God Works Through the Most High Motherhood of Mary

Jesus Christ elevates His Mother Mary to a most high place in His Life and ours.  For from her flesh and from her motherhood, He came into this world to heal us and to give us the Light of Love.  Also, in a way similar to how He gives us Himself from the Father, He gives us Himself through His Mother, Mary.  And so, in Mary we recognize the pure goodness of Jesus Christ ever so clearly.

"I AM all Love for you Mama."Mother Mary with Child Jesus

“I AM all Love for you Mama.”
Mother Mary with Child Jesus

In drawing close to Mary, we draw close to Jesus the Christ.  In becoming as a child of Mary, we recognize that we have already become adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ in His glorified humanity where Love rules every aspect of our lives.  We find rest in her pure, joyful and grace-filled compassion and mercy.  In her smile, we see the Love and Mercy of God shining through, for she is very near to Him.  He calls us through His Mother to Himself. She says, “I take you as my baby child, for the love of God works through me, and I am all “Yes” to Him who is all Love for you and for me. I love you so very much.”But, the unfathomable Love and Beauty of God is far beyond even that which we are able to see in our Mother Mary.  Oh Loving Lord – you are the ultimate Essence of Beauty.  For you, may our hearts also resonate like Mary’s “Yes!” and be filled with JOY.

Pentecost:  God Reveals His Divine Language

 

Pentecost. God opens their souls and reveals the Divine Language which unites all souls in God.

 When praying the a rosary the other day, meditating on the third Gorious Mystery, I had this insight about how it could be that the people gathered all of the sudden could understand each other in their own languages.  Here is what happened – the scene – during Pentecost:

And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? [Acts 2:4-8, NAB Holy Bible]

What just happened?  God was in their minds, enabling all of them to communicate via a universal language, deep in their minds, and only God knows how.  God is the Technician here.  AND, this is proof that there IS and will BE a universal language in Heaven and by it, we will all know each other’s thoughts as we will to communicate. 

But, why was this necessary at Pentecost, and why was this ability to understand the universal language underneath human languages so temporary?  And what were all of the people gathered there saying to each other and why?  These are mysteries.

When We Die, the Spiritual Life Takes Over

 

As if gazing through a mirror: St. Paul the Apostle

 
 I was trying yesterday to express my experience in Mass when I was praying the Angelus at noon, but my experience with Mother Mary led me in another direction.  What I remember now, the insight which came to me all of a sudden – yet simpler than I will express here – is the message that I needed to relay:  

 When we die, it is as if we fall asleep and then awaken to a new reality – the reality of our everlasting spiritual life which subsists and is hidden within our mortal life.  In our mortal lives, we “see” spiritual things as if looking at objects in a hazy mirror – indirectly, unclear and subject to interruption – just beyond our grasp.  But after we have fallen asleep, we shall awaken to a bright and refreshing change of venue where all things will be clearly manifested as they really are.

As St. Paul instructs:

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. [1st Cor, 13:12, NAB Holy Bible]

So, let us trust in God and His Plan.  

Reality and Reality:  Spiritual and Sensory

i attended the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today at noon.  During the Angelus, directly before Mass began, I imagined Mother Mary sweetly encouraging me.  But then I thought all of a sudden:  “When I die, will the Mother Mary that I see in my mind become my new reality?”  

I could go into a Thomistic analysis here on the operations of the soul versus the operations of the body,  but I will spare us…

When we pray, some may have locutions; others may experience a soundless apparition of sorts…seeming so real that it invokes our emotions.

But is it actually real?  How do we know?  Think about this.  We sense reality through our bodies very well through our sensory organs.    But how do we know when we are really experiencing the spiritual with our souls, when our souls do not carry the familiar sensory organs necessary to “sense” the reality of the spiritual “intellecting” occurring in our soul?

But, I see Mother Mary smiling, and that evokes an emotion in me.  How is this?

Call to Holy Confession

 

Roses in your Heart

 
I was struggling to pray the Rosary this morning.  I just stopped and looked at Mother Mary in my mind, and she looked at me and said to pray to her Son, Jesus instead.  And then that is what I did, even with words which came to me such as, “Jesus, I am sorry that I have offended you” and more prayers of praise and jubilation.

