Keep your eyes open!...


October 29, 2004


(Heb 12:1-2) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.


Reflection by Father Ted

My Lord Jesus Christ, You want us to pray for our brothers and sisters who have died - who are not yet experiencing the fullness of Your love in heaven.

You want us to become closely bonded with them, just as you want us to be closely bonded with those brothers and sisters of ours who right now enjoy the bliss of Your presence and Your incredible union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

This bond is intensified through our prayers.

To our brothers and sisters in heaven we develop this bond when we honor them and when we ask them to help us through their intercession with You and the Father and the Holy Spirit.

These are the members of Your Church Triumphant.

Since they have experienced all the trials that we are experiencing. Since they learned how to seek out Your assistance. Since they benefitted from Your assistance as well as from the prayers of their other brothers and sisters in heaven, they desire to help us with their intercessions.

They are delighted when we ask them for their help.

Our brothers and sisters, who are deceased and who are not yet in heaven, need our help.

They are the members of Your Church Suffering.

They are suffering especially the pains of not being in Your presence.

You want us to help them.

They ask us to help them.

The greatest help that we can offer to them comes through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The benefits of Your Holy Sacrifice on Calvary are given to them by You as we both have Holy Masses offered for their intentions and as we are united with the celebration of these Masses offered for them.

How this is so is a mystery.

It is basically the mystery of love.

For the Mass is the manifestation of Your perfect love - first of all for the Father and then for us.

You unite us in the Mass with Yourself.

You want us to become more united to You.

As we participate in the Mass we do so.

You want us to become more united with each other.

As we participate in the Mass we do so.

Thank You, Jesus, for uniting us with Yourself through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Thank You, Jesus, for uniting us with our deceased brothers and sisters in Purgatory through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

May we be one with You Jesus, as You are one with the Father.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

14. I no longer wish for anything but to procure the glory of the Sacred Heart. How happy I should be if, before I die, I were able to do something to please Him!

October 28, 2004

(Mat 16:24-27) Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.

VIA Jim McCrae: The Ultimate Drive of Human Nature

The desire for sexual union is exceedingly deep. Many people go to untold effort and expense to fulfill it. It is a desire planted in human nature by God to motivate people to enter into marriage and produce children, thus ensuring the propagation of the human race.

However, God has given us a desire that is far deeper than that of sex. It is a desire for God Himself. It is the absolute and most ultimate desire of the human person, and unlike the desire for sex, if unfulfilled, will give a person a desperate and eternal misery.

This is why it is not irrational for some people to give up sexual fulfillment to enter religions life, the dedicated single life, or the priesthood. For if God calls a person to those celibate states, he or she is merely giving up a good so that something far better may be facilitated.

If God is our ultimate quintessential desire, then why are not all people of a religious mindset, seeking God in all sincerity? Why do so many people fall away from the Faith to seek the goods of the world? The answer to this is because God is mainly an unconscious desire in this life. Very often the fact of God's supreme goodness and attractiveness is obscured by original or actual sin. Most people simply don't know that God is their deepest desire. It is an unfelt desire for most people.

After death, when we are judged, we receive lights about the nature of reality that we simply did not have on earth. Things will dawn on us that never entered our head to conceive before. If a soul comes to death in God's friendship, but has the impurity of venial sin, it is consigned to the fires of purgatory, to be purified, before it can enter heaven. In purgatory, the soul knows (in a way that it did not on earth), that God is its absolutely necessary good and perfect fulfillment. Its most intense pain is having its vision and union with God delayed until its purification is complete and can enter heaven.

The only definitive failure for a soul would be its loss of God if it is consigned to hell. There its greatest pain is the loss of God forever and ever. No merely earthly loss can compare with that - and indeed, we must be willing to suffer the loss of all earthly things if that is necessary to avoid hell.

The only definitive success for a soul is its gain of God in heaven. For in union with God in the beatific vision, it will be made supremely and eternally happy. The most intensely intimate union of persons on earth is only the faintest shadow of the union of the soul with God in heaven. On this earth, we can only know this by faith. This is not part of our earthly experience. Even mystical union and ecstasy that God grants to certain favored souls, in this life, falls far short of the reality of heaven.

In this life, we are in almost complete darkness as to the inconceivable good or evil that awaits us after death. We are now in a testing period. For each of us, God is determining whether we will have faith in Him and do His will, simply because it is the right thing to do - without seeing the reward for doing so and the punishment for failing to do so. At death, it will be like going from being asleep to being awake. Right now, we are mostly a mystery to ourselves. At our judgment at death, we will know definitively and exhaustively what we really are. We will then know everything about ourselves. And we will know our rightful place in heaven, hell, or purgatory.


THE FOUR LAST THINGS Part I: The Christian Understanding of Death
THE FOUR LAST THINGS Part II: Our Judgment Before God
ETERNAL PUNISHMENT By Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

13. The divine Heart experienced all the interior sufferings of the cruel torment of the Cross, and for this reason God wishes It to be honored by a special worship, in order that mankind may thereby atone by their love and homage, for the bitterness and anguish caused by their offences.

October 27, 2004

(1Co 9:24) Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.


As Catholics celebrate the International Eucharistic Year, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales urged Catholic Filipinos Sunday to keep the faith even "in these times when sin is apparently everybody’s common denominator."

"If there is one commonality among all mankind, that is all are sinners. We are all sinners. No one is free from sin," Rosales said in his homily at an early morning Mass he celebrated at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

The Holy Eucharist, Rosales said, provides sinners with a way to liberate themselves from their transgressions. "This is our greatest devotion in the Church, the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the greatest gift of Christ our Lord to the Church," Rosales said.

The archbishop was happy to note that in the Philippines, where more than 80 percent of the population are Catholic, the faithful continue to flock to churches to hear masses. Rosales said the Philippines is nowhere near the experience of other countries where mass attendance have significantly declined.


The Vatican is becoming increasingly alarmed at what it regards as official anti-Roman Catholic sentiment and secular trends in Europe, as many governments approve measures on abortion, family law and scientific study that run counter to Catholic teaching.

Vatican concerns rocketed into view during a controversy in the European Parliament this month over remarks on homosexuality and women by an Italian politician who has close ties to the Holy See.

A committee of European Parliament members voted Oct. 5 to oppose Italy's nomination of Rocco Buttiglione, a Christian Democrat, to be the EU's justice commissioner.

During a hearing before the Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee, he had labeled homosexuality a sin and asserted that the family exists so a woman can raise children under a man's protection. Buttiglione is a friend of Pope John Paul II and various high-ranking Vatican officials.

"It looks like a new Inquisition. It is a lay Inquisition, but it is so nasty," Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters in response to the dispute. "You can freely insult and attack Catholics and nobody will say anything."

The controversy was new proof of the heat of a long debate in Europe over issues of women's equality in the workplace, gay marriage, abortion, scientific research using human embryos and separation of church and state.


For the Catholic church hierarchy in the Vatican, Latin America has changed from the ”Continent of Hope” to the continent of concern, as followers are leaving the church in such large numbers that it could lead to the collapse of Catholicism within a decade and a half.

