Keep your eyes open!...


September 29, 2006


(Mat 19:14) but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."



October 1 - October 10 An Invitation to Prayer and Fasting

This year the Week (actually 10 days) takes place from Sunday, October 1 through Monday, October 10, 2006. The goals of the International Week of Prayer and Fasting are the conversion of nations, an end to abortion, and to build a culture of Life . We ask people to participate by doing the following:

* Fasting
* Daily Masses
* Holy Hours of Eucharistic Adoration
* Daily Rosary
* Divine Mercy Chaplet
* Attend Mass
* Promote Eucharistic Adoration


Priests for Life: Observing Respect Life Sunday New Website Details Thousands of Violent Crimes by Abortion Supporters
See also: Life Chain 2006

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

54. He also said, ' A grumbler is not a monk. Anyone who gives evil for evil is not a monk. An irritable man is not a monk.'

September 28, 2006

(Rev 7:9-10) After this, I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb.



1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.

2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you.
When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"

3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully.

Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.

4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate.

The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.

5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.

6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.

7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible.

These and such like little acts are a splendid penance.

8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so, join the Association of the Holy Souls and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.

9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.

10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death."

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

53. He also said, 'Evil cannot drive out evil. If anyone hurts you, do good to him and your good will destroy his evil.'

September 27, 2006

(Mat 28:19-20) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

HEADLINE: In Italy, priests offering guidance via Web site

FROM THE MAILBAG Reflection by Father Ted:

My dearest Lord Jesus, thank You for allowing me the privilege and the opportunity to be in Rome last week and to see and to hear our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on last Wednesday in Saint Peter’s Square.

I am most grateful that You enabled me to see him, to hear him as well as to witness the enthusiastic response of so many people from so many different countries.

What a blessing that You gave to us.

Thank You!

I also want to thank You for having selected him to be our chief Shepherd at this time.

For You have given to him the many gifts and abilities that he needs to guide us during these critical days.

Above all, You have given to him Your Shepherd’s heart. For he loves us as You love us.

You have given to him Your Wisdom through Your Holy Spirit. He speaks to us as You want him to – to teach us, to correct us, to encourage us.

Just as he loves You with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, so You want us to love You and others in the same way.

You have taught him how to serve others.

Now, through him, teach us how to serve.

For just as You want him to shepherd Your Church, so teach us to shepherd the people You have placed within our communities.

Give to us, O Lord, as You have given to Pope Benedict, that loving heart – so that we may help our brothers and sisters to know, with their hearts, the deep love that You have for each one of them.

Place within our hearts the profound desire to serve them in their needs.

Stifle within us the inclination to be bossy.

Dearest Jesus, teach us as You have taught Pope Benedict the importance of our daily prayers – especially the Holy Mass and the Divine Office May we not neglect to visit You frequently in the Holy Eucharist. May we not neglect to pray with Mary.

May we see all – as our brothers and sisters in You, O Lord.

May we, like Pope Benedict, love each other as You have loved us.

Jesus, with Pope Benedict, may we say and mean – We are Your servants, O Lord. May we do Your Will each day by serving Your people – teaching them Your Truth, giving them Your Life, loving them with You.

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

52. He also said, 'Suppose there are three men living together. One lives a life in stillness, the second is ill but gives thanks to God, the third serves the needs of others with sincerity. These three men are alike, it is as if they were all doing the same work.'

September 26, 2006

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


Second attack in three days against a Chaldean church in Mosul. Once again the Church of the Holy Spirit is the target. This morning a group of men fired rockets against the building, whilst an explosive devise was detonated outside a usually unused entrance door, this according to local sources who also told AsiaNews that no one was killed or hurt in the incident. They also suggested that the attackers might be the same people who on Sunday fired some 80 shots against the church breaking some windows and causing minor damage.

For months, tensions have been rising in Mosul, a Sunni stronghold. Some people have suggested that the anti-Christian attacks are linked to the controversy caused by the Pope's speech in Regensburg (Germany). In fact, some flyers making anti-Christian threats were distributed around town last Friday, calling on Christians to condemn the Pope's remarks or be killed and see their churches burnt down.

Mgr Raho, Mosul's Chaldean bishop, had posters pasted on walls saying that "neither Iraqi Christians, nor the Pope, want to destroy the relationship with Muslims." But his action did not prevent violence from happening again.

It is likely that in this as in previous cases, religion is being used for political purposes. In fact Iraqi Muslim leaders, including grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have expressed solidarity and understanding towards the Vatican. A representative of al-Sistani, who is Shia Islam's highest authority in Iraq, has said that he wants to visit the Pope.

MORE: Fear strikes Iraq's Christians over Pope words


Violence must be opposed, Pope tells Muslim leaders
Excerpts from Benedict's speech
Via Lifesite: The Pope and Islam - More Article Excerpts

EDITORIAL: The Pope Was Right by George Weigel

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

51. He also said, 'If a man appears silent in speech but is condemning other people in his heart, he is really talking incessantly. Another man may seem to talk all day, but he is keeping silence since he always speaks in a way that is right with his heart.'

