Category Archives: Jesus Christ

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.

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.

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.”

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.”?

 

 

Prepare the Tabernacle of Your Soul for the Lord in Holy Communion

When we say at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.  But, only say the word, and my soul shall be healed,” we are expressing our faith in the Lord’s power and authority over us, even from afar.  

But in the Eucharist, He is really going to come to our dwelling if we invite Him.  Know that when you approach the altar for Holy Communion, you should be prepared to open the doors to your person, the tabernacle of your heart and soul, in order to invite Jesus Christ into your dwelling.  

How will you prepare for His reception?  Will you be able to see yourself inside your own dwelling where you can make preparations?  Will the light be on at the door?  Will you have repaired what has been broken?  Will you have cleaned your dwelling, put out the good dishes and crystal goblets, and have lighted a fire and have prepared a warm greeting?  Will you have water there to wash His feet upon entry and expensive ointment to apply, perhaps even to His Wounds should you find them?  

He will be there at the Eucharist.  How will you receive the Lord?  Will the light at your door be on?  Will you be present to greet him there in the tabernacle of your soul?  Will you be happy to greet Him?  Will you be scrambling to clean and prepare, like St. Martha, distracted with preparations upon His knocking on the door, or will you be ready like St. Mary, calm and attentive to His Presence and His Words and His needs?  Will you have faith that He already knows your needs?  

Think about these things when preparing for the Eucharist, to receive your special Guest.

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)

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!

  

In the Eucharist, Jesus said, “Know Me”

  As I was kneeling this morning before the Altar and Tabernacle of the Lord, before Holy Mass started, I was considering all of my sinfulness and giving thanks to the One God Who is in the Persons of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,  and also to Mother Mary, for everything They have done for me, for us, in spite of our consistent failures daily.  

I considered just how unworthy we are to be in His Presence, yet He comes to us, and calls us to Himself and gives Himself to us so that we might also have His Life, be healed, and live with Him forever.  

I prayed, “Make me obedient.  If only I could see what the Father is doing so that I might imitate Him constantly.  Let me stand by His side that I might just do as He does, and nothing more and nothing less, and please Him as He deserves.”

And then I remembered that Jesus said, 

Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also.  For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.” [john 5:19-20, NAB]

The Holy Spirit must have been helping me to pray this way since my prayer reflected what Jesus teaches.  This comforted me.

And, walking up to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, when I was within one person of receiving and before I bowed, I heard Him say, 

Know Me

This was an inaudible, calm speaking.  This made me very happy and I think I almost hit the priest moving forward to receive The Lord.  I know I could not hold back my smile.  It must have appeared awkward.  But this is what happened.

What a wonderful gift, to know the Lord because He desires it in His love for us.

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.

    
  

Call to Holy Confession

 

Roses in your Heart

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

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

“Come before Me with roses in your heart.”

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

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

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