Keep your eyes open!...


May 28, 2010 


(1Pe 2:9) But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

EXCERPT CNS: As Year for Priests nears close, pope says priests must be shepherds

At his regular weekly audience in St. Peter's Square May 26, the pope said priests should follow Jesus, who he called the "supreme shepherd of souls," in their mission to "take care of the people of God, be teachers of the faith, animating and sustaining the community of Christians."

The pope quoted St. Augustine in pointing out that "it is a labor of love to graze the flocks of the Lord," and that love should act as the "supreme guide in conduct for the ministers of God."

By following this guide, the pope said, a priest should show "unconditional love, be full of joy and open to all; be attentive to those around him, gentle to children, to the weak and to the simple; and show the infinite mercy of God with encouraging words of hope."

EXCERPT FATHER EUTENEUER, HLI: In time, the proper spiritual leadership will emerge which will bind us together and form us into a fighting force called the Church Militant - the only spiritual force that can truly resist the hostile spiritual takeover of our nation. Let us not forget, however, that we must get down on our knees and beg, plead, and implore God to restore our once-great nation to its grandeur. We will not see the dawn of a renewed nation without prayer and sacrifice. The momentum of righteousness, consisting of all the humble goodness taking place at the grass-roots level of the Church and society, will eventually build, and we will take back our nation - not only at the ballot box but above all in the hearts and minds of all those who love God and are doing their best to love their neighbor. We will then be able to cast out the unclean spirits that are destroying everything that we hold sacred, and society will once again be governed by righteous men. For such an end we place our deepest hope in Christ, our true and only Savior!

EXCERPT CATHOLIC KEY: Interview with soon to be ordained priest,
Deacon Evan Harkins

A priest brings Christ to others, he said. "He brings the channels of Christ's grace to the sacraments: New life through baptism; absolution through the sacrament of Penance, His love for us and His grace through the Eucharist. A priest is a bridge connecting people to God in a sacramental way, and he extends Christ's love for His Church, in a human way.

I see a lot of pain and sadness in the world. You can see in people's eyes. Satan makes people unsure of who they are. To me being ordained a priest is to be sent out in to the world to give God to people and His gifts of joy and truth. I think that's awesome; there is nothing beyond that I could want."

: The Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn: Promise of life out of death

VIA EMAIL: FATHER CORAPI- A Short Note on Reconciliation

One of the most important things we can do as individuals seeking to love God above all things, and love our neighbor as ourselves out of love for God is to make a daily examination of conscience and then take advantage of one of the greatest gifts God has given us -- the ability to receive sanctifying grace in a healing and forgiving way through the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation (Confession). Repentance is not a one time thing. It is a daily requirement and an ongoing act of love of God and neighbor.

"If you love me you will obey my Commandments," Jesus tells us. If we stumble along the way and fail to obey His Commandments it is very encouraging to have the assurance that His forgiveness is waiting for us. We must seek it actively, however, especially when we are conscious of mortal sin. We, as Catholics, do this by going to Confession. When we make a daily examination of conscience, and then go to Confession regularly, we are showing our merciful and loving God that we are serious about our relationship with Him.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

48. Hypocrisy comes from self-satisfaction and wilfulness.

May 27, 2010 

(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.

HEADLINE: Archdiocese of New Orleans: More than 4,600 people impacted by oil spill given assistance

More than 4,600 people impacted by the Gulf oil spill have received assistance through Catholic Charities since May 1, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said today.

Four emergency relief centers have been established where fishers can receive emergency food, case management, crisis counseling and other services. The centers are at St. Bernard Catholic Church in the St. Bernard community, St. Patrick Catholic Church in Port Sulphur, St. Thomas Catholic Church in Point a la Hache and Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation in eastern New Orleans.

The archdiocese said more than 1,382 families have received emergency assistance from Catholic Charities related to the oil spill. It said $50,500 in gift cards and/or food vouchers have been distributed and that 647 emergency food boxes from Second Harvest Food Bank, along with 168 cans of baby formula, have been handed out. Seventy six boxes of baby diapers, as well as 174 packs of diapers, have also been distributed.

So far, 385 people have undergone mental health assessments. Also, 164 people have received individual counseling and 28 have taken part in group counseling with Catholic Charities crisis counselors, the archdiocese news release said.

St. Patrick Church in Port Sulphur and Mary, Queen of Vietnam in eastern New Orleans are also locations where people can apply for food stamps and Medicaid, the archdiocese said.

The Catholic Charities Care Line is 866.981.2210.

CATHNEWS: BP gives US Catholic charities $1million for oil relief



Worry grows over effect of oil spill on livelihoods of fishing families

La. Labor Leaders: BP Spill Could Be Worse for Workers Than Katrina
Floridians who make living from sea worried by effects of BP oil spill


0 Lady of Mental Peace, Mother of Tranquility and Mother of Hope, look upon me in this time of my weakness and unrest.  Teach my searching heart to know that God's Love for me is unchanging and unchangeable; and, that true human love can only begin and grow by touching His Love.  Let your gentle Peace which this world cannot give be always with me.  And, help me to bring this same Peace into the lives of others.  Our Lady of Mental Peace, - Pray for us
CNS NEWS: Maritime Mass gives special recognition to those affected by oil spill

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

47. Guile is born of conceit and anger.

May 26, 2010 

(1Ti 2:1-2) I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity.