We had a conversation in my heart.  The most important thing He said to me was – and this is for you, too –

“Come before Me with roses in your heart.”

I could smell the fragrance of roses at that time, and I smell the fragrance even now as I write – a spiritual sensing of the odor of sweetness of a rose.

I think this means that we should confess our sins, often even, so that when we speak with Jesus – when we approach Him at the altar, we are pleasant to Him Who gives us His Very Life in His Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  This is a mystery.

But I do know He is present with me, as is Mother Mary.  How this can be is a mystery.

Jesus Returns, and the Holy Spirit Departs?

As I was praying the rosary this morning, the Joyful Mysteries, this came to mind:  Jesus said that if He did not leave, the Spirit would not be sent.  

St. John witnessed Jesus say, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you.” [Gospel of John, 16:7, NAB Holy Bible]

We know that the Spirit guides the Church in all truth in matters pertaining to faith and morals.  He has done so for over two millennia.

But as logic would have it, if Jesus is coming back, is not the Holy Spirit leaving?  Would not Jesus say, “But if I return, I will take Him from you, and I will be your sovereign King and ruler.”

Let us be prepared for the possibility of being adrift without the Holy Spirit for a short time…for a short time.  Let us prepare ourselves with frequent participation in the Sacraments. 

Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb, Jesus.

When praying the Rosary the other day, I was searching for Jesus in my heart in order to confirm my faith.  I began to consider His Presence at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the privilege we have to approach Him in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  And then I prayed, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus,” and it occurred to me, in that instant, the Gift of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament is the gift of a meek, humble, ever-new, ever-living God Who is the well-spring of all life and of all that will ever live.  

He is our Life, and in the Blessed Sacrament, we receive that Life which He has offered, and then we give back that Life in that sacrifice with our own lives since it is His sacrificial Life which we now have in our beings, and His Life urges us on to love Him and others.  We are strengthened in order to give what we have been given, and to live that living which is ever-new and ever-lasting, and when beyond time, ever-happy in the joy of God’s immediate Presence.

Mother Mary’s Thoughts And Presence During the Pentecost

Mary and Apostles as the Holy Spirit descends in tongues of fire

Our Blessed Mother Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and became Theotokos, the Mother of God.  When, after the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,  Mary was there with the Apostles.  

What might she have been thinking?  She must have been 48 years old at the time, when most women are approaching or are already in menopause.  I can imagine…I did imagine when praying the Glorious Mysteries…her excitement at the thought that upon the overshadowing again of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that she might conceive once again for God.  Remember the words of Sarah, wife of Abraham after hearing of her future motherhood:

“And she laughed secretly saying: ‘After I am grown old, and my lord is an old man, shall I give myself to pleasure?'”  [Genesis 18:12, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

In contrast, what was Mother Mary thinking?  Perhaps she thought as she did upon visiting Spirit-filled Elizabeth:

“And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”  [Gospel of Luke, 1:47, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

Mother Mary is one with the Holy Spirit

 As the spouse of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost must have been a wonderful event for Mother Mary, an event which, perhaps, sealed her future as the spiritual mother of all of God’s children.  Afterall, she did become the future mother of 3,000 on the first day alone.

“They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about 3,000 souls.”  [Acts of the Apostles, 2:41, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

As it was at Pentecost, is how it is today at each celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: at Baptism to give birth to us, at Confirmation to fortify us, and at Eucharist to nurture us for eternal Life.  She is there with the Holy Spirit.  How is this possible?  How can this be?  This is a mystery, but we know that…

“…Mary said: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord'” [Gospel of Luke, 1:46, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible]

Indeed, Mother Mary is one with the Lord, Who is the source of all life.  She and the Holy Spirit are the perfect union, for she magnifies the Lord as co-Source of our new Life in Christ.  This is not a priestly function; it is above the priestly function.  She is co-Advocate and co-Redeemer.  She magnifies our Savior.

A Conversation in Purgatory

Souls receiving relief in Purgatory.

Souls receiving relief in Purgatory.

The Lord, Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 12:32:

And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

The above words leave open the possibility that sins are forgiven, not only in this world, but also in the world to come.  St. Gregory the Great [ b. 540 AD, d. 604 AD] comments as follows: “In this sentence it is given to understand that many sins can be remitted in this world, but also many in the world to come” [Dial. IV 39][cf,  Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma].  There are other Scriptural proofs for Purgatory, but I will not cover them here.

