Keep your eyes open!...


May 29, 2015  

(1Th 5:19-21) Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good.

REVIEW: Has Russia Been Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? by Rev. J.L. Iannuzzi, STD, Ph.D. (original PDF version link)

In recent years the faithful have asked me to address the question of whether or not the consecration of Russia requested by Mary has been done. In response, I begin by recalling the 3rd apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917, in which Mary showed the three shepherd children the vision of hell and revealed:

“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. 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 last apparition of Fatima of June 13, 1929, Lucia relates:

“Our Lady then said to me: ‘The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.’”

Let us now review the papal consecrations of Russia and of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In March 1937 and in 1938 respectively Bishop De Silva Leiria and the Portuguese episcopate asks Pope Pius XI for the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart. No consecration is made.

In December 1940 Sr. Lucia writes a letter to Pope Pius XII affirming that Our Lord himself requests the Pope to “consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention for Russia, and order that all the Bishops of the world do the same in union with Your Holiness.”

1) On October 31, 1942 Pope Pius XII consecrates the world to the Immaculate Heart.

2) On July 7, 1952 Pope Pius XII consecrates the Russian people to the Immaculate Heart through his apostolic letter Sacro Vergente Anno, in which he affirms: “Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart.”

3) On November 21, 1964 Pope Paul VI renews, in the presence of the Fathers of the Vatican Council but without their participation, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

4) On May 13, 1982 Pope John Paul II invites the bishops of the world to join him in consecrating the world and with it Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Many do not receive the invitation in time for the Pope's trip to Fatima, where he accomplishes the consecration,but Sr. Lucia later says it did not fulfill the conditions.

5) October 1983 Pope John Paul II, at the Synod of Bishops, renews the 1982 Consecration.

6) On March 25, 1984 Pope John Paul II, “united with all the pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college,”consecrates “the whole world, especially the peoples for which by reason of their situation you have particular love and solicitude. Both the Pope and Sr. Lucia initially seemed uncertain that the consecration has been fulfilled, but shortly thereafter Sr. Lucia tells the papal nuncio to Portugal that the Consecration is fulfilled.

In light of the preceding, Sr. Lucia would pen two monumental letters with her own hand in answer to the question pertaining to the validity of the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In two handwritten letters of August 29, 1989 and of July 3, 1990 Sr. Lucia affirms that the Russian consecration requested by Our Lady “was made” (see two letters reported below).

Let us now review from a practical angle the validity of the consecration of Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Let us recall on June 13, 1929 that Mary stated, “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to her and Russia will be converted. Some have questioned if Mary’s deliberate use of the future tense here qualifies as prophecy of the 1984 consecration that Lucia said “was made as Our Lady requested”. While past Pontiffs had consecrated “the people of Russia” and “the world” to Mary, others have contested that consecrating “the people of Russia without the episcopal college” and “the world with the episcopal college” does not count for consecrating “specifically Russia in union with the episcopal college”. To get beyond this impasse, a brief review of the importance of methodology is in order.

In all accredited disciplines there is no reliability of a given source without a method of research. Methodology distinguishes primary from secondary sources with the aim of ensuring reliability of a given source. A primary source (e.g., Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta re. the Fatima messages) provides direct or firsthand recount of an event or person. On the other hand, a secondary source describes, discusses, interprets, comments upon and analyzes the primary source (e.g., all those who comment on the Fatima message). This is a pivotal distinction as it exposes to the reader the disparity of authority enjoyed by a primary and secondary source – the first-hand witness is the primary source who enjoys a greater authority re. the event witnessed than the secondary source.

In the case of the Fatima message Lucia remains the primary source. Human reason would have one first look to the primary source for the answer to the question on whether or not Russia was consecrated according to Our Lady request. Here is Lucia’s response contained in her hand-written letters of August 29, 1989 and July 3, 1990:

Letters of Sr. Lucia Santos, OCD on the Consecration

Letter 1: To Sr. Mary of Bethlehem

J.+ M. Pax Christi

Dear Sister Mary of Bethlehem:

Received your letter and, although I have very little time at my disposal I will answer your question which is: Is the Consecration of the world, according to the request of Our Lady, made? On Oct. 31, 1942, His Holiness Pius XII made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made as Our Lady requested. I answered "NO," because it was not made in union with all the bishops of the world. Later, on May 13, 1967, His Holiness Paul VI made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made as Our Lady requested. I responded "NO," for the same reason, it was not made in union with all the bishops of the world. On May 13, 1982, His Holiness John Paul II made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made. I responded "NO." It was not made in union with all the bishops of the world.

Then this same Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II wrote to all the bishops of the world asking them to unite with him. He sent for the statute of Our Lady of Fátima -- the one from the little Chapel to be taken to Rome and on March 25, 1984 - publicly - with the bishops who wanted to unite with His Holiness, made the Consecration as Our Lady requested. They then asked me if it was made as Our Lady requested, and I said, "YES." Now it was made.

Why this urgency of God that this Consecration should be made in union with all the bishops of the world? Because this Consecration is a call for unity of all Christians - The Mystical Body of Christ - whose head is the Pope, the one, true representative of Christ on earth to whom the Lord confided the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and on this union depends the faith in the world and the charity which is the bond that must unite all of us in Christ, as that which He wants, and as He asked the Father: "As You, O Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me. . . I in them, and You in Me; that they be made perfect in one, and the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:21-23).

As we see of the union depends the faith and the charity that must be the bond of our union in Christ, whose true representative on earth is the Pope.

A hug to your mother and my greetings to the rest of the family in union with prayers. Coimbra, August 29,1989

Sr. Lucia

J.+ M. Pax Christi

Rev . do Sr. P. Robert J. Fox,

Recebi a sua carta e venho responder á sua pergunta: "Se a Consagração feita por João Paulo II, em 25 de Março de 1984, em união com todos os Bispos do mundo, cumpriu as codições para a coversão da Russia, segundo o pedido de Nossa Senhora em Tuy a 13 de Junho de 1929."? Sim, cumpriu, e desde aí, eu tenho dito que está feita.

E digo que não é nenhuma outra pessoa que responde por mim, sou eu quem recebe a correspondência, abre as cartas e responde.

Em união de orações

Coimbra, 3-VII-l99O Irmã Lúcia



J.+ M. The Peace of Christ

Rev. Father Robert J. Fox,

I come to answer your question, "If the consecration made by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984 in union with all the bishops of the world, accomplished the conditions for the consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady in Tuy on June 13 of 1929?" Yes, it was accomplished, and since then I have said that it was made.

And I say that no other person responds for me, it is I who receive and open all letters and respond to them.

Coimbra, July 3, 1990

Sister Lucia

From a more practical angle, let us now examine the “fruits” of the March 25, 1984 consecration that Lucia affirmed was made as Our Lady’s requestedand was accomplishedto see if they are good fruits, for Jesus himself revealed, “Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit… So by their fruits you will know them” (Mt. 7.17-21).

Subsequent to the March 25, 1984 consecration the following events occurred:

Given the foregoing, and in light of my many travels to all continents of the globe that include Russia and Ukraine (where preached there on several occasions), I invite you to reflect on the spiritual and moral status quo of the Western and Eastern Church and make up your mind on whether or not Russia has been converted or not.

In the Western world:

- In Western Europe at least 28 cathedrals were sold (and are still being sold) to become casinos, hotels, cafeterias, mountain for alpinists.
- The churches are getting emptier by the year and many Christians have apostatized. Many priests too are failing Jesus, and monasteries and convents are emptying.
- Governments are extinguishing the little light left of Christianity in public schools and in public places, and prohibit the catechism in schools under the pretext that here are other religions in the classroom which they will offend.
- The European Union allows gay marriages even in Churches, and much more immorality has spread in the Western world losing all the human and spiritual values previous generations had labored to establish.

