flowed forth, the same Divine Forgiveness.  All that has been said and done and acted during Holy Mass is to be taken away with us, lived, practiced, and woven into all the circumstances and conditions of our daily lives.  His sacrifice is made our sacrifice by making it the oblation of ourselves in union with Him; His life given for us becomes our life given for Him.  Thus do we return from Mass as those who have made their choice, turned their backs upon the world, and become for the generation in which we live other Christs living potent witnesses to the Love that died that we might live with Love".


Salvifici Doloris (JPII): These are the words of the Apostle Peter in his First Letter: "You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with the perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot".

And the Apostle Paul in the Letter to the Galatians will say: "He gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age", and in the First Letter to the Corinthians: "You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body".

With these and similar words the witnesses of the New Covenant speak of the greatness of the Redemption, accomplished through the suffering of Christ. The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.


Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is the adoration of Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist.  In the many Churches that have this adoration, the Eucharist is displayed in a special holder called a monstrance, and people come to pray and worship Jesus continually throughout the day and often the night.  Christ’s great love for us was shown when he was crucified on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and give us eternal life.  He loves us without limit, and offers Himself to us in the Holy sacrament of the Eucharist.  Can we not give Jesus a few minutes of love and adoration in return?

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you; Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

16. I have seen monks who insatiably nourished their flaming desire for God through stillness, generating fire by fire, love by love, desire by desire.

March 12, 2004



(Luke 9:28-31) Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.

The appearance of Moses and Elijah, as scripturally required two witnesses, must have provided great consolation to Jesus both at the Transfiguration and afterwards during his struggles.  The very fact that Moses and Elijah could appear before the Lord in glorified bodies proved that the Lord would indeed be successful in redeeming mankind.  Only through the Lord's death and resurrection could Moses and Elijah escape an eternity of separation from God.  There appearance meant that God had accepted the Lord's upcoming sacrifice on their behalf.


(John 19:25) .... But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.

Similarly, Mary provided a witness to the Lord of the successful outcome of His passion throughout her life but especially at the foot of the cross.  Looking at his immaculate mother, Jesus knew, at the height of his despair, that His sacrifice was worth the price.  The "new Eve" was the first fruit of his redemptive sacrifice.

Catechism 492: The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son". The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love".
Mary, redeemed from conception, had lived a life of complete submission to the will of God.  It was her "fiat" that resulted in the conception of our Lord in her womb.  Her presence at the foot of the cross could only have served to strengthen His resolve in his own "fiat".

Looking down from the cross at his suffering yet resolute mother, Jesus did not have to convince Himself that He could overcome His inconceivably painful separation from His Father.  No, his perfectly pure mother was absolute proof that salvation for mankind was as certain a reality as the tears streaming down her cheeks.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

13. He who is sick in soul from some passion and attempts stillness is like a man who has jumped from a ship into the sea and thinks that he will reach the shore safely on a plank.

March 11, 2004


(John 11:3-6) So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz'arus. So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

On the way to His final Passover in Jerusalem, the Lord is told of the illness of his friend Lazarus. Rather than go to him immediately Jesus lingers, not arriving until Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.

It is clear then that Jesus allows Lazarus to pass away, knowing that by raising him from the dead He would glorify God and His Son.  The scriptural account supports the interpretation that the eventual raising of Lazarus was planned and not an impromptu act.

(John 11:33-36) When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"

Why the would Jesus cry over the death of His friend when He knew that within moments His friend would be standing before Him in unwrapped burial cloths?

Certainly there was an element of compassion- Jesus shared the grief of all those throughout time who would lose a loved one.  But perhaps Jesus was anticipating His own soon separation from the Father on the cross.  Perhaps the agony in the garden had already begun.


(Mat 26:37-38) And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb'edee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me."

As we consider the infinite love and intimacy between the Father and the Son, the source of the agony in the garden becomes clear.  Jesus knew that for the first and only time in all of time and eternity He would be separated from the Father.  The sins of mankind throughout all of human history would be placed on the spotless Lamb on the cross.  And that sin would be an impenetrable barrier between beloved Father and Son. A communion more intimate than any human can imagine would be severed by the will of the Father and the obedience of the Son.

