(I apologize for the many formatting errors you may see below. Sometimes they appear out of nowhere after I post. I am working to correct some of them.)
As always, to put together a blog is very difficult for me. I must start from zero; that is, zero to my ideas and desires to write about what bugs me or about what I like… I must deny myself 100% and then wait for the Holy Spirit to bring me to understand the topic and the latter it is not easy to do! Early in the month I knew that it would have to be about war and peace… and that it would bring Our Mother in heaven to the topic. Well, that was all for several days. In the mean time, I was living each day waiting for God to guide me in general terms and may be, to hear more about war and peace, famous words of which many have written and talked about it. If you add the condition of my left eye that is in general better but that often needs rest from the screen light, well writing these blogs are a big challenge. Yet, I have been told by my Mom in heaven that this suffering is precisely what I need to secure my attention to the Holy Spirit and recognize when it is He who sends me the message. Satan loves to sit around and wait to bring confusion to my understanding.
At this moment in history, war is everywhere (like EWTN!!!) and it has many faces. But, war was a main topic in the Old Testament and the New Testament, to the point of killing a baby born in Bethlehem to a holy young girl but was crucified when he was just 33 years old, and this because of hatred, because of envy, because of ignorance, because the flesh, the world and the evil one participated full time to do so. We know that but what bothers me at a personal level, it is why didn’t the people of the time paid attention to the source of this war against Him. Or, why is it that in 2014 we have wars all over and we just talk about them and never get unified to find a solution to the problem and put it into practice?
It is clear for any of us, Christians from any denomination, that in Christ we can do huge things and even more outstanding than in the time of Jesus Himself… Well, I write it because He said it! The power we have is huge and all available to us any time of the day. But for now, I will leave this topic for the end of this blog. I will first share with you a few interesting moments according to the calendar sequence.
November 1, 2014
This feast has become a major one for me since 1992. Yes, all of my life I celebrated the lives of the Saints and their importance but in general terms. However and as written before in these blogs, on November 1, 1992, after a 33 day preparation for consecration to Our Lady according to St. Louis Marie de Montfort, since I knew I would be visiting Tepeyac, MX, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Our Lady who appeared painted on the cloak of an Aztec Indian, Juan Diego, and pregnant), I had decided to consecrate myself to her in front of this miraculous image and also to ask her (since the midterm elections were going to be held while I was in Tepeyac) to intercede for our country to give us a Senate where pro-life ideas would predominate (at the time, we needed a Republican majority; the House already had it), in order to later on approve pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, and yes, I did consecrate my life to Jesus through His Mother. The very same day, I bought a rather expensive medal with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that they engraved right and there with the date…Since then, I remember that yes, we got the majority which was not clear it would come to be prior to the elections (pretty similar to what just happened in recent days!).
But in this particular year, Magnificat, the association that publishes the little Magnificat Missal that most of us Catholics have with the readings of all the Masses for each month plus a shortened version of the Liturgy of the Hours, they had a national gathering in Nashville, TN aired by EWTN. The main preachers for this event were super excellent.
And how do I know when talks about God are excellent? Is it because I learn a lot with the talk? Well, perhaps… Is it because of the preaching abilities of the person? Well, may be… I did take classes in public speaking with a Hollywood actor back in my days as a high school exchange student in Los Angeles, California, and do know that the delivery of the talk has a lot to do with the audience’s attention. However, for me, at a very personal level, the talk is excellent if I cannot take my eyes, hearing, attention to the speaker and for the entire talk plus leaving me full of joy, of happiness, of understanding, of knowledge, wisdom, etc. In other words, when the speaker is full of the Holy Ghost; that is, when the speaker has let the Holy Spirit prepare the talk and delivers it with the intention of giving glory to God… The speaker may not even know about it, but the quality of the speech or homily, is a product of the work of God through his/her creature. And these two men, Fr. Peter John Dumont, OP and Fr. Robert Barron, did fill my soul with great joy and pride for our Mother Church!
On this same day, my Mother wanted to teach me something. At one point, she said, “It is not how obedient you are to God’s will, but how much you try to be obedient to it.” I further understood that even when our obedience is not the best, but if we are truly trying very hard to be obedient to God but for His glory and the love of our neighbor, God receives this act as a perfect oblation.
She also sent me to a page in the Bible, Gospel of John 1. Jesus started inviting some men to follow Him and they left everything and did. Were the twelve that He called all good and devoted to Jesus to the end? “No.” So, at the beginning all of them obeyed Him and followed Him. They were resolute and gave away their private lives to be with Him. And even that they all left Him before His Passion, except for Judas Iscariot that went beyond that and sold Him, their first resolution carried them through and after the death of Jesus; they persisted in meeting in His name until the coming of the Holy Spirit to receive the power to go and preach the Kingdom. It was a beautiful day since this last teaching was pointing to me how we have to seek holiness of life by seeking Him day and night with the only plan to obey His will, which also means to love Him and others at every corner of our lives.
Later, the Holy Spirit guided me to read Proverbs 14: 35 – “The king favors the intelligent servant, but the worthless one incurs in his wrath.” I understood that when our obedience is not perfect but if we try to be obedient using our self-will, then He will be around to help us with our imperfect obedience.
Monday, November 3rd.
Before Mass during my Holy Hour and after the prayer of the Rosary, I heard this”
“Your work shall be to seek a renewed devotion to the Virgin Mary.” Pray a Rosary a day for world peace as asked by Our Lady at Fatima (1917). Very soon, there will be the centenary of these apparitions and of the obvious disobedience to her messages.” After Communion, He wanted me to make a deal and to mention this item in my next blog. Little did I know at the time that it would be part of the core of the blog for November.
Tuesday, November 4th.
It was a midterm elections day for the U.S. It reminded me that years back (2004) in Toledo, OH, I had spent close to 12 hours in Church, praying 27 rosaries for the will of God to happen and elect the right presidential candidate which I hoped would be pro-life. And yes, George Bush No. 2 was losing in early morning when Ohio (the decisive State in this presidential election) was already pro Mr. Kerry, a democrat Catholic and pro-choice presidential candidate. And yes, during the day as I stayed praying and calling my Mother to pray for us in front of the exposed Eucharistic Jesus, things changed and Mr. Bush won without any difficulties with re-counts. Republicans did win big time also in 2014. But one more time, what truly amazed me was to see how this God of ours is so powerful and we do not get it! With profound satisfaction, I realized that probably many were praying Rosaries on this day and that God answered their plea. And may I remind you that on this day, this blog was getting structured, again without my perfect understanding of what was going on… The Lord was simply reminding me how prayer is a huge weapon (if we happen to pray) but unfortunately, most of the time we pray without believing that it will work… This is one of our major problems in times of war…when we simply fail to realize how powerful we are when we pray, especially for wars to end, and there are many types of wars… More on it at the conclusion of this blog.
Tuesday, November 11
On this day, I watched some of the biennial meeting of the .U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. To a certain point, I felt sorry for them since their work is immense in a time of the world where there is a battle to keep the attention of our minds in Jesus versus on the sea of information coming in every form and shape.
Also on this day, I received in the regular mail a pamphlet called Tepeyac from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. I have been there since the times when my third son lived and worked for this Diocese. It is a beautiful place worthy of visiting. In fact, I believe that if one cannot travel to Mexico to see Our Lady, this Shrine has the blessing and grace of producing the same blessings as if one went to Mexico. The rector of the Shrine, Father Jacinto Chapin, FI, wrote the following, which is worthwhile reviewing. In my case, it was part of the message for this blog that God wanted to pass on to me through this priest.
From the desk of Fr. Chapin:
The month of October is itself a beautiful time because it is the Month of the Rosary, a month to commit ourselves anew to the prayer of the rosary in our daily lives. Given the current state of affairs in the Church and in the world, there is every reason to pray the greatest of Marian prayers.
“In the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary), St. John Paul II offers two particular reasons why the prayer of the Rosary is so urgent and timely. ‘First of all,’ he explains, ‘is the need to implore from God the gift of peace.’ (n.6). Is not a peace sorely needed in today’s work, so full of violence, hatred, war and division?
