Category Archives: Catholic

In Dreams, I See People – Lila May Rose

In a waking dream this morning, it is as if I met someone in my mind. She was a pretty woman, apparently African American, and I think that she was sitting down and looking at me from about 4 feet away. It was dim (the sun had not risen), but there was light on her face, and she was clothed in a thick, probably brown wool-like garment. I asked her who she is. She said, “Lila May. I am beautiful” and she smiled. She added to her name “Rose.” “Lila May Rose.” Maybe she once was not beautiful. God is good.

It has been common for me to have waking dreams similar to this every several months or so, but I usually see children. For example, several years ago, I was at a friend’s house up on a mountain top in the Appalachian Mountain chain, and I saw a little Native American girl in my waking dream. She was outdoors in the daylight but close up, and she was smiling at me, and she giggled. She was very happy.

img_2094Who did I see? What did I see? Did the little girl once live on that mountain top? Is Lila Rose associated with someone I know? Why do I see these beautiful souls?

I love seeing them in my dreams, for they remind me of peace and happiness, and they give me hope. They also remind me of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus [Luke 16:19-31], but in a very positive light.

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Why Jesus Waited 30 Years to Start His Ministry

While I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary yesterday, I began meditating on the divinity of God in such a humble, helpless, undeveloped form of a tiny infant in the arms of His barely 15-year old Mother Mary. Why does He come as an infant and then wait 30 years before starting His ministry?

It seemed that He, as a 12-year old boy was going to start His ministry when He was lost for 3 days and then showed up in the Temple – “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” [Luke 2:49]. But, no; that seemed to be a test for whether His parents could handle it. They were clearly not ready at that time, for “When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.'” [Luke 2:48].

So, why wait until age 30? Understanding and loving His Mother dearly, He was waiting for His Mama to be ready. She had to tell Him when to begin, and she did, at the Cana wedding:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” [John 2:1-5]

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Mary prompts Jesus: “They have no wine.”

Mother Mary was there, and it was then that she signaled her readiness for His ministry by almost literally directing Him to perform a miracle – immediately. Mother Mary did so boldly and without hesitation. She knew who He is, what He must do, and why He was waiting. And so, with her approval, He knew that the time had come.

My sweet, tender Mama is ready. Let the Redemption begin — Jesus

Scriptural Authority of Mary, Mother of Jesus

When praying the Mysteries of Light (aka, Luminous Mysteries) last week on my Rosary walk, I had this “eureka” event where a truth suddenly became as a light in my mind.  I love it when these inspirations happen. It’s no wonder that it would happen while praying the Mysteries of Light!

Luminous-MysteriesThe Mysteries of Light include meditations on five historical and mysterious revelations found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These are:

  1. Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River;
  2. Christ’s self-manifestation at the wedding feast of Cana;
  3. Christ’s call to conversion via his proclamation of the kingdom of God;
  4. Christ’s Transfiguration; and
  5. Christ’s institution of the Eucharist as sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

Now, when I was praying, I realized a strong connection between the words of Mother Mary at the wedding feast of Cana (Mystery 2.) and the words of God the Father at the Transfiguration (Mystery 4.)  At the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus performs the miracle of turning water into 180 gallons of good wine – at his Mother Mary’s prompting, Mary tells the wait staff, “Do whatever he tells you.”  [John 2:5]  She states this with an authority which is understated here, yet fully effective.

the-transfiguration-of-jesus

Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

Likewise, at the Transfiguration, an epiphany where the divinity of Jesus is made evident to the Apostles Peter, James and John, God the Father tells the apostles,  “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” [Matthew 17:5]  Of course, God the Father is gently speaking with authority here.

So, we see here a type of shared authority and will which Mother Mary has with God the Father in regard to their Son, Jesus Christ.  With authority and will, they both direct all to follow the commands and counsels of Jesus Christ.  Do you see?

Yet many, especially in Protestant Christian circles, and even believing in Sola Scriptura, tend to down play Mary’s role in the kingdom of God.  Some say that the Holy Spirit purposefully kept her quiet.  Okay.  But, God the Father does not speak much either.  Yet both command authority over our Lord, Jesus Christ, and both  – knowing who Christ is and the power and mission he has – knowledgeably direct our attention to Jesus Christ, and this is certainly scriptural.

It is no wonder that, in her great wisdom and understanding and in light of anti-Catholic resistance, that the Church also formally proclaimed the Queenship of Mary in the encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam.  Even Sacred Scripture refers to Mother Mary as a queen:

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. [Revelation, 12:1].

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mother Mary’s Coronation, Queen of Heaven

Is Little Samantha an Angel?