As Korean tensions escalate, Catholic leaders call for prayers

Catholic leaders have called for prayers as tensions in the Korean peninsula escalate, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

South Korea's president raised the stakes in the standoff by slashing trade to communist North Korea in retaliation for a torpedo attack by the North that killed 46 South Korean sailors. North Korea accused the South of a smear campaign and said May 25 that it would sever all ties with the South.

"With Christian faith, we view this as another ordeal on the way toward national reconciliation and we must keep hope. We need to pray for peace and reconciliation," said Fabiano Choi Hong-jun, chairman of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea.

He said the tensions have thrown cold water on efforts for national reconciliation.

The sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan March 26 in the Yellow Sea was the country's worst military loss since the 1950-53 Korean War. An international team of investigators determined a torpedo from a North Korean submarine sank the ship.

Father Raphael Seo Jong-yeob described South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's decision to enact economic reprisals against the North as "regretful," observing that the bishops' Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People had planned much aid to North Korea, but had to cancel it. He welcomed the president's decision to exclude North Korean children from the aid embargo.

South Korea has been the North's second-largest trading partner, after China.

Father Seo said North and South Korea "must continue to talk about peace and reconciliation" and that is why "prayers are needed earnestly."


Q+A: Why a "state of war" still exists on Korean peninsula
North Korea cutting all ties with South Korea
North Korea: Pyongyang and Rome: no one knows the fate of the bishops of North Korea


All powerful and ever-living God,
Guard our churches, our homes, our schools,
our hospitals, our factories, and all the places where we gather.
Deliver us from harm and peril.
Protect our land and its peoples from enemies within and without.
Grant an early peace with victory founded upon justice.
Instill in the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere
a firm purpose to live forever in peace and good will toward all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

46. Hardness of heart sometimes comes from over-eating, often from insensitivity and attachment. And again attachment comes sometimes from lust, or from avarice, or from gluttony, or from vainglory, and from many other causes.

May 25, 2010 

(1Co 12:12-13) For as the body is one and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body: So also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free: and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink.


The account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles -- we listened to it in the first reading (Acts 2:1-11) -- presents the “new course” of the work that God began with Christ’s resurrection, a work that involves man, history and the cosmos. The Son of God, dead and risen and returned to the Father, now breathes with untold energy the divine breath upon humanity, the Holy Spirit. And what does this new and powerful self-communication of God produce? Where there are divisions and estrangement he creates unity and understanding. The Spirit triggers a process of reunification of the divided and dispersed parts of the human family; persons, often reduced to individuals in competition or in conflict with each other, reached by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, can involve them to such an extent as to make of them a new organism, a new subject: the Church. This is the effect of God’s work: unity; thus unity is the sign of recognition, the “business card” of the Church in the course of her universal history. From the very beginning, from the day of Pentecost, she speaks all languages. The universal Church precedes the particular Churches, and the latter must always conform to the former according to a criterion of unity and universality. The Church never remains a prisoner within political, racial and cultural confines; she cannot be confused with states not with federations of states, because her unity is of a different type and aspires to transcend every human frontier.

From this, dear brothers, there derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: When a person or a community, limits itself to its own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign that it has distanced itself from the Holy Spirit. The path of Christians and of the particular Churches must always confront itself with the path of the one and catholic Church, and harmonize with it. This does not mean that the unity created by the Holy Spirit is a kind of homogenization. On the contrary, that is rather the model of Babel, that is, the imposition of a culture of unity that we could call “technological.” The Bible, in fact, tells us (cf. Genesis 11:1-9) that in Babel everyone spoke the same language. At Pentecost, however, the Apostles speak different languages in such a way that everyone understands the message in his own tongue. The unity of the Spirit is manifested in the plurality of understanding. The Church is one and multiple by her nature, destined as she is to live among all nations, all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts. She responds to her vocation to be a sign and instrument of unity of the human race (cf. “Lumen Gentium,” 1) only if she remains free from every state and every particular culture. Always and in every place the Church must truly be catholic and universal, the house of all in which each one can find a place.

The account of the Acts of the Apostles offers us another very concrete indication. The universality of the Church is expressed by the list of peoples according to the ancient tradition: “We are Parthians, Medes, Elamites …,” etc. One may note that St. Luke goes beyond the number 12, which always expresses a universality. He looks beyond the horizons of Asia and northwest Africa, and adds three other elements: the “Romans,” that is, the western world; the “Jews and proselytes,” encompass in a new way the unity between Israel and the world; and finally “Cretans and Arabs,” who represent the West and the East, islands and land. This opening of horizons subsequently confirms the newness of Christ in the human space, in the history of the nations: The Holy Spirit involves men and peoples and, through them, it overcomes walls and barriers.