(John 3:16-17) For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

In Mel Gibson's "Passion" we are shown the devil in the garden attempting to convince Jesus to forsake his mission. "It is too much for one man to bear the sins of all mankind" he says.  Certainly the devil, who had been an eyewitness to the relationship between Father and Son since his own creation, knew well the price the Lord was being asked to pay.  He knew also that the consequence of obedience would be the redemption of mankind and his own eventual downfall.  One can only imagine the intensity of satan's attacks.  Couple these ferocious satanic attacks with the intense anxiety that the Lord was suffering over His impending separation from the Father and there is little surprise that the Lord sweat drops of blood.  How could a human heart endure such suffering?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

12. The cell of the monk is the confines of his body; he has within a shrine of knowledge.

March 10, 2004


Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" has served as a profound reminder for Christians everywhere of the terrible price that our Lord paid for our redemption.  I believe that, as graphically demonstrated in the movie, the Lord was tortured to a greater extent than any individual in all of history.  Though the corporal source of the punishment was the Roman soldiers, the force behind each blow, each merciless lash, was satan himself. Satan's reign was threatened and his very survival was at stake. Perhaps one more blow would be all that it would take for the Lord to forsake His mission. If His body would be sufficiently weakened, perhaps His Spirit would submit.

Never in all of eternity or human history would the devil have an opportunity to physically punish God himself.  You can be certain that the great unquenchable wrath of satan was behind the spitting, the punching, the kicking, and the verbal abuse that our Lord endured "as a sheep led to the slaughter".

All who have seen "The Passion" leave horrified at the abuse to which our Savior was subjected.  This is right, as each of us bears a personal responsibility for His pain.

Though it would be wrong to in any way minimize our Lord's physical suffering during the Passion, it is likely that for Him it was completely overshadowed by the unimaginable spiritual suffering he underwent.  The purpose of this series of articles is to further contemplate the "spiritual" passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.


(1John 4:19) We love, because he first loved us.

Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God.  As such, we are graced with the ability to enter into relationships with others and with Him.  Such relationships include motherhood, fatherhood, marriage, parenthood, deep friendships, and spiritual relationships (advisors, priest, etc.).  These relationships are characterized by bonds of great intimacy, trust, and above all, love.

Often when we look at the importance of these relationships, we place a great value on their length of duration.  "We've been married fifty years".  "I have known him since he was a baby". "I first met him when I was in college".  The depths of relationships is measured then in the level of devotion of those involved, that is, the level of intimacy achieved, and the duration of that intimacy.

Each of the above relationships is a human mirror of the relationship within the Trinity.  We are able to "know" fatherhood, marriage, friendship, only because the God and His Son knew them first.  They are the Authors of all relationships.

How deep is the relationship between the Father and the Son?  Jesus answered this quite simply in the Gospel of John: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).  There can be no greater intimacy than this.

How long has this relationship between Father and Son existed?  Again in the words of Jesus:   "Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). Before there was time, before creation, God and Jesus were one.

As humans we have all experienced the pain of separation.  Even though as imperfect sinners we can never love as completely as God loves, we are hurt when we are separated from those with whom we share intimacy.  The greater the intimacy, the greater the pain that is caused by being apart.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

8. A monk living with another monk is not like a monk living as a solitary. When a monk is alone, he has need of great vigilance and of an unwandering mind. The former is often helped by his brother; but an angel assists the latter.

March 6, 2004

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Above all, create silence in your interior."

"Let that ardent desire to see God arise from the depth of your hearts, a desire that at times is suffocated by the noise of the world and the seduction of pleasures."

"Let that desire emerge and you will have the wonderful experience of an encounter with Jesus," the Holy Father adds. "Christianity is not simply a doctrine; it is a meeting, in faith, with God, present in our history with the incarnation of Jesus."


By Dennis M. DeLaurier for the Wharton Holy Family MMP Cenacle.
March 1, 2004

Oh Father, when I look into my soul, all I can see is you there Who made me from your very breath and with you two powerful hands. All that is there points back to you Oh Lord, as you are its very essence.

While I am happy with your worldly attentions, my spirits yearns and groans for the day that I may return to my very source. For until that day when I dwell with you Oh Father, I can never be completely happy. Oh Father, let the Holy Spirit reign in the world the most powerful Lenten season. May the world see the great sacrifice that was made to save our souls and cry tears of repentance. May the blood of Jesus on the cross flow out and bring us to the very base of that cross. Looking up at the wounded and scarred body of Christ, may we be reminded of how you so loved the world that you would ask your only Son to endure such a cruel death.