Yesterday, in the early morning before getting up for work, I had a waking dream – a vision of sorts.  It was very simple.  It was as if someone had immediately and abruptly planted an image directly into my mind of a little girl – probably no older than kindergarten age.  I had no thoughts in my mind before that – it was like, “Woah!  Oh, hello!”  She was grinning at me with her dark blue-green eyes.  She had a fair complexion with blonde hair, was wearing a simple dress of multiple, conservative colors, and she had a slender gold band around her forehead.  She said nothing, but only sat and gazed at me.  The vision was brief – maybe 5 seconds.

I asked myself, “Who was that little girl?  Why did I see her all of a sudden and now?”

My first thought for a name was “Amanda.”  But, then I thought, “Well, isn’t that the name of the song from the group, Boston that I listened to the other day?” and I left it at that.  Later in the day, after noon-time Mass, I knew that her name must have been “Samantha.”  But who is she?  Why was I gifted with her presence in my mind?  My wife believes that it might have been a little saint from heaven, but I don’t know of a saint who was as young as this little girl appeared to be.

St Therese Liseux - Little Flower

Little St. Therese Liseux – The Little Flower

This is not the first time I have had a vision like this one.  Over the past 13 years since being received into the Church, I have seen visions, like this, of a handful of children – mostly static visions.  Their faces persist somewhat in my memory after having the vision.  There is one of whom I think about fairly often – I think of him when I think of my guardian angel; but I do not know for certain that there is a relationship there.  He is “Jeremy” to me.  I think of him as my son, though I and my wife have not had any children except for one child who was miscarried very early and who my wife says she has seen in a vision.

“My Mother”

In a waking dream this morning, after I had been awake and praying Morning Prayer at 3 AM (which I never do, but was moved to do so this morning), I heard the words, “My mother.” At those words, I saw a cameo of of a delightful, timid, humble and sweet face of a lady, wearing a white robe, who must be our Mother Mary – the Mother of Jesus. This was a great comfort for me (for several important reasons), and I bring this to you to be a great comfort to you as well.

The picture I have posted does not do her justice, but it is close. To see such a face and gesture, the virtue and good intentions which it proposes, is a great gift of kindness, and I thank the Lord for his great mercy.

A tribute to Jesus the Lord:

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

A Warning to Catholic Bloggers and Authors

Fewer words and a bridled tongue,
Peace it will bring to the wiser son.
Our opinions are our own, sometimes overblown;
They get us into trouble when bad seed is sown.

With the end of Scripture, Divine Revelation ceased.
It became, with Tradition, our Faith Deposit’s increase.
What better content to teach and opine gray areas within reason?
To teach obediently both in and out of good season?

Why must we insert ourselves into this mix;
With our own silly blog full of self-serving tricks?
Oh, yes, I say! This is what we do!
It is not enough, but we must sell our books, too!

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On Judgment Day, the Just Judge will say:

“Fewer words and a bridled tongue,
Peace it brought to the wiser son.
But you, my child, to Me you did not listen.
So now stand to the left and to the goats give listen.”

Amen.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.

For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. [Letter of St. James, 3:5-10]

 

At Mass – His Sacred Heart Exposed for All

Two weeks ago at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we were well into the Liturgy of the Eucharist and, after we welcomed the Most High Lord in the Sanctus and just before the Words of Consecration, I imagined the Glorified Lord, Jesus Christ standing below me dressed in light-colored liturgical attire with his bright, glowing Heart exposed.

When the priest uttered the Words of Consecration, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it,” Jesus touched His Sacred Heart and rays of light immediately poured forth from It – His very Light, Life and Love rushing forth to feed us.  This was a great gift.  It helped me to understand how He operates and why, when He was Resurrected, His Wounds remained.

I have waited a long time to post this because I was trying to find a picture which appropriately captured how He looked – the light clothing especially.  As of this morning, I have that picture below.  This likeness is it (very close), and I had never seen it before today, except in my imagining of Him during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Now, there was also a complication which I could not figure out.  When I saw the Lord in my mind, I was above Him and to His right, and looking down at him over His shoulder.  So, look at the little Cherub in the upper left of the picture.  That could be how I was viewing Him – through the “eyes” of a Cherub there witnessing Him.  This would be fitting since Angels are the special communication interface between the human and the divine.

Teaching:  When we go to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, we should meditate on Who we are receiving and His Gifts to us in that receiving. At the Words of Consecration, see His Sacred Heart opening and the bright, penetrating rays of His Divine Power emanating therefrom. Think of His meekness, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness, compassion, healing, hope. Think, “Fiat” and receive Him.

