I am starting to write this blog mid January and I am trying to discern in what order since I have learned sooo much… By January 20, I was led to head this month’s sharing’s with the following Bible quote which I received on January 19 before Mass and as I was adoring Jesus. He asked me to check my Bible at home and look for pages 133 in both Old Testament and New Testament. The verses I will share are from page 133 NT.
He enters Jerusalem in a donkey. Then the Bible says, “As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.’ ” Luke 19: 41-44.
How many times we have read this statement in our lives? Many… Except that in my case, by this date of January 19, I had another huge exegesis of these verses received at the beginning of January! … Please read it again… Then, surprisingly, He proceeds to enter the Temple and threw out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’ ” Luke 19:46
Regarding the first verses, there is a foot note in the New American Bible, St. Joseph’s edition, and it says, “The lament for Jerusalem is found only in Luke. By not accepting Jesus (the one Who mediates peace), Jerusalem will not find peace but will become the victim of devastation.” Notice that this explanation only applies to Jerusalem… But what about us now? Of course, it applies to us as well. We are living all that He describes that was coming to Jerusalem, and it diagnoses the problem: we do not recognize the time of our visitation…! And He proceeds to hint to them and us when He enters the Temple and says that we should pray… instead of being enslaved by our need for power, prestige, possessions (money), and the need for fun…plus dragging our crosses as enemies!
However, as you shall read later, praying has to go along with the famous phrase, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” It seems simple, but I learned that believing cannot be a word… We must believe. However, in this month I have found “reasons” that made me open my eyes big time… I was not paying attention to history and the many times when God proved to us that there is nothing impossible for Him…
On January 16 we were celebrating religious freedom, and there were news that Iraqi Christians are presently being driven out of the country. Our present Pope asked us to pray for them and spoke of two things that oppose religious freedom: radical secularization and radical fundamentalists, who seek imposition of their beliefs on others. He recommended continuing a dialogue as a symbol that we want to speak of peace and mutual understanding, and that violence cannot be fought with violence. He said that the authentic weapon for peace is religious freedom and called the youth to build peace.
The topic of Islam was already in the front line of my mind. By this date of January 16, I had been led to watch Moses and Abraham as you will see later but at the time, I had no idea that this topic of religious freedom and peace were part of this blog. This same date at 10 PM, I was sent to read page 131 in the Bible. It was Luke 18. An official asked Jesus a question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus mentioned to him all the commandments. The official replied, “All of these I have observed from my youth.”
So, Jesus answered, “There is still something left for you: sell all you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow Me.” The official “became quite sad because he was very rich.” Jesus seeing his face added, “How hard it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God…” People around asked, “Then who can be saved?” He said, “What it is impossible for human beings is possible for God.” Later on, a blind beggar found Jesus and asked Him to restore his sight. Jesus responded, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
I was amazed at the richness of these verses… 1) It is not sufficient for me to follow the commandments (love God and neighbor and the rest). 2) I also have to give away my possessions, and those are not just money… My self-will is the greatest possession I have… My self-love goes hand in hand as well. What are others going to think about me? How do I blend with this world so that my very radical religious ideas do not bring me persecution? But how can I do such thing? How hard it is! However, I tend to forget that what is impossible for me to do, is not for God, and He will see to it that if I am persecuted, He will protect me big time in every storm of my life… (More on this later ) 3) However, I must trust, I must have faith like the blind beggar and all times, that He is in charge and that He is with me and that He can do all that is impossible for me… Wow…
Much before this date of January 19 when I started writing this blog, I had realized that I had not made any resolutions for 2011… until God intervened and made them for me… The following data was taken from my parish bulletin and quoted by my Pastor.
“According to a poll taken in 2008, 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. Of those who make resolutions, 34% are related to money; 38% make resolutions related to weight; 47% make resolutions related to self-improvement or education; 31% make resolutions related to relationships.” As you can see, the first three had much to do with worldly care. That last one perhaps contains a trifle of love of neighbor. God of course is out of the picture!
From here on, I will use part I to explain how I found my resolution for 2011, as He showed me the huge number of times that He has shown His love, justice and might to do extraordinary things in the history of the Church and of the world and in my own life, so that He could drill this Truth into my heart and change my life forever, and not just for 2011. Part II will be about my recent epiphany. Part III will give some stories about my encounters with God and people during this month of January …
But, I must place this “health issue” ahead of Part I, II and III… It is soo important.
We recently saw the massacre in Tucson, AZ on January 8… Mental disease was at the core. On January 20, and out of the blue, I ended up turning on the TV and PBS station was on… It is in these times that I know for sure that God has intervened for me to learn so many things.
The two hour story was just starting, “Marie Antoinette”…which is my baptismal name!!! It was pure history and I became interested because France lived at the end of the 1700’s, so many horrors with the economy, hunger, lack of hope, desperation, fear, that saw Marie Antoinette from Austria get married at age 15 and become queen at age 20… Her father-in-law King Louis XV died suddenly because of a deadly infection… Of course, she ended up decapitated years later after her own husband had been killed in the same way, even that they had escaped with their two kids and were 40 miles from Austria where people were waiting to help them, but they were captured and sent back to Paris. It gave me a quick review of the constant upheaval in this world of ours which is similar to our own right now… It has never changed… and we have ways to do much better, if “we only knew what makes peace…” Hmm…
I felt asleep towards the very end of the story and woke up to a 2008 new story, “Frontline.” I was sooo happy to have been led to see this program, which has much to do with what I will say about mental disease, food and Tucson.
Cyberspace is the most sinister place that exists… This PBS one hour program showed the case of a 13 year old who hanged himself on October 7, 2003. His father went into his computer and found multiple entries where he chatted for years with others about how to commit suicide, “the power of pain being intoxicating” and how he had been cyber bullied. There were many entries as to how to kill oneself especially by hanging. The father said that the computer per se cannot be blamed, but that it amplified and accelerated the hurt and pain that started in the real world.
Others came to say that we have to teach our kids “good cyber citizenship” – good manners on line. We have to teach them how to use technology responsibly. We have to teach our own souls and kids of how to love in our private life today since they seem to disconnect from it via Internet.” They also showed teen girls explaining that cyberspace is sacred to them, and they do not want their parents to look into the sites they visit. They even have their own language and they have code name for teens with eating disorders that starts with “Anne.” If you want to see it, they sell a DVD. The title: “Growing up on line.” http://www.shopPBS.org
Alright, let me repeat one more time that I am “sure” and super sure, that many of these kids could be totally in the hands of the food they consume! How is it possible that we still sell diet pop? Why? Aspartame, this blue sugar packet, is a killer of brains… It excites the brain and some of us become very depressed with it… A book was written in the 1990’s by a scientist with proof of what it does… MSG or mono sodium glutamate, is another excitatory food. Yet, because they lead you to believe that obesity is the worst thing that could happen to you, you must not consume sugar. I agree in principle, but I rather have a fat son than a son with mental illness.
But even worse, they are making a truth of what it is not… They are attributing obesity in kids and older people to over eating and the wrong kind of foods… No… Inflammation is the number one cause… Inflammation paralyses an enzyme produced in fat that tells our brain to stop eating… And inflammation comes from food (like sugar) but also from TOXIC MATERIALS… And fluoride in drinking water could be one of those toxics, plus pesticides and cleaning sprays and on and on… In the mean time, this plague of Egypt of misinformation on obesity, is leading kids to take aspartame… to avoid getting fat… and they destroy their brains. How many are constantly depressed because of it? Probably many!