So, let us imagine a conversation in Purgatory, between one sinner who sinned against the other sinner, a state of existence where those with sin on their souls go to be purified.  Just what might be part of this process?

Wounder:  Now that I am so much nearer to God, I see and understand what I have done to you, and to others.  I am very sorry that I hurt you.  Can you ever forgive me?

Wounded:  May I show you my wounds?  Do you realize what I did to others because you first wounded me?  Look.  Look!  LOOK!!!

Observer:  he shows the wounds which are deep in his soul…a wound first inflicted by the other but which festered and went deeper as the wounded, in turn, repeated the sin on others without seeking healing through repentance, confession, and the balm of forgiveness.

Wounder:  Oh!  I see!  Oh my!  I am terribly sorry.  What can I do?  Will you please forgive me?  Even I am wounded by my own guilt which is ever more intense because I now see myself in the Light of God’s truth, holiness and utter purity.  Though my sin was only venial [not mortal, not breaking one of the 10 Commandments outright with intent], it is wholly incompatible with God in whose Light, we see our own standard for perfect holiness.  I am not fit to enter now.  I need your forgiveness…your love.  Help me!  I am so very sorry!  PLEASE forgive me.  Please!  I am so unfit for what I have done.  How can I ever pay you back for what I have done?!

Wounded:  I believe you, that you have repented and need my forgiveness.  In God’s Light, He gives me the ability to see the truth of your words.  You are really sorry.  I do forgive you.

Observer:  Immediately, upon receiving true forgiveness for his venial sin, the Wounder visibly showed signs of relief and healing.  His soul became brighter as God found more space to fill him with Love, and the Wounder found the strength to smile.  He could see the Light of God in the distance even better now but the brightness did not hurt his eyes so much now.  He became giddy and his anxiety began to lift.  He wanted nothing more now than to help the Wounded to heal, for the Wounded had also sinned against others…

Wounder:  Thank you!  I love you so much!  What can I do to help you to heal?

Wounded:  even now I am healing because the moment I forgave you, I felt lighter and stronger and my wounds began to close and feel better.  I immediately felt a desire to go to those that I hurt and to apologize for the harm I had done to them.  Can you help me to find them and receive their forgiveness?

Wounder:  Oh, yes!  I will.  I will help you bear the burden since, I, too am culpable for the sin which you committed because I first sinned against you.  We will find all of the wounded together, and after we have done justice, we shall finally see God and love Him and thank Him for His great Mercy and total forgiveness of us.  We are so very loved…so very loved.

Wounded:  There are 10 such souls from whom I must receive forgiveness: 5 are here with us in Purgatory, 4 are still living their lives on earth, and the other, poor soul, is…where is he?  I am having a hard time remembering him?  Wait a minute, I think there were only 9.  Why did I think there were 10?

Observer:  Now, rapidly becoming unbeknownst to both the Wounder and the Wounded, there was a 10th person, but that person refused the Mercy and help of the Holy Spirit, and totally rejecting God upon the final call, chose Hell.  Upon his entry into the state of Hell, all memory began to cease of the 10th person, except for this final link…which, having been acknowledged in true contrition,  had already begun to dissipate rapidly.  You see, when souls choose Hell by rejecting God, they reject the Creator of Justice and the gift of Justice itself.  Therefore all memory of sins  against these who consign themselves to Hell…that memory dissipates since it is no longer required for the sake of Justice.

Wounder:  No, I think there are only 9 now.  Let us run quickly to the 5 here with us and seek their forgiveness!  And, let us ask permission to do good works for those who are still alive on earth.

Wounded:  Yes!  Let us go now.  God is waiting to help us!

SPECULATION ON THE RESURRECTED BODY

  How is it possible for the Resurrected Lord to walk through walls (presumably with clothing on) and to ascend into Heaven and to look different to different people, and to eat and carry wounds in a body which is renewed and transformed?  