May God bless you in this reading, now and forever.  Amen.

A Blessing on My Niece and a New Springtime is Coming

Pierre van Dijk - Little girl with rosesOne of my grand nieces, I’ll call her “Trinity”, turned 14 the other day.  I have only seen photos of her.  But, whenever I see those photos, I always see an aura of peace about her and a pleasant grin – never a big smile.  She reminds me of the still, sky-reflecting water on a pristine lake.

I am touched by all of my nieces and nephews in some way (I have very few nephews compared to nieces – one former autism afflicted nephew stands out…a high quality young man, talented, and a natural leader now).  There are three of my nieces who seem to have been given much, much grace in their lives.  I have one grand niece whose father was a deadbeat, and now she is joined with her mother’s new family as the oldest of 2 more sisters and a new brother – an A student, she is qualifying to be a Rhodes Scholar and wants to be a pediatrician.

I have another niece who is the middle child of her family – the quiet one – but oh so richly blessed with a full measure of talents within the arts and sciences; she was the top in her state in French and is extremely intelligent in mathematics, a great singer, and now involved in acting and producing plays in college – an A student.  I keep reminding her that she has all of the talents to be a good mother, too.

And, finally, I have this grand niece, Trinity who is like calm, humble, meek peace.  TCrown of Flowersoday, I offered my Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for her to be abundantly blessed.  Antique Religious Cincture for AlbAnd the Lord blessed her and showed her to me in a beautiful white lacey gown, a flowery crown, and a golden cincture around her waist, and she was joyful – even giggling.  But, I have never met her.  She is peace and hope.

Fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts – pray for your families to be healed and renewed in the Lord.  The Lord is renewing the face the earth.  Though the weeds have crowded the fields, Humanity is beginning to sprout new, pure, natural flowers…a new Springtime is coming, I can sense it.  Pray that the new Flowers overcome the weeds and set the fields afire with grace-infused virtue and a pleasing perfume rising up to the Lord.  Pray, pray, pray!

Flowers in Summertime

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” [Revelation, 21:5]

The Meek and Humble Can Do God’s Will

In my prayers at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning, I strained under my obvious weaknesses to ask the Lord to let me know His will that I might obey it.  I asked “What is your will” and I heard, “Nothing.”  I have heard this before, but this time, it bothered me.  I asked, “But Lord, how could it ever be possible that I could not do SOMETHING to obey and serve you for want of loving You?”  And then it dawned on me.

I – me – me alone – can do nothing to serve God’s will.  It is the very Life of Christ in me who makes it possible for us to do God’s will.  I thought back to the Lord saying,

Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. [Jn 6:53-56]

I can not even begin to live without Christ first living in me, much less abide in Him.  The definition of life, to live, is Christ in me.  To do His will, I must accept Him and abide in Him – in a way, see what He does and then do what I see Him doing.  I must become even as St. Paul became, writing to the Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  [Gal 2:20]

And so God reorients me to what I have not been fully seeking and teaches me a lesson in humility, that to do the will of God, I must do it through and in and with the life of Christ who must live in me.  I must be intimately bound to Him and live because He lives in me.  For he says here, again:

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. [Jn 15:15]

This is what came to me when I reached out to God and complained this morning that I did not know what His will was for me to do.  I was being like an ignorant (or lazy) child because we all have the wherewithal to learn and know His will and how to obtain the ability to live it more fully.  But, we often walk away from Him for a while, don’t we?

It gives me comfort knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ is a good man whose exemplified ambition was in loving and healing and guiding others, not in working and making lots of money and in creating luxurious conditions for Himself.  He taught us to seek after the more important things in life.  And He gives us this comforting exhortation and promise:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [Mt 11:29]

Who doesn’t want rest for their souls?  Who doesn’t like to be around someone who is meek and humble?  It is not too hard to become more like the Lord.  We can do it!

Jesus Christ Meek and Humble

Virginal Love of God

On 2 December, as I prayed my Rosary while walking, I was enamored by the contemplation of Divine affections, a beautiful presence who whispered my prayers back to me as I prayed them, our lips touching and our breath exchanging, and holy, youthful smiles. I was blessed.

Statue of Hildegard of Bingen, Eibingen Abbey

Statue of St. Hildegard of Bingen Eibingen Abbey, Rudesheim, GE

Before I set out to walk and pray, I had listened for the first time to St. Hildegard of Bingen’s song, “O dulcissime amator” (O Lover Sweet) from her “Symphonia virginum” (Symphony of Virgins). St. Hildegard of Bingen lived in the 12th century and is a Doctor of the Church now. I invite you to read the words here: http://www.hildegard-society.org/2017/05/o-dulcissime-amator-symphonia-virginum.html or listen here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lkjODhUgrVs

I also contemplated the virginal love of God and how that might be. It is true that God, who is Love, desires to marry humanity. This is not just through the Incarnation; His desire is to indwell us with Holy Spirit, as we are all expected to be as building blocks of His Body, as holy temples suitable for His holy Presence. But what is the fruit of this glorified marriage, and how can this be?