Prior to and accompanying any peace negotiations between conflicting parties, there is the need to pray for peace, because peace is, first and foremost, a gift from God who is our Peace. Furthermore, peace can be obtained from God through the intercession of Our Lady “Queen of Peace,” and by carrying out her repeated request at Fatima in 1917: “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war. (May 13, 1917). The devout recitation of the Rosary can truly work wonders and defeat all enemies of peace, as it did, for example, at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, or again, at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, and, more recently in the defeat of Communism in Brazil in 1964.Because of the seemingly limitless power of the Rosary, Sister Lucia dos Santos, the principal Fatima seer, could assure us, “There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” Blessed Pius IX could add, “Give me an army saying the Rosary, and I will conquer the world.” Let us be dedicated members of this “Rosary Army” and thus contribute to true peace in the world!
In his letter on the Rosary, St. John Paul II offers another reason why the Rosary is so urgent for our times, namely, the family. As the Sovereign Pontiff observes, the family has been “increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of the society as a whole.” (n.6). Though the forces of evil have always sought to undermine the family, we are presently witnessing assaults on the family of truly epic proportions, with the worldwide epidemic of divorce and re-marriage, contraception, abortion, and so-called “same-sex marriage.”
The Church has always been and always will be the great defender and champion of the family. This is especially apparent in light of the Synod of the Family (held in Rome in October 2014) and the next World Meeting of Families (to be held in Philadelphia in September 2015), from which we can certainly expect much good fruit. Here, too, the prayer of the Rosary will prove to be indispensable, for the Rosary is the prayer of the family and for the family!
We know full well that Our Lady is with us as our most powerful intercessor and as our most loving Mother. May Our Lady’s words to St. Juan Diego serve as a consoling reminder that her maternal presence is never lacking in our lives: “Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you. Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? (END OF QUOTE FROM Fr. Chapin’s note)
I have re-read the main message of Our Lady of Fatima and have made a summary which I will place at the end of this blog. If the blog becomes too long for your time, you can always bypass this summary. However, if you have the time or if you want to review what she said in Fatima in 1917, this summary will be available.
So far, there were three things that the Holy Spirit was insisting to place in this blog: 1) Our Lady of Fatima messages. 2) The power of the Mother of God as an intercessor, 3) and our job to pray for peace in the world and expect answers! I must add that since last month, I have understood that very soon, I must visit Tepeyac, MX and say hello to my Mom at the Basilica, the woman that came to our continent at the end of the XVI century, interceded powerfully and in about 10 years, millions of Aztec Indians were converted… Just as it happened at Cana, this story of a massive conversion in MX in the XVI C. should open our eyes and ears and do something about it! The question is why we keep ignoring it? Just imagine if every day of our lives we pray a Rosary for peace and keep bugging her with the words of the Hail Mary à “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death!”
Thursday, November 13
I was led to read Deuteronomy 19: 10-13, and found the grave sin committed when killing human beings, and worse when they are innocent ones!
“Thus, in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you as a heritage, innocent blood will not be shed and you will not become guilty of bloodshed. However, if someone lies in wait for his neighbor out of hatred for him, and rising up against him, strikes him mortally, and then takes refuge in one of these cities, the elders of his own city shall send for him and have him taken from there, and shall hand him over to be slain by the avenger of blood. Do not look on him with pity, but purge from Israel the stain of shedding innocent blood, that you may prosper.” (End of quote)
I was also told to bring this topic to this blog and this is what I wrote in my journal,
“We seek peace in the world, in our cities, but the greatest war of all is against the unborn. We have an answer for it: the power of Jesus, His mercy united to His Mother’s intercession (as at the wedding of Cana); however, we complain about the terrorism that surrounds us (this before the verdict in Ferguson, MO followed by the national acts of terrorism in major cities, including Oakland, near where I live). O yea, we talk about the right to life and march year after year trying to save a few lives of these unborn babies. Yet, how many of us truly have the faith, the trust in God’s love for all of us and pray at least one Rosary per day for the end of abortion on demand, the greatest lawful act of violence? I am sure that we do not believe in the power of our prayer, and much less, in the power of the Rosary!
Monday, November 24.
The results from Ferguson, MO were read late at night, not finding culpable the policeman who killed a young African American, Mike Brown. Personally, I could not judge either party because I would have reasons to agree with each side and based solely on other’s opinions since I was not there. However, what was important to me was my part on it! What have I done or not done to bring God’s blessings upon all of us and prevent these incidents?
At this point, it was clear that all kinds of communal sins start with each one of us. Yet, the common way of addressing this topic is to talk or write about the sin and the do’s and don’ts on the matter, and repeat the same ideas over and over, day after day for some time after the incident that started them. Yet, so much verbiage has nothing to do with solving the problem or trying to do something about it but today. It looks as if we are waiting for more opinions with absolute lack of interest in truly solving this problem.
To solve the problem of how to stop wars and bring peace, we must first define what war is and look into some practices that are essential to prevent these wars.
Webster’s dictionary defines “war” this way: 1: Armed fighting between nations. 2: State of hostility or conflict. 3: Struggle between opposing forces or for a particular end.
My definition is: “war is the practice of hatred by one of the parties while the other party responds arguing that it is self defense.” This hatred could be disguised as “a right” to kill a human being because we resent others telling us what to do. Or could be disguised as the duty to defend others against their enemies. But I could go on and on and end up with words repeated over and over. At this point I would like to dig more into why we go ahead and excuse ourselves for killing human beings (or said in another way, for allowing the killing of any human being). But first, do you notice how the topic of war is very difficult to assess using simple words?
I have evolved during this month on the understanding of these different wars. And so I wrote in my journal: “There are two types of war: 1) On human terms, all wars happening in this world from the Middle East to Africa to the womb of many mothers. 2) On spiritual terms, all wars within our hearts. The instigators are the same for both groups: our flesh, the world at large and Satan. The question here is why do we let those wars happen and do so little about it? Why? We may say that “wars existed forever and we cannot do much about it.” Well, this is a lie. Of course we can do much right now and stop all wars. Otherwise, it is better to deny the existence of God than to call Him a liar because He cannot win our wars! Yet, the point is not to live alongside all circumstances of different wars and feel like bystanders. The point is what is wrong with me to believe the lie that I cannot do anything about it?
So, I believe that the greatest war is not the killing of babies or of human beings in different parts of this earth, but the one raging interiorly that blocks our real work to stop the other ones, and the real work is that of faith and total trust in God’s mercy!
And then is when by God’s grace, I understood a few things of our wars within:
1. We do not trust in our prayer to end “X” war, especially within the womb, because when we pray we actually are begging God from deep in our hearts and minds for and answer but that usually favors us. It is nice to feel that we are doing something about it and pray to end abortion, although our prayer is shallow because we do it to feel good. Could we say ONE ROSARY a day just to end abortion on demand and say it with great devotion and no matter what we have to stop doing in order to use the time for this prayer? Sometimes our prayer for peace and to end all wars comes out of fear of losing our own so called freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom to make decisions at the end of our lives, freedom to decide who will govern us as a country, etc.
2. We have been brainwashed (scientifically because of our very plastic brains) by a secular/atheist mentality, which feeds us with half-truths, total lies and whatever can distract us from ACCEPTING that that we are victims of a different war, of which Satan is the main instigator. The brainwashing totally confuses and divides our minds and we think that opinions, speeches and marches will end abortion.
3. Worse: we do not know ourselves and our own gimmicks to get away with murder, gimmicks like self centeredness, plain laziness while ignoring that we are suffering from lack of self-denial. Simply put, we do not recognize ourselves as hypocrites!
4. We have so much pride and talk about the Holy Spirit but fail miserably to open our hearts and minds to His guidance and follow it. We do not believe that God is capable to converse with us through inner certitudes, situations, people He sends to us and that He has peace and love for us at every corner of our existence to keep us encouraged to follow His will.
5. We know about the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit (if we do), but have little regard towards asking God to lead us to grow in them. We could even teach others about them but fail to talk about our prayer to obtain them for ourselves.
6. We totally ignore the Bible: we refuse to walk with the Truth that we are babies of our Father in heaven and that He loves us like crazy and can win all wars within and outside of us. This faith does not exist and any scandal among Christians makes us doubt God and His plan!
7. We feel bad and disrespectful towards what others are doing against babies in the womb but we forget what we are doing something similar by knowing the Truth and not trusting His Word; so, we do not ask and pray to our hearts content because we doubt He is listening or doubt that He will do anything about it, and we think that we are trusting God, when all along we are mistrusting Him!!! (Ouch!)
8. We talk about the spiritual life as something that we understand, yet fail to describe it by witnessing it to others it as a “walk with Jesus” moment after moment!
9. Holiness of life is accepted as a topic for discussion but we fail to seek holiness for our lives at all times of the day and night.
Here I would like to mention what have been said on these topics by the present Pope and Saints, (all from Zenit) and as a good preparation for this Advent!
