Saturday, March 26, 2016

When the Light is Out, is Anybody Home?

Catholic Churches all over the world are empty of the Savior today. There is no red Sanctuary light. The Tabernacle is barren of the True Presence. I have not been in Church for a while since my disabilities have become more pronounced; but I recall many times, shaking my head in utter dismay when I watched folks coming into church and genuflecting on Holy Saturday. Some may say that it's just automatic to genuflect before entering the pew. Perhaps ... but then what does that say for when the Light is ON and Jesus IS in the Tabernacle? So many have forgotten the old ways. The TRUTH before it was watered down. 
I'm going to take just a little tiny section and expound on it, in hopes it might spark some interest for folks to take it further on their own. 

The sanctuary candle (or lamp) is burned continually in a Catholic or Orthodox church as a sign of the continual Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, under the appearance of the Host (Bread) kept the Tabernacle (the gold box) in each church building. The candle is a sign to those who wish to pray that Jesus is truly Present, looking at each person with love, listening to their prayers, and giving them the grace needed to deal with the problems of life. The only day of the liturgical year on which the sanctuary candle is not lit is Holy Saturday (following Good Friday), when Jesus is removed from the Tabernacle (safely reposed elsewhere until the Easter Vigil) as a reminder to the faithful of His absence when He was in the tomb after His death on the Cross. 

So often I have seen folks during the years that genuflect while speaking to their neighbors and not even looking towards the Tabernacle. I'm sure if Jesus was sitting on a Throne they would show a bit more reverence. Do folks not believe in the REAL PRESENCE anymore? Has the catechesis not been adequate to explain this in CCD and RCIA classes?



When we enter a Church, the Sanctuary light lets us know that Jesus is truly Present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Tabernacle under the guise of Bread (the Consecrated Host). We have seen throughout history many Eucharistic Miracles where the Host has Bled. Several instances of independent labs have stated that it's always the same type of Blood AB+ I believe and where there are Fleshy parts, it's always Heart Tissue. How do scientists in different states and countries come up with the same analysis unbeknownst to each other? Do folks CHOOSE *not* to believe in the True Presence because if they did, they would have to change their lives a bit and maybe let go of some worldly goals?

What is the most excellent BEST in the world compared to the least significant of heavenly eternity? It's NOTHING! GARBAGE! But (as they say), I digress. Point is, that we should be MINDFUL of Jesus' Presence and when we genuflect, do so with REVERENCE, as if He WERE sitting on a throne in full view! AND, we should genuflect TOWARDS THE TABERNACLE where HE IS. Bowing our heads as we genuflect (as we should be doing whenever His Precious Name is mentioned) is also desirable.  The genuflection should be full with your knee touching the floor (unless of course you are physically disabled ... but even then one can reverently bow the head and make the sign of the Cross).

I used to spend time with Jesus in the Tabernacle. Sometimes it would be just Him and me there ... it
was BEAUTIFUL and so profoundly serene. Of everything I can no longer do, this is what I miss the most. Still, I have sometimes asked Jesus to take a little piece of my heart to place in every Tabernacle of the world to console Him in His lonely prison when He's left unattended. Just as Jesus said to Peter, James and John in the Garden ... "Could you not watch with Me one hour?" We seem to have time for everything else in life ... even for foolishness! Yet, so often Jesus waits patiently for someone to come asking for His grace, keeping Him company, sharing their love with Him ~ frequently to no avail. THE best time you will ever spend on earth will be keeping Jesus company in the Tabernacle!


We say we love our Jesus ... we acknowledge He died a cruel torturous death for our salvation; yet we don't take time to really learn and study and PRAY to know Him better and love Him more? We spend more time planning a vacation or devote our time to a hobby or recreation. Think about this, really. All things of the earth are passing before our eyes. Jesus gave ALL He had to bring us eternal life with the Trinity in a place that we can't even conceive of the beauty! How IS it we put Him on the back burner most if not all of the time?

So please ... when you enter a Church, know what the Sanctuary lamp is there for ... look for the Tabernacle and genuflect as if Jesus was seated on His Throne before you. Then talk to HIM .. not your neighbors. He's there for YOU ... please be there for HIM. 