Now, having gone back and found this draft, I am amazed to see that I have now visited the Shrine of St. Hildegard of Bingen without even remembering that I wrote this

Eibingen Abbey, Rudesheim, GE

Eibingen Abbey

inspiration, and without any real plan to visit her shrine.  I and my wife visited her sisters’ abbey (Eibingen Abbey) and also her relics in Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany on 23 December (just a few days ago).

 

It is wonderful to invite God to visit with you and then follow His inspirations and to take in the surprises which come with them.

 

Relics of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Relics of St. Hildegard of Bingen in her Shrine

 

One Mystical Body of Christ – Yet Still Wounded

I am still amazed at the frequency at which I see some Protestant ministers privately preaching against the Catholic Church to their congregations. It amazes me for the following reasons:

  1. Catholic priests don’t preach against Protestant denominations. Though willfully separated, they are considered fellow Christians, dignified by baptism.
  2. All Sacred Scripture and most Protestant faith traditions came down to Protestants from the Catholic Church which was founded by Christ on St. Peter, the first Pope.

We need to strive to learn and accept that there is and can only be one Church of Christ, the entire Body of which subsists in the Catholic Church, against which Christ promised the gates of Hell would not prevail (the “gates” being, among other things, the proud spirits of rivalry, division, schism, and in some cases, even hatred).

Hurricane Nate: Psalm of Warning and Calling

This came to me early on the morning of 8 October 2017 when Hurricane Nate was making landfall on Biloxi, Mississippi in the vicinity of the gambling casinos there. Much harm of hurricanes (and other disasters) can be averted through the true loving prayer of God’s chosen ones: they have merit with God because they have chosen to respond to His graces and be obedient to His Word.

A psalm of warning and divine calling.

Looks like Hurricane Nate
has been a friend of most;
A reminder not to boast;
A gentle chastisement;
A worthy appeasement.

Give thanks to God
For those who prayed
Against his strong hand
which He did stay.

Another time will come
For those sins he did forebear,
To turn hearts of sinners
Back to God;
To give to God what is
His fair share.

God does listen
To those who remain close.
He hears your prayer
When obedience you chose.

But go on sinning
If you must.
Rely upon your own strength
When it is not God in whom you trust.

But beware that you are
Mere creature, mere dust.

The wind shall blow!
The waters shall rise!
Your fate will be sealed!
And then in whom will you trust?

You were not obedient.
You did not remain close.
You did not love God
Who you should love the most.

Despair overcomes you;
Hatred thickens.
You blame God for your own choices.
Your anger sickens.

But God will not be outdone
In his strong love for you.
He returns again and again
And he asks, “When you come to…

“When you come to your senses
I will be there.
I will hear your confession;
I will treat you with tender care.

You only need to choose right
To listen and obey Me.
For I will only what is good,
What is right, that you may see.

Come back to Me child
With all of your heart,
and I will bless you.
Never again shall we be apart.”

Amen.

“Manifest Me. Magnify Me.”

The Lord’s intimate words on how to be His “Pearl of great price.”  Mother Mary is the proto-Pearl of Great Price.

To Be Surprised by Children 

Sarah, in her old age, chuckles at God’s promise of a child (art by Bethany Vanderputten).

My wife has not yet turned 50, but she is well on the way beyond her childbearing years.  As I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary this morning during our walk together, I was thinking about how it might be possible for us to still have children, if God wills it, even at this late time in our lives, even given the scientific probability that “it just ain’t gonna happen.”  In fact, I dedicated my Rosary to my wife and to the good health of our child if God so wills it to happen.

Now, when I got back to the house, I saw a reminder on my IPad that I was to be Lector tomorrow morning at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Having forgotten that completely, I immediately found the readings for tomorrow, and imagine my surprise, given my thoughts and prayers, when I saw the first reading.  Here it is:

Reading 1 from 2 KGS 4:8-11, 14-16A:

One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her.  Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine.

So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”

Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.

Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?” His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.”

Elisha said, “Call her.”

When the woman had been called and stood at the door, Elisha promised, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”

Well, when I read that, it touched me because of 1) the coincidence with my thoughts and prayers, 2) the coincidence that I will read it tomorrow as if a witness to the miracle, and 3) the realization that God was speaking to me through this situation.  He knows how I feel about children.