September 22, 2006 


(Heb 13:8) Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today: and the same for ever.

LINK: Eucharistic Miracles

LINK: The Holy Eucharist and the Holy Mass

VIA HOLY SPIRIT INTERACTIVE: The Worth of the Eucharist

VIA Jim McCrea: On Eucharistic Adoration

It is unfortunate that when Eucharistic Adoration is available in a parish, so many Catholics there simply do not have an awareness of its importance, treating Adoration as if it were simply a devotion that a select number of parishioners are into and others are not - a take it or leave it attitude.

But the Eucharist *is* Jesus' entire, physical, substantial presence, under the sense qualities of bread (no real bread is present, it has been transubstantiated by the omnipotence of God into Jesus Christ).

The Eucharist = Jesus.

There He is with all His power and love that He is willing to pour out on those who take time out to be with Him there in faith.

What blessings He gives adorers who are there in faith, hope, and charity, most of which will not be known until we pass beyond the veil in death.

What grievously denegrates from the importance of Eucharistic Adoration is the modernist tendency to equate Jesus in the Eucharist with Jesus in the people.

No wonder many people don't bother with Jesus in the Eucharist if He is equated with the crowd.

In a state of grace, we only have Jesus in a finite way (which is always open to growth in this life), whereas in the Eucharist, Jesus is present in the infinity of His entire being.

So in no way can they be equated.

For any true Catholic, Eucharistic Adoration is not an option, no more than a relationship with Jesus is an option, because the Eucharist is Jesus right there.

One may be pressed for time, but at least a few minutes should be spent if that is all one can afford.

Fr. Hardon says it right that the true disciple should spend as much time before the Blessed Sacrament as his or her state in life allows.

Adoration is the most important time that one can spend outside of Mass.

Fr. Hardon stresses that the only way that a priest is able to know what to say, what not to say, and how to say it, in his preaching, is by learning it before Jesus in Adoration.

It is terrible when a priest detracts from that by preaching the heresy from the pulpit that what happens to the bread at consecration happens to the people.

Again, there is simply no equivalence between them.

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

50. He also said, 'He who knows himself is a man.'

September 21, 2006 

POPE BENDICT XVI: "I trust that after the initial reaction, my words at the university of Regensburg can constitute an impulse and encouragement toward positive, even self-critical dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith."

HEADLINE: The Pope is in danger, warns failed assassin of John Paul II

VIA Gary Zmuda (through Michael J. Coppi): Gary's Personal Reflection

Remembering, several months ago, this sinner had the great honor and privilege of first worshiping at Holy Mass and then having a private luncheon and discussion with His Eminence + Emmanuel + CARDINAL Wamala of Uganda. His Eminence graced us as he visited the AMF for but a few hours. Sitting right next to him as we ate and talked candidly, i eventually asked the Cardinal if he could share anything in retrospect relating to the Conclave that he participated in bringing the Holy Mother Church a new Servant of the Servants of God. Looking directly into me, his eyes changed as he agreed and then became very solemn and somber and stood as he asked us to remain in our seats. Silence filled the room as the Cardinal told of how the Church was given such great preparations and teachings on how to live and die from Pope JP II. He said that due to Dear JP II, the College of Cardinals were properly instructed as to how to go about the burying a very great Pope and then how to elect another.

His Eminence said, (quoting and some paraphrasing the best i can from memory)....” The Holy Spirit was moving in tremendous Ways and in specifically significant intimacies with each soul there”...building up to the several times of personal depositing the name that would become the new Pontiff. “There never are coincidences, and the fact that the most inspirational setting of the Sistine Chapel was set in such and such a fashion also definitely needed meditation.” Every voting Cardinal had to make his eventual walk to deposit his inspired response into the locked box.”The fact that this large wooden and very sturdy box was placed on top of a centuries old credenza was also most important; for as you approached and then stood there ...hopefully participating in God’s Will; it was impossible for a seeing person to miss the Most Holy Image of The Crucified directly above the box. In fact, looking upon this part of the wall, it appeared as if all of the Most Precious Blood of our Dear Savior Jesus was flowing straight down upon the credenza and into this box!” 

(The Cardinal went on with great enthusiasm and now tears...) ”This observation produced tremendous insights as to the Papacy, until one strong thought could not be restrained in my body, as i declared to my brothers...’With each of our ballots, we are crucifying the next pope! He will indeed be the Crucified Pope...the Pope of the Cross!’ “

...and with that little lifting of The Veil...check out this article: 

May the Will of The Father reign in all of this through the Queen and Mother of the Church.

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

49. The same monk said, 'Experience is good. By experience men are tested.' He also said, 'If a man preaches but does not practise what he preaches, he is like a well of water where everyone can quench their thirst and wash off their dirt, but which cannot clean away the filth and dung that is around it.'

