Saturday, December 02, 2017

The Holy Father in Bangladesh

A Shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Pompeii at Raja Rampur, 
on the outskirts of Dinajpur, in Bangladesh, is a place of dialogue between religions.

The Holy Father dedicated his address to the prayers of the Most Holy Rosary.

In the church of the Holy Rosary, the Pope spoke to encourage the faith of the priests and religious of Bangladesh recommending devotion to the Holy Rosary.  It is a beautiful summons.
Christ’s compassion. The rosary draws us into a meditation on the passion and death of Jesus. By entering more deeply into these sorrowful mysteries, we come to know their saving power and are confirmed in our call to share it by our lives of com-passion and self-giving. Priesthood and religious life are not a career. They are not a vehicle for personal advancement. They are a service, a share in Christ’s own sacrificial love for his flock. By conforming ourselves daily to that we love, we come to appreciate that our lives are not our own. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (cf. Gal 2:20). - RV
I read an article on the Pope's visit at Zenit, which highlighted the shrine seen in the photo at top.  Even Muslims venerate this image of Our Lady, as the article points out:

“The devotion of Bangladeshis, Catholics, and Muslims, for the Virgin Mary has increased over time, and I am sure that, little by little, we will be able to promote meetings, collaborations, dialogue initiatives. The Virgin Mary can smooth the difficulties and obstacles put by men,” continued the priest.
Raja Rampuris is a prized destination to entrust oneself to the “Mother of God,” whose image is displayed also in Muslims’ homes and before which women, kneeling on a mat, pray calling her “Maryam.” - Zenit

I'm so happy the Holy Father's Apostolic visit was so successful.  It is reassuring to have the Successor of Peter confirm the Church in faith.

Today we get so caught up and distracted by those who spread fear and mistrust, those alarmed by the corruption of politicians and media personalities, and most especially those who speculate and warn about the 'apostasy' and the end times, as well as a Muslim invasion.  Perhaps they read too many articles from The Remnant or 1P5 and their thinking may be muddled?  They seem to be like those who love luxury, money, power and prestige.  Yet we have a humble Pope who confirms the faith of the powerless and weakest, and shows us the way of holiness, the conduct necessary in the dark night of faith, encouraging the prayers of the Holy Rosary as a means "to be more attentive to the Lord in prayer, meditating on his word and seeking to discern his will."

"The rosary fills us with joy in Christ’s triumph over death, his ascension to the right hand of the Father and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our world. The whole of our ministry is directed to proclaiming the joy of the Gospel." - Pope Francis 

Friday, December 01, 2017

Markets fall on ABC News report that Flynn is prepared to testify on Trump and Russia.

The false gods and the idols are falling ...

Single handedly Trump is isolating the United States, which explains why Putin wanted him in office in the first place.

Hopefully he will resign before starting a nuclear war.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

This is Christmas!

Angels surround the Word made flesh.

This is the perfect creche.   It is the focus, the center of the celebration - the Word made Flesh and dwells among us.  I wish our churches looked like this, I wish Mass was celebrated like this.

This is why I began to paint icons years ago, just when most of the images were removed from churches, and many of the altars desacralized.  I was trying to fill a hole ... I began collecting religious art and relics which had been tossed out and put up for sale online.  I looked for and began to paint Spanish Colonial and Baroque religious art. I was trying to replicate what had been removed from the churches; but even more deeply, I was trying to make present something only priests can do  - only priests can confect the Eucharist.  Only priests make Christ present among us as he truly was at Bethlehem, body, blood, soul, and divinity.

This is what we try to imitate at Christmas with our decorations and nativities - yet Christ is the Mass ... 'I AM the Bread of Life'.  The Mass is Christ's Mass.  We come to adore, to worship and to receive.  Our altars should reflect this splendor, this glory, that is Christ's Mass.

This is a splendid nativity
many of us would want,
yet we had it in our churches
when the Blessed Sacrament was 
reserved on a splendid altar
and the Eucharist was
celebrated in mystery
and beauty.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Spiritual Marriage of Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J.

