Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Cross: The Requisite for Discipleship

Christ, the Strength of the Martyrs!

PRAISED Be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Last week, Simon received the name Peter. Today, he is called Satan. Last week, he was praised for receiving revelation from the heavenly Father. Today, he is rebuked for thinking not as God does but as human beings do. Simon Peter was rebuked for opposing the plan of the Lord to go to Jerusalem in order to suffer and die in order to be raised up. Many of us might object: Was it wrong for St. Peter to desire for the Lord’s safety and well-being? Apparently, we find nothing wrong with what Peter said. But this is because we also are thinking as humans do. We are not thinking as God does.

The Lord called Peter “Satan” because Peter was opposing the mission of Jesus to suffer and die on the Cross. He was acting as an “enemy of the cross”. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul spoke about the enemies of the Cross: “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”  (Phil. 3:18-19) To detest the Cross is to be its enemy.
To the Lord, the Cross plays an integral part of his mission. To him, it is the only means to enter into his glory. Thus, he makes it a requirement for discipleship. Anyone who wishes to be his disciple must embrace the Cross: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The doctrine of the Cross opposes the way of the world which is the way of self-preservation: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” The way of the world is self-preservation through accumulation. The world regards suffering as evil which should be avoided. We are taught that we must accumulate as much as we can in order to shield ourselves from suffering. But the Lord himself tells us that the rejection of the Cross is the path to destruction: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross wrote: “The entirely comfortable being-at-home in the world, the satiety of pleasures that it offers, the demands for their pleasures and the matter-of-course consent to these demands – all of this is darkness in God’s eyes and incompatible with the divine light. It has to be totally uprooted if room for God is to be made in the soul. Meeting this demand means engaging in battle with one’s own nature all along the line, taking up one’s cross and delivering oneself up to be crucified.” (Edith Stein, The Science of the Cross, 47.)

The path to life is the path of self-denial. The way of the Cross is the way of discipleship. But what does it mean to deny oneself and to take up the Cross? St. John of the Cross explains this through maxims. He said: “Take care that your inclination is ever directed: not toward the easier, but toward the more difficult; not toward the pleasant, but toward the unpleasant; not toward the restful, but toward the troublesome; not toward the more, but toward the less, not toward what brings you more joy, but what brings displeasure; not towards what prepares consolation for you, but toward what makes you disconsolate; not toward the higher and more valuable, but toward the lowly and insignificant; not toward what wants to be something, but toward what wants to be nothing. Seek not what is the better in things, but what is worse. Demand for the sake of Christ to enter into total denudation and freedom and poverty from all there is in the world.” (CWJC, A.1.13.6-8.)


Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

DEMONIC EXPRESSIONS

Be careful with words because they are not as innocent as they seem to be. A friend sent me a book entitled A Message of Hope: Confessions of an Ex-Satanist: How to Protect Yourself from Evil written by Deborah Lipsky who, for many years, lived as a prisoner of a satanic cult. Browsing through the pages, I came across this part which spoke of expressions that are not meaningless but actually attract demons from hell. I would like to share this part for our guidance: 

TOP 5 EXPRESSIONS THAT ACT LIKE A DOG WHISTLE 
SUMMONING THE HOUNDS OF HELL


1. "GOD DAMN IT"

In this phrase you are directly asking that the Creator of the universe to curse someone or something into hell for eve. It is said in an atmosphere of anger where no love is present, only hate. If you derive some sort of satisfaction from using this expression, that satisfaction means you are under the influence of demonic thought tampering. If saying it gives you a sense of power, you are trapped into the mindset of demons. To a demon, this selfish unholy request means that you have the audacity to ask God to commit an evil act on your command. In essence you are ordering God to do your dirty work!

2. "WHY DON'T YOU JUST DROP DEAD?"

By saying this you are actually pronouncing a form of a curse on someone else because you are wishing for them to die. When I was in school, I was constantly bullied. There was always a group of girls who would publicly humiliate me and then tell me to drop dead. As I tried to walk away, I would either trip in my nervousness or drop my books. That made them cackle in delight and hurl even more insult my way such as "loser" or "moron". To actually feel delight in someone else's pain is a "character trait" of demons. To laugh at someone else's misfortune after telling them to drop dead is an obvious tell-tale sign that they are under the influence of a cluster of demons.  Having "friends" or people support or encourage such behavior means there is a cluster of demons at work within that group.