September 20, 2006 


Sister Leonella, a nun who devoted her life to helping the sick in Africa, used to joke there was a bullet with her name engraved on it in Somalia. When the bullet came, she used her last breaths to forgive those responsible.

"I forgive, I forgive," she whispered in her native Italian just before she died Sunday in the Somali capital, the Rev. Maloba Wesonga told The Associated Press at the nun's memorial Mass in Nairobi on Monday.

Sister Leonella's slaying raised concerns that she and other foreigners killed in Somalia recently are victims of growing Islamic radicalism in the Horn of Africa country, where a hard-line Muslim militia has been expanding its reach.

The nun was the latest victim in a wave of slayings of both foreign workers and moderate Somali intellectuals that has coincided with the rise of the Islamic radicals.

RELATED: Papal Telegram on Death of Nun in Somalia


Being a saint isn’t about living on a hilltop, or moving entire worlds thanks to charismatic leadership. Rather, it’s about fully offering skills and work in the form of a prayer that serves God on a minute-by-minute basis – even when it comes to mundane things like digging trenches.

In that respect, Nicholas Owen had it right. Born into a pious Catholic family, with two brothers who were priests - and another who was an underground publisher of Catholic books - Nicholas Owen served the Jesuits for many years before becoming a lay brother sometime around 1580. Being only slightly higher than a dwarf, he was often called “Little John.” However, Nicholas Owen’s holiness didn’t come from belonging to any religious organization, but rather was the result of old-fashioned, sweat-making work. Nicholas Owen was a construction worker - and he must have been a good one The Superior of the English Jesuits, Father Henry Garnet, asked Nicholas to build secret rooms in mansions throughout England where priests at that time were hiding from persecution. Nicholas’ presence at the construction sites was justified by his working on projects during the day. At night he would dig tunnels, and an assortment of “priest holes” that included hidden rooms and passages.

With time Nicholas’ curriculum began to closer resemble the Paul Newman character in the classic film “Cool Hand Luke,” than Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Besides using the aliases of Andrews and Draper, impersonating a priest, and being a jailbird, Nicholas was aiding and abetting outlaws from the English government. He was even credited with being the mastermind for a well-known priest’s escape from the Tower of London.

On paper Nicholas was anything but a saint.

The last time that Nicholas was arrested was in 1606 as part of the government’s reaction to the foiled Gunpowder Plot – a conspiracy led by some Catholics who swore an oath on the Holy Sacrament to blow up King James and the Parliament for the exacting of harsh penalties on English Catholics.

With the English government believing that the Jesuits were behind the planning of the Gunpowder Plot, a wide net was cast. At the time of his arrest Nicholas was impersonating Father Henry Garnet, the Jesuit Superior.

Upon the capture of Nicholas, England’s Secretary of State, Sir Robert Cecil the First Earl of Salisbury, is said to have written, “how great was the joy caused by his arrest . . . knowing the great skill of Owen in constructing hiding places, and the innumerable quantity of dark holes which he had schemed for hiding priests all through England.” Nicholas was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He refused to give information and was the subject of violent torture: His body was suspended by the placing of his arms in iron rings, while heavy weights were placed upon his feet.

But Nicholas’ nasty and lengthy death isn’t alone what makes him a saint.

There is no way of knowing how many priests Nicholas’ hidden passages saved, but thanks much to this diminutive construction worker the Catholic faith in England was preserved.

In this respect, Nicholas is a model for all of us: to offer our daily labor - no matter how humble it might be - to God as a prayer. In that way we are all called to be ordinary saints - that’s the rule, not the exception.

Background: Born in Oxford, England at an unknown date, St Nicholas died in the Tower of London in 1606. He was beatified in 1929, and canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales whose joint Feast Day is October 25.

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

48. Poemen said, 'If a man sins and denies it, saying, 'I have not sinned," do not correct him, or you will destroy any intention he might have of changing. If you say, "do not be cast down, my brother, but be careful about that in the future," you will move his heart to repent.'

September 19, 2006 


CARDINAL PELL: Pope Has Nothing to Apologise For

ANALYSIS: Pope's appeal for dialogue backfires

EDITORIAL: They're Rioting in Islam... again


Still violently reacting to Pope Benedict XVI having quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor’s comments about Islam, Muslims are now calling for an all-out war against Christians. Muslims and Islamic-run governments worldwide have condemned Pope Benedict for quoting the emperor’s negative comments about Islam. Muslims have also been angered by the pope’s condemnation of the violent Muslim “holy” war—jihad.

Now, the Mujahideen Shura Council has issued the statement: “"We shall break the cross and spill the wine! God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome. (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahedeen!" After Pope Benedict XVI had said he regretted the [Muslim] reaction to his statements, al Qaeda in Iraq called for a war against "worshippers of the cross".