Holy Communion is like that ...

There is a young saint - recently beatified, whose devotion led him to the most exquisite union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus ... the spiritual marriage. Yes. It is no less strange however, that the Word, left his Father, to become one with man, to become Bread from Heaven.

Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J., First apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain.

I read someplace that Bl. Bernardo's intercession is especially helpful to those who struggle with the vice of impurity. I think Bernardo's devotion to the Sacred Heart - the complete surrender of all his affections - is an antidote to all impurity. The grace of espousal seems to me to be similar to the consummate love of Jesus in the Eucharist for us, wherefore he gives us his body, blood, soul, and divinity at every Communion. Isn't it like that? Isn't that total union what we are called to? I like to think so at every Communion - even when I feel nothing, see nothing, hear nothing - it seems especially then that faith supplies.

I never had experiences such as those Bl. Bernardo participated in - I'm just grateful to be able to be  recollected after each Communion. Knowing he is there and I am with him. I like the way Bl. Bernardo put it: “I see that everything in my heart is moving towards God, drawn like iron to a magnet. It desires only God, searches only for God, and longs only for God….” For Bernardo, that was his constant state - and he remained faithful to the graces he received. For me, perhaps this desire is only imperfectly experienced in the thanksgiving after Communion. Which is why I never want to waste those moments of recollection.

Always holding my right hand, the Lord had me occupy the empty throne; then He fitted on my finger a gold ring.... “May this ring be an earnest of our love. You are Mine, and I am yours. You may call yourself and sign Bernardo de Jesus, thus, as I said to my spouse, Santa Teresa, you are Bernardo de Jesus and I am Jesus de Bernardo. My honor is yours; your honor is Mine. Consider My glory that of your Spouse; I will consider yours, that of My spouse. All Mine is yours, and all yours is Mine. What I am by nature you share by grace. You and I are one!” - The Visions of Bernard Francis De Hoyos, S.J. by Henri Bechard, S.J. (Ed. note: I am unable to verify this quote.)

In the ascetic-mystical life of the saints, God himself purifies the soul of disordered passions in and through purifying trials and temptations.  Thus proving true Christ's words, 'what is impossible for man is possible for God.'  Blessed Bernardo was no exception.
Apart from being favored by mystical graces, heavenly visions and saintly visitations, Bernard also suffered excruciating attacks from demonic forces. As happens to those who arrive at the threshold of mystical life, he was not spared “the dark night of the soul”, through which he struggled for five months. 
During this period, the devils began to taunt him: “Now you will see, you sanctimonious hypocrite, what it is to trifle with God when you fall into His hands!” His mind was filled with images of God as a Just Judge, Who was displeased with him. Bernard became despondent. His meditation, Mass, Communion, penances… instead of assuaging his sufferings, made him feel more wretched. The great graces and favours he had received in the past months now appeared as objects of ridicule. He could not find comfort in his companions, either. The periods of recreation after meals degenerated into pure torture.
In despair, he felt a furious urge to beat his head against a wall, to gnaw his lips or tear out his hair, or even jump out the window. More, he was violently incited to blaspheme God, the Blessed Virgin, the angels and his most beloved saints. Whenever he begged God for assistance, the devil would taunt him by saying that he had become unworthy of any grace because of his degenerated behavior. Bernard’s biggest harassment was in the temptations regarding impurity; he was bombarded by obscene thoughts and his reactions brought him to tears and made him gnash his teeth. Worst of all, he was getting more and more convinced that all the divine favors he had presumed he had received in; the past were merely illusions and only snares set up by the devil to drag him to hell.
Through it all, the power of Christ stayed with him and prevented him from going to extreme measures. Thus, in reality, he did not ever say the least word or do the slightest action that would have surprised or shocked his companions. Nonetheless, he suffered continually day and night, especially during his prayer and while going to Communion. He was facing a period of the dark night of the soul”. - Source

Blessed Bernardo died on November 29, at the age of 24 in 1735.

Something to think about ...