However in Russia:

- In Russia hundreds of new Churches are being built out of necessity, and the ones now in use are more than full with believers.
- The Russian Churches are filled with the faithful to the brim, and the monasteries and convents are packed with new novices.
- The Government in Russia does not deny Christ, but speaks openly and encourages schools to keep their Christianity, and teach pupils their catechism.
- The Government together with the Church declared openly that they will not be part of the European Union, because the EU has lost its moral values and their Christianity as they had in the past under the Soviet Union; they left their faith and denied Christ. This time they declared “no one will tear us away from our faith and we will defend our faith until death.”
- Russia declared that gays are not welcomed and not allowed to make processions, let alone gay marriages. Russia declared that any foreigner who wants to live in Russia will be asked: 1) To learn Russian, 2) to become Christian and follow their traditions. If not, they are not welcomed (Note bene: While Russia is predominantly Orthodox Christian – they have all 7 Sacraments, which Rome acknowledges as valid – they allow other Christians to openly express and practice their faith (there are in Moscow several Catholic and Anglican Churches).

Who of the two needs to be converted?

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

8. A hermit who was very holy lived near to a community of monks. Some visitors to the community happened to go to see him and made him eat, though it was not the proper time. Later the monks of the community said to him, 'Weren't you upset, abba? He answered, "I am upset when I do my own will.

May 28, 2015

(Mat 5:10) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

HEADLINE: Warning Over Religious Believers in Chinese Communist Party Ranks

EXCERPT CHIESA: Diaries of Martyrs in the China of Mao

“THAT MASS HAD A REFLECTION OF HEAVEN” by Gaetano Pollio, archbishop of Kaifeng

It was 1951. In that jail connected to the police station, where Christians prayed, suffered, and immolated themselves day after day for the triumph of the faith, I had the consolation of reliving scenes from the catacombs.

I had in the first place the comfort of being able to celebrate Holy Mass clandestinely. In my cell I was given a stool, and I thought: that will be my altar. I had a bowl for drinking the boiled water that was given to us twice a day, and I said: this will be my chalice. At the time I was under accusation and trial of a political nature, and the communist officials, afraid that I might get sick or die in jail and that they would be deprived of the joy of seeing me executed by firing squad, allowed a catechist of the diocese to bring me wheat bread, and I was delighted: a piece of this bread would be my host.

What was still missing for the celebration of the Mass? The wine was missing. By a stratagem I was also able to get the wine. In China there is no grape wine or vinegar, because both are made from grain. I asked the jailer for a bottle of wine vinegar for medicinal purposes because - I said - a bit of vinegar taken on an empty stomach would give me strength. The jailer put out a request for the wine vinegar; my fellow missionaries understood and sent a little bottle of sacramental wine. The bottle was examined by the judges, who declared the contents to be vinegar.

And in this way I was able to get wine four times. Dressed as an inmate, without vestments, without altar cloth or candles, standing or sitting on the floor in front of that stool, I offered on a piece of paper or in the palm of my hand a little piece of bread, I offered in that cup a bit of wine and continued the Mass, from the preface to communion. I was also able to get the Mass of the Virgin and the canon printed on a few sheets of paper in which the missionaries had wrapped the bread, and many times I was able to celebrate the holy sacrifice from beginning to end. Unfortunately, one day a guard who was searching my cell found those papers and tore them up, without understanding what was written on them.

I celebrated fifty-nine times, always escaping the attention of the guards, who repeatedly came into my cell while I was celebrating but never realized that I was performing the most sacred act that there is; I was in full compliance with police rules. The Mass celebrated under those conditions, in a jail where the communist persecutors were raging in their satanic struggle to crush the Christians, that Mass, I say, had a reflection of heaven.

The girl named “Little Beauty”

Eight young women who had shown themselves heroic in defense of the faith were imprisoned and held in the cell next to mine. Among these was the mother of a four-year-old girl named Siao Mei, “Little Beauty.” Those heroic women wanted to communicate with me. How to do it? They thought of the girl. They asked the jailer for permission, just for the girl, to leave the cell for a few hours a day in order to get a bit of fresh air.

Given the cramped conditions in the cell and the graciousness of the little girl, the permission was granted. And in the courtyard of the jailhouse Siao Mei, when the guards were away from my door, came up and through the crevice, speaking distinctly, said to me: “Our bishop, how are you? My mother and aunts send me to say hello. What should I say to them?" And I: "Little girl, tell your mother and aunts not to be afraid, to be strong and recite many rosaries."

The Eucharist behind bars

The cell where the eight young women and Siao Mei were being held had become a shrine: in it daily suffering was sanctified and the consecrated host was repeatedly able to enter furtively. Not being on trial but only under interrogations that had the aim of extorting charges against us, the young women were allowed to receive food from their relatives, through the jailers. My fellow missionaries thought about how to get them the Eucharist, the comfort and strength of our earthly pilgrimage.

Loaves of bread in China are small, made in conical form and cooked in water vapor, all crumb and no crust; by making an incision in them one can easily hide something small and thin inside. The missionaries hid some consecrated hosts in these loaves; the loaves were then brought to the jail by the relatives of the young women and delivered to the jailers, who brought them to the cell. The heroic detainees broke open the loaves and found the consecrated hosts, then took communion with their own hands.

The most joyful days were certainly those in which Jesus came to that cell to sanctify it and give them new strength. In that gloomy jail we held a number of feasts: they were days of tender religious commemorations, of hope in the victory of the Church, of joy in offering one’s sufferings to Jesus. Such were the days of the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Domini, of the first Friday and Saturday of the month and other Sundays. Jesus descended into my cell and turned into his most precious body and blood a little piece of bread and a few drops of wine placed in a bowl, while in the other cell Jesus was able to sneak inside thanks even to the hands of people who hated him, to find friendly and faithful hearts.

Every time those witnesses of the faith received the Eucharistic they left one host in a loaf and, seated there on the wicker mats, they did adoration all day in silence. It was forbidden to pray out loud in jail, but from those hearts the prayer went up warm and buoyant into heaven.

How many times have I thought: that grimy cell which concealed the King of kings was more precious than our churches, too often deserted. In an impassioned and complete dedication, those women manifested their love for Jesus, their fidelity: to die but not to bend to an atheist government, to die but not apostatize.

In the evening, the one who had not received communion that morning consumed the last host. Adoration ceased, the shadows of night fell, new tears and sobs could be heard, but the fervor of our hearts grew and the intention to immolate ourselves like Jesus kept growing.

The viaticum brought by the little angel

One day the Christians languishing in the cell next to mine conceived a gesture worthy of their sisters of the early centuries of the Church. In the third wing of the jail their friend Josephine Ly had been relegated to a dark and humid cell because of her faith and courage. The women thought: we have to send her the Eucharist.

How to do it? They thought again of little Siao Mei. For a few days they gave her thorough instructions. When the time came for the guard to open the door to let Siao Mei out of the cell, the Christians took a consecrated particle, wrapped it in a clean handkerchief, and placed it in the girl’s pocket, right over her heart. The girl’s mother took her in her arms, lifted her up to her face, and said, “Tell me, Siao Mei, if the guard finds the host on you, what will you do?” And the child calmly replied, “I will eat it and not give it to the jailer.”

These words touched the paternal heart of the Holy Father Pius XII, when I told him the story of Siao Mei in the private audience that I had on my return from China, and they made him exclaim: “A dogmatic response!”

Dear Siao Mei, you had understood that if a sacrilegious hand were to try to profane the sacred host, you, although you were immature, could receive Jesus, but could not give the host to a communist jailer, an enemy of God and a pagan.

The latch squealed, the door opened. Siao Mei came smiling out of the cell, played in the first courtyard and then moved to the second. In the third courtyard the guard wanted to send her away; this was a guard with a sneer on his face, one who had given proof of fidelity and of his ability to put the squeeze on not a few innocents in chains. “I want to see my aunt Josephine Ly,” said Siao Mei. “You cannot,” the guard harshly replied. “Why not? She’s my aunt.” And she started to yell: “Aunt Josephine, Aunt Josephine!”

The guard shouted at her and wanted to throw the girl out of the courtyard, but Siao Mei deliberately started crying and sobbing. The guard, afraid of being accused of beating the girl, quickly opened the cell of Josephine Ly and let the little angel inside. And the innocent Siao Mei gave Josephine the precious handkerchief… There was silent recollection for a while in the cell, then more weeping, and the door was opened again. So with her weeping and a few other tricks, Siao Mei was able to bring communion four times to her fictitious aunt.

