Keep your eyes open!...


September 30, 2004


(1Ti 6:14-16) I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

HOMILY BY FATHER ALTIER: September 26, 2004   Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the second reading today, Saint Paul instructs us that we are to pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, and so on. That pursuit of righteousness, he tells us, is exactly what we have to be about because of who we are. He tells us that we are to lay hold of eternal life, the eternal life which was promised to us, and the eternal life which we confessed when we made our noble confession. That noble confession took place at the moment we were baptized, when we made the vows of baptism to reject Satan and to profess our faith in God. So if we are going to pursue this life of righteousness, which is required of those who have given their lives over to Christ, that means we have to reject everything that goes contrary to righteousness. That is precisely the point, again, that we made in our baptismal vows: to reject Satan and all of his works and all of his empty promises.

Now if we are going to live this life, then we have to pursue it with great diligence. This has become more important right now than ever before because of the situation in which we live. If we consider the words of the first reading – Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying on their couches and eating fine foods…– if you just remove “Zion” and put “America” in there, I think you could have a pretty good idea of what we are talking about. And you could add a few more things: “Lying on their couches watching TV.” We do not have to worry about improvising music on the harp because we have all the filth that blasts out of the radios these days so people can be inundated with all kinds of unfortunate things. We have given in. The sad thing is that at the time of Amos the things that were going on in Israel were not good – the faith was in shambles – and yet because the people were wealthy, because they had a pretty easy life, they did not care. That is exactly why Amos says that even though they have all these things they are not made ill by the collapse of the house of Joseph. Well, look at what is going on in America. We have lots of wealth,, and the vast majority of people instead of being made ill over the immorality that is rampant are actually rejoicing in it. I think if the Founding Fathers of this country were to be placed in our society just for an hour, they would be absolutely horrified by what they would see. And to think of the effort they made to try to found a country that was based on faith, morality, and righteousness. Instead of rejoicing in the foundation and following the commandments, as Saint Paul tells us we are to do, we are rejoicing instead in just the opposite – reveling in it, in fact – as we have decided to dive headlong into the mire of this society.

Worse than that, we have a situation in the Church where in many ways we would have to say that the Catholic Church in America is in shambles. But tragically, the vast majority of Catholics (once again, rather than being made ill) are actually rejoicing because they no longer have to follow rules. They can do whatever they want. Mass, they say, is no longer boring because now it is fun. There is entertainment. You can show up and there is a whole band strumming on their guitars and beating on their drums and singing bizarre songs that have absolutely nothing to do with God. You look at what goes on in the sanctuary and it looks more like an anthill with all the activity that is going on rather than a place of reverence and worship. Far worse than that is that we have bishops and priests who are reveling in it, and in fact are the cause of much of it as they move the Blessed Sacrament out of the sanctuary and put the Lord in a closet somewhere, as they tear out the statues and destroy the churches. And they are far more interested in money than they are in Jesus Christ. They lie on their couches and they watch TV and they count their money. They are more interested in going on vacation and going golfing and playing games than they are in preaching the truth to the people of God. Once again, the people rejoice.

I just heard recently about a priest whom the people have tried several times to have removed from the parish he is assigned to. They are complaining bitterly about him and people are leaving the parish. They are quitting; they are leaving the Catholic Faith. And the reason? Because this priest keeps talking about Jesus and pointing to the crucifix – and they do not want to hear it. Woe to the complacent in America lying on their couches not wanting to hear the Faith, not wanting the truth, not wanting Jesus Christ, but wanting the Catholic Church to be a secular thing so that there will be no challenge to their conscience!

If we look at the Gospel reading and we put it into context, we see a rich man lying on his couch, eating sumptuously, enjoying life; and there at his door is a poor beggar, clearly starving and sick. The man does nothing, absolutely nothing, to lift a finger to help this poor man. And when the end comes after this rich man has lived a completely self-centered life, he goes to hell. The amazing thing is that even from there he calls out to Father Abraham to say, “Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to be able to cool my tongue because I’m in torment!” Look at the selfishness and the arrogance: “Send Lazarus to take care of me.” He did not lift a finger to take care of Lazarus but now he wants Lazarus’ finger to be able to cool his tongue. That is what hell is all about; it is pure selfishness. Everyone in hell is caught up in themselves, so of course that is what he is going to ask for; it is just himself.

But now we need to look around, and especially look within, and ask ourselves, “Are we the ones who are lying complacently? Are we the ones today who are not made ill over the collapse of the house that Jesus Himself founded? Are we the rich ones who kind of like the way things are right now because we can do anything we want and our conscience does not even have to bother us because everyone else is doing it?” We are the ones, if that is the case, who will be tormented by the flames. If we live in this world as selfish individuals, we will live in eternity as selfish individuals. When Dives, the rich man, asked Abraham to at least send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his brothers, Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets.” Dives said, “No, but if someone would only rise from the dead, surely they would listen to him.” Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they’re not going to listen even if someone should rise from the dead.” That is in the Gospel of Saint Luke. If you look in the Gospel of Saint John, you have a man by the name of Lazarus who was raised from the dead. How did the people respond? We are told in Saint John’s Gospel that they plotted to kill Lazarus because he was too great a witness. And we have Jesus, of course, Who has risen definitively from the dead, and they paid the Roman soldiers so that they would lie to cover up the truth. People will not listen even if someone is raised from the dead because they do not want the truth, because they revel in the very things that should be their shame.

We need to make a choice. We need to pursue righteousness. We need to lay hold of the eternal life which has been promised. We need to cling to the promise and the confession of faith that we made because we have to remember there are only two ways that we can go. There are only two roads that lead to eternity and both of them are one-way streets. One is wide and smooth and easy, and it leads to eternal perdition, to the flames of torment where the rich man found himself being crushed in his own selfishness. The other is rough and narrow, and it is the way that leads to life. We have to make the choice, and it is made now. It is not something that we just choose in theory because I think if we asked every person on the face of the earth, “Would you rather go to heaven or go to hell?” most people of course would say that they want to go to heaven. But it is the question of living it, pursuing that righteousness, living according to the confession of faith that we made. It is every day and every minute of every day that we have to make that choice and put it into action, otherwise we become the complacent in America lying on their couches and watching TV and not caring in the least about the collapse of the house that is surrounding us.

So we have a choice to make. We have a choice of whether we want to live the faith that we have professed or whether we do not. We have the choice of which path we are going to take. We have the choice of where we want to spend eternity. And the choice is made now, not then. The question has been asked and it awaits the answer. The only one who can answer for you is you; you have to make the choice. Again, it is not an objective theoretical choice; it is a subjective and practical choice. If you are going to say “yes” to Jesus Christ, then you have to live it, you have to pursue it, you have to lay hold of the eternal life which was promised to you when you made your noble confession of faith. If we refuse to put our faith into practice, if we become complacent, if we rejoice in the collapse of the morality and the righteousness of America, if we rejoice in the destruction of the faith within the Church, then listen again to what the prophet Amos says: They will be the first to go into exile. The exile spoken of for us is an eternal exile away from the Promised Land, away from God forever, where we can be with Dives, the rich man, being tormented in the flames and being filled with selfishness and arrogance for the rest of eternity. The choice is ours. The question has been asked – it awaits your answer.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

33. Experience of the Lord's gift engenders hope; he who is without experience remains in doubt.

September 29, 2004

FEAST DAY: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels



At the end of the holiday of Yom Kippur, Jews who have been fasting for 24 hours gather for a "Break the Fast" -- a feast of eggs, bagels, and other comfort foods for bodies that have gone without for 24 hours.

"I love Break the Fast parties," Matt Bernstein said Sunday. "Last night was the only one I've missed my whole life."

Don't let him fool you. Bernstein had his own Break the Fast party Saturday night in Camp Randall Stadium. The Wisconsin junior feasted on a pregame IV bag, and during the game, moved on to turkey slices, fruit and the Penn State defense.

FB Matt Bernstein switched to TB and ran for 123 yards on 27 carries. Bernstein, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound career fullback from Edgemont, N.Y., got stuck at tailback Saturday because of injuries to, well, every other Badger. Bernstein, who had never carried more than six times or rushed for more than 29 yards, carried 27 times for 123 yards Saturday night. A guy used to opening the holes, not running through them, made all but one of those carries after halftime. A player as proud as he can be that he lowered his 40 this summer to 4.86 -- a result that wouldn't get a second look from a I-A recruiter looking for a tailback -- took over a Big Ten game.