OF NOTE: Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches show understanding

CATHOLIC.ORG: Orthodox and Catholic Bond Deepens: Will the Two Lungs of the Church Breathe Together Again?

VIA Ron Smith: Precepts of the Church

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

45. Blasphemy is properly the offspring of pride; but it is often born of condemnation of our neighbour for the same thing; or of the excessive envy of the demons.

May 21, 2010 


(Luk 15:24) Because this my son was dead and is come to life again, was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.

AMAZING GRACE: Father Donald Calloway - Saved by Medjugorje and the Virgin Mary

HEADLINE: Medjugorje Apparitions Await Vatican's Recognition

Three decades after the reports on Virgin Mary apparitions in Medjugorje, the Vatican has opened a formal investigation on the case.

While the world is waiting to hear whether the apparitions in Bosnia will be formally recognized, the town continues enjoying the fame – as the summer season starts thousands of pilgrims arrive.

Medjugorje has become famous in 1981 when six youths said they had regularly seen visions of the Virgin there. Since then it has attracted more than 30 million faithful and became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Europe.

The first official investigation on reported apparitions was stopped due to the war in 1990s. Now, the Vatican has initiated a new one - an international commission of inquiry headed by Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini has been formed to study the case and report back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In the meantime, the interest for Medjugorje only grows. The Apparition Hill in nearby Bijakovici is visited by thousands of pilgrims every day. Faithful come from all around the world – the United States, Italy, Ireland but also neighboring Croatia and Slovenia...

For the last three decades the poor village has transformed into one of the richest small towns in the country. It has accommodation capacities for about 16 000 people, tens of restaurants and souvenir shops.

Lately, the real estate market has also been flourishing as some of the pilgrims chose to visit the pilgrimage more often and even settle there.

ANNOUNCEMENT: National Medjugorje Conference to Attract Thousands to Notre Dame and South Bend

The South Bend/Mishawaka Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is pleased welcome the 22nd annual National Conference on Medjugorje, being held May 21-23 at the University of Notre Dame Joyce Center. This year's National Medjugorje Conference will bring together an array of inspirational speakers who will give powerful testimonies of how their lives have been changed by the call of Our Lady at Medjugorje.

LINK: Father Finelli's Medjugorje Page

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

44. Despondency is born sometimes of luxury, and sometimes of lack of fear of God.

May 20, 2010 

(Joh 17:15-17) I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil. They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "We live in the world but we are not of the world, even if we must guard against its temptations," he said. "The tests that the Lord provides drive us to greater fervour and consistency."


BHLA2: We Must Expect Temptation- Sermons of the Cure of Ars

It is most unfortunate for ourselves if we do not know that we are tempted in almost all our actions, at one time by pride, by vanity, by the good opinion which we think people should have of us, at another by jealousy, by hatred and by revenge. At other times, the Devil comes to us with the foulest and most impure images. You see that even in our prayers he distracts us and turns our minds this way and that. It seems indeed that we are in a state .... since we are in the holy presence of God [sentence incomplete - Trans.]. And even more, since the time of Adam, you will not find a saint who has not been tempted -- some in one way, some in another -- and the greatest saints are those who have been tempted the most. If Our Lord was tempted, it was in order to show us that we must be also. It follows, therefore, that we must expect temptation. If you ask me what is the cause of our temptations, I shall tell you that it is the beauty and the great worth and importance of our souls which the Devil values and which he loves so much that he would consent to suffer two Hells, if necessary, if by so doing he could drag our souls into Hell. We should never cease to keep a watch on ourselves, lest the Devil might deceive us at the moment when we are least expecting it. St. Francis tells us that one day God allowed him to see the way in which the Devil tempted his religious, especially in matters of purity. He allowed him to see a band of devils who did nothing but shoot their arrows against his religious. Some returned violently against the devils who had discharged them. They then fled, shrieking hideous yells of rage. Some of the arrows glanced off those they were intended for and dropped at their feet without doing any harm. Others pierced just as far as the tip of the arrow and finally penetrated, bit by bit.

If we wish to hunt these temptations away, we must, as St. Anthony tells us, make use of the same weapons. When we are tempted by pride, we must immediately humble and abase ourselves before God. If we are tempted against the holy virtue of purity, we must try to mortify our bodies and all our senses and to be ever more vigilant of ourselves. If our temptation consists in a distaste for prayers, we must say even more prayers, with greater attention, and the more the Devil prompts us to give them up, the more we must increase their number.

The temptations we must fear most are those of which we are not conscious. St. Gregory tells us that there was a religious who for long had been a good member of his community. Then he developed a very strong desire to leave the monastery and to return to the world, saying that God did not wish him to be in that monastery. His saintly superior told him: "My friend, it is the Devil who is angry because you may be able to save your soul. Fight against him." But no, the other continued to believe that it was as he claimed. St. Gregory gave him permission to leave. But when he was leaving the monastery, the latter went on his knees to ask God to let this poor religious know that it was the Devil who wanted to make him lose his soul. The religious had scarcely put his foot over the threshold of the door to leave when he saw an enormous dragon, which attacked him.