Burning German, Israeli and US flags and an effigy of the pope, protestors demonstrated in Basra chanting: "No to aggression! We gagged the Pope!” At least 7 Christian Churches have, thus far, been burned and a Somalian nun was shot to death in this latest Muslim violence. Muslim violence is said to be growing.

Another identified terrorist group, Ansar al-Sunnah, also threatened Christians with: "You will only see our swords until you go back to God’s true faith Islam!" It also called the pope "Satan’s hellhound in the Vatican".

Other Muslim groups are reported to have threatened to bomb St. Peters Cathedral in Rome.

Iran's Supreme leader Ali Khamenei said that the pope's comments were only "links in the chain" of a US-Israeli conspiracy.

RELATED: Who says we're violent?


Rare papal words fail to soothe
The Pope must die, says Muslim
Papal remarks 'beat the drum of war': Saudi paper
Rising tensions worry Christians in Mideast
Al-Qaeda threatens jihad over Pope's remarks

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

45. Poeman said, 'Do not live in a place where some are jealous of you; you will make no progress there.'

September 15, 2006 


(John 19:25) Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

STABAT MATER - link to a site that examines the Stabat Mater (latin: the Mother was standing) including full translated text, spiritual meaning, historical aspects, liturgical importance and a link to an audio rendition.

Mother of Sorrows - The title, "Our Lady of Sorrows," given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised "the seven dolors" or "seven sorrows" of Mary, which were foretold by the Priest Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, "This child [Jesus] is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed– and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword– so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare" (Luke 2:34-35). These seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother included the prophecy of Simeon, the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple; Mary’s meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary; Mary’s standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified; her holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the cross; and then our Lord’s burial. In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother’s heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. More importantly, each new suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, "let it be done unto me according to Thy word," first uttered at the Annunciation.

This Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows grew in popularity in the twelfth century, although under various titles. Granted, some writings would place its roots in the eleventh century, especially among the Benedictine monks. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the feast and devotion were widespread throughout the Church.

Interestingly, in 1482, the feast was officially placed in the Roman Missal under the title of "Our Lady of Compassion," highlighting the great love our Blessed Mother displayed in suffering with her Son. The word compassion derives from the Latin roots cum and patior which means "to suffer with." Our Blessed Mother’s sorrow exceeded anyone else’s since she was the mother of Jesus, who was not only her Son but also her Lord and Savior; she truly suffered with her Son. In 1727, Pope Benedict XIII placed the Feast of Our Lady of Compassion in the Roman Calendar on Friday before Palm Sunday. This feast was suppressed with the revision of the calendar published in the Roman Missal of 1969.

In 1668 the feast in honor of the Seven Dolors was set for the Sunday after September 14, the Feast of the Holy Cross. The feast was inserted into the Roman calendar in 1814, and Pope Pius X fixed the permanent date of September 15 for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (now simply called the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows). The key image here is our Blessed Mother standing faithfully at the foot of the cross with her dying Son: the Gospel of St. John recorded, "Seeing His mother there with the disciple whom He loved, Jesus said to His mother, ‘Woman, there is your son.’ In turn He said to the disciple, ‘There is your mother.’" (John 19:26-27). The Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church wrote, "...She stood in keeping with the divine plan, suffering grievously with her only-begotten Son. There she united herself, with a maternal heart, to His sacrifice, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth" (#58).

St. Bernard (d. 1153) wrote, "Truly, O Blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart.... He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His" (De duodecim praerogatativs BVM).

Focusing on the compassion of our Blessed Mother, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, reminded the faithful, "Mary Most Holy goes on being the loving consoler of those touched by the many physical and moral sorrows which afflict and torment humanity. She knows our sorrows and our pains, because she too suffered, from Bethlehem to Calvary. ‘And they soul too a sword shall pierce.’ Mary is our Spiritual Mother, and the mother always understands her children and consoles them in their troubles. Then, she has that specific mission to love us, received from Jesus on the Cross, to love us only and always, so as to save us! Mary consoles us above all by pointing out the Crucified One and Paradise to us!" (1980).

Therefore, as we honor our Blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows, we honor her as the faithful disciple and exemplar of faith. Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: "Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life." Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.

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

44. Joseph asked Poemen, 'How should we fast?' Poemen said, 'I suggest that everyone should eat a little less than he wants, every day.' Joseph said to him, 'When you were a young man, didn't you fast for two days on end?' He said to him, 'That's right, I used to fast three days on end, even for a week. But the great hermits have tested all these things, and they found that it is good to eat something every day, but on some days a little less. They have shown us that this is the king's highway, for it is easy and light.'

September 14, 2006

LINK: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

THOMAS A' KEMPIS: "The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will -- above, below, without, or within -- you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.

If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one" (The Imitation of Christ, Book II, chapter 12).