And that player didn't eat or drink for 24 hours before the game, a Judaic custom taken from a passage in Leviticus.

"Everything just worked out," Bernstein said. "I was lucky."

The improbable stardom of Bernstein had its genesis (lower case) last summer, when he and his father Steve first realized that the Penn State game took place on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Well, it did and it didn't. Yom Kippur began at sundown Friday and ended at sundown Saturday.

"Me and my dad were discussing it," Matt said, "hoping it was a night game. If it was at 11, I couldn't play."

Wisconsin kicked at the unusual time of 4:45 p.m., thanks to a request from ESPN, which wanted the game to lead in to the movie Hustle.

Bernstein discussed it with coach Barry Alvarez and offensive coordinator Brian White, his position coach.

"They told me, 'Do whatever you've got to do,'" Bernstein said. "I told Coach White that I wouldn't warm up (before the game). It was real easy. Everybody was real understanding."

Bernstein's brother, Alex, is a year behind him at Wisconsin. Their parents came in for the game. The family attended a Yom Kippur service at the Hillel on campus Saturday morning (a third brother, Ben, is a freshman football recruit at Columbia). Instead of warming up, Bernstein received an IV an hour before the game. White, who is also the running backs coach, told Bernstein he might have to play tailback, because so many of his teammates are banged up. He takes two or three reps at tailback in every practice drill, just in case.

"Actually, this was the first time I've ever played tailback," Bernstein said. "In high school, I was a fullback but we played a wing-T."

As for his religion, Bernstein has an inkling of his new status as a role model. He knows the story of Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, who didn't start a World Series game for the Dodgers that fell on Yom Kippur. And he read with interest last week about Los Angeles outfielder Shawn Green, who wrestled with whether to play against San Francisco on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Green played Friday night and sat out Saturday.

"It's a tough decision," Bernstein said. "If your own team is looking for you to be there, it puts him in a hard spot. I can't doubt him."

Wisconsin will go as far as its defense takes it, which, judging by the first four games, is pretty far. Davis is likely to jump-start the offense. But when the Badgers looked for Bernstein, he was there. There won't be a more inspirational story this season.

(Lev 23:27-28) "On the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present an offering by fire to the LORD. And you shall do no work on this same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God".

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

32. A monk of good hope is a slayer of despondency; with this sword he routs it.

September 28, 2004


(Rom 8:19-23) For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


A strong earthquake struck Central California on Tuesday, and it was felt from San Francisco to the Los Angeles area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There was no immediate report of injuries.

The quake, which struck at 10:15 a.m. PDT, had a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 and was centered 9 miles south of Parkfield.  An aftershock of 5.0 magnitude struck four minutes later.

Paso Robles police said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake was felt along a 350-mile stretch, as far north as San Francisco and as far south as Santa Ana, southeast of Los Angeles, the geological survey said.

Parkfield, located on the San Andreas fault, is known as the earthquake capital of California.

A magnitude 5 quake can cause considerable damage and a magnitude 6 quake severe damage, though problems are generally far less severe in remote areas and areas with strong building codes.

RELATED: Strong Quake Could Trigger A Tsunami in Southern California


Earthquake activity has increased at Mount Saint Helens to about two tremors a minute.

Scientist Jeff Wynn at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said the volcano is releasing three-to-four times the energy it was releasing Monday.

It's still unclear what's going on, he said.

The earthquake swarms began Thursday and on Sunday the Geological Survey issued a notice of volcanic unrest, saying there was "an increased likelihood of a hazardous event."

"We haven't had a swarm of earthquakes at Mount St. Helens since 2001," state seismologist Tony Qamar said. "Clearly something new is happening."

ALSO OF INTEREST: Close Call: City-Sized Asteroid to Pass Earth

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

31. The failing of hope is the disappearance of love. Toils are bound by it. Labours depend on it. Mercy encircles it.

September 27, 2004

(Mat 25:37-40) Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'


Pope John Paul II Sunday denounced the “imbalance” between the world’s rich and poor and applauded efforts to eliminate hunger, like the recent U.N. initiative to increase funds for development.

The pontiff said the Gospel passage about Lazarus, an impoverished beggar who ate the scraps from a rich man’s table, was “ever more appropriate in reference to the problem of the imbalance between the riches and poverty of the world today”.

On Monday, the presidents of Brazil and France encouraged 110 countries to back a new declaration to fight hunger and poverty and to increase funds for development. More than 50 heads of state or government joined in a debate at the United Nations on the impact of globalisation and on ways to finance the war on poverty.

John Paul called the U.N. meeting important and said it was aimed at “a more united and efficient action against hunger and poverty”. He noted the Vatican’s No. 2 official, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is the city-state’s secretary of state, participated in the debate and pledged the Holy See’s support for the initiative.

“The Catholic Church assures all its commitment to eradicating the scourge of hunger and the other consequences of poverty from the world,” the Pope said.

He prayed that God would “sustain the efforts of the international community aimed at justice and solid development. This, in fact, is the path which can guarantee to the world a future of peace.” John Paul also offered prayers on prayers for families and populations “most tried by the unfair distribution of wealth that God destines for all his children”.

VIA Richard: Please consider contacting Catholic Relief Services as your means to efficently and effectively accomplish hurricane relief aid which you personally desire to bring to our dear sisters and brothers who are in such deep need.

You can click below to read how CRS is right there - right now - giving aid and comfort to the storm victims (60,000 now homeless in Grenada alone - which is two thirds of the population of Grenada - Yikes !).

FLORIDA AID: Catholic Charities USA, which has been commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to represent the Catholic community in times of domestic disaster, responds with emergency and long-term assistance as needed. Its Disaster Response Office connects the Church’s social service agencies and disaster planning offices across the nation.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

30. Hope is a rest from labours; it is the door of love; it is the annulment of despair; it is an image of what is absent.

September 24, 2004


(Phi 1:9-11) And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

VIA Jim McCrea: Prayer Involves Listening to God

What many Catholics forget is that the other half of prayer is listening to God. Often when ones goes into a Church and sees people praying, they are always moving their lips. Many people make the mistake of thinking that prayer is only what we say to God. But it is important that for large periods of our prayer time, we simply fall silent and say: "speak Lord, your servant is listening." Contemplation is a very important phase of prayer where we are simply receptive and allow God to form and teach us. The best time to do this is before the Blessed Sacrament. Even when one says the Rosary, there should be a few moments of silence before saying it, rather than launching into it immediately. This allows the Holy Spirit to settle on oneself, and hence makes the Rosary much more effective.

So many pious people spend their prayer lives rattling off words. After 30, 40, 50 years of this, such people can still have grave personal defects, because such prayer does not reach to a great depth. Only when one is accustomed to being silent before the Lord in a contemplative attitude can God purify and enlighten at great depth. For the spirit of Christ is only heard in great silence, and if we don't hear Him, He can't teach us.

We can look at it this way. Our relationship with God is a personal relationship, and prayer is communication. We know that when we communicate with others, it is highly wrong to launch into a monologue and then walk away. Many people do this with God. Proper communication is both talking and listening. It is like a dance where there is an interplay of give and take - of talking and listening in sequence. As a result, each is tuned into what is mutually interesting and helpful, rather than being the bore who talks about only what oneself is interested in. It is the same with communicating God. We must give and take, talk and listen in sequence, so that we know His heart, and when we talk to Him, we will be doing so according to His will, rather than our own while ignoring His will.

VIA SACRED HEART PUBLICATIONS: I thought you may be interested to know that there is a new prayer room on line with a difference. It is "The Divine Mercy Prayer Room" All names in the room receive 20 mysteries of the Rosary and 4 Divine Mercy Chaplets. There is a prayer book where prayers can be written and requested. Also those who visit the prayer room are asked to offer an act of Mercy by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for each soul whose names are in the room. Also a request for more prayer partners is asked for. The room has been set up in honor of Our Lord Jesus' great mercy.

The link is

VIA Timothy: Today (9/16) as I write this it is Tishri 1, 5765 on the Jewish calendar; the first day of the New Year. The foundations of the next three years are now being laid behind the scenes by a small remnant of people, and only intercession can tip the balance and alter the course of events which are about to take place in 2005, 2006 and 2007. There is an unprecedented urgency this fall to fast, pray and press through in intercession unlike we have never pressed through before, to intercede in the 'Garden of Gethsemane' as if our lives depended upon it, for indeed it does for thousands of us, and many cities and nations are being weighed in the balance.