And of course, what about carrageenan, this “natural” (sea weed) thickener added to many foods… I want to go “home” today if possible, but I have asked my Lord to give me the time and health to write a book on these subjects… But in the mean time, please pass on this information to anyone who suffers from depression or strange behaviors, and place this subject matter in your daily prayers… We need to wake up and stop the use of aspartame and carrageenan altogether. On 1/27, I went to shop for a can of evaporated milk for a recipe. I have always bought the “Carnation” brand. On this day, I looked at the label and bingo: carrageenan was in one of the ingredients… Can you imagine a young lad with my same genes who eats my dessert or an ice-cream with carrageenan and aspartame because it is labeled low fat and low calorie? He will be depressed forever… His behavior could worsen with time and nobody is doing anything about it…
Of any of you for that matter, who do not feel depressed as we know to be a deep depression, but feel anguished, anxious, that work is overwhelming and easily becomes angry or resentful? Those are symptoms of a mild depression as well…Read labels… Please, stop all aspartame, stop carrageenan, and my ultimate proof: purposely take carrageenan. Buy SLIM FAST and drink one can… and see how you feel in the next 2-3 hours… Or on a different occasion, drink three cans of diet pop one after the other, and watch what happens in the next 2-3 hours… And there you have an answer if you are super sensitive (genetics) to these foods. However, at all times, stop aspartame even if it does not make you depressed or mildly depressed. There are other sugar substitutes that can do the trick. But, you cannot drink or eat stuff that it is a toxic for your brain, period! We will never know what happened in the brain of Jared Laughner, but we must use our heads and pray that one day and soon, we stop the food industry from killing us and probably out of ignorance and lack of truth about obesity. I am super sure that one day scientists will say that obesity is due to toxicity, inflammation, and so on… and make it the law of the land to prohibit so many toxics. And through prayer we can do it, because for “God nothing is impossible.”
On the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6 for the entire world although we had celebrated it the prior Sunday, I was led to a page in the Bible and this statement that heads this blog struck me in a new way. So, how did God intervene to take me to make a resolution every day as I wake up, and that is, to fully understand and immerse myself in the Truth that “For God all things are possible,” as it appears in Luke 1: 37? As it turned out and many days later, I finally got it! Of course, the world is in chaos and it should not be… Why? Because God can take over and change things in no time… It is so simple… Yet, I had to “see” His plan since Adam and Eve, and contemplate that He can do all things… It only requires that I believe… that He can do it… Or, I must believe that my work is to become more malleable in His hands by changing my ways daily… What is the fastest way to change? To get up in the morning and believe in the Gospel, and that He can do all things, including taking over 100% of my conversion, and likewise, that He can stop wars, misunderstandings, hatred, division, accusations, lies, and so on, all coming from Satan and our flesh that has been convinced that we have ways to change the world with our own expertise…
Suddenly, I discovered that those words of the Archangel Gabriel started giving me much hope… and of course… what is it that hope gives? More faith… And voila, one sees this great plan of His for all eternity and our love for Him increases… A few days later I had received the same statement of the Archangel from the lips of Jesus in Luke 18… Finally, I had a huge understanding of why we do not get results… and has to do because our love for others is sooo selective!… So much so, that He cannot hear our prayers for His mercy because we are truly not His disciples… The noise of our disobedience to His second most important commandment holds Him from taking us to a global understanding of who we are in Him…My self-denial is sporadic and mediocre. My faith is iffy at most when I do not believe daily that He can do all things for me… You shall see in due time what happened…
So, let’s start and see how the theme was developed…
Sunday December 26.
It all came to be suddenly and as always I was tricked. The Comcast channel for EWTN is 229, and I wanted to see what was coming in the next hour and it shows two other channels. No. 230 is TBN, the Protestant version of EWTN. And they were about to show: MOSES…Well, on this day I watched Moses, but the following Sunday it was about Abraham, and the following Sunday was on JOSEPH of the Old Testament. So, I will start a different order with Genesis beginning of life first, and then Abraham, then Joseph and finally Moses, in order to follow a historical thread, and followed by tons of stories that will prove beyond doubt that yes, “For God all things are possible.”
1. When God created the Universe, He created galaxies, and within them many planets and stars. But the interesting thing is that He created laws of physics that are so precise, that all parts of the Universe stay in place pretty much without major crashes… And just to be helpful, He created earth with a rotation so that the sun could give ALL of us two seasons: a cold one and a hot one… Hmm. Amazing genius He is! But at times He decides to give us the best weather to celebrate Life… San Francisco had close to two weeks of severe rain… But suddenly, we ended up with higher temperatures and much sunlight that have broken records for January 2011, and precisely for January 22 to be perfect for the West Coast March for Life… And, on January 24, the weather in Washington DC was fantastic, a little cold but sunny. However by January 26, all hell broke loose and on January 27, the capital city was full of snow in record amounts…! Hmm!
2. Abram kept saying to his wife Sarai that because God had promised to multiply his descendants, that He would keep His promise. God had said to him at the time, “Fear not. I am your shield. You will be great.” Abram had answered to God, “Why do you reward me with so many gifts but I have no son.” God responded, “Prepare a sacrifice. Look to heaven and look at the stars. So will your descendants be as numerous as the stars. I am the Lord Who brought you from the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess. I will make a covenant with you: “I’ll give you a son of your own flesh who shall be your heir.” Abraham complained to the Lord that he was a man of advanced age and he laughed, as well as Sarah later on. But God said he would have a son and to call him, Isaac, which means laughter . God asked Abraham to undergo a circumcision as a sign of this covenant. It was then that Abram’s name was changed to Abraham and his wife’s, to Sarah. The Lord said that she would be the mother of many nations.
Later on, Sarah took over the plan of God and offered one of her servants as a mistress to Abraham, Hagar. Eventually she delivered a child and he was named Ishmael, which means “God listens.”
Later on, Abraham had 3 visitors and they announced the birth of a son by the next year. They also said that Sara should not laugh. They explained, “Is there anything the Lord cannot do?” I want to pause here and ask you: “Have you ever doubted that God could do something different in your life and which He seems to be calling you to do? I have…I have fought the writing of these blogs with the same arguments of Abraham and even Moses… “It is too late for me… I have nothing to say because I am not a theologian… etc… etc…!” Why was I sooo wrong? Because when God wants something of us, our duty is to believe that for Him nothing is impossible, say YES as our Mother in heaven did and forget about the rest. If it happens, fine. If it doesn’t, fine too. Why? Because when it is from God, He will do whatever He intends despite our unbelief and weaknesses… The only obstacle is my “I, my self-absorption” that I know better and instead want to do what I and others expect of me… Ouch!
Ishmael was 10 years older than Isaac and they were good friends. Sara did not like this arrangement saying, “What about if Ishmael asks for the birth right of Isaac? So she convinced Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. They were in the desert without water and God told Hagar not to worry, that He will make him a great nation. God provided water.
Eventually, God told Abraham, “Take your son and offer him up as a burnt offering.” Abraham proceeded to obey and took Isaac with him. The latter asked, “Where is the lamb for the offering?” Abraham answered, “God will provide the lamb!” And of course, God stopped Abraham and did provide a nearby lamb to offer the sacrifice.
1) Abraham’s faith was unbelievable. We know him as out father in faith. But besides faith, he had no fear to follow God’s commands, which elevated his faith to actual TRUST or faith without fear…! Notice that Jesus told St. Faustina that in order to receive the ocean of His mercy, we have to trust… So, logically, Abraham received God’s mercy and miracles happened!
2) Also NOTICE how this story teaches us that for God nothing is impossible to do… Sarah conceived a son when physiologically would have been impossible.
3) Also see that Sarah took over God’s will, and she willed to make possible for Abram to have a son… even using a slave. Here we find another case of Adam and Eve… And many centuries later we are still paying the consequences … I started to realize the importance of never trying to outsmart God with our own decisions that are based on fear, the one that kills trust…or based on pride, trying to follow what others expect of us…
4) God protected Hagar and Ishmael because His justice is simply a dream. He loved them just as much as Abraham, Sarah and Isaac since they were all made in His image. Shouldn’t we start thinking of loving the Jihadist’s? Is it possible? Of course, it is… for God all things are possible, and He can change our hearts if we ask Him, and we can end up loving the Moslem world and through it, we could heal them with the power of our love… It is soo simple! A similar situation will be visited later.
5) What is interesting is to realize that Islam is a sister to Christianity and very different to the other major religions: Budhism and Hinduism. Hmm!
