Keep your eyes open!...


November 30, 2010 

(Rom 10:13-15) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things?

RESOURCE: Birmingham Catholic Bishop Robert J. Baker writes Advent devotional

Catholic Bishop Robert J. Baker once had a Christmas tree nearly dumped on his head.

"Someone threw the tree off a balcony the day after Christmas," Baker said.

That was years ago in Charleston, S.C., but the trend toward earlier and earlier Christmas shopping seasons, followed by an immediate dropping of Christmas cheer the day after, has troubled the bishop ever since.

This year, he's promoting the importance of Advent -- the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

Baker, head of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, has written a 28-day devotional, "Reasons for Hope: Meditations for the Advent Season," that is available free online at the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing website:

Baker has also taped the meditations, and they will be airing daily on EWTN beginning Sunday, the first day of Advent, and continuing through Christmas at various times each day.

It's important to stress the spiritual meaning of Christmas and prepare for it, Baker said.

"If Christmas is to have meaning, you have to prepare for it, in a way that's prayerful and penitential," Baker said. "That's why we have purple candles. To remind us the king is being welcomed with prayerful and penitential hearts."

An Advent wreath is traditionally made of evergreens in a circle, symbolizing God's unending love. It includes three purple candles, and the candle for the third week of Advent is pink in most Advent wreaths. It signifies the hope of the coming of Christ, Baker said.

"Hope is needed in our culture," Baker said. "People are struggling economically. People are in dire need of hope."

For Christians, that hope comes from the birth of Jesus, he said.

For the first week, there is one purple candle lit on the Advent wreath every day. Another is added the second week. A pink candle is lit the third week, another purple candle the fourth week.

The three purple candles and the pink candle are all lit on the last Sunday before Christmas and throughout that week.

A white candle at the center of most Advent wreaths, the Christ candle, is lit on Christmas day, Baker said.

Baker recommends that starting Sunday, families light Advent candles each day at the dinner table in their homes. "They can make their own meditations as a family," Baker said. "Children can come up with beautiful ideas. Let the children come up with a reflection."

The essence of Advent is preparation for the arrival of Christ, Baker said. "God is here; he is not withdrawn from the world," Baker said.

"We Christians see Jesus as the hope of the world," Baker said. "He is Emmanuel, God with us. No matter what our situation, how bleak, God is with us and he walks with us through the struggles and turmoil of life."

ADDITIONAL LINK: Praying Advent-2010

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

47. As a blind man cannot see to walk freely, so those who hoard money cannot ascend to Heaven.

November 25, 2010 


(Luk 12:37-38) Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching. Amen I say to you that he will gird himself and make them sit down to meat and passing will minister unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch or come in the third watch and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Advent: A Time to Wake from our Hypnotic Sleep

EXCERPT HLIWorldwide Prayer Vigil for the Unborn

On Saturday November 27th, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a solemn Prayer Vigil for All Nascent Human Life in St.  Peter's Basilica, coinciding with the First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent.  It is the wish of the Holy Father that similar vigils be celebrated in Cathedrals and parishes all over the world, which is expressed in a magnificent letter written by Cardinals Antonio Caņizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

The beautiful liturgical season of Advent is full of hope-as Christians we prayerfully anticipate the arrival of the Redeemer.  Yet at the same time that we prepare ourselves to celebrate the incarnation of our Savior, we have to be ready to defend the unborn against all the anti-life ideologies that dominate contemporary society.

This vigil follows the path marked by the Venerable Pope John Paul II, who strongly recommended that to create a new culture of life, "a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world." (E.V.  100) This prayer will encourage Christians to remember that they have a fundamental duty to proclaim that nascent life has to be defended always and everywhere.  This prayer will give Christians the spirit of fortitude required to be coherent with the teachings of the Church, without making any compromises with the world.

In this Advent and in future Advents, we should foster and increase our devotion to Our Lady of Hope, as Cardinals Caņizares and Antonelli recommend in their letter on celebrating this vigil.  She is normally depicted as majestic, and is often carrying a baby in her womb.  This avocation of Our Lady reminds us of the months that she was expecting the birth of the Christ Child that she was carrying in her womb.  In particular this title of Our Lady is celebrated on the Third Sunday of Advent, as was earnestly recommended by the Tenth Council of Toledo in the year 656, which was presided over by St.  Eugenio III.  In the Catholic tradition, Our Lady of Hope is also called Our Lady of the "O" because her celebration coincides with the most beautiful "O" antiphons that mark the last Sunday of Advent: "O Sapientia," "O Adonai," "O Emmanuel," and others of great beauty.

Our Lady is our Hope not only because she brought the Savior to the World; she leads us to Him and is the channel of all His graces.The traditional image of Our Lady of Hope received a heavenly confirmation with the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the sixteenth century, where the image of her imprinted on the tilma of San Juan Diego is of a lady carrying a child.

Of course, we revere our Blessed Mother in all of her traditional, historical appearances.  During Advent, however, we look to Our Lady of Hope in a special way.  With this ancient title, she points us toward a theological virtue that is particularly necessary in our difficult times.

