Category Archives: Catholic

A Nun, a Book, a Dream, and a Hearing

Recently, I read a novel for the first time in decades. I have always found it difficult to discipline my thoughts enough to stay focused on a single book for 400 pages, or even 10, but I did it this time. A talented and precious religious sister recommended it to me. Coming from this particular nun and believing there was a message to be found in the reading, how could I resist reading it to its completion?

The story followed a man’s life from early childhood to a peaceful death. It was about Heaven. As I read it, I was reminded of how this nun brought back an early childhood memory for me. You see, she reminds me of a little girl with whom I had an infatuation when I was in the 1st grade. It was my first ever infatuation like that – where a boy looks at a girl’s pretty face and knows that he wants to be closer to her; it was one of those situations where a little boy has feelings and has no idea how to express them.

Unfortunately for me, there seemed to have been a mass awakening of similar feelings by other boys in my class because it seemed that everyone of them wanted to show their affection to her as they went back into the classroom after playing outside. She was holding open the classroom door as we entered, and in competition for her love, several of the boys were kissing her on her right cheek – big slobbery kisses – as they re-entered the classroom. I think she knew she had some kind of power over us, and maybe she didn’t quite understand or know what to do about the situation.

As I approached her, I started regretting the whole situation – firstly that I, having not been noticed by her, would have to compete for her heart; secondly, it certainly would be awkward to try to kiss her after not ever having said one word to her; thirdly, I would have to kiss her slobbery face after all the other 1st grade boys made their attempt to woo her – yuck! Well, I made an attempt to kiss her, but I don’t think I quite did; I think she drew away her face (embarrassing for me, of course).

I have always remembered her and had just a tiny wound in my heart because I didn’t quite measure up, and I could not have her as my girlfriend. I wonder how that has affected my personality over all of these years. Well, I’m certainly blessed to have my wife.

Anyway, it was a great book with an intriguing story. I completed it over a 2 week period. Now, I will state that it caused me to reflect on some of my own sinful inclinations in addition to my own trials and tribulations in life. You know, we sometimes are tempted by the perfection we desire but don’t have, and so we might be tempted to covet things and people and situations which, by our own vows, we should not. Those thoughts were coming to the surface, and it was a battle to keep them under control – like I was under spiritual assault. But, I kept reading and struggling.

I suppose it might have been like when Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and gave up the protection of the Spirit that He might have to struggle under temptation and show that He could win nevertheless. The struggle was real because, when I am struggling with serious temptation, my heart physically hurts – and it was hurting. It’s like Jesus is undergoing His Passion, except that it is happening in some way in my own heart. I don’t wish any pain on Him, but that’s what I think about. Of course, I was moved to undergo a thorough examination of conscience after reading the book, and I decided, yesterday, that I had sufficiently kept myself from falling into a mortal snare. The good thing is that the Spirit sort of convinced me to trust Him that I did nothing wrong in how my mind wondered out from and back to the Path.

Last night, I had a related nightmare. I can’t really recall the full set of circumstances, but I do know it involved me grabbing and throwing a deadly, colorfully-ringed snake, like Satan, away from me, watching it quickly coil for a strike, and then me scrambling to avoid it’s bites. It extended its body fully toward my feet and flared it’s venom pouches in readiness for a deadly strike, but it could move no closer to me. It was at my feet on the ground, which was all white, and extended its body toward me but fell short. I thought of smashing its head, but then I woke up. I’m not sure I would have actually smashed its head; it seemed too pitiful.

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning, after the Liturgy of the Word, and not long into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I began to hear the Lord speak to me. He said:

“You know me.”

There were other words, too. Of course, as I’m sitting there in my natural anxiety, I’m thinking this is the Lord judging me. Right? I know Him? Does that mean that I know that He was hurting in my heart? Or, does it mean that because I know that, I can regret it and do whatever I can to console Him and prevent Him anymore pain? This must be the pain of True Love which the Lord always endures. Yet, how do we stop it and console the Lord? How do we return love and care like a soothing salve on a festering wound? That’s what I want to do.

“You know me.”

I know He loves me, and I can do nothing without Him. But, I can choose to love Him, and I try and am able the more closely I succumb to his virtuous, meek and humble Way.

Where Two or Three are Gathered in My Name: New or Old Order of the Mass?

Today, in the Gospel readings, we heard the Lord Jesus Christ say,

“…Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. 
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.” [cf, Matt 18:15-20]

The Haydock Bible Commentary on verses 19 and 20 states:

Ver. 19. That if two of you. From these words, we learn how superior is public to private prayer. The efficacy of the former is attributed to the presence of Christ in those assemblies. The Father, for his Son’s sake, will grant petitions thus offered. Jans. — The fervour of one will supply for the weakness and distractions of the other.

Ver. 20. There am I in the midst of them. This is understood of such assemblies only, as are gathered in the name and authority of Christ; and in unity of the Church of Christ.S. Cyprian, de Unitate Ecclesiæ. Ch. — S. Chrysostom, Theophylactus, and Euthymius explain the words in his name, thus, assembled by authority received from Christ, in the manner appointed by him, or for his sake, and seeking nothing by his glory. Hence we may see what confidence we may place in an œcumenical council lawfully assembled. T. S. Greg. lib. vii. Regist. Epist. cxii.

So, let’s bring this Church teaching into the confusion brought on by the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum in light of the express liturgical reform requirements of the constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium

On the surface, it appears that there is quite a dichotomy between those of the Faithful who docilly adhere to the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass) and those others who adhere to the Vetus Ordo Missae (Old Order of the Mass).

Novus Ordo Missae Adherents: These choose Substance (the Real Presence of the Lord re-presented) over form (of the Mass) and orient their personal wills in an attitude of docile obedience to the Holy Spirit which guides the Church, i.e., toward a new form of the Mass – one which reformed the Vetus Ordo. These truly do respond to the authority of Jesus Christ in the Church in the most direct and pure way.

Vetus Ordo Missae Adherents: These choose form over Substance, demanding the original, pre-Ecumenical Council, non-reformed Vetus Ordo over the Substance of the Mass. These are not so concerned about docilly obeying the Holy Spirit and find it easy to doubt or reject the Lord’s direction to reform the liturgy during an Ecumenical Council. These doubt the authority of Jesus Christ in the Church in the most direct and pure way.