Perhaps it is helpful to speculate that:

a) our resurrected bodies may carry memory in soul and body, and those memories may be recalled and presented in special ways, such as wounds (especially those wounds which left scars deep in the soul) and even the clothing we once wore, the presentation which we can fully control and;

b) we are not sure whether an un-resurrected person can really “sense” a resurrected person as they really are, since, as is stated in Scripture [ 1 John 3:2], we will see the Lord as He really is when we, ourselves, are transformed and glorified (presuming that the glorified state of a human body is of a supernatural human nature, and not a normal human nature).


I Will Know You in Your Wounds

image“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

~ The Lord, Jesus Christ to St. Thomas the Apostle, gospel of John, 20:27 NAB

Do you know someone close to you who has deep scars of some type, whether physical or emotional or both, and the circumstances surrounding those scars?  If you know the scars and the circumstances, do you not have a more intimate bond with them than someone else who is acquainted yet hasn’t this knowledge?  You do, and this knowledge draws you closer to them if you have the capacity for compassion and love, and if this compassion and love can flow freely from you to them.  But, these things can become thwarted or blocked by some obstacle – some vice or wrong or injustice, whether actual or perceived, which has been done between you two, where distrust is allowed to grow and fester.   True?

Isn’t this what happens between us and God when we commit sin or become self-absorbed, e.g., through anger, in some way?  By our sins or bad actions, we lose the ability to be tender and we become hardened.  We forget Who our Friend Is, and we inadvertently begin blocking the flow of life-giving love and mercy into our own souls such that we are unable and, eventually, unwilling to allow the love and compassion to continue flowing into and then out from us to others in need.

Is this not what happened to St. Thomas the Apostle?  Yet, when he returned to investigate and touch the Very Wounds of Christ, his spiritual eyes were opened and he knew with faith…the obstacles were removed and he was once again able to believe and hope and love…

“Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!'”

~ Gospel of John, 20:28 NAB

Was this not a miraculous healing of Thomas’ soul which had become hardened?

Ponder the Wounds of Christ during Lent.  Touch His Wounds in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  There is constant, salvific healing there.

God Makes Himself Small for Us

God makes us small relative to the universe, and then He makes Himself small, too, for us.

He makes Himself small in His infant birth to Mary.

He makes Himself poor in order to commune with the poor.

He is greater than the universe, yet He desires to be smaller than or as small as those persons to which He gives existence.  Why?

Who He Is absolutely demands that He conform to being small since Love draws the Lover to the Beloved that the two may experience communion on a common level, but a level which is even more intimate and deeper than even the cutest smallness.  This descent into intimacy must be infinite and fulfilling at every level of intimacy, and it is a constant descent…a constant “falling in Love.”

Making Eucharist

Pure, Precious, Holy Spiritual Food for Eternal Life

Pure, Precious, Holy Spiritual Food for Eternal Life

When I was praying the Rosary on Monday, I had a wonderful inspiration when thinking about the wonder and beauty of the Annunciation and the Sacrament of Eucharist.

I imagined Divine Wisdom of God, which is flawless, informing the pristine Virtue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and presenting Spiritual Food for our souls.

Precious.

If our souls were not so hardened and encrusted with the tar of sin, we would more easily absorb the precious, living essence of the Eucharist, would we not?

Many do not think they have sin, and so they receive but do not seem to benefit ( noticeably or notably ) from receiving the Holy Eucharist, true?

Does the Creed Mention Eucharist? Why or Why Not

The Nicene Creed is the symbol of our faith as Christians.  As a faithful universal (Catholic) CHRISTIAN however, I am concerned about where the source and summit of our faith [Catechism, 1324-1327], the Lord in the Eucharist, is in the Creed?  Where does it state “I believe that Jesus Christ is present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist”?  It does not.

Why not?

Or does it?

The Creed states:

“…For us men and our salvation, He came down from Heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man….

…I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life…”

Both statements imply, but do not state our belief in the source and summit of our faith.

Why is such an important element of our faith not clearly called out in the Creed?  Does anyone want to guess?

Well, here’s the answer:  if you don’t believe what you already cite in the Creed, you are not going to believe in the Lord’s presence anyway.  Go and pray on it.