"You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives." - Luke 21:19

“Across that threshold I had been afraid to cross, things suddenly seemed so very simple. There was but a single vision, God, who was all in all; there was but one will that directed all things, God's will. I had only to see it, to discern it in every circumstance in which I found myself, and let myself be ruled by it. God is in all things, sustains all things, directs all things. To discern this in every situation and circumstance, to see His will in all things, was to accept each circumstance and situation and let oneself be borne along in perfect confidence and trust. Nothing could separate me from Him, because He was in all things. No danger could threaten me, no fear could shake me, except the fear of losing sight of Him. The future, hidden as it was, was hidden in His will and therefore acceptable to me no matter what it might bring. The past, with all its failures, was not forgotten; it remained to remind me of the weakness of human nature and the folly of putting any faith in self. But it no longer depressed me. I looked no longer to self to guide me, relied on it no longer in any way, so it could not again fail me. By renouncing, finally and completely, all control of my life and future destiny, I was relieved as a consequence of all responsibility. I was freed thereby from anxiety and worry, from every tension, and could float serenely upon the tide of God's sustaining providence in perfect peace of soul.” ― Walter J. Ciszek, He Leadeth Me

So yeah - keep on embellishing the Third Secret...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fatima Studies ...

For online conspiracy theorists Fatima really is about the sensational.

Even Monsignor Pope expected some sort of great sign.  Steve Skojec sums up the disappointment so many experienced after October 13, 2017:

Many Fatima devotees were, I think it’s fair to say, disappointed when the centenaries of each of the original apparitions in 1917 came and went with no discernible event taking place to mark the occasion. For my part, I have always believed that God prefers to be less predictable than this, though there is certainly precedent for divinely-ordered things happening on important dates and anniversaries. - 1P5
Just like the disappointment after the Third Secret was revealed - 'is that it?'  It was not enough for those who claimed to know more than the Church.  It's still never enough.

Catholic World Report published a decent interview with Kevin Symonds on the 'hermeneutic of conspiracy' which surrounds the Third Secret.  The interview is getting a lot of press since Symonds discusses a formerly unknown letter from S. Lucia to Pope Paul VI concerning the trials the Church was entering.  Most people who pray knew this at the time, therefore it appears Sr. Lucia was writing to assure the Holy Father of her support and prayers, rather than making some sort revelation of what was happening.  Paul VI surely was well aware, as can be known in and through several allocutions made by him.  Most notably, 'through some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church.'

Conspiracy theorists and false interpreters of all things mystical have incorporated these saying into their 'hermeneutic of conspiracy' to not only discredit Vatican II and the liturgical reforms, but to 'stir up' contention regarding the papacy and teaching authority of the Magisterium.  Today, not a few are even turning on Cardinal Mueller and Cardinal Burke - because they support the Pope.

I would recommend reading Symond's interview, as well as his book, the cover of which may or may not have been inspired by one small detail of my painting on the Third Secret.  (I wonder if anyone will see that?)  Anyway, it's a very good read, very well written, and covers all the crazy interpretations right down to the sources promulgating the propaganda. 

I have my own theory concerning the false and/or embellished secrets of Fatima - so popular among Fatimists.  It is actually related to Our Lady's prophecy that 'Russia will spread her errors.'  Today we have proof of how that is accomplished - those who admire Putin for it should be ashamed of themselves - but apparently they are blinded by their traditionalist ideologies.  Likewise, false apparitions and messages from Necedah, Bayside, and San Damiano in the 1970's have seeped into the mythology of the trad cult, and are widely accepted as fact.  Today, everything spread by these sources - 'Michael fighting' types who contaminated the Fatima message - is now propagated as the missing elements to the authentic Fatima message.  Hence all the screwed up interpretations and expectations we've witnessed this past year.  These false threads, once authoritatively refuted, have been woven together to discredit the Magisterium even further.  Somehow I think God must be gravely offended by those false prophets who do this.

In closing I will share this from the CWR interview with Symonds, discussing authentic sources as opposed to the sometimes politically motivated sources from France and North America.