"Oh, brothers," he cried out, "come to my aid! Look at the dragon which will devour me!"

And indeed, the brethren who came running when they heard the noise found this poor monk stretched out on the ground, half-dead. They carried him back into the monastery, and he realised that truly it was the Devil who wanted to tempt him and who was bursting with rage because the superior had prayed for him and so had prevented the Devil from getting him. Alas, my dear brethren, how greatly we should fear, lest we do not recognise our temptations! And we shall never recognise them if we do not ask God to allow us to do so.

VIA Sayings: "The devil is only permitted to tempt thee as much as it is profitable for thy exercise and trial, and in order that thou, who did not know thyself, may find out what thou art."

-- St. Augustine

VIA Catholic Fire: "The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat."

-- St. Pio

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

43. Talkativeness is born sometimes of gluttony, and sometimes of vainglory.

May 19, 2010 

(Psa 139:13-16) For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

CATHOLIC REVIEW: Nun excommunicated, loses hospital post over decision on abortion

A nun who concurred in an ethics committee's decision to abort the child of a gravely ill woman at a Phoenix hospital was "automatically excommunicated by that action," according to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix.

Mercy Sister Margaret Mary McBride also was reassigned from her position as vice president of mission integration at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after news surfaced about the abortion that took place late last year. The hospital did not say what her new job would be.

The patient, who has not been identified, was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that the hospital said carried a near-certain risk of death for the mother if the pregnancy continued.

"If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not," said a May 17 letter to Bishop Olmsted from top officials at Catholic Healthcare West, the San Francisco-based health system to which St. Joseph's belongs.

But the bishop said in a May 14 statement that "the direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic."

"We always must remember that when a difficult medical situation involves a pregnant woman, there are two patients in need of treatment and care, not merely one," Bishop Olmsted said. "The unborn child's life is just as sacred as the mother's life, and neither life can be preferred over the other."

COMING HOME BLOG: The Bishop, The Nun, The Mother and Child

ZENIT.ORG: Persistent Myths About Abortion

: The Knights of Columbus in Howell put out more than 1,000 white crosses on the lawn of their council offices over the weekend. Tom Wittstock is the Grand Knight of the Howell Knights of Columbus and tells WHMI that every cross represents four abortions performed daily in the United States.

AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE: Abortion and Planned Parenthood Statistics

FROM THE MAILBAG: The following link is to a new independent film which needs our support to expose the corruption of Planned Parenthood.  The movie is called Blood Money and in order for the producers to get it into the theaters they need to show that millions of interested people have visited their website. You need only visit the website; there is no need to sign-up as a supporter unless you want to do so.
Please help get this important film into theaters by visiting the website. Americans NEED to see this. Link:

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

42. Much sleep is born sometimes of luxury; and sometimes of fasting, when those who fast are proud of it; and sometimes of despondency; and sometimes from nature.

May 18, 2010 

(Joh 21:16) He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN (IRELAND): "The agenda for change in the Church must be one that comes from its message and not from pressure from outside and from people who do not have the true good of the Church at heart. [...] [T]rue reform of the Church will spring only from those who love the Church, with a love like that of Jesus which is prepared also to suffer for the Church and to give oneself for the Church."

"Thank God there are many who love their Church: lay persons, religious and clergy. We love the Church because the Church is our home, the place where we encounter the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ and where we gather in love to break bread in his memory."

REFLECTION by Father Ted: 
My dearest Lord Jesus, during this past two weeks You have told us to “love one another”.  You did so 2 Sundays ago - on the 5th Sunday of Easter in the gospel; You did so again today in the gospel for the Friday in the 5th week of Easter.  You did so today on this feast of the Apostle, Saint Matthias.

This is supposed to be our special mark or characteristic of Your children – our love for each other.

Yet how many of us really put this command of Yours into practice?

How many of us who call ourselves Catholic even know this command of Yours?

How many of us who call ourselves Catholic have even heard this exhortation of Yours proclaimed by Your priest or Your deacon in the Mass two Sundays ago or even today on this feast of Saint Matthias?

How many Catholics even went to Mass last Sunday?  Or on the Sunday before?

I must admit - not too many!

And why not?

What has happened in the Church during these years since my ordination?

Where are all the children?  Where are all the young people – the teenagers, the young adults?

Why didn’t they hear the “Good News” last Sunday in Church?  Or on the previous Sunday?

Why weren’t they at Mass?

How do I answer these questions, Lord?

I do remember when I was a young priest in the 60’s, how many children, how many adolescents, how many young people went to Mass every Sunday.

But I also recall, while I was teaching Science in one of our Catholic schools in the 70’s, that some of our students were being taught by their religion teachers that they did not need to go to Mass, if they did not feel like it.

They believed what they were being taught.  And since many times they did not feel like going to Church on Sunday, they didn’t.

What was happening?

Feelings were being emphasized during that time – If it feels good, do it.  If it doesn’t feel good, don’t.

What was really happening?

We were not teaching the “Good News” as Jesus had taught, as His disciples had taught.