Joseph, son of Israel (Jacob) and Rachel, lived in the land of Canaan with eleven brothers. He was Rachel’s firstborn and Israel’s eleventh son. Of all the sons, Joseph was loved by his father the most. Israel’s favoritism toward Joseph caused his half brothers to hate him, and when Joseph was seventeen years old he had two dreams that made his brothers plot his demise. In the first dream, Joseph and his brothers gathered bundles of grain. Then, all of the grain bundles that had been prepared by the brothers gathered around Joseph’s bundle and bowed down to it. In the second dream, the sun (father), the moon (mother) and eleven stars (brothers) bowed down to Joseph himself. When he told these two dreams to his brothers, they despised him for the implications that the family would be bowing down to Joseph. They became jealous that their father would even ponder over Joseph’s words concerning these dreams. Genesis 37: 1-11.
While in Dothan, when they were feeding the flocks, the brothers saw Joseph from a distance and plotted to kill him. However, the eldest brother Reuben did not want Joseph to die. He suggested having Joseph thrown into an empty water hole until they could figure out what to do with him. He was the only one, however, who intended to rescue Joseph and return him to his father. Unaware of their intent, when Joseph approached his brothers, they turned on him and stripped Joseph of the coat his father made for him. Then they threw him into the cistern that Reuben suggested to earlier. As they pondered what to do with Joseph, the brothers saw a camel caravan of Ishmaelites carrying spices and perfumes to Egypt, for trade. Judah, the strongest, thought twice about killing Joseph and proposed that he be sold.
Just as the dream had foretold, a famine came throughout the world and in the land of Canaan it was very severe so Joseph’s 10 brothers came to Egypt in search of food. They all bowed down to him, and after testing them, Joseph revealed to them his true identity, and forgave them. God saved the whole family from the famine and they came down to live in Egypt. (I want to add to this story that for this whole month the Lord led me to multiple stories about Islam as you will see, in the Bible and in the history of the world, with sufficient proves everywhere of how He has intervened through the centuries and made a difference. You shall see such stories later … The Holy Spirit seemed to prepare me to watch the present conflict in Egypt, of all places… with different eyes… “What makes for peace” statement took a different meaning…)
The story of Joseph is an amazing story because it reveals how God in His foreknowledge, planned far in advance, knowing that the Hebrews wouldn’t survive in Canaan because of the coming famine and other circumstances, but needed to be brought down into Egypt where they would not only survive but multiply exceedingly. God ordained the situation with Joseph so that He would preserve His people and fulfill His promises to Abraham.
It is important to underline the same topic… God knows what He is doing since He created the earth…He had to transfer Israel to Egypt and because they multiplied in great numbers, they were singled out and suffered much as slaves, but He already had planted a Hebrew among Pharaoh’s court named Moses to liberate them!!!…
4. Moses was chosen for an impossible job… or so he thought at times when he doubted his call because he doubted that for “God all things are possible.” The Israelites had been “slaves” in Egypt for 400 years… Moses is called in his old age (stop here to think that God chooses old people to prove a point. We could not say today that Moses was successful because he was a young lad like King David and very enterprising and intelligent warrior.)
1) Moses had to trust God… Period. This in order to ask Pharaoh to release these slaves… He had to act like a crazy guy… He did…
2) God tested Moses right from the bat by making Pharaoh impossible to deal with.
3) Ten plagues came and finally Pharaoh for a while gives in and Moses invited the Israelites to leave town. They asked him: “Where are we going?” He said, “To the Promised Land.” They asked, “How long will it take.” He answered, “Till we get there!”
4) So they are in front of the Red Sea and the Jews start to mortify Moses by saying, “What kind of a leader are you? You will have us killed and as they heard upon them the pursuing Pharaoh’s army. Here we must stop to ponder the trust that Moses had in God… How many of us would have called it quits right and there? Please never forget this scene! How many Red Seas have you had in your life? So, they crossed it on dry ground and Pharaoh’s army was drowned behind them…
5) In route, the Holy Spirit took over….!!! And guided them as fire by night and a cloud by day… What a hint for us… Whenever things look simply impossible, the Holy Ghost will see to it that all things be possible!!! Wow! So far, God was doing it all. But, they were thirsty and hungry… And so Aaron said to Moses, “And now what? This is a clear scene that got even worse later, where the “priest” doubts God’s power! So, we should never think it may not happen again in our own lives. It is a big hint for us lay people: priests are not infallible but their teaching is expected to be… if based on the Word of God and the teaching of the Church.
6) So, Moses had to consult God… Hint: when doubting, pray…! God revealed Himself as “I Am Who Am.” Moses inquired, “What does it mean? I did not ask You to do this!” In the midst of it, Aaron and Miriam, his own flesh, began to be jealous of Moses and indignant that God only talked to him. In the movie, it is said, “A knife is quicker to kill, but the best poison of all, is jealousy.”
7) The whole group kept murmuring saying that they were living like slaves as they were in Egypt. Some were planning on going back, and this doubt made them spend 40 years in the desert, precisely because they doubted that “All things are possible for God” despite the huge parting of the Red Sea. They had zero hope! They had zero faith! In due time, Moses cannot see the Promised Land but from afar, and God again parted the Jordan River for Israel to enter it because all things are possible to Him… Wow!
Corollary: I must understand that to follow God is the most abhorrent act for Satan, and he will agitate everybody and everyone with any scam to make me doubt… And of course, if I forget that for God all things are possible, I am done… and could add many years in the desert without knowing what makes for peace!
We are ALSO slaves to communications means, which counsel us to say: “It is too hard, impossible to change and we are O.K. the way we are, since with our own effort, we can change ourselves whenever we want because we are like God, capable of anything if we try hard.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many other stories making the same point, which later I will tell you about, but for now, I MUST place here this presentation on how God, after allowing two women, Sara and Hagar, start a conflict for future religious liberty, He had to deal with tremendous upheavals that have lasted until this last weekend of 2011 and growing… But, He has solved them all despite that most of us never got it: that for Him nothing is impossible plus lack desire to be converted to live this truth! I have truly agonized about adding this part at all. Actually, I have resisted to a certain point and to no avail. But since He sent me these programs and after much discernment, I have to place them here because He spoke to me through them, and increased my faith in His reign over all of us, whether in war or not. I also understood under much discernment that if this blog becomes a mini-book, you may not have time to read it, and yet it will be there in the Internet at your disposal. The story is very important because of the present times in Egypt… It helped me to understand that this controversy is here to stay and what I can do about it…
History of Islam in Spain and Portugal
EWTN showed a series of programs under the name of the River of Light. They were full of information regarding the history of Spain, the Muslims, the Quran, etc. As I mentioned before, Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Americas has a lot to do with the history of Spain at this time. So, here are some highlights from the Internet:
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable. They comprise about 21-23% of the world’s population. Most Muslims belong to one or two denominations: 80-90% Sunni, and 10-20% Shia. They identify the prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God to be His messengers. According to the Quran, the descendants of Abraham and Imran were chosen by God to bring the “will of God” to the peoples of the nations. It mentions the names of numerous figures considered prophets in Islam, like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, among others. They believe that God finally sent Muhammad (570-June 8, 632) to convey the divine message to the whole world.
SPAIN: the term Moors refers to all Muslims whether of Berber or Arab origin and is a derivative from the Latin word "mauri", a word used by Romans referring to the tribes living in Mauritania. In 710 the ruling general Musa in Damascus sent a small force of 400 soldiers to investigate the south of the Iberian Peninsula and landed at Tarifa. They reported back that they had found wealth and beautiful women. A combination of this report, the support of Achila and the son of ex-King Witiza, together with Julian Governor of Septum, Musa instructed a force of 10,000 men to invade. King Rodrigo was caught unprepared and was in the north of his kingdom. He rushed south with an army composed of different supporters and some of questionable loyalty. The two armies fought a battle near to the Guadalquivir River at Rio Barbate and some of King Rodrigos’s army exchanged allegiance during the fighting. The King escaped only to die shortly after leaving the Peninsula open to conquest by the Moors. By the winter of 711 Tariq and his army had made their headquarters in Toledo and by 715 they were effectively masters of most of the Peninsula.
In the following year Musa himself led another army to take on the remainder of the Visigoths at Mérida. The Visigoths were beaten and fled north to the Asturias. The land Hispania now belonged to the Moors who then renamed it as Al-Andulas and belonging to the Arab Empire based in Damascus. The Moors found their conquest of such a large territory to be relatively easy and it is believed that they met with considerable support from the inhabitants, particularly the Jews and the vast slave population originating from Roman times. Based on tradition the Moors supposedly were expected to "fill their sacks with loot and leave". General Musa returning to Damascus with 30,000 peninsular "virgins" and many treasures including a jeweled table belonging to King Solomon, reported that his victory had been made much easier by the "effeminacy of the princes".
The Moors suffered from considerable in-fighting amongst the various tribes of which their army was composed. Two leading tribes Yemenites and the Kaishers crushed a Berber rebellion and then promptly turned on each other. In 756 a Syrian Prince by the name of Abd-ar-Rahman fled Damascus to land eventually at Almuñecar and raised a local supporting army. Within the short space of a year he was established in Córdoba as the first leader of the independent Emirate of Al-Andulas. Abd-ar-Rahman I, ruled for 32 years with a personal army of 40,000 men and was quick to show unmerciful force to any threats. The area which including Seville to Malaga under his strong leadership prospered and grew powerful both in trade and culture.
By 1031 the once powerful Al-Andulus had become 20 feuding kingdoms but they still maintained local control over their own populations, the strongest being Seville, Granada, Córdoba, Almeria, Zaragoza, Badajoz and Toledo. One stronger ruler was Hakam in Córdoba. He did not ignore the increasing power enjoyed by the Christian rulers in the north so he sent an army to deal with the problem under the ambitious and able Mohammed ibi-abi-Amir who was later to become a ruler and known as Al-Mansur. In a period covering 20 years he led 57 expeditions into the territory and in 997 he took Santiago de Compostela and destroyed the shrine founded in 899 with the exception of the tomb, leaving it out of pity to a gallant defending priest. The bells and the doors of the shrine were removed and reinstalled in the Great Mosque in Córdoba. The power of Córdoba as a seat of power finished with the death of its last ruler Hisham III (1027-1031).
When the town of Toledo was taken by King Alfonso II, the Moor leader in Seville decided to take positive action and contacted their tribe brothers in North Africa. He approached the dark-skinned tribe of Almoravids who readily accepted a chance to fight in the name of Allah. An invasion army of Almoravids landed at Algeciras in the south and marched to meet King Alfonso at Badajoz in 1086. In very short time the King fled to save his life having been beaten in battle. The Almoravids took control of the most of the southern peninsular and governed it from their capital at Marrakech. They used a different style of rule based on strict fundamentalism to the Koran. They viewed priests as "libertines, fornicators and sodomites" and as can be imagined there was a flood to the north of persecuted southern inhabitants. They also showed little respect for buildings, for example when they captured Segovia they pointlessly destroyed 36 of its Roman arches.
By 1150, the map of states of the Peninsula had changed with the significant shrinkage of the part controlled by the Moors. The conflict between the Moors and the Christians continued their now traditional win and lose situation with Alfonso VIII of Castille being defeated at Alarcos in 1195 and later the Moors suffered a heavy defeat in 1212 at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. After further losses which included the area of Murcia in 1243 and that of Valencia in 1245, they then lost Portugal in 1249 and the Balearic Islands. This followed later with Córdoba and Seville falling to King Ferdinand III of Castille. He accepted that the Moors retained their kingdom of Granada but as vassals to his throne. To sum up at this stage it would be correct to say that the Moors (mainly Berber-Hispanic Muslims) inhabited two-thirds of the peninsular for 375 years. They then occupied for a further 160 years about half of the peninsular, and reduced to the small kingdom of Granada (Málaga, Almeria, and regional areas), for the ultimate period of 244 years – the fall of the kingdom is covered in "The Reconquest Period".
As the rule of the Moors declined the rule of the northern Christians grew. The kingdom of León was the initial leader in the Re-conquest until the setbacks suffered from the attacks by Al Mansur. The state of Navarra took up this position under King Sancho III (1005-1035). Unfortunately for the immediate future the then divided kingdom was inherited by his sons and war commenced between Alfonso VI of León and Sancho IV of Castille. After King Sancho was murdered possibly by his brother in 1081 the new King was Alfonso VI who became a military leader and swept his army all the way south to Gibraltar. He also reintroduced the Latin Mass in place of the Mozarabic rite previously performed in churches. The King’s most outstanding achievement was when he captured Toledo in 1085.
1139. It was about this time that the idea of a "Holy War" began to take hold in the minds of the Christian kings. To kindle this fire the rebuilding of the shrine at Santiago de Compostela was commenced and it soon became the most celebrated pilgrimage in Europe to be undertaken by the faithful. The Moors had now united under the leadership of Add al-Mumin and his new reinforcements from the North African tribe of Almohades. They successfully destroyed the cream of Christian knights in battle in 1195 at Alarcos near Toledo. The ruling Pope called for a new crusade and in June of 1212 knights and men from various parts of the Peninsula and Europe gathered at Toledo to march south. On the plains at Las Novas de Tolosa they met with the Almohades and severely defeated them claiming that they had killed some 60,000 of their enemies. This battle was the beginning of the eventual fall of the Moors rule in the Iberian Peninsula.
King Ferdinand III of Castille celebrated in 1248 his victory in taking Córdoba by reconsecrating the Great Mosque as a Cathedral and reinstalled the original bells having been brought back from Santiago.
The Castille crown was permanently in debt and through the centuries turned to the Jews for loans. In the middle 1300s the various kingdoms began to show less tolerance in society and Muslims were forced to wear certain style of clothing and hair styles. Jews began to be blamed for many problems and there commenced an undercurrent of anti-Semitic feeling although no positive step was taken. This was in contrast to other European countries such as England and France where Jews had already been expelled "en masse".
Castille was not in a much better state with a lack of quality in a succession of Kings. Juan was succeeded by his perverse son Enrique IV. The King’s younger sister was Isabel, born in 1451 and who was later to become the Queen and ruled with great shrewdness. Isabel wedded Fernando, heir of Aragon on October of 1469. In the same year the father of Fernando died so that the throne of Aragón passed to his son. This meant that the two greatest Christian powers in Iberia were as one in marriage and Spain in theory was born as we recognize it today. The Queen was noted for her witty intelligence and they proved very capable in ruling together and built in their lifetime a well defended, strong and successful kingdom. Like all marriages this does not mean that it was to be without friction. The Castilians were greater in numbers and did not accept the Aragóns readily into their midst. Politically they were very different, with the nobles from Aragón having real power through their parliaments as against the less effectual nobles from Castile who were much more subject to the will of their King.
Both England and France had during their histories already persecuted the Jews so it was not difficult for the Queen to obtain the Pope’s agreement in 1478 to set up the "Inquisition" under the acceptable pretext of weeding out "false" Christians. These were basically Jews who had converted by accepting the Christian faith and had acquired titles and property. The first "auto de fe" took place in 1481 in Seville and six heretics were burned. In the 1480s there were some 2,000 executions dealt out by the "Inquisition". The victims chosen for "religious examination", after being tortured and relieved of their wealth were sometimes fortunate enough to keep their lives.
In the year 1491 the armies of King Fernando and Queen Isabel built a base camp at short distance from Granada at Santa Fe. This was in preparation for a determined siege on the last part of the Iberian Peninsula to be under Moor control. Granada contained an estimated 60,000 inhabitants. The earlier fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1453 had inspired the Christians and the crusade lasted ten years (1482-1492), and was greatly assisted by the internal power struggles within the ruling Moors in Granada. Money was short and Queen Isabel even pawned the crown jewels to raise money to keep the campaign in the field.
The Castilian army was modernized and was to become an unbeatable force for the next 100 years. This also continued to be a time for exploration and discovery in the Americas with Vasco Nuñez de Balboa crossing the breath of the new territory. On discovering the Pacific Ocean in 1513 (which he did not name), he had confirmed the fact that the Americas was a new separate continent having already founded in 1510 the city of Darién (now named Panama). The exploration continued at a fast pace and in 1511 the Islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba were conquered. In 1512 Juan Ponce de León encountered land which is now named Florida. In 1517 Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba discovers Yucatán in Mexico. In the same year the explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa was beheaded by his enemies. Two years later the infamous explorer Hernán Cortez led 600 men against the Aztecs nation in Mexico and with little effort made a prisoner of their ruler Emperor Montezuma II, removing the first of many parts of their hoard of gold. This was to set the trend for many years when the principal object of future expeditions was to return with gold in any form.
Queen Isabel was very devoted to Our Lady and came to visit some 20 times the site where a statue of the Virgin Mary had been found buried for 600 years near a river in order to hide it from the Moors. Tradition said that it had been carved by St. Luke. Pope Gregory the Great kept it and sent it later to the Archbishop of Seville. When it was found many years later, they built a Shrine and named it Guadalupe, the same name of the river nearby. Many years before Isabel’s birth, an important battle had been won against the Moors and the Shrine had been erected in thanksgiving to God.
All the explorers who came to the Americas had visited this Shrine prior to sailing and asking for the Virgin Mary’s protection, including Christopher Columbus. I want to emphasize as I did in the previous blog, how God had prepared the way for us in the Americas to be Christians, no matter if Protestants or Catholics. We have never dealt with invasions from Islam and war against them, besides the current times where acts of terrorism have appeared. It is even more interesting how within 39 years after Columbus arrived the first time to our part of the world, Our Lady was sent to us at Tepeyac. This spells so much hope and care from this God.
In the same program of River of Light, another of the multiple apparitions, and probably as famous as the one in Tepeyac, is when she came to Fatima, in central Portugal and 90 miles from Lisbon. Again, the Moors were there as well. She appeared when the whole of Europe was collapsing after World War I with violence and unrest. There was also a conspiracy working against the established authority of the Church in Portugal, Italy and as far away as Mexico.
Jacinta, the 6 year old seer, received an understanding of redemptive suffering. An Angel had appeared in 1916 to the three of them and told them to “accept and bear all suffering in reparation for sins in order to console God!” Our Lady appeared in 1917, the same year of the birth of the Russian revolution and the birth of Lenin’s Communism. Notice how God in His mighty power, involves children ages 6, 8 and 10 in the understanding of such deep matters. Through Our Lady, the children learned that the war in Europe would end soon. She asked them if they were willing to suffer and encourage them to pray the Rosary. She also prophesied that eventually Christianity would return to Russia, but that only after terrible upheavals everywhere, mankind would experience true peace, the peace of the heart.
Jacinta died with tuberculosis in 1920. Francisco died soon after. In 1951, both bodies were found incorrupt. Venerable John Paul II visited Fatima several times and exalted the virtues of these two children, and through them, the Gospel message of peace to be renewed in our times. He also said that it gave a new meaning because it speaks of peace between Christianity and Islam.
So, here we have Our Lady who takes the name of Fatima because of the name of the place. 900 years before, this part of Iberia was under Islamic rule. At Santarem, one of the crusaders, a prince, captured the daughter of a powerful Arab chief, fell in love and married her. Her name was Fatima. Fatima has remained a common name between Christians and Muslims. The latter claim that the Prophet Mohammed received the Quran, which is considered as the literal word of God. Mohamed had said to her daughter Fatima, “You shall be the most blessed woman in paradise.” She responded, “I will surpass all women except Mary.” So, for the Moslems, Our Lady has a more exalted place than Mohamed’s daughter, Fatima. She is mentioned 30 times in the Quran as the mother of the prophet Jesus and as a pious woman. (End of this section of history of Muslims and Iberia)
HISTORY OF MUSLIMS and Christians IN INDIA
At the very same time that the River of Light was shown in EWTN, one day I was passing channels and the local PBS was starting a program on India… This is a huge story because it revealed to me that again, Muslims, were going everywhere… I will give a few snippets of this story. I do it because it all ties with Spain… EWTN had shown in December the life of St. Francis Xavier and for his feast (Dec.5). I am very devoted to the Jesuit Order because how God sent me to them for the high school education of my four boys, and He did it twice…! Hmm. So, I will follow the story of India with the intervention of St. Francis X. in India!!!
1. India’s short history. The word Hindu comes from the river Indus, and it just means the people who live near the Indus river (actually in modern Pakistan). The Harappan people lived near the river about 2500 BC. About 1500 BC, the Indo-Europeans invaded India. Hinduism is not a religion in the same sense of Christianity is; it is more like an all encompassing way of life – much as Native American spirituality. It is the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam.
2. Muslims in India
The first ship bearing Muslim travelers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 AD. In the 8th century, the province of Sindh (in present day Pakistan) was conquered by an Arab army.
The Muslims entered Sind, India, in 711 C.E., the same year they entered Spain. Their entry in India was prompted by an attempt to free the civilian Muslim hostages whose ship was taken by sea pirates in the territory of Raja Dahir, King of Sind. A major part of what is now Pakistan came under Muslim control in 713 C.E. and remained so throughout the centuries until some years after the fall of the Mughal Empire in 1857. By the eleventh century, the Muslims had established their capital at Delhi, which remained the principal seat of power until the last ruler of Mughal Dynasty, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was deposed in 1857 by the British. In their days as rulers, the Muslims constituted about twenty percent of India’s population. Today, Indian Muslims constitute about fifteen percent of India’s population, about 150 million, and they are the second largest Muslim community in the world.
3. Portugal and Great Britain.
The Portuguese continued to explore the coast of Africa, but without their earlier singleness of purpose. A dispute had arisen among the military aristocracy over whether Portugal could best achieve its strategic objectives by conquering Morocco or by seeking a sea route to India.
Manuel I assumed the throne in 1495 and completed the preparations for the voyage to India. On July 8, 1497, a fleet of four ships commanded by Vasco de Gama set sail from Belém on the outskirts of Lisbon. The expedition was very carefully organized, each ship having the best captains and pilots, as well as handpicked crews. They carried the most up-to-date nautical charts and navigational instruments. Vasco de Gama’s fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope on November 27, 1497, and made landfall at Natal in present-day South Africa on December 25. After sailing for a month, the fleet reached Calicut on the Malabar coast in southwest India. In August, after sailing to Goa, the fleet left for Portugal, arriving in September 1499, two years and two days after the departure.
The government started in 1505. Until 1752, the "State of India" included all Portuguese possessions in the Indian Ocean, from southern Africa to Southeast Asia, governed by either a Viceroy or a Governor from headquarters established in Goa since 1510. In 1752, the territories of Portuguese India were sometimes referred to collectively as Goa. Portugal lost the last two enclaves in 1954, and finally the remaining three in December 1961, when they were occupied by India (although Portugal only recognized the annexation in 1975.
After the British takeover, many of these areas remained under loose control of Muslims. When the British decided to withdraw from India without a clear direction for the future of Muslims (former rulers), a political solution was reached for some of the Muslim majority areas. This resulted in the division of India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
4. St. Francis Xavier
Movie aired in EWTN with Jesuit priests narrating it.
Born in Navarre, Spain in 1506, just as Hernan Cortes had arrived to Mexico and was trying to convert the Americas. His father worked in the King’s court and he had a Noble’s education.
Spain had 6 Kingdoms: the largest was Castile to the west of Spain. Three were medium size to the east: Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. Another small one in the south was Granada. Up north there was the smallest of all, Navarre. At the time of Francis’ birth, Spain had consolidated into one empire under King Ferdinand. The little kingdom of Navarre was left unaided and Francis’ father died when he was 9. His castle was destroyed. His brothers were incarcerated and Francis and his mother lived in the ruins of rooms of their castle. It was then that he conceived the idea of becoming a priest to recuperate some honor and prestige for the family. In some cases, the priesthood was sought in those days as a means to a respectable life. It paid a good salary and if he were to become a bishop, archbishop or cardinal, he could do whatever pleased him.
In 1525 at age 19, he left for the University of Paris for more studies. This would give him a cultured look, and not one of being from a small province. Paris was the largest city in Europe and the University of Paris was the most prestigious. He made many friends with notorious students, where the use of alcohol and the pursuit of women was the norm. He survived the place and came to Navarre to be ordained.
While at the University, Francis and his pious roommate Peter Faver (when they were 24 years old) made room for another student, 38, and hidalgo turned beggar who had been wounded as a soldier and had had a radical conversion. Afterward, he renounced his wealth, his nobility, begged door to door and preached in the streets, as he guided people back to God with the Spiritual Exercises he had composed. He had come to Paris not to advance his career, but to gain some academic credentials to prove his orthodoxy to Church authorities, since his preaching had quickly made many disciples and made him more suspicious to the Spanish Inquisition. They three became friends but Francis’ writings seem to reveal that he thought Ignatius was beneath his level and was not truly friendly to him. Francis ran out of money a second time due to his partying, and turned to Ignatius. The latter helped with a little money, gave him advice and Francis started to trust him.
Ignatius continued giving his 30 days retreats and using the imagination and memory, he taught that one can come in direct contact with God’s will. Francis was a restless kid and wanted a way out. After the Exercises, he was rescued from the self serving path of medieval Navarre, a flaming noble title and from comfortable boredom, and he became very close to Ignatius. They formed a group bonded to save souls, promising eternal poverty and chastity and resolved to go to Jerusalem to visit the holy places and to convert Moslems living in the Holy Land. In 1537 (6 years after the apparition of Our Lady in Tepeyac), these Parisian scholars dressed in beggar’s clothes left for the Far East… The war with the Turks prevented them from going farther than Venice. So they turned to Rome. The Pope enjoyed the group; he was impressed with these men that were Paris trained scholars, living a simple lifestyle and with an infectious enthusiasm. So, he gave them his blessing, created a new Order which they called, “The Company of Jesus.” They worked in Rome: street preaching and working in hospitals. Many Kings asked the Pope to send them Jesuits!!! So, he sent Jesuits all over Europe. But someone had to stay behind in Rome to run the new Order, and Ignatius kept Francis with him. His work was to read and answer requests from the other Jesuits stationed far away. (So far, please notice how God formed an Order to help Europeans know Him in a radical way… He called them from Spain to Paris and bonded them despite differences, and had a visionary Pope giving them his blessings)
LET’S REMEMBER THIS EXAMPLE: when God needs something done, everything is possible for Him… When we need something important in our lives, why to fret? God knows and if we become disciples like Ignatius, Francis, Peter Claver and the Company, and live the Gospel values, the rest is done in God’s time… And let me remind you: Teresa of Avila was born in 1515. She was 9 years younger than Xavier. She entered Carmel on 1531, the same year that Our Lady appeared in Tepeyac…! The Jesuits come to Avila in 1551. Teresa starts spiritual direction with a Jesuit in 1555. St. John of the Cross becomes a Carmelite in 1563. She dies in 1582! So far, how do you like how God responded to the troubles of the Church in Europe in the XVI C? These two Orders are as alive as ever in 2011! Hmm!
Well, King John III of Portugal asked the Pope to send some Jesuits to India to help them. Ignatius sent two Jesuits, but one became ill and he had to send Xavier in his place… He arrived in Lisbon in 1540. On April 1541, five ships left for Goa, India and Xavier was with them. Ships were difficult to endure: there was much disease, danger from pirates, weather storms and little food. The Islamic trade network was not too happy with Portugal approaching their territory; therefore, Islamic attacks were also possible. The trip lasted months and Xavier was seasick for a long time. Only two ships made it to Goa, which was a remarkable success by XVI C standards. He found churches and the University of St. Paul which came to be since 1510 when Portugal came to India. Three decades later, Xavier realized that Goa needed a renewal… The Portuguese traders were living dissolute lives and the clergy was not doing much better.
He declined comfortable quarters in the Bishop’s residence and went to live at a hospital for incurables. He attended the needs of the poorest people and discovered that they had been subjected to a drive-by Baptism and left to the fate of a corrupt colonial rule. So, he devised a plan to educate the baptized and the ones who were not part of the Church. But he did not speak the language. So, he used holy pictures and used a translator friend. He also knew that local people liked music, and used music that was appealing to the Indian culture. He went from village to village and baptized tens of thousands. He wrote, “My arms are exhausted by baptizing so many.” After 3 years he experienced many successes but found hard the severity of the climate, the mystifying Indian culture and longed for his companions, especially Ignatius
He wrote that the greatest obstacle to evangelization were the Portuguese themselves. They were a discredit to Christianity, greedy, laxed and exhibiting all kinds of vices. The Portuguese clergy were more interested in making money and after a few years, return to Portugal and live a luxurious life. But Xavier could not be bullied with lukewarmness of colonists and clergy. He was on fire with evangelism… But he was also very critical of those “would be evangelists” at home who treated the Gospel as an academic exercise… (Ouch) He wrote, “I often get the desire to go back at the University of Paris and tell them, ‘How many souls fail to give God glory and go to hell because of your neglect, and you study more to obtain honors rather than to adapt to the demands of those souls.’” (Triple ouch) He also found that some people around him were alienated and repulsed at his work.
Because of his nobility heritage, he even made it into the Indian Aristocracy. They were the nobility, but this nobility was based on their origin of an upper cast. In the cast system, the Brahman’s are Brahman’s at birth. Warriors are warriors and outcasts are outcasts. So, Xavier refused to deal with the cast system. He left the country for 2 years and went to southern Asia. There he heard about Japan. He wrote to King John III and more Jesuits arrived in Goa. For 3 months he agonized about the decision of going to Japan or back to India and prayed and prayed for a decision by God. He then returned to Goa for a short while to assign the Jesuits to different areas and parted for Japan.
Corollary: here we have an act of God… Xavier came to India to diagnose the malady and more Jesuits were sent… In the other hand, God did not allow him to remain in Rome with Ignatius, and he went further east and now we have a Vietnamese soon to be saint, Cardinal Francis Xavier Van Thuam.
Other events that prove the mighty power of our God:
5. Daniel and his friends were thrown to a fire to die and instead they chanted and praised God and did not burn!
6. David and Goliath. Let me just say that David was chosen by God and even as a youngster, he had the duty to kill the giant Goliath with just a stone… to prove a point to us, and because one stone from a lad was enough since for God all things are possible.
7. Our Lady was conceived immaculately… for God all things are possible.
8. John the Baptist was conceived in the womb of a very old woman…
9. God Himself became human like us by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the ultimate proof that for God all things are possible.
10. Jesus stays with us in the Eucharist… Another huge proof that for God all things are possible.
11. Jesus shows us that He can do all things when He multiplied the fish and the loaves, made the blind see, made the paralyzed walk, walked on water and stopped a storm at a lake that was making His disciples fearful!
12. The apostles-to-be were called and they left everything ipso facto… Wow! I always have wished to know more details of this fact. How is it that Simon Peter left his wife overnight? What did she think about it? Was this the reason why Jesus revived his mother-in-law? And later they traveled everywhere to bring the Gospel to the rest of the world, which only means that Peter’s marriage was disrupted forever…
13. Paul of Tarsus who hated Christians became a follower of Jesus…!
14. Our Lady was sent to Mexico… But not just a simple apparition, but one with the greatest evangelization success in a short time ever! Even more, after reviewing the entire story behind this apparition, it seems that the Spaniards had already asked her in the shrine of Guadalupe in Spain for protection, and she mediated the answer in an unbelievable way. Also, she is honored by the Quran and so, she was sent to Fatima, Portugal… Amazing what God can do! What a God we have, and His Mom is not behind!
15. The United States is founded with the most beautiful recognition of God and with laws that spoke and speak of freedom for 200 plus years as not seen anywhere else. Why? Do we thank God often that for Him nothing is impossible and that we, in the U.S., live like no other place in the world in the sense of technology, transportation, free speech, free press, freedom to worship, etc.?
16. God announces His Mercy in a new way. He brings us a nun (1905-1938) to tell us about His plan of mercy. He takes home a Pope after one month in office to bring us another one, the Pope of Mercy. Hmm! Is He trying to hint us something?
17. Killing of human beings in the womb becomes the practice of the world, with one billion babies gone in the world. 50 million in the U.S. since it became the law of the land… I had an epiphany this month regarding this subject, which I will share later. But before I do that, I have to write this recent atrocity in a country with so many gifts from God! We know of it in the U.S., but if someone reads this blog in another country, it is important that they know to what extent we are allowing this crime in America.
In Philadelphia, an abortion doctor who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors. Dr. K. G., 69, made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many illegal, late-term abortions as he could, prosecutors said. State regulators ignored complaints about him and failed to visit or inspect his clinic since 1993, but no charges were warranted against them.
This doctor induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord. There were bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses were scattered throughout the building. There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose. Workers, some of whom were also charged with murder, were untrained and unlicensed, including a high-school student who performed anesthesia with potentially lethal narcotics.
I want to confess to you right now that I have no love for this man… at all. In fact, I still resent him for what he has done… This is very important to remember for later when I tell you about my epiphany regarding our fight for LIFE.
18. My personal witness as to how He was showing me that for Him all things are possible.
I have mentioned several times in these blogs how God intervened in my life in supernatural ways, but I will have to repeat some of them because I want to make a point that what happened to me, has happened to you as well. All of us have stories that changed our routing on this earth, and He was a busy with us as He was busy with Abraham, Joseph, Moses and the rest. But there will be one instance in my story that I have just discovered as the Holy Spirit prepared me for this topic of the mighty power of God that can do all things…
1) Only because for God nothing is impossible, as a 6 year old I understood that He was present in the Host. I will probably never be able to explain how I knew it and know it… It is grace that I have no words to describe. Since that time, for me He exists on this earth and nothing different than 2,000 years ago. But through the years, this relationship has grown to be an eternal Presence in my heart, besides His Eucharistic Presence. I do not have to work hard at it… Of course, this intimacy keeps me looking for ways of converting my heart day by day, and I am sure that it will never end until I pass on. In fact, this month I had one of the greatest conversions. More on it in Part II.
2) So, when I was a teen God taught me a new language right here in California , because I was a the right hi school the very first time that the American Field Service started giving scholarships for exchange students to Costa Rica, and despite that I was not chosen to begin with, and later given the opportunity that was denied to the first student!
3) He gave me a medical degree for $78 dollars because He gave me enough intelligence to keep a GPA over 3.75.
4) He directed me to come to the USA and made it without problems. The exam to be able to enter an internship and residency was easy because I knew English, even that I learned Medicine in Spanish. This title not only opened doors and I was able to taste a luxurious life with 3 Mercedes Benz, one Cadillac and some other cars, lots of money, huge homes, but was vital for me to diagnose my present illness, and my memory keeps coming back daily! And also with the money came the grace of zero attachment to money or possessions.
5) He illumined me to process a residency green card so that at the end of my training I would not have to go back to my country.
6) Professional persecutions came very early and it is only in the last 2 weeks that I learned something very important. Satan wanted me to be trapped with resentment. He probably was furious with the gifts I was receiving for so many years and I survived all these persecutions without any resentment. They actually helped my purification and further conversion. They made stay out of the operating room for months at the time, which helped me stay away from fluorinated anesthetic gases.
Well, God took me to my last place of residence in the State of Ohio and purified me by allowing several religious people to pass judgment on me that was erroneous. And how do I know that it was? Because my spiritual growth continued. I have learned that is one is doing something wrong against others and may be out of ignorance, we have two ways to tell if it is so: through our own conscious if well formed in the Commandments; and also because our spiritual growth never stalls. But persecutions are not the issue. We all have to suffer something. In retrospect, what it is important to remember is that God gave me enough love to forgive within minutes of the different aggressions. This can only be done by His grace, and simply because for Him all things are possible…Resentment could have jailed me for the rest of my days on earth… and made me spiritually blind!
7) I will never know what it is to raise a teenager.
(8) As in the case of Abraham, when He sent me to change residences, I did, and the moves were so important and especially for my sons.
9) After more than three decades of marriage with a fallen away Catholic/atheist and lover of communism, he became fatally ill and converted overnight. No one can tell me that for God nothing is impossible…
II. My epiphany
As a country we have failed to stop abortions since 1973. I saw all the marches and they were uplifting. We have a militant prolife youth. Of course, worldwide we have seen so far one billion abortions, and we only own 50 million of them. This month, the History channel showed the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and I pushed myself to watch it and it was hard. The behavior of Nazi Germany was madness… Our Lady of Fatima had already come and warned us… and to be truthful, we did not care. This is when I started to suspect that we are missing something in our fight for babies in the womb and for old people threatened with euthanasia that now is coming in much disguised ways even through the law. In fact, the story about Jack Kevorkian won an award from the Golden Globes for best TV movie of 2010. My reaction was to resent this pathologist Kevorkian and the actor who portrayed him…
Gangs continue all over the land. A 2007 movie shown just two weeks ago, spoke of the gangs in Los Angeles. I was simply petrified to hear those who came to be part of a faith community with its own building in the parish of a Catholic priest and who have reformed, saying that the “primary socialization in their lives have been the gang membership. Also, that getting into a gang is like signing an invisible contract!” This was the only place where they received respect, and of course, the respect came through their violence. One of the phrases that his priest brought in a sign said, “Gang violence: we must address the lethal absence of hope.” Wow!
Fr. Greg also said that when there is no hope, you have to invent it in a city where families plan funerals and not futures…! Then they showed a cemetery where this priest has buried many of them. When they enter his place, even enemies from different gangs become friends and work together. Notice what love can do! They clearly stated that they were treated like people and not like in prison!
On January 22, exactly on the day of the West Coast March for Life, Fr. Corapi spoke of a topic that further explained my epiphany… He said, “If you love somebody, you want the best and highest for that person. Therefore, if you love someone, you desire heaven for that person, and you must do whatever to get them there.
Therefore, EDUCATE yourselves in the Truth. We are not given a coward or timid spirit. The Apostles went everywhere after Pentecost…
Have an ATTITUDE towards what can happen. Jesus came to divide because the Truth will cause division. Jesus came to cast fire on earth. Do not be aggressive or obnoxious, but you must have an attitude and ascertain yourself with boldness and teach Christianity. Do not apologize for the Truth. No pain, no gain…! If you are persecuted, remember that you are not better than your Master. The darker the night, the more the stars shine.
EMPOWER OTHERS. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar… Do not get defensive . Be humble. If it looks like you are losing ground, you will win because the devil cannot win.
SACRIFICE. It is the substance of Christian love. By the virtue of love, we love God above all else for His own sake, and we love our neighbor for love of God.
INITIATIVE. Do not wait for anyone else to do it. Colin Powel has said, “Take the initiative and you will be amazed with how much you can get away with.”
PRAY, as you plan for this battle.
This completed the full understanding of my epiphany. And please do not be offended at what I will write next. As a culture we only think of the babies and elders and how to reverse the 1973 Roe v Wade decision. I realized that personally, I had forgotten something of great importance. Let’s say that we reverse the law… Have we accomplished our work? Of course not. We pro life people are walking on one leg only and limping big time. How can we forget those who are pro-choice. Yes, I understand that many people have organizations to assist those who have had abortions. However, we DO NOT LOVE THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO DEMAND THAT THEY GET ACCEPTED WITH THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE.
We say we do, but we do not. I challenge anyone to deny that we have created a “fence” between them and us! We pray for them with indifference and at times with actual disgust and even resentment. Yet, we are not truly following the Law of God. I must confess that all these years I saw the problem of abortion and contraception with drugs as a problem of others which I oppose, BUT NEVER TOOK RESPONSIBILITY to love them where they are at! But how can I love them… Very simple: ask and I shall receive. Knock and the door will be opened. We do not love them because we have not asked God to change our hearts and minds, since FOR GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
Changing the 1973 Law will not change their hearts… Prolife activities must pay much attention to the evangelization of those who mock life in the womb and life at the end of the spectrum! It starts with my surrender to God, to seek an encounter with God every day of my life until I die. We claim that we have the Truth, but unfortunately not in its entirety. All of the members of the culture of death are images of God with the same dignity than the babies and elders. OUR PROLIFE WORK should include to evangelize ourselves first in order to love them. In the eyes of God, they are as important as the babies… The babies at least are already saved martyrs. They met physical death but gained eternal life ipso facto… They are saints… The members of the culture of death have physical life but are working to gain spiritual death; they are destined to be lost.
After this epiphany, I became convinced that we have failed to completely stop abortion on demand because we have acted as they do. They kill baby’s bodies and we contribute to the killing of their souls by not doing whatever necessary to love them into heaven. Ouch! We see them as our enemies, even if we do not hate them. We certainly have some resentment and in most cases at least indifference, which means no evangelistic action of any kind. Yes, it is important to go to abortion places and stand there and pray and try to convince women not to abort; but this does not include the souls of the killers inside… And just saying prayers for them do not work too well… Why? Because it is only love than can stop gangs, wars, crime, etc. And I am talking about love in our hearts. When our hearts become truly converted to feel love for them just like the love we feel for our family or for the babies who die, that day, abortion on demand will stop, with a reversed Law or not.
On January 25, I offered the Mass for my soul because my Lord had given me a nice imagery. I saw myself as a widow asking for justice for the babies… But my Dad in heaven received the call of someone who does not love her neighbors. Ouch. How could He answer when it is soo simple for me to change since for Him nothing is impossible? And with anguish I had also already come to the conclusion that I have to ask for the grace to love radical Muslims and everybody in between.
I remember the words said by someone via TV and recently but do not remember who this person is. It says, “The price of war is much higher than the price of peace.” Of course, the price for peace for ourselves and others is so inexpensive for us who believe in a God of love. Keeping track of what others do wrong is very expensive, and it can stall our spiritual growth and cause deafness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so necessary for these times of confusion, division, lies, fear, that come from our enemy, the devil.
PART III. A few encounters with the divine and a story about a friend.
1. Looking for papers in my boxes in the garage, I found a picture of one of my most cherished Jesuit Saints… The Chilean St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, S.J. So, I placed it in my altar in my room. He was famous for saying, “Contento, Señor, Contento.” Some translate it as, “Happily, Lord, happily.” I do not think it is the best translation. It is better to say, “Contented, Lord, contented,” expressing a happiness that comes with the satisfaction of what is in the present moment, regardless if it is good or bad. Well, he reminded me that in order to solve my problem discussed above, I must have a plan…
Before I went to noon Mass to offer it in atonement for my sin of not loving my pro choice neighbors, St. Alberto illumined me to write this plan.
From now on I must use three phrases all day and often:
1. Contenta, Señor, Contenta
2. For God all things are possible.
3. This moment is as perfect as it can be.
And what it means is that if I do not feel well that day with my blood pressures changing all the time or if I feel nauseous, etc., I must live this suffering with those words and expect God to change my heart in order to love my neighbors, all… exactly or close to how Jesus would love them. Then, when I ask for a change in the hearts of the pro choice group, my Father will hear me. Then my Lord sent me to a page in the Bible and it was from the gospel of Luke about the good Samaritan. He asked his disciples after the parable was narrated to them, “Who was the neighbor to this wounded man,” and they said, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Wow!
I came back from Mass and at the 3 PM hour, I found myself saying the three phrases and asking to love my morally wounded pro choice family. And suddenly I felt the love of my Father. Only a very few times I have. In other words, like the love I feel for Jesus but for my Dad. So I said, “Why is it hard to feel Your love more often and ‘LIVE’…”? I heard Him say, “Because my Presence can only be known through love…” I said, “Thank You, Daddy, I love You so much.” I then wondered if St. Alberto was mediating this encounter. He was quick to illumine me through the Holy Spirit that it was not him at all. I heard, “No, what mediated your encounter was your acceptance to say, contenta, Señor, contenta and the other two phrases. This agreement to accept His will for you, conformed you to God in such a way that you could feel your Father’s love by recognizing His Presence.” But of course, it had to be during the hour of mercy! Amazing grace…
2. I have called my childhood friend in Costa Rica with phone cards from Sears and for many years, except that they ended selling them on Dec. 2010. I suspected that here in California it was probably easy to find them from other companies. My son told me that the Seven Eleven stores sold many kinds, stores which we visit often because the ATM machines of our bank are there. I remembered that once in a while I find a Salvadorian employee, Alcides, and I needed someone from Central America to find the right card. Mexicans or Indians which form the majority of the employees in the place I go to may have not known. However, Alcides works nights and I find him only if I go before 9 AM. But my God knows what I need before I do, and He sent me on a particular afternoon, and of course, Alcides was there and he told me what to buy, and cheaper than Sears cards!
So, I called my friend who happens to send me some medications that I need after my license was revoked via the lies of a persecutor to a State Medical Board! I go to no doctor. They petrify me! One day I will have to do it, and I promised my Lord that I will offer it up at that moment for whatever He wants it…My friend said that one of her two sons is going through a difficult time, a man who has been very successful but with the bad economy, lost it all. She said, “I have prayed so much for him to come to the Church full time but I see him soo slow in doing it.” He was educated by Salesians. I had to tell my friend that the slow one was herself! I reminded her of my husband’s conversion, and when she prayed for her son, she should not pray to God begging to do what she wants in the time she wants it. She needs to pray with full conviction that his return to the faith is a done deal… since for God all things are possible.”
I reminded her of St. Alberto. She said, “But I constantly say, contenta, Señor, contenta.” I reiterated that she was the slow one… Saying it without the conviction to be true, it is actually an insult to God. She understood it immediately and realized that she had to pray for her own conversion to live the Gospel as a true disciple… denying her desire to see an instant change because for all purposes her request was already answered; picking up the cross of seeing the son without the faith he should have, and finally, following Jesus by loving God doing His will with total trust that all is well for which she can say, contenta, Senor, contenta, plus loving everyone else no matter what!
3. This past week I saw a program with Oprah Winfrey and a very famous Hollywood actress came to talk about her book on How to be Happy” They have done studies and 50% of happiness comes with your genes. 40% of the time you have to work at it! The more neighbors you know and interact with, will make you happier. (Wrong, at least in my case!) If you make $75,000 for a family of four, that is enough to make you happy. Having children may or may not make you happy, according to the circumstances, if the mother works outside of the home for example! They concluded that the power is in our hands. I started resenting this talk… and worse, I found myself not happy because I was not being merciful to them…! Here you have that status of my soul at this time…
If we truly believed that for God nothing is impossible, we would find the cure for cancer and all kind of illnesses… We could pray for the women of this world never to abort or contracept and God would do it. We would not have our own agenda ever but follow His agenda at all cost. We would embrace our crosses with “gusto” and especially the huge cross of a society where we feel like strangers to their way of thinking and reasoning, and finally we would follow Jesus, and pray for ourselves day and night with total acceptance of God’s will in order to be able to love like He did, and therefore, to be merciful as He is… Finally, if we truly believed that for God all things are possible and become a true disciple, we could stop all kind of violence: abortion, euthanasia, wars, gangs and the food industry’s war against our bodies through foods so full of toxicity. And of course, it is then that we would know what makes for peace! NOW YOU UNDERSTAND WHY MY RESOLUTIONS FOR 2011 ARE TO FOLLOW the PLAN THAT ST. ALBERTO GRACIOUSLY planted IN MY MIND…
PRAYER: Lord make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, and it is in pardoning that were are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.