Although Latin America is still home to almost half of the 1.07 billion Catholics in the world today, numerous studies indicate that their numbers are declining throughout the region.

The loss of Catholic faithful ”is a painful reality that calls out dramatically to us as pastors of Latin American churches,” said Cipriano Calderón, a member of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops and former president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Fully conscious of the loss of followers, but strictly adhering to the Vatican line, Calderón has been calling on the priests and bishops of the region to work harder to ensure that the problem does not become even more severe.

”A few years from now, will we still be able to say that half of the Catholics in the world live in Latin America? Do we not see how the Catholic church is being bled dry by the numbers of followers who are continually leaving our church to join sects, or to turn their backs on Christianity altogether?” he asked at a recent gathering of Latin American bishops.

”This is an extremely grave phenomenon, which requires an urgent and serious response,” he added.

SEE ALSO: Catholic Church upset by Mexico's St. Death

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

12. Our Lord Jesus Christ desires that we should, by sanctifying ourselves, glorify His all-loving Heart; for it was His Heart that suffered the most in His Sacred Humanity.

October 26, 2004

(2Co 9:6-8) The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.


Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is announcing an emergency appeal as the agency struggles to respond to disasters in the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and the Darfur region of Sudan.

In a letter to the bishops of the United States, CRS board chairman Bishop Robert N. Lynch notes: “The last few months have seen catastrophic suffering for countless souls around the world. Despite efforts by international relief agencies to help alleviate the pain caused by so many natural and man-made disasters, the suffering continues. Catholic Relief Services has been stretched thin by this recent string of catastrophes, and they need our help.” A strong and continuous series of storms has battered the Caribbean in recent months, marking one of the more active hurricane seasons on record. Hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica and the Bahamas have been left in need of food, clean water, shelter and other necessities. CRS is providing assistance through local dioceses and Caritas partners to help with emergency relief and long-term rebuilding efforts.

In India, floods from the summer monsoon season have left millions in danger of water-borne diseases as they struggle to recover from the loss of their homes and crops. Rivers that broke their banks during the height of the rains have created impassable roads and further hampered relief efforts. CRS is working with local dioceses and communities to help supplement the assistance being provided by the government of India. Work is focusing not only on meeting immediate needs but also on helping repair infrastructure and better prepare communities for future natural disasters.

In Darfur, Sudan, already 50,000 people are known dead and more than 1.4 million Sudanese remain uprooted across remote and isolated terrain, subject to harsh rains, lack of food and water, and continued attacks by the government-backed Janjaweed militia. More than 200,000 Sudanese have crossed the Chadian border, where they have overextended the capacity and resources of refugee camps and host communities. The threat of malaria, malnutrition and cholera has the potential to result in the deaths of tens of thousands more people in the next few months.

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. The agency provides assistance to people in 94 countries and territories on the basis of need, not race, creed or nationality.

Link to contribute to CRS:


U.N.: 70,000 have died in Sudan camps
UGANDA -  60,000 people lack basic sanitation and assistance
Caribbean Storm Victims Still in Great Need, Agencies Say

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

11. He has given me to understand that His Sacred Heart is the Holy of Holies- the Sanctuary of Love- that He wills to be known at present as the Mediator between God and man; for He is all-powerful to reconcile them, turning aside the chastisements that our sins have merited and obtaining mercy for us.

October 25, 2004

(James 2:17) So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Culture of Life Foundation:

Faith and Patriotism

The theologian Karl Barth once said, "To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world."

That saying comes to mind as the election approaches and I hear more lectures about how Roman Catholics must not "impose their beliefs on society" or warnings about the need for "the separation of church and state." These are two of the emptiest slogans in current American politics, intended to discourage serious debate. No one in mainstream American politics wants a theocracy. Nor does anyone doubt the importance of morality in public life. Therefore, we should recognize these slogans for what they are: frequently dishonest and ultimately dangerous sound bites.

Lawmaking inevitably involves some group imposing its beliefs on the rest of us. That's the nature of the democratic process. If we say that we "ought" to do something, we are making a moral judgment. When our legislators turn that judgment into law, somebody's ought becomes a "must" for the whole of society. This is not inherently dangerous; it's how pluralism works.

Democracy depends on people of conviction expressing their views, confidently and without embarrassment. This give-and-take is an American tradition, and religious believers play a vital role in it. We don't serve our country - in fact we weaken it intellectually - if we downplay our principles or fail to speak forcefully out of some misguided sense of good manners.

People who support permissive abortion laws have no qualms about imposing their views on society. Often working against popular opinion, they have tried to block any effort to change permissive abortion laws since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. That's fair. That's their right. But why should the rules of engagement be different for citizens who oppose those laws?

Catholics have an obligation to work for the common good and the dignity of every person. We see abortion as a matter of civil rights and human dignity, not simply as a matter of religious teaching. We are doubly unfaithful - both to our religious convictions and to our democratic responsibilities - if we fail to support the right to life of the unborn child. Our duties to social justice by no means end there. But they do always begin there, because the right to life is foundational.

For Catholics to take a "pro-choice" view toward abortion contradicts our identity and makes us complicit in how the choice plays out. The "choice" in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being. For anyone who sees this fact clearly, neutrality, silence or private disapproval are not options. They are evils almost as grave as abortion itself. If religious believers do not advance their convictions about public morality in public debate, they are demonstrating not tolerance but cowardice.

The civil order has its own sphere of responsibility, and its own proper autonomy, apart from the church or any other religious community. But civil authorities are never exempt from moral engagement and criticism, either from the church or its members. The founders themselves realized this.

The founders sought to prevent the establishment of an official state church. Given America's history of anti-Catholic nativism, Catholics strongly support the Constitution's approach to religious freedom. But the Constitution does not, nor was it ever intended to, prohibit people or communities of faith from playing an active role in public life. Exiling religion from civic debate separates government from morality and citizens from their consciences. That road leads to politics without character, now a national epidemic.

Words are cheap. Actions matter. If we believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, we need to prove that by our actions, including our political choices. Anything less leads to the corruption of our integrity. Patriotism, which is a virtue for people of all faiths, requires that we fight, ethically and nonviolently, for what we believe. Claiming that "we don't want to impose our beliefs on society" is not merely politically convenient; it is morally incoherent and irresponsible.

As James 2:17 reminds us, in a passage quoted in the final presidential debate, "Faith without works is dead." It is a valid point. People should act on what they claim to believe. Otherwise they are violating their own conscience, and lying to themselves and the rest of us.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

10. It seems to me that the great desire that our Lord has that His Sacred Heart should be honored by some particular worship is to renew in souls the effects of His Redemption.

October 21, 2004


(1Th 5:17) Pray without ceasing.

VIA Nadine: Can I Practice Mental Prayer?!

Can I Practice Mental Prayer?!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

Everyone can practice mental prayer-and he should! Mental prayer is for stenographers as well as religious sisters, for parents as well as priests, for workers in white collars or blue. Mental prayer is for anyone willing to pay the price of having a mind and heart like that of our Lord. And don't let the word scare you-it's not as hard as it looks.