1. Pope Francis: “War and conflict come from our own hearts”
In the homily for his Mass of Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Pope Francis mourned the victims of the many small wars taking place in the world, stating that in the face of these tragedies, we should grow closer to God and strive for peace.
“’Where do the wars and conflicts among you come from? Maybe from your passions?’ In the heart?” (Echoing the words of St. James from the day’s first reading). The Pope also recalled the disciples in the Gospel who were debating among themselves who is the greatest.
“The dead seem to be part of a daily tally. We are used to reading these things,” he noted, highlighting that “if we had the patience to list all of the wars in the world at this moment, surely we could write several papers.” Noting how “the spirit of war” seems to have “taken hold of us,” the Pope expressed that although many are making “acts to commemorate” the 100th anniversary of the First World War, “today it is the same.” “Rather than a great war,” there are “small wars everywhere, people divided … and to conserve their own interests they kill, they kill each other.”
Calling to mind the “shock” of many who learned the story of Cain and Abel as children in Sunday school, the Bishop of Rome stated that although at first it is difficult to accept that someone would kill his own brother, today “many millions are killed between brothers … but we’re used to” it.
“Wars, hatred,” and “enmity cannot be bought at the market: they are here in the heart,” he repeated, recalling how many in World War I died for “a piece of land, for an ambition, for a hate,” or “for a racial jealousy.”
Observing that it is passion which “leads us to war,” Pope Francis highlighted that “habitually in front of a conflict, we find ourselves in a curious situation: going forward to resolve it, arguing — in the language of war.”
”The language of peace does not come first!” lamented the Roman Pontiff, explaining that the consequences are most often “the children affected in refugee camps,” and emphasizing that “this is the fruit of war.”
Encouraging those present to “think of the large living rooms, of the parties that are made by those who own the arms industries, that manufacture weapons,” the Pope explained that “the child got sick, hungry, in the refugee camp,” while those who manufacture the weapons enjoy “great parties” and “the good life.”
“What happens in our hearts?” he asked, stating that St. James’ advice to “draw near to God and he will draw near to you,” is the only solution because “this spirit of war, which leads us away from God, is not only far from us,” but is “even at home.”
“How many families are destroyed because the father, the mother, are not capable of finding the way of peace and prefer war!”
Asking those present to pray for “this peace that only seems to have become a word, nothing more,” the Bishop of Rome highlighted that this word has the capacity to act, following the council of St. James: ‘Recognize your misery!’”
Observing that this misery comes from “the wars in families, the wars in the neighborhood, wars everywhere,” Pope Francis emphasized that “this is what we must do today” as a “Christian in front of so many wars, everywhere … cry, mourn, humble oneself.”
Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis asked that “the Lord make us understand this, and save us from getting used to the news of war.”
2. Pope Francis: Greed, Intolerance and Lust for Power Are the Motives for War
By Junno Arocho Esteves
Commemorates World War I Centenary at Memorial in Redipuglia
September 13, 2014 – “A me che importa?” “Why should I care?”
Cain’s response when asked by God of his brother’s whereabouts, Pope Francis said, is the same response humanity has when going to war At the start of his homily, the Holy Father said that while experiencing the beauty of Italy’s northern region, the war memorial in Redipuglia brought one thought to mind: “War is madness.”
“Whereas God carries forward the work of creation, and we men and women are called to participate in his work, war destroys,” he said. “It also ruins the most beautiful work of his hands: human beings. War ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying.”
While greed, intolerance and lust for power are the motives that “underlie” the decision to go to war, the Pope said that while justified often by an ideology, there is “distorted passion” behind it all.
“Ideology is presented as a justification and when there is no ideology, there is the response of Cain: ‘Why should I care? Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (cf. Gen 4:9). War does not look directly at anyone, be they elderly, children, mothers, fathers…. "Why should I care?"
“Humanity needs to weep,” he said, “and this is the time to weep.”
1. Pope Francis: ‘Prayer Can Make Miracles’
October 08, 2013 – In his daily morning Mass homily, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of prayer in light of the Gospel of Martha and Mary. The heart that knows how to pray, knows how to forgive he told those gathered in the chapel of his residence at Casa Santa Marta.
The biblical figures of Martha and the prophet Jonah in today’s readings, he said, share an identical flaw: both did not know how to pray. The Gospel recalled when Martha asks Jesus in a reproachful tone to tell her sister to help her, to which Christ replies that "Mary has chosen the better part."
"This part," the Pope explains, "is that of prayer, that of the contemplation of Jesus. In the eyes of her sister it was a waste of time, it also seemed, perhaps, a bit of a fantasy: to look at the Lord as if she were a child full of amazement."
"The Lord: this is the better part, because Mary listened to the Lord and prayed with her heart. And the Lord tells us: ‘The first task in life is this, prayer.’ But not the prayer of words, like parrots; but prayer of the heart: to look at the Lord, to listen to the Lord, to ask the Lord. We know that prayer can make miracles."
The power of prayer is noted in the first reading which spoke on the conversion of Nineveh upon hearing the announcement of their imminent destruction by the prophet Jonah. The Holy Father noted that Jonah, like Martha, is more willing to deal justice without mercy.
"There are others who are as stubborn as Jonah, that is the justifiers. He went, prophesied, but in his heart he said: ‘They deserve it. They deserve it. They asked for it! He prophesied, but didn’t pray!" the Holy Father exclaimed.
Concluding his homily, the Holy Father warned that to pray without heart, pessimism, as well as to seek justice without forgiveness is the temptation that keeps Christians from choosing "the better part." When one does not pray, they close the door thus keeping the Lord from acting in their life.
"Prayer in front of a problem, in a difficult situation, is opening the door to the Lord so he can enter. Because He re-does things, He knows how to arrange things, to rearrange things," he said.
2. The Importance of Praying with Insistence (Angelus Address)
He recalled the parable of the widow who pleads for and is granted justice by a dishonest judge. "The protagonist is a widow who, by pleading with a dishonest judge, manages to obtain justice from him. And Jesus concludes: if the widow manages to convince that judge, do you think that God does not listen to us, if we pray to him insistently? The expression Jesus uses is very powerful: ‘And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? This description of prayer is striking to us. But let us ask: why does God want this? Does He not already know our needs? What’s the point of ‘insisting’ with God?" observed the Pope.
“Pray always, but not to convince the Lord by the strength of words! He knows better than we do what it is we need. And so persevering prayer is an expression of faith in a God Who calls us to fight along with Him, every day, every moment, to overcome evil with good.”
3. Pope at General Audience: The Key to Counsel Is Prayer
On May, 2014, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, this week discussing the third gift, counsel. Relating to those present, he said, “We know how important it is, in the most difficult moments, to be able to count on the suggestions of wise persons who love us.” Yet, the Pope added how the faithful must not forget that we can count on the one who is wisest. Through the gift of counsel, he said, “it is God Himself, with his Spirit, who illumines our heart, to make us understand the right way to speak and to behave and the way to follow.”
Counsel, therefore, is the gift with which the “Holy Spirit renders our conscience capable of making a concrete choice in communion with God, according to the logic of Jesus and of his Gospel.” Francis explained that the Spirit helps us “not to fall prey to egoism or our own way of seeing things” since he “makes us grow interiorly … grow positively … and grow in the community.” In short, he said, He “helps us to grow” and “to live in community.”
“The essential condition to preserve this gift is prayer. We always come back to the same subject: prayer! But prayer is so important. To pray with the prayers that we all know from childhood, but also to pray with our own words. To pray to the Lord: ‘Lord, help me, counsel me, what must I do now? We make room for the Spirit to come to help us at that moment. To counsel us on what we must all do. Prayer, never forget prayer! Never!”
‘Squeeze it In,’ Whether You Are on the Bus or the Street “No one, no one is aware when we pray on the bus, on the street: we pray in silence with our heart.” Therefore, “let us take advantage of these moments to pray, to pray that the Spirit will give us this gift of counsel”
“But," he asked, "How does this gift act in us?” “The moment we receive Him and host Him in our heart, the Holy Spirit begins immediately to make us sensitive to His voice and to direct our thoughts, sentiments and intentions according to God’s heart.” This “intimacy” with God and listening to his Word, he said, “little by little,” allow us to “put aside our personal logic, dictated most often by our closures, our prejudices and our ambitions,” adding that we instead “learn to ask the Lord: what is your desire? What is your will? What pleases you?” Stating the effect of asking these questions, he said it’s “a profound attunement, which matures in us.” When we ask, we can start to see the truth of the words in Matthew’s Gospel: “‘When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.’”
