Category Archives: Christianity

Why Jesus Waited 30 Years to Start His Ministry

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

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

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

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

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Mary prompts Jesus: “They have no wine.”

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

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

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A Warning to Catholic Bloggers and Authors

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

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

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

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On Judgment Day, the Just Judge will say:

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

Amen.

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

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

 

At Mass – His Sacred Heart Exposed for All

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

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

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

Sacred Heart of Jesus

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

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

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

A Blessing on My Niece and a New Springtime is Coming

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

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

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

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

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

Flowers in Summertime

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

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.

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.

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.

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].

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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]

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Where the Center of the Universe is Presently Present to Us

 

 

 

 

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.

Seeing Christ the King:  The Holy Mass in my Mind

  It is a beautiful sight to see, in my mind, The Lord, Jesus Christ walking in parallel with His priest toward the Ambo during the singing of the Alleluia, but being much larger in stature than the priest and adorned in white cloth instead of green, with golden filigree and embroidery, with a crown, walking confidently, and with a slight smile as He contemplates the love He will serve in His Word.  

Likewise, it is beautiful to see the Lord, Jesus Christ coming forward in the clouds when the Sanctus is sung.  At the Epiclesis, He breathes, “Receive My Spirit – receive Me.”  In Holy Communion, there He Is to give Himself for you – smiling affectionately, “I AM truly happy that you are here.”
These images have come to me over the last several weeks during several Sunday Masses.  I am happy now to share them.  

Let us actively  engage our  hearts, minds, souls and strength at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  

Christ the King, (Russian Orthodox icon)

To Learn Humility = To Change Perspectives

Learn of me. I am meek and humble of heart.

Learn of me. I am meek and humble of heart.

It is sometimes easy for me to lose composure when I allow pride to govern my reactions.  For example, there are times when I present something that I believe is valuable and represents my personal contribution, and therefore, self-worth, but the one receiving it disrespects it, and I get angry and want to come back with an arrogant response.

This has happened to me on a few occasions recently where I work.  By the Grace of God, I believe that my responses have been somewhat muted and controlled, not meting out all that my emotions demand.  I am grateful to God for this.

Interestingly, Grace also allows me to see beyond my pride, and to grasp the idea that I really can do better with what I presented…as if, after the fact, if I choose to moderate my emotions and listen, I am allowed to see as if the dark pride-encrusted lens through which I had been looking had suddenly been wiped clean.

I was praying about pride and humility this morning, and what causes my pride:

Pride is allowed to rule my actions when i measure my self-worth by my own, worldly standard.  “What I have presented is very good because I am smart, and I like it.”

In contrast…

Humility is allowed to rule our actions when we measure our self-worth by God’s holy Providence and Standard.  “I believe that I am here and have a job by the Grace of God.  What I have presented is good only if it satisfies God’s purpose for my being here.  If it does not, He will let me know through the one receiving it, and I will comply.”

So if my boss does not like something, my response should be one of humble happiness in having the opportunity to make it even better.

I desire to be a most humble servant for God, for the benefit of others with whom I come in contact.  I pray that the Lord God will help me.  So be it.  Amen.

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Six (6) Moral Imperatives for Humanity

  When praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one can find six moral imperatives for humanity.  Inasmuch as these mysteries reflect upon the entrance of God into Humanity, these mysteries can also reflect the entrance of Morality into humanity.  

1. The Annunciation / Human Dignity:  All human life must be treated with the dignity commenserate with its potential capacity for charity, creation and innovation.

2. The Visitation / Human Freedom:  All human life must be permitted the freedom to pursue peace and prosperity.

3. The Nativity / Human Fullness:  All human life must be permitted to achieve fullness of natural life, become who it is meant to be, from natural conception to natural death.  

4. The Presentation / Human Fruitfulness:  All human life must be permitted to present itself for service to humanity, to be fruitful in service to each other.

5. The Finding / Human Truthfulness:  All human life must strive to be truthful in all its works.

6. Hail, Holy Queen / Human Compliance:  All humanity must comply with the aforementioned moral imperatives by obedience to that authority appointed for the good of humanity.

  

Blessed are Those Who Vacation for Jesus

  Jesus Christ sent His disciples out to preach the Good News in the villages, two-by-two, and they came back excited about the feats and miracles they had performed, but were also weary from their hard work.  So Jesus said to them,

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.  So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.”  [Mark 6:31-32, NAB Holy Bible]

My wife and I finally committed to a vacation yesterday, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.  I had been doubtful before, but Mother Mary seemed to ease the door open for us yesterday to commit.  We found a Catholic country where we can attend Mass, and we are going during a holy season of the year.  It will be our own pilgrimage.