So, then, who are really gathered in the Name of Jesus Christ? Those who obey the teaching of an Ecumenical Council and prioritize the Lord’s own Person as more important than liturgical form? Or, those who disobey the teaching of an Ecumenical Council and prioritize the old form more than the Lord Himself – who don’t regard His presence during an Ecumenical Council to be of any bearing on their choices?

Isn’t being “in the Name” of Jesus fervently a) being obedient; b) being responsive to authority established by the Lord Himself, and c) loving God (Substance of the Mass, not form of the Mass) above all else? So, you figure it out. Who are really, with full intent, actually gathering in the Name of Jesus Christ? Who is being heard?

Dream: Seeing My Girl Again

In a waking dream this morning, I saw a little girl looking toward me through a window. She had short-cut brown hair with golden highlights and sparkling greenish-blue eyes. I wonder if she is our only girl, Maddie in Heaven?

It would be no wonder, since yesterday I wrote to one of my two sponsored girls a letter about my prayers for her future life as a wife and mother. I prayed the Joyful Mysteries for her and explained my intentions and blessing for her in each Mystery. She turned 18 in June.

Thanks be to God for revealing sweet things such as these. Amen.

God Comes as Smile to Sophia

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today, during the Sanctus, the Lord came to us as a Divine Smile. I could sense the joy as the Divine Smile flooded my soul. This was a special Mass because Sophia, a little girl, would receive First Holy Communion this morning.

Indeed, at “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” the Divine Smile penetrated my soul. He said, “I am here.”

There was something very special today – Peace was in the nave and sanctuary. I could tell that the priest was at peace and, for the first time in years, he gave a homily which I could tell was coming from his heart – with real heart-felt passion – inspired breath. I was impressed.

Sophia, dressed in a tiny white wedding gown with white veil, timidly approached the Pastor to receive the Lord. She approached, did not bow and held the throne of her hands out. The Pastor placed the Lord on her little throne, and she looked up and asked what to do.

The Pastor gestured and she received Him. She paused. Then, in what seemed like unusual contemplation, she initiated a deep and profound bow slowly and tenderly in adoration. It was beautiful – what I saw happening in that little child. She returned to the pew with her parents and remained in prayer with her hands piously folded. Her mother was also in great peace.

How beautiful it all was. It was Divine Healing and Divine Life-giving. Amen.

Eucharist: “Melt Into Me”

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today (Sunday), I imagined the Lord Jesus Christ standing behind the Altar, smiling and speaking this with outstretched arms, “My peace I leave you, my peace I give you.”

After receiving Him in Holy Communion, I heard, “Melt into me.” This is an invitation to become one with the Lord, to let one’s self become saturated with Life, Health and Holiness.

When people marry, it takes them years to figure out that they must compromise in order to truly become one body together. With the Lord, He has no need to compromise; it is us who need to compromise our own selfish and often faithless ways. And so, to become one Body in Christ, *we* must compromise and melt into the Way of the Lord.

Holy Spirit – Special Intimacy

This morning at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, three things happened which were extraordinary [and I don’t mean the form of the Mass 🙂 ].

Firstly, I could see Jesus processing in and blessing us with His wounded hands behind the Altar. Secondly, I could see Who I believe to be the image of the Holy Spirit during the Creed. Thirdly, after the dismissal and during our Hail Mary prayer for vocations, I could see the Blessed Virgin Mary. I will cover the second two here.

Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life: We state our belief in the Holy Spirit this way when we recite the Creed each Sunday:

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.”

When I was reciting this part, I remembered many locutions in the past to “romance me.” This essentially means to “love me” in a special way which is appropriate to Divinity. I attribute this call to the Holy Spirit. And I envisioned our Personal God to be youthful, fresh, full of life, full of virtue, attractive and desirous of intimacy to the point that I felt like I was being refreshed in that moment, nearly to the point of sort of floating away – feeling very light and happy. But, I had full control and did not drift away. Thank you dear Lord for this blessing of grace.

Holy Mother of God, Mary Most Holy: After Sunday Mass, we always make two prayers – one to St. Michael the Archangel (to protect us from Satan – I often see from the vantage point of thrusting demons through a hatch into Hell using a very long battle lance – very effective, and they cannot come back in) and also to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Most Holy Mother of God for more vocations. I saw her, too. And, praying to her, she said “touch me,” (something I am averse to doing), but when I did, my heart leapt or skipped a beat, and I felt that something like the weight of sin had been taken from me. I think that because when I do begin to have sinful thoughts, my heart hurts like pressure is being forced on it. But, when I reached out to touch Mother Mary, my heart felt relieved or healed. I had been recollecting prior sinful thoughts and asking God for forgiveness, to which he replied as in a locution, “I have forgiven you.” But, Mother Mary gave me some sort of grace today which I do not recall receiving before.

This all gave me great hope in the Kingdom of God, Who is Love, Who Mercifully Heals.

How is this Possible? Now, one might ask, “How is it that one person in 2.5 billion Christians sees these Persons and Saint? Does that mean he is the only one? Or, how can these Persons and this Saint be present to one and many simultaneously?” Well, we can answer that question by the example of the Prophets. All Christians are called to be like prophets, but do we acknowledge, listen and respond to the Lord? No! Most do not! Most do not love the Lord our God as He asks. We stray, we get distracted, we don’t pray (we don’t speak to God), we put other gods before our Loving God. Who would make friends with you if you don’t think one important enough to talk to or listen to? I also fail in these ways, but I have taken the grace to repent when I do, and I return to be healed and love again and am always forgiven. Also, why do we try to limit the capability of God as if He were only a limited creation? When we do, we show our ignorance and lack of attention to knowing God.

Remember today’s Gospel message. We are all called to be like fertile soil in light of the “seed” which the Lord plants in us, that it might take root and bear much fruit. How do we become that fertile soil? Think about that. Are you the soil on the path, the rocky ground, or amongst thorns? Or are you the rich, fertile soil like that in a flood plain? What floods and is absorbed into your soil? Is it the pollution of sloth, violence, pornography, hatred, calumnious intention, financial wealth, career advancement, or personal power? Or is it the clean life-giving, cool Water of the Lord?

Receiving Jesus, Again

Jesus in My Eye and I in His Eye

Yesterday, my wife and I both went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in anticipation of receiving, once again, the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Today was our first day back to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass since the middle of March. Nave seating was limited to 50% capacity, and all were required to wear masks. Every other pew was cordoned off and tape was carefully laid on the floor to help us keep 6 feet apart as we processed up to receive the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

I was a little confused during Holy Communion. I was wearing a mask and trying to obey the instructions to let the mask dangle by one ear as I went forward to receive either in the hand or on the tongue. Why do I have to make this decision? My mind said, “I better receive in the altar of my hand” but then my body did the opposite and I received on the tongue. Grabbing the dangling loop of my mask, I reattached it and went back to the pew to pray and contemplate.

As I knelt, I started to see only Jesus behind the Altar wearing golden liturgical attire unlike that of the priests. He was looking at me with admiring or loving eyes, and I felt sort of bashful; my heart sort of burned in a delightful way. This happened three times. His hair was golden brown, perhaps from the sunlight from above, and His eyes seemed translucent – like honey with blue tones.

What does all of this mean? One day we will know. Something more wonderful than we know will happen on that Day when time is no longer relevant, and reveling in the heavenly experiences of the present will be all that matters.

I Envision Jesus at Pandemic Holy Mass

I’ve been wanting to share with you that I have been consoled these past Pandemic Sundays while watching the televised Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I envision the Lord Jesus standing between me and the TV inviting me to a communion of friendship.  He has shoulder-length wavy and coarse golden brown hair, blue or translucent eyes, a golden brown beard,  fair tan complexion, and he is wearing a liturgical robe, off-white with red straps running from each shoulder to a point near the bottom center of His chest, like a downward pointing triangle.  He also seems relatively small in stature – a mature but young man.  Today, there was an embrace and I was comforted by His soft, warm beard on my face and the secure hug like that of a father for a son or a brother for a brother.

Early in the morning, too, I pray sometimes, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.”  I do this knowing my dependency on Him for everything  – for our health, our safety and security.  I usually have a couple of drinks before going to bed – and sometimes three – and I worry for my health because of that; I get dehydrated.  And I pray to Him to give me more temperance that I may not somehow accidentally poison myself.  I think I am a hypochondriac of sorts – very sensitive to any unusual feeling in my body, and this happens more as I age.  And, so I pray to the Lord to help me with that.

Sometimes in prayer I hear, “Marry me” and that is a call which I do not yet fully understand.  I think that I have blogged about it before.  I figure that there is a love which the Father has for the Son, and a love which the Son has for each of us which is much stronger and longer lasting than Earthly, marital love.  He has a father’s love in that He is like a shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep.  He has a mother’s love in that He desires to pull us all under His wings like a hen does for its brood.  But, this inaudible whisper, “Marry me” is a call to an even deeper level of intimacy – a call to exclusivity and purpose.  I say, “Yes Lord, I will marry you, but how can this be?”  There is no answer.  I remember St. John, who calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved, and I remember St. Peter who told Jesus three times that he loved Him, after Jesus directly prompted him three times. Of course, Jesus prompted St. Peter in order to heal him of his guilty conscience after rejecting Jesus three times.  He will let me know when I need to know.

And so, He comes to console, heal, give hope, inspire wonder.  Thank You, Lord.

 

There is No “Old Mass” nor “New Mass”

Let’s make something very clear here:  what we Roman Rite Catholics today call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass or Mass is neither new nor old.  How could it be unless Jesus Christ came back to Earth and instituted a whole new Eucharist or perhaps changed the mode of His Sacrifice or His act of Redemption?  He has not done that; the primary substance of what truly defines the Mass has not changed – not ever – in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

GOD HISTORICALLY DIRECTS LITURGICAL CHANGE, AND HAS AGAIN…

The form of the liturgy can and has changed.  There are older forms and newer forms and forms within rites and forms varying between rites.  In recent Catholic Church history, the Holy Spirit formally called for reform of the Church’s central liturgical form at the Second Vatican Council (ecumenical) via the Constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC).

A NEW ROMAN MISSAL CAME OUT OF VATICAN II COUNCIL…

After SC was promulgated, the Church enthusiastically moved forward in happy obedience, beginning with the  MIssal of 1962 (what some correctly call the Missal of John XXIII, but some others more vulgarly call the Traditional Latin Mass) as the basis for reform and ordered 3 April 1969 that the revised Missale Romanum, a New Roman Missal, go into effect by 30 November 1969.  Why is it vulgar to call the Missal of John XXIII the Traditional Latin Mass?  Because, of two things:  1) The Mass is traditional no matter what form we use and 2) the Mass does not change; the form of the liturgy or missal we use at the Mass changes.

HOW WE OUGHT TO DESCRIBE THE CURRENT AND PRIOR ROMAN MISSALS…

1962_Missale_Romanum

Vetus Ordo Missae, 1962

The New Roman Missale is well-known as the Novus Ordo Missae or New Order of the Mass.  In contrast, the older Roman Missale should be referred to as the Vetus Ordo Missae or Old Order of the Mass.  But, no one should call the Mass new nor old.  The substance of what the Mass is never changes; only the form of the liturgy used changes.

Missale Romanum 2002

Novus Ordo Missae, 2002

Later, because of a desire to bring the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and their adherents into the Church after their very lengthy protest of changes brought via the Second Vatican Council (this is due in part to a vicious doubt and rebellion against authority), Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio Summorum Pontificum where he relaxed restrictions on the use of the Missal of John XXIII and referred to the form of that missal as an “extraordinary form”  and the form of our new missal as the ordinary form of the liturgy.  The word “extraordinary” is from the Latin “extraordinarius, from extra ordinem ‘outside the normal course of events.'” The word can also mean “very unusual or remarkable,” or not to be used under normal circumstances.  Afterall, the whole Church has been directed to worship under a new form!  But, Summorum Pontificum has been interpreted much more loosely, and with ill effect such as liturgical idolatry, but I digress…

AVOID HERETICAL THINKING AND EXPRESSION

If we say the Mass has changed, then we enter into heresy.  Why?  Because there is one Christ, one Sacrifice and one Eucharist for all salvific intents and purposes.  There is no new Christ, no new Sacrifice, and no new Eucharist.  Period.  Unless, of course, we think we are Anglicans, Lutherans, or another form of Protestant who change or “protest the Mass.”  (My friends of these separated groups, I do not judge you if you belong to these groups; you are innocent and do not yet know or understand.  We love you and desire communion with you.  You are not “bad” because you belong to these groups.)

REHASH

There is no “Old Mass,” and there is no “New Mass.” There is the same Mass using different forms of the liturgy.

There is:

  1. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Novus Ordo Missae;
  2. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Ordinary Form of the Liturgy;
  3.  the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the New Missal;
  4. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Vetus Ordo Missae;
  5. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy;
  6.  the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Old Missal.

IN CONCLUSION

Let us not harbor passive-aggressive feelings which lead us to sarcastically call the Mass “old” or “new” as if what came out of a holy ecumenical council could ever change our central dogma – it can’t and would never do that.  The Mass does not change; the form can and does change.  Try to find joy in accepting the New Missal knowing that you are doing exactly what God desires, and focus more on understanding the form and knowing the Lord’s Presence in the Mass, and finding joy in obedience.

 

 

 

 

Image of Jesus This Morning

Over the last several days, I have been restless beginning around 2:45 AM. When I wake up like at these times, I reflect on my ineptness and pray to the Lord, “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.” and I give Him praise by reciting the Gloria (the 2002 version) as best I can from memory. I stay in a sort of half sleep at these times.

This morning, though, without any willing of my own, I saw Him in my mind. He was lying down on His side with face towards me and gazing at me. His hair was long and basically straight but wavy; His eyes were transparent brown like honey, and his complexion was fair. He was wearing an off-white garment. I think He was grinning at me. The message was like, “It’s okay, Taylor. I have you. Don’t worry.”

In Sacred Scripture, we know that Jesus made several appearances after His Resurrection. We also know that He was not always recognized initially, but then He does something which causes the eyes of His beholders to recognize Him. I wonder why this is.

Divining Revelation: The Christian Response to Authority

Today after praying prior to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, having a Bible in the pew book rack before me, I prayed the Lord to guide my fingers to a good place in that Bible in order to instruct me on what His Will is today.  Of course, I was seeking His guidance for me personally, not for anyone else.

I sat back in the pew, grabbed the Bible, sort of let my thumb grab a random spot on the pages, opened, and looked down at this, the first heading I saw:

Obedience to Authority

Here is what St. Paul had to say in his Letter to the Romans on Obedience to Authority:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval;  for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority[a] does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.  For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing.  Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. [Romans 13:1-7 NRSVCE]

Oh yes!  It’s About the Impeachment of Pres. Donald Trump!

Turmp and ChristThe first thing which came to mind was the Impeachment of President Trump, that the good Lord is *with* President Trump, his appointed authority, and not with the politicians who do injustice by twisting contexts and implying what is not true because their real intention is simply to dismiss the 2016 Presidential Elections by Act of Congress and to interfere in the 2020 Presidential Elections…because they would rather have won.  We could say that many of the opponents of President Donald Trump work for their spiritual father, Satan, the “Father of Lies.”

Is President Trump hard to like?  Well, yes, he can be coarse and misunderstood by the unforgiving and proud soul.  Is President Trump easy to like?  Yes, he can certainly be liked when one agrees to his truly good intentions and deeds.  The Scripture says, “Then do what is good and you will receive its approval…do what is wrong and you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain!”  His opponents have almost never done what is good and just toward President Trump; they have egged him on – provoked him – set his own people against him, and so on.  They have been unrelenting in what appears to me to be criminal bullying to a high degree.

I fully expect Pres. Trump to be exonerated and for some Members of Congress to be investigated and maybe even politically punished for their outrageous conduct toward President Trump.  If he is convicted, then I expect God to make Pres. Trump into the Great Swamp Plug which, when pulled, exposes many, many improprieties leading to many more investigations of Elected Members, past and present.

Ah, But Maybe It’s About Me and My Parish Leadership?

Now, in this sitting, I have also considered another context:  my own.  If the reader will go back a few posts, there is a post I made about the slothful servant.  I have been very angry about the conduct of some of my parish leadership and staff over a period of several years for various valid reasons.  When the straw finally broke under constant strain of serial disappointments (which I have tried to explain tactfully to leadership but with sometimes uncaring, arrogant and rude responses – except for responses from one good priest), I and my wife have simply decided to dramatically reduce our annual giving (aside from our promise for the Capital Campaign, all of which we paid fully and in advance for the good of those after us who will benefit from better facilities), resign from parish ministries, and begin attending another parish.  Recently, we even halved our lowered monthly donation to our assigned parish and began giving half to the other parish which we are routinely attending now.

For me, it is a sincere act of justice.  Am I being disobedient?  I don’t think so.  I feel like I am serving the Lord in helping to wake up a slothful staff to their condition which really needs improvement.  Is this hard on us?  Yes, we are disconnected now while we wait to move to another State in the next year or two – that will be like The Promised Land for us.  I will continue to think it over and pray about it, but my conscience is clear.

And The Last Pastor Resigned for Cause

Something which has caused me to lose confidence in our clerical leadership is that the previous pastor before the current one, after my wife and I had developed a years-long good relationship of trust with him, resigned because of an unreported and uninvestigated sexual impropriety he had years earlier.  OF his own volition, he admitted his mistake and then just up and quit, and no one saw it coming.  We had a great relationship with him and both my and my wife’s ministry involvement slowly increased under his good stewardship.

So What Is It?  Trump or Me?

It could be both because there is a Principle here.  But, Trump’s destiny is being decided right now while the world watches, and mark my word:  God is watching, too!

 

Warning to Methodists on Gay Marriage

UMC LogoThis morning, I had a spiritual inspiration while preparing for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning at St. Louis parish.  The recent news about the United Methodist Church splitting over LGBTQ issues was weighing heavily on my mind.  But before I go into detail…

The latest news about the United Methodist Church can be found here: United Methodist Church Announces Proposal to Split Over Gay Marriage. Essentially, they propose to send traditionalists packing with $25 million to form a new Christian denomination. [Perhaps the Catholic Church will admit them as a new ordinariate – speculation on my part.] This means that the United Methodist Church will have formally become corrupted.

gracumclynn-reconciling-church-logo

UMC Logo with Gay Theme

I personally feel compassion for persons who have decided to submit to living a gay lifestyle or who chronically suffer from same-sex attraction, and the Catholic Church formally welcomes and prays for these who struggle to master these challenges.  I am not a homophobic person.   Love the sinner; hate the sin.  I’m a sinner, and I love me, too.

So what happened at Mass?  What happened was, during my initial prayers after I arrived the pew in the parish, I noticed a Bible in the hymnal rack.  I grabbed the Bible and asked the Lord, “Lord, guide my hands to turn to the page which you select for me to read, that I might know your message for me today.”  In doing so, I opened it immediately and directly to the 2nd Letter of Peter, Chapter 2.  It was in part about sexual licentiousness and the punishment due those who lead people into this error!  It mentions Sodom and Gomorrah!  I was amazed!  Here’s what it says :

False Prophets and Their Punishment

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers[a] the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[b] and committed them to chains[c] of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction[d] and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly;[e] and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment 10 —especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority.

Bold and willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones,[f] 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring against them a slanderous judgment from the Lord.[g] 12 These people, however, are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed. They slander what they do not understand, and when those creatures are destroyed,[h] they also will be destroyed, 13 suffering[i] the penalty for doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation[j] while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 They have left the straight road and have gone astray, following the road of Balaam son of Bosor,[k] who loved the wages of doing wrong, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved. 18 For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just[l] escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb,

“The dog turns back to its own vomit,”

and,

“The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud.”

 

[Source:  2nd Letter of St. Peter, 2:1-22, NRSVCE Bible]

In faith, this was a VERY CLEAR message about where the Lord sits on this issue.  He is not with the LGBTQ plan.  He loves everyone, but everyone has a choice to make.  When Christianity, above all, preaches the existence of temptation, the wrong choice of sin, repentance for sins, healing from the injuries of sinful choices, growing in holiness and closeness to and love for God in this life and then eternal salvation for those who love and serve God, then a choice which is expressly counter to Divine Revelation and Natural Law is a seriously selfish and potentially spiritually deadly choice.  I do not wish any of my gay brothers and sisters to be misled and chained down by the weight of their sins forever.

While the State can provide a license of marriage to a gay couple (e.g., for the sake of giving politically demanding, enamored, monogamous homosexual couples property rights which a validly married couple would have under the law and allowing the use of the term “marriage” for simple administrative convenience), there can be no same-sex Holy Matrimony in a valid Christian setting.  God has already defined human marriage in Natural Law and in Divine Revelation.  Jesus the Lord has expressed this clearly in Sacred Scripture.  There can be no acceptable willful corruption of what God has established to be held.  As well, there can be no person placed in a position of responsibility who secretly intends to undermine Christian doctrine as regards moral sexuality, and that means that a person who is a committed, practicing LGBTQ should not be an ordained pastor in a valid Christian denomination.  In fact, as long as they preach a doctrine opposed to the Lord, they shouldn’t be preaching at all…at least for the good of their own salvation.

Read, understand, and obey Sacred Scripture.  Let no one be offended.  This is a warning for those who are not too learned in the ways of God, and who desire that God be someone who does not recognize sin or value obedience in sexual design.  Everyone naturally has sexual urges, but humans are the only ones who can willfully abuse the treatment of those urges.  Orient them on reproducing beloved life by being a mom and wife or a father and husband.  This is your only chance.

 

 

 

Our Sacrifice with Christ’s? What is It?

Love of the CrossWhat is your sacrifice, your oblation which is joined to that of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?  Do you offer it?

I was inspired to consider this question.  I have been wandering whether I am getting through to the Lord at Mass.  Am I being heard?  What should I be offering?  What can I possibly offer here which is not already annihilated by Christ’s own inexhaustible Gift for the eternal salvation of our souls?

It came to me.

It’s not just our praise.  Men brown-nose their bosses with praise daily.  No, it is not simply praise since praise by itself is empty…empty of what it is the Lord is seeking.

What is the Lord our God seeking?  He is seeking…

FAITH. He wants us to walk in to Him truly believing in our hearts that He is real and really loves us.

HOPE. He wants us to walk in to Him truly hoping in our hearts that He has a plan for us, a plan so wonderful and fulfilling that we would nearly die of joy if we knew it in its fullness now.

LOVE.  He wants us to walk in to Him truly desiring to obey every one of His words, whether through Scripture or through Tradition, knowing that to obey Him is to do everything which is exactly right for each and every one of us.  You know, the true obedience of love takes faith and hope.

SURSUM CORDA…ET GRATES.  So, when we are at Mass, and you hear “Sursum corda!” or “Lift up your hearts!” then exclaim in your hearts, “I believe you!  I hope in your plan!  I desire to do whatever you say, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  Speak to me!  Guide me!  Be with me!  Heal me! Refresh me in my suffering for you!  I am yours and You are Mine!  I am nothing without you. Thank you for what you are doing for me!”

Thanks be to GodThose who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me;
 to those who go the right way
I will show the salvation of God. [Psalm 50:23]

SMILE. Because we are so tempted and injured and so stressed by the world, this is our sacrifice, a sacrifice of the spirit which enjoys in us and brings our bodies along with it in a great big smile. 🙂

This is all summed up in St. Paul’s exhortation,

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:1-2]

And after our sacrifice to and with the Lord, in the Mass, a sacrifice of joy!

This day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. [Nehemiah 8:10]

I love You my Lord.  Why would I not? Thank You forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

You Are My Husband

This evening as I was working on my laptop, I caught myself drifting into a half-sleep very briefly and I heard a lady say to me, in a distinct and inaudible locution:

You are my husband.

My wife had not yet come home from work. But, this was a very comforting thing to hear. Why did I hear it?

The Lazy Servant Who Squandered Talent

Today, I’m writing about a personal situation which weighs heavily on me, because even when I pray to God in the Rosary, trying to think of Heavenly realities, He will not let me forget it.  He wants me to take action, after His own mind.

One of my parish priests has a problem with accepting responsibility for errors and mistakes which occur in the administration of the Sacraments and normal parish administration.  I have brought four serious concerns to his attention during as many years, and each time he has attempted to deflect responsibility for them, resorting to excuses in order to protect the unmanaged conditions surrounding the errors.  He has failed as a leader on all 4 occasions, being first and foremost concerned about avoiding any requirement to work in order to resolve real issues.  My conclusion?  He has just a little talent, he is selfish, and he is lazy.

His actions are directly reflected in this segment in the Good Lord’s “Parable of the Talents” where he teaches,

Using or Losing Talents

The talent shall be taken away from the lazy slave.

Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’  But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.  For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.  As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [Matthew 25:24-30]

So, I am taking the talents that the Good Lord gave me to give through him, and I will be giving them through other priests at another parish where the priests, regardless of their talents, are not lazy and are not selfish.  There will my and my wife’s spirituality blossom again in a pure Sanctuary where the servants are diligent and inspired, and in Christ

It’s God’s holy will that I do this, and it is my hope that the lazy slave, this priest, will reflect on what has happened and will seek self-improvement opportunities and will grow in grace and in good works so to avoid the sentence:

‘…As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [Matthew 25:30]

A Waking Dream, a Grinning Muslim Girl, and the Attack on Saudi Arabia

Last Saturday, in a waking dream, I saw very clearly in my mind a little girl, never seen before, who was dressed in what looked like Muslim attire.  It looked like it was made of a very dark brown and black wool and covered her fully (I could only see her from the chest up) and the material was probably 1/2 inch thick.  She was sitting at a 2 O’clock angle from me and sort of grinning at me.    I didn’t know the attire until I described it to a nun friend of mine who immediately told me it appeared to be of the Muslim tradition.  I’m attaching a photo which she found and which closely resembles what I saw (except the girls face was a little darker, probably from the sun).

afghan-girl-jesus-loves

Girl wearing Muslim attire.

Coincidently, the morning I saw the vision of this little girl (age 8 or 9?) was the same morning that either Iran or Houthi rebels launched the attack on the Saudi Arabian oil refinery.  I didn’t know about that attack until the following Sunday.  I was concerned all week about what might happen, and I am very pleased that President Trump did not act rashly.

So, who is this girl, and why did I see her?  It was like she and I were sitting an arms length away, face to face.  Her expression was kind.  My initial insight was that it had something to do with the very near occasion of war with Iran, and that, perhaps, things were going to be okay since she was grinning.  My other insight, and this came to me during the week which followed, is that she was a little girl desiring to become Christian, and that I could be that bridge to evangelize the children where she is located.  My second insight is directly related to locutions I had years ago while at Holy Adoration before the Lord who said, “You will be my bridge…”

It is common for me to sometimes see people that I don’t know during waking dreams.   I have expressed this in other blog entries.  I thank God for these experiences; I love these children, too, whoever and wherever they might be.

 

Finding God in “The Young Eyes”

As I was on my usual walk today with my dog, I was praying with the Lord. I had thought to pray the Rosary, but I was enlightened by the pleasantness of His Holy Spirit. My prayer was to Him to know Him when He is near. Then He said,

Find Me in the young eyes.

What do you find in “the young eyes”? Here’s what I think: You find youth, life, wonder, receptivity, joy and innocence.

Interestingly, this brings urgency to the fight against abortion. We may even find God in the eyes of those en-wombed infants whose very existence reflects the youth, life, wonder, receptivity, joy and innocence of our merciful God Who is Love Itself.

But even more, it is “the young eyes” of the spirit, that spiritual lens through which babes observe and judge. “The young eyes”, having yet to be bent over and corrupted by “the world,” have a clear eye through which goodness is seen in its true glory and evilness is seen as clearly as a Just Judge can see it. But, it is through “the old eyes” that those, injured by “the world,” having angrily forfeited or refused recourse to God now see goodness as evilness and evilness as goodness. “The old eyes” have grown dim, scratched and useless, and “the body” follows suit. Do not seek to find God in “the old eyes.” For as the Lord did say,

…but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [Matthew 6:23]

Make no mistake, even the elderly who lean on God in prayer and works can have “the young eyes.” For as the Lord did say,

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light...[Matthew 6:22]

As a babe can be “full of light,” so too can the elderly who are receptively filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in humble obedience and producing the fruits of the Spirit which are:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. [Galatians 5:22-23a]

Seen yet another way, we may look for God in the eyes of the holy and virtuous nuns and brothers who are fruitful in all of their ways and who do not go after titles and power and money and other things which seem desirable to the worldly and which bring corruption to those who abuse them for self gain. For as the Lord did say,

But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now,
    for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who are laughing now,
    for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. [Luke 6:24-26]

Yes, look for God in “the young eyes.”

The Lord’s Goodness – Two Souls, One Heart

Today, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I was praying to express my faith in the Lord’s real Presence in the Eucharist there. I was met with the inaudible response, “Come. I give you peace and pardon” and I saw in my mind an image of Him standing like a giant, extending His hand to me, smiling.

Thereafter, before processing to receive Him in the Eucharist, I heard a call to divine marriage, something I do not understand well yet. I state “divine” because that is the only way it can be known – it must be clearly discerned from what we understand in human marriage. But, it was given to me to know that this marriage was so strong and intimate that it would be as if I had the Sacred Heart of Jesus as my very own heart – two souls, yet one heart, human and divine. I don’t understand this fully, but I believe that it is very good.

So, when we receive the Lord faithfully in the Eucharist, perhaps He is giving us His own heart and desiring that we accept it to replace our own injured, fallen stony hearts. This is part of our call to divine marriage, becoming one in Goodness. For as the divine intention is written:

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. [Ezekiel 36:26-28]

Vision of A Lady Dressed for Matrimony and Understanding Metaphorical Marriage With God

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday morning, as the distribution of the Eucharist began during Holy Communion, I looked up, and in my mind’s eye, I saw the beautiful image of a lady dressed for her wedding. She was standing in the sanctuary to the right of the priest, our parochial vicar, who was facing the nave and distributing the Blessed Sacrament. She was also facing the people who went up to receive Jesus.

She was fully covered in a white matrimonial gown which appeared to be made of linen with pearls woven in (there were shiny glimmers here and there). There was no silk, no saffron veil, but all like a finely woven embroidery of linen covering her hair and face and draping over her gown. She was just standing there, her arms covered under her gown and veil.

This inspired in me the thought of a real Wedding Banquet, and the holiness of what we should be thinking when we approach the sanctuary during Holy Communion. The image was brief, but I saw her. Who was she? Was she a vision of Holy Mother Church?

Hear how St. Isaiah the Prophet writes of God’s love for the Church as His bride:

For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
    the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
    like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off,
    says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
    I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
    says the Lord, your Redeemer.
[Isaiah 54:5-8]

Hear how St. John the Baptist speaks of the Lord as Bridegroom to His Church:

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. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. [John 3:29]

Who is the bride here? We assume it is the Church after the imagery of Isaiah (and other prophets), and that the bride is not necessarily happy since it is only the friend of the bridegroom who is said to be happy. Hear also how St. Paul joins in to teach the reality:

For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. [Ephesians 5:29-32]

And with St. Paul, we see atheists Lord’s role as Bridegroom confirmed and understand more fully the Lord’s intentions to care for the Church as His Bride.

I think the image, then, was a reminder to us about the Lord’s intentions for the Faithful – that He give us a most Holy spouse in Himself, and that we be treated such that we may become healthy enough to respond to His call to be like a holy spouse in that divine metaphorical matrimony and marriage, the actual application and eternal living out of which remains veiled in mystical secrecy…and misunderstandings as a result.

Now, I think that many people, including devout religious, misunderstand this mystery of the metaphorical bridal imagery. I have misunderstood it, too. I’m sure that there are people who go after the religious, celibate life seeking something like a human marriage with the human person of Jesus Christ – an imagined, “perfect husband” who is found and intimately experienced in the heart and mind. However, those who follow this line of thought may easily be led into a fallacy, the fallacy of a real human marriage. This is not a human marriage – it cannot be; for how can a temporary institution be applied to an eternal state of being where that human institution, and elements of it, is no longer in effect? For as Jesus the Lord Himself revealed regarding the human institution,

…You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. [Matthew 22:29-30]

How do the angels of God live, and can their lives be spousal as we understand the word? We assume that we know about angels, but we do not know in fact since we are not angels and do not experience the life of angels. So, let us clearly state now that our relationship with God is metaphorically marital and monogamous, not really marital and monogamous in the sense of a real human marriage, and is somewhat like the little-understood lives and relationships of angels with God.

We can continue to build our understanding of metaphorical marriage with the Lord, and entrench our understanding of a requirement for metaphorical monogamy with God in the command which comes from God Himself,

you shall have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20:3]

Also, as the Lord commissioned Moses to teach to the Chosen People, Israel, a teaching which the Lord Jesus validated, we can understand a commanded metaphorical monogamy, not only between our current generation and the Lord, but also between our future generations and the Lord since we are to teach our children to also love God in a metaphorically monogamous way:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,  and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [Deuteronomy 6:4-9]

And, in summary, the vision of a lady dressed for Matrimony reminds us of the Lord’s faithful intentions for the Bride, the Church, in a metaphorical marriage with Him, and also the expectation that the Bride is or will become prepared to fulfill that honor, with a mind set for monogamy and, with that monogamy, the loving and dedicated care of the Lord.

Why Jesus Waited 30 Years to Start His Ministry

While I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the the Rosary yesterday (17 April 2018), 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]

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…

The Lord: “Me, Look to Me”

God the Father and Holy SpiritLast Sunday, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I was praying and had a dim vision of the Lord sitting in His Throne.  He looked tired and His attire was a red and bronze-gold colored robe of  thick, ornate fabric – kingly and manly.  Looking at me, He simply said (inaudibly),

“Me. Look to Me.”

I did not understand the vision at first – it was short and to the point.  Why did He say that to me?  What is the context?  But, as we drove out of the parish parking lot, I looked up at the license plate of the car in front of us and it stated,

“TRNTOHM”

I had NEVER seen that plate before in my life.  It took me a few seconds to get that “eureka!” effect – when I realized that the plate means “Turn To Him.”  When it came to me, I thought how strong a confirmation this is that He really is serious about getting this point across to me.

Lord: “Me. Look to Me.”

Lord’s Messenger: “Turn to Him.”

So, here’s what I think happened.  Earlier that morning, I was viewing the recent Medjugorje message, and I had decided that I should begin reading ALL of those messages and take them seriously, and follow them.  But, then I had this vision of the Lord directing me back to Him instead.  Okay.  I totally got it.

So, how do I look to the Lord?  How do I turn to Him?  I have begun to pray more directly to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I have also started praying seven Our Fathers / Hail Mary’s / Glory Be’s, but with more of my heart, meditating intently on what I am saying, and then stopping when I get an inspiration and then expressing praise or thanksgiving or remorse for sins and asking for His grace that I might be made holy and merciful as He is holy and merciful.  I am trying to draw closer to Him as my real father-father, and love Him as my super-superior father-father, especially since my Dad went to Him in September.  I am trying.  May He help me achieve His intentions for me.

And, now, I feel motivated to open up my heart and soul to greater faith in His total presence and love, not only for me, but for you.  I want to believe more deeply and talk to the Father and totally depend upon Him, in honor of His great love and total fidelity.  For as His Son, our Lord Jesus said:

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?  Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [Luke 11:9-13]

I want to be a good and holy child.  Maybe, all that I need to do is ask Him for the help of His Holy Spirit?

Thank You, Father.  I love you and am very, very grateful.  I feel you in my heart now. Thank You.  I love You, Abba.

 

 

 

 

Lenten Appeals – Is Jesus Embarrassed?

Today, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our pastor reminded us about the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, an annual exercise where pastors are required to direct their parishioners, while sitting in the pews, to actually fill out annual financial pledges for the Diocese.  He briefly reminded us about the pledge cards (from last Sunday) before he began the homily this morning.  I really appreciated the brevity, as it is our desire at that time to learn a lesson of God, not to be lectured on the needs of our very, very wealthy Diocesan church.

Resurrection and WoundsInterestingly, during he Liturgy of the Eucharist, with my eyes closed, I saw in my mind our resurrected Jesus Christ dressed in a common, dirty and dingy one-piece ankle-length tunic, as if atoning, standing behind the priest and deacon at the altar, inaudibly exhorting,

Come, all you who are thirsty and hungry! Come, take, eat, drink for free!  I give it freely! 

The Lord our God exhorts us that He does not charge us for His love.  He does not require from us a tithe to Him for what He offers.  It is offered freely, out of true love.  And, He gives us a symbol of personal atonement and embarrassment, on our behalf.

I sensed His embarrassment about the calls for funds, calls which seem to constantly emanate from the ambo in the sanctuaries of our parish chapels during these times.  The message is, “If you pay us, we will serve you and ourselves, too.”  This is not the Lord’s message, though, and He wants to make that clear.  For-pay permanent deacons, heed this warning.

