7/2/15

The Sin of Silence

MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2015


To Sin By Silence: A homily by Fr. Peter Mitchell


Fr. Peter Mitchell is a pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Parish- Greenville, WI. The following is the homily he delivered on the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (June 27-28, 2015)
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men." - Abraham Lincoln

My dear parishioners, I had hoped I would not have to give this homily. But as your pastor and shepherd, I must speak today, lest I sin by silence and act in cowardice. This past Friday, June 26, by a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has told us that our entire nation must accept the redefinition of marriage. The decision is being hailed by many as a victory for love. Our President's twitter account acclaimed the decision as victory for freedom with the signature #LoveWins. It is no secret that the Catholic Church opposes this decision, and so it would seem to many in this confused cultural moment that we are now part of a church that is opposed to love, and is in fact a church that proclaims hatred by its teaching. For a long time now our society has been being prepared to celebrate and affirm this decision as a victory for love - the press, the entertainment media, our schools, the medical profession, business associations, the military - every aspect of our society has veryaggressively been told that to oppose this decision is to be against the free expression of love. Why would wewithhold the right to happiness and love from fellow citizens? Why would we tell others they cannot fulfillthemselves in the way they choose to? Everyone is now forced to accept this redefinition by means of judicialrewriting of the law. And - here is the crux of the issue for us as the church - if we will not accept thisredefinition, we are expected to be silent. And it is in this light that I wish to take President Lincoln'schallenging words - "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men" - and ask how wemay respond courageously and joyfully to the present challenging cultural moment.

Let's be clear about what happened on Friday in terms of the big picture of the history of Western Civilization.I've brought a few books along for dramatic effect. Let's see... Socrates...out the window. Plato...out thewindow. Aristotle...out the window. Roman law...out the window. Notice we haven't gotten to Christian sources of law and culture yet. The Old Testament - Genesis 19, out the window. The New Testament - Romans 1 - read it, it is so clear! "While claiming to be wise they became fools...God handed them over to theirundiscerning mind to do what is improper" - out the window. St. Augustine, out the window. Thomas Aquinas,out the window. The entire legal precedent of the United States up to 2003, out the window. The implication ofcourse is that all of these sources of our law had a blind spot of prejudice when it came to the definition ofmarriage. All of these wise men were unenlightened, and it is only as of June 26, 2015, that we can say that we truly live in a free and loving society. Hence the hashtag, #LoveWins.

What was the reason for all of these foundational sources of our culture condemning the behavior associatedwith the redefinition of marriage, for calling such behavior a sin and a crime? Let's say this very simply - withgreat wisdom, they understood that such behavior is destructive. It is destructive of the human body because it goes against human nature - it causes disease and death, and no less importantly it is destructive of the human soul. It leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and even suicide. It is destructive of families and of children's happiness. This was the established consensus of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), until 1973, when it removed such behavior from its lists of mental disorders in a change that had absolutely no scientific or medical basis but was pushed through by pressure from a small group of activists.

Now, however, we are told that the entire society must legally accept the redefinition of marriage and thusaffirm the rationalization that what is bad and destructive is actually good and fulfilling. My dear people, let'ssay this simply and clearly - to call what is bad good is a lie. And the redefinition of marriage into somethingother than a permanent covenant between a man a woman for the purpose of raising a family is a lie. Whywould we be opposed to Friday's decision? The simple answer is- because it is based on a lie.