“Although the Spirit is the one who counsels us, we must make room for the Spirit, so he can counsel us," said Francis, adding that “to make room is to pray, to pray so that He will come and help us always.”
The Pontiff invited the faithful to pray these words from Psalm 16: “‘I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’"
4. Pope Urges Faithful to Pick Up Their Rosaries
May 07, 2014 – During this month of May dedicated to Mary, Pope Francis has invited the faithful to pick up their rosaries and call upon her in a special way. “so that the Lord may grant mercy and peace to the Church and to the entire world," and encouraged them to take special care to pray the rosary during this month of May.
5. Quotes on the Rosary and the Hail Mary:
1) One day through the Rosary and Scapular I will save the world. (Mary to St Dominic)
2) The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families… that cannot be solved by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves. We will sanctify ourselves. We will console Our Lord, and obtain the salvation of many souls. (Sr Lucia, in "Calls" from Our Lady of Fatima)
3) The Rosary will be of great assistance in the last hour of life. (Cf Leo XIII, Diuturni Temporis, n. 7, 5 Sept. 1898)
4) If I had an army reciting the Rosary, I would conquer the world. (Pius XI)
5) Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. (St Padre Pio)
6) (The Hail Mary) Just as almighty God chose the angelical salutation [Hail Mary] to bring about the Incarnation of His Word and the Redemption of mankind [Lk 1:28, 42], in the same way those who want to bring about moral reforms and who want people reborn in Jesus Christ must honor me and greet me with the same salutation. I am the channel by which God came to men, and so, next to my Son Jesus Christ, it is through me that men must obtain grace and virtue. (Mary to Blessed Alan de la Roche, in Secret of the Rosary, 84); Cf True Devotion to Mary, 156-59)
7) Know, my son, and make all others know, that it is a probable and proximate sign of
eternal damnation to have an aversion, a lukewarmness, or a negligence in saying the
angelical salutation, which has repaired the whole world. (Mary to Blessed Alan de la Roche, in True Devotion to Mary, 157)
6. Our Lady’s Message to Marija (From the not yet approved apparitions of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Medjugorje)
November 25, 2014
"Dear children! In a special way, today I am calling you to prayer. Pray, little children, so that you may comprehend who you are and where you need to go. Be carriers of the good news and be people of hope. Be love for all those who are without love. Little children, you will be everything and will achieve everything only if you pray and are open to God’s will – to God who desires to lead you towards eternal life. I am with you and intercede for you from day to day before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."
1. Holiness means ‘letting God write our history,’ preaches Pope
By Kerri Lenartowick
Dec 17, 2013 – God’s joy “was to live his life with us,” explained Pope Francis. Even after mankind sinned, God did not abandon us but rather came closer, wishing to “make history” with us.
“When God wishes to say who He is, He says ‘I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob.’ But what is God’s last name? It is ours, each one of ours. He takes our name to be his own last name,” reflected Pope Francis
2. Pope’s Morning Homily: 3 Marks of a People Reborn
ROME, April 29, 2014 – During the homily of his morning Mass at his residence today, Pope Francis proposed three marks of a "people reborn," which characterized the early Christian community.
tthe Holy Father said the Christian community should be characterized by interior unity, witness of Christ, and care of its members.
He spoke of the "rebirth from on high" in the Holy Spirit, who gave life to the first group of "new Christians" when "they still didn’t have that name. 1) Unity à they had one heart and mind," the Pope said. "Peace. A community in peace. This means that in this community there was no room for gossip, envy, calumnies, defamation. Peace. Forgiveness: ‘Love covered everything.’"
Francis stressed the importance of Christians’ attitudes: 2) Witness à "Are they meek, humble? Poor in heart, poor in spirit? Do they vie for power between each other in that community? Are there envious quarrels? Is there gossip? Then, they are not on the path of Jesus Christ. This feature is so important, so important, because the devil always tries to divide us. He is the father of division." Pope Francis recognized that problems existed even for the first Christians. He recalled "the infighting, the doctrinal struggles, power struggles." As an example of this he pointed to the widows who complained of a lack of assistance so that the Apostles "had to create deacons." "Does this community give witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Does this parish, this community, this diocese really believe that Jesus Christ is Risen?"
The Bishop of Rome said the third characteristic from which we can measure the life of a Christian community is 3) “the poor.” The Spirit makes us poor, because He is our wealth and leads us to care for the poor.""First, what’s your attitude or the attitude of this community toward the poor?" he asked. "This is the work of the Spirit. The Church is built up by the Spirit. The Spirit creates unity. The Spirit leads us to witness.
1. Pope Francis: Faith Puts Us on Path Toward God’s Promise (From Zenit)
On March 31, 2014, in the morning Mass, the Pope called on Faithful to Resist ‘Temptation to Stand Still’
“Do we wander aimlessly in our lives without moving forward or are we walking on the path toward the promises of God? The Holy Father reflected on three types of Christians: 1) those who trust in the promises of God and follow Him throughout their lives, 2) those whose life of faith is stagnant, and 3) others who lives an “existential tourism.”
Recalling the first reading from Isaiah, the Pope noted that God always makes a promise, a promise of a new life full of joy, before asking anything. The essence of Christian life is to walk toward that promise. However, many times there exists the “temptation to stand still.”
“There are many Christians who stand still!” he exclaimed. “We have so many behind who have a weak hope. Yes, they believe that there will be Heaven and everything will go well. It’s good that they believe, but they do not look for it! They fulfill the commandments, the precepts: everything, everything….But they are standing still.”
“The Lord cannot make of them a leaven in his people, because they do not walk. And this is a problem: those who stand still. Then, there are others among them and us, who go the wrong way: we all sometimes have gone the wrong way, that we know. The problem is not going the wrong way; the problem is not turning back when one realizes that they have made a mistake.”
Focusing on the Gospel of St. John, the Holy Father stated that the royal official, who does not doubt Christ’s power to heal his son, is the model of faith that all Christians should follow. But, also there are some who deceive themselves into thinking they are on the right path but are actually wandering.
“They are the wandering Christians, they wander around, wander around as if life was an existential tourism, without a goal, without taking the promises seriously. Those who wander around deceive themselves, because they say: ‘I walk!’ “No, you don’t walk; you wander,” he said. “Instead, the Lord asks us to not stop, to not go the wrong way and to not run around your whole life. To wander around your whole life. He asks us to guard the promises, to go forward with the promises like this man, like this man: that man who believed the word of Jesus! Faith puts us on the path toward the promises. Faith in the promises of God.”
2. On Faith and Strength
August 19, 2013- Recitation of the Angelus at the Vatican
“After Jesus has come into the world we cannot act as if we do not know God, as if God were something abstract, empty, a mere name; no, God has a particular face, he has a name: God is mercy, God is fidelity, he is life that is given to all of us. This is why Jesus says: I came to bring division; not that Jesus wishes to divide men against each other. On the contrary, Jesus is our peace, he is our reconciliation! But this peace is not the peace of a grave, it is not neutrality, Jesus does not bring neutrality, this peace is not a compromise at all costs. Following Jesus means rejecting evil, egoism, and choosing the good, truth, justice, even when that requires sacrifice and renunciation of our own interests.
“So, these words of the Gospel do not authorize in any way the use of force in spreading the faith. It is precisely the contrary: the true force of the Christian is the force of truth and of love, which means rejecting all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible! But faith and strength go together. The Christian is not violent, but he is strong. And with what strength? That of meekness, the force of meekness, the force of love. Remember this: following Jesus is not something neutral. Following Jesus means getting involved because faith is not something decorative, it is the strength of the soul!”
3. On the Power of Faith
October 06, 2013 – recitation of the Angelus
“St. Paul says to Timothy: ‘Do not be ashamed to bear witness to our Lord, nor to me, in prison for him; but with the power of God, suffer with me for the Gospel’ (2 Timothy 1:8). But this is meant for everyone: each one of us, in his everyday life, can bear witness to Christ, with the power of God, the power of faith, the small faith that we have, which, nevertheless, is strong! With this strength bear witness to Jesus Christ, be Christians with your life, with our witness! And where do we get this strength from? We get it from God in prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith: in a relationship of trust, in a relationship of love, dialogue cannot be lacking, and prayer is a dialogue of the soul with God.”