 

Jesus said, “Know Me”

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today, after receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I heard “Know Me,” and then I saw the Wound in His hand open.  Light shown through, and it looked warm and incandescent.  When I looked more at the Wound, the Light seemed to come from an infinite depth, and the Wound seemed to broaden.  In Jesus, can you imagine the mystery of infinity inside of a seemingly finite body?  It was infinite Peace in Him.  “Know Me!”  It was infinite Compassion.  He loves us.  He is Love.

Suffer to Live!

Jesus Christ King of Joyful SufferingIn suffering to live, we love ourselves, and therefore, imitate Christ who suffered that we might live eternally with Him in Heaven.  Amen.

The LORD said, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” [Gospel of Luke 14:27, NAB]

When we accept our bodily sufferings with faith and hope in the redemptive fidelity and promises of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we offer ourselves as a sacrificial offering with that of Jesus Christ. In our struggle to live because we love our very selves, we suffer and we join our own sufferings to that of Jesus Christ crucified. In doing so, we become very good friends with Jesus Christ, becoming like Him, like spouses do over a long, loving marriage. In suffering to live, we join our selves to Jesus Who suffered that we might live forever!

Suffering is temporary; reconciliation, healing and happiness in God are eternal.

Call for New Sacrament of Reconciliation: For Marriage

Holy Matrimony in the Presence of the LORD Jesus Christ Who bestows His Grace on their union.

Holy Matrimony in the Presence of the LORD Jesus Christ Who bestows His Grace on their union.

I propose a new form be added to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but for the help of marriages.

There is the Sacrament of Matrimony in which the husband and wife make a covenant to give themselves to each other for their earthly life and in which Grace is given to help the spouses live out their marriage in accordance with God’s plan.

However, there is absolutely no documented sacramental form or means directly available for the reconciliation and strengthening of that matrimonial bond when it has come under attack leading to the loss of Grace and making possible the deconstruction of a marriage which was meant to prosper and bear earthly fruit for the Kingdom of God.

The Baptized go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for their reconciliation with God and for the healing of their individual souls, but marriages are relegated to the general help of the wisdom and support of other couples (sinners who are not ordained ministers) in the parish community.

CHURCH: WAITING UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE TO HELP THE COUPLE?

Why aren’t waning marriages handled through a Sacrament of Reconciliation for Marriages?

Why does the Church, in some cases, ill-prepare couples and then wait until the “shipwreck” of the marriage, stepping in late in a reactionary way (instead of proactive way) with programs like Retrouvaille and the long and painful process of deconstructing what was thought to be an irrevocable marriage bond through the canonical Annulment process?!  Far too much damage has been done by this time.

Where is the proactive help which works with young, married couples as they build and strengthen their commitments together – throughout their marriages?  Where do couples go to refresh their matrimonial bonds?

LET THE LORD GIVE THE CHURCH A NEW HELP:  SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION AND REJUVENATION OF MARRIAGE

I propose a draft outline for the new Matter/Form the married couple, to be added within the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Rejuvenation of Marriage.  I do not propose a new Sacrament, but a new form for the healing and strengthening of marriages:

Matter

  1. Sins against the gift of marital unity
  2. Sins against the gift of marital fidelity
  3. Sins against the gift of marital fertility

Form

  1. Act of Contrition unique to the Marriage Covenant and what it means for eternal salvation.
  2. Absolution for sins committed.
  3. Mutual recommitment of the couple to their original marriage covenant, witnessed by a priest.
  4. Blessing of the restatement of the marriage covenant.

Means

  1. Grace which strengthens the desire for the gift and attainment of deeper marital unity in which the two indeed become one in Christ.
  2. Grace which heals damage to the gift of the irrevocable marital / conjugal bond.
  3. Grace which strengthens the prudent and temperate desire for the gift of marital fertility.

Credit for picture:  Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals, http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/

Christ Crying in Me

"Please listen to me.  Turn to me that I may give you everlasting life in my heavenly kingdom."

“Please listen to me. Turn to me that I may give you everlasting life in my heavenly kingdom.”

The other day, I considered how God is present amongst us and in us and how so many do not acknowledge Him and do not listen to Him and do not respond to Him.  And, if we dwell on this reality, and keeping in mind the deeply-intense love which the Lord, Jesus Christ has for each and every one of us, and how He knows what will happen to those who, in their free will, do not acknowledge, listen and respond, then we can be that conduit through which He cries when He is in our hearts.