I was taken on an unexpected journey on Elul 29, the last day of 5764 on the Jewish calendar, when I was taken in the Spirit and given an angelic tour of things to come if the nations of the world continue on their current path. In the midst of the next three years, I was shown a bridge over troubled waters, with severe warnings shaking the earth in 5765 (2004-2005), greater judgments beginning to unfold in 5766 (2005-2006), and as the angel guided me across the bridge into 5767 (2006-2007) I was shown fire and mushroom clouds rising over cities, roaring seas and great tribulation unlike the world has ever seen. Nations were in great anguish as unprecedented earthquakes buried entire cities underneath the sea.

Without angelic intervention, events will begin to occur so quickly during the days ahead that many Christians will be caught off-guard, drunk in the cares of the world, and will not have their lamps filled with anointing. Do not be caught off guard. The Lord's return is at hand, and great birth pangs are about to shake the earth. Everything which has been prophesied shall come to pass. From the state of Alaska, to Asia and the ends of the earth, volcanic eruptions and great earthquakes are just the beginning. The initial birth pangs will be a call to repentance, but if are not heeded greater judgments will follow.

The purpose of the above prophetic warning is to save lives, not destroy them; to call the Body of Christ to intercession, not evacuation. By expecting the worse, we often miss the best. If we try to fit prophetic warnings into our own eschatological backgrounds, end time scenarios and personal theories, we fall into the same pitfall the Pharisees fell in to two millennia ago, and may totally miss the heart of God. This does not mean that we should not study eschatology and end time events. But we must allow room for God's sovereignty, or we miss the opportunity for his grace. Intercession can change worlds, and God is sovereign to not only change the future, but also to erase the past. This is a season of repentance, change, and new beginnings. Much can be lost if we fall into slumber, but much can also be gained during the next three years if we respond correctly to the Holy Spirit. Time is running out to intervene and lessen the magnitudes of the initial birth pangs. Instead of a cataclysmic earthquake in Alaska which shreds the land into pieces, the Veil of Darkness could be shredded into pieces, and rivers of Living Water spring up from the earth; but the choice is ours. Who shall heed the warnings while they are yet small? At the time of this writing, a third hurricane is now crashing into the United States on Tishri 1, 5765 – these three storms represent three years of cleansing, which began today, September 15, 2004.


Judgment must first begin in the house of God, and repentance first among those who are in leadership positions. Live a holy life, repent, humble yourselves, pray, for the time is much shorter than you think, and your people and perishing and need a deliverer, a shepherd, to lead them to a place of safety. Be a deliverer, a counselor, one who stands in the gap for your people, who will be a champion for your city and nation. A great cleansing is coming, and although some judgments are inevitable over the next three years, magnitudes can be lessened, wars can be averted, cities and nations can be saved. As national elections approach this fall, it is appropriate that you call your people to a time of prayer and fasting, not in a strict religious or burdensome sense; but as a leader that you build an atmosphere of intercession, a desire to press through for a breakthrough, releasing a spirit of hope instead of a spirit of death. Leave your people with a vision and goal for the future, a desire to change the course of history, and to move mountains and press through towards an impossible conclusion. God is releasing revivalists in this hour who will confront the Veil of Darkness over cities and nations head on and literally move worlds for the Kingdom of God.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

29. Hope is a wealth of hidden riches. Hope is a treasure of assurance of the treasure in store for us.

September 23, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. RICHARD HUBBELL!! It is through the generosity and hard work of Dr. Hubbell that the Trib Times, among several Catholic Lists,is delivered to your email box daily.
May the Lord bless you and your important ministry abundantly!

-- I will ask the Lord to let me remain at the threshold of Paradise and I will not enter until the last of my spiritual children has entered --

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the Capuchin stigmatic who died in 1968 after being persecuted at length by the religious authorities, and now recently elevated to the highest honors of the altar by John Paul II, is the only saint of the Catholic Church to have promised his devotees an assurance of life....eternal.

"When I die," the friar said many times, "I will ask the Lord to let me remain on the threshold of Paradise, and I will not enter until the last of my spiritual children has entered." In these simple but compelling words is contained the extraordinary promise of the new saint, practically an "insurance policy" on eternity. Catholics the world over picture him with a halo, blessedly contemplating the God to whom he had dedicated his entire life of prayer and suffering. It is probable, instead, that is still at the gateway to Paradise, because he has not forgotten this sensational promise.

In fact there were many of his spiritual children who asked of the Padre, especially when was approaching the time of his death: "Now that you may leave us, what are we going to do without you?" He replied, gruffly but at the same time playfully, "Silly person, I will be here in your midst, more than before. Come visit my tomb. Before, in order to speak to me, you had to wait. Then, it is I who will be waiting there. Come to my tomb and you will receive more than you did before!".

The new book by Saverio Gaeta, Padre Pio, on the Threshold of Paradise (Padre Pio, sulla soglia del Paradiso, St Paul Editions *), documents that these were not empty words. Angelo Battisti, his close collaborator and administrator of the Case Sollievo della Sofferenza [House for the Relief of Suffering, the hospital founded by Padre Pio], recounts that the saint of the Gargano often said: "In the tomb I will be more alive than ever!" The accessibility of Padre Pio, his capacity to be a companion to everyone, was perceived by those who came to him for confession. "When the Lord entrusts me with a soul", said the new saint, "I place it over my shoulders and never let it go".

Each one can say "The Padre is all mine"

The souls of his devotees were always present to him. One day, the same Battisti prodded him on this topic: "How do you remember all of the creatures that turn to you, those that come here and those that call on you from afar? I think that you make a common intention, put them all on one ‘cauldron’..." And the Padre: "In a cauldron is where I am going to throw you; I remember them and I call them one by one, and count their hairs, and then some". To Guglielmo Sanguinetti, one of the first physicians at the Casa Sollievo, who asked him how he was able to love all and be all for everyone, Padre Pio replied: "Correction, to be all for each one. Each one can say: the Padre is all mine!"

For the rest, the desire to suffer in order to ransom the souls of sinners was constant throughout his whole life. He himself, on November 29, 1910, had asked in writing to Padre Benedetto of San Marco in Lamis for special permission in this regard: "For some time past I have felt the need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. This desire has been growing continually in my heart, so that it has now become what I would call a strong passion. I have in fact made this offering to the Lord several times, beseeching him to pour out upon me the punishments prepared for sinners and for the souls in a state of purgation, even increasing them a hundredfold for me, as long as he converts and saves sinners and quickly admits to paradise the souls in Purgatory, but I should now like to make this offering to the Lord in obedience to you." **

A perennial victim along with Christ Padre Benedetto understood, and gave his consent. From that time the saint of the Gargano, who had begun to experience in himself the pains of the stigmata, always renewed this total donation. "No, I want to suffer until the end of the world," he replied one day to Malvina Lureti, who had advised him to take some rest. This is also confirmed by Padre Pierino Galeoni, a priest who was a spiritual child of Padre Pio: "He revealed to me that he asked Jesus to be able to be not only a perfect victim, but also a perennial victim, that is to continue to remain a victim in his children, in order to prolong his mission as a co-redeemer with Christ up until the end of the world. He confirmed to me that he had obtained from the Lord the mission of being victim and father of victims until the last day".

Thus is explained the reason behind that oft-repeated phrase, and the profound significance of that promise, of his remaining "on the threshold" of Paradise in order to draw within the very last one of his spiritual children. When he beheld the good intentions of a penitent, Padre Pio allowed himself to offer this type of assurance. Little Anna Tortora, at the day of her Confirmation, told him she wished for a gift. The saint asked her: "What do you desire? A doll, a little book?", and the child replied: "I wish, Padre, that when you go into heaven, make sure that there is a place there for me too." "Are you certain I will go there?" answered Padre Pio; and the child: "And if you don’t get there Padre, who else can get there?" At that point Padre Pio conceded: "Good, I promise you that, if I go there, I will carry you up too."