Catholic bishops met on Monday to discuss “ethical values for European unification”, refuelling the debate over the ‘Christianisation’ of the EU constitution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attempt to resurrect the moribund constitutional treaty when Berlin takes over the EU presidency in January 2007, and has made no secret of her wish to include a reference to Christian values in the text.

After a private meeting with the Pope in August, Merkel indicated that any EU constitution “should refer to our Christian values”.

“I believe this treaty should be linked to Christianity and God because Christianity was decisive in the formation of Europe.” The bishops, from across the EU, will draw up a report on Europe’s religious heritage which will be presented at their European congress in Rome next March – the same day as Merkel hosts a 50th birthday party for the EU in Berlin.

The anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which led to the creation of what is now the EU, will be used by EU leaders to adopt a political declaration setting out Europe’s values and ambitions – a stop-gap measure designed to reaffirm support for the EU despite the failure of the constitution.

The church leaders hope their report “will give a new impulse to developing a civic sense of Europe as a community of values”, according to a statement.

Germany is not the only country keen to see some reference to a Christian God in the EU’s constitution. Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ireland all pushed hard for its inclusion during the first round of negotiations in 2004.

But opposition from the UK, France and Sweden kept religious statements out of the constitutional treaty text. Instead, the constitution said that the EU drew “inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe” – a vague reference that was not considered strong enough for many Catholic countries.

But with plans still underway to allow Islamic Turkey to join the EU, many political leaders are wary of making too explicit a reference to Christianity.

RELATED: In Europe, a search for what defines the EU's moral identity

(Mat 10:32-33) Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.

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

43. Joseph asked him about the same subject. Poemen said, 'If you shut a snake or a scorpion in a box in the end it will die. Wicked thoughts, which the demons scatter, slowly lose their power if the victim has endurance.'

September 13, 2006

The Blessed Mother and Islam-"Turn to our Mother in this time of great peril".
By Father John Corapi, SOLT

VIA Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: The first 9/11, and Mary's Holy Name!

On this great feastday of Our Lady’s Holy Name, established in 1683 to honor Mary’s intercession to deliver Christendom from the Moslem onslaught at Vienna—on September 11 and 12 that year—we recall the words of Psalm 33: “The LORD foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples. The plan of the LORD stands forever, wise designs through all generations. Happy the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his very own.” 

Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc, who predicted in a 1936 essay that Islam would again attempt to conquer the West, reviewed the history of its successful aggressions against our civilization, culminating in “the last effort they made to destroy Christendom”: “Vienna . . . was almost taken, and was only saved by the Christian army under the command of the King of Poland [Jan Sobieski] on a date that should be among the most famous in history—September 11, 1683.” 

On that date, 9/11/1683, the rescuing Christian army attacked the Turks besieging Vienna, delivering a resounding defeat on the next day, September 12. The Viennese, under fierce siege for two months, had sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“The object of this feast [The Holy Name of Mary] is our blessed Lady bearing the name of Mary, and it was instituted that on it the faithful might in a special manner recommend to God, through the intercession of His all-holy Mother, the needs of the Church, and thank Him for His almighty protection and numberless mercies, especially those we receive on account of the graces and mediation of the Blessed Virgin. The feast was allowed at Cuenca in Spain in 1513; it spread in that country, and in 1683 Pope Innocent XI extended it to the whole Western church, as an act of thanksgiving for the raising of the siege of Vienna and the defeat of the Turks by John Sobieski, King of Poland; it . . . is now kept on the date of Sobieski’s triumph.” Butler’s Lives (vol III, p 544).

In an insightful secular essay, The Revolt of Islam: When did the conflict with the West begin, and how could it end? (New Yorker Magazine 11/19/01), Bernard Lewis wrote:

Then the change came. The second Turkish siege of Vienna, in 1683, ended in total failure followed by headlong retreat—an entirely new experience for the Ottoman armies. A contemporary Turkish historian, Silihdar Mehmet Aga, described the disaster with commendable frankness: "This was a calamitous defeat, so great that there has been none like it since the first appearance of the Ottoman state." This defeat, suffered by what was then the major military power o f the Muslim world, gave rise to a new debate, which in a sense has been going on ever since. The argument began among the Ottoman military and political élite as a discussion of two questions: Why had the once victorious Ottoman armies been vanquished by the despised Christian enemy? And how could they restore the previous situation?

Did Christ's enemies, and ours, choose 9/11/2001 to “get back” for 9/11/1683, and all the Moslem defeats that followed? Or, did God perhaps allow this to be the fateful date, that we might recall how Vienna, and what once was rightly called Christendom, were rescued by faith and by repentance, and might like them return to the path that leads to peace—to love of God and neighbo r, and obedience to God's commandments—the path taught by Jesus, exemplified by Mary's earthly life, and again emphasized by our beloved Pontiff in his first encyclical, Deus caritas est? [] 

To answer the question of Mr. Lewis’ essay title, “How could it end?”, the conflict between the West and Islam could end in peace—if those who have heard and once believed the Gospel again embrace it, and submit to God their wills, and their lives. In 1683, a holy Capuchin monk, Fr. M ark D’Aviano, asked for help by King Leopold, who worried over the Moslem advance upon Vienna, addressed the Viennese, “’Vienna, Vienna, your love of lax living has prepared you a grave and imminent chastisement: Convert, and consider well what you are doing, O wretched Vienna.’ He was listened to: the emperor commanded public penances, and the Viennese, like latter-day Ninevites, prayed and did penance.” [] Must not America and the West today repent again, of its abortions, pornography, immorality, atheism, materialism; of its love of luxury in preference to the love of God and neighbor?