Many might say, “God has no emotion.”  But we all believe and know that the Lord is True God and True Man.  In his glorified humanity, He has emotion.  He can cry in us.  If you let Him cry in you, then you will also let Him laugh and smile in you.  This is true intimacy.

 Remember his love for the children of Jerusalem:  “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.'”

~ Gospel of Luke, 19:41-42, New American Bible

“Müller: More Women to Join the International Theological Commission.”

Cardinal Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Cardinal Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

There is an evil thread in society whereby some are misled into thinking that the Catholic Church hates women.    Of course, anyone who knows the Church and Her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ knows that the Catholic Church loves women, seeing in women all of the unique beauty that all women have.  Here is an interesting article which came out today which shows Pope Francis’s great affinity for women and their unique role in the Church:

By ANDREA TORNIELLI,  Vatican Insider, Vatican City, 1 September 2014

The Vatican newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano’s” monthly women’s insert interviews the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “We are not misogynists!” he says, revealing that the number of women in the Congregation will go from two to five or six, at the Pope’s request.

See the full article here:  http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/mueller-36063/

Given a Glimpse of the Face of a Child in Heaven

God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face.  She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.

God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face. She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.

In my waking thoughts in the morning, I tend to express gratitude to the Lord for all of His help.  Sometimes I don’t feel like expressing gratitude – when my body is complaining about waking up.  But there are times when my body cooperates quite well with my spirit, and gratitude flows more easily.  This morning, I was also thinking about my dear Great Aunt Bertha who died some years ago but with whom I was very close – she was my God-mother.  In the thinking of her, I was given a spontaneous glimpse of a little girl’s face in a calm and shaded place – a toddler who had a sweet baby face and her hair was all “done up” as if she had been to the hair dresser, just like my Aunt Bertha would do.  I could imagine that this was my Great Aunt Bertha, because she certainly lived the life of a saint, and she had her hair dressed as if this was a clue to me about her identity.  I believe she is there with God and that God wants me to know this.

WHAT IS GOING ON? THE US CHURCH APPEARS TO HAVE FRACTURED FROM WITHIN

The Catholic Church in the USA has divided itself into 3 social classes.

The Catholic Church in the USA has divided itself into 3 social classes.

From my single parish perspective, the Catholic Church in the USA appears to have divided itself into three social classes, all of which are opposed to each other:  1) The Traditional Latin Rite Mass party (ultra-conservative and outwardly pious); 2) The Mainstream Novus Ordo Mass party (moderate, obedient and humble); 3) The Folk Novus Ordo Mass party (casual, believe what you want, it’s about me).

Specifically, I have noticed, in a single United States parish, that there are at least these three different cultures which are identified by the clothing people wear and the music they use.  I have also noticed, between the Extraordinary form and Novus Ordo form of the Mass,  a break in the integrity of the roles of the ministerial priesthood (of the ordained Priest alone) and common priesthood of the baptized Faithful in worship:

1) Traditional Latin Mass goers: Standard for men is coat and tie; ladies wear long dresses and white or black veils; children are similarly dressed. The well-dressed, by their attire and implied stance, bring judgment on everyone else who do not comply with this standard. Also, there is a break in the integrity of the Vatican II “participatio actuosa” mandate in that the people are not allowed to vocally pray, for example, the Our Father. If a person does, the person is violating the sacred right of the priest alone. Also, if you do not kneel at the altar rail and receive Holy Communion on the tongue, you don’t (at least, it will greatly offend if you don’t follow the TLM rule). The faithful are barred, by the communion rail, from entering the Sanctuary.

2) Mainstream Novus Ordo Mass: Clothing standard is modest, business casual attire; only lectors and EMs are required to wear semi-formal attire; music is based on the organ. Again, those wearing semi-formal attire in the pews bring judgment on those who do not, or they set themselves apart. Here, the Faithful are expected to actively engage in some of the prayers or chants which, in the Traditional Latin Rite, they must not. If one does not pray the Our Father vocally, for example, the person is not participating as a member of the “common priesthood of the Faithful.” The faithful are instructed NOT to kneel at the altar (as the norm) and they should receive Holy Communion on the tongue, while standing, but are instructed that they may receive on the hand as well. The Faithful are invited into the Sanctuary. “All are welcome”