If someone would ask us, "Why is it a lie?" we need to be able to connect the dots as to how we got here. There is a very simple thread of logic running through the Supreme Court's decisions since 1966 concerning, first contraception, then abortion, and finally the redefinition of marriage. All three issues are intertwined, andultimately to embrace one as a right is to embrace the others. We need to be able to understand that logic so as to refute it. First, in 1961 Planned Parenthood sued the State of Connecticut for the right to distributecontraceptives, which was at that time against the law. In 1966 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the US SupremeCourt defined the right to contracept as part of the "right to privacy" it claimed to find in the Constitution. Thisdecision was then invoked in the decision with which we are all familiar, Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalizedthe right to abortion as part of the "right to privacy.' It made logical sense. If children intrude upon our right toprivacy, we need to have a way to eliminate them. To fully embrace the use of contraceptives, many of whichact as abortifacients by killing the developing embryo in the mother's womb, is to affirm abortion, which is theultimate act of contraception. The Church's beautiful teaching has always seen this connection and proclaimed it, even as our culture has scoffed. This brings us to 2015. Friday's decision was entirely consistent with the precedent of Griswold and Roe. If we as a culture have sterilized married love by legalizing contraception and abortion, it is logically consistent that we would redefine marriage so that it no longer has any necessary connection with procreation, based on the "right to privacy." A culture where everyone is contracepting and in which anyone can get an abortion, must, to be consistent, redefine marriage. Our Supreme Court acted consistently on Friday. It invoked its own language defending the right to abortion: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" (Planned Parenthood v Casey, 1992). Justice Kennedy's opening sentence in Friday's decision reaffirms this definition of liberty: "Liberty includes the right to define and express one's own identity." This is the heart of the lie. But there can be no freedom divorced from the truth of God's law, which is also the law of human nature. In ignoring the natural law, our Supreme Court has proclaimed that we must all accept a lie.

What is to be our response as disciples of Jesus Christ to the lie? It is the same joyful witness that we alwaysgive: living lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience and mercifully inviting others, with us, to heed the firstwords of Jesus in the Gospel, "Reform your lives, and believe in the Gospel!" (Mark 1:15). Our witness needsto be joyful and compassionate, convicted and committed. No less than we are convicted that we would neverlet our little ones play with matches, because they are potentially destructive, so we must be convinced that the redefinition of marriage is destructive to individual people and to our entire society. If we are so convinced, we will joyfully invite others as fellow sinners to turn to the Merciful Jesus and know his healing grace as thewoman with the hemorrhage did in today's Gospel.

We can turn more than ever to the intercession of some of the great martyrs of our faith who were called on towitness to the truth of God's law in the face of legal redefinition of the truth. I am thinking of the joyful witnessof St. Thomas More and the Martyrs of England in the 1500's. When King Henry VIII wished to deny the truthof his marriage, he ordered Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy, which proclaimed Henry head of theChurch and thus able to redefine marriage. The vast majority of bishops in England acquiesced to Henry'sdemand. The law was changed and persecution followed for those who did not remain silent. The courageousmartyrs of that storied moment in English history are interceding for us. They stood firm as they were accusedof hating their King and hating their country. St. Edmund Campion's powerful words ring clear - at hissentencing to execution, he said simply, "In condemning us, you condemn all of your own ancestors, all thatwas once the glory of England." The present redefinition of marriage has indeed condemned all the great figures in American history as having been fundamentally opposed to freedom and rights in their understanding of marriage as a God-given gift between a man and a woman.

I am thinking of the joyful witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the martyrs of the Third Reich. All of the reforms of the 1930's were accomplished legally as the German nation was told to embrace a lie about the human person - that the Jews were not truly persons. As long as people were silent, the lie had room to grow. Anyone who loved Germany was expected to support the Fuhrer. The law was changed and persecutionfollowed for those who did not remain silent. Those who spoke out paid the ultimate price. Bonhoeffer, aLutheran pastor who dared to speak out in protest and to resist, wrote before his execution, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I am thinking, lastly, and perhaps most powerfully, of the courageous witness of John the Baptist, whose birththe Church just celebrated this past week. Face to face with King Herod, who had redefined marriage by taking his brother's wife to be his own wife, John spoke the truth about marriage: "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife" (Mark 6:18). John chose not to remain silent, and persecution followed. Because he spoke the truth about marriage, John was beheaded.

 "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men." My dear people, all we have to dotoday is to remain silent in the face of the lie and we will be able to remain comfortable. May this comfortablesilence never be our response. In the words of the great Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me." The Church in America in 2015 needs to callupon the intercession of all of these holy martyrs, asking them to obtain for our bishops and priests and for all of us the courage to bear witness to the truth about marriage.