While in that gloomy jail criminal sentences were passed against innocents or against followers of Christ, while scenes of terror and horror were renewed, we lived scenes of piety and love, scenes of the first centuries of the Church.

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

7. A brother came to a hermit: and as he was taking his leave, he said, 'Forgive me, abba, for preventing you from keeping your rule.' The hermit answered, 'My rule is to welcome you with hospitality, and to send you on your way in peace.

May 26, 2015

(1Th 5:19-21) Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good.

LIFESITENEWS.COM: The ‘Francis effect’ is silencing Catholic Bishops, Priests, and Laity

: Why Ignore Our Lady of Good Success?

OVERVIEW: Our Lady of Good Success

Date: very early 17th c., first approved 1611
Place: Quito, Ecuador
Visionary: Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres

The story of Our Lady of Good Success is a most fascinating one -- and incredibly important and timely, as many of the prophecies of our Lady and our Lord given to Mariana pertain explicitly to the 20th c. and thereafter.

Mother Mariana was a Spanish Conceptionist nun, blessed with the charismata of discernment and prophecy, who ran a convent in Quito, Ecuador. First, Our Lady told her to make a life-sized statue of her holding the Infant Jesus under the title "Our Lady of Good Success." The statue was begun by a local sculptor, but was miraculously completed in 1611 by the Archangels.

Our Lady told her that at the end of the 19th Century and especially in the 20th Century, Satan would reign almost completely by the means of the Masonic sect. She told Mother Mariana that this battle would reach its most acute stage because of various unfaithful religious, who, "under the appearance of virtue and bad-spirited zeal, would turn upon Religion, who nourished them at her breast."

"During this time, insomuch as this poor country will lack the Christian spirit, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction will be little esteemed. Many people will die without receiving it - either because of the negligence of their families or their false sentimentality that tries to protect the sick from seeing the gravity of their situations, or because they will rebel against the spirit of the Catholic Church, impelled by the malice of the devil. Thus many souls will be deprived of innumerable graces, consolations and the strength they need to make that great leap from time to eternity..."

"As for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and profaned in the fullest sense of the word. Masonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the objective of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin, encouraging the procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church. The Christian spirit will rapidly decay, extinguishing the precious light of Faith until if reaches the point that there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs. The effects of secular education will increase, which will be one reason for the lack of priestly and religious vocations..."

"The Sacred Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed and despised. ...The demon will try to persecute the Ministers of the Lord in every possible way and he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation, corrupting many of them. These corrupted priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will incite the hatred of the bad Christians and the enemies of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church to fall upon all priests. This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous sufferings to the good Pastors of the Church...."

"Moreover, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury which, acting thus to snare the rest into sin, will conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women, and in this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent."

"But know, beloved daughter, that when your name is made known in the 20th century, there will be many who will not believe, claiming that this devotion is not pleasing to God...A simple humble faith in the truth of My apparitions to you, My predilect child, will be reserved for humble and fervent souls docile to the inspirations of grace, for Our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not, or self-satisfied with empty knowledge..."

Our Lady said, "...the secular Clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Lacking the divine compass, they will stray from the road traced by God for the priestly ministry, and they will become attached to wealth and riches, which they will unduly strive to obtain. How the Church will suffer during this dark night! Lacking a Prelate and Father to guide them with paternal love, gentleness, strength, wisdom and prudence, many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger. This will mark the arrival of My hour."

"Therefore, clamor insistently without tiring and weep with bitter tears in the privacy of your heart, imploring our Celestial Father that, for love of the Eucharistic Heart of my Most Holy Son and His Precious Blood shed with such generosity and the profound bitterness and sufferings of His cruel Passion and Death, He might take pity on His ministers and bring to an end those Ominous times, sending to this Church the Prelate who will restore the spirit of its priests."

She predicted a truly Catholic president of Ecuador who would dedicate that country to the Sacred Heart and who would be assassinated by Masons (this happened during the presidency of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, 1821-1875. Read more here).

She predicted that the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility would be strictly defined and declared dogma (these happened in 1854 and 1870, respectively).

She predicted that a Pope would be a prisoner in the Vatican and that there would come to pass "the unjust usurpation of the Pontifical States through the iniquity, envy and avarice of an earthly monarch" (these things happened in the 19th c. during the pontificate of Blessed Pope Pius IX).

Another prediction yet to come concerns the statue shown above left. The Infant Jesus part of the statue isn't original: a Conceptionist sister hid the original statue during a revolution and died before revealing where she'd secreted it. Our Lady told Mother Mariana that the original statue would be found after the restoration of the Church had begun.

Mother Mariana predicted the day and exact hour of her death (she died at 3:00 P.M. on January 16, 1635). After death, her body remained flexible and lovely. A blind girl was cured at Mother's wake when a flower that encircled Mother's head was touched to her eyes.

In 1906, Mother Mariana's casket was opened and her body was found to be incorrupt, exuding the fragrance of lilies. One may view it by visiting the convent in Quito.

RELATED: Our Lady of Good Success and the Fatima Message by Sister Mary Agatha, CMRI

TRACT: Our Lady of Good Success

: Novena in Honor of Saint Mariana de Jesús,The Lily of Quito

NOVENA STARTS MAY 17th thru MAY 25th

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

5. A brother came to Poemen in the second week of Lent and told him his thoughts, and found peace of mind from his answer. Then he said, 'I almost didn't come to see you today.' Poemen asked him why. He said, 'I was afraid that the door wouldn't be opened as it is Lent.' Poemen answered him, 'It is not wooden doors we were taught to shut; the door we need to keep shut is the mouth.

May 22, 2015

(Act 2:1-4) And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

NEWS.VA: Pope urges prayers for China, persecuted Christians on Pentecost Sunday

: Pope Benedict contrasts unity of Pentecost, division of Babel

Preaching at St. Peter’s Basilica on Pentecost Sunday (2012), Pope Benedict contrasted Pentecost, “the feast of human unity, understanding and sharing,” with Babel.

Babel, said the Pope, is

the description of a kingdom in which people have concentrated so much power they think they no longer need depend on a God who is far away. They believe they are so powerful they can build their own way to heaven in order to open the gates and put themselves in God's place. But it's precisely at this moment that something strange and unusual happens. While they are working to build the tower, they suddenly realise they are working against one another. While trying to be like God, they run the risk of not even being human – because they've lost an essential element of being human: the ability to agree, to understand one another and to work together.
“Progress and science have given us the power to dominate the forces of nature, to manipulate the elements, to reproduce living things, almost to the point of manufacturing humans themselves. In this situation, praying to God appears outmoded, pointless, because we can build and create whatever we want,” he continued. “We don't realize we are reliving the same experience as Babel. It's true, we have multiplied the possibilities of communicating, of possessing information, of transmitting news – but can we say our ability to understand each other has increased? Or, paradoxically, do we understand each other even less?”

“Unity can only exist as a gift of God's Spirit, which will give us a new heart and a new tongue, a new ability to communicate,” he continued. “This is what happened at Pentecost.”

MEDITATION: Pentecost and Mount Sinai

There are many compelling similarities between the expressions of God's presence on Mount Sinai and his presence among the disciples during Pentecost.

- On Mount Sinai, God's presence was accompanied by fire, smoke, and the sound of thunder (Ex. 19:16-19). God's presence during Pentecost was accompanied by the sound of wind, tongues of fire, and the gift of different languages (Acts 2:1-3).- When God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai, the people were worshiping the golden calf. About 3,000 people died as punishment for their sins. When Jesus' Spirit was given during Pentecost, the people repented, and about 3,000 people believed and found spiritual life.- God's presence was symbolized by a cloud and fire, which led the Israelites out of Egypt. Later, God moved his presence into the temple (2 Chron. 5:7-8, 13-14). During Pentecost, God's presence moved from the temple into a "new temple," the followers of Jesus (Rom. 8:9).- Finally, The Torah provided God's teachings for the Old Testament community of people. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit became the Teacher of believers (John 14:26).