Now, that stated, I have accepted that I may never have children, and I am okay with it.  This gives me room to live life more for others doing things that regular fathers would not ordinarily do perhaps.  But, if the Lord wants to bless us with a child, then I will give Him all of the Glory, and very happily.

When Spiritual Souls Atrophy

Those who exercise their spiritual soul in prayer to God, in the obedience of worship and the sacramental life, and in right action will be able to understand better the “technology” of the spiritual life.

If we do not exercise the spiritual soul, if we do not faithfully and deliberately open our souls to God and His protecting presence, then our spiritual souls may very well atrophy like unused muscles.  

Our atrophied spiritual soul becomes like a dried wine skin which, when tested, cracks and leaks, being unfit and unable to hold the richness of God’s life-giving presence, and letting in the decay of parasitic, life-killing presence which weakens the soul, making it look more like the parasite which feeds upon it.  [ See Luke 5:33-39 for context ]

  • The praying soul is the healthy, healing, living soul.  God is allowed in to give it life and to sustain that life.  Think of wine which continually renews the wine skin which holds it.  The skin becomes like the good, new wine it bears.
  • The God-less soul is the sick, rotting, dying soul.  God is prevented from entering in.  Think of a wine skin which is dry and cracked where water, mold and mildew enter to eat the skin, and the skin looks like mold.

The atheists will not understand this until that day when they are on the verge of spiritual decimation, when God intervenes to offer to save what is left before it is too late – an intervention required and allowed when the spiritual soul is too weak, too damaged to help itself.

This is the spiritual soul of the one lost lamb who ran away from the Good Shepherd, but who fell into the crevasse, and after much time without food and with broken legs, could not help itself.  The Good Shepherd did not do this.  No.  The rebellious little lamb ran away. [See John 10 for context]

The fate of the lamb rests in the willingness of the lamb to be saved. 

 May all such lost lambs set aside pride and anger and say, “Yes” to true Love, even if it hurts to be healed.  

SIGN OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP: GRATITUDE IN MIDST OF SUFFERING 

Because Love is radical and not practical, it often involves suffering. This is why Jesus rebuked St. Peter when he suggested that Jesus should not suffer and die for us: “Get behind me Satan!” (Matt 16:23) Not that Peter is Satan, but that Peter was thinking in line with the desires of Satan and God-less men – that we not be saved by the Lord’s Sacrifice. Yes, in the divine life, love and sacrifice, and therefore suffering, often go together.

If we look down upon suffering for or with Christ for His sake and ours, then we are not worthy of Christ. For the Lord Himself clearly said: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”(Lk 14:27)

If we do not understand this, then we are like strangers who follow a strange “Prosperity Gospel” which selfishly seeks pleasure and avoids suffering (of true love) which diminishes that pleasure, and we may very well be met with this rebuke from the Lord Himself one day:  

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’”(Mk 7:21-23)

There is little excuse for our ignorance. We have all of the resources available to us today in order to know the Lord – that is – to hear and do His will.

Let us ask ourselves: Does love inconvenience us? Do we love grudgingly? What is our habit? Do we choose not to respond to the inspirations to love when it requires some sacrifice? Do we calculate the cost? If God is Love, and if love is selfless, are we compatible with Him?

Well, we can not be God in our finitude. But we most certainly can be grateful to Him for His own sake. Our response to Him can be gratitude, even in the midst of suffering – a gratitude worthy of His infinite love – a gratitude which does not complain, but sees the riches of mercy He bestows upon us in all of the goods around us, and then responds with giving back in some way.  

If we overflow with God’s love, then let us be instruments of love for those around us. If we are in truth branches on the life-giving Vine, let us bear fruit that is sweet and which lasts.

Yes, let us seek to know the Lord, His thoughts, and not our own thoughts, that we may know true Love, be thankful for true Love, and respond with love out of the joy of our gratitude, but not out of the misery of our selfish ingratitude, the ingratitude of the thoughts of men who do not know God.

A Spat Between Reasoning and Conscience 

Conscience: “You know.”

Reasoning: “But, what about this excuse?”

Conscience: “One is not excused from truth.”

Reasoning: “But, what if it’s not true?”

Conscience: “The Lord your God told you that He is the way, the truth and the life, and He created me so that you can know Him – that is – the Truth.”

Reasoning: “What is truth?”

Conscience: “You know. Do you deny the Truth?”

Reasoning: “I don’t know what you are talking about. Shut up!”

Conscience: “Just remember what Truth Himself said, ‘So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.'”