So many are confused and hurting in their search for love today - they are searching for Christ without evenknowing it. It falls to us at this moment to show forth Jesus by our witness of poverty, chastity, and obedience.This witness will mean having the courage to face whatever persecution, large and small, will come to us as a result of our refusal to remain silent. It will mean enduring accusations that we are opposed to love and hateful of those who celebrate and promote the redefinition of marriage. Let's be confident that the Holy Spirit is with us and is raising up a great generation of witnesses - joyful, loving, compassionate, merciful, courageous witnesses. I am confident that I am looking at those witnesses as I preach to you today.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
St. Thomas More, Edmund Campion, and the martyrs of England, pray for us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the martyrs of the Third Reich, pray for us. Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit!
Father Peter Mitchell



Medjugorje Mirjana's Apparition, July 02, 2015


Published on Jul 2, 2015
Apparition to Mirjana,July 02 , 2015

Our Lady's Message to Mirjana of July 2, 2015

“Dear children, I am calling you to spread the faith in my Son - your faith. You, my children illuminated by the Holy Spirit, my apostles, transmit it to others - to those who do not believe, who do not know, who do not want to know - but for that you must pray a lot for the gift of love, because love is the mark of true faith - and you will be apostles of my love. Love always, anew, revives the pain and the joy of the Eucharist, it revives the pain of the Passion of my Son, by which He showed you what it means to love immeasurably; it revives the joy for having left you His body and blood to feed you with Himself - and in this way, to be one with you. Looking at you with tenderness, I feel immeasurable love which strengthens me in my desire to bring you to a firm faith. Firm faith will give you joy and happiness on earth and in the end the encounter with my Son. This is His desire. Therefore, live Him, live love, live the light that always illuminates you in the Eucharist. I implore you to pray a lot for your shepherds, to pray so as to have all the more love for them because my Son gave them to you to feed you with His body and to teach you love. Therefore, also you are to love them. But, my children, remember, love means to endure and to give, and never, ever to judge. Thank you.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ut-EqeKVwg
  

6/29/15

Mary TV Daily Reflection 6/29/2015

    
The Truth of Medjugorje!
(c)Mary TV 2015



J.M.J.   
June 29, 2015
Sts. Peter and Paul

Dear Family of Mary!

There has been a lot of talk about Medjugorje over the past few days, having to do with speculation about the Vatican commission, etc. It has been a bit unsettling for some. I have transcribed the homily given on Sunday, June 27, 2015, at the English Mass in Medjugorje, because I believe it answers the unsettling speculators very well. It gave me much peace, and I hope it will give you peace as well.

Homily for English Mass, Medjugorje, June 28, 2015
Fr. Rory O' Donnell

My dear friends, would you believe that is has been 28 years since I first set foot in this parish of Medjugorje. I was a seventeen year old boy, and one of my priest/teachers challenged me to come here to Medjugorje. Religion class had become a series of stand up rows between himself and I. The political situation in Ireland at the time was very tense at the time especially in the North and the views that I held and that my family held were in sharp contrast to anything that the Church was saying at the time.

But eventually, one day, in exasperation as myself and this priest were rowing back and forth at each other in the classroom, he said to me, "Have you ever heard of Medjugorje? If you went there you would change your views." And you know something, what he said was true beyond his or my wildest dreams.

Each time I come to Medjugorje...I have been here countless times. But each time I come here and alight from the bus or the car I have to stop myself from throwing myself down on the ground and kissing the sacred, sandy soil of Medjugorje. Because it was here 28 years ago that I was born, at the age of 17.

Our first reading reminds us that there is death and there is life. God's desire for us is to exist for all eternity. But the enemy of our souls is jealous. He wants to bring us to death. The evil one had a plan for me, and he had me walking on a certain path. But Mary stepped in and she snatched me from him. And through her direction, like the woman in today's Gospel, I came closer to Jesus than I ever thought possible.