St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716), the “Apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” predicted:

"The power of Mary over all devils will be particularly outstanding in the last period of time. She will extend the Kingdom of Christ over the idolaters and Moslems, and there will come a glorious era in which Mary will be the ruler and Queen of human hearts." Let us, then, keep this holy day by prayer and by repentance, asking Our Blessed Mother Mary again to intercede with her Divine Son, to obtain the conversion of the Moslems (the truly devout among whom greatly revere Mary), and to bring about the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, and ensuing period of world peace, that she prophesied—and promised—at Fatima, Portugal, on July 13, 1917.

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

42. Isaiah questioned him about the same subject. Poemen said, 'Cloth, if it is too long in a chest, becomes rotten. If our bodies do not bring those thoughts into the daylight, then they will rot or be destroyed.'

September 12, 2006

(1Co 1:21-24) For, seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe. For both the Jews require signs: and the Greeks seek after wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified: unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.


Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday warned modern societies not to let faith in science and technology make them deaf to God's message, and suggested that Asia and Africa could teach the wealthier West something about faith.

Western societies are losing their souls to scientific rationality and frightening believers in the developing world who still fear God, Pope Benedict told an open-air mass in Germany on Sunday.

Benedict, on the second day of a visit to his native Bavaria, said that spreading the word of Jesus Christ was more important than all the emergency and development aid that rich churches like that in Germany gave to poor countries.

He also stressed the role of faith in fighting AIDS "by realistically facing its deeper causes," indirectly confirming the Church view that pre-marital abstinence and fidelity in marriage are the way to combat sexually transmitted diseases.

"When we bring people only knowledge, ability, technical competence and tools, we bring them too little," he said, hammering away at his central concern that secularisation and materialism have replaced faith in western thinking.

Benedict said Western societies had become "hard of hearing" about God, saying: "There are too many other frequencies in our ears. What is said about God strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited for our age."

He contrasted this to a faith he still found in developing countries, where 70 percent of the world's Catholics now live. "People in Africa and Asia admire our scientific and technical prowess, but at the same time they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man's vision, as if this were the highest form of reason," he said.

They sensed a "contempt for God" in western societies and "a cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom and hold up utility as the supreme moral criterion for the future of scientific research," he said.

He singled out the German Catholic church, one of the world's richest, as one that generously gives emergency and development aid but plays down the spreading of the Gospel. "Evangelisation itself should be foremost," he declared.

RELATED: Pope begins visit to Bavaria at feet of Mary


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

41. Ammon questioned Poemen on the subject of the impure thoughts within the heart, and on the subject of vain desire. Poemen said, 'Can the axe do harm unless th woodman is using it? Do not reach out your hands to use those things, and they will do you no harm.'

September 8, 2006


(Luke 13:1-5) And there were present, at that very time, some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answering, said to them: Think you that these Galileans were sinners above all the men of Galilee, because they suffered such things? No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe and slew them: think you that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I say to you: but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.


The existence of suffering in a world created by a good and almighty God — "the problem of pain" — is a fundamental theological dilemma, and perhaps the most serious objection to the Christian religion.


VIA Excerpt
StudiObrien Newsletter: “It is hard for Enlightenment man, and even many devout Christians, to contend with the apparent ‘arbitrariness’ reflected in a God who would work miracles for some, and yet ‘permit’ others to suffer, die or be martyred.

“But this effort to impose our sense of justice on God is like seeing unfairness in gravity. It is a fact that, with Man’s fall, suffering and death are a reality for all of us. It is also a fact that, despite the universality of suffering and death, God bestows many and abundant blessings on us all, most of which we do not see. Sometimes, as in your case, God makes his presence impossible to ignore! Perhaps a simultaneous blessing, and a wake-up call against spiritual complacency.... To whom much is given, much is expected. It is a story as old as the story of Israel in the Old Testament.”

VIA Jim McCrea: From the book "The Mystical Evolution." by Fr. Arintero:

"All the mortifications and active purgations which we practice would serve us poorly indeed if God did not perfect and complete them with the passive purgations [sufferings that God sends] to which, in His mercy, He subjects us. These passive purgations reach down into the very depth of our soul and there they discover and correct innumerable faults and imperfections which we ourselves would never notice, much less remedy. God mercifully conceals such things from fervent souls so that they will not be overwhelmed or discouraged. He discloses these imperfections only by degrees and in the measure needful to purify souls and subject them to new trials."