What had happened is that we had neglected to focus on our purpose in life – to know God, to love Him, to serve Him, so that we could be with Him forever in His home, namely Heaven.

Instead we focused on the here and now.

We focused on ourselves and our earthly wants and needs.

We were neglecting daily prayer; we were omitting family prayer.  We were beginning to deemphasize the importance of communal worship – including the obligation of worshiping God on Sunday.

We were gradually accepting that “false teaching” that we did not need to worship God on Sundays at Mass.

As a result we gradually accepted many other “false teachings”.

Without the benefit of daily prayer, without the benefit of weekly Mass and the reception of Holy Communion, without the benefit of frequent confession, we began to lose our spiritual strength; we began to alienate ourselves from our heavenly Father; we began to forget about our relationship with God.

Lord, how blind we have become.  How foolish we have become.

Lord, enlighten us with Your Truth.  Teach us once more, what we need to know so that we can once again live as Your beloved children.

: Budding priests in a time of crisis: Seminarians enter scandal-scarred vocation

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

41. Untimely jesting is sometimes born of lust; and sometimes of vainglory, when a man impiously puts on a pious air; and sometimes too of luxury.

May 14, 2010


(Act 2:17-18) 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

VIA VATICAN RADIO: Pope Benedict XVI's Homily on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Dear Pilgrims,

“Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations […], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9).  So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima.  Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this “home” from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times.  I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary’s presence and maternal protection.  I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place.  I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings.  Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that “I love” Jesus, that the Church and priests “love” him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.

These are the “people whom the Lord has blessed”.  The people whom the Lord has blessed are you, the beloved Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, with your pastor, Bishop Antonio Marto.  I thank him for his words of greeting at the beginning of Mass, and for the gracious hospitality shown particularly by his collaborators at this Shrine.  I greet the President of the Republic and the other authorities who serve this glorious Nation.  I spiritually embrace all the Dioceses of Portugal, represented here by their Bishops, and I entrust to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth.  In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt.  May our great hope sink roots in the lives of each of you, dear pilgrims, and of all those who join us through the communications media.

Yes!  The Lord, our great hope, is with us.  In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself.  After experiencing the mercy and consolation of God who did not forsake them along their wearisome return from the Babylonian Exile, the people of God cried out: “I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being exults in my God” (Is 61:10).  The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God’s presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”.  She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophecied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1:47, 50). This holy place is the proof of it.  In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence.  This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him!  When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”.  And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts.  I love God so much!” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).

Brothers and sisters, in listening to these innocent and profound mystical confidences of the shepherd children, one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see.  To such persons, the Pope says, as does Jesus: “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mk 12:24).  The Scriptures invite us to believe: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29), but God, who is more deeply present to me than I am to myself (cf.  Saint Augustine, Confessions, III, 6, 11) – has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses.  For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf.  Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000).  Yes!  God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart. Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man.  He has the power to inflame the coldest and saddest of hearts, as we see in the case of the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf.  Lk 24:32).  Henceforth our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth.  The enthusiasm roused by his wisdom and his saving power among the people of that time was such that a woman in the midst of the crowd – as we heard in the Gospel – cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!”.  And Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:27-28).  But who finds time to hear God’s word and to let themselves be attracted by his love?  Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer?  Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith?  Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one’s life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world.

“Their descendants shall be known among the nations, […] they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9) with an unshakable hope which bears fruit in a love which sacrifices for others, yet does not sacrifice others.  Rather, as we heard in the second reading, this love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7).  An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God.  Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love.  Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.  Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.  Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9).  Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart.  At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity.  May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

HEADLINE: 500,000 people welcome the Pope at Fatima shrine in Portugal

: The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

The Novena to Holy Spirit is to be said between Thursday, May 13th – Ascension of Our Lord and May 22nd vigil of Pentecost.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

39. What are the particular offspring of the eight deadly sins? Or which of the three chief sins is the father of the other five (minor sins)?  I learnt from the holy men the following: 'The mother of lust is gluttony, and the mother of despondency is vainglory; sorrow and also anger are the offspring of those three (i.e. cupidity, sensuality, ambition); and the mother of pride is vainglory.'

May 13, 2010

(Mat 16:2-3) But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning: To day there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?

HEADLINE: Pope pays tribute to Virgin Mary at Fatima

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday visited the Portuguese pilgrimage site of Fatima, where he thanked the Virgin Mary for saving his predecessor John Paul II from a murder attempt in 1981.

The pope's visit to Fatima, marking the 93th anniversary of an alleged appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children, was the highlight of his four-day trip to Portugal.

The pope began his stay in Fatima by visiting the Chapel of the Apparitions, where he thanked the Virgin's "invisible hand" for saving John Paul II from an assassination attempt at Saint Peter's Square in 1981.

It was "profoundly consoling" to see the statue of the Virgin wear a crown which contained the bullet fired by Turkish Mehmet Ali Agca on that day, the pope said.

He left at the sanctuary a golden rose, a symbolic tribute by popes to special places.