An easy way to become Padre’s spiritual child

But the great and most generous embrace of the friar is extended also to those who were not able to meet and get to know him, those who do not have the opportunity of visiting San Giovanni Rotondo, and those many devotees that are not able to pray at his tomb. Thus reveals brother Modestino of Pietrelcina ***, the compatriot of Padre Pio that has come to be viewed as his spiritual successor. Already many years prior, while the saint was still alive, he pondered over this problem. "I was meditating," he recounts, "on the benefits that were gained by those who are accepted by the Padre as his spiritual children. Then I thought with regret about all those that are not able to go to San Giovanni Rotondo to ask of Padre Pio to be adopted spiritually, and of those, even less fortunate, who would not learn of the Padre until after he had died".

One day while at confession with Padre Pio, an inspiration was taking form. "I would like to take on, as the Padre’s spiritual children, all those who commit to reciting, each day, one Rosary, and have a Mass celebrated from time to time, according to his intentions. Can I do this, yes or no?" Padre Pio, spreading out his arms, looked up to heaven and exclaimed: "And how could I deny such a great benefice? Do what you ask of me and I will assist you." And later he gave new encouragement: "My son, enlarge as much as you can the numbers because they are more favored before God than I am. Relate to them that I give them all of my soul, in order that they may persevere in prayer and in doing good."

In these words is confirmation of the promise. For this purpose, each evening from 8:30 to 9:00 the immense spiritual family of Padre Pio gathers, ideally, in the crypt at San Giovanni Rotondo, around the tomb of the saint of the Gargano, in order to recite the Rosary. Anyone in any corner of the Earth, can benefit from the extraordinary "insurance of eternal life" of Padre Pio. Whoever wishes, at any time, can become a spiritual child of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, simply uniting with devotion to this recitation, also occasionally having a Mass celebrated according to the intentions of the holy Capuchin, and pledging to repudiate sin.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

28. The power of love is hope, because by it we await the reward of love.

September 22, 2004

(Jam 1:2-4) Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


Louisiana churches were spared major damage from Hurricane Ivan, so they're planning to send money, food, equipment and even teams of volunteer cooks and timber cutters into the wrecked Florida Panhandle. Much of the relief work came from well-tooled agencies directed out of denominational headquarters.

New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes already has assured Pensacola Bishop John Ricard of financial help from the church in New Orleans, with more assistance to follow within days, according to Jim Kelly of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans.

An arm of Louisiana's 758,000 Southern Baptists prepared to set out from Hammond for the Alabama-Florida line with a mobile feeding unit that can provide 20,000 meals a day, according to the Reverent Loy Seal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

He says Southern Baptists also have teams of volunteers who will pick up chain saws in Winnsboro and head for the Panhandle to help homeowners clear trees draped across their streets and homes.

Methodists prepared to transport tons of supplies into the Panhandle from the denomination's global relief supply depot in Saint Mary Parish.

EYEWITNESS REPORT VIA Dr Stephen A Rinehart: Both my wife and I grew up and went to high school together in Pensacola and were married in Pensacola (Sacred Heart Cathedral). We have close (childhood) friends who lost their homes in Pensacola after the storm so the events of the past three weeks have brought a new realization of community and family to us. Cindy’s brother had three large pine trees fall into the pool at his house and a car port fell on his new car. The city of Pensacola looks like a war zone and houses/condos on the barrier islands such as Santa Rosa and Navarre are destroyed (major future insurance issues). Huge waves (perhaps higher than 30 feet) hit Pensacola Beach and Gulf Shores – nobody can recall a storm of this magnitude hitting Pensacola since 1926 (this type of event has been predicted to occur in the US in prophecies by a number of Catholic visionaries as well as increasing storms of this magnitude continuing to happen).

What is now happening is that people have to come together to share food and water in these devastated areas in Florida. All the roads to Pensacola were knocked-out after the storm. At least 50 of the electrical substations are heavily damaged and 80% of the electrical transmission system may have to be replaced. It will take weeks to restore some power back other than the beaches. However, city water is working in some areas. The death toll is now at 48 for Pensacola but you may not see this in the news any longer (officials will quote a lower number just after a storm and usually not mention it again).

We are the children of the Light. We need to come together and do things for ourselves and each other. Our existing infrastructure is too fragile to survive continuing disasters – stringing wires on poles for electrical systems are cheap but archaic. Most importantly you will find you need to place your trust in The Father and ask Our Mother to intercede for your family. I know I did…..and it works if you believe! Peace.

RELATED: Donations for hurricane relief are large, but so are needs, officials warn

DONATE: Catholic Charities Agencies Provide Hurricane Relief

OF NOTE: More Fierce Hurricanes May Loom On Horizon


A            D            G            J
B            E            H            K
Charlie    Frances    Ivan        Lisa?

SEE ALSO: Hurricane Karl weakens slightly in open Atlantic; Tropical Storm Lisa strengthens

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

27. He who says that he loves the Lord but is angry with his brother is like a man who dreams that he is running.

September 21, 2004

(Psa 90:13-15) Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on thy servants! Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad as many days as thou hast afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.


Pope John Paul issued a new appeal for peace in Iraq and the Middle East, condemning the "horror" of violence as well as "the terrorism that cruelly targets the innocent".

"There can be no lasting easing of tension in international relations unless the desire for dialogue prevails over the logic of conflict. Whether in Iraq, where it seems so difficult to restore civil peace, in the Holy Land, unfortunately disfigured by an endless conflict or in other countries reeling from the terrorism that so cruelly targets the innocent, everywhere violence shows its horror and its inability to solve conflicts," he said.

"It (violence) will yield nothing good, only hatred, destruction and death," the pontiff added during an a meeting with Egypt's new ambassador to the Vatican, Nevine Simaika Halim.

Referring to the current "troubled times", the Pope again called "on the international community to assume its responsibilities to foster a return to common sense and negotiation, the only possible way out of conflicts between men."

Pope John Paul, an opponent of the US-led war on Iraq last year, had pressed US President George W Bush to "normalise the situation (in Iraq) as soon as possible" when the two men met at the Vatican in June.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Why Lord? How long?"


Pope John Paul says the new millennium, which started with great hope, has been scarred by spreading terrorist attacks that have horrified humanity.

The comments follow a weekend appeal for the international community to "live up to its responsibilities, to help people return to reason and negotiation".

"In the dawn of the third millennium ... rich with so much potential, humanity is scarred by the horrifying spread of terrorism," the Pope said at his summer residence south of Rome on Sunday.

"The succession of atrocious attacks against human life disturb and alarm (human) consciousness."

The 84-year-old pope, suffering from Parkinson's disease, warned earlier this weekend that there would be no lasting peace in the world until dialogue is chosen over violence.

"This must happen in Iraq or it will be difficult to install a civil peace both in the Holy Land, sadly disfigured by an endless conflict ... and in other countries marked by terrorism that cruelly strikes innocent people," the Pope said in a Saturday address to Egypt's new ambassador to the Holy See.

The Vatican feels that a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is at the heart of a global solution to Middle East peace.

SEE ALSO: The Cross of Christ defeats evil and terrorism, Pope says

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

26. One who loves his neighbour can never tolerate slanderers, but rather runs from them as from fire.

September 16, 2004



The evil of abortion in private life and in public policy

The Holy Catholic Church teaches on matters of faith and morals guided by the Holy Spirit, who preserves her from error when she preaches on these matters to the whole world, obliging her teaching to be kept. Among the teachings of the Church are those that deal with society, family and civic responsibility. And among these teachings are those that pertain to the governing of civil society. As elections are coming up, it is important for us to review the principles the Church teaches and renew our assent in faith, especially when we’re in the privacy of the voting box, where only God sees our deeds.

I didn’t want to discuss this issue now, but I wanted to wait until later. But a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, with the scandal, uproar and outrage it causes, has forced me to deal with this issue now. Many of you have insisted that these issues be dealt with now, and in prayerful discernment I think you are right.

There are some, however, that insist that in the homily, the only thing that one should discuss is the ten or twenty verses from the bible we read that day; well Canon Law, the law governing the Church, defines the homily and it’s content. The homily is there so that the clergy, fulfilling their priestly office in the Church, explain the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life based on scripture. Discussing Catholic social teaching fulfills all those requisites.

The article I mentioned in the Free Press read, “Catholics allowed pro-choice vote They can back abortion-rights candidates, if they agree on other issues.” The article went on to tell us all that Cardinal Ratzinger, of all people, was the one who gave us permission to do that. Never once did the article textually cite the Cardinal, nor did she say how he said this, nor to whom, nor when. So I called the reporter to find out what she was referring to, and she very cordially answered my questions by e-mail. It was as I suspected: the reporter stated the total opposite of what the Church teaches, by misinterpreting Card. Ratzinger’s letter.