Reasoning: “But I don’t deny that God exists.”

Conscience: “But you say you don’t know what is true, and He is Truth Itself, and He speaks to you through me, your conscience which He gave to help you know right from wrong.”

Reasoning: “But I know better.”

Conscience: “Do you also deny your own conscience?”

Reasoning: “Yes, I deny my own conscience.”

Conscience: “Then you deny God’s help freely. You have made your choice to carry on without God then.”

Reasoning: “No, I want God’s help.”

Conscience: “But He helps you through me.”

Reasoning: “No, my help is through my other conscience.”

Conscience: “Oh, so you are possessed of another person in your soul – one who gives you another conscience?”

Reasoning: “Yes, you are that other person, and I must be rid of you.”

Conscience: “Then you do so at your own peril.”

Reasoning: “No, I do so at your peril.”

Conscience: “But I am part of you.”

Reasoning: “I do not accept that.”

Conscience: “I can not die as long as you live.”

Reasoning: “Then we shall both die.”

Conscience: “Exactly.”

Reasoning: “But it would be better to live.”

Conscience: “Exactly true.”

Reasoning: “Okay, I will tolerate you.”

Conscience: “I can work with that.”

Reasoning: “Great. Perhaps we can be closer friends now.”

Conscience: “I would like that. Rest assured, in my friendship, I will never steer you wrong.”

Reasoning: “That is good. Thank you.”

Jesus Comes Crying

Today (Monday) on my Rosary walk, right before the Hail Holy Queen, in my mind, I saw a man standing in front of me, face-to-face, crying.  I understood it to be Jesus Christ.  It was no ephiphany, but only a faint image and inaudible hearing.  He was worn and crying because, in his humanity, he knows rejection and he knows remorse for those who are lost, burning in Hell.  This makes him very low – those who reject him and seek lustfully after sin and those who, in their choosing to follow their own ways, are lost to the burning flames.  He is even remorseful for the many who, in the hardness of their hearts, were lost in the desert so many thousands of years ago.  He did not want that to happen, but they chose to doubt.  

He sought from me a pure oblation of love to comfort him.  Of course, I offered him my loving obedience, my true desire to follow and serve him and to care for him in his suffering.  You do so also, in truth.  Offer the Lord your true desire to obey and comfort him.  Offer him a pure oblation of your good intentions toward him and his desires for you.

The Last Judgment, By Comparison

When praying during my Rosary walk the other day (Sunday), I had this insight that the truth of who we are at the Particular or Final Judgment will be revealed simply by being in the Presence of the Lord.  That is, our true thoughts and habits (virtue and vice) will be at once compared to that of the Lord Himself as He enters spiritually, without filters, into us and we into Him. 

We will either be repulsed or drawn ever closer in filial communion and community; we will either know Him and He, us or not.  We will either get along and we will love the disposition of the Lord, or we won’t, and it will be undeniable.

Calling for New Political Party: The Standard Party

I call on us to join a new political party:  

The Standard Party

It is neither conservative, moderate, nor liberal:

Conservative is off balance, to the right; 

Liberal is off balance to the left; 

Moderate is either weak-Conservative or weak-Liberal, both leaning and tottering left or right – defined by the characteristics of either opposing pole. 

These are of the world of opposite, bi-polar, false-standards, which do not recognize the Center around which they bounce, lean and stretch.  

In contrast…

The Standard Party (SP) is for the real Center; 

SP is for the Rule of Law (which is just and compassionate);

SP is for Virtue in All Humanity (which is good);

SP neither operates in nor uses Vice.

SP promotes the true Standard which all humans have in their hearts to achieve, the same hearts which traditional, partisan parties strive to deceive.

The Standard Party is the Good Party, with All for One and One for All through Virtue and the Rule of Law.

Lord Jesus, En-Salt Me With Purity in the Eucharist 


Why does Jesus say, “You are the salt of the earth”?

He says that because it is in you, us to be good and to resist, prevent evil just like salt prevents infestation and decay.  We promote societal health through acts of virtue (charity). We become an agent of immortality.

“But if salt loses its taste…it is no longer good for anything.” [St. Matthew, 5:13-16]

If we don’t do good, we add to the problem that Jesus came to fight. We advance societal decay through acts of vice (viciousness). We become an agent of mortality.

This is precisely why we need Jesus in our souls, to keep us “salted” against evil, and “salty” like medicine for each other.   

This brings out the reality of the promise which Jesus made to us, and that many do not accept:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” [St. John, 6:54]

For if we are really salted by our Savior, His own spiritual flesh, we can not die. We will live joyfully through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

En-salt me with purity, Lord Jesus, in the banquet of Your sacrificial Love, the Eucharist.  Thank you for Your Life which is our life, in and through Your Life.