Yes Oh Father we now belong to you through the cross. We were created by you and for you. Our creation was your pleasure, and as a jealous God, each one of us through the cross becomes your most loved and cherished property. How could we Oh Lord ever turn away from such affection? May the world this Lent see our hearts filled with your love Oh Father. May we see the suffering eyes of the Christ in ALL your children. May the love in the hearts of Your faithful swell up and consume the world through the power of the Holy Spirit this Lent.

This we humbly pray. Amen

LINK: A Brief History of Lent by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

6. A monk is he who strives to confine his incorporeal being within his bodily house, paradoxical as this is.

March 5, 2004

(Mat 24:30) ...then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory;


Sometime during the first few centuries it became customary to trace out the outline of the cross on one’s face and chest at various occasions. This has been linked with the Greatest Commandment on which hangs all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:40). Part of the Greatest Commandment was to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37), but its original statement was with all our heart, soul and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). These were taken to be equivalent statements (Mark 12:33) and the words from Deuteronomy were part of a Creed used in the First Century Synagogue worship. Therefore, it became traditional to trace out the outline of the cross on one’s head (mind), chest (heart) and shoulders (strength).

John Chrysostom wrote about the Sign of the Cross as follows: "Let no man therefore be ashamed of the honored symbols of our salvation, and of the chief of all good things, whereby we even live, and whereby we are; but as a crown, so let us bear about the cross of Christ. Yea, for by it all things are wrought, that are wrought among us. Whether one is to be new-born, the cross is there; or to be nourished with that mystical food, or to be ordained, or to do anything else; everywhere our symbol of victory is present. Therefore both on house, and walls, and windows, and upon our forehead, and upon our mind, we inscribe it with much care."

"For of the salvation wrought for us, and of our common freedom, and of the goodness of our Lord, this is the sign. `For as a sheep was He led to the slaughter’ (Isaiah 53:7). When therefore you sign yourself, think of the purpose of the cross, and quench anger, and all the other passions. When you fill your forehead with all courage, make your soul free."

"Since not merely by the fingers ought one to engrave it, but before this by the purpose of the heart with much faith. And if in this way you have marked it on your face, none of the unclean spirits will be able to stand near you, seeing the blade whereby he received his wound, seeing the sword which gave him his mortal stroke. For if we, on seeing the places in which the criminals are beheaded, shudder: think what the devil must endure, seeing the weapon, whereby Christ put an end to all his power, and cut off the head of the dragon."

"Be not ashamed then of so great a blessing, lest Christ be ashamed of you, when He comes with His glory, and the sign appears before Him, shining beyond the very sunbeam. [Chrysostom interprets the "sign" of the Second Coming (Matthew 24:30) as being the Cross (Homily lxxvi on Matthew 24).]

LENTEN READING-  A complimentary book copy of "The Sign of the Cross" by Msgr. Jean-Joseph Gaume, 1862 can be obtained via email by contacting Mr & Mrs Frank Kramer at: [email protected].

The book is a compilation of 23 brief letters by the good Monsignor to a young German Catholic student who, upon arriving in Paris to further his studies, is dismayed & concerned to find himself viewed as an oddity for doing what he had been taught in his German family upbringing -- making the Sign of the Cross before meals. His concern prompted him to write to Gaume, a French priest-theologian, to ask questions about this basic Catholic practice.

The 23 Letters from Gaume are eloquent & thorough in their discussion of every conceivable aspect of the Sign of the Cross.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

5. The beginning of stillness is to throw off all noise as disturbing for the depth of the soul. And the end of it is not to fear disturbances but to remain insensible to them. He, who in actually going out does not go out, is gentle and wholly a house of love. He is not easily moved to speech, and he cannot be moved to anger. The opposite of this is obvious.

March 4, 2004

(Mat 12:39-40) But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.


Jacob Blesses Ephraim (Genesis 48:8-20): When Jacob was an old man living in Egypt, he blessed Joseph’s two children Manessah and Ephraim. In doing so, he crossed his arms (in the shape of a cross) and blessed Ephraim, the younger, ahead of Manassah (v.14). Joseph was at first displeased with this since the elder child traditionally received the greater blessing. Jacob, however, said that he knew what he was doing and that his blessing was prophetic (vv.17-19).

Moses vs Amalek: (Exodus 17:8-13): Shortly after leaving Egypt, the nation of Amalek came and fought against Israel. As Joshua led the army against Amalek, Moses stationed himself on the top of a hill with the staff of God in his hand. As Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed; when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed. Therefore Aaron and Hur (Mariam’s husband) held up Moses’ hands until sundown. According to tradition, they did so in the shape of an X-style cross, which would probably be the steadiest way to hold up someone’s hands.