Today therefore, we need to answer two questions: why is abortion evil, and why is it matter of sin to vote for it in the confessional. I will answer these two questions appealing to reason and to faith.

Before I proceed, I must make note that there may be some of you who have been wounded by abortions, women and men. A certain Mary DelPup, who works for the Archdiocese, has in her time collaborated in “Project Rachel,” a mission to support those who suffer for the sin of abortion. She wrote me saying, “Most women that I have worked with in Project Rachel see [abortion] as the unforgivable sin. They have beaten themselves up for years, used drugs to numb the pain, may have gone through one or two divorces because they see themselves as despicable human beings.” To one and to all I proclaim the infinite mercy of God. There’s no sin he can’t forgive; all he needs is your repentance. His love is powerful, and can rebuild on foundations the whole of humanity may have given up from. Be not afraid of the love of God!

But now, to the first question, why abortion is evil, let me begin with what abortion is. “procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.”[1] It is always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Nothing can ever justify that. No matter what. The Church understands human life to extend from conception until death.[2] “From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth.”[3] It’s a person, body and soul, created by the hands of the loving God himself, with the loving cooperation of husband and wife. Three documents of the Church stand out for the clarity with which they outline the truth that life starts at conception making procured abortion a sin against the fifth commandment, the 1974 Declaration on Procured Abortion, the 1987 letter on bioethics entitled Donum Vitae, and the great encyclical of 1995, The Gospel of Life. These can be found very inexpensively at Catholic book stores, at, and on for free on the Vatican’s web site.

So why is it sinful to vote for a pro-abortion candidate? Again, starting with the definition of terms, let’s get something clear. There’s no such thing as pro-choice. A person may have a choice of whom they are to marry, of what they will do with their time, of what’s the best way to raise one’s own kids. This is a legitimate exercise of freedom, where we discern among goods and pick one as reason tells us is best. To use freedom to choose evil is not to use one’s freedom, but to abuse one’s freedom. One never has the freedom to do evil. The more you do good, the more deeply you experience your freedom. Freedom is not defined by choice, but by love. So no one has the choice to kill an innocent baby, because it’s always evil. And for those who think that women have all sorts of choices and arbitrarily decide that they will go get an abortion, I say you are misinformed. How many abortions happen because of the pressure of boyfriends or husbands, or their lack of concern; or because of wicked advice from doctors, pressure at work, situations of poverty, the chains of raw fear? These abortions didn’t happen with a whole lot of freedom, and we need to have some realism when considering this.

Some say that the issues of life cover more than just the question of abortion. Life covers euthanasia, and many “quality of life” issues, such as poverty, health, taxation, ecology, environment, housing, racism, and so forth. A popular metaphor has included all these things as a continuous whole, a sort of “seamless garment,” and consider “abortion voters” to be “one issue voters,” which the Church has always and wisely discouraged.

It is true that all these can be moral questions, and that the Church does not want us to be “one issue voters.” But that’s not the problem. See, abortion is all the issues. Aborted children cannot experience any other good in life, such as gainful employment, health, money, homes, environment, culture, or anything else. Without life, there is no other good. Abortion is not the narrow view, it’s the widest possible bird’s eye view. It’s the dominant issue, as Deal Hudson calls it. [4] Indeed, issues even as grave as war are second to abortion. War can sometimes be just. Further, it might even be a duty that you take up arms to defend your family, your property, your neighbor and your nation, lest evil repel the common good. But abortion is never just, never a duty, and never good.

To vote for abortion is to collaborate in one of the gravest of all evils known to man. Such a voter becomes an accomplice in every abortion civil society commits, by endorsing it and giving civil power to those who support it. And it is never good to do evil.

Cardinal Razinger said that in some situations, where there are “proportionate reasons,” one could tolerate voting for a pro-abortion candidate. Therefore there must be an equal proportion of evil, or of ignorance. For example, if you vote for a candidate and, after trying to educate yourself on the matter, do not really know that he is pro-abortion, no sin is incurred even though and objective evil, with all of its consequences, has taken place. You can’t sin on mistake. Or if there are two candidates that are equally pro-abortion, you don’t have to abdicate your right to vote, though you should do so attending to the need to procure the lesser evil. Other such extreme cases can be imagined, and may happen in other parts of the world – remember America and our political reality is by far not the only situation the Church intends to address when preaching the message of the Gospel.

The Pope’s Encyclical also informs politicians – which in America includes us, since we all enjoy the power to vote and so govern our own land – that it is even possible to vote for a law that, even though it is pro-abortion, limits the exercise of abortion when no real pro-life option is possible.

But the principle is this: Jesus Christ preached a Gospel of life, and we need to proclaim that Gospel to the world, in words and in deeds, because it’s good and it’s true for all peoples of all places. So, no, we are not allowed to vote pro-abortion. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Fr. McClorey, responded officially on behalf of the whole diocese, correcting the Free Press’ representation of Catholic teaching.

Our Pastor, Fr. Patrick Halfpenny, has written a letter concerning some of these things in this week’s bulletin, so please take a few moments to read it with reflection.

Some of the source documents I have referred to are on my web page (, where you will also find this homily, and you can read them for yourself there. I know I may have opened a whole can of worms here, and if you have any questions I’m always eager to speak with you one on one. I will not talk to you about politics, but I will speak to you about the Church’s social teachings and moral teachings as it relates to civil society, and I will do so fearlessly. Be strong, and trust in the Lord!

[1] Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 58 (cited hereafter as EV)

[2] Ibid., EV, 61, citing Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Donum Vitae (22 February 1987), I, No. 1: AAS 80 (1988), 79.)

[3] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (18 November 1974), Nos. 12-13: AAS 66 (1974), 738.

[4] See Deal Hudson’s Sed Contra in Crisis Magazine, June 2004, p.9. Cf.


Priests for Life: The Cardinal Ratzinger Letter
Culture of Life: Vatican Document Misused by Kerry Supporters in the Church and Media
Evansville bishop would deny Communion to abortion-rights backers


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

25. He who loves the Lord has first loved his brother, because the second is a proof of the first.

September 15, 2004

VIA Marianne:

We are pleased to tell you, that we have completed typing up the whole Diary of Saint Faustina "Divine Mercy in my Soul".

We believe it is the first time that the whole Diary is on line, and also that the message of Divine Mercy is a very important one considering the times in which we live, and we are trying to get this message out to as many people as possible.

I (Marianne) have created a website specifically for the Diary, and We (Sue Burton and I) would like to ask for your help in sending out this message through Trib Times!

Here is the Link for the Diary:

Marianne Sacred Heart Organization Israel.
Sue, Sacred Heart Publications UK.



Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Mother of the Infant Jesus, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of all who invoke you with confidence, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of all who are devout toward the Infant Jesus, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for obtaining a lively faith, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for sustaining the hope of Christians, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for obtaining and persevering in charity, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for observing the law of God, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for observing perseverance in virtue and good works, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every spiritual necessity, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the revolt of self-will, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in the occasion of sin, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every temptation, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the evil spirit, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for obtaining contrition, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of those wishing to re-enter the path of salvation, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for the conversion of sinners, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every temporal necessity, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every affliction, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of afflicted families, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of the sick and the poor, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against contagious diseases and epidemics, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every accident, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against destruction by fire, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against lightning and tempest, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against destruction by flood, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of travelers, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of navigators, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of the shipwrecked, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the enemies of our country, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor in time of war, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of those aspiring to the holy priesthood and the religious life, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of laborers in the Lord's vineyard, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of missionaries who spread the faith, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor of our Holy Father the Pope, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for those searching for the faith, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the enemies of the Church, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor at the hour of death, pray for us.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor for the deliverance of the souls in purgatory, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V: Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.

R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O Almighty and Eternal God, Who sees us surrounded by so many dangers and miseries, grant in Your infinite goodness that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Your Divine Son, may defend us from the evil spirit and protect us against all adversities, that always and with prompt succor she may deliver us from every evil of soul and body, and safely guide us to the kingdom of heaven, through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


If our eyes are always on heaven and God, at the end of life we will find ourselves in His Presence.