USCCB: Advent & Christmas with Pope Benedict XVI

As a special spiritual gift this season, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is providing a downloadable book of scriptural reflections for Advent and Christmas featuring the words of Pope Benedict XVI from homilies, speeches and other addresses during his papacy.  The 37-page document includes a scripture quote and a reflection from the Holy Father for every day of Advent, which begins on Sunday, November 28, 2010, through the 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas, December 31, 2010.  "Advent & Christmas with Pope Benedict XVI" is a preview of the upcoming publication "A Year with Pope Benedict XVI," which will be available soon from USCCB. 


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

46. As a mass of dung breeds a mass of worms, so a surfeit of food breeds a surfeit of falls, and evil thoughts, and dreams.

November 22, 2010 

(Rev 19:11-16) And I saw heaven opened: and behold a white horse. And he that sat upon him was called faithful and true: and with justice doth he judge and fight. And his eyes were as a flame of fire: and on his head were many diadems. And he had a name written, which no man knoweth but himself. And he was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood. And his name is called: THE WORD OF GOD. And the armies that are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he may strike the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty. And he hath on his garment and on his thigh written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

VIA MALTA: Towards an authentic way of Christian living

REFLECTION by Father Ted November 20, 2010

My dearest Lord Jesus, today You allow us to celebrate with You this feast in Your honor as Our King.

You came to us as a baby to enable us to truly get to know God as You know Him. You told us that His name is “Abba” that is Father, or more accurately Daddy.

You and He have a most remarkable and intimate relationship. And You want us to enjoy that relationship too.

You want us to enjoy that intimacy just as You do.

To help us to realize this – to help us to accept this reality, You became a little baby – just like us.

You felt the love not only of Your Father, but also of Mary, Your holy Mother, and that of Joseph, the loving husband of Mary, who loved You as a father.

Many of us did not experience the profound love that You did from Your Heavenly Father and from Your Mother and from Joseph.

And You want us to experience that deep love now and forever.

And so You offer this gift to us through Your Holy Spirit.

On this great feast day, You invite us to join You in worshipping – in loving the Father with You as You invite all of us to participate in Your Perfect offering of love to Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Every Sunday You ask us to come to be with You in this incredible offering of love.

You tell us through Your Holy Catholic Church, that You established, that this is the great way to show our own love for Him, as well as for You.

As You reminded us during Your Public Life, as revealed to us in the Holy Gospel of the Beloved Disciple, this is The way to show our love. You told us: “ If you love Me, keep My Commandments.” To join You in this Your Holy Sacrifice on Sunday is one of Your Commandments.

Jesus, may we never ever again neglect to fulfill this Your Command.

So many of us have been misguided into believing that we do not need to be united with You in Your Holy Sacrifice each Sunday. We have been deceived – and I know by whom. For he hates Your Father and You. And he hates us. He is the one who has misled so many of us into accepting his lies as if they were the truth.

Jesus, may we love You and Your Father more perfectly by doing what You ask of us. With the help of Your Holy Spirit and through the intercession of Mary and the other saints, may we strive to keep all of Your Commandments now and forever.
VIA Bread of Heaven International Prayer Group: *Prayer to Christ the King*

Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You King of the universe. All that has been created has been made for You. Make full use of Your rights over me.

I renew the promises I made in Baptism, when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works, and I promise to live a good Christian life and to do all in my power to procure the triumph of the rights of God and Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You my efforts in order that all hearts may acknowledge Your Sacred Royalty, and that thus the Kingdom of Your peace may be established throughout the universe. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

45. As some, for lack of water, blot out writing by other means, so there are souls who have no tears, but pound out and scour away their sins by sorrow, sighing, and great heaviness of heart.

November 19, 2010


(Php 2:8-11) He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause, God also hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Christianity is the “ religion of the word of God ”, not of “ a written and mute word, but of the incarnate and living Word ”. Consequently the Scripture is to be proclaimed, heard, read, received and experienced as the word of God, in the stream of the apostolic Tradition from which it is inseparable.


Risen Christ on Cross Report
Blessing of Relics Report
Parish Pastoral Council Report

Note from Ron: To receive my Catholic Q&A reports or submit a request for a new topic  please contact me with your correct email address.

VIA Bread of Heaven International Prayer Group: *Power of the Holy Name of Jesus *

The name of Jesus is the shortest, the easiest, and the most powerful of prayers.  Everyone can say it, even in the midst of daily work.  Our Lord Himself has solemnly promised that whatever we ask the Father in His Name we shall receive (provided, of course, that it be for His Glory and the good of our soul).

Each time we pronounce the holy Name of Jesus with reverence and love, and with proper intention, we give great glory to God and obtain for ourselves priceless graces.

Each time we say JESUS, we may, in desire:

Make an act of perfect love, offering to God all the infinite love of His Divine Son as if it were our own.

Offer the Passion and Death of Our Lord to the Eternal Father for His greater glory and our own intentions.

Offer to God all the infinite merits and perfections of Jesus.

Offer all the Holy Masses said each day throughout the world, for the glory of God and the good of our own and others' souls.

Each time we say JESUS, we increase in our souls the virtues of faith, hope and charity.  Our faith becomes more lively, our confidence in God greater, and our love more intense.

The Holy Name of JESUS saves us from innumerable evils and dangers, helps us to overcome temptations, and delivers us from the power of the devil, who is constantly seeking to do us harm.

The Holy Name of JESUS fills our souls with peace and joy, and gives us strength to bear our trials and sufferings with patience and resignation.