OUTLINE: The Gift of the Holy Spirit: Understanding Pentecost with the Church Fathers

CATHOLICJOURNALUS: Pentecost: God Chooses Us by Fr. Charles Irvin

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

On Mid-Pentecost we hear the call of the Lord: "Whosoever thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink" (John 7:37). If this is so, then let us all run to Him. Whatever you thirst for - so long as it is not contrary to the spirit of the Lord - you will find relief in Him. If you thirst for knowledge, run to the Lord, for He is the one and only light, enlightening every man. If you thirst for cleansing from sin and quenching of the flames of your conscience, run to the Lord, for He tore asunder the handwriting of our sins upon the Cross. If you thirst for peace in your heart, run to the Lord, for He is the treasury of all good, Whose abundance will teach you to forget all deprivations and despise all earthly good, so as to be filled with Him alone. If you need strength, He is almighty. If you need glory, His glory surpasses the world. If you desire freedom, He gives true freedom. He will resolve all of our doubts, loose the bonds of our passions, dispel all our troubles and difficulties, will enable us to overcome all obstacles, temptations and intrigues of the enemy, and will make smooth the path of our spiritual life. Let us all run to the Lord!

PETER KREEFT: Charismatic Gifts —Resources

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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

13. One of the hermits said, 'No one can see his face reflected in muddy water; so the soul cannot pray to God with contemplation unless it is first cleansed of harmful thoughts.

May 20, 2015

(Rom 1:26-28) For this cause, God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another: men with men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient.

MUST SEE VIDEO: What 'gay marriage' did to Massachusetts

HEADLINE: Conservative, Catholic Ireland Votes On Same-Sex Marriage

ICN: Ireland: Archbishop of Dublin on same-sex marriage referendum

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin issued the following pastoral reflections for use at all Masses on 16 and 17 May.

I write on the subject of marriage and the family in the light of the upcoming referendum. I have asked parishes to make available in Churches some material to aid your reflection.

Marriage is linked with the family where mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child's life. Marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or about two people being in love with each other.

I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female? It is not an accident or a social construct. There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity. I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage. The vast majority of States in Europe and worldwide interpret marriage in that sense.

I encourage you to consider very carefully the profound implications which the constitutional amendment on marriage would have on the family and on our understanding of parenthood.

Some say that the change will not affect those who do not agree with it and will not affect marriages which take place in Church. No politician can promise that, since it will be exclusively up to the courts to interpret the changed Constitution.

In the debates around same sex marriage in Argentina, Pope Francis was very clear that he was against same sex marriage yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgements on any individual. I know that the severity with which the Irish Church treated gay and lesbian people in the past - and in some cases still today - makes it difficult for some to understand the Church's position.

The change is not simply about extending marriage rights to others; it is not just a debate about religious views; it is a fundamental change in the philosophy which underpins cohesion in society and thus affects and concerns every citizen.

I remind all of you of your civic responsibility to vote. I urge you before voting to remember that marriage really matters and to reflect carefully and be informed before changing its definition.

+ Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin

NCR COMMENTARY: Why Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Is Impossible for Catholics


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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

12. A hermit used to say, 'Ceaseless prayer soon heals the mind.

May 18, 2015

(1Co 12:27-31) Now you are the body of Christ and members of member. And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors: after that miracles: then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But be zealous for the better gifts. And I shew unto you yet a more excellent way.

DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE: Reader's view: Women can be saints, but not Catholic priests by Father Richard Partika

Frequently the News Tribune and much of the secular media put out letters and articles showing great ignorance and often great anti-Catholic prejudice. It sells but certainly does no public good.

Primary sources for this content are people and groups who wrongly and dishonestly call themselves Catholic. That can be remedied very easily by buying a copy of the official Catholic Catechism. It’s available in most bookstores for about $10.

To take on one of the more frequent sources, there’s a group of women who claim to be Catholic priests and are demanding ordination and performing their own ceremonies (“Woman, 80, to become priest, face excommunication,” Jan. 17). These women can get by with calling themselves whatever they wish even as it is a smear on their own integrity since they can only know better.

Fortunately, there are far more wonderful Catholic women working in and for the Church while not demanding ordination, something the Church cannot grant. Some are administering the finances and business ends of parishes, schools and even dioceses and are most welcome in their positions. Since these other discretions and the secular media see things only in political terms, they will always miss the point.

Faith and the theology that teaches faith are alien to them and thus their evaluations miss the whole issue.

The only position women do not hold in the Catholic Church is Holy Orders. Neither do most good Catholic men. And none of us guys are blessed to be mothers. God seems to have much different ideas about coalitions than our much screwed-up society. I will side with Him.

The Blessed Virgin Mary — whom William Wordsmith, a Protestant poet, called “our tainted nature’s solitary boast” — is, by God’s grace, the greatest of all the saints. True saints fulfill many different vocations (callings from God).

RELATED: Meet the man behind the many letters

You know the name -- Father Richard Partika -- and his unwavering stands in support of life and in defense of the Catholic Church.

You know because every 30 days or so he and his opinions are published in the letters to the editor section of the News Tribune. He'd be in more often if we let him, no doubt, if we didn't insist writers wait at least a month between submissions to give others a chance to have their words read.

For half a century, Father Richard Partika -- "Father Dick," to his friends -- has been writing, and sometimes ranting, to the paper, making his a household name across the Northland and leaving him with a reputation as a fiery, never-back-down individual.

Or as something less polite: "Partika is one of the most dangerous people in this town," an angry newspaper reader once wrote in an e-mail that found its way back to Partika.

So just who is he, the man behind all those letters?

I know I've wondered, especially after once being told Partika grew up in a Duluth orphanage. In March, when Partika announced in a letter (how else?) that he was suffering the early stages of dementia, I requested an interview.

He met me in the lobby of the Westwood Apartment building, a commanding brick structure at the southwestern end of the College of St. Scholastica campus. A four-room apartment has been his home there since June 2000. He has it decorated with religious statues and with photocopies of old family pictures that he tacked to the walls. Piles of papers cluttered most flat surfaces, including near his well-worn typewriter.

I sat down. The homily began.

Partika was born 85 years ago, on April 26, 1926, right here in Duluth in St. Mary's Hospital. His family first came to Duluth four decades earlier, in 1885, he said. His grandfather worked for the Great Northern Railroad. The family settled in the West End, the neighborhood now known as Lincoln Park. They attended St. Clement's, the Catholic church for the neighborhood's many German-speaking immigrants.

Partika's father, Frank, was the youngest of six siblings. After he grew up, he worked as a part-time cabbie, as a part-time bartender at the Kozy (back when it was a respectable, "family gathering place," as Partika defended it) and in a used-car office.

But mostly Partika's father was a "victim of the Depression," he said. "He never had a steady job. He spent much of his time walking the streets, looking for work. I think he drew a lot of criticism in his life for that. He wasn't taking care of his family very well, he was told. He was not able to take care of his three young kids. I feel for him."

Frank Partika wasn't able to care very well for his wife, either. In 1929, before she was even 30 years old, Lillian Partika was diagnosed with spinal paralysis.

Partika can still remember, as a 3-year-old, watching his mother grabbing for the walls and then holding on for support as she made her way from room to room.

Within a year she was bedridden and a resident of St. Ann's, a nursing home on 20th Avenue West and Third Street, a building that originally was a Catholic orphanage and that also was the original site of St. Mary's Hospital.

'A lot better than living on the streets'

In November 1930, with his mother in a nursing home, unable to walk, with his father walking the streets, unable to find decent work, and with other relatives scattered and struggling and unable to take them in, Partika, his older sister Eileen and his younger brother Irving were sent to live at St. James Orphans Home on Woodland Avenue.

The sheer size of the four-story, brick structure was menacing. It stretched nearly a city block long and featured massive pillars, wide balconies and ornate architecture. The orphanage looked like a combination of a school and a Southern plantation, and no matter how warm it was inside, it was unable to shake its cold, institutional aura.

It looked nothing like it does today as Woodland Hills, a nonprofit agency and "a proud champion for children," as its slogan boasts.