Mary, Our Chief Cosmologist

St. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her joyful greeting, called Mary the mother of my Lord [Luke 1:43] and St. Gregory Nazianzus called Mary “the Mother of the King of the universe,” and the “Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world” [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #11]  Ven. Pius XII sums up the corpus of theological writings and traditions when he states, The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #22].

coronationofmary_velasquez_cropped

Coronation of Mary, by Velazquez

Now here’s my experience.  I was out on a Rosary walk on Sunday, and while praying the Glorious Mysteries, and upon meditating on the 5th mystery, Coronation of Mary, I realized something immediately, and I chuckled because of all of the heartache surrounding cosmology in the Church during the 16th and 17th centuries:  Mary really is and has been the Queen of the Universe for nearly 2000 years now!  Because Mary is Queen of the Universe, then the Earth from which she and our Lord King of the Universe first appeared, must actually be at the center of the Universe, and all of the controversy surrounding Copernicus and Galileo must be just an unfortunate mishap!

Recall that Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Ptolemy (100-170 AD)  had their theory that the Earth is at the center of the Universe; this position was well-validated by the Book of Joshua which implied that Sun and Moon move in the sky around the Earth according to how God commanded:

‘Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai′jalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. [Joshua 10:12-13, RSVCE]

 

aristotelian-ptolemaic-universe

Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Theory of the Universe (Earth is center, circa 150 AD)

Copernicus then published his helio-centric theory in 1543 which placed the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the Universe.

copernican_heliocentrism_diagram-2

Copernican Heliocentric Theory of the Universe [Sun is center; circa 1543 AD]

Galileo then picked up that theory, and began to teach and write about it in the early 17th Century.  In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition to answer for his conduct and writings, having inadvertently embarrassed Pope Urban VIII, and being severely reprimanded and censured as a result.

galileo_facing_the_roman_inquisition

Galileo at Roman Inquisition, circa 1633

Note, however, that Galileo, who embraced the Copernican helio-centric theory, was never officially branded as a heretic by the Church.  Essentially, there was just a nasty misunderstanding.

So, all of this time, we should have known that Mother Mary is the Chief Cosmologist of the Church.  We needed only look to her, and to her title as Queen of the Universe, since her son is King of the Universe, to know where planet Earth truly stands in all of the Universe – in the center where God, the King of the Universe is ever-present to us, with her, the Queen of the Universe.

our-location-in-the-universe

Where the Center of the Universe is Presently Present to Us

 

 

 

 

Guidance for Raymond Card. Burke On Amoris Laetitia

 

Pope Francis Greets Raymond Card Burke

Pope Francis greets Raymond Card. Burke with a gesture of authority.

Raymond Card. Burke is very anxious about Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia (AL).  Is it possible that by saying there is much confusion amongst pastors regarding the Pope’s writings about the “irregular situations” and reception of Holy Communion for the divorced and illicitly remarried that he is really projecting his own confusion and reservations about he Pope’s intentions onto them?

 

In speaking about Amoris Laetitia (AL), he skips over this qualification which Pope St. John Paul made very clear in Familiaris Consortio #84, before reminding all of the Church’s long tradition of not admitting the divorced and invalidly remarried to Holy Communion:

“Pastors must know that for the sake of truth they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is, in fact, a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned and those who, through their own grave fault, have destroyed a canonically valid marriage…”

Pope Francis now writes in AL about the reality that there are cases requiring discernment where a deep spiritual understanding of both justice and mercy is required, and which the rigorist, controlling personality may be unwilling to accept: the type of the “unjustly abandoned.”

St. John Paul already allowed the divorced and remarried (in cases when best for the children) to Holy Communion when they agree to live as brother and sister. So, the Church admits that there can be cases of adultery (defined as being divorced and invalidly remarried) which are not strong enough to be considered mortal sin and inadmissible to Holy Communion – in this case, living as a civilly-married couple but not engaging in conjugal relations.

So now, Pope Francis takes us further along into discernment to find those who have been egregiously abandoned but who, for the good of the children, engage in activities available to them to safeguard the children. This is the case where the husband runs off abandoning his family, remarries a wealthy woman for the allure of her money, and has another family with this wealthy woman, leaving his valid wife and three children alone on a farm deep in the Amazon, without access to priests, where such husbandless families are vulnerable to evil. A good, non-Catholic man comes along, and having love and compassion for her and her family, and desiring children with her in addition to her own and being a man of great virtue, marries her and protects the family. Is this adultery? I might consider that it could even be a lesser grade of adultery than that which still exists in the divorced and invalidly remarried who are living as brother and sister as a civilly-married couple, in a safe and modern urban city with access to many priests and services, for the sake of the children, but who are no longer having conjugal relations.