Each time we say JESUS, we can gain a partial indulgence which we may apply to the souls in purgatory, thus relieving and liberating many of them from their awful pains, and gaining for ourselves friends who will pray for us with incredible fervor.

We ought, therefore, to try to acquire the habit of saying JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, very often every day, with fervent love and devotion - when dressing, when working - no matter what we are doing, in moments of sadness and in moments of joy, at home, in company, on the street, when walking, riding or waiting.  We can say it countless times every day, and thus gain untold graces and blessings for ourselves and for the whole world.  Nothing is easier, if only we do it with all our heart.


O admirable Name of Jesus!  Name most holy!  to men most amiable!  Name above every name.  No other name is given under heaven in which we can be saved.

Jesus, honey in our mouth, melody to our ears, sweet jubilee to our hearts!  O Jesus!  You are our life, You are our salvation, You are our glory, to You be praise forever and ever.  Amen

Imprimatur +Carolus Hubertus LeBlond
Episcopus Sancti Josephi
Infant of Prague Press

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

44. As writing is washed out by water, so sins can be washed out by tears.

November 18, 2010 

(Jud 1:17-19) But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who told you that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses. These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.

CALIFORNIA CATHOLIC DAILY:  Militant homosexuals campaign for Tucson bishop to become next president of USCCB

: The US bishops' shocking vote: no more 'business as usual'

Memoirs of Cardinal Biffi (pp.  609-612): The Ideology of Homosexuality

Regarding the problem of homosexuality that is emerging today, the Christian conception tells us that one must always distinguish the respect due to persons, which involves rejecting any marginalization of them in society and politics (except for the unalterable nature of marriage and the family), from the rejection of any exalted "ideology of homosexuality," which is obligatory.

The word of God, as we know it in a page of the letter to the Romans by the apostle Paul, offers us on the contrary a theological interpretation of the rampant cultural aberration in this matter: such an aberration – the sacred text affirms – is at the same time the proof and the result of the exclusion of God from the collective attention and from social life, and of the refusal to give him the glory that he is due (cf.  Romans 1:21).

The exclusion of the Creator determines a universal derailing of reason: "They became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.  While claiming to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).  The result of this intellectual blindness was a fall, in both theory and practice, into the most complete dissoluteness: "Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies" (Romans 1:24).

And to prevent any misunderstanding and any accommodating interpretation, the apostle proceeds with a startling analysis, formulated in perfectly explicit terms:

"Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions.  Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another.  Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper" (Romans 1:26-28).

Finally, Paul takes pains to observe that the greatest abjection takes place when "the authors of these things .  .  .  not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (cf.  Romans 1:32).

It is a page of the inspired book, which no earthly authority can force us to censor.  Nor are we permitted, if we want to be faithful to the word of God, the pusillanimity of passing over it in silence out of concern not to appear "politically incorrect."

We must on the contrary point out the singular interest for our days of this teaching of Revelation: what St.  Paul revealed as taking place in the Greco-Roman world is shown to correspond prophetically to what has taken place in Western culture in these last centuries.  The exclusion of the Creator – to the point of proclaiming grotesquely, a few decades ago, the "death of God" – has had the result (almost like an intrinsic punishment) of the spread of an aberrant view of sexuality, unknown (in its arrogance) to previous eras.

The ideology of homosexuality – as often happens to ideologies when they become aggressive and end up being politically triumphant – becomes a threat to our legitimate autonomy of thought: those who do not share it risk condemnation to a kind of cultural and social marginalization.

The attacks on freedom of thought start with language.  Those who do not resign themselves to accept "homophilia" (the theoretical appreciation of homosexual relations) are charged with "homophobia" (etymologically, the "fear of homosexuality").  This must be very clear: those who are made strong by the inspired word and live in the "fear of God" are not afraid of anything, except perhaps the stupidity toward which, Bonhoeffer said, we are defenseless.  We are now even charged sometimes with the incredibly arbitrary accusation of "racism": a word that, among other things, has nothing to do with this issue, and in any case is completely extraneous to our doctrine and our history.

The essential problem that presents itself is this: is it still permitted in our days to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ (which for millennia has inspired and enriched the whole of Western civilization), or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?

There is one question that we ask in particular of the theologians, biblicists, and pastoralists.  Why on earth, in this climate of almost obsessive exaltation of Sacred Scripture, is the Pauline passage of Romans 1:21-32 never cited by anyone?  Why on earth is there not a little more concern to make it known to believers and nonbelievers, in spite of its evident timeliness?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

43. As it is impossible for a starving man not to think of bread, so it is impossible for a man eager to be saved not to think of death and judgment.

November 17, 2010 

(Act 19:13-16) Now some also of the Jewish exorcists, who went about, attempted to invoke over them that had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying: I conjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth. And there were certain men, seven sons of Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, that did this. But the wicked spirit, answering, said to them: Jesus I know: and Paul I know. But who are you? And the man in whom the wicked spirit was, leaping upon them and mastering them both, prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Fr. Dominador "Domie" Guzman: “Man is not a simple creature. He is the only one made in the image of God. The demons realize if they (are powerless) against God, the next best thing is to destroy the creature closest to Him. Hence, they are interested in our souls more than anything else.”

NEWS HEADLINE: Catholic Church trains priests on how to perform exorcisms

The Catholic Church held a two-day conference in Baltimore to train priests on how to perform exorcisms this past weekend.

More than 50 bishops and 66 priests signed up to attend.