Justin Martyr (2nd Century) wrote of this: Trypho said, "Prove to us whether He must be crucified and die so disgracefully and so dishonorably by the death cursed in the law. For we cannot bring ourselves even to think of this,"

"You know that what the prophets said and did they veiled by parables and types, so that it was not easy for all to understand since they concealed the truth by these means, that those who are eager to find out and learn it might do so with much labor."

"Listen, therefore, to what follows; for Moses first exhibited this seeming curse of Christ’s by the signs which he made."

"When the people waged war with Amalek, and the son of Nun by name Jesus (Joshua), led the fight, Moses himself prayed to God, stretching out both hands, and Hur with Aaron supported them during the whole day, so that they might not hang down when he got wearied. For if he gave up any part of this sign, which was an imitation of the cross, the people were beaten, as is recorded in the writings of Moses; but if he remained in this form, Amalek was proportionally defeated, and he who prevailed prevailed by the cross. For it was not because Moses so prayed that the people were stronger, but because, while one who bore the name of Jesus (Joshua) was in the forefront of the battle, he himself made the sign of the cross." (Dialogue with Trypho, ch. xc)

The Blood on the Doorpost: (Exodus 12:7, 22): Prior to the 10th Plague in Egypt, the Lord commanded Israel to slay the Pascal Lamb and to apply the Lamb’s blood to the two door posts and the lintel with a bunch of hyssop. The lintel was that part of the door frame above the doorposts that supported the bricks of the wall above the doorway. In order to apply the blood to these three places, one has to trace out the outline of a cross.

Joshua and the Long Day: (Joshua 10:6-14): After conquering Ai (Joshua 10:1), a coalition of Canaanite kings marched against Gibeon, who had made peace with Israel. Joshua attacked these kings suddenly by marching all night and they fled before him. Since Joshua was outnumbered, he needed to complete this battle before nightfall to prevent the five kings from regrouping. The Lord helped Joshua by causing large hailstones to fall on the fleeing Canaanites. Joshua also spoke to the Lord and asked the sun to stand still. According to tradition, Joshua did this with upraised arms in the shape of a cross. "And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not go down for about a whole day" (v.13).

Moses at the Red Sea: (Exodus 14:21, 27): When Moses was leading Israel out of Egypt, they came to a dead end at the Red Sea. Trapped between the mountains, the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and the sea parted (v.21). After Israel had crossed, he stretched out his hand again and the sea closed on Pharaoh’s army. According to tradition, Moses stretched out his hand horizontally to part the Red Sea, and did so vertically to close it. Thus, he traced out the cross in parting the sea.

Jonah in the Sea-Monster’s Belly: (Jonah 2): Jonah was called by the Lord to preach repentance to Nineveh in Mesopotamia, but he fled instead in the opposite direction. Calamity struck the ship he was on and all the sailors on board knew that the storm was on account of Jonah. At Jonah’s request, they threw him overboard; Jonah was then swallowed whole by a great sea-monster and spent three days in the sea-monster’s belly.

While in the sea-monster’s belly, Jonah cried out to the Lord "from the depths of Sheol" (Jonah 2:2), "engulfed by the great deep with weeds wrapped around his head" (v.5). His prayer came to the Lord and he vowed to sacrifice to the Lord and obey His voice (v.9). According to tradition, Jonah prayed with his arms in the shape of a cross. After three days, the sea-monster vomited Jonah up onto dry land, and Jonah proceeded to go to Nineveh.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

4. A discerning monk will have no need of words, since he is enlightened by deeds rather than by words.

March 3, 2004

(John 12:31-32) Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."


The cross is a sign of hope because it led to Christ’s victory over sin and death. It is a sign not only of his death but also of his resurrection and glorification. In the hour of his death Jesus declared triumphantly: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Then and there victory over the world and the forces opposed to God was declared. Sin, injustice and falsehood were exposed, God’s conquering love, justice and truth were revealed. “Thus did God disarm the principalities and powers. He made a public show of them, and leading them off captive, triumphed in the person of Christ” (Col. 2:15).

The cross of Jesus has a direct personal meaning for the Christian. The following of Christ is possible only by carrying the cross. It is the way we must travel through life. It explains the misfortunes that come and even the sins we fall into. Carrying our cross as Jesus did means rising after every fall and never running away from it. In any event the cross will come into our lives. It is better to accept Christ’s invitation: “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross and follow in my steps” (Mark 8:34). Indeed the very essence of our worship in the Eucharist is expressed by the cross as St. Paul says: “Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Truly we should be able to say with St. Paul: “Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10).