So on Holy Saturday, no need to genuflect before entering the pew
.... when the light is out, there's No One home. 



Friday, March 25, 2016

Divine Mercy Novena starts Good Friday

The Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday is April 3rd

DIVINE MERCY NOVENA STARTS ON GOOD FRIDAY

Divine Mercy Novena Instructions from EWTN

The Feast of Divine Mercy on April 3 is one of the most important dates in the Church calendar. This focuses on God's unlimited mercy to everyone especially the greatest sinners.

Jesus revealed to Sister Faustina on numerous occasions that a feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The feast is a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in the divine benevolence the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come. Jesus said: Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)

God loves us-all of us- no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. The message of divine mercy could be summed up by the ABC:

A- Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B- Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through others us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C- Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

HAPPY YEAR OF MERCY EASTER

DIVINE MERCY – The "2nd Baptism" for anyone going to the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist

"The Graces of My Mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, that is TRUST. The more a soul trusts the more it will receive.” "I desire the confidence of My People. Let not even the weak and very sinful fear to approach me: even if their sins be as numerous as all the sands of the earth all will be forgiven in the fathomless pit of My Mercy.” ~JESUS to St Faustina

POWERFUL BIBLE QUOTE ON JESUS' RESURRECTION:

“I am the resurrection and the life,” said Jesus. “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” ~John 11:25-26
God of mercy, You wash away our sins in water, You give us new birth in the Spirit, and redeem us in the Blood of Christ. As we celebrate Christ's resurrection increase our awareness of these blessings, and renew Your gift of life within us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God,  for ever and ever. Amen.

March 25: The Alpha and the Omega ~ Not this way again for 141 years

"Good Friday and the Feast of the Annunciation will not fall on the same day again for 141 years. The Beginning and the End. It's the Jubilee Year of MERCY. Coincidence? You decide."
Alpha 01This week is the holiest week of the year.  Through the Passion, suffering, death and resurrection of Our Blessed Lord, the curse of Adam is undone.  Our Lord provides the path to salvation through the cross so that we are no longer permanent exiles from Paradise.  This year, however, a rare convergence of holy days affords an added perspective.  This year, Good Friday falls on March 25, which is the feast of the Annunciation. From the year 1900 until this year, the Annunciation and Good Friday have converged only five times, 1910, 1921, 1932, 2005 and will happen again this year.  After this year, however, these two holy days will not converge again for another 141 years.  This is the longest stretch of time where those two holy days will not converge since at least as far back as the year 1700.  While the stretch of time may not be of any consequence, it is interesting to think about, especially considering these two feasts will not coincide again within our lifetimes.


Alpha 02

With Good Friday falling on the same day as the Annunciation, we can easily recall our Blessed Lord’s words to John in the Book of Revelation, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  In witnessing the Annunciation on the same day as the crucifixion, we have an opportunity to contemplate the fullness of the Incarnation as it is consummated in a single day.  And it’s no mere coincidence that brings these two holy days together.

St. Augustine tells us in the fifth chapter of Book 4 of his work titled, “On the Trinity”:
For He is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also He suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which He was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which He was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before nor since.
The long-standing tradition of the Church is that Our Lord was actually conceived on March 25, and He was actually crucified on March 25.  But when we consider that the Incarnation was a very specific and deliberate promise from God to undo the sin of Adam, there is another element to consider.
This past Sunday was the first day of spring.  If we consider the first day of spring to be a reflection of the first day of creation, as new life replaces the deathly sleep of winter, then we can likewise consider the six days of creation from that first day of spring.  And if we consider this past Sunday to be the first day of creation, an amazing thing happens as the sixth day of creation falls also on March 25.  And according to the Golden Legend by Archbishop Jacobus de Voraigne of Genoa, believed to have been published in 1260, that concurrence also is no mere coincidence:
Alpha 03This blessed Annunciation happened the twenty fifth day of the month of March, on which day happened also, as well tofore as after, these things that hereafter be named. On that same day Adam, the first man, was created and fell into original sin by inobedience, and was put out of paradise terrestrial. After, the angel showed the conception of our Lord to the glorious Virgin Mary. Also that same day of the month Cain slew Abel his brother. Also Melchisedech made offering to God of bread and wine in the presence of Abraham. Also on the same day Abraham offered Isaac his son. That same day S. John Baptist was beheaded, and S. Peter was that day delivered out of prison, and S. James the more, that day beheaded of Herod. And our Lord Jesus Christ was on that day crucified, wherefore that is a day of great reverence.
The intimate connection between the Incarnation and death of Our Lord and the creation and subsequent fall of Adam is undeniable.  But to consider that they truly could have taken place on the same exact day is extraordinarily remarkable.
St. Paul wrote about this connection in his letter to the Romans:
Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned—for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.
But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many. And the gift is not like the result of the one person’s sinning. For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation; but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal.
For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.