3) Contemporary Novus Ordo Mass: Most wear casual attire (or even a lower standard like shorts and flip flops or tee shirts); the music is usually folk guitar and fairly bland (in my opinion). This Mass, while following the Novus Ordo, looks and feels like an Evangelical gathering. There is no judgment going on here. “Everyone is equal” is sort of the mindset.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?  WHO ARE WE?  WHAT ARE WE DOING?  WHAT ARE OUR VALUES?  WHAT IS OUR RELIGIOUS CULTURE?!  I am saddened by the class system which we seem to have allowed to grow unchecked and also by what seems to be a loss of integrity and movement away from the direction which the Holy Spirit set for us during Vatican II ecumenical council.  What are we doing?

Do You Reject the Novus Ordo Missae? Really? Warning follows…

The Great Pope, the Saint, celebrates the Novus Ordo Missae, not in his own language, but in that language which the Lay Faithful understand.  He is the Good Steward.

The Great Pope, the Saint, celebrates the Novus Ordo Missae, not in his own language, but in that language which the Lay Faithful understand. He is the Good Steward of God’s Gift of Mercy.

Forty years I endured that generation.  I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.”  So I swore in my anger, “They shall not enter into my rest.”  [Psalm 95:10-11, NAB]

It is not the Novus Ordo Missae that is the problem. But, it is the rebellious, contentious, vain, selfish, self-righteous or proud mind of some that is the problem. When God opens the liturgy that it can be understood well by all, including the “common priesthood” of the faithful, but then both priest and lay reject it, then their gift may soon be removed, not externally, but internally from their souls so that these may not be fulfilled in the Novus Ordo Missae. And such it has been; and such it will be unless these have a change of heart. God is not a fool. One should not reject His Mercy. And the Stewards must not abuse or set aside His Gift!

Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert.  There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works. Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: “This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.” Therefore I swore in my anger: “They shall never enter my rest.”

~ Psalm 95:7-11, New American Bible

When Your Inner Voice Says: “Marry me.”

Church Adorned as a Bride

The Church as the Lord Sees Her Soul, When She Prays in Truth

When you are praying in truth – with true affection in your heart for the Lord – and you hear “Marry me,”  what do you say?  How do you respond?  What happens in your mind and soul?

In my soul, in the hearing of the words, it is like water entering a parched leaf, softening and rejuvenating my soul.  But I question it:

“Who?  Me?  Of course!  What?  Marry You?  How?  How can this be?  When?  Yes.  I believe what is impossible for me to understand from a human perspective.  I will, but…”

And then I yearn to hear the words again, and often, subtly I do, but only when my prayer is in truth, and when my prayer is in truth, it is because I am already being acted upon by a soothing Presence in my soul, that Presence, the Holy Spirit in whom my soul rejoices.

We ask ourselves, “What will life be like after I die on earth?  Where am I going?  What will I do?”

We don’t know all of the details, but we do know how much our Creator loves us and desires us:

For your husband is your Maker;
the LORD of hosts is his name,
Your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.

The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
A wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.

For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.

In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.

~ Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 54:5-8, New American Bible

And St. John the Baptist confirms the intent of God for His people:

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.

~ Gospel of John 3:29, RSV Holy Bible

And the Lord, Jesus Christ Himself confirms the intent of God for His people in the Kingdom when He teaches:

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom…

~ Gospel of Matthew, 25:1, RSV Holy Bible

But this is not a human marriage where new human life is procreated from the carnal union of two.  I believe that this is a marriage consummated in the spiritual soul, wherein God works most effectively, a deification of sorts from which new, spiritual Light emerges, new in the sense that it is intimately mingled with our spiritual soul.  It is joyful.  It is beautiful.

Purpose of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council – Unity in the Lord

It can be stated, as I was inspired to write today after opening up the Gospel of Matthew,  that a purpose of Vatican II is as follows:

To prepare the Church for reunification of all of the Baptized in Christ.

Praying for Christian Unity

Praying for Christian Unity [picture from Institute of Middle East Studies]

What Vatican II has done can be summed up here in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself:

 “And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.  Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” [Gospel of Matthew 9:17 – 18, RSVCE Holy Bible]

With Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Novus Ordo Missae comes the “fresh wineskins” which allow for the Protestant brethren, the “new wine” to return to the Church.  As well, the rewrite of Canon Law in certain areas (more “fresh wineskins”) may pave the way for the return of our Eastern Orthodox brethren (more “new wine”) to the Church in full communion with the Roman Pontiff.