St. James orphanage could have made a similar claim, Partika insisted.

"It was a very nice place. We had very good nuns and priests running it," he said, dispelling immediately the negative Hollywood stereotypes of early 20th-century orphanages. "It was as normal as you could possibly make it. Sure, kids were lonesome for their families and wanted their families restored. But it just couldn't be."

"It sure was a lot better than living on the streets, I guess," Irving Partika, 83, said by phone from his home in Outagamie County, Wis., where he retired as a sergeant from the sheriff's department.

"It was my home and I loved it," said Eileen, now 86; she lives today in Weyauwega, Wis., near her seven daughters. "I loved the nuns. They were just beautiful to all of us. ... We went there as babies and stayed all through our grade school years. They were so good to us there; they took us places (like) on boat trips every year.

"My mother didn't want us separated. In the orphanage we could still be brothers and sister," she said. "We lived with it and were lucky to be together. We ate dinner together and went to church at the same time, things like that. It was just wonderful. It couldn't be beat."

The Partika children were among 75 or 80 children at a time at St. James, ranging from babies through eighth-graders. Only the babies were ever adopted, Partika recalled.

The boys lived in the building's western reaches, separated by age. Girls occupied the east and were similarly divided. Above the girls -- a quick staircase climb away, so the girls could help with them -- were the babies. The babies were separated according to whether they could walk.

Between the boys' and girls' dorms was a chapel. The nuns lived on the second floor. Playrooms were in the basement. A dining room was on the first floor, which also was where the children welcomed visitors, including the Partika children's father. Classrooms filled the first floor, too, for kindergarteners through seventh-graders. Eighth-graders were sent to school at nearby St. John's, a parish operating to this day.

"The idea was to get (the eighth-graders) to leave (and) to go out into the rest of the world," Partika recalled.

Three priests lived at the orphanage. A bedroom was reserved for the bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, who often stayed overnight when he visited because poor road conditions resulted in long and difficult journeys back into town.

Msgr. Michael Boland was the orphanage's administrator. "He ran everything. He was in charge. The kids loved him. If we were down in the playrooms, he'd come down and he'd visit with us," listening to the radio, playing cards or shooting pool, Partika recalled.

Sister Eulalie O'Donovan was in charge of what Partika called "the boys' department," where the boys lived. She, too, played cards and other games with the children and often brought them snacks.

Sister Yvonne Campbell was in charge of all the sisters and the internal workings of the place and was monsignor's secretary.

Sister Corona, who was German, ran the "baby department," followed by Sister Carmelita, who brought her uncle and aunt, Albert and Mary Stepan of St. Cloud, Minn., to milk the orphanage's cows and to work its 120-acre farm. The kids called them Uncle Albert and Aunt Mary, as that's how their niece introduced them.

As often as possible, relatives and Msgr. Boland took the Partika children to visit their mother.

"They knew we missed our mother very much," Partika said.

'Was in good hands'

On Feb. 10, 1939, after 10 bed-ridden years at St. Ann's, Partika's mother died. She was just 39 and the youngest of her brothers and sisters. She was buried in a cemetery in Hermantown at what had been her family's farm while she was growing up. The farm had been cleared by her grandfather in 1862.

"She was in good hands the last 10 years of her life, and she knew it," said Partika, who was 12 when his mother died. "She appreciated everyone at St. Ann's. She became a convert while she was there. ... I used to pray regularly when I was a kid that my mother would get better and we'd all be together again. But it didn't work out that way."

A year later, in 1940, done with the eighth grade, Partika left the orphanage. He stayed with his father, who had remarried, but he also bounced around to other relatives and their homes in and around downtown. He got a job delivering the Duluth Herald in the afternoons. His route was from Lake Avenue to Third Avenue East and down to Superior Street.

"I lost money," he said. "With the Carter Hotel and Hotel Duluth, I had customers who were either never home or who moved away without paying. ... My favorite paper customers were Ignatz Kozarek at ... Kozy's Bar and Gene Poirier in the barbershop under the Carter Hotel across from Roach Radio."

His brother worked for the paper, too, selling copies on the street and stuffing inserts into the Sunday editions on Saturday nights. Irving Partika, who'd graduate from Washington Junior High and Central High, also worked as a bellhop at the Spalding Hotel before joining the merchant marines and then serving in the South Pacific in World War II.

"I had a lot of jobs," Irving Partika chuckled, recalling his efforts to support and help his brother and sister.

"To me he was the hero of the family," Partika said of Irving. "I give him credit. He took all the grief and paid all the bills. He never kept anything for himself. I have the greatest admiration for him. He's the greatest guy on Earth."

Partika had plenty of jobs himself. In addition to hawking newspapers, he installed car radios and tested tubes for Don Roach's radio shop. His sister did the bookkeeping for the shop, which was on Second Avenue East, beneath the Studebaker dealership, as Partika recalled.

Off to seminary

In the fall of 1940, Partika enrolled as a ninth-grader at Washington Junior High School -- but stayed only two weeks. A priest working for Catholic Charities -- Father Lawrence A. Glenn, later the pastor of St. James Catholic Church in West Duluth and bishop in Crookston, Minn. -- encouraged him to attend Cathedral Junior High School instead. When Partika said he couldn't afford the tuition, Glenn agreed to pay it. A year at Cathedral was all Partika needed to decide what he wanted to do with his life: He wanted to be a priest, like the ones he so admired at St. James orphanage.

"They were marvelous models of dedication," Partika said. "Learning to cope with things has a lot to do with the people around you and how they deal with tough things. I think lovingly of those people at St. James."

It didn't hurt that Partika's uncle, his father's oldest brother, who was just 9 months old when the family first came to Duluth, was a priest -- the priest who baptized Partika, in fact, at St. Clement's. Wilfrid Partika was ordained in 1911 and served St. Clement's from 1926 to 1936 when he suffered a massive stroke. He was bedridden in the infirmary at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., for nearly 10 years until he died at age 63.

Partika went off to seminary in 1941. His education there also was paid for by Father Glenn. It included five years at Nazareth Hall on Lake Johanna north of St. Paul and six years at St. Paul Seminary.

He lost his father while at seminary. Frank Partika died of a stress-caused heart attack in 1949. He was just 44.

Richard Partika became Father Richard Partika in 1951, returning back home to Duluth for his ordination at Sacred Heart Cathedral. On Thursday, he'll celebrate 60 years in the priesthood.

The first parish he served was Blessed Sacrament in Hibbing, from July 1951 to September 1959. Then he went to St. Isidore's in Sturgeon Lake for seven years where he also served the mission parish of St. Joseph in Split Rock Township. In 1966, he became priest at St. Anthony's in Duluth for 14 months before moving to the Iron Range for a four-month stint at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Buhl. In January 1970 he started three and a half years of service at another Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, this one in Cloquet. That was followed by 11 years at Babbitt's St. Pius Church.

In the mid-1980s, while returning from a trip to Hawaii, Partika suffered a fainting spell, the first of 10 he'd endure through the years. Three happened while he was saying Mass; nearly all of them occurred during morning hours, leading him to decline now to say Mass or to officiate at funerals held in the mornings. Doctors never did figure out what caused his lightheadedness and blackouts, not even during a five-day stay in the hospital.

"I've gotten various fuzzy answers," Partika said. "Frankly, I don't care anymore what's causing them. Not at my age. If it happens again it happens."

Hoping a smaller, less-demanding parish would be easier on his health, the bishop, in 1984, sent Partika from Babbitt to St. Joseph's in Beroun, Minn. He remained there a little more than a year.

His next move, his final move, was one he requested. He wanted to return home to Duluth. His stepbrothers and stepsisters were getting older. He wanted to get to know them while he could. In 1985, he became priest at St. Margaret Mary in Duluth's Morgan Park neighborhood. But his plan didn't work out. "Clyde Iron and Diamond Tool both closed and my relatives moved," he said. "So they're still like distant cousins."

He remained at St. Margaret Mary until his retirement 13 years later.

"I liked all the parishes I was in," he said. "I have wonderful friends in all of them. In a way they're all your family. I had so many places and homes I could go drop in at any time of day. I used to stop in all kinds of places."