On my third day here in Medjugorje, the joy and peace was already dawning in my soul. And at that time, the people used to gather up there where the parish office is now, and we would kneel outside to welcome the presence of Our Lady. And on that third day, just after I had knelt and I stood up, a woman approached me and she was crying. And she said to me, "Rory, during the last few minutes, as we were kneeling down, I looked over in your direction. And all of a sudden, you were enveloped in a circle of light, and everything else became dark. And I heard a voice, and it was the voice of a woman, and the voice simply said, 'He is going to be a priest.'"

I was shocked. I was stunned. I walked away, but for some strange reason it was as if someone had put the final piece in the jigsaw of my life. And I began to feel this great sense of joy. I remember going to confession, and many of you here know Fr. Svet. Fr. Svet was hearing confessions and I told him my sins, and then he said to me, "What will you do with your life?" And I told him what had just occurred, and he said "Well you know, the Church in Ireland needs you."

I came back, and that was in April. And my family thought that it was a different son who had returned because I was so different to the person who had gone. And years later my mother told me that my four brothers and two sisters had said to her, "What happened to Rory in Medjugorje?" Because he is so different from the young man who went there in the first place. In fact a few weeks later I was going into SundayMass, and I went with my older brother, Seany, and as we were walking into Mass he turned to me and said, "Rory, please, please stop that!" And as we were walking into the church yard, I said, "Stop what?" And he said, "You know what you are doing. Please stop it. It's embarrassing." And I said, "Seany, I don't know what you are talking about." And he said, "Rory, stop smiling at everyone." It was true, the joy was so deep in my heart when I came back.

But you can imagine as the weeks and months went on, I began to wonder about the calling from Medjugorje. Was it really true, was it this woman's imagination?? Maybe it was something else. I saved every penny I had, I collected copper coins to get back to Medjugorje on the following October. And I was out here in the fields one day, and there were some Irish women kneeling on the ground, looking up at the sun. I was with two friends of mine, and they said to me, can you see the sun spinning? And I was dismissive of it, and I said to them, "You know if you look at the sun long enough, you know it's going to spin." And one of the women got very angry with me. And she said to me, "I cannot understand why people with no faith come to Medjugorje."

The next day, two of the women who were with her said to me, "Did you catch up with Mary?" I said "No." They said, "Oh, she really wants to talk with you." I thought she wanted to apologize because she was a little bit intemperate the day before. Finally she caught up with me, and she sat me down and she said to me, "I have to tell you something that happened yesterday. I was so angry with you. And I began to say in my mind, why do people who don't believe come to Medjugorje." And she said, "I heard a voice, and it was the voice of a woman. And the voice simply said, 'Why, he is going to be a priest.'" Twice in one year that was confirmed for me here in Medjugorje.

My road to priesthood was long and it was difficult. I trained for ten years. I was in three seminaries, and I was in two different dioceses. I was kicked out of one seminary twice! Can anyone beat that record? But here I am now, 28 years later. And the truth of what Mary said, the truth of what I received here in Medjugorje, has become a reality. Because on the 20th of June, 1998, I was ordained to the priesthood, and incidentally, the 20th of June, 1998, was the Feast of the Triumph of Immaculate Heart of Mary! It was on that day that I was ordained.

You know, over the last few weeks and months and years really, there has been a lot of talk about what is the truth of Medjugorje. There are many opinions and many of them contrast and many of them say it is a hoax and it's nonsense, it is not true. The story I just told you is the truth of Medjugorje. Because it is true that a young boy came here 28 years ago, and here he was called to the priesthood. Here he left his old life behind. Here he took something new. That is the truth of Medjugorje.

I know that many of my brother priests who are here today, many of them have sat for many hours over the years, hearing confessions here in the parish. And we have heard the stories of lives that have been changed, of healings, of recoveries, of all kinds of extraordinary miracles. We ourselves know the truth of Medjugorje. And we ourselves have experienced that truth through the stories that we have heard. I am sure that many of you have gone to Cenacolo. You have heard the stories of broken lives that have been mended, of young men who were on one path that was leading them to death, being called to a path towards the fullness of life. That is the truth of Medjugorje.

