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I Envision Jesus at Pandemic Holy Mass

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

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

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

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

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

 

There is No “Old Mass” nor “New Mass”

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

GOD HISTORICALLY DIRECTS LITURGICAL CHANGE, AND HAS AGAIN…

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

A NEW ROMAN MISSAL CAME OUT OF VATICAN II COUNCIL…

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

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

1962_Missale_Romanum

Vetus Ordo Missae, 1962

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

Missale Romanum 2002

Novus Ordo Missae, 2002

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

AVOID HERETICAL THINKING AND EXPRESSION

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

REHASH

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

There is:

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

IN CONCLUSION

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

 

 

 

 

We Cannot Feign Holy

Holiness is a journey.  We cannot stop where we are and say, “I have found myself to be holy.  I will stop now and rest.”  No.  If we do that, we will be quickly uncloaked and our hidden shortcomings revealed.

One test of holiness is that of the degree to which one has humility.  Humility does not feign holy.  Humility seeks holy, desires to have more holy, and listens in order to know and understand holy, accepting itself to always be lacking in necessary holiness.

Another test of holiness is that of the degree to which one has a spirit of obedience.  Obedience does not feign holy.  Obedience responds to holy like a soldier dutifully responds to a commander.  Obedience measures its progress by the standard set by holy and then, when the deficiencies are determined, works hard to grow closer to the standard for holy.

Are you holy?

Luke 18:9-14

Pharisee, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people!” Publican, ” ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

 

 

Divining Revelation: The Christian Response to Authority

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

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

Obedience to Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And The Last Pastor Resigned for Cause

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

So What Is It?  Trump or Me?

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

 

Warning to Methodists on Gay Marriage

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

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

gracumclynn-reconciling-church-logo

UMC Logo with Gay Theme

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

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

False Prophets and Their Punishment

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

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

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

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

“The dog turns back to its own vomit,”

and,

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Our Sacrifice with Christ’s? What is It?

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

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

It came to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Lazy Servant Who Squandered Talent

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

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

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

Using or Losing Talents

The talent shall be taken away from the lazy slave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

afghan-girl-jesus-loves

Girl wearing Muslim attire.

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

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

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

 

Finding God in “The Young Eyes”

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

Find Me in the young eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money or Love

Money and things

are not love.

Love is much more

Relational and spiritual;

Love is much less

Isolated and material.

Love communicates;

It is free and abundant;

It is not exhausted.

Money is spent;

It is contingent and scarce;

It is oft exhausted.

Love is uncreated;

It’s source is holy God.

Money is created;

It’s source is fallen man.

Intense desire for true love

Is well-directed and virtuous.

Intense desire for money

Is mis-directed and vicious.

To be hated

For lack of money and things;

To be sought

For glut of money and things;

How miserable a life can be.

To be loved

For joy of virtue and communion;

To be sought

For sharing gifts of consolation;

How pleasing a life can be.

Without money

I will never lose Love.

Without Love

Money cannot help me.

The Lord: “Me, Look to Me”

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

“Me. Look to Me.”

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

“TRNTOHM”

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

Lord: “Me. Look to Me.”

Lord’s Messenger: “Turn to Him.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Lenten Appeals – Is Jesus Embarrassed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

My prayer from this morning was this:

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

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

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

Priest: “Lift up your hearts.”

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

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

People: “It is right and just.”

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

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

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

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

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

But then I saw in my mind,

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

After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, I heard,

You have received mercy today.

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

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

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

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

Serve!

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

Marry me.

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

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

I adjure you, Lord. 

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

I desire this.

Have mercy; make me holy! 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

God’s Smile is Holy Spirit

I noticed the love of God in my heart today.  Have you ever noticed Him?  It is like a smile unfolding in the soul.

Making All Things New

New Earth and SkyAt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning,  I drifted away, thinking of the new Earth that God would bring about at the end of time.  It must have been a prayer or, maybe, the readings which set me adrift, or maybe the Spirit.  I’m not sure.

I thought of our current Earth and the things in it which seem fallen – like stinging insects, venomous snakes, poisonous plants and trees, viruses and plagues.

The Son of God, when He comes, will take all of those fallen creatures away.  Christ will fill all things with Himself, and all will be at peace, and happy in Him.