Mental prayer is a lifting up of your mind and heart to God in loving conversation. It calls for a few simple acts of our mind and heart. Its chief purpose is to form a framework for personalized heart-to-heart conversation with Christ. It is a spiritual process that cultivates and safeguards your conversation with God.

In this conversation, you talk to God using the thoughts of your own mind and sentiments of your own heart. Putting your missal or your prayer-book aside, you approach and speak to God with the thoughts and actions of your own soul.

Mental prayer, then, is that interior prayer when you recall to your memory the words and deeds of our Blessed Lord-when your mind prayerfully reflects on these mysteries-and when your heart bursts forth in its own expressions of love, gratitude and sorrow. Sometimes, you'll use words in your conversation, and at other times you'll be wordless. But, through it all, your soul is in contact with your God.

Some find the different terms "Mental Prayer" and "Meditation" rather confusing. Meditation is actually only one of the parts of mental prayer. It is the thinking part of this conversation, and is the build-up for the true prayer. You are meditating, for example, when you prayerfully reflect upon the sufferings of Christ crucified as depicted on the Way of the Cross. But when your heart begins expressing to God its gratitude, it's sorrow for sin, etc. - then you are actually praying!

Thus, you can see that mental prayer is different from vocal prayer, which uses such patterns of prayer as the "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary" - wonderful and highly indulgenced as they are. Naturally, our mind and heart also play a part in vocal prayer else they would not be prayers at all. But, in vocal prayer we use the formulas of someone else, whereas in mental prayer we use our own words. If your prayer-life is limited to merely vocal prayer-essential as it is - there is danger that your contact may be superficial. The more intimate contact with the Mind and Heart of Christ-that is the special dividend of mental prayer-may never be achieved. It's imperative to keep in close union with our Lord at all times and throughout all the stages of the spiritual combat. It is mental prayer that solidifies and intensifies this union.

In mental prayer you stand in the Presence of God and expose your mind, heart and soul. And during that spiritual encounter with the Godhead, Christ gradually transforms the thoughts, desires and affections of your soul into the likeness of His very own. It's no wonder then that it causes an amazing change in the life of the one praying.

It's no wonder either that those who are afraid to face God-or themselves-never dare to pray like this!

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

9. The Sacred Heart is a hiden and infinite treasure desiring to manifest Itself, to be poured out and distributed, so as to alleviate our distress.

October 20, 2004

(1Ti 2:1-4) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli of Wilmington is urging Catholics in his diocese to pray a special litany every day in October asking St. Thomas More to intercede so that public officials, politicians and lawyers will become "courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life." October has been designated as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Our hope is to lead our people back to prayer and to the basic tenets of this magnificent nation" found in national mottoes, such as "in God we trust" and "one nation under God," the bishop said. "We will storm heaven with our prayers not only during the month of October, but I hope we will learn the litany and make it part of our personal devotions," he told The Dialog, diocesan newspaper of Wilmington.

Bishop Saltarelli said the litany, printed on a prayer card that was inserted into the Sept. 30 issue of The Dialog, should remind people that "more can be accomplished by prayer than by demonstrations, attacks or name-calling."


V. Lord, have mercy
R. Lord have mercy
V. Christ, have mercy
R. Christ have mercy
V. Lord, have mercy
R. Lord have mercy
V. Christ hear us
R. Christ, graciously hear us

V. St. Thomas More, Saint and Martyr, R. Pray for us (Repeat after each invocation)
St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers
St. Thomas More, Patron of Justices, Judges and Magistrates
St. Thomas More, Model of Integrity and Virtue in Public and Private Life
St. Thomas More, Servant of the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ
St. Thomas More, Model of Holiness in the Sacrament of Marriage
St. Thomas More, Teacher of his Children in the Catholic Faith
St. Thomas More, Defender of the Weak and the Poor
St. Thomas More, Promoter of Human Life and Dignity

V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Spare us O Lord
V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Graciously hear us O Lord
V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Have mercy on us

Let us pray:
O Glorious St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, your life of prayer and penance and your zeal for justice, integrity and firm principle in public and family life led you to the path of martyrdom and sainthood. Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life the foundation of all other human rights. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

8. God is so good that He allows us to appropriate this treasure of the really poor- the Sacred Heart of Jesus- the heavenly plenitude of Which can most fully supply for what is lacking to us.

October 19, 2004


In the second reading today (2 Timothy 3:14-4:2), Saint Paul tells Timothy that he is to remain faithful to what he has believed since infancy. We have been taught since the time we were born what the truth is all about. For those who were born and raised Catholic, we have been given the fullness of the truth on a silver platter. Unfortunately, today, as Saint Paul said so many years ago about a particular individual, many have made shipwreck of their faith. They have been given everything and they have thrown it away. The reason for most people throwing their faith away is political correctness or selfishness and greed; it is one or the other. Saint Paul tells Timothy that he has to continue to preach the Gospel in its fullness whether it is convenient or inconvenient, in season and out of season, whether people want to hear it or not. We have to preach it and we have to live it.

So there are a couple of things we need to think about given the time in which we are now living. Number one, on the universal level, we are not going to be able to turn things around. The time has come and God is about to intervene in the world, and that is not going to be stopped any longer. The opportunity was there for people to pray and do penance, and people chose against God instead of for Him. There will be no turning that [God’s intervention] around any longer. The only thing we can do now is to continue, as Our Lord made clear in the Gospel reading, to pray always without wearying. That prayer is for two reasons: number one, to shorten the time that we are going to have to endure; and, number two, to remain faithful in the midst of what is going to be the most horrendous thing anyone on the face of the earth has ever encountered.

The Day of the Lord is at hand, and there is no more sticking one’s head in the sand. It is not going to be just a one-time event; it will end that way but it is not going to begin that way. The purification has already begun and it is going to increase in intensity. People have continually turned their backs on God. But for those who truly want to be Catholic, we have a choice. We have to choose Jesus Christ, and we have to choose to remain faithful in the midst of it.

The only thing that is going to make any difference right now is prayer. This is something that we need to understand in the very depths of our being. The only thing that is going to make a difference now is prayer. All the running around and doing all the things that people want to do to try to convince themselves that they are doing well is done. It does not matter how much we want to convince ourselves – the only one that matters is Jesus Christ. And if we are not deeply rooted in prayer, we will be lost. Anyone who thinks they have the strength to remain faithful all by themselves has been duped by Satan. Our help is in the Lord. Our strength is from the Lord, and that is the only place. We have been playing this game all too long of trying to suggest that it is okay to be Catholic but not really live it and not believe it. All too many Catholics have been trying to play this game of saying that they do not really have to go to Mass, they do not need to pray, they do not need to believe in the Blessed Sacrament, they do not need to believe in the moral teachings of the Church, they can do whatever they want, they can be worldly like the rest of the people around them. And they are going to continue to try to convince themselves of that.