According to Bishop Thomas Paprocki, only five or six American priests know how to perform exorcisms, and they are finding themselves overwhelmed with requests.

"Actually, each diocese should have its own resource (person). It shouldn't be that this burden should be placed on a priest when his responsibility is for his own diocese," the New York Daily News quoted him as telling the Catholic News Service.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, an archbishop from Texas said, "For the longest time, we in the United States may not have been as much attuned to some of the spiritual aspects of evil because we have become so much attached to what would be either physical or psychological explanation for certain phenomena."

"We may have forgotten that there is a spiritual dimension to people," he said.

While exorcisms were made famous by the Hollywood thriller "The Exorcist," the act of casting out evil spirits is rooted in the Bible.

"The sacrament of penance is much more powerful than an exorcism," Paprocki said.

"The work of the devil is much more regular and our response to that should be rather regular. It's not that you need a special exorcism to deal with the devil," he said.

Father Jeffrey Grob of Illinois, one of the priests leading training sessions said that demonic activity in the soul "didn't get there overnight."

"There's not an instantaneous change in the person," he said.

Scratching, biting or cutting of skin, speaking in a language you don't understand and "violent reaction to holy water" are just some of the symptoms a priest will look for to determine whether an exorcism is needed.

"The reality is that a full exorcism is a rare thing but we still have to have people who know how to do that because the reality is that it's not unheard of," Paprocki added.

MORE: Priests Learn How to Fight the Devil

RELATED: American exorcist plies his lonely trade

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

42. As he who climbs up a rotten ladder runs a risk, so all honour, glory and authority oppose humility and bring down him who has them.

November 16, 2010 

(Mat 25:37-40) Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee? 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.

NEWS: Pope Benedict XVI prays for Haiti

From the window of the Apostolic Palace, before a large crowd of faithful pilgrims and tourists gathered in Place St-Pierre, Pope Benedict XVI, before the Angelus prayer this Sunday, November 14, encouraged, all those who struggle in Haiti against the cholera epidemic.  He urged the international community to give generously to help Haiti.

After the prayer, Benedict XVI reiterated his closeness to the people of Haiti and said he was praying for this population hard hit.

CNS: Fears persist that Haiti may end up being forgotten -- again

CHRISTIAN POST: Aid Group Urges Prayer as Haiti's Cholera Death Toll Passes 900

Cholera has claimed nearly 1,000 deaths in Haiti, the government reported Sunday.

The outbreak continues to devastate the Caribbean nation that is still recovering from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake from early this year.

According to the Haitian Ministry of Health, 917 people have died from cholera and more than 14,000 have been hospitalized.

"First the earthquake, then the cholera outbreak, and now ...  severe weather here.  All of it is testing the limits of Haiti," said Sabrina Pourmand-Nolen, World Vision's emergency program director in Haiti, in an earlier statement.

RELATED: Haitian survivor's story of hope and resilience


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

41. A man who is fighting a lion is lost the moment he takes his eye off it, and so is the man who, while fighting the flesh, gives it any respite.

November 1, 2010 


(Mat 5:11-12) Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

LEBANESE CHRISTIAN: "I am planted in this country. This is our mission, to be a witness to Christ here."

: Pope condemns violence 'in the name of God'

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday condemned violence carried out "in the name of God" and called for the respect of religious freedoms in the Muslim world.

The pope said violence in the world is sometimes "presented in the guise of an inter-religious conflict," adding that all religions should encourage ethical values and civil co-existence.

He also called for continued dialogue between Christians and Muslims and said this should be accompanied by mutual recognition of "the freedom to practice one's religion in private and in public."

The 83-year-old pontiff also praised Christians who stood up to their persecutors.

"I express my gratitude to all the Christian Churches who do not capitulate before obstacles and persecutions because of the Gospel," he said.

The comments, contained in Benedict's written conclusions to a 2008 Synod of bishops in Rome, follow the recent targeting of Christians in attacks in Baghdad.

Forty-four Christian worshippers and two priests were killed in an attack on a church service in Baghdad by Islamist gunmen on October 31 and the ensuing shootout when it was stormed by troops, while bombings killed six people and wounded 33 this week.

"All religions should encourage the correct use of reason and promote ethical values to build civil coexistence," Benedict said.  "Religions can never justify intolerance and war."

He called on political leaders to "guarantee to all the freedom of conscience and religion, and of being able to bear public witness to their own faith."

MORE: Pope calls for peace in letter to Ahmadinejad

REVIEW: Iraq Christian Killings Put Spotlight On Religious Minorities In Muslim Countries



New wave of attacks targets homes of Iraqi Christians
Vatican urges greater protection of Christian minorities
A Great Silence greets the cries of Iraq's murdered Christians

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

40. The drowsy are easily robbed, and so are those who seek virtue near the world.

November 10, 2010 

(Luk 10:2) And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into his harvest.

CATHOLIC REVIEW: Clergy shortage is a national challenge

ARKANSAS CATHOLIC: God always found a way for Father Frank Lowe to serve

RON SMITH REPORT: Duties of a Catholic Priest

REFLECTION by Father Ted – November 5, 2010

My dearest Lord Jesus, in the two readings for today’s Mass – Friday – 31st week in Ordinary Time, You present to us clergy today an important challenge and an terrible warning.