3. "I SWEAR TO GOD"

This expression means that you are making an unbreakable vow in front of God regarding your innocence. Jesus himself warned against swearing to God in Matthew 5:33-37, "Again you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, do not break your oath, but keep oaths you have made to the Lord. But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

To use this expression to hide behind a false innocence is disgusting. Not only are you lying but you are manipulating the other person's trust by getting them to believe that God is vouching for your innocence. This expression is a favorite of demons everywhere.

4. "HOCUS POCUS"

Mainly this phrase is used in magic tricks but every now and then I hear it when someone says something to the effect, "There is a lot of 'hocus pocus' going on there." No Catholic should ever use this phrase as it is a derogatory corruption referring to the Eucharist: "Hoc est Corpus" or "This is my Body". Protestants back in the Middle Ages used this corrupted term to mock the Holy Eucharist...They would hurl this insult not only at clergy but also Catholic lay people on their way to Mass.

5. "KISS MY ASS"

I saved this expression last because it is especially vulgar. Sadly it is such a common expression in our society today spoken to show defiance. It is better known to Satanists elsewhere as the "oscularum infame" or "Kiss of Shame". During the traditional black mass this was considered a symbolic requisite towards earthly success. Participants would literally kiss the bare behind of the devil (usually the high priest
conducting the mass). Nothing gets a cluster of demons charging headlong towards somebody faster than using excerpts from the satanic mass.

(Deborah Lipsky, A Message of Hope: Confessions of an Ex-Satanist: How to Protect Yourself from Evil, Phoenix: Tau Publishing, 2012, 175-176.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bread Offered, Broken, and Shared

You yourselves give them food to eat!
Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

The disciples were concerned that it was getting late and they were in a deserted place. The vast crowd that came to listen to Jesus had to be fed. And so they proposed to the Lord that the crowd be dismissed so that they may buy food for themselves from the nearby villages. They must have been surprised that the Lord should tell them: “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” How could they provide food for all when they had nothing but five loaves and 2 fish? It definitely was not enough for them, but not for the Lord. He told them to bring to him what they had. Receiving the seemingly meager offering, the Lord Jesus blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples for distribution to the hungry crowds. The crowd ate until they were satisfied with leftovers that filled 12 wicker baskets.

What seemed a meager offering was enough for the Lord to feed all who were present. How the Lord multiplied the limited supply we will never know. But one thing we know is this, that the offering, no matter how meager it may be, had to be made. This is the greatness of the Lord: no offering is so poor that it cannot be worthy of him. We might hesitate that what we can afford to give might not suffice or might not be good enough. But the Lord tells us: “Bring them here to me.” He takes what we offer. he accepts our humble gifts of bread and wine. He blesses them and transforms them into his own body and blood. He makes our offering his own. He breaks his offering: His body he gives up. His blood he pours out. Then he gives us back what is offered so that in consuming this heavenly food, we might share in his divine life and be transformed into his likeness, the likeness of his compassionate and generous heart.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “Each celebration of the Eucharist makes sacramentally present the gift that the crucified Lord made of his life, for us and for the whole world. In the Eucharist Jesus also makes us witnesses of God's compassion towards all our brothers and sisters. The eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to a service of charity towards neighbour, which ‘consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, affecting even my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ.’ (Deus Caritas Est, 232.) In all those I meet, I recognize brothers or sisters for whom the Lord gave his life, loving them ‘to the end’ (Jn 13:1). Our communities, when they celebrate the Eucharist, must become ever more conscious that the sacrifice of Christ is for all, and that the Eucharist thus compels all who believe in him to become ‘bread that is broken’ for others, and to work for the building of a more just and fraternal world. Keeping in mind the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, we need to realize that Christ continues today to exhort his disciples to become personally engaged: ‘You yourselves, give them something to eat’ (Mt 14:16). Each of us is truly called, together with Jesus, to be bread broken for the life of the world.” (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 88.)


Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Prayer to Mary, Help of Christians

Mary, Help of Christians, when thou dost arise
to protect the Church, her victory is sure!
VIRGIN MOST POWERFUL, loving helper of the Christian people, how great thanks do we owe thee for the assistance thou didst give our fathers, who, when they were threatened by the Turkish infidels, invoked thy maternal help by the devout recitation of the Rosary! From heaven thou didst see their deadly peril; thou didst hear their voices imploring thy compassion; and their humble prayers, enjoined by the great Pope, Saint Pius the fifth, were acceptable unto thee, and thou camest quickly to deliver them. Grant, dear Mother, that in like manner the prolonged sighs of the holy Bride of Christ in these our days may come to thy throne and engage thy pity; do thou, moved anew to compassion for her, rise once again to deliver her from the many foes who encompass her from every side.

Even now from the four quarters of the earth there arises to thy throne that loved prayer, to win thy mercy in these troubled times even as of old. Unhappily our sins hinder, or at least, retard its effect. Wherefore, dear Mother, obtain for us true sorrow for our sins and a firm resolution to face death itself rather than return to our former iniquities; we are sore distressed that, through our fault, thy help, of which we stand in such extreme need, should be denied or come too late.

Rise, then, O Mary, incline thyself to hear the prayers of the whole Catholic world, and beat flat to the ground the pride of those wretched men, who in their insolence blaspheme Almighty God and would destroy His Church, against which, according to the infallible words of Christ, the gates of hell shall never prevail. Let it be seen once more that when thou dost arise to protect the Church, her victory is sure.

Amen.

(from the Raccolta)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Prayer of St. Francis Xavier

St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions



At the end of the Ramadan, I would like to invite you to pray this prayer by St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions:

O God, the everlasting Creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers we made by Thee and formed in Thine own image and likeness.

Remember that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter death for their salvation.

Permit not, I beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy Son should be any longer despised by unbelievers, but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of holy men and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy most holy Son, and be mindful of Thy mercy.

Forget their idolatry and unbelief, and grant that they too may some day know Him whom Thou hast sent, even the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Salvation, our Life and Resurrection, by whom we have been saved and delivered, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Buried Treasure

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Christian property marked for confiscation
The Muslim terrorists who took over the city of Mosul in Iraq declared a caliphate and started calling themselves the Islamic State (IS). They started marking Christian properties with the letter Nun (the Arabic equivalent of our letter N) which stood for Nazarene, the name which Muslims call Christians even from the time of Mohammed. These Christian properties were marked for confiscation by the Islamic State. Thursday 2 weeks ago, they made announcements that all Christians living in Mosul may choose from the following: Convert to Islam, Pay heavy taxes, Leave Mosul, or face death. The Christians were given until the next day, Friday, to comply with these demands. The Christians packed a few of their belongings and started to leave the city. But at checkpoints, they were told to surrender their cars, their jewelry, money, public documents and were allowed to bring nothing except the clothes they were wearing. For a week now, the city of Mosul, which was once inhabited by the highest number of Christians in Iraq, is now empty of Christians for the very first time in 1, 800 years.

These Christians could have chosen the easier alternative. They could have chosen to simply convert to Islam. In that way, they would have kept their properties and even their lives. But no, they chose to keep their Christian faith. They chose to abandon everything they had except their faith in Jesus. This is how much they valued their faith. To these Iraqi Christians, the kingdom of God is indeed a treasure buried in the field and a pearl of great price. To them, the kingdom of Christ is worth giving up everything they have in order to keep it. They would rather give up everything they owned than abandon their faith and convert to Islam. And now, they are suffering on account of their loyalty to Jesus. As if being reduced to poverty were not enough, these Christians continue to suffer because the Muslims have cut off the electrical and water supply of the towns that adopted them. Their miserable condition is indeed a very difficult test of faith. However, in their present suffering, they are being conformed to the image of Jesus who is the “firstborn of many brothers and sisters.” There seems to be no end yet to their sufferings and yet we are confident. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” The Iraqi Christians are giving a fitting witness to Jesus, a testimony which is a spectacle to the eyes of men and angels. Men see their sufferings but angels see their victory. “Those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he in turn glorified.”


Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!