The Lord made very clear that justice is going to be served, and it will be served swiftly. God has been exceedingly patient, but the day has come and the patience is no longer there. If we want the mercy of God for ourselves, for our families, and for those who need a conversion of heart, prayer is the only means by which it is going to be obtained. And prayer is the only means by which any of us is going to remain faithful to Jesus Christ. The battle is God’s; the first reading should have made that very clear. As long as Moses had his hands up bringing the blessing of God upon the Israelites, they had the better part of the battle. But when he got tired and let his arms down, the enemy had the better part of the battle. So Jesus told us to pray without growing weary. If we get weary and let our prayer down, we are going to lose. But if by the strength of God we can continue to pray, then we will remain faithful, then we will win the battle. This is a battle for souls, but people have lost that understanding because we want money and other things, and that has become more important than human souls.

Now, having said that, each one of us still has to remain faithful, not only in prayer but in the way that we live our lives. In a little over a week, we all have to go to the polling place and we have to make a choice. We have heard all the political rhetoric, people trying to convince us that you can be a Catholic but you can still be evil and do evil things and vote for things that are intrinsically evil. It has even been published in Catholic papers to tell us that it is okay to do these horrendous things. It is not. There are several things we need to be aware of as we walk toward the voting booth. There are several things which are intrinsically evil that no one who is Catholic can vote for. So you need to keep this in mind as you go forth to vote: Abortion, euthanasia, fetal or embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, or this hideous thing that they like to call “homosexual marriage”, these things are all intrinsically evil (that means they are evil in themselves and nothing and no one can ever make them right) and we cannot vote for anyone running for public office who is in favor of these things. The only exception to that rule is if there are two candidates who are both in favor of something that is intrinsically evil; if you have not a third option to choose from, then you can vote for the one who is the better of the two. That is, let us say that one is in favor of three things that are intrinsically evil and the other is in favor of only one thing that is intrinsically evil, then you can vote for the one who would be in favor of only the one thing that is intrinsically evil. My own way of looking at it personally is that I will not vote for either of them if that is the case because I do not want to cast my vote for anyone who is in favor of anything that is truly evil.

And let us make no mistake; if we willfully vote for someone who is publicly acknowledged as being in favor of things that are intrinsically evil, it is a mortal sin. We can no longer make claims like, “Well, my family has always voted this way so I have to do the same.” That is a bunch of nonsense! We have to vote for people who want to bring about a true good. And we have to use our minds; we cannot just mindlessly walk in and say, “Well, this is the way that I’ve always voted. I don’t know what anybody stands for, but I’ll just vote this way because I always have.” We need to look things up, we need to find out where people stand, and we need to vote with our conscience.

That, again, has become a problem these days. We have many priests who have been telling people, “Just do whatever your conscience tells you.” That is true – provided that your conscience is well formed. The formation of conscience has to come from the Lord, that is, by looking at the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and of His Church and forming our consciences in accordance with those truths. “Conscience” does not mean doing whatever I feel; “conscience” means doing what is right. That means we cannot – ever or in any circumstance – uphold something that is intrinsically evil. And so I highly recommend to you to do a little bit of study in the next week, to look at the candidates (both on the national level and on the local level in your particular ward) and find out what they stand for. If they are in favor of anything that is intrinsically evil – abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, or homosexual “marriage” – we cannot vote for these people because they are in favor of things that are completely contrary to the law of God.

We must remain faithful, whether it is convenient or inconvenient. In the midst of all the political correctness, all the pressures that are applied from so many areas, we have an obligation in all things to remain faithful to Jesus Christ. The time has come. Regardless of the political situation and regardless of the world situation, we must remain faithful. We must pray and we must realize that our faith is going to be tested, as it has never been before. It begins with simple things, like “Are we going to choose evil or are we going to choose good?” If we are not even able to pass the most simple test that is completely black-and-white, good-or-evil (there is not an in-between when it comes to such things), then how do we think we are going to remain faithful as things progress? Right now the Lord is looking at our hearts, and He is going to test them to see if we will remain faithful to Him. Whether it is in the voting booth, in the workplace, in our families, on the streets, or in front of the Blessed Sacrament, He is going to try us, He is going to test us. He is going to see if we will remain faithful to what we have been taught from our infancy. Remain faithful in the midst of the trials and difficulties and pray always without wearying because right now that is our only hope to save our own souls and to be able to save as many as we can. We will not turn back the hand of God any longer – the day has come – now our only hope is to save as many as we can.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

7. What increases my sufferings is that I cannot avenge upon myself the insults that are offered to my divine Saviour in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar.

October 18, 2004


Pope John Paul said on Sunday peace was still far-off with nations racked by violence, terrorism and war, and abortion casting a "threatening shadow" over parts of the world.

The 84-year-old Pope made his comments at a ceremony at the Vatican to close -- via satellite -- a major Roman Catholic Church congress in Mexico. He was not able to attend because Vatican organizers decided it might be a strain on his health.

"The heart of men, made heavy by sin, often disoriented and tired, tried by all kinds of sufferings, needs light," he said.

"The world needs light shed on its difficult search for peace that appears distant at the start of a Third Millennium turned upside down and humiliated by violence, terrorism and war."

He said "threatening shadows" covered many parts of the world "because of a culture which lacks respect for life at every stage of its existence."

This was a clear reference to abortion, which has become an issue in the current U.S. election campaign.

The pontiff presided at a Mass in St Peter's Basilica as in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Church's latest International Eucharistic Congress was coming to a close.

MORE: Tenacious Pope marks 26th anniversary


The strength and character of Iraqi Christians was evident Sunday when they answered the call of bells and prayed in churches that had been bombed just the day before.

It was a brave and determined act of solidarity in the name of God. About 100 parishioners of St. Joseph's Catholic church in Baghdad held Sunday services, just one day after the church was almost completely destroyed by a powerful bomb.

"We carry on as we did before. Its just symbolic, to say that whatever they do to us, or to others, we carry on believing in God and praying," said Father Vincent, the priest at St. Joseph's.

Parishioners consoled one another and hugged. And, when the small choir of young girls began to sing, only but a few managed to hold back their tears.

With tears in his eyes, the 13-year-old alter boy, Avil Nabil says the bombing of his church is so terrible. He asks, "what did we do to have this happen to us?" He said he was crying when he saw what happened because, he said, this is a sacred place, a holy place. He said, this is a house of God.

Saturday, five churches in Baghdad were attacked with bombs. At St. Joseph's, the resulting fire gutted the church. The explosion blew gaping holes in two walls and shattered all of the structures stained glass windows.

Saturday, few would have believed services could be held the very next day.

But, in a near non-stop effort, parishioners gathered at the church and worked throughout the night to clear away enough of the charred debris so that Sunday services could be held as scheduled.

RELATED: Christians talk of leaving Iraq after church bombs


Iraqi Christians live in fear- report from Father Nizar Semaan, a Catholic priest in Iraq
Iraq's Persecuted Christians

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

6. My greatest happiness is to be before the Blessed Sacrament, where my heart is, as it were, in Its center.

October 15, 2004


VIA Nadine: What You Can Do About Temptation!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

It's not unusual for a confessor to be asked this question: "I want to love God so much, yet I have such strong temptations to certain sins. What is worse these temptations seem so attractive at times. Why is this?"

The Apostle Paul could easily answer that question. He wrote of how he experienced the same conflict-the law of his members fighting against the law of his mind. This constant conflict between our built-in inclinations to evil and our frequent desire to love God is the lot of everyone.