"Even in those things which appear to us to be very pure, righteous, and holy, we are guilty of a thousand inadvertent imperfections which we could never discover without some superior light. Much less are we able to correct them, unless some superior power comes to our aid. Since nothing vitiated or stained can be joined to supreme purity, holiness, and justice, without degenerating, smothering,and being repugnant to it, to arrive at perfect union and divine perfection it is necessary that God Himself have a hand in the work of our purification and rehabilitation."

"...At the same time the soul sees itself full of countless faults and imperfections which formerly it did not perceive or which may have seemed to it to be very insignificant, simply because it did not have eyes to see them or because they were small only in comparison with what we term grave faults. Yet in themselves these faults are truly enormous in the presence of infinite holiness and they cannot but impede that union which is so much desired. The soul sees itself filled with personal views and self-interest; and all its intentions, however pure, simple, and sincere they may appear, are unconsciously enveloped in the deceits of self-love."

"The purgations we need most are those which will penetrate to the very depth of the soul and will reach everything within us that is unclean so that the disorder of sin can be entirely removed. These purgations [sufferings of life] must be as varied and as forceful as our evil inclinations are numerous and strong; they must be the more violent and painful as the seriousness and number of our own faults are greater; and they must be so much the more probing and penetrating as the root of evil is the more profound."

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

34. Macarius said, 'If we remember the evil that men have done us, we close our minds to the power of remembering God. But if we remember the evil which the devils cause, we shall be undisturbed.'

September 7, 2006 

(Mat 9:37-38) Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.


The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville would merge 17 parishes into six, with several others sharing facilities, priests and staff under a proposal being considered by the church.

The archdiocese's planning commission also recommended a centralized school system, rather than the parish-based method used now.

Brian Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the archdiocese, said the idea behind the planning process is to start a dialogue about the future of the archdiocese.

"We now have to find out whether ... the proposals will be affirmed by the local regions. They may come up with an alternative," Reynolds said.

The parishes submitted many of the proposals after being asked to take part in the yearlong planning process because of population shifts and a drop in the number of priests.

Louisville isn't alone in considering parish mergers as a shortage of priests hits American urban dioceses. In some places, such as Boston, heavy protests have accompanied closure announcements.

Nearly half the parishes in the Louisville archdiocese are already sharing priests.

"There are just not enough priests ... or nuns who teach any more," said Janet Hobbs, a member of St. Clement parish.


Catholic Church Looks Overseas to Remedy Priest Shortage
Vatican Forced To Turn to Third World for New Priests
Priest Shortage Causing Concern In Omaha Archdiocese

REVIEW: O Father, Where Art Thou?


O Jesus our great High Priest hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priests.
Give them a deep faith a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life.
In their loneliness comfort them.
In their sorrows strengthen them.
In their frustrations point out to them that it is through suffering that the soul is purified and show them that they are needed by the Church they are needed by souls they are needed for the work of redemption.
O Loving Mother Mary Mother of Priests take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much.
Be their comfort be their joy be their strength and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy. Amen.

+John Joseph Cardinal Carberry Archbishop of St. Louis

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

31. A brother asked Joseph, 'What shall I do? I cannot bear to be tempted, nor to work, nor to give alms'. He said to him, 'If you cannot do any of these, at least keep your conscience clear from every sin against your neighbour, and you will be saved, for God looks for the soul that does not sin.'

September 6, 2006 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Those who meet Jesus," he said, "those who let themselves be attracted by Him and are ready to follow Him even unto the sacrifice of their lives, personally experience, as He did on the cross, how only the 'grain of wheat' that falls to earth and dies brings 'much fruit'."

"This is the way of Christ, the way of total love that triumphs over death," said Pope Benedict, adding: "This is the experience enjoyed by those true friends of God, the saints, who have recognized and loved in their brethren, especially in the poorest and most needy, the face of God long contemplated with love and prayer. They are encouraging examples for us to follow."


A Hungarian nun who helped saved the lives of dozens of Jews during World War II will be beatified by the Catholic Church, officials said Monday.

Sara Salkahazi was killed by the Arrow Cross -- the Hungarian allies of the Nazis -- on Dec. 27, 1944 for hiding Jews in a Budapest building used by her religious order, the Sisters of Social Service.

Salkahazi was taken along with several other occupants of the home and shot, their bodies falling into the Danube River and never recovered.

The beatification rite will take place Sept. 17 at Budapest's St. Stephen Basilica.

"Sara Salkahazi heroically exercised her love of humanity stemming from her Christian faith," said Cardinal Peter Erdo, who will celebrate the beatification mass. "This is for what she gave her life."

Salkahazi was born in the city of Kassa in 1899, at the time in Hungary but now known as Kosice and part of Slovakia.