Just as Saint Paul exhorted his beloved Philippians to imitate him, You, today exhort us clergy to imitate him and above all, You.

Just as Saint Paul and Saint Peter shepherded the early Church, so too do You want us to shepherd Your Church today.

You have already given to us some marvelous examples for us to imitate in the lives of Pope John Paul II and of Pope Benedict XVI.

You ask us who are Your priests, as well as Your bishops, to “Go and do likewise!” You taught them the importance of being men of deep prayer.

You taught them the importance of teaching others all that You taught the Apostles including Saint Paul.

You taught them that You want them and all people to become members of Your Holy Family who will strive to become holy, that is to become saints.

You want us to teach others that our most important task in life is to become holy.

You want us to become holy.  Only then can we teach others.

Unless we want to make that our primary task we cannot fulfill the mission that You have given to us in the Church.

You taught Your disciples about how Satan and the other demons strive to tempt us and to even possess us.

You taught Your disciples how to overcome these temptations and how to deliver those who are in the bondage of the devil.

Yet, today, we rarely teach the people about how the devils tempt us and how they can and do place us in bondage.

You taught Your disciples to know You so that they would love You and then serve You by meeting the real needs of others.

You want us to teach Your people how to know You so that they will love You and then serve You by worshipping the Father with You and by meeting the real needs of others through both the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy.

Have we been doing what You have asked of us, Jesus?

If we have not, then are we not like that unfaithful steward in the gospel today?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

39. Crabs are easily caught because they walk sometimes forwards, sometimes backwards. So the soul that now laughs, now mourns, now lives in luxury, can make no progress.

November 9, 2010

(Mat 16:25-27) For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.

ARCHIVES: On the Lord's Second Coming Pope Benedict XVI


I. To Not Talk About Something Doesn’t Mean It Goes Away

A. Have you noticed how in the past thirty years or so you hardly ever hear anything from the pulpit about heaven, hell, or purgatory? They just seem to have vanished as a topic for a Sunday homily. And yet, just because we don’t talk about something doesn’t mean the reality of it goes away. What happens is that when the truth about something isn’t told and that something is an important something, that thing gets distorted, twisted, out of all recognition–just like all talk about the last things–heaven, hell, and purgatory.

B. Because we priests mostly, but parents and grandparents too, haven’t talked about heaven, hell or purgatory, there are an awful lot of distorted ideas around about those subjects. Why? Because whether we talk about those subjects or not, people have a need to know what’s going to happen to them after they die. And because we who know don’t speak, others who do not do. What do I mean? Well, just look at the crazy ideas that are out on TV and the movies now about the afterlife. Or what about this very common idea that when people die they become angels in heaven? All those very popular movies and shows twist and pervert what we really believe about the afterlife.

C. Now Jesus faced the same thing from his enemies, the Sadducees. They didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead so they try to trick him into answering a question about marriage in heaven. Jesus just laughs at them and sets them straight. But Christ was pretty clear in his public ministry to let people know what they could expect from following him. And when we start getting confused over what the afterlife really is, we start questioning what Christ taught and even whether he was right to teach it.

II. The Last Things

A. In these days of autumn, as the earth prepares for winter and the readings talk about the end of the world and the coming of Christ, maybe it’s a good idea to remember what it is we believe.

B. There is an afterlife. Life for humans continues on after death.

C. Life after death is everlasting and it means resurrection of the body. That means once you get to everlasting life, you’ve made it and you will have your body–your very self–perfected. Unlike Hinduism or Buddhism which teaches that you have to come back again and again with different personalities and individualities, we believe that this life is the only chance you get; we don’t come back. Each individual is unique. We are created in God’s image and each of us is special, unique, and important–and our body is a part of that. We don’t get absorbed into the cosmic all, or cease being ourselves, or come back as somebody different. We are who we are, always and forever.

D. Salvation is an invitation by God. All creation was made by God; salvation comes from Christ and is offered to everyone. But it is our yes to God that determines whether we are saved or damned. We must say yes to salvation if we are to be saved. No one goes to heaven or hell against their will.

E. Eternal life is heaven for those who are united with God through Christ. Heaven is absolute unity with God, perfect contentment, eternal joy. I always like to suggest that people think of the best place they’ve ever been, the best day they’ve ever had and think of heaven as a zillion times better.

F. Eternal life is hell for those who reject God directly or indirectly by their selfishness and abuse of other human beings. Hell is separation from God. If you reject God and his commands on earth, you go to hell. It exists, it’s real, Jesus talks about it as something we must avoid.

G. The purification of the person after death is called Purgatory. Everybody sins and goes through life at some time needing purification. People often die without having been purged of all selfishness and imperfection. Until that happens, they cannot see God face to face. Purgatory is not hell. Instead it proclaims God’s mercy toward us by allowing those who are basically good to become perfected after death before seeing the face of God. All who are in purgatory are saved.

H. It is a good and worthy thing to pray for the dead. We do not spring souls from purgatory by our prayers. We do not buy God off by offering prayers. Instead, through the love we express in our prayers, we join them in their suffering. Through our prayers, we support them and give them strength and courage. As the saints pray for us and give us strength, so we pray for the poor souls in purgatory. All the faithful are united as One Body in Christ. We can and must help each other.