The first thing to say about temptation is-don't be surprised at it! Scripture warns that we are inclined to evil from the days of our youth-and what is temptation but an invitation to evil. No matter how prolonged or intense the invitation-no one has to accept it. It's what you do with temptation that really matters!

Is everyone tempted in the same way and in the same degree? Of course not! For one thing, your type of character and temperament makes a difference. Some saints are tempted against purity most of their lives, while others are freed after a brief encounter with temptation. Some are more inclined by nature to pride, while others have to be on guard against sensuality or avarice.

Difference of upbringing also leaves its mark here. A person trained to virtue from his youth will have an easier time of it than one who is not. Each soul usually has one special weakness, as well as past history of certain sins. These also influence his present behavior in time of temptation. Finally, there is the Providential design of God on each soul.

Why does God invite you to union with Himself and then permit you to be tempted so strongly? That's easy, too. Temptation enables you to merit Heaven by your loyal struggle for "only the violent carry away." Through it, God permits a means of purification as well as atonement for past sins. It even offers the opportunity to grow in the very virtue against which you are tempted.

Fully-confident that "to those who love God all things work unto good" the saints used their temptations as stepping stones to greater love of God. Each new temptation made them less reliant on self and more reliant on the grace of our Savior. They even found in their temptations an indication of the virtues God wished them to cultivate to a higher degree. Thus, their temptations prodded them on to a greater spiritual progress.

What's the best way to fight temptation? First be humble-for humility wins God's grace and grace is made perfect in infirmity. Don't be over-anxious about temptations because this may increase them; and don't be over-careless, or temptation may catch you off guard. With alertness, firmness and calmness combat it when it strikes. Certain temptations are better handled by diversionary tactics such as those against chastity, rather than by trying to "push" them out of your mind.

Above all, pray frequently and fight perseveringly. Our Blessed Lord promised help to those who ask and a crown to those who persevere until the end. Some of His greatest saints were molded in a crucible of temptation. The same could be true of you!

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

5. I will unite all my prayers with those that the Sacred Heart of Jesus makes for us in the Blessed Sacrament.

October 14, 2004


As more than one billion Muslims prepare to celebrate Ramadan, terror experts are mixed about whether the holy month is a tool for recruiting terrorists.

Some terrorism experts and Islamic scholars say Ramadan gives extremists an opportunity to enlist new recruits.

"It's a time which can be exploited by radical clerics to motivate individuals into taking action on the basis they are somehow serving their religion," says terror expert M.J. Gohel.

And analysts see another temptation for terrorists: exploiting a the Battle of Badr, a symbolic date in Muslim history, which falls near the U.S. presidential election.

"Within Ramadan you have the anniversary of the Battle of Badr, which was the first jihad that took place in 624 and the commanding general of the underdog Muslims that were fighting the war was Mohammed himself," says Ed Hotaling author and former Middle East bureau chief for CBS News.

"Now that the U.S. elections are almost going to coincide with Ramadan, there is almost a double temptation as it were to perpetuate some kind of atrocity," says Gohel.

U.S. counterterrorism officials say they are concerned al Qaeda wants to attack the U.S. homeland or strike American interests abroad ahead of November. Iraq, terror analysts say, is the likeliest of targets.


Ramadan Likely to Begin Friday
Attacks during the holy month of Ramadan last year
U.S. Steps Up Iraq Attacks Before Ramadan
Iran plots Ramadan infiltration in Iraq
Police to limit Ramadan worshipers on Temple Mount

ANALYSIS: Blowing up their own civilization


Iraqi Christians live in fear- report from Father Nizar Semaan, a Catholic priest in Iraq
Iraq's Persecuted Christians

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

4. Jesus was obedient even to the death of the Cross, therefore I wish to obey even to my last sigh, so as to pay homage to the obedience of Jesus in the Sacred Host; and the whiteness of the Host teaches me that I must be a pure victim, in order to be sacrificed to Him.

October 13, 2004

POPE JOHN PAUL II: The message of Fátima is a call to conversion, alerting humanity to have nothing to do with the "dragon" whose "tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth" (Rv 12: 4). Man's final goal is heaven, his true home, where the heavenly Father awaits everyone with his merciful love.

God does not want anyone to be lost; that is why 2,000 years ago he sent his Son to earth, "to seek and to save the lost" (Lk 19: 10). And he saved us by his death on the cross. Let no one empty that Cross of its power! Jesus died and rose from the dead to be "the first-born among many brethren" (Rom 8: 29).


13 October 1917
The proclamation of a public miracle caused the most intense speculation throughout Portugal, and the journalist Avelino de Almeida, published a satirical article on the whole business in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo. People from other parts of the country descended, in their tens of thousands, on the Cova, despite the terrible storm that lashed the mountain country around Fatima, on the eve of the 13th. Many pilgrims went barefooted, reciting the rosary as they went, all crowding into the area around the Cova, as by midmorning the weather again turned bad and heavy rain began to fall.

The children reached the holmoak around noon, and then saw the flash of light as Mary appeared before them. For the last time, Lucia asked what she wanted: "I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes."

Again Lucia made her requests, being informed that people must amend their lives, and ask forgiveness of their sins, if they wanted healings or conversions. She reported too that Mary grew very sad and said: "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended." Then rising into the air and opening her hands towards the sun, growing more brilliant as she did, she disappeared, being replaced by various visions seen only by the children.

The Miracle of the Sun
At the same time the vast crowd saw a true miracle. The black clouds parted, and the sun became visible, looking like a dull grey disc that could be looked at directly quite easily. In O Seculo Avelino de Almeida would adopt a very different tone from his earlier satirical article on Fatima:

" could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: "A miracle! A miracle!" Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun "danced" according to the typical expression of the people. ...

"People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it with its rays. Some said they saw it change colours successively. ..."

Other witnesses too, such as Maria Carreira, testified to the terrifying nature of the solar miracle: "It turned everything different colours, yellow, blue, white, and it shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire which was going to fall on the people. They cried out: 'We shall all be killed, we shall all be killed!' ... At last the sun stopped moving and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were still alive and the miracle which the children had foretold had taken place."

Other people witnessed the solar miracle from a distance thus ruling out the possibility of any type of collective hallucination. A final intriguing, and important, point was that the heat of the sun, as it descended on the people, also had the effect of drying their clothes and the ground, so that they went from being completely soaked to being dry in about ten minutes.


Fatima: Miracles and Prophecy
October 13, 1930 The Approval Of Fatima: A Pastoral Letter
Vatican Website: The Message of Fatima

Modern Controversy- Portuguese Newspaper Reports: Vatican Calls for Resignation of Bishop of Fatima and Shrine

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

3. As I was about to receive Holy Communion, our Lord told me that He would come Himself to imprint on my heart the mystical life which He leads in the holy Eucharist, a life entirely hidden and annihilated in the eyes of men, a life of sacrifice and seeming inactivity. He added that He would Himself give me the strength to do what He required of me.