The pope then continued in the popemobile for vespers at the Church of Holy Trinity, where he was cheered by thousands of faithful.

VATICAN RADIO: 150,000 Faithful Celebrate Mass with Pope in Lisbon

WORLDWIDE FATIMA ROSARY: There’s a worldwide Fatima Rosary on May 13, since it was on May 13, 1917 that Our Lady appeared at Fatima and said: "Pray the Rosary for peace in the world."

Also, the Rosary destroyed the Turkish invasion of Europe and saved Austria and Brazil from Communism. 

And Sister Lucy said: "…the Virgin Mary, in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is… that cannot be solved by the Rosary."

The Rosary can save the world now.  On May 13, together with millions worldwide, pray the Rosary of the Blessed Mother for the conversion of sinners, for a return to Catholic morality and true peace in the world.

ROSARY TRACT: The Importance of the Family Rosary & The Power of the Rosary


Oh Most Holy Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
I adore Thee profoundly.
I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity
of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world,
in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and
indifferences by which He is offended.
By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

38. It is difficult to overcome former bad habits; and those who keep on adding further new ones to them either fall into despair or get no benefit at all from obedience. But I know that to God all things are possible, and to Him nothing is impossible (Cf. Job 42:2, Luke 1:37).

May 12, 2010

(Act 20:28-29) Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that after my departure ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is born of sin within the Church."

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Excerpt of Address Upon Arrival in Portugal

 "As for the event that took place 93 years ago, when heaven itself was opened over Portugal - like a window of hope that God opens when man closes the door to him - in order to refashion, within the human family, the bonds of fraternal solidarity based on the mutual recognition of the one Father, this was a loving design from God; it does not depend on the Pope, nor on any other ecclesial authority: "It was not the Church that imposed Fatima", as Cardinal Manuel Cerejeira of blessed memory used to say, "but it was Fatima that imposed itself on the Church."

"The Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths that constitute for humanity - so lacking in love and without hope for salvation - the source of hope."

LINK: Official Web Page for Pope Benedict XVI Pilgrimmage to Fatima

: A Time for Prophecy

We live in very difficult times for the Church.  The daily attacks and calumnies against our Church, our faith, and our Holy Father can be difficult to bear.  It can be very difficult see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes it seems that there is just more tunnel.  But this is not so.  There is hope.  This era of trial will end, and it will end in triumph.  God has told us so, through his prophets.

In the age of the Church there is likely no greater prophet than Jesus' mother, Mary.  A century ago, Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima.  While the story is well known in Catholic circles and even outside them, one important line of the prophecy is often overlooked.  For sure the warnings of suffering are there if we do not heed her requests, but the end is not in doubt.  "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."

"In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph…peace will be granted to the world."  This era of attacks on the Pope and the Church, this era of martyrs, this era of schism and dissent will end.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  We have it on good authority.

An era of peace is promised and God keeps his promises.

Let me close by quoting from another who spoke about the end of this era several hundred years ago.  A German priest, not unlike our Holy Father, tells us of a time when all the world will be upside down.  In the 17th century, the Venerable Batholomew Holzhauser wrote this about a generation in the future and it sounds uncannily accurate.

"They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretations, modification and delimitation by man."

He said that at the end of this era that calamity would befall the Church.  All would seem hopeless.  But then, then…"But, by the Hand of God Almighty, there occurs so wondrous a change…that no one can humanly visualize it."

So wondrous a change that no one can humanly visualize it. A triumph for God and his Church. Our Blessed Mother said “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

Count on it.
Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

37. Those who hear of treassure hidden in a certain place seek it and, having discovered it, take trouble to keep what they have found; but those who get rich without trouble readily squander their possessions.

May 11, 2010

(Luk 1:46-49) And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

HEADLINE: Pope To Pray At Fatima Shrine During Portugal Visit

Pope Benedict XVI will make a two-day stop in the historic city of Fatima during a visit to Portugal this week.

On his arrival there Wednesday, the pontiff will pray in front of the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary at the Chapel of Apparitions.

The chapel is built on the site where three shepherd children -- Lucia Santos, 10, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, aged 9 and 7 -- say they saw a vision of the Virgin Mary on May 13, 1917, and four other occasions.

Thursday morning, between 300,000 and half a million people are expected to join Pope Benedict in a special mass marking the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta.

This trip is the Pontiff's 15th apostolic journey abroad in his five years and is his first to Portugal as pope.


As Pope Benedict XVI is about to visit Fatima ten years on from his predecessor to the See of Peter's pilgrimage there , I thought I'd bring you the voice of the last seer to survive, Sister Lucia. A programme from my personal archive focusing on John PauI II's special devotion to this Marian Shrine .

Audio Link:

VIA ZENIT: Portugal Trip to Show God's Action in History

ROME REPORTS: Fatima's three secrets: It took 83 years to be fully revealed

BLOG: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf: About the Holy Father's upcoming visit to Fatima

VIA Spiritdaily: Author Claims That Two Documents Comprise Third Fatima Secret, One Revealed, One Not

CNS: Fatima debate: Some say 'third secret' is still secret

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

36. Let us try to learn Divine truth more by toil and sweat than by mere word, for at the time of our departure it is not words but deeds that will have to be shown.