I look forward to the great “day” to come; it is coming soon.

Praying with Saint Paul

Francis Philip:

Let us pray with the Daughters to St. Paul…who willingly boasts of his weaknesses for the glory of God.

Originally posted on Windows to the Soul Blog:

The sisters are posting up a lovely Novena to Saint Paul, which started several days ago. You can join in now, or start from the beginning today and continue on after Saturday!

You can follow the entire novena here (click on subscribe so you receive the daily notifications), and you can also post your prayer intentions so that we can pray for you as we continue the novena!

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DREAM: LESSON TO STOP TRYING TO STEER THE HOLY SPIRIT

I dreamed last night that I was flying a kite, a kite which also was hoisting me along in the air from place to place.

The kite is changing into a dove!

The kite is changing into a dove!

I was trying to steer the kite when I noticed that it was not a kite at all.  It was a beautiful white dove!

The Dove of the Holy Spirit

The Dove of the Holy Spirit

Was I steering it or was it steering me around power lines and trees?  As we went along, it got lower and lower to the ground and the wind seemed to slow.  Eventually the dove rested on the ground and immediately became a beautiful young human being with golden hair with a white robe and reclining on the ground and smiling at me. And that was my dream.

Upon reflection this morning, I thought of the Holy Spirit.  While I know that the Holy Spirit is literally scripturally masculine, I could not tell whether the Person was male or female except that I can easily associate fairness and beauty with feminine traits.  I suppose that when we see God, the glorified Jesus face to face, we might see both masculine and feminine traits since the Body of Christ consists of all of the Faithful, both male and female, and we all find our wholeness in Jesus Christ.

The dream is important and relevant to my recent tribulations in determining my vocation in life.  Am I following God’s Will or am I subverting His Will through my own efforts to control the direction I am going?  But, truly, I feel directionless now – without passion for anything in particular other than stabilizing my life so that I can spend more time with God, e.g., going to daily Mass, and so on. But I am like a person on the wind which blows where it wills, and I do not know the direction in which it goes, and am I comfortable with such a disposition? 

It is like the Lord’s teaching:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.   That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’   The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” [Gospel of John 3:5-8, RSVCE]

“…so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit”

That last phrase caught my attention.  I am born of the Spirit in Baptism and my direction in life needs to be aligned with that of the Spirit whose direction it is not mine to grasp by my own will.  I need less me and more Him in my soul.  If I can just hang on in trust and let the Spirit carry me instead of me trying to steer the Spirit, all will be okay, will it not?

Let us listen to a great saint Doctor of the Church on this subject:

“Therefore must the soul be stripped of all things created, and of its own actions and abilities — namely, of its understanding, perception and feelings — so, that when all that is unlike God and unconformed to him is cast out, the soul may receive the likeness of God; and nothing will then remain in it that is not the will of God and it will thus be transformed in God.  Wherefore, although it is true that, as we have said, God is ever in the soul, giving it, its natural being, yet he does not always communicate supernatural being to it.  For this is communicated only by love and grace, which not all souls possess; and all those that possess it have it not in the same degree; for some have attained more degrees of love and others fewer .  Wherefore God communicates himself most to that soul who has progressed farthest in love; namely, that has its will in closest conformity with the will of God.  And the soul that has attained complete conformity and likeness of will is totally united and transformed in God supernaturally.”  [St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, book 2, chapter 5, from the Navarre Bible Commentaries on John 3:3-8]

St. John of the Cross in contemplation of God.

St. John of the Cross in contemplation of God.

And so I need to humble myself – stop trying to steer God and let God steer me instead.  This requires me to open my heart and say “yes” more to the missions He sends my way, right?  And what are the missions?  You see?  I doubt because I am not sure what are the missions. Lord, open my heart and my mind to be receptive to your love and grace whenever and wherever you will that I may do your will and be joined to You and You to me in that close bond which is meant to be like a marriage according to your own design.  Help me to hear your voice and to follow You wherever you lead me.  Amen.