October 12, 2004

POPE JOHN PAUL II: May the Year of the Eucharist be for everyone a precious opportunity to grow in awareness of the incomparable treasure which Christ has entrusted to his Church. May it encourage a more lively and fervent celebration of the Eucharist, leading to a Christian life transformed by love.


RELATED: Year of the Eucharist Resources


The first condition for hearing Mass well is to understand thoroughly the infinite sanctity of the Holy Sacrifice and the graces it obtains. The Mass is a stupendous mystery. Our minds on the other hand are weak and slow to understand. Therefore we must ponder seriously on the Wonders of the Mass. One Mass heard with understanding and devotion optains us more graces than a hundred, or a thousand Masses heard carelessly and in ignorance of what the Mass is. We should make it an inviolable rule to arrive at Church some minutes before Mass starts, firstly in order to be prepared and recollected when the priest comes on the altar, and secondly, to avoid causing distraction to others.

We should not only hear Mass, but we should offer it with the priest. Moreover, we should have the intention of hearing and offering all the Masses being said at the same time all over the world. In this way we receive a share in these innumerable Masses.

We at once notice that the Crucifix is on every altar, that the priest's vestments are all marked with the sign of the cross, that he makes this holy sign very many times during the Mass. Why? To make clear to us that the Mass is really and truly the Sacrifice of the Cross, that in the Mass Christ is crucified, sheds His Precious Blood and dies for us.

We must have NO DOUBT that we are really assisting at the Sacrifice of the Cross.

We may use any prayers that we wish, and that help us most, but it is generally admitted that it is best to use a prayerbook that follows, as closely as we can, the Mass with the priest.

The Confiteor. When the priest bends down at the beginning of the Mass and says the Confiteor, we, too, should unite ourselves with Jesus in His agony, should humbly confess our faults and ask pardon for them through the merits of Christ's agony. We then follow the various prayers with the priest.

At the Santus we should remember that the Angels come down to assist at Mass in multitudes and that we are in the midst of them, and we should join our voices with theirs in adoring and praising God. They present our prayers to God.

At the Consecration we should be filled with the deepest reverence and love, for Jesus is really born in the hands of the priest, as He was born at Bethlehem. When the priest lifts up the Sacred Host, we should look on our God in an ecstasy of joy, as the Angels look on Him in Heaven, and say, "My Lord and My God!"

At the Consecration of the Precious Blood we must remember that all the Precious Blood that Jesus shed on Calvary is in the chalice, and we should offer it to God with the priest for God's Glory and for our own intentions.

It is well to place ourselves, our sins, all our intentions, our dear ones, the souls in Purgatory in all the chalices being at this moment offered to God in every part of the world. We must be full of Holy Awe and love from the Consecration to the Communion. We are in the midst of countless adoring Angels.

It is indeed a sign of woeful ignorance to manifest irreverence, to look around, or speak during this most sacred time. It is much worse to leave the Church, to abandon God dying on the altar for us. Nothing but the gravest necessity should induce one to go away until, at least, the Communion of the priest.

Remember, dear reader, that the day you hear Mass is worth a thousand days to you, that all the labors and works of a day, or a week, or a whole year, are nothing in comparison with the value of one Mass.

Reading these wonderful words of the Saints and Doctors of the Church, how is it possible that any Christian father or mother does not ardently desire to see at least one of their sons a priest.
Parents earnestly seek the welfare of their children; they strive to procure for them every happiness, every benefit, every honor.

How lamentable, then, is it that they so rarely seek for them the greatest of all honors, the priesthood.

It is true we have heard of some families which count as many as three, four, six sons as priests, but alas, these are very few.

From the Wonders of the Mass by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.
"Why Should I Go To Mass Every Day?"

"The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"
(Pope Paul VI)

For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death (revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the great).

Padre Pio, the stigmatic priest, said, the world could exist more easily without the sun than without the Mass.

The Cure' d' Ars, St. Jean Vianney said, if we knew the value of the Mass we would die of joy.

A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death. St. Leonard of Port Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may be more profitable than many after it.

"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death." (Pope Benedict XV).

Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord, "How can I thank you?" Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS."

The Blessed Virgin Mary once told Her faithful servant Alain: "My Son so loves those who assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that, if it were necessary He would die for them as many times as they've heard Masses." (Page 107, last paragraph of "Explication Du Saint Sacrifice De La Messe" parle R.P. Martin de Cochem Friere - Mineur Capucin.)

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

2. Jesus makes Himself poor in the Blessed Sacrament. He gives us all He has, reserving nothing for Himself, so as to possess our hearts and enrich them with Himself. I must forsake and despise myself, if I wish to imitate Him and to win His most lovable Heart.

October 11, 2004


Pope John Paul II exhorted Christians on Friday to display signs of their faith more forcefully, contending the practice neither infringes on separation of church and state nor breeds intolerance.

In a 31-page letter focused on the central role of Holy Communion in the life of Catholics, the pope kept up his campaign to invigorate the faith of followers.

"May there be more commitment, on the part of Christians, to give witness with more force to the presence of God in the world," John Paul wrote. "Let's not be afraid to speak of God and to carry on high the signs of faith.

"Those who contend that public reference to faith can infringe the rightful autonomy of the state and civil institutions or that it can even encourage attitudes of intolerance are wrong," he said.

John Paul's letter marked the start this month of the Church's Year of the Eucharist. Catholics believe Christ is present in flesh and blood in Communion.

There is vigorous debate in the Church over divorced Catholics who want to receive Communion after they remarry, in defiance of church teaching. Several U.S. bishops have said they would deny Communion to Catholic politicians whose stands on issues like abortion and gay marriage run counter to the Vatican's positions.

The pontiff touched on the sensitive issue, reinforcing the Vatican's insistence that the faithful adhere to church teaching to be able to receive Communion.

"The special intimacy which is achieved in Eucharistic Communion cannot be adequately understood or fully lived outside ecclesial communion," the pope wrote, without wading into any specific controversies.

Earlier this year, the Vatican issued a directive clamping down on such abuses during Mass as non-Catholics taking Communion. At the time, a top Vatican official, Cardinal Francis Arinze, said priests must deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.

RELATED: Year of the Eucharist By Bishop Paul S. Loverde


Senior Vatican officials have decided to put aside their differences with Tony Blair over the war in Iraq, calling for multinational troop reinforcements to secure the country's fledgling democracy.

In February last year, both Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state, offered some of the fiercest denunciations of Mr Blair and President George W Bush for their strike on Saddam Hussein.

Their private criticism of Mr Blair was made embarrassingly public by Vatican officials, who revealed at a press conference that the Pope had urged him to "make use of all the resources offered by international law to avoid the tragedy of war".

Now, in light of the post-war chaos, Cardinal Sodano has announced a newly hawkish line on Iraq from Rome. "The child has been born," he declared recently on behalf of the Vatican. "It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated."

Despite the Vatican's vociferous opposition to the war, the bloody terrorist attacks and the continuing insurgency have convinced the Pope that only an increased military presence, including Nato troops, can secure peace.

"There is a feeling that there really is no going back," said a Vatican adviser.