Today, at Mass, I heard these words as I prayed:

Blessed are those who follow Me to a deserted place.”

I had not realized it before, but we did make Jesus Christ a top priority when selecting a vacation spot…and it will be a deserted place for sure!

  

What if Pope Francis Allows Clerical Marriage?

  What if God inspired Pope Francis like this: “Pope Francis, while sitting and reflecting on the Wedding at Cana, fell into a trance. In his trance, a large sheet unfurled from heaven like a large drive-in movie screen. On the movie screen were images of all of the patriarchs and of all of the prophets and of all of the apostles who had married, and even of the Holy Family, of faithful Joseph who had married a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary who was pregnant with Child, presumably out of wedlock, and then an image of all of the multitude of priests and religious who had failed in their commitments to celibacy – too many who had gone to hell or who were still in purgatory, and the multitude of the myriad thousands who had also been led into hell and into the deepest recesses of purgatory by the immoral examples of some priests and religious over the last 20 centuries. And then the Voice said:

Francis, betroth and marry!’

And then Pope Francis said,

 ‘No, Lord, I could never do that nor ask my priests to feel free to do so! The marital act would bring uncleanness upon my priests and defile your sanctuary and turn our priests toward their wives and families instead of setting their hearts on the Bride, the Church!’  

And then the Voice spoke these words:

‘Do not call unclean what I, the Lord! the Lord! the Lord! have made clean!  Too many have been lost by the unfaithfulness of some of my priests!  Betroth and marry, and raise children, and by your good example, make my Bride ready, and then lead my Bride along the safe Way to My Wedding Feast!’

What if he saw this image and heard these words 3 times, and then pronounced a new discipline of a marital option for priests?

This image is not far off from the scene from the Acts of the Apostles where God declared pork to be clean:

The Vision of Peter [Acts, 10:9-16, NAB Holy Bible]

 The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime.

He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance.

He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners.

In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky.

A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.”

But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”

The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”

This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky.

God’s Tenderness During Holy Mass

  
At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today, I was preoccupied with my past sins and the weakness that I show seemingly often in my daily life, often listening to sin as if it is not such a bad thing. 

But there were consoling words today.

I heard, “Marry me” twice, the first time during the Confiteor and the next time during the Sanctus.  This calling is reminiscent of God’s calling to all of the People of God to come to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and be joined in unity with Him.  The Prophet Jeremiah gave us God’s own imagery for how He wants us to relate to Him:

31″Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” [Book of the Prophet, Jeremiah, 31:31-34, RSVCE, Holy Bible]

And here, St John reveals that the spouse of the Lamb is the Church of the Faithful:

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.

7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

8 it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” [Book of Revelation, 19:6-9, RSVCE Holy Bible]

I saw in my mind an image of the hand of another man, not physically present, clad in priestly attire, holding his hand out over the Chalice before the words of Consecration as if a saint had come down from heaven bringing with him the power of the Holy Spirit.

  
I heard, “Totus tuus” twice during the Agnus Dei as I imagined our Savior as a meek lamb.  “Totus tuus” was made popular by Polish Pope Saint John Paul II, and it means, “Totally yours.”  

Our priest today was a visiting priest from Poland.  I have a feeling that the doors of Heaven were wide open and Pope Saint John Paul II was there serving this priest and bringing God’s consolation to us.

    
  

When We Die, the Spiritual Life Takes Over

 

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

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

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

As St. Paul instructs:

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

So, let us trust in God and His Plan.  

Mother Mary’s Thoughts And Presence During the Pentecost

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother Mary is one with the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

A Conversation in Purgatory

Souls receiving relief in Purgatory.

Souls receiving relief in Purgatory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPECULATION ON THE RESURRECTED BODY

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

Perhaps it is helpful to speculate that:

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

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


Making Eucharist

Pure, Precious, Holy Spiritual Food for Eternal Life

Pure, Precious, Holy Spiritual Food for Eternal Life

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

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

Precious.

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

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

Jesus said, “Know Me”

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

Christ Crying in Me

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

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

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

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

 Remember his love for the children of Jerusalem:  “As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.'”

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