(Recitation of the Rosary)

Joseph F. Rummel Archbishop of New Orleans. New Orleans. February 11, 1936.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

24. Purity makes its disciple a theologian, who of himself grasps the dogmas of the Trinity.

September 14, 2004

Feast of The Exaltation of The Holy Cross

At the end of the reign of the emperor Phocas, Chosroes, king of the Persians, seized Egypt and Africa and captured Jerusalem, killing many thousands of Christians and taking away into Persia the Cross of Christ the Lord which Helena had placed on Mt. Calvary. Heraclius, who succeeded Phocas, was prompted by the burdens and disasters of war to sue for peace. But he could not obtain it even under unjust conditions, since Chosroes had been made insolent by his victories. In this great crisis, Heraclius gave himself up to constant prayer and fasting, imploring God's help. By divine inspiration, he raised an army, joined battle with the enemy and conquered three of Chosroes' generals and their three armies.

Broken by these defeats, Chosroes fled and, as he was preparing to cross the river Tigris, he appointed Medarses, his son, as his co-ruler. But Siroes, Chosroes' older son, bitterly resented this affront to himself and plotted to kill his father and his brother, which he did a little later when they returned from their flight. He obtained his kingdom from Heraclius under certain conditions, the first of which was the restoration of the Cross of the Lord Christ. And so, fourteen years after it had been taken by the Persians, the Cross was returned. On his coming back to Jerusalem, Heraclius bore it on his own shoulders in a solemn ceremony, taking it to the mount which the Savior Himself had carried it.

This event was made famous by a spectacular miracle. For Heraclius, clad as he was in gold and jewels, was forced to halt at the gate which led to Mt. Calvary. The more he tried to go on, the more he seemed to be held back. Heraclius and those with him were dumbfounded at this; but Zacharias, bishop of Jerusalem, said, "Consider, O emperor, how poorly you are imitating the poverty and humility of Jesus Christ when you carry His Cross in these triumphal robes." Then Heraclius, taking off his ceremonial robes and his shoes and putting on a poor man's garment, easily went the rest of the way and placed the Cross on that same spot on Calvary from which it had been taken by the Persians. And so the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which was already being celebrated each year on this day, took on still more luster because of the memory of this event when Heraclius replaced the Cross where it had first been set up for the Savior.

VIA Father Ted:

"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the World!"

Thank You, Jesus, for having fulfilled the Father’s magnificent plan of love by dying for us upon the Cross.

Thank You, first of all, for embracing the Cross.

Thank You, for carrying the Cross.

Thank You, for being raised up upon the Cross.

Thank You, for enduring all Your sufferings upon the Cross.

Thank You, for dying on the Cross.

You were born – to die – to die upon the Cross.

Your Cross became for us The Tree of Life.

"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the World!"

You offered Your life for us on the Cross that we might share in Your life, Your divine life – that we might share in Your life with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.

You accomplished this for us through the Cross , the Holy Cross.

Everything that You did, You did out of love. Love, first of all, for the Father.

Everything that You did, You did out of love. Love, also for us.

"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the World!"

You, our God, equal to the Father, equal to the Holy Spirit, became one of us, to die for us - to enable us to share in Your Most Holy Life.

Thank You Jesus for doing this for us.

Now help us, dearest Jesus, to embrace the Cross – with You.

For You want us to share in the love of the Father that comes from embracing the Cross.

May we come to love the Cross as much as You do.

Through the intercession of Holy Mary, and all the saints, may we not only carry the Cross, but also embrace the Cross - which You share with us.

Jesus, we love You. May we also love Your Cross - for by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

23. The Word of the Lord, which is from God the Father, is pure and remains so eternally. But he who has not come to know God merely speculates.

September 13, 2004

(1Co 11:26) For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.


After an intense quarter-century of teaching, writing and traveling, Pope John Paul II is going back to the basics with a renewed focus on the Eucharist.

He has convened a special eucharistic year that begins in October. Last year he wrote an encyclical extolling the Eucharist as the source and culmination of the church's life. He has convened a Synod of Bishops on the same topic for the fall of 2005.

And more frequently he speaks of the importance of the Eucharist in the life of each Catholic.

The Eucharist has a "transforming power" that provides the courage to live the faith and to spread the Gospel, the pope said in June before leading a eucharistic procession through downtown Rome.

"There's a very close connection between the Eucharist and announcing Christ," he said.

In fact, said Cardinal Jozef Tomko, who heads the Vatican's committee for international eucharistic congresses, the pope is convinced that unless Catholics have a firm understanding of the Eucharist the church's many missionary and social activities lose meaning.

"More and more, the Holy Father is turning back to the central mysteries of the faith," said Cardinal Tomko.

VIA [email protected]: Understanding the Mass

A Unique Sacrifice Made Present

Even Catholics who don't know much about their faith have some vague awareness that they're supposed to go to Mass on Sunday.  Ask them to describe the Mass, though, and they might tell you that it involves an introduction, a conclusion, and a collection!

The Mass (also called the Eucharist or the Divine Liturgy) has two main parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  But rather than analyze its parts, I'd like to examine the Mass as a whole in terms of its three principal aspects.  Now and always, the Mass involves a sacrifice, the presence of Christ, and a meal.

It's important to know what the Church means by the "sacrifice" of the Mass.  The term is easily misunderstood and has caused much strife among Christians.

First of all, Church teaching reiterates what Scripture states very clearly: there is no other sacrifice except the one offered by Jesus on Calvary.  Hebrews 10:12 says that Christ "offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins." That sacrifice cannot be repeated.  The Mass, therefore, is not a repetition; it is a re-presentation of that sacrifice.

Because Christ was a unique human being, the sacrifice He offered on the cross once and for all is a unique act.  He was a human being, so it was an act that took place in history and is therefore past.  He is God, who is outside of time: past and future are always present to Him.  This means that His death and resurrection are eternal acts that can be made present by the power of the Spirit.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

21. He who has perfectly united his senses to God is mystically led by Him to an understanding of His words. But without this union it is difficult to speak about God.

September 10, 2004


How to Speak of the Christian Faith Today: Two Instructions for Winning the Gold


VIA Jim McCrea: On Balance

The very thing that Characterizes the Catholic Faith is that it consists of a precise and appropriate balance of innumerable factors. With any other system of belief, something is out of balance in some way or another.

With the true mind of the Church (which is the mind of Christ) this balance is internalized in the intellect and practiced in life. Unfortunately, for some reason or another, many who claim to be Catholic - many holding important posts in the Church, including journalism - do not properly have the mind of the Church. And it shows.

Whenever one reads something written by someone with the mind of the Church, this balance can be seen. With any given topic, exactly the right ideas are put forth, each idea is given the right emphasis, and they are all related to one another properly. With a writer who is off, this is not so. The imbalance is quite evident. For many Catholic writings, it is not so much that there is brazen heresy or error, but a lack of proper emphasis and proportion. Very important facts would be hardly touched upon, while facts which are very secondary are treated as primary.

For example, with an article on the Eucharist and social justice, someone with the mind of Christ may say: Receiving Christ's true body and blood in the Eucharist gives us divine light and strength to really make a difference in changing the world. On the other hand a writer who is off may say something totally inadequate such as: "By being fed in the Eucharist, God gives us example to feed our brothers and sisters." (seeing it purely as a symbolic action to be emulated naturally in our lives) Balance or imbalance in writing is hard to analyze, but it can be intuitively seen by the light of the Holy Spirit.

This is why the interior life is so important. Putting generous and sacrificial time into prayer, meditation, and contemplation gives the light to achieve this balance. Those who rely on their own strength and reason alone, saying time can be put to better use than generous prayer, produce works (and writings) which are dead. Without supernatural union with Christ, one is fruitless. This is true even when there is much busyness and when one seems to be successful in producing "results."

To add, before their fall, Adam and Eve lived a life of complete perfection because they were able to balance an infinity of factors in just the right way. This could only be done when their souls were completely submerged in God through complete and perfect submission to Him. When they fell, and their union with God was ruptured, they had to try to juggle all of these factors on their own. A finite mind and will simply cannot control an infinite number of factors and keep them in balance. The human race has inherited this, and the terrible legacy of history is the result. Generously returning to God and making the proper effort to unite to Him, would largely bring paradise back, for the individual and society.