4. Feb. 21, 2014 – Homily at Mass
“Even we make this mistake many times: ‘But I have a lot of faith,’ we hear it said. ‘I believe everything, everything…’ And maybe the person who says this has a tepid, weak life. His faith is like a theory, but it is not alive in his life. The Apostle James, when he speaks of faith, speaks properly of doctrine, of that which is the content of faith. But you can know all the commandments, all the prophecies, all the truths of the faith, but if this doesn’t become practice, does not end up in works, it’s no help. We can recite the Creed theoretically, even without faith, and there are many people who do it like that. Even the demons! The demons know well what is said in the Creed and they know that it is the truth.”
Pope Francis pointed out that there are many gospel stories which illustrate that people may “know what they must believe, but they don’t have faith,” such as when the Pharisees try to trick Jesus by asking about a woman who had married 7 brothers successively, after each of their deaths. “Whose wife will she be in heaven?” they demand. Such instances reveal a vision of “faith merely as a system of ideas, an ideology. Those who hold to such a view, those who “fall into ideologies” and “know the doctrine, “ but are without faith, ”like the demons,” are not living truly Christian lives. On the other hand, the gospels also contain stories of “people who don’t know doctrine but have a lot of faith,” such as the Samaritan woman at the well who opened her heart to the Lord because she “met not abstract truth,” but the person of Jesus Christ.” This encounter in faith, explained Pope Francis, always leads a Christian to move outward toward others.
“Faith always leads to witness. Faith is a meeting with Jesus Christ, with God, and it is born from that and leads you to witness. Without such fruit, faith is lifeless. A faith without works, a faith that doesn’t engage you, that doesn’t lead you to witness, isn’t faith. It is words, and nothing more than words,” concluded the Pope.
5. Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Scandal Destroys Faith!’ By Junno Arocho Esteves-Zenit
Homily at the Mass of November 10, 2014 – Pope Francis warned that “scandals destroy faith” and that all Christians are “capable of scandalizing” others with our actions.
The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel from St. Luke in which Jesus warns of those who cause others to sin through their scandal. “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin,” Jesus says. The Pope said that one common scandal is to say that one is Christian yet continue living like a pagan.
“When a Christian man or a Christian woman, who goes to church, is part of the parish, does not live in this way, they cause scandal. How often have we heard men and women say: ‘ I do not go to church because it is better to be honest at home and not go to church like that man or woman who then does this, this, this …’”, he said.
“Scandal destroys, it destroys the faith! And that is why Jesus is so strong: ‘Beware! Watch out!’ It would do us good to repeat this today: ‘Be on your guard!’. All of us are capable of causing scandal.” The Holy Father noted that Christ calls on all to forgive because it is that which identifies them as Christians. “A Christian who is not able to forgive,” he said, “causes scandal: he is not Christian. We have to forgive, because we have been forgiven. This is in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us about it there. Human logic is incapable of fathoming this. Human logic leads us not to forgive, to seek revenge; it leads to hate, division.”
The Pope went on to lament how families break apart because of their inability to forgive. If one does not forgive, he stressed, it means that he/she does not understand what it means to be forgiven by God. Concluding his homily, Pope Francis told the faithful that only through the light of faith is one capable of living without scandal and always forgiving.
One doesn’t get faith by reading books or going to conferences, he said. “Faith is a gift of God that comes to you and this why the Apostles asked Jesus, “’Increase our faith!’”
1. Pope’s Morning Homily of November 11, 2014: “Laziness Leads to Easy and Half-Hearted Service. True Service is the total donation of oneself
Jesus, he said, “Presents Himself as a servant, the one who came to serve and not to be served: He says it so clearly. And so, the Lord shows the Apostles the path of those who have received the faith, that faith which works miracles. Yes, this faith will do wonders on the path of service. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants.’ Gratuitous service – service that asks for nothing in return."
2. It’s Difficult to Listen to God’s Voice When You’re Self-Centered
Today’s Gospel from St. Luke spoke on the parable of the man who held a great banquet, only to be refused by his guests who were busy with other matters. Enraged, the master of the banquet commanded his servant to invite “the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame” to his feast.
“It is so difficult to listen to the voice of Jesus, the voice of God, when you believe that that the whole world revolves around you: there is no horizon, because you become your own horizon. And there is more behind all of this, something far deeper: fear of gratuity. We are afraid of God’s gratuity. He is so great that we fear Him”.
All Christians, he continued, have this fear of God’s generosity toward us, because many times, “we feel safer in our sins, in our limitations, but feel at home.” This fear, he noted, brings Christians to not answer God’s invitation in order to not leave that safety net.
“Catholics, but not too Catholic,” the Pope said. “Trusting in the Lord, but not too much. This ‘but not too much’ marks our lives, it belittles us."
“Today, the Church asks us not to be afraid of the gratuitousness of God,” he said. “Instead we must open our hearts, do our part as much as we can, because He will prepare the banquet.”
3. Path of self-denial brings joy, fruitfulness, Pope reflects By Elise Harris
On March 6, 2014, in his daily homily Pope Francis spoke of the Christian “style,” explaining that in order to be authentic it must follow the path of Jesus in denying oneself, taking up the Cross, and practicing humility.
“And this style will save us, will give us joy and make us fruitful, because this path of denying oneself is there to give us life.” Calling to mind the words of Luke’s Gospel on Thursday, the pontiff repeated Jesus’ words to his disciples, saying “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me,” emphasizing how this is truly the “Christian style” because it was first put into practice by Jesus Himself.“We can’t think of the Christian life apart from this path. There is always this journey, a journey that He took first: the journey of humility, the journey, too, of humiliation, of denying oneself, and then rising. But this is the path,” repeated the Pope, explaining that “without the Cross, the Christian style is not Christian, and if the Cross is a Cross without Jesus, it is not Christian. The Christian style takes the Cross with Jesus and goes forward, but not without the Cross, not without Jesus.”
“Despite the fact that Jesus is one in being with the Father, He gave us an example in denying Himself and becoming ‘a servant for all of us.’ This style will save us, give us joy and make us fruitful. It is completely opposed to the path of selfishness, of being attached to all the good things for me alone. This path is open to others, because the path Jesus took – of abnegation – that path was to give life. The Christian style is precisely this style of humility, of mildness, of meekness.”
Quoting the Gospel passage once again, the pontiff stated that “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,” because “if the grain of wheat does not die, it can’t bear fruit.” He then went on to describe that this death to self is a source of joy for Christians because the Lord himself “gives us joy” as long as we follow Jesus in the style of Jesus, rather than that of the world, adding that to follow Jesus means to walk his path as closely as one is able in order “to give life to others, not to give oneself life.” Noting that often times we want to appear better or more important in the opinion of others out of selfishness, he emphasized that Jesus’ way “is the spirit of generosity,” and drew attention to the book “The Imitation of Christ,” which gives the “good advice” to “love to be unknown and considered as nothing.”
Explaining that this is what “Christian humility” is, the Pope repeated that “this is our joy, and this is our fruitfulness: to go with Jesus.” “Other joys are not fruitful” he observed, because “as Jesus said, they think only to gain the whole world, but in the end lose and ruin their lives.”
On Coming to the Light – "We must repent; we must stop acting in these ways so we can set out decisively on the road of sanctity"
Today’s Gospel presents us with the episode of the man born blind to whom Jesus gives sight. The blind man who is healed is first interrogated by the astonished crowd – they saw the miracle and they interrogate him. Then he is interrogated by the doctors of the law; and they also interrogate his parents. In the end, the blind man who is healed arrives at faith, and this is the greatest grace that Jesus bestows upon him: not only to see Him but to know Him, to see Him as “the light of the world.” (John 9:5).
While the blind man comes gradually closer to the light, the doctors of the law on the contrary sink ever further into their interior blindness. 1) Shut up in their presumptions, they think they have the light; because of this they do not open to Jesus’ truth. 2) They do everything they can to deny the evidence. 3) They question the reliability of the man who is healed; 4) then they deny the action of God in the healing, saying that God does not heal on the Sabbath; then, 5) finally, they doubt that the man was even born blind. Their closure to the light becomes aggressive and leads to the expulsion of the man who is healed from the Temple.
The path of the blind man instead is a gradual process that begins with knowing Jesus’ name. He does not know anything else about him. In fact, he says: "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes” (9:11). In response to the pressing questions of the doctors of the law he first says that Jesus is a prophet (9:17) and then a man close to God (9:31). After he is thrown out of the Temple, excluded from society, Jesus finds him again and “opens his eyes” a second time, revealing to him is true identity: “I am the Messiah,” He tells him. At this point, the man who was blind exclaims: “I believe, Lord!” (9:38), and prostrates himself before Jesus. This is a passage of the Gospel that gives us a glimpse of the drama of the interior blindness of many people. And we glimpse our own interior blindness too because we sometimes have moments of such blindness.