The beatification will be the first in Hungary since 1083, when Hungary's first king, St. Stephen, was beatified along with his son, St. Imre, and St. Gellert, an Italian bishop who had a key role in converting Hungarians to Christianity.

Changes introduced by Pope Benedict XVI again allow beatification rites to be held around the world, instead of just in the Vatican, as was the norm for centuries.

Church officials highlighted Salkahazi's modest middle-class roots, saying she will be first Hungarian to be beatified who is not royalty or a member of the country's aristocracy.

Before taking her religious vows in 1930, Salkahazi worked as a bookbinder, journalist and newspaper editor.

Salkahazi's deeds were recognized in 1972 by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial.

SEE ALSO: Kentucky crash kills 'servant' of poor

MORE: Mother Teresa: The “living” saint of Calcutta

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

26. Theodore said, 'Many choose the repose of this world before God gives them His rest.'

September 5, 2006 

(Mat 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.


Pope Benedict said on Monday that no-one had the right to use religion to justify terrorism and urged greater inter-religious dialogue to stop the cycle of hate and vendetta from infecting future generations.

The Pope made his comments in a message to leaders of world religions gathered in the Italian hill town of Assisi, birthplace of St Francis, to mark the 20th anniversary of a landmark inter-religious meeting hosted by his predecessor, John Paul.

"It is illicit for anyone to use religious differences as a reason or excuse for violence against other human beings," he said in the message.

Speaking a week before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, the Pope did not specifically mention Islam.

Benedict, who in the past has specifically called on Muslim authorities to help defeat terrorism, said religious leaders had a duty to elaborate a "pedagogy of peace" to teach young people dialogue among different cultures and religions.

"Never before have we needed this education as much as now, particularly if we look toward the new generations," he said.

"So many young people in areas marked by conflict are taught sentiments of hate and vendetta in ideological contexts where seeds of ancient rancours are cultivated and psyches are prepared for future violence," he said.

The Pope spoke two days after Al Qaeda called on US President George W. Bush and non-Muslims, especially in the United States, to convert to Islam and abandon their 'misguided' ways or else suffer the consequences.

RELATED: Archbishop Appeals to Catholics in Holy Land


The Pope's personal theologian, Cardinal Georges Cottier, has told an Italian newspaper that the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon is just though risky. "It is right to go to Lebanon" he said in an interview with Rome daily La Repubblica. "It is right that the international community led by the United Nations departs with the aim of building peace in a region that has suffered so much, and is the cradle of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam" the Cardinal said.

"It is difficult, dangerous but neccessary" Cottier told the paper, saying the priority must be to disarm the belligerents.

"We cannot hide from the fact that Hezbollah is a major danger" the elderly cardinal said. "For Israel the situation is different because among the Israelis there is a democratic process able to express consent or dissent."

On the mission of the blue helmets, the theologian underlined that "it's good that the UN has finally decided to intervene to help two people who till now have not been able to find the way of peace by themselves".

MORE: Pope's new deputy backs U.N. as world peacemaker

RELATED: Caritas helping war-torn Lebanese resume normal lives

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

25. Once one of the monks came to Theodore and said, 'Look here, that brother has gone back to the world.' Theodore said to him, 'Don't be surprised at that. Be surprised when you hear that a man has been able to escape the jaws of the enemy.'

September 1, 2006 

(1Pe 3:15) But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

LINK: The Just War Theory: A traditional Catholic moral view By Rev. Richard Benson, C.M.

VIA Ronald E Smith: My Catholic Q&A List 

If you were on that list I automatically forwarded to you the reports I wrote for requestors regarding questions they had about our Catholic faith and occasionally questions they had about the occult, new age or cults. 

To refresh your memories, when you have a question(s) I research it (free of charge) using Catholic source documents or good source documents I have on the occult. I also forwarded to you copies of letters I have written regarding, usually, liturgical abuses which also include detailed footnotes. I have amassed quite a hard copy and electronic library over the years. 

In my answers I rarely if ever give my own opinions. I quote the authors in the source documents and include an accurate, detailed footnote with each quote so that you may go to the source document yourself if you choose to do so. Each report has a release therein that allows you to copy it and distribute it at will. On rare occasions I cannot answer a question and I so advise you. I do an average of 1-2 reports and/or letters each month. If someone asks for their name to be withheld or for their Q&A to NOT go out to the list, such request(s) are honored. I again ask that if you see an important error in any of my reports or letters, please advise me so that I can make the appropriate correction. I certainly do not want to misinform anyone about our faith. If you have a new question, please send it to me!

EXAMPLE: Holding Hands During Our Father Prayer

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

20. "Evagrius said, 'A wandering mind is strengthened by reading, and prayer.  Passion is dampened down by hunger and work and solitude.  Anger is repressed by psalmody and long-suffering and mercy.  But all these should be at the proper times and in due measure.  If they are used at the wrong times and to excess, they are useful for a short time.   But what is only useful for a short time, is harmful in the long run.'
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