Though retired, Partika still says Mass six days a week at a small altar in his living room. For the past 11 years he also has said the 4:30 p.m. Mass every Saturday at the Benedictine Health Center next door to his apartment building. He can walk over without going outside.

'Important enough to write about'

Partika's many letters to the editor started in the 1960s. Father Billy Larkin wanted to write but wasn't very tactful. Knowing Father Partika shared his views, he encouraged the younger priest to write. The letters continue to this day. Partika's latest was published this past week.

"There are certain issues important enough to write about, and not enough people do," Partika said. "I write mostly in response to distortions and statements made publicly that I feel are harmful. Somebody should be writing on these issues, and I don't feel anyone else is doing it. No one else is speaking up."

What about being called "one of the most dangerous people" in Duluth?

"So be it," he said. "When they attack me, I figure, 'Well, that's par for the course; you have to take it.' Decent people don't enjoy viciousness."

Partika doesn't know how long he'll keep writing. As long as he can, he supposes, and as long as he has something to say.

"It depends what I keep finding, what I keep running into," he said. "I hate to see people get by with vicious attacks on the Church. When they attack the Church and distort the teaching, that reflects on a lot of people, and I don't like to see that happen."

Father Partika isn't the oldest or longest-serving priest in the Duluth diocese. Those distinctions go to Father Vince Arimond, who turned 90 on April 15 (Partika is eighth-oldest), and Father James Crossman, who was ordained as a priest on June 6, 1946 (Partika is the diocese's third-longest-serving priest).

But because of his frequent and many letters to the editor, Partika probably is the Twin Ports' best-known cleric.

"He's a very good man who is a very good priest and who is very concerned about two things," Father Jim Bissonette, the priest at St. James Catholic Church in West Duluth, told me. When he was a boy, Bissonette was an altar boy for Partika in Babbitt; the two remained close.

"He's concerned about the teachings of the Church and he's concerned about the salvation of people's souls," Bissonette said. "He feels a responsibility to talk about what he believes. When he writes to the paper he's writing as a priest and as an individual. His thoughts are his and he has his reasons for them.

"If (his oft-harsh critics) ever got to know him, they would understand he is doing his level best to get across to people what he believes is the truth and that he cares about them. He understands that not everyone thinks the same way he does."

And let's thank the heavens for that. What a boring world it would be if everyone shared the same opinions -- and how unproductive, as solutions come from a diversity of viewpoints. That includes those with which everyone doesn't necessarily agree.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

11. They said of Sisois that unless he soon lowered his hands when he stood up to pray, his mind was caught up to heaven. So if he happened to be praying with another brother, he quickly lowered his hands and ended his prayer, so that his mind should not be rapt or cause him to go on praying too long for his brother.

May 15, 2015  

(Act 1:9-11) And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen him going into heaven.

CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN: "Start now with this holy season and rise with Christ. See, He offers you his hand; He is rising; rise with Him. Mount up from the grave of the old Adam; from groveling cares, and jealousies, and fretfulness, and worldly aims; from [impulsions] of habit; from the tumult of passion, from ... a cold, worldly, calculating spirit, from frivolity, from self conceit and [self righteousness]."

CATHOLIC JOURNAL: Christ’s Ascension Bridges The Infinite Chasm by Fr. Charles Irvin


You might think the answer is obviously yes.” But thoughtful reflection gives us an answer that is not so simple.

We can say “yes” He went up into heaven only in the context of saying that at His birth He came down from heaven. We must not, however, limit ourselves to thinking in directional terms, like an elevator comes down and then goes up. We’re not talking here about directional operations in measurable space. We are talking here theologically; we are talking about His changes in status. He came down to us from the right hand of the Father and now He returns to sit at the right hand of the Father, the state of being from whence He came to us in the first place.

God sent His only-begotten Son to seek us out, to find us, to join us into His Christ so that Christ might take us back to our Father, His Father, your Father, and my Father. The odyssey of God the Son has, for us, a mission – a mission with a departure, arrival and return.

Only the One who came down to us from the Father can return to the Father. He came to us in our powerlessness because we could not then and cannot now save ourselves. Only the Infinite One can bridge the infinite chasm we caused to exist between ourselves and God by our turning away from Him in sin. Adam and Eve turned away from God, and we have also. By ourselves we have no way back to our Father’s house. Only Christ can bridge the chasm between us and our Father in heaven.

That bridge that Jesus Christ built used the wood of the manger and the wood of the cross. Jesus promised us that when He was lifted up on the cross He would then, in His resurrection and ascension into heaven, be able to take us with Him back to our Father in heaven. The first lifting up led to the second lifting up. Christ’s ascension on his cross led to His ascension into heaven. Joined into His humanity through the Sacraments of His Church we will ascend through Him, with Him, and in Him into heaven. The sacraments, we must remember, are not things we do. Sacraments are wonders that God the Son does.

It is important to remember that the truly human Jesus of Nazareth became, in His resurrection and ascension, the Christ of glory. Thereby in His humanity we are taken up into heaven in Christ’s divinity. Our humanity joined by Holy Communion into His, is given the destiny to return in Christ to His Father (and now ours) in heaven.

It is not yet, however, completed. Truly Christ Jesus is risen and has ascended into heaven. But work remains to be done. Christ Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father in definitive and irreversible glory. Our humanity, however, is still on its journey. Our own odyssey is yet incomplete. Jesus intercedes for us constantly; Jesus continually brings His Father’s presence, power, and love to us. We still have to receive it and respond. The story of our journey is not yet over.

Risen and ascended into heaven, Jesus has established God’s kingdom here on earth among us. He often spoke of God’s kingdom. Jesus is quoted as speaking of God’s kingdom 107 times in the Gospels, an astonishing number considering the relatively few quotes of Jesus found in the New Testament.

But what kind of a kingdom is it? It is not a political, legal, or social entity. It’s boundaries are beyond our categories, beyond our specifications, beyond our human measurements. It is realized, however, in our human hearts, in our attitudes, and in our ways of relating to others here on earth. It is a kingdom of justice, love and peace. God’s kingdom is located in our hearts and souls.

Being seated at the right hand of the Father, Christ has inaugurated God’s kingdom here among us, but it has not yet been brought to completion. God has offered, we have yet to respond. God has initiated, we have yet to finish what He has started. We live in the time of the already, but not yet.

Given the state of the world in which we live it ought to be obvious that we do not have the resources and the wherewithal to accomplish the immense task that confronts us. Given the levels of violence and hatred that surround us, given the indifference toward God and the rejection of God’s ways we find in many around us, and given the downright evil and abuse of others, even children, that are a part of our daily news, we desperately need our Daily Bread to nourish, strengthen, and sustain us in realizing God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus did not go away only to leave us orphans. Quite the contrary! Jesus abides with us here. With His Father He sends us His Holy Spirit. He encounters us in the Sacraments of His Mystical Body, the Church. His ascension into heaven is, therefore, not a departure, it is an inauguration of His new presence among us, a presence we find in the sacraments. He disappeared from sight back then in order that He could reappear in His new body, His Mystical Body the Church, down through the ages.

So, in His ascension did Jesus go “up” into heaven? The answer is both “yes” and “no”. We need the eyes and ears of faith in order to discern the complete answer. We, poor and weak as we are, need Christ’s ever-sustaining presence, power, and love that come to us here because He sits now at the right hand of the Father and sends us, through His Holy Spirit, all that we need.

In professing our Catholic faith, we state that we believe “in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” We can make that statement of belief because of the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.

It’s all pure gift, God’s gift to us because He loves us. Let us now give Him thanks.

MORE: Love Lifted Me by Msgr. Charles Pope

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

8. Lot went to Joseph and said, 'Abba as far as I can, I keep a moderate rule, with a little fasting, and prayer, and meditation, and quiet: and as far as I can I try to cleanse my heart of evil thoughts. What else should I do?' Then the hermit stood up and spread out his hands to heaven, and his fingers shone like ten flames of fire, and he said, 'If you will, you can become all flame.