May 07, 2010


(Zec 12:8-10) In that day shall the Lord protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that hath offended among them in that day shall be as David: and the house of David, as that of God, as an angel of the Lord in their sight. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.

John and Gloria: Thank you asking me for "a Catholic perspective on Israel, Iran and the "peace" initiative".

This is a tricky task, because I do not think for one moment that Catholics have a single perspective on Israel or on anything concerning this country. But let me try to put it this way. Within the last decade, there have been many regional and global changes that have placed the survival of the State of Israel, the largest Jewish project for two millennia, in the balance. The principal changes have been:

1. the breakdown of the Oslo peace 'process' and the launching of the second intifada,
2. the radicalization of Islamic populations in the region and throughout the world, including those of the West Bank and Gaza,
3. the bizarre alignment between the radical left-wing parties in Europe and radical Islamic movements, leading to their joint demonization and deligitimization of the State of Israel,
4. the rise of Iran as a regional power and its growing military alliances with regional states and militias (Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Hizballah, Hamas),
5. the waning of Western, mainly American, influence in the region, and last, but by no means least,
6. Iran's quest for nuclear weapons to consolidate its regional superpower status and to 'wipe Israel from the map'.

With the survival of Israel at stake, there will be Catholics who rejoice and there will be Catholics who mourn. There will also be Catholics, like myself, who wonder where this rampant surge of anti-Israel hatred and bigotry is leading to. Most Israelis have little doubt that it is leading, very soon, to another regional war.

Please pray for us.


Jim Woolsey: Nuclear Iran 'Extremely' Likely
Catholic displaced in 1948 to light torch for Israeli celebrations
Israel Prepares for Possibility of Summer War with Lebanon

EDITORIAL: Deal Hudson, Ph.D. Asks, 'Remember the Palestinians'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

35. If through our activity God arises in us, His enemies will be scattered; and if we draw near to Him by divine vision, those who hate Him will flee from before His face and ours (cf. Ps 67:1).

May 06, 2010 

(2Ti 4:2-4) Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

ANNOUNCEMENTNew book by Michael D. O'Brien- Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture

QUOTE (Father Corapi 05/01): "If you have God, you have everything! The day for fence-sitting is over; the days to be a lukewarm Catholic are rapidly coming to an end. It’s becoming very hard to live your faith in a neo-pagan world."

“Things won’t change until we begin to live our faith in a dynamic way,” he said. “When we do that, we will radiate it to the rest of the world. Don’t worry about what the rest of the world is doing so much. We have to each get ourselves right. It starts with each one of us, one person at a time."

VIA David Wilkerson: THE 7,000 CLUB 

Elijah, that great prophet of holiness and righteousness, had become disheartened by the moral landslide his nation was experiencing and had fled from the threats of Jezebel, the wicked wife of King Ahab. God found him hiding in a cave on Mount Horeb and asked, "Elijah, what are you doing here, hiding?"

With indignation, Elijah replied, "God, I've been jealous for your glory, but your people have forsaken your Word; your altars have been broken down; your ministers have been persecuted. I'm the only one left—and now they're out to get me, too."

To all outward appearances, Elijah had a good argument. The government was the most wicked and vile in all history and his society was nearing a collapse. The Bible says, "Ahab made a grove [pagan shrines for pleasure]; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him" (1 Kings 16:33). The government was actually forcing the nation into idolatry. Jezebel, the most wicked queen to ever share the throne, was a God-hating woman, bent on killing every follower of Jehovah.

Elijah was determined to "hold out to the end." If the whole nation forsook God, he would stay true! But God was not about to congratulate this hiding prophet, because at that very moment, the Holy Spirit was moving throughout the land. Elisha, Elijah’s eventual successor, was feeling the first stirrings of God's hand upon him and Jehu, a powerful young revolutionary, was chomping at the bit, waiting anxiously to declare war on the corruption and godlessness in the land. A great moral awakening was about to happen, and God would soon fling Jezebel to the dogs and overthrow the wicked rulers.

Elijah was most emphatically informed by God, "I have 7,000 who have not compromised and given in to the wickedness around them. They have not been seduced—they are Mine!" God was trying to tell Elijah that he had his people stationed in key positions, all across the nation, believers standing tall and true in spite of the corruption around them.

God has been encouraging me to open my eyes to the great calling out of saints that is now taking place in this, our own time. God said to Elijah, "Thousands have not bowed." To us, I believe He is saying, "Millions have not bowed!"

Glory be to God, we are not a tiny remnant! We are an army, a blood-washed multitude, in every walk of life, unbending and uncompromising in an age gone crazy. Satan would like God's people to think their numbers are dwindling fast; he wants true believers to think the majority have already defected to his camp, so that fear would drive them into hiding. Don't believe the lies of Satan! God is still at work, pouring out his Holy Spirit and drawing hungry hearts to himself.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

31. Angels are a light for monks, and the monastic life is a light for all men. Therefore let monks strive to become a good example in everything, giving no occasion for stumbling in anything in all their works and words. For if the light becomes darkness, how much darker will be that darkness, that is, those living in the world (cf. II Cor 6:3).

