Category Archives: Christian

“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.

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

I Make All Things New

Passion Fruit Flower

Passion Fruit Flower with Trinitarian Stigmata

As I was praying the Sorrowful Mysteries the other day, something happened which has not happened before:  I began to see flowers blooming from the Holy Wounds of Jesus, most especially from the palms of His Wounded Hands.  Blooms were unfolding from Blooms and Jesus was happy.

This reminded me of Sacred Scripture, the Apocalypse where St. John writes:

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.”

[Book of Revelation, 21:5, NAB Holy Bible]

 

 

When Human Moral Compasses Spin Out of Control

Lost: people get lost. They need a Guide.

Gravitationally resistant: people start losing the ability to feel grounded, and feel like they are floating away, untethered from the secure reality of Earth’s forces. They need an Anchor.

Bi-directional: people walk in two, directly-0pposite directions at the same time. They need a Stop Sign.

Trans-directional: people make an abrupt, seemingly permanent change in direction which opposes the innate, permanent force which tugs on them, always calling them back to their original direction. They need a Reset.

Quasi-balanced: people try to appear balanced, but the inner workings are not properly aligned. They need a Calibrator.

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6]

The Guide is Jesus…Show them the Way.
Lord, have mercy.

The Anchor is Jesus…Pull them down to safety.
Christ, have mercy.

The Stop Sign is Jesus…Prevent them from crashing.
Lord, have mercy.

The Reset is Jesus….Make them new again.
Christ, have mercy.

The Calibrator is Jesus…Re-Balance their lives.
Lord, have mercy.

 

For all souls suffering from LGBTQ forces, we pray for the Lord’s compassionate mercy and ultimate healing:

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

At Mass: The Gaze of the Father Through Jesus – A Promise of Care

During the Vigil of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday, we were praying the Our Father, and as I looked up at the large Crucifix hanging above the altar, I began to see Jesus Christ in my mind’s eye.  He was standing before me – there was no beard, no long hair.  His clothing was more Byzantine looking, with copper and gold and purple colors.

As I looked at Him, I began to remember what Jesus told Philip, who urgently wanted to see the Father:

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” [John, 14:9, NAB Holy Bible]

And I believed that I was seeing the Father as I prayed.  At that moment, Jesus cocked his head to His right, and smiled at me, more so with His eyes, and through His eyes, this divine gaze, I knew the great Love that He has for me.  This knowing was immediate, and it penetrated me such that it affected my emotions – I felt joy at that moment and wanted to laugh, knowing His loving intentions.  (Of course, I was not going to belt out a laugh during Mass, but you get what I mean.). For He Is Love – that is His constant nature – to be Love, an outpouring of all that is necessary and good for us. He then also moved his arms and crossed them over His chest in a symbolic gesture of love.  I dare say that this was an eros love, a love which is passionate and urgent and direct.

Before Mass started, I offered up my Mass intentions for my wife who is having some preliminary signs of what I hope is not cancer.  I have also placed all of my trust in the Lord, that in His loving care, nothing will happen to her that will not be best for her.  And I believe this.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I trust in You and I desire to love and appreciate You even more.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Burning with Unquenchable Love

  

Thank You and Good Friday

I would like to thank all of my followers on WordPress.  I don’t post very often, but when I do, it is because I am inspired to do so.  Today, I watched a live Passion Play in Tenerife (Canary Islands), Spain.  I was impressed, and both I and my wife cried – it seemed so realistic.  May God bless you all with His great Mercy.

Dear Pope Francis:  We Will Miss You

  I was napping this afternoon, and I awoke to a clear image in my mind of the face of Pope Francis.  His face had been adorned for burial.  I only saw his face, well-lighted, peaceful, yet cloaked in darkness all around as if he was already buried.  I saw him very close, face-to-face, from 2 to 3 feet away.

I researched and found that, on 18 August 2014 (about 19 months ago) while he was on his papal plane flying back from Korea in August 2014, he hinted that he would be done in 2 to 3 years.  Rev. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf analyzes the Q&A session between the Pope and journalists and confirms his prediction here:  http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/08/did-pope-francis-predict-his-own-death/

When a Pope dies,  procedures specified in Church law and specifically the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, must be followed.  