May 13, 2015  

(Joh 15:18-20) If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

POPE FRANCIS: “Today we are seeing those who kill Christians in the name of God because they think they are not believers. This is Christ’s Cross: ‘They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me’. This happened to me – Jesus says – it will happen to you too – the persecutions, the tribulations – but do not be scandalized: the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us understand”.

L'Osservatore Romano (translated): In the Three Secrets of Fátima by Cardinal Angelo Amato

When I was Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I had the privilege to have in hand and read original manuscripts regarding the secrets of Fatima and their message. I have pondered long since shed the light of faith and hope on the sad events of the last century and beyond.

Recall that the twentieth century, as predicted time dominated by reason and brotherhood among peoples, in fact it was a tragic period for Christianity, persecuted and oppressed in many parts of the world. Without considering the two world wars, the stations most tragic of this Via Crucis evangelical were sequentially the Armenian genocide, the repression Mexican, Spanish persecution, the Nazi massacres, extermination communist, and, in this first part of the third millennium, Islamist persecution. Millions of victims of malignant ideologies, which have generated and generate more conflicts, hatreds and divisions.

How often says Pope Francis, the Church today is the church of martyrs, of those Christians who, unarmed, are routinely killed only for their unwavering hatred of the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The message of Fatima in a visionary way evokes this drama, lifting the veil on the concrete historical events, where the benevolent Providence of God is opposed to the evil will of evil by the enemy of the good, that, as Jesus was tried, so continues today tries his holy church, instilling in the hearts of men feelings of enmity and death.

Fatima, with its famous secret , is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions, with specific references to wars, divisions, tragedies.

REVIEW: The Middle East and Its Grim Near-Future Development

EXCERPT ACN NEWS: Genocide? The Islamic State's Religious Cleansing Campaign

I would like to start with this quotation from Dabiq -- the online publication of ISIS addressing the Christian world—which says: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the Permission of Allah...”

Abu Bakr Naji, one of ISIS’s intellectual architects, published a book online outlining its strategy and vision. He writes: “Jihad is nothing but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening people, and massacring.” This is the blueprint of ISIS to execute its grand plan—this translates into religious and territorial cleansing of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.

The acts of ISIS show clear intent – violent and brutal executions targeting Christians and Yazidis who represent distinct “national, ethnic, racial and religious groups” in Iraq. The intent of ISIS goes beyond destruction; It aims to erase the past, present and future of the Christians and Yazidis.

Of course, the International community faces a problem in terms of prosecuting a genocide case against ISIS. ISIS is not a country, and does not abide by any international law. The international community has not yet figured out how to deal with ISIS.

When the time comes, should ISIS be prosecuted by an “International court”?  This question creates a bigger problem for the international community, because it will require the investigation of certain countries that can be considered as “complicit to genocide” because they allow passage of fighters and weapons and provide other forms of support to ISIS, including funding.

It is also important to keep in mind that ISIS is deploying a kind of war that targets the collective psyche (the imagination and the emotion of the human beings), which also fits the parameters of genocide. This technique goes beyond the brutal physical force. It creates fear; it wages a war fueled by fear.

For the Christians in the Middle East, fear and a sense of abandonment is among the greatest crosses they have to bear. "We feel forgotten and isolated. We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of Christians in the West? Would they do something then?" Such was the prophetic plea by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako I of Iraq, even before ISIS swallowed chunks of Iraq and Syria.

ISIS is waging an uncompromising war that amounts to religious and territorial cleansing of Christians and other minorities from the Middle East, and the recent event in Texas reminds us that ISIS is not just a regional threat.

The world must respond. We must not allow the annihilation of Christianity in the Middle East!

RELATED: ISIS Bombs Assyrian, Armenian Churches in Syria

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

7. Isiah said, 'A priest at Pelusium was holding a love-feast: and when the brothers in church were eating and talking, he rebuked them saying, "Be quiet, my brothers. There is one brother eating among you whose prayer is gong up to God like a darting flame."'

May 11, 2015  

(Rev 21:3-5) And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men: and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people: and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more. Nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write. For these words are most faithful and true.

C.S. LEWIS: “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”

MEDITATION Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen: Time passes and does not return. God has assigned to each of us a definite time in which to fulfill his divine plan for our soul, the time for our life on earth. For each of us this is “the acceptable time … the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2), in which we must work diligently to cooperate with the grace given us for our sanctification; we have only this time and shall have no more. Time ill spent is lost forever. Our life is made up of this uninterrupted, continual flow of time, which never returns. In eternity, on the contrary, time will be no more; we shall be established forever in that degree of love which we have reached now, in time. If we have attained a high degree of love, we shall be fixed forever in that degree of love and glory; if we possess only a slight degree, that is all we shall have throughout eternity. No further progress will be possible when time has ended. St. Paul urges: “Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men” (Gal 6:9-10). Each passing year is a warning to treasure each present moment and to sanctify it with charity. We must give each moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value in love.” (Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.)

Charity sanctifies every action, even the most trivial and indifferent, and confers upon it a value for eternal life. In fact, “love urges us to live more intensely for him who died for us and rose again. We strive, therefore, to please the Lord in all things… Thus when we have finished the one and only course of our earthly life, we may merit to enter into the marriage feast with him and to be numbered among the blessed” (Lumen Gentium 48). By living in this manner we carry out the divine plan for our soul, and reach that level of love that God expects of us, and with which we shall love and glorify him for all eternity.


We understand our lives best when we see them against the horizon of the infinite. Nowhere is this more important than in the belief that there is a life beyond this one.

Today it is not always fashionable to say this. More and more, theologians and spiritual writers are either ignoring the importance of life after death or, worse still, positively denigrating any emphasis one might want to put on it. For example:

A few years ago, I was watching a discussion on television between a prominent religious commentator and a panel of theologians representing a number of Christian churches. The commentator asked the panel this question: “Should it make any difference in the way you live whether or not you believe in life after death?”

Everyone on the panel and the host himself agreed that it shouldn’t. In their view of things, whether or not you believe in life after death shouldn’t make any difference practically in the way you live. Each asserted that they believed in individual immortality, but each also said that this didn’t, and shouldn’t, influence their daily actions in a practical way.

Moreover they pushed things further: Several of them suggested that focusing on belief in life after death can be positively harmful because it can deflect a person off of the proper agenda for this life, work against strong involvement in this world, and tie one immaturely to a system of rewards and punishments. Belief in life after death, for them, can throw off the proper focus for life in this world.

What’s to be said about this?

There’s a certain commendable stoicism in it to be sure, but, at the end of the day, such a view of things is religiously false and wreaks a certain havoc in our lives.

What’s wrong is not that God, or anyone else, is disappointed with our theological inconsistency. What’s wrong is that we are more prone to do violence to ourselves and to others because life cannot give us what we want.

Simply put, when we stop believing in life after death we tend to put too much pressure on this life to give us the full symphony. When we stop seeing our lives as being completed by something beyond the present world, it becomes natural to become more frustrated with the limits of our lives and to begin to demand, however subtly or unconsciously, that our spouses, children, friends, careers, jobs, and vacations give us something they can’t give, namely, complete fulfilment, full meaning, final satisfaction, joy beyond frustration, ecstasy, heaven.

When we stop, practically, believing in a heaven beyond this life, we too easily demand that we have a taste of heaven right now. Crassly stated, if this life is our only kick at the cat, it’s becomes pretty hard to handle the fact that this one kick at it is almost always a long, long ways from what we would want it to be. None of us goes through this life without our share of bitter disappointment, crushed potential, broken dreams, and daily frustration. Our lives are never the way we dreamed them to be. There’s always a huge gap between our dignity, our desire, our potential, and the actual state within which we find ourselves. We come into this world over-charged, are all too soon beaten-up, and never quite find the end of the rainbow. There are no perfect lives. There is no heaven this side of eternity.

All of us have suffered abuse of body and heart. All of us have been unjustly robbed of our potential. All of us live inside situations of tension, bitterness, gossip, and hatred. All of us suffer a certain silence between ourselves and those we most love, and all of us suffer the absence of full embrace and sexuality in our lives. None of us have the whole symphony and none of have joy without shadow. All of us too live with a history of bad choices, mistakes, sins, and opportunities missed.