Kevin J. Symonds: I have the distinct impression that the bulk of the scholarship on Fatima is performed in Europe. Not all of it is available in English, which is most unfortunate for the Anglophone world, as we are bereft of some excellent scholarship. That said, there is the critical documentation published by the Sanctuary of Fatima, which is available in Portuguese up to 1930 and extends to 15 or so volumes. There is hope of adding to this collection the post-1930 documents. Additionally, Dr. Cristina Sobral has presented the official critical edition of Sr. Lucia’s Memoirs. The Sanctuary of Fatima is also taking some steps to make solid scholarship available in English. 
My own contribution on Fatima came out of a desire to engage an influential body of literature that has largely emanated from France and North America. In the latter, there is the work of Father Nicholas Gruner and his Fatima Center, while in France there is the work of the Abbé Georges de Nantes and his Contre-Reforme Catholique. These two groups do not always agree with each other, but there was some collaboration between them in the 1980s into the 1990s. Later, in 2006, the Italian journalist Antonio Socci joined the discussions. There has not been much (if any) critical work addressing the body of literature published by Gruner and the Abbé, though there has been some response to Antonio Socci. My book is an attempt at providing a critical assessment of some contentious points that are generally common to all three. - CWR

As I always point out regarding this subject:  In Chapter 21 of Book II of the Ascent, St. John writes that God is displeased by the request for revelations and locutions, despite the fact that some believe their curiosity to know these things is good because God has revealed himself in this manner in the past. St. John asserts that God is not pleased, saying not only is he displeased, he is 'frequently angered and deeply offended.' Explaining:
The reason lies in the illicitness of transcending the natural boundaries God has established for the governing of creatures. He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled. A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful... consequently, God who is offended ... is displeased.
St. John goes on to cite several examples of God's displeasure from scripture. Now of course St. John is speaking of the illicitness of seeking knowledge of God through revelations and locutions, and in the cases he cites, these requests run contrary to God's will and are therefore sinful. As St. John explains why it was lawful to request signs and wonders in the Old Covenant, and why it is not expedient to do so in the New. 
We must be guided humanly and visibly in all by the law of Christ the man and that of his Church and of his ministers. This is the method of remedying our spiritual ignorances and weakness; here we shall find abundant medicine for them all. Any departure from this road is ... extraordinary boldness ... one must ever adhere to Christ's teaching. - John of the Cross
 There is nothing wrong with authentic scholarship and study to clarify the Fatima Message - just be careful of your sources. 

It was revealed recently that 
Pope Benedict used to get miraculous 
hang-up calls from Bayside.
What?  I'm kidding.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

The medal of the Immaculate Conception.

November 27 marks the feast of the Miraculous Medal, otherwise known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception.  Though the feast honors the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the memorial commemorates the anniversary of the apparition of the Mother of God to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1830, wherein Our Lady showed the nun the medal she wished to be made for those to wear seeking her aid and protection.  The Blessed Virgin spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”  Countless miracles followed, hence the name, the Miraculous Medal.  The story here.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Paradise of the children of Eve, refuge of sinners, consolation of the afflicted, solace in sorrow, light in darkness, enclosure for the homeless, rest for the weary, health of the sick, gate of heaven....
Pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to thee. Amen
O Mary, may your holy and Immaculate Conception be my refuge, my anchorage, and the way that will lead me to God.  Amen.
O Mary!  By your Holy and Immaculate Conception, make my body pure and my spirit holy.  Amen.

The medal really is miraculous, hence the name.

As Our Lady instructed St. Catherine:

 St Therese used to sneak these medals into the lining of the coats of workmen who came into the Carmel to do repairs.  I have done the same - I also hide the medal in works of art which I make.  When we do this we pray the prayer on the medal for the recipient.  It's not a talisman or magic, but rather a blessed sacramental - a sign of Our Lady's presence and protection.  Our prayer for others is an act of faith and love united to the prayer of Our Lady, of the Church, of Christ who makes intercession for us.

 The story of St. Catherine here.