I sensed His atonement for the sins of the Church Hierarchy.  The Lord is embarrassed at the many scandals which have been revealed – scandals at the hands of cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, teachers and parents – and instead of the Hierarchy contritely atoning for sins, it continues – administering daily routines – focusing on the money that can be gathered in from the hands of the Faithful during this season of alms-giving, fasting and prayer.  But, who is atoning besides Jesus?  That is, who is making amends, in their hearts, for the wrongs that have been perpetrating on the Church by its own Hierarchy?

Perhaps, during Lent, the Church Hierarchy should be atoning with Jesus Christ and alms-giving, not project-promoting and wealth-begging.  Certainly, projects are necessary, but, perhaps, now during Lent is a very good time for atoning.  For as it is written and as it was read at the Ash Wednesday Liturgy of the Word,

Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'” [Joel 2:17]

The Lord Jesus makes Himself present and known, “I Am here!  Know Me. I Am not leaving you.”  But, the Church Hierarchy sometimes makes Him seem less present, less real, more like Money, less like Love, less like He Who Atones and Redeems.  If priests participate in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, then priests should be moved, internally, to offer more outward signs of atonement for the sins of the Hierarchy.

At the end of the Mass for the final blessing, our Lord Jesus stood behind the altar, in front of His Tabernacle, and, with eyes closed,  I only saw His blessing.

 

Prayer of Intimacy With the Lord

Lord, yes, I want to love You as you desire me to love You. Prepare my heart for You. I trust You. I do will it. Make me Holy for You. For, You desire that I be holy as You are holy. Make me Holy for You. I do will it. And then love me, that I may overflow with an abundance of true love for You. Feed me with Your Essence in the Eucharist that I may be sustained in loving You and my neighbors, but You most of all, that I may love You chastely as You deserve. Come in to my soul and give Me Your Life, that we may be one together, that every breath I take is fed by the Breath of Your Spirit, that every beat of my heart beats with Your Divine Heart, that I may bear the Fruit of our chaste Union. Amen.

Cleansed by Spirit and Fire – Make Me Holy, Lord!

Early this morning, I was contemplating the chaste holiness of God.  It was a delightful experience – similar to what it might be like swimming in crystal clear springs of Total Goodness and Truth.  But, then my thoughts began to corrupt the experience, and it left me.  I was made acutely aware of my state of being compared to the most holy God.  I was acutely aware of the Lord’s expectation, and my and your duty:

I-am-the-Lord-your-God-I

My prayer from this morning was this:

Lord, cleanse my heart with the breath of Your Spirit and with Your Thoughts, that I may become one with You, purified through You, in You and with You. Without You, I am broken and coarse. But, You can make me whole and refined if You will it. This is what I desire, because I love You. Amen

Then, today, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the readings and homily were exactly in line with my early morning contemplations.  This is what happens when the Spirit is moving us.  We are being prepared even before we see and hear; we may even think about what the Pope will speak about even before he speaks at an audience, for example.

At Mass, we were at the point where the Priest begins the Eucharistic Prayer, and I began to imagine the Lord working in me.  The Eucharistic Prayer begins like this:

Priest: “Lift up your hearts.”

People: “We lift them up to the Lord.”

Priest: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”

People: “It is right and just.”

I prayerfully lifted up my heart, my very soul, in sorrow for my past errors and present unholiness and brokenness compared to God.  For He commanded this to be said to the congregation of the people Israel,

“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” [Leviticus 19:2]

The holiness of the Lord is so great, that is, He is so chaste and true and unerring in thought that even the Seraphs, hiding their faces, exclaim:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…”! [Isaiah 6:3a]

He is not one degree of holiness, but He is root of holiness.  We are called to be holy as He is holy, but the gap between our meager attempts at holiness and His actual holiness is huge.  We cannot scale the gap without His divine help, and we must certainly try.

But then I saw in my mind,

Jesus breathing His Spirit on my heart, and sparks flying from it like impurities being burned in a fire.  

After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, I heard,

You have received mercy today.

As our homilist suggested today, it was like being baptized again, for as the words of John the Baptist are written about the Lord in Sacred Scripture,

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” [Luke 3:16b]

I felt the Lord was helping me today – saying that He can, does and will help me, but He is the one who must do it in me.  And, I must protect what He gives me.

One of the things I struggle with, today, is defining my life of service.  I am married, and I do serve my wife as best I can, and improving on that as I go, there is a fuller service to which God calls me.  I hear,

Serve!

Serve God, but where and when and how?  And I hear at times of true prayer,

Marry me.

Marry God, but where and when and how?  I understand, but not fully since this marriage must be supernatural and in the spiritual realm.  There is a future meaning to it now: only a betrothal – a request.  I want to doubt it because my understanding is human, but then I believe it because I know that I do not understand the divine; how can I understand by myself?

But, this marriage cannot happen if I am not holy as the Lord my God is holy.  I invite Him to make me holy.

I adjure you, Lord. 

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

I desire this.

Have mercy; make me holy! 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

When Right is Called “Extreme”

Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan opposing N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo

To the Governors who spurn human life,
Who woo their constituents with license;
Who elevate the feeling of emotion
above the wisdom of faith and reason;
Who coin their adversaries as “extreme”
And remain belligerent to their counsel;
Both in and out of season:

Anyone alive is extreme
-to anyone who is dead.

Anyone filled with light is extreme
-to anyone who is filled with darkness.

Anyone filled with love is extreme
-to anyone who is filled filled with hate.

Anyone filled with faith is extreme
-to anyone who is filled with doubt.

Anyone filled with courage is extreme
-to anyone who is filled with fear.

Anyone filled with hope is extreme
-to anyone who is filled with despair.

If you are filled with good things,
then you are not extreme to God.

God fills His chosen with grace,
And His chosen lift up the weak.

Christ’s and our Mother Mary attests to this.
For as it is written:

God has filled the hungry with good things,
and has sent the rich away empty.

Who are “the rich”?

They have amassed material goods;
They seek comfort in passing things.
They have discarded spiritual goods;
In them, God’s wisdom is unseen.

But, in the end, they will see.
God will shed His Light.

The “rich” will see and know
That there is no “extreme”
In the Light.

Judgment comes; perhaps a reprieve.
A choice is made; it cannot deceive:

“I knew I was wrong; I was weak!”
The climb through Purgatory will be steep.

or

“I laughed all along! Get away from me.”
The fall into Hell – painful, swift and deep.

To the Governors who spurn human life, please:
Open your ears to hear.
Open your eyes to see.
Open your minds to think.
Open your souls to be filled
With “good things” from God.