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” [Revelation 21:5]

I have known this peace that all will have – no worries, no unfilled needs, but only fullness of Life – contentment in Him.Jesus on the Cloud

Amen. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

Divine Life from Bread of Life

Jesus said, “Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” [John 6:57]

What is your purpose on Earth? Why is there life here, but not elsewhere? From where does life, your life, the life of a blade of grass or of a corn stalk come? Why do we eat of life that we may live on Earth? And when we die, because we only ate life which came from Earth, shall we also return to the Earth to be re-formed into a blade of grass or a stalk of corn?

Catholics believe, no, that we shall not return to the Earth, but that because we eat of the eternal Divine Life, He Who Is our Bread of Life, that we shall live eternally with God.

Bread and Wine, Jesus Hands

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.” [John 6:48-50]

When My Dad Died in September

Of course, no one knows that the reason I did not blog in September or in October was because my Dad got sick and died in September.  My brother and I were with him: his body would not respond to treatment, and he slowly slipped away peacefully, without any struggle, according to God’s will.  But, God was with us.

During my time with him, I had placed a Miraculous Medal on his bedside table to help him in the case he was going to go on a spiritual journey to God – and to keep him safe.  He was still an intermittent Episcopalian, and I had no idea about the state of his soul.  I figured that it would be an aid, in some way, a draw of divine favor from God if he needed it.  Interestingly, I found it about a month earlier laying on the ground.  I had no idea what to do with it.  I kept it in my pocket looking for an opportunity to give it to someone in need.  And this is where the need was fulfilled.

MIRACULOUS-MEDAL

Front and back of the Miraculous Medal; the back shows the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary

Two days before he died (it was the anniversary of his own Dad’s death), in the morning, we saw great signs which gave us hope that he would heal and come back.  Treatments were working, he felt better, he ate some, he walked around, and he had lucid conversations with us.  He looked deep into my eyes twice and told me how much he loved me – the sincerity was firm – he was filled with Love.  It was a true blessing which we will always cherish.

But, on the evening of that day, he began to see the spirits of beloved relatives at the foot of his bed – those who had loved him and had since passed away – a few aunts and a first cousin.  He told me when he was seeing them, and I asked him how that made him feel.  He said, “Comforting.  It gives me comfort, son, a lot of comfort.”  A few hours before that, he had expressed an ambiguous feeling of fear – “I’m afraid!” – as if, perhaps, his soul had felt a certain slipping and uneasiness. I reassured him of my presence, and then came heavenly help which made all of the difference.  Oh, what a blessing for him, and for us, that God was with us and sent him comforters to ease his anxiety.

Dad was a truly good man, and I love him very much.  He was caring and merciful, and as Jesus promised, Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy [Matt 5:7].

My brother, a nondenominational Christian, asked me what should be done with the Miraculous Medal.  I told him to keep it, for it had been in the presence of the holy event of Dad’s passing away to God.  Brother kept it.

Requiescat in pace, Dad. 🙂

 

 

“Heaven is Here”

Today, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I distinctly heard during my personal, mental prayer while the liturgy was unfolding, that “Heaven is here.”  I could also sense others, in my mind’s eye, who were there praying and adoring, but not physically there – that is, there only as spiritually sensed.

Pope FrancisI thank God, and whoever He sends – perhaps my guardian angel – for revelations like these which remind me of the reality which is there and here, even though veiled.

One day, many shall be transformed and awake anew in that state of heavenly reality which will show us that we are not in a “place” as much as we are in a “state of being.”

For, as St. Paul and St. John promised:

Listen, I will tell you a mystery!  We will not all die, but we will all be changed…[1Cor15:51]

and

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  [1 John 3:2]

God Walking With Me?

Recently, I am often startled by the feeling that someone is constantly beside me. It makes me think of Christ: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)

Jesus and Jacob’s Joseph – Similarities?

Several weeks ago, while I was on yet another Rosary walk and praying the Joyful Mysteries, I had an inspiration.  This occurred as I was getting ready to meditate on the 5th mystery (Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple).  I’m finally writing it now because when I get an inspiration, I must write it.

In my mind I was prompted to think, “What happened to Jesus?  Why was he lost and his parents had no idea where he was?”

Here is St. Luke’s account of what happened:

188012-mary-and-joseph-find-jesus-learning_smWhen the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. [Luke 2:43-47 NRSVCE]

The Navarre Commentaries on the subject states that when the Jews would travel to and from the Temple for the Feast of Passover, the men and women of Nazareth would travel in two different groups and the children were allowed to travel in either group.  So, it is likely that there was a miscommunication between Mary and Joseph on whether Jesus would travel with her or with him.