VIA Ivan Cox: It's very important for Americans to remember that the Vatican is in Italy, in Europe. The political influences at work there are very different from those on the other side of the Atlantic. The officials with whom I met were interested in the US presidential election, but it was not dominating their thoughts. They were, however, keenly aware of the European hostages being held by Islamic terrorists in Iraq. Eighteen months ago, the Vatican was distinctly hostile toward US policies in Iraq. That is no longer the case; there is a wide range of opinion on how the terrorist threat should be confronted, and a general recognition that-- whether or not the war was justified-- there's no excuse for pulling out of Iraq now.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

1. Let every knee bend before Thee, O greatness of my God, so supremely humbled in the Sacred Host. May every heart love Thee, every spirit adore Thee and every will be subject to Thee!

October 8, 2004


(Luke 14:11) For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."


Cloning: What's Stopping us?
Rethinking Sex
Dolly's Creator Applies for Human Cloning License
France opens door for human stem cell studies
Killer flu recreated in the lab

RELATED: Ethicist stresses moral inviolability of embryonic stem cells

EDITORIAL: It's Not About Stem Cells

Rev. Joseph Fiorenza: "The claim that destructive embryo research will achieve a utopian end is, we believe, a hollow promise. In the meantime, however, the killing will be quite real."

VIA Jim McCrae: Human Potential Programs (gain popularity, money, power, love, self esteem etc.)

The specific problem with human potential programs is that they are all about self, self, self - Self actualization, self confidence, self esteem, self mastery, gaining wealth, prestige, popularity, power, love etc. All gaining it for the *self.*

This is diametrically opposed to Christian values, for within the Christian context, it is precisely the self that it the problem. The great evil described by classical Catholic thought is *self love.* This is the attributing of an inordinate and independent excellence to oneself. This is what the human potential programs foster.

The whole of wisdom for being conformed to Christ is to die to self and to die to the world, so that we put all our value in God.

Our happiness is to be found precisely in focus on the *other.* The primary other is Christ, to whom we are to give adoration. The focus must be on pleasing Christ, rather than ourselves. The focus must be on making our neighbor happy and not ourselves. For it is a truth that when one seeks happiness directly, it eludes one. But when one gets out of the self to focus on bringing honor to God and serving neighbor, happiness comes to one.

The motivation for honoring God and serving neighbor is not to feel good about ourselves, but simply because that is their due. As Christians, we must cultivate true *integrity.* Integrity is doing what is right, simply because it is right, no matter what the personal advantage or disadvantage is. It is part of human potential programs to say that we should serve others to raise our self-esteem. This error makes gain for the self rather good for the other the motivator. But when we forget self to attend to the other, peace indeed comes to us.
We are all infected with the consequences of original sin. Part of this is the pride, in which we attribute to ourselves an independent goodness, that we believe that is ours by right. That is self-love in the bad sense and is the self-love condemned by all the spiritual masters. It is the life work of a Christian to get rid of this notion, and to fully realize that anything that we have is a gift from God. If we have something good, it comes from God. If we have something bad, it comes from us. To know this is the essence of humility.

VIA Nadine: The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do
2. To always to want to get your own way
3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong
4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it
5. To look down on another's point of view
6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent
7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess
8. To use yourself as an example in conversations
9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you
10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected
11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you
12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments
13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem
14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks
15. To seek to stand out
16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige
17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods

From the Writings of Bl. Josemaria Escriva

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: "To the Shepherd"

5. A genuine teacher is he who has received from God the tablet of spiritual knowledge, inscribed by His Divine finger, that is, by the in-working of illumination, and who has no need of other books. It is as unseemly for teachers to give instruction from notes taken from other men's writings, as it is for painters to take inspiration from other men's compositions.

October 7, 2004

(Luke 1:46-48) And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;


Once a widow confided to a priest that she not only meditated on the rosary but effectively applied it in her life.

When she got married – it was joyful mysteries; when they were living together – sorrowful mysteries; when her husband died – glorious mysteries; when she preferred to remain single – luminous mysteries.

On October 7 we commemorate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It recalls the decisive victory of Christian Europe over the invading Moslems in the naval battle of Lepanto, Spain; hence, the name "La Naval."

The victory which had saved Christian Europe and Christian civilization was attributed to the Blessed Mother’s miraculous intervention invoked through the recitation of the rosary.

Catholic tradition attests to the enormous power of prayer and Mary’s intercession in our modern times: The miraculous healings in Lourdes (1858), the predictions for world peace in Fatima (1917). Let’s not forget the answered prayers from numerous devotees of our Lady of Perpetual Help, our Lady of Manaoag or of Antipolo.

Take time to pray the rosary.

RELATED: John Paul II Makes a Rosary Appeal


The "Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary" is closely associated with the titles of "Our Lady of Fatima" and the "Immaculate Heart of Mary."  It began as a most beautiful spiritual prayer in recognition of the salutation of the angel of God to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then, it progressed to meditating upon the lives of Jesus and Mary, each mystery requiring reflection upon a biblical passage or and inspired truths that the Church has proclaimed as a Dogma of faith. Such truths consists of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.

While reflecting upon the mysteries continues to be the norm of the faithful, now, based on the apparition of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, additional emphasis has been placed on repentance, praying for sinners and doing penance. Through this spiritual devotion, Our Lady assures the world that evil shall be overcomed and that there will be a time of peace.

More specifically, in 1917, while communism was not so apparent, Our Lady asked that the faithful pray for the conversion of Russia and that Russia be consecrated to her. If such was done, communism would fall and Russia would be converted.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary echoes the words of Job that are found in the Book of Job. "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." It has now become obvious to the world that the Lord God has eternal plans for the Blessed Virgin Mary and that He has commissioned her as the Second Eve to assist her Son in the salvation of mankind by bringing sinners to Jesus.

In the Book of Job, we also read, "The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning." Equally, it can be said about the Virgin Mary. The Lord has indeed blessed the latter days of Mary more than her beginning. Progressively, over a period of possibly one thousand years, the fulness of the devotion to the Holy Rosary was not fully revealed to the world until 1917 when Our Lady stated, I am "Our Lady of the Rosary." If we are to measure the countless progressive honours that the Blessed Virgin Mary has received since she has departed from this world, can we begin to imagine what honours awaits her in the days to come?

Today, let us reflect upon the mystery of Our Lady of the Rosary that is unravelling itself upon the world. Let us give thanks to the Lord for the wonders that He has bestowed upon Our Lady of the Rosary, our heavenly Mother and our heavenly Queen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: "To the Shepherd"

4. A physician is he who suffers from no carnal or spiritual malady, and has no need of any remedy from other men.

October 6, 2004

(Mar 13:37) And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."


Iran adds to international concerns with missile, nuclear moves
Arab nations at UN demand Israel stop Gaza attacks
Israel kills Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza strike
Muslim cleric warns of jihad in Iraq

VIA SAR: This past week Cindy and I had the Elijah Cup at our house. This is a white ceramic cup (shape of a chalice) that a family takes home from Sunday Mass for a week to pray for priest vocations. This practice has been instituted in a number of churches in the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. It was a very spirit-filled week leading up to a Pro-Life March in Panama City today. The speaker at our Mass asked us to consider the Pro-Life stance of politicians running for office.