May 05, 2010

(1Pe 3:15-16) ...but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.


Thoughts on the Most Holy Trinity by Stephen Rinehart

VIA Father Alex: Testimony of Eduardo Verástegui, a Hollywood Star

Although the title is in Spanish, the video is all in English. It is a brief testimony of Eduardo Versategui, a Hollywood Actor's conversion:

LINK: YouTube - Historia de Eduardo Verástegui

The man is more popular than ever (no thanks to Hollywood and all of the 'Gossip TV and Magazines, which are really trying to destroy his image and credibility).

In the mean time, Eduardo is going around the world proclaiming Jesus Christ as a Catholic Man, going to daily Mass (in Hollywood or anywhere in the world), living a chaste life (until he finds the right woman to be his wife for the rest of his life), working for the poorest of the poor (building homes, planting fields, and physically feeding the hungry to people in the Sudan and regions of South and Central America) and saving lives of the unborn!

Worth watching and if you've never seen his movie BELLA, I truly recommend it!

Also, pass this on, particularly to our young people... he is a real person to look up to!

VIA Ron Smith: Report on Church Concerts and Liturgical Dancing

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

30. Instruction in childhood, education and studies, either help or hinder us in virtue and in the monastic way of life when we come of age.

May 04, 2010 

(Mar 15:46) And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

VIA CNA: Mary helps us see the face of God in Jesus' face, Pope says during Turin visit

The Holy Father prayed the Regina Caeli after Mass in Turin's St. Charles Square on Sunday. Saying Mary teaches us to recognize the face of God in Jesus’ human face, Pope Benedict asked for her intercession for workers, those in jail and all believers.

Pope Benedict made a Pastoral Visit to the city that was once the capital of Italy this Sunday, in particular to visit the Shroud of Turin which is on temporary exposition in the Cathedral of Turin. An estimated 50,000 people accompanied him, both in the square and by way of enormous television screens in other parts of the city center, for the celebration of the morning Mass and the Marian prayer that followed.

To Mary, said the Holy Father before the recitation of the Regina Caeli, "I entrust this city and all who live here."

Speaking the day after Italy celebrated the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, he implored that Mary keep watch over families, the "world of work" and those who have lost their faith and hope.

Benedict XVI also asked for her intercession in comforting the sick, those in jail and all who suffer.

"Sustain, oh Help of Christians, young people, the elderly and people in difficulty," he continued, asking also that the Mother of the Church watch over pastors and all believers "so that they may be 'salt and light' in society."

He reflected on the Virgin Mary as "she who more than any other has contemplated God in the human face of Jesus.

"She saw him just after birth, while wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger; she saw him just after death, when after being taken from the cross, they wrapped him in a cloth and took him to the tomb."

“The image of her tormented son was imprinted within her; but this image was then transfigured by the light of the Resurrection,” Pope Benedict said. “In this way, the mystery of the face of Christ, mystery of death and glory, was kept in the heart of Mary.

"From her," he taught, "we can always learn to look at Jesus with love and faith, to recognize in that human face the Face of God."

The Holy Father concluded by thanking all who have worked to prepare for his visit and the special exposition of the Shroud, which he personally called for in 2008. He said he hoped that it would bring about a "profound spiritual renewal."

Shroud of Turin 'mirrors' human suffering: Pope

VIA VATICAN RADIO: Fr. Lombardi Editorial: Behold the Man!

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have flocked to Turin in recent weeks to spend a few minutes in silent meditation before the Holy Shroud, contemplating the image of the tortured body of a crucified man. This fact repeats itself whenever the ancient cloth is exposed to the public and even the most recent Popes have joined devout pilgrims.

It is not the mysterious origin of this image that draws people to it, rather its impressive consistency in so many minute details, to the Gospel story of Christ’s Passion: the wounds, the spilt blood, the gashes of the crown of thorns, the lashes of the whip . "Behold the man!" Said Pilate presenting Jesus to the crowd. Behold the man who died on the cross for us, we repeat to ourselves as we stand at first troubled and then wondrous before this, the most concrete image of the Passion.

And at the centre the solemn face of the crucifix, a face that corresponds to the oldest dictates of Christian iconography and which in turn confirms and inspires it. Benedict XVI constantly reminds us; We want to know God and we can know Him through the face of Christ. This is why we love the images that tradition hold to be precious paths to glimpse this face, both in Manoppello and in Turin. We know that we must look beyond the image, we must desire to behold the Risen One face to face. But we are humbly grateful for this aid to our earthly eyes which helps us to contemplate unconditional love for us, right up to death on the cross.

CATHOLIC REVIEW: Shroud of Turin is way to contemplate the face of God, expert says

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

29. Do not boast, man, of the wealth you have obtained without labour. For the Bestower, foreseeing your great hurt, and infirmity, and ruin, at least saves you to some extent by those unmerited gifts.
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