VIA Jim McCrea: Why Catholicism is Centered Out by the Media

Of all the things that a myriad of other organizations or religions do wrong (or allegedly do wrong), you mainly or exclusively hear about those in the Catholic Church in the mainstream media. You don't very often hear of scandal in Hinduism or Buddhism, or where they have unreasonable rules, but much respect is given to them by the mainstream media. Only the Catholic Church is presented as unreasonable - whether they report something done wrong in Her name, or simply present a half truth which puts something out of context. It is where the mainstream media puts the emphasis. For example, abuse happens in all denominations, but it was almost exclusively reported as happening in the Catholic Church in recent times. This was done deliberately to give the general public the impression that abuse is a problem particular to Catholic priests - a strategy that has worked well, since so many have swallowed that lie (not lying in saying the abuse never happened, but in giving the impression that it is only Catholic priests who do it by the emphasis given). The mainstream media does this in a deliberate attempt to discredit the Catholic Church.

The reason why the mainstream media, along with liberal elites in general, wish to discredit the Catholic Church is that only the Catholic Church hits the bulls eye of truth. To accept this requires a deep humility where one has to mortify one's pride and concupiscence. Every other religion gives generous leeway to man's natural fallen nature. No other religion makes demands on the deepest center of man as Catholicism does. That is why other religions are much more tolerated by the movers and shakers in society. The mainstream media even has much more tolerance for harsh legalistic Islam, than the benign authority of the Catholic Church. This is because (as least unconsciously) there is a sympathy with Islam, in that many elements of Islam (as it is largely practiced) is an expression of unmortified human passion.


No First Amendment protection for church in priest abuse probe
Washington priest tells parishioners he was abused
Archdiocese of Cincinnati expects 80 abuse-fund claims
Church abuse bill could top $2bn

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

20. The growth of fear is the beginning of love, but a complete state of purity is the foundation of theology.

September 9, 2004

(Heb 12:1-2) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.  For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.


Missionaries of Charity (MC) nuns throughout the world observed the first feast day of their founder, Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.

Sister Lynn told that only the 719 MC houses around the world have the Holy See's permission to celebrate the feast on September 5, the day of Blessed Teresa's death in 1997.  These liturgical celebrations need special permission since the Nobel laureate nun has not been declared a saint.  The celebration included a nine-day novena of special prayers that began on Aug.  26 and ended with Mass and other celebrations on September 4, said MC Sister Lynn Mascarenhas, vice postulator for the cause of Blessed Teresa.  MC nuns have composed prayers to support popular piety, Sister Lynn said, adding that the prayers "all have necessary approval" of the Church.

On September 5, hundreds rejoiced with prayers, song and dance.  They thronged the motherhouse, which contains her tomb, and prayed before her statue.  On Sept.  4 nuns, priests, MC volunteers and devotees of various religions thronged the chapel inside the motherhouse.  Beside the altar was a picture of Blessed Teresa, below which a relic of the blessed, a drop of her blood, was displayed for public veneration.

Sister Nirmala Joshi, Blessed Teresa's successor as MC superior general, told that on the first feast day the nuns thanked God “that we have Mother (Teresa) in heaven to intercede for us in his presence.  She knows us all and knows all our needs.”

VIA MTMelvin: A LAST PRAYER - Mother Teresa

I worry some of you still have not really met JESUS - one-to-one - you and JESUS alone.

We may spend time in chapel - but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love?

Do you really know the living JESUS - not from books but from being with Him in your heart?  Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you?

Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it.

Until you can hear JESUS in the silence of your heart, you will not be able to hear Him say "I thirst" in the hearts of the poor.

Never give up this daily intimate contact with JESUS as the real living person - not just the idea.

How can we last even one day without hearing JESUS say "I love you"?  Impossible.  Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air.  If not, prayer is dead - meditation, only thinking.

JESUS wants you to hear Him speaking in the silence of your heart.

Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living JESUS.

The devil may try to use the hurts of life, sometimes our own mistakes, to make you feel it is impossible that JESUS really loves you, is really cleaving to you.

This is a danger for all of us.  And so sad, because it is completely the opposite of what JESUS is really wanting, waiting to tell you.

Not only that He loves you, but even more - He longs for you.

He misses you when you don't come close.  He thirsts for you.

He loves you always, even when you don't feel worthy.  When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes - He is the one who always accepts you.

Only believe - you are precious to Him.

Bring all your suffering to His feet - only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are.  He will do the rest.

Mother Teresa, 1910-1997
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Peacemaker, Pioneer, Legend

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

18. Those who have reached such an angelic state often forget about bodily food. I think that often they do not even feel any desire for it. And no wonder, for frequently a contrary desire expels the thought of food.

September 8, 2004


The Spiritual Tradition Regarding Mary's Birth

Our Lady of Caridad Del Cobre

Around the year 1608, two native Indians, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyos, together with a 10-year-old slave boy, Juan Moreno, went out looking for the salt needed to preserve the meat of the Barajagua slaughter house, which supplied the workers and inhabitants of Santiago del Prado, now known as El Cobre. That day they were just able to reach Cayo Francés, halfway across the Bay of Nipe, where they encamped to escape the fury of a storm which would have torn their frail canoe to pieces. Calm was restored with daybreak, and they took to the transparent sea. In the distance, they saw a white bundle floating on the waves and approaching them slowly. At first they took it for a sea bird. As it came closer, it seemed to be a girl and at last they were able to determine that it was a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the child on her right arm and with a gold cross in her left hand. The statue was attached to a plank inscribed: `Yo soy la Virgen de la Caridad (I am the Virgin of Charity)'.

According to the sworn testimony of witnesses, despite the recent storm and the motion of the waves, neither the figure of the Virgin, nor her clothing, were wet. The head of the statue is of baked clay covered with a polished coat of fine white powder, possibly rice paste, and the recent thorough renovation of the image revealed the fine features which countless paint coatings had deformed. A well shaped nose and a well-proportioned face with large, loving eyes convey a gentleness that invites trust and prayer. The Virgin is about 16 inches high and her feet rest on a brilliant moon whose ends surround on both sides the silver cloud where three cherubs spread their golden wings. The Child, at the left side of the statue, raises a hand as if blessing, and in his other hand he holds a gold globe.

The Lady of Charity, surnamed of El Cobre because her sanctuary was built in that urban center, became one of Cubans' religious preferences almost immediately, since she represents Ochún, the symbol of femininity, fresh water and happiness, in the Afro-Cuban syncretic cult. Several legends about the Virgin's apparition - almost 400 years ago - have contributed to the attractiveness of that figure among believers, town dwellers and visitors in general, mainly foreign vacationers who visit the Caribbean Island from many regions of the world, as a result of the fast development of the leisure industry.

At the request of the veterans of the War of Independence, Our Lady of Charity was declared the patroness of Cuba by Benedict XV in 1916 and solemnly crowned in the Eucharistic Congress held in Santiago de Cuba in 1936. Pope Paul VI raised her sanctuary to the category of Basilica in 1977. On January 24, 1998, at a Mass celebrated during his apostolic visit to Santiago de Cuba, Pope John Paul II crowned the image a second time as queen and patron saint of Cuba. The Holy Virgin herself rests on her Altar, surrounded by flowers and essences.

Santiago, Cuba, 1998

"Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Patroness of Cuba!
Hail Mary, full of grace!
You are the beloved Daughter of the Father, the Mother of Christ, our God, the living Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Your name, O Virgin of Charity, evokes thoughts of the God who is Love, recalls the new commandment given by Jesus, invokes the Holy Spirit: love poured into our hearts, fire of charity sent on Pentecost over the Church, gift of the total freedom of the sons and daughters of God.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!
You came to visit our people and wished to remain with us as Mother and Lady of Cuba, throughout its pilgrimage along the paths of history.
Your name and image are sculpted in the mind and heart of every Cuban, both within and outside the country, as a sign of hope and a focus of fraternal communion.
Holy Mary, Mother of God and Mother of us all!
Pray for us before your Son Jesus Christ, intercede for us with your maternal heart, filled with the Spirit's charity.
Increase our faith, enliven our hope, augment and strengthen love in us.
Shelter our families, protect young people and little children, comfort the suffering.
Be the Mother of the faithful and of the Shepherds of the Church, the model and star of the new evangelization.
Mother of reconciliation!
Gather together your people scattered throughout the world.
Make the Cuban nation a home of brothers and sisters so that this people will open wide its mind, its heart and its life to Christ, the sole Saviour and Redeemer, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

16. If the face of a loved one clearly and completely changes us, and makes us cheerful, gay and carefree, what will the Face of the Lord not do when He makes His Presence felt invisibly in a pure soul?