And so, I think Raymond Card. Burke is missing out on understanding scenarios like this one.  Where the Blessed Sacrament helps the civilly-married, non-conjugating couple keep from falling into mortal sin for love of Jesus, the same could help the abandoned wife and mother, who is called in her heart to metanoia, strive for perfection and obtain a non-conjugal agreement later when her children are older.  This process might speed along if by her attachment to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, who never abandoned her, she also converts her husband to the Faith, and he then desires to become obedient.

Just like violating the commandment not to kill can have cases where killing is not a mortal sin [self defense, “just cause” military action], there might be be cases, IMHO, where what the Church defines as adultery may not necessarily be mortal sin. Yes, it is adultery, but is it venial instead of mortal if the intention of the second marriage was the securing of a bond required for the defense or protection of her children? This requires Magisterial discernment.

This, I believe, is Pope Francis’ rendering of the wishes of the Holy Spirit in Amoris Laetitia .  Not that the divorced and remarried may be admitted, as a new rule, to Holy Communion.  No!  But that the abandoned may not also be abandoned by the Church and by Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament when she, in her abandonment, dire fear and defense of her children,  needed Him the most.

A Hard Lesson in a Nightmare, and then a Locution

Last night, before I went to sleep, I considered whether some sins were, in fact, sins.  I asked this question in my prayers to God.  Of course, these were temptations, but I needed to ask the Lord Who knows everything.  I fell asleep without incident or response.

In my sleep, I had a terrible dream.  I was rebelliously barricaded in a place, and the officials  were coming to remove me from there.  I don’t know what the place was, but I do know that it was a place of rebellion.  One official was an elderly police officer dressed in European garb from the 1800’s, and there were several others.  There was another with me in this place also; I don’t know who – my guardian angel I think – an innocent person.  At some point, I decided to defend myself with a weapon, and I shot the elderly police officer in the chest.  The bullet seemed to flatten on the outside of his garment, but the indication was that I had killed him.

Not long after that, I realized what I had done, and I was ashamed and afraid.  The authorities came again, but this time without offensive fervor, but in peace, and I told them that I was guilty, then the authority smiled and said he would have to take me in, and I turned and he handcuffed me.  

In my mind, I worried about what they would do to me and how I would defend myself.  I realized that, at the time of the shooting, I was insane – I had lost all sense of reasoning.  I drew some comfort from this truth.  But I also realized that I had thrown my entire life away in one moment of stupidity – my WHOLE life.  This was a great burden on my soul to know this, and I became very sad; but, the justice of turning myself in, of realizing my fault and submitting to justice was a balm on my soul.

As the authority was driving me through the country to jail, I saw other horrors along the way, and a world which had become a victim of its own rebellion.  The destructive “machines” which man had created to destroy what had been built, like huge black mechanical crabs and scorpions, began to turn on their creators.  The result seemed merciless, and I was afraid.

When I woke up, I realized why I had the dream, and I prayed and told the Lord that I was sorry for questioning the reality of sin, which offends Him.

Shortly after that, I heard His voice in a way which I had never heard it before.  Some people hear the Lord speak as in a locution – inaudibly.  But this time, I heard His voice in my mind, audibly, and it was a softly-rumbling (like thunder) man’s voice, and He said, “I’m sorry.”  These words were intimate and comforting to hear.  

I can now say with complete confidence that when God’s voice was heard as a rumbling thunder in Sacred Scripture, it is absolutely true in the way it was described.  Have no doubt.

Mary, Aeiparthenos

Theotokos Aeiparthenos with Child Jesus

Yesterday, I met Sister Mary Aeiparthenos, a beautiful (whole person) consecrated religious sister, and we discussed several things that we had in common.  She has been a religious for 8 years and came into the Catholic Church with her Lutheran family after her dad converted to the Faith.  We were both on our ways to see our dads for Fathers Day.

Notwithstanding the mystical wonders of my wife, if I could surround myself with Mary Aeiparthenoses, what a delight it would be, like a bouquet of living roses, perpetually sweet and delightful.  Of course, this is a dream only possible in Heaven with God, but you know what I mean.

Mary Aeiparthenos, perpetual Spring of beauty, whole and intact, consecrated in fidelity and Divine unity, virtue ascending to Virtue, a sweet fragrance consecrated for God alone.

For more information on Sister Mary Aeiparthenos’s mission, go here:  Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara