Keep your eyes open!...

September 29, 2011


(Col 1:9-10) Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God


: Blessed Elena Aiello -Mystic, Stigmatic,& Foundress

FROM THE MAILBAG: Reflection by Father Ted – September 27, 2011

My dearest Lord Jesus, You remind me frequently why we have the problems and difficulties at this time.  When we do not listen to You and are not willing to follow Your directions that You give to us either directly, or through Your Mother or through Our Holy Father, the Vicar of Your Holy Roman Catholic Church, we experience these difficulties.

As You strove to remind many of us a couple of weeks ago there are many signs indicating to us that we are not doing the Will of Your and our Father in heaven.

So many of us have failed to recognize our purpose in life – which is ultimately to be with You in heaven.  You have been teaching us that You want us to know You personally and intimately.  And when we get to know You, we will want to love You – who loves us so intensely.  And then we will want to serve You by doing Your Will – which is identical with the Will of our heavenly Father.

Unless we make time for You, unless we talk with You, unless we listen to You – which we can doing as we read or listen to Your words as given to us by You in the Holy Bible, we will not be able to get to know You.

You have told us many times that You want us to pray – just like You did frequently to the Father.

Prayer is meant to be a very important part of our lives.  Yet how much time do most of us spend in prayer?

Unless we pray, we will not sense the depth of Your love.  Nor will we want to follow Your directions on how to live.

You have emphasized how important the keeping of Your Commandments is in showing You that we truly love You.

Through Your Mother in her various apparitions to us You have reminded us how important daily prayer is, how important reading the Bible is; how important going to confession is, how important fasting is, how important going to Mass and receiving Holy Communion is.

If possible, You want us to participate in Holy Mass not only on Sundays but even more often.  For when we take part in Holy Mass we join You in worshipping the Father.  And when we receive You in Holy Communion You offer to us the strength we need each day to live as Christians – including to withstand the frequent assaults of the devils, whom You allow to test us.

How many times have You exhorted us to pray the Rosary daily – not merely say it?

How many times have You exhorted us to visit You in the Most Blessed Sacrament?

How many times have You exhorted us to go to confession frequently?

How many times have You exhorted us to avoid the occasions of sin?  If we had done what You have asked us to do, individually and as a community, would we be experiencing the difficulties, the problems, the crises, the calamities that we have?

You know the answers to these questions.  And so do many of us.

Lord, help us to want to do what You have asked of us – so that we may truly experience Your peace.

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 28 2011

(Luk 9:61-62) And another said: I will follow thee, Lord; but let me first take my leave of them that are at my house. Jesus said to him: No man putting his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.


Suspended Priest
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Explanation of Revelation Chapter 5

CARDINAL DANILE DINARDO:  Catholics Should Get Involved in Pro-Life Activities


VIA Anne Lastman: Dr Zambrano I have just started a “blog” on this I am going to “write” in a more freer way than my newsletter of

The blog is

Trib Times readers are invited to visit and join in Anne's critical mission to support victims of this terrible affront to God and man.

VIA Michael J. Coppi: Decade Rosary For Life, 40 Days, Fall 2011 Campaign, Sept.  28th - Nov.  6th ......

Prayer and fasting are needed to end the scourge of abortion in America.  The 40 Days for life campaign has been the most successful national campaign ever - in working to eradicate abortion in the United States. 

You can read about the number of clinics closed and former abortion workers converted at the national 40 Days for life website --

You can also find out information about your local campaigns and how you can participate in them on that site.  Also, if you would like a good pro-life pamphlet to print and pass out for any of your pro-life efforts, one can be found at --

I am working to establish our decade Rosary for life again this Fall.  To be a part of this Rrosary, I simply need people to sign up for the opening prayers, concluding prayers and ONE decade in between.  I'd like to get at least twenty people, in order to form one complete 20 decade "Living" Rosary offered for the success of the 40 Days campaign.  Success can mean many things including the changing of minds and hearts, the closing of abortion clinics, the saving of an unborn life, the spreading of support for those who are in crisis pregnancies etc.

By agreeing to say one decade of the Rosary for this intention you will be part of a multi-decade (and maybe even multi-Rosary) prayer campaign to support life.

Please respond if you are interested to Sarah Stodolka.

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 27, 2011

(Mat 5:14-16) You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.


Following his meeting with members of the Central Committee for German Catholics at the Seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau, Benedict XVI travelled to the city fairgrounds where he presided at a prayer vigil with young people. Extracts from the Holy Father's address are given below.

He began by referring to the candle-lighting ceremony, which was part of the vigil. In an imitation of the Easter rite of lighting the Paschal candle, the Pope lit candles borne by a number of young people who, in their turn, lit candles carried by others. "This wonderful liturgical rite ", he said, "reveals to us in signs more eloquent than words the mystery of our Christian faith. Jesus who says of Himself: 'I am the light of the world', causes our lives to shine brightly, so that what we have just heard in the Gospel comes true: 'You are the light of the world'.

"It is not our human efforts or the technical progress of our era that brings light into this world", the Holy Father added. "Again and again we have to experience how our striving to bring about a better and more just world hits against its limits. Innocent suffering and the ultimate fact of death awaiting every single person are an impenetrable darkness. ... While all around us there may be darkness and gloom, yet we see a light: ... Christ, risen from the dead, shines in this world and He does so most brightly in those places where, in human terms, everything is sombre and hopeless".

"To be sure, those who believe in Jesus do not lead lives of perpetual sunshine, as though they could be spared suffering and hardship, but there is always a bright glimmer there, lighting up the path that leads to fullness of life. The eyes of those who believe in Christ see light even amid the darkest night and they already see the dawning of a new day.

"Light does not remain alone. All around, other lights are flaring up. In their gleam, space acquires contours, so that we can find our bearings. We do not live alone in this world. And it is for the important things of life that we have to rely on other people. Particularly in our faith, then, we do not stand alone, we are links in the great chain of believers. Nobody can believe unless he is supported by the faith of others, and conversely, through my faith, I help to strengthen others in their faith".

The idea of sainthood has often been distorted

"We increasingly experience the failure of our efforts and our personal shortcomings, despite our best intentions. In the final analysis, the world in which we live, in spite of its technical progress, does not seem to be getting any better. There is still war and terror, hunger and disease, bitter poverty and merciless oppression. And even those figures in our history who saw themselves as 'bringers of light' - without being fired by Christ, the one true light - did not manage to create an earthly paradise, but set up dictatorships and totalitarian systems, in which even the smallest spark of true humanity was choked".

"At this point we cannot remain silent about the existence of evil. We see it in so many places in this world; but we also see it - and this scares us - in our own lives. Truly, within our hearts there is a tendency towards evil, there is selfishness, envy, aggression. Perhaps with a certain self-discipline all this can to some degree be controlled. But it becomes more difficult with faults that are somewhat hidden, that can engulf us like a thick fog, such as sloth, or laziness in willing and doing good. Again and again in history, keen observers have pointed out that damage to the Church comes not from her opponents, but from uncommitted Christians".

"Dear friends, again and again the very notion of saints has been caricatured and distorted, as if to be holy meant to be remote from the world, naive and joyless. Often it is thought that a saint has to be someone with great ascetic and moral achievements, who might well be revered, but could never be imitated in our own lives. How false and discouraging this opinion is! There is no saint, apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has not also known sin, who has never fallen. Dear friends, Christ is not so much interested in how often in your lives you stumble and fall, as in how often you pick yourselves up again. He does not demand glittering achievements, but He wants His light to shine in you. He does not call you because you are good and perfect, but because He is good and He wants to make you His friends. Yes, you are the light of the world because Jesus is your light. You are Christians - not because you do special and extraordinary things, but because Christ is your life. You are holy because His grace is at work in you".

"This gathering shines in more ways than one - in the glow of innumerable lights, in the radiance of so many young people who believe in Christ. A candle can only give light if it lets itself be consumed by the flame. It would remain useless if its wax failed to nourish the fire. Allow Christ to burn in you, even at the cost of sacrifice and renunciation. Do not be afraid that you might lose something and, so to speak, emerge empty-handed at the end. Have the courage to apply your talents and gifts for God's kingdom and to give yourselves - like candle wax - so that the Lord can light up the darkness through you. Dare to be glowing saints, in whose eyes and hearts the love of Christ beams and who thus bring light to the world. I am confident that you and many other young people here in Germany are lamps of hope that do not remain hidden. 'You are the light of the world'".

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 22, 2011


(2Ti 4:1-5) I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober.

VIS: Benedict XVI Talks About His Forthcoming Trip to Germany

"I am very happy to be departing for Germany in a few days' time", said the Pope.  "I think with particular joy of Berlin where I will attend many meetings and, naturally, of my address to the Bundestag and the great Mass we will celebrate at the Olympic stadium.

"One of the most important moments of the visit will be in Erfurt.  In that Augustinian monastery, that Augustinian church where Luther began his journey, I will have the chance to meet the representatives of the Evangelical Church in Germany.  Together we will pray, hear the Word of God, reflect and discuss.  We are not expecting anything sensational; indeed, the greatness of the event lies precisely in the fact that, in that place, we can reflect together, listen to the Word of God and pray.  This intimate proximity will be an expression of authentic ecumenism.

"The meeting at Eichsfeld is particularly significant for me: that small strip of land which, despite all the vicissitudes of history, has remained Catholic.  After that we will move on to southwest Germany and the great city of Freiburg im Breisgau where many meetings will take place, particularly the vigil with young people and the great Mass which concludes my trip.

"This is not religious tourism; still less is it a 'show'.  Its significance is well expressed in the motto accompanying these days: 'Where God is, there lies the future'.  What this means is that we must restore God to our horizon, the God Who is so often absent but of Whom we have such great need.

"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist?  And if He exists does He really concern Himself with us?  Can we reach Him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch Him or pick Him up like an ordinary object.  We must rediscover our capacity to perceive God, a capacity that exists within us.  We can get some idea of the greatness of God in the greatness of the Cosmos.  We can use the world through technology because the world is built in a rational way; and in the great rationality of the world we can get some idea of the Creator Spirit from which it comes; in the beauty of creation we can get some idea of the beauty, the greatness and the goodness of God.  In Holy Scripture we hear the words of eternal life; they do not simply come from men, they come from Him and in them we hear His voice.  Finally, we may also catch some glimpse of God through meeting people who have been touched by Him.  I am not just thinking of the great (of Paul, Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa), I am thinking of the many simple people about whom nobody speaks.  Yet when we meet them they emanate some quality of goodness, sincerity and joy, and we know that God is there and that He also touches us.  Thus, over these days, let us commit ourselves to seeing God again, to becoming people who bring the light of hope into the world, a light that comes from God and that helps us to live".



Pope Faces Challenges With His Visit to Germany
Fellow German Christians criticize Pope before trip
Nearly 1 in 6 German parliamentarians to boycott Pope speech

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 21, 2011

(Isa 59:1-4) Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have divided between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he should not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity: your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue uttereth iniquity. There is none that calleth upon justice, neither is there any one that judgeth truly: but they trust in a mere nothing, and speak vanities: they have conceived labour, and brought forth iniquity.

HEADLINE: Palestine to Seek U.N. Bid for Membership

Palestine is expected to submit a formal letter requesting United Nations membership Friday, after the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, Israel and the United States hope to avoid any such showdown at the U.N.  and instead focus on peace talks between the two Middle Eastern countries.

Abbas has received pressure from outsiders to drop the request, but claims he won’t be deterred from seeking what he feels is Palestine’s right.  The majority of the world is expected to vote symbolically in favor of Palestinian independence.  The territories seeking to be called the state of Palestine reside in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and land captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

ANALYSIS: The Palestinian Bid And The Possible Outcomes

Palestine Q&A
: Towards an Independent State

NCR EDITORIAL: Palestinian Statehood? Not Tall Enough


Heads of churches in Jerusalem want negotiated Palestinian state
Evangelical Christian Support for Palestinian Statehood Not Likely in Light of Biblical Interpretation
Vatican remains neutral on Palestinian UN membership bid

ICN: Holy Land: Bishop calls for peace as attacks increase

A bishop in the Holy Land has called for prayers for peace as tensions – and acts of violence – increase ahead of the Palestinian Authority’s bid for recognition by the UN.  The message of prayer from Bishop William Shomali – Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem and Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate for Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories – was relayed to staff of Aid to the Church in Need, during a fact-finding trip to the Holy Land.

Bishop Shomali said: “The Lord told us to pray for peace.  Jerusalem will attain peace through the power of God, and not merely through the acts of politicians.” The bishop said prayer was essential as people yearned for peace and a better life after decades of violent conflict.

While many Christians have emigrated abroad because of the problems they face, Bishop Shomali, who comes from Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, described the importance of the faithful remaining in the region. He said: “The mission and calling of Christians is to remain in the Holy Land and work toward change. We want change, but we want peaceful change.”

The bishop also called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Israeli aerial attacks on Gaza began last month after the Popular Resistance Committee attacked a bus carrying Israeli soldiers, killing 14 people.

Bishop Shomali went on to stress the importance of visitors to Jerusalem and encouraged Christians to visit the region, saying: “The Holy Land needs you, and you need the Holy Land.”

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 20, 2011

(Psa 127:3-5) Behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb. As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken. Blessed is the man that hath filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate.

ACTION ITEM: Petition urges Bishop to allow Fr. Pavone to resume full duties at Priests for Life

: New Threat to Conscience

AUL Applauds Congress for Historic Vote Making Proilife Rider Permanent

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr.  Charmaine Yoest called Congress’ passage of the “Weldon Patent Ban” evidence that “members of Congress are beginning to appreciate the discomfort people feel with life-altering technology.” The ban is part of the “America Invents Act” and prevents patenting of human embryos.  President Obama signed this law into effect today, marking one of the first times in history a major pro-life rider was codified.

The ban makes permanent the Weldon amendment, an existing pro-life policy rider that ensures the U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not issue patents that are “directed to or encompassing a human organism.”

“Human kind should not be for sale at any stage of development,” said Dr.  Yoest.  “Making permanent this important pro-life policy to ensure human organisms are never patented is a notable victory for Americans who believe that human beings — regardless of their stage of development — are not considered property to be licensed for financial gain.  We applaud Congress for preserving the USPTO’s longstanding policy respecting all humans.”

VIA LIFESITENEWS.COM: Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen’s wife Diane gave birth today to their 8th child, Zachariah John-Henry Westen.  The couple are overjoyed after having experienced three consecutive miscarriages the past five years.  Read John-Henry’s blog post about an astonishing occurance related to the name of this child.

VIA joycelist2: Fr. Gobbi's Funeral Youtube videos

Part I

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Fr. Gobbi singing to our Lady

Fr. Gobbi letting children come kiss our Lady's statue
Fr. Gobbi reading the Gospel and Homily

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 16, 2011


(Rom 12:4-8)  For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ; and every one members one of another: And having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith; Or ministry, in ministering; or he that teacheth, in doctrine; He that exhorteth, in exhorting; he that giveth, with simplicity; he that ruleth, with carefulness; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.


VIA GHANA: The Truth about the Catholic Church and God's Existence

VIA ICN (UK): Viewpoint: Are we listening to the Holy Spirit?

Year after year we are encouraged to pray for and support financially vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.  And then on the other hand it is quietly remembered as an aside that we each have a vocation to the single life, the married life, we are each called by God to be fully ourselves.

The cry for vocations to the ordained priesthood makes me wonder if we are listening properly to the Holy Spirit.  Should we not be praying for the flowering of the vocations of the baptised?  And should we not be paying for the necessary support and formation required to be Christians in the world?

As baptised Christians we are called to be witnesses to our faith.  As Catholics many of us only see and meet our fellow Catholics at Sunday mass.  The majority of our time is so often spent in a world with no knowledge of God.

Our ordained priests spend the majority of their time with Catholics – with parishioners who come to their parish for help, pastoral care, assistance with the sacraments and of course, the everlasting completion of forms.

The rest of us are living in a world with no knowledge of God.  The colleague who has lost a father, who has a sick child, turns to us for their pastoral care.  So often you hear someone say 'I don't believe, but I know you do – will you pray for me, my father, my friend'  I have had phone calls from people knowing I am a person of faith and asking to lean on that faith.

In our day to day living most of us carry our faith lightly.  But we have a faith which people recognise.  And we don't need to wear our outward sign of that – a cross or a badge – it is seen in our way of living.

This vocation to be witness in a world which knows not God is a very risky witness.  You can be abused, you can be ignored, you are so often undervalued, and that's just by the church.  But it is a very powerful call by God to be present in the world.  It is a powerful call by God to have the courage to say – 'I'll pray for you.'

And this courage bears fruit.  You gain more courage to say – 'prayer works, I know'.  And this touches people.  Each one of us can only respond through personal experience, so my experience of the power of prayer gently shared supports and strengthens others.  Perhaps one day they may try it and find that prayer is a real communication with the God they haven't yet dared to know.  Until then we must just recognise our quiet place in their journey of faith.

And it is not just requests for prayer that are asked of us.  People really want to know – what is Ascension Day – why Ash Wednesday and what happens when you go to a funeral.  It is important not to treat that question lightly, just someone making conversation.  People don't know – they really want to know.

Our society has lost the base knowledge of Christianity, and those we meet want to know more.  This is where I sense we are not listening to the Holy Spirit and the message about vocations.  We worry about finding and training men for the ordained priesthood.  But perhaps we should be equipping the humble Christian with the knowledge and skills to be the witness in the world.  Is each person being given the resources to answer the questions of the colleague, the person on the bus who asks the question!  Are we nurturing the humble Catholic with accessible retreats and days of prayer?  I suggest we should recognise that this work is as important as training a man for the priesthood, and should therefore become a part of the parish financial and spiritual commitment.

It is the ordinary person in the world whose vocation should be supported and nurtured.  From this, I am sure, would emerge the men and women needed for the ordained priesthood and religious life.  If we had the courage to listen to the Holy Spirit and empower our own communities the effect on the communities of unbelievers around us could be immense. 

We are encouraged in our parishes to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life.  But do we in our parishes pray for each other as we live our everyday lives in places where our Catholicism is challenged and questioned.  And do we spend our collection moneys on empowering the baptised with the knowledge and skills they need to be Catholic in our world. 

As we take our knowledge and love of God into our offices, schools and hospitals we would bring hope to our world.  Our society is lacking in hope, the dispirited attitude of so many is the complete opposite to the believer who knows that we have hope in an ever loving, ever-merciful Father who, we are taught has a place for us in heaven.  Daily we meet people with little or no faith, who are searching for a meaning in their lives, who look to us to share that faith.  As Catholics we are recognised as people of hope, this hope we can offer others.  We know that we are loved for ourselves by our everlasting Father; and we can offer this love to those around us. We are seen as people of love. 

Everyone we meet has problems at the moment, emotionally, physically, financially; there is a despondent air around us.  Perhaps our real task today is to be prepared to be people with faith, hope and love for all those around us, and I believe that the Holy Spirit is calling each one of us to be that people. 

VIA Chastisement (US): The Rosary is THE Weapon!  -St.  Padre Pio

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.

"My beloved, do not be alarmed or afraid when you see the apparent triumph of the lawless one.  My Church has not yet undergone her passion.
The mysterious plan of God is beyond all human comprehension.  Keep the faith–keep to the prayers.  The rosary especially is a great gift to this age.  I have given you many prayers and devotions–you only need to reach into the tool box and pull one out.  Each one has a specific use, but all are useful.  Get in the habit, dear child, of using often the spiritual tools I have given you.  Those who do not know how to use the tools in the box will have a far more difficult time in the days ahead.  I have not left you orphaned, my children.  Pray!  I am with you through it all."

Jesus I trust in you.  Help me to know what tools you wish me to use in every situation.  Open my ears to hear your instructions and lessons.
Jesus keep us and all our loved ones safe in your care.  Here we are Lord–your unworthy servants come to do your will.  Amen.

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 14, 2011
  (Feast of the Triumph of the Cross)

(Php 2:5-8) For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

FEAST HISTORY VIA CATHOLIC CULTURE: This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heralius in 629.

The lessons from the Breviary tell us that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: "Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross." The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey. 

FATHER ALTIER (09/14/04): But as Saint Augustine said some sixteen hundred years ago, the Cross then is the marriage bed upon which Christ consummated His marriage. We are the bride; we have to be upon the same marriage bed with the Bridegroom. We have to be united with Him. It means that we have to be pierced with Him, hands and feet, united upon the Cross, stretched in every direction, held between heaven and earth, lifted up from the earth so we can be united with Him Who has three times been lifted up from the earth to draw us to Himself. That is the way of the spiritual life. If we are not willing to share in the Cross of Christ, if we are not willing to recognize the power, the authority, and the glory of the Holy Cross, the power and authority and glory which it has only because of the One Who was crucified upon it, then we will have no share in the life. It is just like the bride who has no part in the marriage bed. How can she be a bride? How can there be life? There cannot. Unless there is a union between the bride and the bridegroom, there can be no life. If we want eternal life, if we want divine life within our souls now, there is only one way and that is to be united with our Bridegroom, the Bridegroom of our souls, and to be crucified with Him on the Cross. He humbled Himself taking the form of a slave, Saint Paul says, and was obedient even to death on the Cross. We have to humble ourselves, but in doing so we will be exalted, lifted up. We will be exalted by becoming divine, by sharing in the divine nature, and by being obedient even unto life, life through the Cross. 

EXCERPT HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II Feast of the Triumph of the Cross:

3. Jesus continues: "The Son of Man must be lifted up... so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him" (Io. 3, 14-15).  The human family had received at the very beginning of earthly history a deadly bite from the "ancient serpent".  He had injected a satanic venom – the venom of original sin – into the souls of the first man and woman. And from that time onward, man's history on earth has been burdened by sin. A tendency towards sin has generated many evils in the lives of individual persons and the communities to which they belong, in families, in entire peoples and nations.

"The Son of Man must be lifted up", says Jesus to Nicodemus. And he says this with a view to his crucifixion: The Son of Man must be lifted up on the Cross. Whoever believes in him, whoever sees in this Cross and in the Crucified One the Redeemer of the world, whoever looks with faith on the redemptive death of Jesus on the Cross, finds in him the power of eternal life. By this power, sin is overcome. People receive forgiveness of their sins at the price of the Sacrifice of Christ. They find again the life of God which had been lost by sin.

4. This is the meaning of the Cross of Christ. This is its power. "God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved" (Io. 3, 17).

The feast that we celebrate today speaks of a marvellous and ceaseless action of God in human history, in the history of every man, woman and child. The Cross of Christ on Golgotha has become for all time the centre of this saving work of God. Christ is the Saviour of the world, because in him and through him the love with which God so loved the world is continuously revealed: "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son" (Ibid. 3, 16).

– The Father gave him so that this Son, who is one in substance with him, would become man by being conceived of the Virgin Mary.

– The Father gave him so that as the Son of Man he would proclaim the Gospel, the Good News of salvation.

– The Father gave him so that this Son, by responding with his own infinite love to the love of the Father, might offer himself on the Cross.

5. From a human point of view, Christ's offering of himself on the Cross was a sign of contradiction, an unthinkable disgrace. It was, in fact, the most profound humiliation possible.

In today's liturgy, the Apostle Paul speaks to us in words that capture the mystery of the Cross of Christ: "His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a Cross. But God raised him high" (Phil. 2, 6-9).

Through his self-emptying on Golgotha, in the disgrace of the Cross and the crucifixion (at least in the human way of understanding these events) Christ receives the highest exaltation. In God's eyes, the Cross is the greatest triumph. The way of human judgement is very different from God's. God's judgement far surpasses ours. What seems to us to be failure is, in God's eyes, the victory of sacrificial love.

It is precisely this Cross of human disgrace that bears within itself the source of the exaltation of Christ in God.

"God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Ibid. 2, 9-11).

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 13, 2011

(Gal 1:8-9) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

On the Fragility of Islam by James V. Schall, S. J.

VIA MT Melvin: Fr.  James V.  Schall S.J.  remains at the age of 83 an indispensable voice in foreign policy, combining theological depth and strategic acuity.  “The Fragility of Islam” is the subject of his latest pronouncement at the Catholic Thing blog.  Western analysts tend to accept the narrative of Muslim triumphalism, the assertion that the strong faith of the Islamic world will overwhelm the temporizing and vacillating West.  Not so, Fr.  Schall argues: Islam itself is “as fragile as communism.” He writes:

The major change Islam looks to is not modernization or objective truth but, in a stable world, the submission to Allah of all men under a caliphate wherein no non-believers are found.

We still look back at communism, at least the non-oriental variety, with some astonishment in this regard.  Almost no one thought it could “fall” without a major military encounter.  That it disintegrated so quickly and so completely seems incomprehensible to anyone but a John Paul II.  He understood its frailty, its failure to understand the human soul and its origins….

Religion or faith, even in Islam through Averroes, has been conceived as a myth designed to keep the people quiet.  The scholars could quietly let the caliphs and the imams rule if the intelligentsia were left free to pursue philosophy, which was conceived to be anti-Koranic in the sense that the Koran did not hold up under scrutiny about its claims.

The fragility of Islam, as I see it, lies in a sudden realization of the ambiguity of the text of the Koran.  Is it what it claims to be?  Islam is weak militarily.  It is strong in social cohesion, often using severe moral and physical sanctions.  But the grounding and unity of its basic document are highly suspect.  Once this becomes clear, Islam may be as fragile as communism.

A tiny minority of analysts, this writer included, have argued instead that Islam cannot be reformed or situated in democratic institutions; its militancy, rather, stems from the realization that it cannot survive modernity.  “Koranic criticism yet may turn out to be the worm in the foundation of radical Islam,” I wrote in 2003.  Much of the Muslim world is repeating the West’s transition out of traditional society, but in lapsed time.

That is the subject of my forthcoming book, How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying Too).

An index of Islam’s loss of faith is the unprecedented collapse of fertility in many Muslim countries, most notably Iran.  The average Iranian has six siblings, but will have 1.5 children.  The Persian nation will not survive this demographic collapse.  There are seven working-age Iranians to care for each set of parents; in the next generation there will be one and a half.  That is an impossible tax even for industrial nations whose per capita GDP exceeds $30,000, and an unimaginable problem for a country with a per capita GDP of only $6,000.  Iran is going to die.

Why so few children?  Just as Fr.  Schall suggests, we will find when we poke through the rubble that Muslims are as rare in today’s Iran as Communists in the Russia of the 1980s.  According to a BBC account Iran has the lowest mosque attendance of any Muslim country at just 2%.

The problem that the West confronts is not engagement with Islam, or reform of Islam, or democratization of Muslim countries, but the utter and final ruin of some of the most important Muslim nations.  Turkey’s problems are just as severe: the fertility rate of native Turkish speakers is just 1.5, the same as Iran’s, while Kurdish fertility is around 4.5 — which means that the Kurds will comprise about half the country’s population a generation from now, in contrast to just under 20% today.

Much of the Muslim world remains rooted in traditional society, to be sure; 44% of Egyptians are illiterate and more than 90% of Egyptian women are subject to genital mutilation.  But that model also has crashed and burned: a country immured in backwardness cannot survive in the globalized world.  Egypt imports half its caloric consumption, and Chinese pigs will eat before the Egyptian poor.

The central issue in the Muslim world is its crisis of faith, as Fr.  Schall instructs us.  The clarity of his formulation stands in contrast to the timid, apologetic stance of many Western Christians toward Islam.  Typical of the defeatist view among Catholic intellectuals was a 2009 cover story in First Things magazine by Robert Louis Wilken entitled “Christianity Face to Face with Islam.” Wilken, a Church historian at the University of Virginia, wrote:

The vast geographical extent of the Muslim world offers an exceptionally sturdy base of piety, learning, and culture for expansion.  It is often said that the great story of the twenty-first century will be the conflict between Christianity and Islam.  From the partial view of these first few years in the century, that certainly seems true.  But if the Islam we imagine is the one that makes the morning headlines or the evening news, our sight will be as constricted as that of the Christian inhabitants of Byzantine Syria when the Muslims began to construct a new civilization in their midst.  Only if we move to a higher elevation to view Islam on a large historical and geographical panorama will we have the vision to take the measure of the determination, strength, and resources Muslims are likely to display in the decades to come.

The question for Wilken is how Christians are to survive within a triumphant Islam.  Fr.  Schall, with greater acuity, observes that the emperor has no clothes (I would add that the empire has no tailors, either).

It is a blessing to have Fr.  Schall still with us, and I wish him many more years in which to share his wisdom.

RELATED LINK: Growing Persecution of Christians in Nigeria

MORE: The persecution and murder of Christians is epidemic

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 9, 2011


(Mat 24:12-13) And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.

EDITORIAL: Cankultur at the End of an Age by Michael D. O'Brien

COMMENTARY: Clergy Banned From 9/11 NYC Ceremony

PRESS RELEASERev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA, Issues Statement on 10th Anniversary of 9/11

"This September 11th marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most devastating events in American history. The horrors of 9/11 will live forever in the memories of a generation and in the annals of history. And they certainly reside in the hearts and minds of Catholic Charities, and our people and agencies who responded so directly in New York and Washington.

"The grief that filled our hearts that day and in the weeks that followed transformed us. We became a nation united; united in our commitment to seek justice and care for the families of all of the victims, and in our resolve to rebuild in a way that would be greater than ever before.

"We will relive the events of 9/11 once again, as we have done for the previous nine years. This year, we will commemorate with a memorial that rises out of the ashes and pit of destruction of ten years ago. But I urge us not to stop there. I can think of no greater way to honor the thousands who lost their lives in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania than to reclaim our unity as a nation. Let not their unwilling sacrifice be in vain. As we rebuild America let us once again rush in, as a nation of peace and justice, to create a better country that is dedicated to the common good. We can. We will. We must."

Catholic Charities USA, in conjunction with Catholic Charities New York, has gathered resources from across the country to create a commemorative website, which honors the 10th anniversary of September 11th, providing a virtual platform for collective information and story sharing.

USCCB STATEMENT: A Time for Remembrance, Resolve and Renewal: Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11


O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain….

God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

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 8, 2011
  (Birth of the Virgin Mary)

Byzantine Daily Worship Prayer:  Come, all you faithful, let us hasten to the Virgin: for long before her conception in the womb, the one who was to be born of the stem of Jesse was destined to be the Mother of God. The one who is the treasury of virginity, the flowering Rod of Aaron, the object of the prophecies, the child of Joachim and Anne, is born today and the world is renewed in her. Through her birth, she floods the church with her splendor. O holy Temple, Vessel of the Godhead, Model of virgins and Strength of kings: in you the wondrous union of the two natures of Christ was realized. We worship Him and glorify your most pure birth, and we magnify you. (441-442)

VIA MANILAFeast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

September 8 is a special day for Christians all over the world because on this day we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord. Today is nine months after December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Nothing is said about the birth of Mary in the Bible. The source for the story of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel written about A.D. 150. From it, we learn the names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, as well as the tradition that the couple was childless until an angel appeared to Anna and told her that she would conceive.

The Holy Mother Church celebrates the earthly birthday of Mary because she continues to live in the hearts and minds of every Christian. She continues to inspire us to live our lives meaningfully and joyfully even in the midst of hardships and disappointments.

She continues to be an instrument of God's grace for us who are in most need of Divine providence. She continues to shelter us with her mantle of maternal protection. She continues and will never cease to be a mother for us all – a mother who cares and guides, a mother who nurtures and comforts her children in times of distress, a mother who leads her own to the right path."

MORE: The birthday of Mama Mary

EXCERPT US CATHOLICIsland Queen: A reflection on Our Lady of Charity

Like most Marian apparitions, the story of Our Ladyof Charity, which dates to 1612, began in a nameless place and involved ordinary, undistinguished people. Three boys were gathering salt needed to preserve the meat of the town's slaughterhouse, which supplied food for the copper mine workers and inhabitants near Santiago, Cuba. Two of the boys were native Indian brothers, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyos, and the third was a 10-year-old black slave, Juan Moreno.

On their way back to Santiago del Prado (modern El Cobre, meaning "copper") and halfway across the Bay of Nipe, they encountered a fierce storm that threatened their frail vessel. Suddenly the waters calmed. In the distance the boys saw a white bundle floating on a piece of wood. It was a small statue of Mary holding the infant Jesus on her left arm and a gold cross on her raised right hand. Inscribed on the wooden board were the words, "Yo soy la Virgen de la Caridad" ("I am Our Lady of Charity").

Much like the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the statue of Our Lady of Charity that the three youths brought to their village of Barajaguas instantly became a destination for pilgrims, a reminder for the underprivileged that their heavenly mother cared and stood beside them. El Cobre was to be the first place in Cuba where freedom was won for black slaves in 1886.

Nuestra Seņora de la Caridad del Cobre (celebrated yearly on September 8) may not be as well known in the United States as Our Lady of Guadalupe, but you can find her image in churches around the country and the world. Wherever Cuban refugees settled, they brought with them their devotion to la Caridad, or Cachita, as Cubans call her.

RELATED: Under Mary's gaze: Cuban community's devotion to patron saint is an unbroken tie

VIA CUBA: Catholic Church Takes the Pulse of Religious Sentiment

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 6, 2011

(Jas 5:13-15) Is any of you sad? Let him pray: Is he cheerful in mind? Let him sing. Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

BOOK REVIEW: The Power of Prayer

NEWS REPORT: Holy water brings girl back to life!

Mary Brescia:

Dear Family & Friends....

I am shocked, overwhelmed, & humbled by the graces and blessings of Almighty God!!  He has allowed my dearest brother, John, who was diagnosed with a large "mass" that was situated throughout the pleural cavity to DISAPPEAR!!  This "mass" had invaded his middle & lower lobe of his Left lung & he had been undergoing multiple testing, including a "Bronchoscopy, an EBUS, multiple CAT & MRI tests, and at his last test, they were going to puncture through his chest cavity to determine what type of cellular mass they were dealing with---In spite of discovering whether the "mass" was or was not malignant, John was told to expect that the "mass" had to be removed which meant that both his middle and lower lobe would be excised as it had invaded the central part of his pleural cavity.  While they had him on the examination gurney, preparing him for the surgery, they did one more CAT scan to determine positioning within the chest wall where the surgeon would one more time remove a part of mass and to ascertain if there was a metastasis....
John could see them through the interior window of the examination room as doctors & nurses began to gather to view the "mass" which was suddenly---"GONE!!!!!!"

Needless to say, they laughingly told Mike & I how both John & his wife Karen "skipped" out of the hospital filled with shock that their horror story was over!!!  They received confirmation from this the next day by their pulmonalogist, Dr.  Ferguson---an incredibly religious doctor, who confirmed---the "Mass" was gone---& yes, it was a miracle!!!!

My brother was prayed over at the Orange County Rosary Congress on Healing, Deliverance, & Spiritual Warfare on August 12 & 13th....Through the healing of my dearest brother, Our Lord has blessed our entire community & the "Body of Christ" to show his compassion and love for each one of us....Am I overwhelmed with joy....Yes....!!!!  Our Lord has a special plan for my brother & his family....His testimony of healing will reverberate throughout our tri-county area to show each and everyone of us that God IS present in our lives to heal each and every one of us ...

Close to 350 people who came over the weekend received blessings and healings that are continuing to manifest themselves in their lives....We were so blessed to have had Fr.  Joseph Whalen & Fr.  Welch from Archangel St.  Raphael Holy Healing Ministry, Fr.  Bill Halbing from St.  Antoninus Church in Newark, NJ, and Fr.  Joseph Esper from St Edward On-The-Lake, in Lakeport, Michigan.  I am truly blessed to witness God's healing within our family....I pray God that this healing becomes more evident to many of you who were blessed to witness first hand the special charisms of these healing priests, deacons & laypeople who graced us all with their "own witness" of the healings that have occurred in their own lives.  Our prayer group is ready to prepare the next conference, hopefully in November of this year...We will keep you all posted.......We have much to do to bring the healing power of Our Lord into people's lives---
we are all a broken people who need the love and support from each other....God has such a plan in our lives....let us all gather together for Our Lord & each other ....

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

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, 2011

(Rom 8:16-18) For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.

BLOG LINK: Why Does God allow Suffering?

VIA Christian WitnessThere is but one first cause, and it is the Lord

My God, teach me to recognize Your action in everything, in every creature that hurts me, in every happening which crosses me, as much as in every joy that delights me.  Give me to understand in practice that if secondary causes are infinitely varied, there is but one first cause, and that first cause is you, Lord.  The hand is the same, though the glove may be changed .  .  .  O God, my God, it is always Your good and tender hand which clasps mine to tell me, "I love you."

Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens

VIA +Anthony RD Curley A little poetic lesson from a friend, Rinah Shalom, which I felt I should share,

Worth It

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right.
Love the ones who don't just because you can.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Kiss slowly.
Forgive quickly.
God never said life would be easy.
He just promised it would be worth it.

Why bear grudges against folks, beloved?  Why walk through life with suspicions all the time?  Even if someone gets the upper hand over you, just be silent and allow them to "get away" with what they want; for they are really "getting away" with nothing, as they might think they are fooling God.  The "phony" get no where in life before their "falsity" finds them out; for the eyes of the Lord see everything; and sometimes, you and I are even graced to survive their intentions; thus, God allows us to change what we can wisely change for the better, when it is given to be in our power to do so; but, when it is impossible for us to change anything; well, just leave it in the Lord's Hands and pray for the matters at hand and those that hurt us; for He changes all things for the best and the thieves and the robbers of life (the false ones) do not escape His Justice.  They will all pay dearly in the end for their evils toward the true children of the King.

Trust in the Lord alone out true King; only He is to be trusted in all things.  Trust your brothers and sisters that manifest that true trust they have in the Beloved through their actions of the Faith that is unfeigned.  For, God sees and rewards accordingly; and gives more Grace to the humble than the proud ones.

His eye is on the sparrow.

Therefore, Kiss the Son; and greet one another with that Holy Kiss as well; thus, enduring hardships, when they come to us; as they will also come it seems.  In Him alone trust, for His yoke is easy and burden is very light and bearable; even though the hardships come; and there is no life of ease that is ours in the present times. 

We must remember daily that God created time; and He will someday bring to us who wait patiently for that hidden "eternity in our hearts" when time shall be no more.

We see Jesus now and He is never far and away; He is Present beloved; our Beloved.

Live in His Peace.

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

8. Love is essentially the banishment of every kind of contrary thought, for love thinketh no evil (1 Cor 8:5).
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