September 7, 2004

The main perpetrators of terrorism are Muslims, says leading Arab writer

Images of dead, wounded and traumatised Russian children being carried from the scene of a school siege horrified Middle-Eastern Muslims, prompting forthright self-criticism yesterday.

It also sparked fresh concerns about an international backlash against Islam and its followers.

Arab leaders, Muslim clerics and parents across the Middle East denounced the school siege that left more than 320 people dead, many of them children, as unjustifiable.

Some warned that such actions damage Islam's image more than all its enemies could hope for. Even some supporters of Islamic militancy condemned it, though at least one insisted Muslims were not behind it.

'Holy warriors' from the Middle East have long supported fellow Muslims fighting in Chechnya, and Russian officials said nine or 10 Arabs were among militants killed when commandos stormed the Beslan school in southern Russia on Friday to end a siege that began on Wednesday by rebels demanding Chechen independence.

Middle East security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was too early to know the nationalities of the Arabs among the dead militants. However, a prominent Arab journalist wrote that Muslims must acknowledge the painful fact that Muslims are the main perpetrators of terrorism.

'Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture,' Mr Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television, wrote in his daily column published in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

It ran under the headline, The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!

Mr Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist groups - in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - many of which are influenced by the ideology of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader of Al-Qaeda terror network.

'Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims,' he wrote.

Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless 'we admit the scandalous facts', rather than offer condemnations or justifications.

'The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us,' he said.

SEE ALSO: A Cry from an Arab American over the Russian Children


A leading Vatican cardinal says terrorism is a new world war and fighting it may involve the loss of some civil liberties.

"We have entered the Fourth World War," said Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, saying he believed that the Cold War was World War Three.

"I believe that we are in the midst of another world war," he said in comments published in Italian newspapers on Tuesday.

"And it involves absolutely everyone because we don't know what will happen when we leave a hotel, when we get on a bus, when we go into a coffee bar. War itself is sitting down right next to each and every one of us," he said.

"Every state has to put in place the best possible policing method and this, naturally, might affect some personal freedoms. States have to carry out a defensive policy," he said.


New Internet magazine grooms women for jihad
Militants turn slum into battle zone
Kuwait: Fundamentalists recruiting teens

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

15. The effect of hunger is vague and indefinite; but the effect of thirst is intense and obvious to all, and indicative of blazing heat. So one who yearns for God says: My soul thirsts for God, the mighty, the living God.

September 3, 2004


(Luke 21:25-26) "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.


Hurricane Frances has the potential to be the most costly U.S. catastrophe in history, according to an early estimate issued Thursday, with insured losses reaching as high as $35 billion.

The lower end of the early estimate from Risk Management Solutions, a firm that does catastrophe modeling and estimates for the insurance industry, would put insured losses at $10 billion. Even that lower estimate would make it easily the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which had inflation-adjusted insured losses of about $20 billion.

Frances, which as of Thursday afternoon was estimated to make land sometime Saturday, is a category 4 hurricane, the second strongest ranking of a storm's power, with sustained winds near 145 miles per hour. It was bearing down on the Bahamas Thursday.

Hurricane Charley hit Florida Aug. 13 from the Gulf Coast, causing an estimated $6.8 billion in insured damages. That initial loss estimate puts Charley as the nation's second most costly.

Hemant Shah. CEO of RMS, cautioned his firm's forecast is preliminary and could be significantly affected by a change of direction of the storm or a weakening of the winds. A strengthening of the winds was also a risk, though.

Shah said that the population density where the storm hits is the most important factor in determing insured losses. If the storm veers south from its current path and hits Palm Beach, Broward or Dade Counties head on, the storm's damages would be at the upper end of the estimates, he said.

Shah said his estimate does not account for flood losses, which are generally not covered by private insurance companies, or damage to public infrastructure, damages less than deductibles, which are generally considerable for Florida hurricane coverage, as well as indirect costs of business disruptions.

"Economic damages could be considerably greater than these estimates," he said.


No two Category 4 storms, with winds of 131-155 mph, have hit the state of Florida within weeks of each other during the last century, hurricane center meteorologist Rick Knabb said.


VIA MissionMoments: The following was spoken to my heart.

"My child, be not disturbed. The Sorrows of September shall be increased."

These words were not addressed with regard to a particular person, people or nation, but rather to humanity as a whole. Please heed our dear Mother's call to prayer and sacrifice for souls.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

12. Even a mother does not cling to the babe at her breast as a son of love clings to the Lord at all times.

September 2, 2004

(2 Tim 3:1) But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days.


Pope John Paul is appealing for the release of two French journalists being held hostage in Iraq.
In his weekly radio address that was read for him, the pope also condemned what he called the "barbarous execution" of 12 workers from Nepal in Iraq.

He says the "chain of blind violence" in Iraq and the recent rash of terrorist acts in such places as Russia and Israel are causing him "deep pain and worry."

The pope also recalled that today marks the 65th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, which started World War Two, and that he is praying for "the precious gift of peace."


Nepal Reels After Terrorists in Iraq Kill 12 Hostages
Russian pupils held in armed siege
Death toll in Moscow station blast up to 11
2 suicide bombs kill 16 in Israel
More Terror Expected from Iran-Backed Hizballah Bid for Control of Gaza Strip


The United Nations said on Wednesday Iran planned to convert a large amount of raw "yellowcake" uranium into uranium hexafluoride, which one nuclear expert said would be enough to build five atomic bombs.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in the confidential report circulated to diplomats and obtained by Reuters that Iran planned a "larger test" of a uranium conversion facility "involving 37 tons of yellowcake."

David Albright, a former U.N.  weapons inspector and currently president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said this could theoretically result in 100 kg of weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium.

Speaking purely hypothetically, Albright said: "It's roughly enough for about five crude nuclear weapons of the type Iran could conceivably build."

Washington says Tehran's nuclear program is a front for a nuclear arms program.  Tehran vehemently denies the charge, saying it is only interested in generating electricity.

RELATED: Iran poses vexing problems for U.S.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

10. As love wanes, fear appears; because he who has no fear is either filled with love, or is dead in soul.

September 1, 2004

CATHOLIC ANSWERS: Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

STATEMENT BY Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida of Corpus Christi explaining “proportionate reasons”:

When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons strictly defined.

Since abortion and euthanasia have been defined by the Church as the most serious sins prevalent in our society, what kind of reasons could possibly be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion? None of the reasons commonly suggested could even begin to be proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for such a candidate. Reasons such as the candidate’s position on war, or taxes, or the death penalty, or immigration, or a national health plan, or social security, or aids, or homosexuality, or marriage, or any similar burning societal issues of our time are simply lacking in proportionality.

There is only one thing that could be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion, and that is the protection of innocent human life. That may seem to be contradictory, but it is not.

Consider the case of a Catholic voter who must choose between three candidates: Candidate A, who is completely for abortion-on-demand, Candidate B, who is in favor of very limited abortion, i.e., in favor of greatly restricting abortion, and Candidate C, a candidate who is completely against abortion but who is universally recognized as being unelectable. The Catholic voter cannot vote for Candidate A because that would be formal cooperation in the sin of abortion if that candidate were to be elected and assist in passing legislation which would remove restrictions on abortion-on-demand. The Catholic can vote for Candidate C but that will probably only help ensure the election of Candidate A. Therefore the Catholic voter has a proportionate reason to vote for Candidate B, since his vote may help to ensure the defeat of Candidate A and may result in the saving of some innocent human lives if Candidate B is elected and votes for legislation restricting abortion-on-demand. In such a case the Catholic voter would have chosen the lesser of two evils which is morally permissible under these circumstances.



A powerful senator dies after a prolonged illness. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the guy.

"Well, I'd like to but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in Heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him, everyone is very happy and in evening attire. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.

Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit Heaven."

So 24 hours pass with the head of state joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well then, you've spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now choose your eternity."

He reflects for a minute, then the senator answers, "Well, I would never have said it, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in Hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. The Devil comes over to him and lays his arm on his neck. "I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and club and we ate lobster and caviar and danced and had a great time. Now all there is, is a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning...Today you voted for us!"


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

9. Love, dispassion and adoption are distinguished by name, and name only. Just as light, fire and flame combine to form one power, it is the same with love, dispassion and adoption.

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