The cross makes its appearance in many guises—persecution, slander, poverty, servitude, unrewarding labor, anxiety, sorrow, loneliness, sickness and death. It is up to us to recognize it. It helps us better understand the meaning of life and the problems we encounter day by day. It may not dissipate all “gloom” but it can overcome the “doom.”

LINK: Prayer to Our Lord Jesus crucified

FATHER P. RANIERO CANTALAMESSA: In his life, death and resurrection, Christ unveiled the ultimate meaning of human life. He needed no laboratory to do it, nor formulas on a blackboard; he did it by living the meaning of life and giving it reality. The ultimate goal is to receive in oneself the love of the Father as he received it, and to share this love around in the world, giving it to one's fellows.

Fathers, brothers, and sisters: I dare now to cry out to you, what I have first cried out to myself. Enough of half measures! Let us waste time no longer. Let us try our level best to realize the purpose for which Christ died. Let us live in such a way that we too, when our end is upon us, will be able to say: "It is accomplished". Let us accept suffering. It is the only way to enter into the cross of Christ and not remain apart, onlookers. All the other ways-- art, theology, reason, and sentiment-- are like looking out from the porthole of a bathyscaphe at life in the depths of the sea. That way we are not immersed in it, part of it....

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

3. A friend of stillness is a courageous and decisive thought which keeps constant vigil at the doors of the heart, and kills or repels the thoughts that come. He who practises silence with perception of heart will understand this last remark; but he who is yet a child is unaware and ignorant of it.

March 2, 2004

(1Co 1:17-18) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


We are a society that does not like to deal with unpleasantries, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was an unpleasantry. Instead of anguish, we would much rather view the biblical incident through the eyes of an Old Master's painting, with only a trickle of blood on Jesus' brow and a splotch of red on his side.

We want to see a polite crucifixion, one that fits our lifestyle. We don't want to see actual pain and suffering, only symbols of those unpleasantries.

Some biblical experts say "The Passion of the Christ" closely follows New Testament accounts of Jesus' execution. So why all the controversy?

Perhaps it is because we live in a revisionist era where we tend to rewrite history so that there are no bad guys. We don't want to lower anyone's self-esteem, you know.

The story of the crucifixion is about something greater than Jews or Romans or American history revisionists. It is about salvation and the immortality of the human soul.

You know, as I read the Bible, Christ didn't blame either the Jews or the Romans for his death. He contended that it was the sins of mankind that nailed him to the cross.

If that's the case, I guess we can all share in the blame.

Maybe that's why we don't like to see the violence and suffering.

MORE: Gibson's Passion forced to find sanctuary



The "Word of the Cross" is a literal translation of 1 Corinthians 1:18, which is often mistranslated "the message of the Cross". In Greek, the word logos is used, just as in John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." Other Greek words existed that mean message, such as rhema: a message or matter, and kerugma: a message or proclamation. For example, while Peter was speaking to Cornelius, the text reads, "While Peter was still speaking this message (rhema), the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the Word (logos)." One can listen to a message (rhema) of this life (Acts 5:20) and not hear the Word, depending on the condition of one’s heart.

Thus, the Word of the Cross is not just a message; it is part of the fabric of Christianity. If one misses the Word, one misses God. If one misses the Word of the Cross, one misses God’s ways.

In summary, the Word of the Cross is (from 1 Corinthians 1:18):

* Foolishness to those who are perishing. We put the entire hope for our life and being in the teachings of a crucified Jew. To the wisdom of this world, this is utter stupidity.

* To those who are being saved, however, it is the Power of God.

It is the Wisdom of God in mystery that was hidden before the Crucifixion. Had the rulers of this age (Satan and his legions) known this mystery, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 27- "On holy stillness of body and soul"

2. Stillness of the body is the knowledge and composure of the habits and feelings. And stillness of the soul is the knowledge of one's thoughts and an inviolable mind.

Links  E-mail Dr. Zambrano  Home

Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

The Tribulation Times Archives:


January July  January July January July January
February August February August February August February
March/April September March September March September
May October April October April October
June November May November May-June November

December June December


1997 1998
June-July January July January July January July
August February August February August February August
September March September March September March/April September
October April October April October May October
November May November May November June November
December June December June December