I would like to suggest to you today, when you return home, to open the Gospel of John and read this passage of chapter 9. It will do you well, because in this way you will see this road from blindness to light and the other, wicked road toward deeper blindness. Let us ask ourselves about the state of our heart. Do I have an open heart or a closed one? Open or closed to God? Open or closed to my neighbor? We always have some closure in us born of sin, of mistakes, of errors. We must not be afraid! Let us open ourselves up to the Lord. He awaits us always to help us see better, to give us light, to forgive us. Let us not forget this!
Our life is sometimes similar to that of the blind man who is open to the light, who is open to God, who is open to his grace. Sometimes, unfortunately, our life is a little like that of the doctors of the law: from the height of our pride we judge others, and, in the end, the Lord! Today we are invited to open ourselves up to the light of Christ to bear fruit in our life, to eliminate non-Christian ways of acting; we are all Christians, but all of us, all of us, at times act in ways that are not Christian, we act in ways that are sinful. We must repent, we must stop acting in these ways so we can set out decisively on the road of sanctity. This road has its beginning in Baptism. We too are “enlightened” by Christ in Baptism, so that, as St. Paul notes, we can walk as “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8), with humility, patience, mercy. These doctors of the law did not have humility, patience or mercy!
SPIRITUAL LIFE, WHAT IS IT?
1. Pope’s Morning Homily of May 16, 2014: How to Get to Know Jesus
Pope Francis has said studying Jesus is not enough to get to know Him, we must also pray to Him, celebrate Him and imitate Him. The Pope reflected on the best way for us to get to know Jesus, describing it as the most important work in our lives. At the same time, he warned that studying or having ideas was not enough on its own to acquire that knowledge of Jesus.
“Ideas by themselves do not lead anywhere and those who pursue the path of their own ideas end up in a labyrinth from where they can’t get out again! It’s for this reason that heresies have existed from the very beginning of the Church. Heresies are this: trying to understand with our minds and with only our personal light who Jesus is. A great English writer wrote that a heresy is an idea that’s gone crazy. That’s right! When they are ideas by themselves they become crazy… This is not the right path!”
Pope Francis went on to explain that we need to open three doors in order to know Jesus. “The first door is praying to Jesus. You must realize that studying without prayers is no use. We must pray to Jesus to get to know Him better. The great theologians did their theology while kneeling. Pray to Jesus! By studying and praying we get a bit closer… But we’ll never know Jesus without praying. Never! Never!
“The second door is celebrating Jesus,” the Pope continued. “Prayer on its own is not enough; we need the joy of celebration. We must celebrate Jesus through his Sacraments, because these give us life, they give us strength, they nourish us, they comfort us, they forge an alliance with us, they give us a mission. Without celebrating the Sacraments, we’ll never get to know Jesus. This is what the Church is all about: celebration.
“The third door,” the Pope said, “is imitating Jesus. Take the Gospel, what did he do? How was his life? What did he tell u? What did He teach us and try to imitate him”.
“Entering via these three doors means entering into the mystery of Jesus and it’s only in this way that we can get to know Him and we mustn’t be afraid to do this. During the day, today, we can think about how the door leading to prayer is proceeding in our life: but prayer from the heart is not like that of a parrot! How is prayer of the heart? How is the Christian celebration in my life proceeding? And how is the imitation of Jesus in my life proceeding? How must I imitate him? Do you really not remember! The reason is because the Book of the Gospel is full of dust as it’s never opened! Take the Book of the Gospel, open it and you will discover how to imitate Jesus! Let’s think about how these three doors are positioned in our life and this will be of benefit to everybody.”
2. Stages Tells Catholic Fraternity on Charismatic Ecumenism: ‘Seek Unity in Diversity’
On October 31, 2014 – Pope Francis said the spiritual life is like breathing, comparing prayer to inhaling and mission to exhaling. Without both, he says, the Christian cannot live. When we inhale, by prayer, he reflected, we receive the fresh air of the Holy Spirit. When exhaling this air, he continued, "We announce Jesus Christ risen by the same Spirit.” While saying "No one can live without breathing," Francis highlighted, "It is the same for the Christian: without praise and mission there is no Christian life.”
Francis: Look Out, Because the Devil Is Present
Warns Against Being Naive or Thinking It’s Old-Fashioned to Speak of Satan
On April 11, 2014 – Pope Francis said today during the homily of his morning Mass that we are the victim of temptations because the devil doesn’t want our holiness. The subject of the Pope’s homily was Satan, as Francis affirmed that Satan continues to exist today and it’s naive to ignore him.
Francis also said that if we listen to the Gospel, we can fight against his temptations. He said, "We too are tempted. We too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus?"
Francis then answered: "Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”
WHAT THE SAINTS HAVE SAID
1."Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do."– St. John XXIII
"Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create." Pope John Paul II
"Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be." St. Therese of Lisieux
“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux
‘Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.’ St. Rose of Lima
"No one is to be called an enemy; all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves."- St. Francis of Assisi
Closing words: The time has arrived for us to take action. Jesus has reminded us in recent daily and also Sunday Mass readings that we have to be ready for His second coming. Of course, He may not come tomorrow, but how can we train our coming generations if we are not setting an example to them? In each parish, we could make our own working plan to review the items that are very important for us to become truly holy… Again and again, reading books will not do it. Books on how to pray will not work if do not take the time to pray! Talking about love for others will not be a reality unless we pray that we become lovers ourselves. We cannot have a new year and keep doing the same things: publishing and publishing ideas and opinions and stories but not changing our lives in a radical way by seeking to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that He can give us all we need to be able to change and then be able to witness our transformation! Our crosses must be used and offered for our own transformation in order to change our way of life and keep peace within, so that we can pay attention to the wars outside of us. Once we become faithful to our conversion with prayer and strict obedience to God’s will as best as we can, love will transform us and like a virus, go and contaminate everybody else with a profound desire to do the same.
1. It is clear that we have to wake up and make a serious attempt to deal with our interior wars, the war against unborn babies and the wars all over the world.
2. I would like to remind you to never forget the recent images of 4 rabbis killed with knives in a Synagogue in Israel. Well, this is exactly what each baby goes through when a curette goes into the uterus of his/her mother and cuts them into pieces. We are not doing much to stop these wasr and several times a day in the entire world because we have not seen what goes inside… Now you have an image that is identical to the one in the killing of unborn babies. Can you live with that image and accept that you are part of this crime? And all it could have done is to pray ONE ROSARY per day stop all wars!!! And if we add a sincere desire to do God’s will in our lives and say yes to all our crosses, we could have added a tremendous power to our prayer of the Rosary, because we would have recited it contemplating the life of the Messiah King, and His own violent death!
3. Never forget that it is easy to measure our growth in our faith that God loves us and that we have His power to help others. And how do we know?
1) When we are sure and feel the happiness of walking with Him on a daily basis
2) When we do not want to live longer in this earth, except as God has it planned for us. If we do not want to die and seek treatments to beat any mortal illness, then we know for sure that we have missed having a relationship with Him. When “death is gain” as St. Paul wrote, then we are happy to die because we are in route to our eternal life with Him.
3) When we want to be like the widow of the story, who gave everything to the Temple’s treasury, and Jesus commended her for doing so, we MUST GIVE IT ALL TO HIM, even our own life if He so demands it.
4) When we often see ourselves as soldiers who are on this earth fighting to bring His peace to all. And to be a good soldier, we have to be a good disciple. So, daily we should keep an eye on our desire to deny ourselves; on how we are embracing our crosses and following Him, which is to do what He did, to give away everything for the good of others.
4. Learn by heart the prayer to the Holy Spirit that calls Him to take over our souls and say it at least once a day.
Come Holy Spirit enlighten my heart,
to see the things which are of God.
Come Holy Spirit into my mind,
that I may know the things that are of God.
Come Holy Spirit, into my soul,
that I may belong only to God.
Sanctify all that I think, say and do,
that all will be for the glory of God. Amen.