III. Conclusion

A. What we have basically talked about today is what we believe about life after death. Instead of remembering just a one sentence main point, I’d like to ask the parents and family members to talk with one another about the basic things our faith believes about life after death. That will help take away the power of some of the silly stuff you see on TV, stuff that is just wrong about the afterlife. In the first reading we heard today, seven sons gave up their lives for their faith. What kept them strong was the sure and certain hope that they would live on in glory after death. To me, life after death is one of the strongest incentives to be good here on earth. Jesus was so up-front about this. Believe in me, he says, and you live forever. Don’t you want to live forever, don’t you want to live in glory, don’t you want to go to heaven?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

38. As a ray of sun, passing through a crack, lights everything in the house and shows up even the finest dust, so the fear of the Lord, entering a man's heart, reveals to him all his sins.

November 8, 2010 

(Luk 15:8-10) Or what woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle and sweep the house and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost. So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.

HEADLINE: Pope slammed by gays in Barcelona, but cheered by faithful

MORE FROM SPAIN:  Pope Benedict XVI lambasts 'aggressive secularism'


REFLECTION by Father Ted – November 04, 2010

My dearest Lord Jesus, once again in the gospel for today You remind us of Your tremendous love for every single person – there are no exceptions.

Through those marvelous parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, You point out to us that You always seek out those who have sinned and have strayed from Your love; that You offer to each one countless opportunities to be embraced by You and brought home to Your Family.

When I was in the Philippines a few months ago – while our group was visiting with Cardinal Ricardo Vidal from Cebu, You allowed him to share with us how You used him to bring back to Your Sacred Heart the former president of the Philippines who was dying in Hawaii. How he flew to Hawaii to see Mr. Marcos who was unable to talk, but was able to hear and to respond to the Cardinal through the blinking of his eyes; how the Cardinal helped him to repent and confess his sins; how the Cardinal anointed him and gave to him the final rites of Your Church.

Although the ex-president had done many bad things – You loved him. You died for him. You wanted him to experience Your mercy.

How many times had he refused Your mercy, I do not know. You do. What I do know is that You persevered in seeking his repentance and his positive response to Your eternal love.

Thank You for reminding me and us of this great truth.

A few days ago You let me know about a tragic situation that occurred last week – how two young adolescents agreed to kill themselves; how one succeeded with the help of the other; how remorseful the other was; and how he suffered so greatly he urged others to kill him.

In this tragic situation, You were present – how exactly, I don’t know. But You were there. I believe that You touched the heart of the youth who killed himself – You offered to him that incredible love and mercy as he breathed his last breath. He accepted it.

I know that You are ministering to his brother as he suffers with the guilt of his own participation in the death of his brother.

You have let me pray for both of them. May I continue to do so – until the former enters into paradise – after his own purification. May I continue to do so – until the latter accepts Your forgiveness and that of his brother and accepts Your eternal love for him.

Jesus, continue to encourage us to pray even more so for our youth. How few know You. How few have accepted Your love and Your guidance.

Help us to help them to know You and to accept Your love. Help us to assist them to become the joyful and cheerful saints that You want them and us to be.

Lord, may Your Will be done by us, and by them.

We are all Your beloved children.

CATHOLIC.NET: Benedict XVI's Q and A With Catholic Action Youth

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

37. As by nature we cannot live without food, so up to the very moment of death we cannot, even for a second, give way to negligence.

November 4, 2010 


(John 8:31-32) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Today, for example, the world of appearances has an increasing weight with the development of new technologies; but if on the one hand this has doubtless positive aspects, on the other, the image can also become detached from reality , it can give life to a virtual world, with diverse consequences, the first of which is the risk of indifference to the truth.  In fact, new technologies, together with the progress that they bring, can result in what is true and what is false becoming interchangeable, it can lead to confusing the real with the virtual".

ARCHBISHOP LEONARDO Z. LEGASPI: On the Rediscovery of the Relation of Faith to Moral Life
VIA AUSTRALIA: What Is The Catholic Truth?

The truth is paramount, it is the most important commodity in the world.  As members of the Catholic Church we profess to have a monopoly on the one complete truth.  The implications of knowing the truth have lasting implications.  Firstly it means that we have a duty to know the truth, secondly we have a duty to spread the truth and lastly we have a duty to practice the truth.

The implications of knowing the truth has life changing effects.  The way you live your life has to be altered in order to best express the truth.  It is therefore the duty of every Catholic as custodians of the truth, to believe in the truth with all their being.  Many, many Catholics especially in the West reject certain parts of Catholic teaching.  It is not uncommon to see ‘catholic’ politicians voting in favour of abortion, gay marriage or stem cell research.  These ‘catholics’ still claim to be loyal to the Church but they reject elements of the Church’s teachings.  This idea that you can be a Catholic and reject certain areas of teaching is objectively wrong and certainly not Catholic.

The Church has received her instruction to spread the truth by the word of Jesus himself when he established papal succession and the Church.  Catholics believe as a result of Jesus’ instructions that the Church is directed by God.  It therefore makes no sense when Catholic politicians reject the Church’s teaching in favour of their own.  Either they are Catholic and believe that the Church is directed by God, or they are not Catholic and believe the Church is not directed by God.  If a Catholic rejects even one tenet of Church teaching then they are as a result declaring that the Church is not a holy institution and more importantly the Church’s belief in truth is wrong.

People who reject Church teaching but profess to being Catholic are asserting that they know the truth and the Church does not.  The dictatorship of relativism is a recent phenomenon, and it appears that it now has a foothold in Catholic minds too.  People believe that if they believe in something then it must be true, or has just as good chance of being true as someone else’s belief.  The problem with this approach is that it denies science and the natural law of the universe which is that certain things are true.  For example the earth revolves around the sun, this is a truth.  Much as science claims to know the scientific truth, Catholicism claims to know the spiritual and moral truth.

Catholicism has a monopoly on the truth, it is not good enough to only believe in some of the Church’s teachings, we have to and are logically required to believe in all of the Church’s teachings, because the Church is the whole truth.  As individuals we do not and cannot have our own truths, our truths are dictated by the universe and the natural law which are then best expressed by the Church.  To put it very simply, either it (Catholicism) is all true or none of it is.  You cannot have it both ways.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

36. As it is impossible to destroy a wild beast without a weapon, so without humility it is impossible to obtain freedom from anger.

November 3, 2010 

(Rev 6:9-11) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be slain even as they, should be filled up.

Pope saddened by Middle East anti-Christian violence

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken against the wave of anti-Christian violence that is occurring in the Middle East.

The pope was addressing pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square to hear his prayer on the Catholic Church's All Saints' Day holiday.

He condemned an attack in which at least 57 people were killed Sunday in a Catholic church in Baghdad, saying he would pray for the victims of the violence.

The Our Lady of Salvation Church, one of Baghdad's largest, was invaded by gunmen, who took hostages before demanding the release of al-Qaeda prisoners in Iraq and Egypt.

The pope said the violence had been senseless and ferocious because it had struck at defenceless worshippers.

He said any people gathered in the house of God should be protected.

The pontiff called for renewed international efforts to negotiate peace in the region and implored nations to ensure that churches continued to be houses of love and reconciliation.


BBC NEWSLINK: Attacks on Iraqi Christians Since 2003

MORE: Al-Qaida Threatens Christians in Egypt, Elsewhere in Middle East


Miracle of the Rosary MissionCoemeterii visitatio Visiting a Cemetery

An indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the dead.  This indulgence is applicable only to the souls in purgatory.  This indulgence is a plenary one from November 1 through November 8 and can be gained on each one of these days.  On the other days of the year this indulgence is a partial one.

May the Divine Assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.

A plenary indulgence is a complete release from the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven (as far as their guilt is concerned). 

Conditions for a plenary indulgence:
A.  One must be baptized and in the state of grace. 
B.  One must receive Holy Communion each time a plenary indulgence is sought.
C.  One must go to Confession within approximately a two week period.  A single sacramental Confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences.
D.  One must have a disposition of mind and heart which totally excludes all attachment to sin, even venial sin, otherwise he can gain only a partial indulgence. 
E.  One must pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, the Pope, preferably one “Our Father and one “Hail Mary,” however, any other pious prayer may be substituted. 
F.  One must have at least a general intention to gain a plenary indulgence.
G.  A plenary indulgence may also be gained by fulfilling one of the following suggested spiritual works:

- At least a half hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,
- or family or group Rosary,
- or private Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament,
- or at least a half hour of pious reading of Sacred Scripture,
- or walking the Stations of the Cross in a church or with properly erected display of the Stations.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

35. As one spark has frequently set fire to much wood, so it has been found that one good dead can wipe out a multitude of great sins (cf. James 3:5; 5:20).

November 2, 2010  ALL SOUL'S DAY

(Mat 11:28-29) Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: And you shall find rest to your souls.

LINK:  The Purgatory Project


Both All Souls’ Day and Halloween, believe it or not, reflect the belief in life beyond a handful of ashes. “Death is not the extinguishing of life,” the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote. “It is putting out the lamp, because dawn has come.” All Souls’ Day liturgy spotlights this reality. “Vita mutatur, non tollitur,” people and priests say in the Eucharist’s preface. For unto your faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away.

The theme resonates wherever religious or laymen pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

On All Souls’ Day, as in other days of our harried, deadline-pressed daily lives, we are swamped with the mundane, like censored SALNs or the impeachment of an inutile ombudsman. We distractedly mumble in the Nicene Creed: “I believe in the communion of saints.”

Yet, this is a capstone of our faith. It says there is a bridge between the land of the living and the land of those called before us. We can reach beyond the divide of death to a vibrant community of life. We touch those we have loved, walked with, even hurt. “Inside the communion of saints, we have privileged access to each other.”

Our prayers reflect conviction in life beyond. “We give back to You who first gave them to us: our faithful dead, whose beauty and truth are even now in our hearts,” the ancient prayer goes. Death is only a horizon, and a horizon is the limit of our sight.

“We thank You for the labor and joys of these mortal years. We thank You for the deep sense of mystery that lies beyond our mortal dust. Lift us up, that we may see further, as one by one, You gather scattered families, from the distractions, strife and weariness of time, to the peace of eternity.”

Whether in San Mateo, the dim catacombs off Rome’s Appian Way, the slightly unkempt Libingan ng mga Bayani or in garishly lighted Philippine cemeteries that double as homes for squatters, All Souls’ Day is about remembering those we loved and, frail mortals as we are, may have forgotten—and reaching out again to them.

“We ourselves shall be loved for a while and be forgotten,” Madre Maria mutters in “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” But that will be enough. “There is a land of the dead and a land of the living, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

VIA BHLA2Death Leads to Life

Membership of the Church is not confined to this world. Yesterday we celebrated that part of it now in glory and today we pray for that part which has gone from this world and lingers on the threshold of eternal happiness. Purgatory is better seen as a process rather than a stage of conversion to God. To pray for the dead is to help them to complete their lives.


Holy Father, look with love on all those who have gone before us: those who helped us, annoyed us or injured us and all those we never knew.

You called them into being to know, love and serve you and to be happy with you for ever.

In the resurrection of your Son, Jesus, you showed that your love is stronger than death.

Lead, then, all the faithful departed to the banquet table to eat and drink and celebrate your love for ever. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

34. As fire does not give birth to snow, so those who seek honour here will not enjoy it there (in Heaven).

November 1, 2010 

(2Co 1:12) For our glory is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity of heart and sincerity of God, and not in carnal wisdom, but in the grace of God, we have conversed in this world: and more abundantly towards you.

LIFESITENEWS.COM: Catholics Can't Vote for Pro-Abort Politicians: Cardinal-Designate Burke

RENEWAMERICA.COM: Priest to Catholic voters: Stop being stupid!

HLI.ORG: Our Duties Towards God and Country

As we near the November elections, we are again being deluged with advertisements telling us how some politician is too untrustworthy, too extreme, or too hygienically challenged to be worthy of your vote. Opponents attack one another with carefully selected quotes, scary music, and the sorts of manipulated images that, to say the least, stretch the limits of fair play.

While this is all to be expected, we must not grant the advertisers - whatever their political motivations - the satisfaction of our being emotionally manipulated into ignoring the issues. It is our duty as Christians, to both God and country, to soberly assess each issue and candidate and to apply the teachings of our Faith to the decisions at hand. The teachings of the Church should be the objective norm on the basis of which we form our consciences so we can make such sober judgments, and rise above the political back and forth which only confuses.

I would like to point out two documents as being particularly helpful in forming our consciences in an authentically Catholic way, which are not overly long or complicated.

The bishops of Wisconsin recently published a wonderful letter that further clarifies the USCCB's "Faithful Citizenship" document. It outlines and prioritizes the essential considerations for faithful Catholics who take up their responsibility to vote. While I would encourage you to read the entire letter - it is only two pages in length - a couple of passages are worth special notice:

First and foremost, the right to life of every human person-from conception to natural death-is the primary and thus most essential of all human rights. Faith teaches and human reason confirms that human life is not a privilege bestowed on us by others, but rather a right that society must recognize and protect....

Due to its service to life, including the procreation and necessary formation of new citizens, marriage is a social-not just a sacred-good that government needs to recognize, encourage, and protect.

The bishops also remind us of the essential link between the issues of life and marriage, and those of the poor, and of proper and responsible stewardship of the environment. If we were to abandon our reason to the winds of political debate, we would likely be confused into thinking that we must choose between the unborn and the poor, or between marriage and the environment. But these are false choices, even if we notice that the political options given often present these issues as being in opposition. We should always remember that the poorest of the poor is the human person in the womb that is menaced with abortion.

We must be good stewards of God's creation, but never at the expense of a single human person. So we reject any "environmentalism" that entails environment-polluting chemical contraception, or that sees human beings as an obstacle to the flourishing of the planet. Any politician who accepts and endorses this insanity can not earn our support.

Similarly, we must not accept the false notion of "justice" that would diminish the institution of natural marriage between one man and one woman, or that would silence those who remind us of this basic truth. And solidarity with and service of the poor and marginalized is not an option for Christians; but we reject again any false solutions, such as those that see contraception and abortion as means to eradicate poverty. In today's difficult economic circumstances, any plan to help the poor and the unemployed must include the rebuilding of a healthy economy that will generate new job opportunities.

The second document is from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and is relatively brief and understandable: "On the Participation of Catholics in Political Life". Placed firmly within the whole of Catholic teaching, it cautions against making mistaken compromises based on a certain form of relativism that we hear quite often in the political season:

Furthermore, it is not unusual to hear the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy. As a result, citizens claim complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices, and lawmakers maintain that they are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value.

This warning against "ethical pluralism", the false view that every moral and ethical opinion is of equal value, is important because of how often we hear: "Of course as a Catholic I believe that, but I can't force others to agree with me." This is a lie. It is necessary that we vote according to our properly-formed consciences as Catholic Christians.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

33. Just as thieves will not attack a place where they see royal weapons stacked, so he who has united his heart to prayer will not lightly be raided by spiritual thieves.

Links  E-mail Dr. Zambrano  Home

Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

The Tribulation Times Archives:


January July January July January July January July JanuaryJulyJanuaryJulyJanuary July
February August Feb-March August February August February August
AugustFebruaryAugustFebruary August
March September April September Lent September Lent September LentSeptemberLentSeptemberLent September
April October May October April October April October AprilOctoberAprilOctoberApril October
May November June November May November May November MayNovemberMayNovemberMay
June December
December June December June December JuneDecemberJuneDecember June


1997 1998
June-July January July January July January July January July  January JulyJanuary July
August February August February August February August February August February AugustFebruary August
September March September March September March/April September March/April September March SeptemberMarch September
October April October April October May October May October April OctoberApril October
November May November May November June November June November May NovemberMay-June November
December June December June December
December June December

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more detailed information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.