Infant Jesus: “…in the womb, I knew you…”

At today’s Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Gospel reading was on the Wedding at Cana.  The pastor really “hit home” when he mentioned that, at the prompting of Mother Mary, the good Lord Jesus miraculously made somewhere between 150 and 180 gallons of really, really high-quality wine for the wedding party.  This showed the Lord’s generosity – he did not just respond to Mother Mary’s prompting; He was zealous, providing an overabundance of the best wine!  St. John goes on to demonstrate Jesus’s divine generosity throughout the Gospel.

Now, the pastor used this homily as an occasion to speak about abortion, especially since the National March for Life will be happening next Friday on the 43d anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Infant Jesus

Infant Jesus: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”

During his homily, he quoted Jeremiah 1:5:

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.

But, as the priest was saying this, I saw, in my mind, the Infant Jesus standing before me with arm and hand raised, and He was saying the same words.

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.

The picture to the left does not do it justice.  The Infant Jesus was even younger and He had his right arm up and his hand and finger extended upward – as if He were blessing me.

Now, it is the finger of God which wrote the Ten Commandments onto the two tablets which Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai.  As such, we are reminded that what the Infant Jesus says is God’s Word – His Truth, and it is to be believed as written.  All human life is known and precious to Him, even before they are born.

Let there be no misunderstanding about the reality of the human personage and sacred dignity of all unborn human beings, and let those who have aborted their children or who helped others to do so seek the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  repent, seek full rest and mercy and healing in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, join in the overabundance and generosity of the Lord’s Wedding Feast, and then witness to others about the Truth.

Mother Mary Smiling in Me

 

“My dear Son, i adore you”

Yesterday, I took another Rosary walk, and I was praying the Joyful Mysteries.  For the second time in a month, when I meditated on the Presentation, I saw Mother Mary holding her infant son, Jesus.  

The first time, she was in a heavenly place, all white with a translucent, opaque, frameless sort of window behind her and standing on a multi-stepped white platform and dressed in a flowing, floor-length white gown with a light blue mantel draped over her head and flowing downward (similar to the statue in my own parish, but much more elegant and realistic).  She looked at me, and she offered the infant Jesus to me to hold in my arms.  She was trusting me with her baby Jesus.  I took Him and cuddled Him in my arms and then gave Him back to her.  This was a precious experience, not only because He is Precious, but because I have no children of my own.  Most often, when I contemplate God, especially in the Holy Spirit, I know His Preciousness…so very, very precious and sweet to my soul.  This sentiment has been foreign to me all of my life until these most recent years.

 

“You make me so very happy”

 The second time, yesterday, I saw Mother Mary, wearing a royal blue mantel this time, standing and holding the infant Jesus in her arms.  But, this time, she was standing next to St. Joseph I presume, and they were waiting outside the Temple in the bright sunlight.  Mother Mary was cradling and swinging Jesus back and forth in her arms while looking down at Him.  She was very happy, and the day was very bright.  And then she looked directly at me, from about 30 feet away, and she smiled at me.  It was a huge smile, and I felt this smile in my heart, and it was like a welling up of joy.  And she did it again, and I could not help but also smile and laugh in joy with her.  

If anyone saw me at that time, they would have no idea why I was laughing!  I can imagine that they would think that I might have a mental health issue; I even considered that myself – “Here I am laughing out loud spontaneously, but just walking along by myself with my dog.  I must look crazy!”

 I needed this.  How merciful and delightful this vision was for me.  May you also receive them, and more.

Son from the Sun

To grant credibility to my earlier dream of about 5 days ago, God granted this sign yesterday.

  

Healing Epiphany: Light From Light

Good morning cornfield South Dakota

Bright, sun-lit road in the corn field.

I had a dream this morning that I was riding a bicycle along a level road with sun-lit cornfields on my left and my right.  The sun was shining brightly in the clouds directly ahead of me.

 

And then, from the sun came light which began to form the shape of a brilliant, Light-Man in the clouds to the right of the sun and standing on the horizon, and that Light-Man was brighter than the sun itself.

In my heart, I knew that this was God.  Like the light which comes from the sun, so the Son is begotten of the Father, Light from Light, True God from True God, consubstantial with the Father – being of the same one substance with the Father, Who is all Merciful and Loving.  This was Jesus who affirmed:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12, NAB Holy Bible]

My heart began to swell with hope, and I began to feel giddy, praying to God with sentiments of love and desire.  I said, “Take me!  Take me now!”  for I had been feeling tired and ready for a life of peace and happiness with God, if that be His Will for me.