In this one passage, we can see that the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord is an undoing of the sin of Adam.  And when you think of the creation and expulsion of Adam taking place on the same day as the conception and crucifixion of Our Lord, so many more parallels begin to emerge:
  • When Adam and Eve sinned, they were expelled from a garden. Our Lord’s passion began in the Garden of Olives.
  • After Adam’s sin was discovered, God told him that by the sweat of his brow shall he eat bread. In the Garden of Olives, Our Lord perspired a sweat of blood in order to give us His Body, which He called the Bread of Life.
  • God cursed the ground and told Adam that “thorns and thistles it shall bear for you.” After Our Lord was arrested, He bore a crown of thorns upon His head.
  • In the Garden of Eden, Adam ate the fruit of a tree which brought about death. In Jerusalem, Our Blessed Lord carried a dead tree on a path to Calvary.
  • In the Garden, God took a rib from Adam’s side while he slept to create Eve. On the cross, after Our Lord gave up His spirit in the sleep of death, a lance pierced His side, and from the flowing blood and waters came His mystical Bride, the Church.
  • When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God denied them access to the Tree of Life. At Golgotha, Our Lord’s crucifix became the new Tree of Life, and His Body and Blood became its fruit.
  • Through Adam, death entered the world. Through Our Lord’s death and resurrection, eternal life became possible for man.
Alpha 04St. Matthew named the place of Our Lord’s crucifixion in the 27th chapter of his Gospel.  He said, “they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull).”  According to Jewish tradition, Golgotha was a reference to the final resting place of Adam’s skull.  In many artistic depictions, Our Lord’s crucifixion is placed directly above a skull, and so even the location of the Crucifixion of Our Lord took place in relation to Adam’s sin.
Our Blessed Lord said that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  As St. John so beautifully wrote:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be
through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
Our Lord was there in the Garden with Adam.  He created Adam and gave him life.  Our Lord was with him when he sinned, and He was with him when he was expelled.  The sentence of death was spoken by Our Blessed Lord’s own lips, but in His infinite Mercy, He offered Himself in Adam’s place so that we may have eternal life with Him.



May you have a very blessed Holy Week.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

St. Joseph Novena - begins March 10th

Saint Joseph, you are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I come to you as an example for holiness, for you are especially close with God. Therefore, I humbly commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:
(Mention your request)
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.

Day 1 – St. Joseph Most Just, Pray for us!
Day 2 – St. Joseph Most Prudent, Pray for us!
Day 3 – St. Joseph Most Loving Husband, Pray for us!
Day 4 – St. Joseph Most Strong, Pray for us!
Day 5 – St. Joseph Most Obedient, Pray for us!
Day 6 – St. Joseph Most Faithful, Pray for us!
Day 7 – St. Joseph Pillar of Families, Pray for us!
Day 8 – St. Joseph Patron of the Dying, Pray for us!
Day 9 – St. Joseph Terror of Demons, Pray for us!
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.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Concerning Islam