The inspiration was that Jesus, because he was such a good and virtuous child and because the “legend” was likely known, or at least rumored, that he was born the “king of the Jews” and “Son of God, was not well-liked by his cousins who were jealous, and that one of Jesus’s cousins deceived Mary and Joseph into thinking that Jesus would go with him, instead of Mary or Joseph, on the trip back to Nazareth – either with the men or the women, but then deceived Jesus into thinking that Mary or Joseph wanted him to wait at the Temple for them to pick him up.  After neither of them came, he stayed at the Temple, where he was found 3 days later by his astonished parents.    [Now, what made this so believable was the memory of Jacob’s son Joseph, whose story is told in Genesis 37 – 47, whose 11 brothers tried to kill him because he was so good and favored.  But I will take that up later.]

This theory becomes evident here:

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.”  He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. [Luke 2:48-50 NRSVCE]

His parents had no idea that he would be at the Temple, and Jesus thought that they knew he would be at the Temple because of his cousin’s mischievous lie.

On the way home, Jesus said nothing about the cousin’s mischief.  Jesus decided, in virtue, to keep the matter between him and his cousin, to see if Jesus could impress upon him why what his cousin did to him was wrong.  Jesus showed him what he had done – what might have happened and what would still happen similar to the story of Joseph son of Israel [Genesis 37-47].  Then Jesus, in his great love and mercy, forgave his cousin who was sorry.

Now, not stated in Sacred Scripture is the realization that this event was a symbol for what would happen in the future – that Jesus would be deceived by one, be killed, but then be resurrected a true King and Savior in 3 days.

As I stated early, if it can happen to Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), then it could happen to Jesus for many of the same reasons, too.  For, as it is written of Jacob’s Joseph:

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words…So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. [Genesis 37:5-8, 11]

Further, his brothers tried to kill Joseph and mislead his parents, too:

joseph-in-pitSo Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits…[Genesis 37:17-20 NRSVCE]

Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They had the long robe with sleeves[c] taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. [Genesis 37:31-34 NRSVCE]

Joseph then is sold into slavery, rises to power as governor over the lands of Egypt, and is discovered there years later by his brothers who had tried to kill him.  Joseph, knowing who they are, does this:

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. [Genesis 45: 1-5, NRSVCE]

Joseph, realizing what God had done to and for him and why, accepted God’s will and forgave his brothers.  Jesus, knowing his Father’s will and plan, also forgave his cousin for his mischief.

The story of Jacob’s Joseph made it clear to me what had happened to Jesus, how and why he had been lost for 3 days.  He was not well-liked as a child – he had the heavy burden of being not only virtuous and favored in every way, but having already the title of “king of the Jews” and “Son of God” as a child.  This was a hard burden on him – waiting until his mother, Mary was prompted to set in motion his mission and ministry at the Wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

The Living Music that Calms, Sustains

Pretty Singing FlowerThere have been times during my personally-sung Morning Prayer (Lauds) that I have heard a beautiful form of what I can only believe to be divine music which, in a mystical way is alive – living.  I hear what I imagine could be music which comes from living creatures who know their music and who must cooperate with an unseen director or choreographer to blend their music into a soothing rhythm which is beautiful, sustaining the spirit.  I become like a hidden spectator – there, but not there, a temporary spectator of a hidden place and event, hearing music in parallel to my own sung melodies.  The tones are low and rumbling, the beat is enlivening and energetic but moderate, and it seems to be a combination of winds (large woodwinds and things with expanding skins – like one would find in a big bullfrog but which looks more like a big air-breathing mushroom), soft drums, and “shish-shish-ing” shakers – things which are natural in their construction, perhaps even alive, and all harmonizing in low, soothing tones.  flowers-from-alice-in-wonderland-disneyThere are no metallic instruments at all – no sharp tones – no humans or humanoid creatures holding and playing anything artificial.  It’s all organic.  It’s all comforting.  It’s all phantasmic.  I hope it’s true.  I hope I hear it again when I sing Morning Prayer again.

Scriptural Authority of Mary, Mother of Jesus

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

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

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

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

the-transfiguration-of-jesus

Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

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

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

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

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

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

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mother Mary’s Coronation, Queen of Heaven

Is Little Samantha an Angel?

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

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

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

St Therese Liseux - Little Flower

Little St. Therese Liseux – The Little Flower

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

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]