Sun Man in the Clouds

Surging, Healing Light of God

And then, knowing my weary condition, I asked Him to heal me, and at that moment, the Light-Man, like Christ Himself, surged in brightness before my face, engulfing me in His Light, and I felt His Power piercing deep into my soul, and my head was jolted as if something came out of me, and I began to feel joy, real Joy!

 

I have been in a very good mood this morning – filled with hope.  I told my wife about this, and she stated, choking back a sob, that she has no intentions of me going anywhere anytime soon!

But, this must be sort of what Saints Peter, John and James experienced at the Transfiguration.  St. Peter was obviously giddy, wanting Jesus, Moses and Elijah to stay – He didn’t want to leave either!   Here is the account from St. Peter’s account of the Gospel (as penned by St. Mark):

The Transfiguration of Jesus [Mark 9:2-8, NAB Holy Bible]
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

Beware of False Prophets

The Lord, Jesus Christ warned:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.  So by their fruits you will know them.”  [Gospel according to Matthew 7:15-19, NAB Holy Bible]

And the prophet, Jeremiah prophesied:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts:

Do not listen to the words of your prophets, who fill you with emptiness;

They speak visions from their own fancy, not from the mouth of the LORD.”

[Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, 23:16, NAB Holy Bible]

Jesus Laughing in Me

 

American Bald Eagle in flight.

Yesterday, as I took my long Rosary-walk with my pet hound dog (7.5 miles), I was praying the Joyful Mysteries.  I was thinking about how and when to change my career orientation to be more Theology and service – focused.  I saw an eagle flying above after I had the thought of the choice that I would PREFER to make, but which would be difficult – which seems unlikely for me.  What does the eagle mean?  Anything?  Or am I placing a meaning upon it?

But here is the really good part.  Upon praying the mystery of the birth of the infant Jesus, I imagined the little infant in Mother Mary’s arms.  I saw his little feet and knelt and kissed His toes, and His feet recoiled, and He smiled and laughed in joy.  And then, my heart swelled, and I felt joy and also laughed in joy!

Joyful Infant Jesus

Now, it is not natural for me to think of something and then have intense feelings like this.  It was as if Jesus was there, in me, laughing and feeling joyful in me such that I could know His joy.  What a blessing it was.

Divine Lesson in Humility?

As I walk and pray in silence, it is not unusual for me (or others who pray) to hear inaudible words (like a locution), presumably from God.  I believe that it is God Who speaks to me, and to all.  Many do not care to listen for God, or are not able due to spiritual incapacities.  I admit that, due to preoccupations, I do not “hear” God as much or as often as I would like.  I have simply been distracted.  I would like to get much closer again.

Though, recently, I have had time to meditate and pray more.  I have been working to improve my soul and have been reaching out to God to know Him in my heart even more.

This morning, I sensed His Presence in me and I heard “Choose.”  For lack of a prepared response, I hastily prayed, “I choose You as my King and Master, my Lord and Savior.”  And then I looked up in the sky and saw three very large vultures circling over my head about 50 feet up.

Vultures Flying OverheadI thought, “I’m a dead man walking.”  Then, I thought of this verse immediately:

“Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. ” [Matthew 24:28, NAB Holy Bible]

And then I thought to myself, “How proud I am that I should think that I can choose God.  In fact, it is He who has the power to choose me.” Where is my humility before God?  I must have a high opinion of myself.

I continued to walk, and I prayed to God for humility like that of Jesus Christ, that I might emulate Him totally in my life.  I did not pray this without fear.  I mean, to emulate Jesus Christ is a very tall order, and it can (and will?) come with great hardship!   Of course, I would rather be able to be most humble without hardship.  But who am I to know how best to grow in humility?

And then, shortly after my prayers for humility, I heard geese, and then looked up, and there was a flock of geese coming directly toward me and then over me.  They were very loud, too.

canada geese in flight

A flock of Canada geese in formation

That made me feel better, that God had heard my prayer and accepted my request for more humility, like that of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The goose, as a symbol, means providence  and vigilance.  Providence means “divine guidance and care” and vigilance means “the quality or state of carefully noticing problems or signs of danger.”

So, I think that is affirmation of my recognition of my bumbling into pride and God’s immediate help in exposing where I need improvement.

But why did I hear “Choose.”?