5. But it is very important to always remember that WE CANNOT DO ALL THE ABOVE BY OURSELVES.However, God can do it for us if we give Him permission by daily and several times a day, tell Him how much we want to do His will. The “yes” to His will is the master key for all the transformation and conversion that we need. We do not need special programs. We need to pray and seek Him all day most especially in the faces of those around us, and work under His guidance to do whatever He tells us. Our Lady had the entire program witnessed in her life. Satan does not have a chance if we follow her example… We need to say “yes” and He brings all the graces necessary to run the race of saving many souls, by bringing them to Him through our witness of life. We must always remember that HE CAN WIN ALL WARS… All wars!!!
6. I believe deeply that for these very difficult times, we have to bring Our Mother in heaven to help us and to recite one Rosary daily for peace and with total certitude that she will get for us more water transformed into wine by the power of Her Son.
7. I leave you with this reminder and I am sorry if I have made you feel uncomfortable with this blog!
Drawing from today’s readings, the Holy Father presented four models of believers: Jesus, the scribes, the priest Eli and his two sons, who were also priests.
“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes,” today’s Gospel from Mark stated. The Holy Father said that this statement reflected the preaching style of the scribes who seldom practiced what they preached. In his manner of preaching, Jesus showed that if preached that way ”you will close the door to the Kingdom of Heaven. You do not let them enter, and neither will you enter!’
”Christ’s manner of preaching “is a way, a style of preaching, of teaching, of giving witness to one’s own faith.”
The Pope then reflected on the first reading, from the First Book of Samuel, which recalled Eli’s encounter with Anna, who was praying in the Temple for a son. Eli, the Holy Father said, “is a poor priest, weak, lukewarm who allowed his sons to do so many awful things.”
Upon seeing Anna pray as”humble people pray; simple but from the heart, with anguish”, Eli admonishes her at first, thinking that she was drunk. Eli, the Pope observed, “is the representative of faith, the leader of faith, but his heart was not well and he rejects that woman. How many times the people of God do not feel loved by those who should give witness: by Christians, by lay Christians, by priests, by bishops. he continued. Despite his lukewarm faith and laziness, Eli’s priestly anointing comes through and gives Anna a word of hope. However, things do not turn out well for the old man later on in his life.”
Describing Eli’s sons as “thieves”, the Pope explained that they “went after power, after money, they exploited people, they took advantage of the alms, of the gifts, and the Lord punishes them strongly. They are the representation of the corrupt Christian, of the corrupt laymen, of the corrupt priest, of the corrupt bishop, who takes advantage of his situation, of his privilege of faith, of being Christian and his heart ends up becoming corrupt. That heart is the same heart of Judas, who due to his corrupt heart, betrayed Jesus.”
“As the final Christian model, Jesus brings with Him the power of sanctity that comes with the word of God, the love of God to each and every one of us. Jesus forgives the adulteress; He speaks of theology with the Samaritan. Jesus searches the heart of the person; Jesus approaches the wounded heart of people. Jesus is only interested in the person This manner of preaching, however, is not a new teaching. No, it is not a new teaching: it is a new way of doing it. It is the evangelical transparency. This is the new teaching that God asks from us. Let us ask for this grace.”
Concluding his homily, the Holy Father prayed that the readings help us in our Christian lives, to not be legalists, corrupt or lukewarm, but rather to be like Jesus, with the zeal to search for, heal and love people.
MAY YOU HAVE A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS and many graces coming from the Advent season!
HERE IS A review OF THE FATIMA PLAN
FATIMA AND WORLD PEACE
A.What Our Lady said:
1. “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.
2. "I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day. "
3. "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, ‘O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. ‘ "
4. VISION: On July 13, 1917 the Blessed Virgin unveiled a terrifying reality before the three children’s eyes. Lucia recounts: "Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire, which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls, in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in this conflagration in clouds of smoke, lifted by flames coming out of their bodies. They rose and fell on all sides, like sparks in roaring fires, without weight or direction, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair that terrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. This vision lasted but a moment, thanks to our good Mother from Heaven who had warned us beforehand, and promised to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of horror and fear.
“Then we raised our eyes to Our Lady, who said with kindness and sadness: ‘You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and then there will be peace. ‘ " "Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them. "
5. "If my requests are not granted, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. Many good people will be martyred, there will come another great war, and various nations will be destroyed
6. Daily Rosary: "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world. And after each decade say the following prayer: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy mercy.’"
7. First Saturday Devotion: "I promise to help at the hour of death with the graces needed for salvation those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries, with the intention of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart."
B. From “Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words”) –
1) "The sins of the world are very great … If men only knew what eternity is, they would do everything in their power to change their lives. "
2) "Fly from riches and luxury; love poverty and silence; have charity, even for bad people. "
3) "More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason. "
4) "Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. " "Woe to women lacking in modesty. "
5) "Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell
them to ask graces from Her and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated
together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ask them to plead for peace from the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to her.”
C.The following is a rare interview with Sister Lucia [the Fatima visionary who died in 2005], by Father Lombardi. It was recorded in the Vatican weekly "Osservatore della Domenica" February 7, 1954.
Fr. Lombardi: "Tell me, is the ‘Better World Movement’ a response of the Church to the words spoken to Our Lady?"
Lucia: "Father, there is certainly a great need for this renewal. If it is not done, and taking into account the present development of humanity, only a limited number of the human race will be saved."
Fr. Lombardi: "Do you really believe that many will go to Hell? I hope that God will save the greater part of humanity." [He had just written a book entitled: Salvation for Those Without Faith]
Lucia: "Father, many will be lost."
Fr. Lombardi: "It is true that the world is full of evil, but there is always a hope of salvation."
Lucia: "No Father, many will be lost."
D. The Message in General
The general Message of Fatima is not complicated. Its requests are for prayer, reparation, repentance, and sacrifice, and the abandonment of sin. Before Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children, Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, the Angel of Peace visited them. The Angel prepared the children to receive the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his instructions are an important aspect of the Message that is often overlooked.
The Angel demonstrated to the children the fervent, attentive, and composed manner in which we should all pray, and the reverence we should show toward God in prayer. He also explained to them the great importance of praying and making sacrifices in reparation for the offenses committed against God. He told them: "Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication, for the conversion of sinners." In his third and final apparition to the children, the Angel gave them Holy Communion, and demonstrated the proper way to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist: all three children knelt to receive Communion; and Lucy was given the Sacred Host on the tongue and the Angel shared the Blood of the Chalice between Francisco and Jacinta.
Our Lady stressed the importance of praying the Rosary in each of her apparitions, asking the children to pray the Rosary every day for peace. Another principal part of the Message of Fatima is devotion to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, which is terribly outraged and offended by the sins of humanity, and we are lovingly urged to console her by making reparation. She showed Her Heart, surrounded by piercing thorns (which represented the sins against Her Immaculate Heart), to the children, who understood that their sacrifices could help to console Her.
The children also saw that God is terribly offended by the sins of humanity, and that He desires each of us and all mankind to abandon sin and make reparation for their crimes through prayer and sacrifice. Our Lady sadly pleaded: "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, for He is already too much offended!"
The children were also told to pray and sacrifice themselves for sinners, in order to save them from hell. The children were briefly shown a vision of hell, after which Our Lady told them: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace."
She said that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world severely by means of war, famine, persecution of the Church, and persecution of the Holy Father. To prevent these chastisements, Our Lady offered a remedy: She would return to ask for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the Five First Saturdays. If her requests were heeded, there would be peace. If not, Russia’s errors would spread throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church, the Holy Father to suffer much, martyrdom of the good and the annihilation of various nations.
Our Lady indicated to us the specific root of all the troubles in the world, the one that causes world wars and such terrible suffering: sin. She then gave a solution, first to individual people, then to the Church’s leaders. God asks each one of us to stop offending Him. We must pray, especially the Rosary. By this frequent prayer of the Rosary, we will get the graces we need to overcome sin. God wants us to have devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to work to spread this devotion throughout the world. Our Lady said, "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God." If we wish to go to God, we have a sure way to Him through true devotion to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.
When Sister Lucy questioned Our Lord as to why He would not convert Russia without the solemn public consecration of that nation specifically, Jesus answered:
Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its homage later on, and put the devotion to her Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.
Thus, we see that the conversion of Russia cannot take place unless and until the Pope and bishops consecrate specifically Russia, because God has reserved this grace – this special grace – to this special act of honor and reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Jesus does this because He wants to establish throughout the world, in the hearts and minds of the faithful, the importance of devotion to His Mother’s Immaculate Heart.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart is central to the Fatima Message. God determined that the Consecration of Russia and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays be the means of implementing this devotion throughout the world, and gave this task to His Pope and bishops and to individual souls to practice and promote this devotion.