Thus, unless we can somehow place our present lives against an horizon of an after-life that completes it, the punishing limits, daily inadequacy, and brute mortality of this world will eventually drive us to depression, bitterness, or violence. Outside of a vision of life after death, we can’t come to full peace with this life, the sophisticated stoicism of so much of contemporary theology and spirituality notwithstanding.

In one of the parables, Jesus points out how those servants who do not expect their master’s return go about getting drunk and beating their fellow-servants. This image of violence is precisely a metaphor for the type of violence we do to life and to each other when we do not see our lives against the horizon of the master’s return.

Conversely, when we do await the master’s return we don’t have to demand that this life give us more than it can and we can more easily live without impatience, bitterness, and violence, even inside of lives that are far from complete.


There Will Be A Day - Jeremy Camp
I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

6.  Bishop Epiphanius of Cyprus, of holy memory, was told this by the abbot of his monastery in Palestine. 'By your prayers we have kept our rule; we carefully observe the offices of terce, sext, none and vespers.' But Epiphanius rebuked him and said, 'Then you are failing to pray at other times. The true monk ought to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). He should always be singing psalms in his heart.

May 7, 2015  

(Mat 16:18) And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

MSGR. RONALD KNOX: "It is stupid of modern civilization to have given up believing in the devil, when he is the only explanation of it."

NATIONAL REVIEW: To Hell with Satan

4 Common Tactics of the Devil - It helps to know what you're up against

: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Acts 10:21–33; John 7:1–13]

The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil (John 7:7). The Lord did not say this to His disciples; to His disciples He foretold later that the world would hate and persecute them also, because He has taken them out of the world. So, note what the world hates, and you will learn of Christ's lot. The world rebels most strongly against what is of Christ, what is closest to Him, and more like unto His spirit. This is an external indicator, but for those who live externally this is enough.

The world does not act on its own, but is kindled in its works by its prince — satan, the works of whom the Lord destroyed, and continues to destroy in believers and with believers. He cannot do anything to the Lord directly; this is why he directs his anger upon those who believe in Him, so that in frustrating them he will frustrate the Lord. He does not act directly in this, but through his agencies, which make up the world. This does not mean that he is strong; do not fear him, but rather be bold, for the Lord overcame the world and the prince thereof. Satan is not in a condition to do anything to one who does not yield on his own.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: How to Approach Spiritual Warfare, According to Teresa of Avila


Valladolid, February 19, 1569
To Alonzo Ramirez
Cause of the delay in the journey to Toledo.
Encouragement in the difficulties likely to arise.


As regards the licenses, with the help of heaven I hope to get the king’s easily. There may be a certain amount of worry about it, as I know by experience that Satan cannot endure our houses and always persecutes us, but God is all-powerful and the evil one goes off with a broken head.

We had a great deal of trouble here from the leading men of the city but it is all over now. Do not suppose that you will have to offer God no more than you have planned; you will have to give Him much more. He rewards good works by sending us an opportunity for greater ones.  It is nothing to give coppers—they cost us little—but when people stone you and your son-in-law and all of us who have taken part in the matter (as they nearly did in Avila when St. Joseph’s was founded), then the project will succeed, and I believe that neither the convent, nor we who suffer in the cause, will be any the worse for it, but will gain greatly. May God direct the whole affair as He sees best! Do not feel at all anxious. . . .

Your unworthy servant,
Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite


Spiritual Warfare: One can almost see a smirk on the face of Teresa as she writes the last line of this paragraph, “Do not feel at all anxious.” After letting her victim know that he will have to give far more than he is prepared to give, and reflecting on the devil’s response to the advance of the kingdom, she seems to find a bit of fun in the battle.

Teresa was ever aware of the work of the enemy in and through people. But she was even more aware of the strength of God’s kingdom as it advances: “Satan cannot endure our houses.”

Many rightly quote Matthew 16:18 when speaking of the battle we face as we advance the kingdom of God:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

However, the common interpretation is often far from the meaning of Jesus’ words. He proclaims that He will build His Church on the confession and ordination of Peter, and that the gates of hell will not be able to hold back the advance of the kingdom as it breaks in and invades territory otherwise occupied by the enemy.

The mighty warrior mystic knows firsthand the proper interpretation of Jesus’ words in this passage. She rightly sees the establishment of her monasteries as an assault and occupation of enemy territory. As such, as when a beehive is disturbed, she also knows the consequences and the heavenly rewards as she reveals in The Way of Perfection chapter 38:

I feel convinced that souls which have arrived at this degree of perfection in prayer do not ask God to deliver them from trials or temptations, nor from persecutions and combats. This is another unmistakable and noteworthy effect, showing that the contemplation and favors given to such people come from the Holy Ghost and are not illusions, for, as I said just now, these souls wish for and demand such troubles and love them instead of hating them. They are like soldiers—the more they fight, the better they like it, for thus they hope for a richer booty. When there is no war they live on their pay, but they know they will not grow rich on that. Believe me, sisters, the battle never comes soon enough for the soldiers of Christ. I allude to contemplatives, and people who practice prayer. They have little fear of open enemies, knowing them well already and being aware that such foes have little power against the strength given them by God through which they always gain the victory and come forth from the fray with great spoils and riches, so that they never beat a retreat.

With this faith-filled conviction and an extraordinary strength of will, she unhesitatingly disturbs the hive knowing she will be stung, but that the suffering—rather than weaken her—will only make her stronger and further establish the work of God in her heart and in her mission.

Her comfort comes not from any human ability to endure the assault, but from knowing that God is working in and through the assault, and that by her “yes” and His grace, she will conquer all the territory that He assigns to her.

The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

5. He also said, 'When a distracting thought comes into your head, do not cast around here and there about it in your prayer, but simply repent and so you will sharpen your sword against your assailant.

May 5, 2015  

(Lev 19:19) Keep ye my laws. Thou shalt not make thy cattle to gender with beasts of any other kind. Thou shalt not sow thy field with different seeds. Thou shalt not wear a garment that is woven of two sorts.


NATURE: Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted — rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month2, 3 about the ethical implications of such work.

In the paper, researchers led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to head off such concerns by using 'non-viable' embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.

"I believe this is the first report of CRISPR/Cas9 applied to human pre-implantation embryos and as such the study is a landmark, as well as a cautionary tale," says George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. "Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes."


Mammoth Cloning: Paving Way for Human Cloning
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CRISIS MAGAZINE: Virtual Abortion Comes to Montana

HEADLINE: Israeli Woman Gives Birth To Two Babies From Two Fathers And Another Mother

A breakthrough in fertility has been achieved recently in Israel, with the birth of twins from two different fathers, from eggs donated from another mother. The successful birth came the end of a complex fertilization process carried out by Dr. Ilya Bar of the Fertility Medical Center.

The fertilization was carried out simultaneously and separately in two different groups of eggs, with each being fertilized by another father’s sperm.

The resulting embryos developed in the lab for five days, the maximum time in which a fetus can develop in a laboratory outside the womb. Close to the end of this period, the quality of the embryos was examined. The best embryo with the highest chance of successful pregnancy and birth was chosen from each of the groups. Those two embryos were returned to the uterus and both were integrated successfully.

According to Dr. Bar, “this special treatment required a 200 percent success rate, because each fertilization had to succeed by 100 percent.”

Dr. Bar explained that “in neither case did not want to implant more than two embryos, to avoid a multiple fetal pregnancy, which is not recommended under any circumstances. In our initial conversation, both prospective parents expressed their desire to carry a combined pregnancy from the two fathers, so we worked to get them their wish, and I’m pleased that we managed after their very first treatment here.”

SEE ALSO: Sofia Vergara’s Ex- Boyfriend Nick Loeb Speaks Out About Frozen Embryos Dispute

The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer

4. Evagrius said, 'If your attention falters, pray. As it is written, pray in fear and trembling (cf. Phil. 2:12), earnestly and watchfully. We ought to pray like that, especially because our unseen and wicked enemies are trying to hinder us forcefully.
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