joan of arc, william ettyPeople in all cultures reach out to God – usually in the way they are taught. It is instinctive to us to want to know, love and serve our Creator. Most people, even if errant, are sincere in that desire. We are all embedded with a desire for the good, as well. To care for each other, love our neighbor…so we have tools to approach the throne of God even if our basic knowledge and wisdom is deficient.
Most Muslims, like other peoples, want to reach out to God…and do so in the way they were taught. Most would like to do so without the bloodshed, coercion and oppression. In fact, I suspect that many Muslims who emigrated to America over the years came specifically because they wanted to reach out to God in a way that was familiar to them, but without the violence and oppression. America, a land that guaranteed human rights, must have seemed the perfect place to do that. But America betrayed them. In America rose a toxic notion of tolerance, a notion that first enabled, then celebrated and favored cultural practices that were inimical to the values of freedom. This new American “tolerance” empowered the very brutes those Muslims came to escape – and all in the name of tolerance.
Up until 9-11, I considered Islam one of the three great monotheistic religions. It was not the actions of the terrorists that roused my suspicions, but the silence or obfuscation of the rest of Islam on the matter. If a group of Catholics had done that, I knew my Church would immediately rise in righteous anger to denounce the terrorists, to condemn them and proclaim excommunication on any who adopted such poisonous doctrines contrary to the faith. That did not happen with Islam. About the best they could muster was the “street-gang” defense: “It wasn’t us.” – denying personal responsibility while remaining ambivalent – and often excusing – the act.

It was that disturbing episode that led me to study the Koran. It is not very large…only about the length of the Psalms. I was stunned. I had heard all the quotations “proving” that Islam was a religion of peace. It was a shell game. To simplify, the Koran has two very different sets of rules, one for fellow Muslims and another for infidels. All the quotations supporting the “religion of peace” fantasy come from sections on how to treat fellow Muslims with whom you are in conflict. The rules for infidels are that they must convert or die. The only wiggle room is how long you give them to convert before you kill them. Even more shocking, all manner of brutalities against them, including torture, rape and murder – even against children – are not forbidden but are, in fact, considered blessed acts. When Muslim terrorists attacked the Beslan School in Russia in 2004, I stunned some of my friends when I said the Muslims would torture and rape some of the children. They accused me of bigotry – until it happened. Then they asked how I knew. I told them it is in the Koran – and I had read it. My study of the Koran had led me to the shocking realization that the terrorists WERE the expression of authentic Islam.

To be sure, the Hadith are important in Islam. These are commentaries written after the Koran, by various Islamic scholars, purporting to give additional words of Muhammed not included in the Koran. Some of those scholars made attempts to try to soften the clear homicidal bent of the Koran towards non-Muslims. Yet the Koran remains – and it is binding, no matter how much some of the Hadith tries to square the circle.
The great Christian writer and historian, Hilaire Belloc, argued that Islam is not a unique religion at all, but a singularly perverse Christian heresy. Belloc was an occasional collaborator with G.K. Chesterton and was president, for a time, of the Oxford Union. While I think his case is somewhat overstated, it carries deep insight into the historical phenomenon which is Islam. Certainly Islam recognizes but one God, emphasizes that man is to serve him, and posits an afterlife. Other than that, the differences are more striking than the similarities.

Lepanto: The Battle that Saved Europe - click for story
In Islam, God is a distant, alien thing. There is –and can be – no kinship between man and God whatsoever. The relationship is that of master to a dog, with a master who encourages a brutal viciousness in his dogs. There is no spark of divine dignity in any human, even the holiest of Muslims. They are either good pets to their malignant master or they are not. People are ever treated like things. This is how you get “honor killings” of family members for various – mainly sexual – transgressions. But those sexual rules only apply to women. A sister who has been raped is “broken, like a plate,” as I heard one moderate Muslim man describe it. She is no good anymore and must be discarded. Islam is a religion of appetites, not transcendent aspirations. It is a religion of rules, not of principles of morality. There is no kinship between God and man. Even the supposed rewards of the afterlife are purely temporal in nature – and still treat women as things. The great Muslim warrior supposedly gets 72 virgins to do with as he will. What, precisely, does a Muslim virgin get other than a vicious man?
G.K. Chesterton once said that the man who is intellectually serious about his faith must “either ascend into Catholicism or descend into disbelief.” While that may be overstated, too, it presumes that a man starts from a spark of truth to begin his inquiries. If your image of God is not as Father, as the source of good, but instead as a demanding, petulant murderer, you are severely handicapped in your search. I have said – and maintain – that most Muslims honestly want to know, to love and to serve God in peace with their fellows. I have also said – and maintain – that Islam, itself, is a satanic deception. In that sense, Belloc is absolutely right that it is one of the greatest of the heresies.