In order to move ever closer to her, and therefore to her Son, Our Lady stressed the importance of praying at least five decades of the Rosary daily. She asked us to wear the Brown Scapular. And we must make sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of doing our daily duty, in reparation for the sins committed against Our Lord and Our Lady. She also stressed the necessity of prayers and sacrifices to save poor sinners from hell. The Message of Fatima, to individual souls, is summarized in these things.
Besides these general points, given in the Fatima Message over 6 months, Our Lady confided a Secret to the three shepherd children on July 13, 1917. This Secret was meant for all Catholics, but was to be given to them later (at the latest, in 1960) since no one was prepared to understand it all in 1917.
In her Third and Fourth Memoirs, which were both written in 1941, Sister Lucy revealed to a wider audience the first two parts of the Secret. The third part of the Secret – or, as it is called, the Third Secret – was written down for the first time between January 2 and January 9, 1944.
The Consecration of Russia:
The Request of Our Lord and Analysis of this Request
On June 13, 1929, while Sister Lucy was at the novitiate of the Dorotheans at Tuy, Spain, Our Lady fulfilled her promise of July 13, 1917: "I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia …" Sister Lucy writes that, as she was praying by herself in the convent chapel at midnight with only the sanctuary lamp lit:
Suddenly, the whole chapel lit up with a supernatural light and on the altar appeared a cross of light which reached the ceiling. In a clearer light, on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man with His body to the waist, on His chest a dove, equally luminous; and nailed to the cross, the body of another man. A little below the waist (of Christ on the cross), suspended in the air, could be seen a Chalice and a large Host, onto which some drops of blood were falling, which flowed from the face of the Crucified One and from the wound in His breast. Running down over the Host, these drops fell into the Chalice.
Under the right arm of the cross was Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart in her hand … (She appeared as Our Lady of Fatima, with her Immaculate Heart in her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames). Under the left arm [of the cross, in large letters, like crystalline water which flowed over the altar, these words were formed: "Grace and Mercy". I understood that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal.
Our Lady then said to Sister Lucy:
The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.
The request for the solemn public Consecration of Russia by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops, expressed through Our Lady to Sister Lucy, is a request made by God Himself. At Tuy Our Lady said to Lucy: "The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make …"
For almost 1,000 years the rejection of God’s most holy will and the rejection of God Himself has been escalating. In 1054 A.D. the Orthodox schism started when they said "yes" to God, "yes" to Christ, "yes" to His Church, but "no" to the Pope – the Vicar of Jesus Christ. They do recognize him as "first among equals", but do not recognize his primacy of jurisdiction over all the Patriarchs, Cardinals, and bishops of the Church.
In 1517 Martin Luther said "yes" to God, "yes" to Christ, "no" to the Catholic Church and "no" to the Pope. He claimed to have fidelity to God and Our Lord, but rejected the Church. Yet, it is impossible to remain faithful to Christ while rejecting His Bride, the Church.
In 1717 Freemasonry said "yes" to God, "no" to Christ, "no" to the Catholic Church and "no" to the Pope. They claimed to acknowledge God (not the true God, but their own conception of God), but no longer wanted Christ and His Church. Again, it is impossible to serve God while rejecting His Son: "I and the Father are one," Our Lord said.
Finally, in 1917 Lenin said "no" to God, Christ, the Catholic Church and the Pope. With communism, we see the culmination of what was begun with the Orthodox schism and the Lutheran heresy: the bold rejection of not only the Catholic Church, but also the rejection of Jesus Christ and even the very notion of an Almighty God. The Consecration of Russia will reverse the upheaval and revolt against God begun by the Orthodox schism of 1054, furthered by Luther’s heresy of sola scriptura, added to by the apostasy of Freemasonry and intensified by Communism.
It is these "No’s" that will be reversed by the consecration of Russia. As Our Lord said, the Church is His bride. You find that in Ephesians. We can’t be for Christ and against His Church as Luther taught. We can’t be for God and against Christ. As Our Lord said to the Pharisees: "If God was your Father, you would accept Me because I am the image of My Father. I and the Father are One. No, your father is the devil." God the Son is the image of the Father. "Philip. Do you not know I and the Father are One? You have seen Me, you have seen the Father." And so in a certain sense, Marx was just fulfilling, by saying "No" to God, the logic that is inherent in "No" to Christ, "No" to His Church and "No" to His Vicar on earth. But all of these things will be reversed by the consecration and the conversion of Russia. Even the "No" of the Orthodox, denying the Papal Primacy in 1054 A.D., will be reversed.
So when we finally do get the Consecration of Russia and world peace we must remember that it did not come through me. It is not through any of you, or all of us together. It is not even through the merits of the Holy Father, but it is the merits of Our Lady.
At the same time God also wants the whole world to see the importance of the unique position of the Holy Father and of the Catholic bishops and in fact of the Catholic Church. And that is why He has insisted that it not only be the Holy Father but the Catholic bishops together with the Holy Father, so that the world sees the direct relationship between Russia being converted and the Pope and the bishops having made this act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The people will do several things. They will say thanks be to God and Our Lady that we have received this grace of world peace. Thanks be to God the Son for becoming man and founding and sustaining His one true Church, the Catholic Church.
They will also say, thanks be to God for clearly indicating the power, the importance of the Catholic Hierarchy and especially the primacy that the Pope has over the bishops of the Church. Because this Consecration will take place by the direct order of the Pope who commands the bishops, the people will then see that the Pope is not an equal among the bishops but that he is their superior. This action of the Consecration will clearly, publicly and definitively manifest to the whole world in a most miraculous way the will of God that the Papacy is founded by God and the Pope not only has the primacy of honor but also primacy of jurisdiction over all other Bishops.
In the last analysis, God has given to the Church and the world this unchangeable plan of His to obtain world peace only by means of the Pope and Catholic bishops’ consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Almighty God has so decreed to demonstrate to the Church and the world not only the necessity and importance of devotion to Our Lady, but also to demonstrate through this consecration of Russia and the consequent world peace, that He has founded only one Church, the Catholic Church and that He has established therein the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and He has given the primacy of authority in the Church to the Pope.3
Since God has been publicly insulted by atheistic Communism, the chief error of Russia of which Our Lady warned in 1917, He asks that public reparation be made for this grave blasphemy through a rededication of the country and the peoples of Russia to God’s service. However, He has ordained that it be done in a certain way.
Speaking of Our Lady, Saint Bernard tells us, "There are many things imperfect in our offerings to God that she will make acceptable to Him." St. Alphonsus Liguori explains that if we want our gift to be received by Almighty God, we should offer it through the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God desires the Consecration of Russia to come through the hands of His Blessed Mother, who will not only make the consecration more pleasing to Him, but Who will draw the world to Her Immaculate Heart through the subsequent peace She will bring to it. Shortly before her death, Blessed Jacinta of Fatima told her cousin Lucy,
It will not be long now before I go to Heaven. You will remain here to make it known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that people are to ask Her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to Her.4
Through the conversion of Russia to the Catholic Faith, the subsequent missionary activity of a converted Russia, and through the moral miracle of Russia’s conversion, the rest of the world will be converted. We cannot have the peace of Christ in the whole world without the conversion of the world to the one true religion that Jesus Christ founded, namely the Catholic Faith. The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, when performed as was specifically requested, will bring schismatic’s, Protestants, Masons, Communists and all peoples into the fold of the one true Church, and under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which will then be loved and honored as Our Lord desires.
Finally, the request at Tuy, for the Consecration of Russia, was especially distinguished by the role the bishops of the Church, and specifically the Holy Father, have been given in God’s plan for peace. The faithful, for their part, had been instructed in prayer and sacrifice in the apparitions at Fatima, and their prayers and sacrifices can help bring about the Consecration. At Tuy, however, the Pope is designated as the one primarily responsible for future peace: "God asks the Holy Father …" The peace of the world, we are told in the Fatima Message, depends upon the Pope and the world’s bishops obeying the request for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It cannot and will not come about through any other means.
On May 5, 1917 the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, publicly begged the Blessed Mother to show him and mankind the way to peace. Like a loving Mother She readily consented, and on May 13 – 8 days later – She came to show the Pope and mankind how to obtain peace for the whole world, but on the condition of the Holy Father’s and the Church’s faithful cooperation with the requests made of them.
(I, the writer of this blog, must add what I did not find clearly explained via Internet: that in the 1980’s Russia was consecrated by St. John Paul II with the Bishops and shortly after, the Iron Curtain fell and communism changed its course forever).