Time is growing shorter for the "Era of Grace" we have been granted - much shorter for the US (and its allies). The "winds of war" are growing in the Mideast and will involve Iran, Syria, North Korea and Russia. The situation is chaotic in the Mid-East and can break into an all out civil war between many factions. If this happens - this war can spread worldwide.

We do not have enough troops on the ground to control this situation despite repeated strikes at the enemy. Either the US will get out or we will set-up 14 airbases and await the outcome of the civil warfare and deal with the remaining factions who are left. The hatred of the US is widespread in the MidEast among the young men. Nine of fourteen key cities in Iraq are not in our control and the situation threatens a breakdown in coming Iraqi elections. There will never be a "democracy in Iraq" or other key Muslim nations. This is the situation which Pope John Paul II may have foreseen when he warned the US not to go to war.

There is a time of a "great shaking" of the earth coming but the time is not yet. However, it is the Father's hand that now rests upon the earth. The "time of certain events" has to do with the Elijah Cup becoming full (with prayers for vocations) for these are the future priests of the Remnant. Pray, trust and don't worry (Padre Pio). It is all in the Father's Hands and He loves you!

VIA Mission Moments: Please take note of the following. The “Sorrows of September” are not restricted to the month of September. Indeed, the “Sorrows of September” are going to increase in scope, magnitude and frequency. This shall continue until the Light of God illumines the hearts, minds and souls of all humanity in a great act of Mercy. Do not be afraid! Those who love God have no need to fear. A child of God has no reason to fear anything that comes from the loving intervention of God. The world is experiencing more and more the fruits of its sinfulness. Our Lady continually calls us to repentance, conversion and return to God. God will continue to bring to naught all that mankind has placed above and before Him.

The “Sorrows of September” are going to increase in scope, magnitude and frequency until the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is realized, the Victory of Christ manifest and the Eucharistic reign of Jesus established in every heart and soul throughout creation.

Do not be afraid! Do not become complacent or fatalistic, but respond with great generosity of heart to the maternal pleas of Mary, Mother of God!

Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray like you have never prayed before.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: "To the Shepherd"

3. A pilot is the man who, once having received spiritual strength from God and from his own toils, is able to draw up his ship, not merely from out of the billows, but also from out of the abyss itself.

October 5, 2004

VIA FEAST OF THE DAY- Optional Memorial of St. Faustina

St. Faustina was born in 1905 near the town of Lodz, Poland and was baptized Helena Kowalska. At the age of twenty, Helena left home and joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Upon entering religious life Helena took the name Faustina, the by which she was known for the rest of her life.

In 1934 Faustina was encouraged by her spiritual director to begin keeping a diary. In this diary, entitled "Divine Mercy in My Soul", Faustina recorded profound revelations and several mystical experiences where Jesus appeared to her. In these visions Jesus addressed Faustina as "Secretary of My mercy" and "Apostle of My Mercy." He gave Faustina the instructions that grew into the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.

St. Faustina died of tuberculosis in 1938 after predicting the coming war to the sisters of her community. After her death, devotion to the Divine Mercy spread rapidly through Poland and throughout the world. St. Faustina was the first saint of the new millennium to be canonized. She was canonized on April 30, 2000.

VIA SACRED HEART PUBLICATIONS: I thought some may be interested in reading the new Divine Mercy News Story. "Jesus of the Divine Mercy teaches Woman to forgive".

The link is on

There is a great testimony about abortion on

We are about to set up an Angel site and are interested in anyone who has had experiences of Angels. The site will be called Angel News.

Already going up soon is one major Angel apparition that took place in Lincoln seen by two familes and a Priest that a British Bishop has launched an investigation into. The Priest assigned is Father Michael Esmund from the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. Will write and let you know when this story is up.

VIA Kathi: It is refreshing to hear a Bishop encouraging Perpetual Adoration! Our Diocese of Harrisburg is blessed to have nine (yeah a novena!) of Chapels. I am a midnight coordinator for our area - we are at 8 1/2 years and going strong. Most hours have multiple adorers.

Unfortunately, I myself, do not get in to visit with my Love at our Chapel that often (I use a wheelchair and do not drive) so I coordinate the hour. He has blessed us with awesome holy people and seldom do I need to call for substitutes. When I do, I just ask Him, ok who do you want to visit with this evening and when I call they say yes!

I am blessed to be able to go up to the local nursing home (20 minute roll in my buggy) and I can attend daily Mass and visit my mom who lives there. For this year of the Eucharist I will spend a bit more time after Mass and sit in the Glow of my Love.

Please keep our Diocese in prayer as we are without a Shepherd since Bishop Nicholas C Datillo died this past March. He is the one who allowed us to start the Adoration Chapels twelve years ago.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: "To the Shepherd"

2. A shepherd is pre-eminently he that is able to seek out and set aright his lost, rational sheep by means of guilelessness, zeal, and prayer.

October 4, 2004


Bishop Donald Wuerl is calling on Catholics to rediscover traditional Eucharistic devotions during the Year of the Eucharist that Pope John Paul II has declared for the next 12 months.

"The faithful should be encouraged to designate specific times in the course of a week when they might spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament," Wuerl wrote in a pastoral letter in this week's Pittsburgh Catholic.

"This could be a time of prayer for many special intentions but particularly for peace among people, an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, for the poor and for those with spiritual, physical or other personal needs."

Praying before the tabernacle where the consecrated hosts are stored, or before a host displayed in an ornate receptacle called a monstrance, was a central devotion in the pre-Vatican II church. But it has diminished over the past 40 years, and John Paul declared the Year of the Eucharist to renew Catholics' devotion to the most central sacrament of their faith.

The Year of the Eucharist begins Oct. 10, so Wuerl called for pastors to expose the sacrament for adoration after the last Sunday Mass that day and conclude with a service of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the late afternoon or early evening. Alternatively, he wrote, the church could remain open at times throughout the weekend for people to pray before the tabernacle.

He called for a similar observation in each parish on Oct. 16 or 17, to coincide with the end of a Eucharistic Congress that John Paul is holding in Mexico. All Catholics are invited for prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland at 5 p.m. Oct. 17.

Another practice he has asked parishes to renew is "40 Hours" -- a three-day prayer vigil before the exposed sacrament. A few local parishes have continued this practice, but it is logistically challenging because someone has to be watching over the host at all times, said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese.

"Typically now it's just one day, referred to as a Eucharistic Day. It used to be a three-day celebration, and priests from throughout the diocese would be invited to come in and demonstrate the importance of the Eucharist for the priest and the relationship between the priesthood and the Eucharist," Lengwin said.

"The Eucharist is the center of the life of the church. It's something that we need to continue to teach in every age."

Link to Pastoral Letter:

RELATED: May the Eucharist give us the courage to go on mission, the Pope says


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: "To the Shepherd"

1. In this terrestial book, O divine father, I have givne you the last place, but I am certain that you are inscribed in the celestial book before us all, if indeed He is truthful who said, "The last manner of thought shall be first in dignity." (Mat 20:16).

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