Our challenge then is to evangelize Muslims where we can and defeat Islam where we cannot. Christians can be terribly naieve. We think we have been at peace with Islam for much of the last few centuries, with some sporadic hostilities. We have not. Islam’s aim has always been to conquer the world and wipe out any remnants who will not convert. It has occasionally been engaged in strategic armistices with the west, but has been at war with it since late in Muhammed’s life. Ultimately, it will only accept victory or death.
I never propose that Christians should act with coercive aggression, even with Islam. If an Islamic nation is willing to live within its borders and maintain peace with its neighbors, it should be left alone. But the robust vigor of St. Joan of Arc and the best of the Christian Crusaders is my model for how Christians should behave in defending their faith and lands against military assault. Understand that Islam is starkly different than Christianity in how it defines the role of the state and the citizen to religion. In Christianity, individual conscience is respected. The state is expected to act justly, according to transcendent principles that guard human liberty. In Islam, religion, politics and ideology are inextricably entwined. There is no freedom of conscience, only religious rules that must be ruthlessly imposed in all walks of life.


I see myself quoted frequently as saying that Our Lady of Tepeyac is going to convert the Muslims en masse. That is true, but only half of what I have said about the matter. I say that Our Lady will, indeed, convert Islam, mainly through its women, but not until we in the west confront it seriously, both militarily and intellectually. Then it will collapse on itself quicker and more easily than anyone can imagine.

All democracies before America ultimately degenerated into chaos, then dictatorship. Because of our success, we have completely lost sight that democracy is one of the most unstable forms of government ever devised. The genius of the founders was primarily in introducing stabilizing elements into the mix, elements that we have systematically and slowly dismantled over the last century or so. The system I would adopt presupposes at least a temporary absolutism. We are headed in that direction. Pray that whoever the absolutist leader is is committed to faith, family and freedom – and that after clearing away the cultural, ideological and structural brush and deadwood that has accumulated, he will return to us a system that is based on our foundational principles.


This is what I would do:
  1. Declare America formally a Judeo-Christian country that is open and tolerant to all people of goodwill, whatever their faith. No unit of government and no official can ban public or private displays and expressions of Christian or Jewish faith. No institution shall coerce any non-Christian into participation of public expressions.
  2. Do not allow Islamic terrorists to hide behind human shields in their own countries any more. Protect civilians in hostile zones by giving them frequent warnings that if terrorists have embedded themselves among them, they need to eject them or get out – because we are coming.
  3. Forget about notions of proportionality. If hostile powers insist on targeting the west or western citizens, the only acceptable solution is their unconditional surrender or their destruction. Continue pounding them until one or the other has been accomplished.
  4. Send FBI agents to watch over every mosque in the country. If worshippers do not incite violence, leave them be. If they do, shut them down. In the 50s and 60s, some racial supremacists used churches as cover for their nefarious schemes. The FBI shut down such covers while respecting the right of innocents to worship. We have a much larger, malignant force using some mosques as cover. End it.
  5. Sharia law is incompatible with freedom and American principles. Outlaw it throughout the country. Remove it root and branch anywhere it appears. Deport any who scream about it.
  6. A false dualism has arisen over the matter of refugees. Taking them in here or leaving them to die are not our only options. We have had such situations before – and in the Middle East. We can work to set up refugee camps in the Middle East to receive and house the refugees without endangering our population in a time of war. If that is not sufficient, we can find geographic locations elsewhere where western citizens are not endangered and then commit to humanitarian assistance.
There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation being spread – and even shrewd people don’t seem to notice. I watched a segment of Fox News where a conservative host conceded a liberal guest’s point that current rules require two years before a Syrain Refugee can be integrated into the U.S. The next segment announced that 351 such refugees have been integrated into the U.S. this month – and it did not even occur to the host to ask how that could be since it has not been two years. Be deliberate. Don’t let emotion blind you to obvious questions. Bad information leads to bad policy. Steady on.
 By Charlie Johnston