And there is no commission and there is no inquiry and there is no churchman who can ever contradict or deny that truth of Medjugorje. So my dear friends, your role now is to go back home and to be the truth of Medjugorje. Your role is to go back to your family, your countries, your families, your homes, your loved ones, and by the ways your lives have changed, you become the truth of Medjugorje. No one can ever contradict that my brother, my sister, my dad, my mum, my son, my daughter went to Medjugorje and came back and all of a sudden Sunday Mass is the most important thing in their life. They won't allow a day to pass without praying. They won't allow a month pass without trying to get to confession. Your role, your job, your task now, given to you by Our Lady, is to go back and be the truth of Medjugorje.

And you know, as I look out and see the young people here, you have a very particular call. Our Lady has called you here. There is nothing more wonderful than when I hear parents say to me, "You know we are not Mass goers, but my son, my daughter, they went to Medjugorje and came back and they won't miss Mass for the world. They are there every Sunday, no matter how late they are out Saturday evening, they are up for Mass on Sunday. My son, my daughter, they went to Medjugorje, and they came back with Rosary beads in their pocket and they pray it every night. That is the greatest witness, as young people you have a far greater witness to give to the world than those of us who are a little bit more advanced in years.

So my dear young people, you need to go back and be the truth the Medjugorje, a truth that can never be denied and never be contradicted. Because, please God, no matter what happens here, someday I will hear a father or a mother say, "You know, my child is a living word of God, because my child went as one person when they went to Medjugorje and when they came back, like the woman in the Gospel, they had come closer to Jesus."

Thank you, Father Rory! Thank you for the clarity of your words.

Our Lady also spoke clearly to us on the 25th:

June 25, 2015
"Dear children! Also today the Most High gives me the grace to be able to love you and to call you to conversion. Little children, may God be yourtomorrow and not war and lack of peace; not sorrow but joy and peace must begin to reign in the heart of every person - but without God you will never find peace. Therefore, little children, return to God and to prayer so that your heart may sing with joy. I am with you and I love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

May our hearts sing with joy!!!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015


"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
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6/28/15

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin quickly responded

From the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin quickly responded Friday to the Supreme Court's historic ruling on same sex marriage, asserting that marriage between two women or two men is "morally wrong and a blatant rejection of God's plan for the human family. 
""A thousand courts may rule otherwise, but the very notion of same-sex marriage is morally wrong," said Tobin, whose statement was in a news release sent out by the diocese, he said his comments on "God's plan" for the human family are in line with comments that Pope Francis made when he served as an archbishop in Argentina. 
"Despite the current trends of our society, or perhaps because of them, the Church must redouble its commitment to proclaim and defend authentic concepts of marriage and family as we have received them from God," Tobin said. "We will always do so, however, in a respectful, charitable and constructive manner."

What This Priest Saw In Medjugorje




János Korom Dr., Flickr / ChurchPOP
This article originally appeared on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s blog “Standing on My Head,” and is reprinted with permission. Visit his website, browse his books, and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com.
The news is breaking that the Vatican has given a negative ruling about the alleged supernatural events at Medjugorje.
Of course before making any full comment we’ll want to read what the CDF has to say, but on this occasion I thought it might be of interest if people heard my Medjugorje story:
I was an Anglican priest living in England, in 1985 when I was invited by a group of Anglicans and Catholics to visit Medjugorje. I didn’t want to go. Being a former Evangelical-fundamentalist I wasn’t too keen on apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. I opted out. They insisted. I dug in my heels. They said someone else would pay for it. I didn’t want to go. They cajoled and twisted my arm until I said ‘yes’.
So off I went and this was in Medjugorje’s hey day. All I can do is report my memories of that visit: People were everywhere making confessions. Mass was non stop in the church of St James in the village square. Crowds lined up to see the visionaries who were still living there and still teenagers and still having daily apparitions.TheFranciscans preached mightily. There was a strong charismatic element–praise and worship music and fervent preaching.
If my memory serves me, at six o’clock in the evening the visionaries would go to the side room off the sanctuary of the church where the visions occurred. The whole town would begin praying the rosary. All the visitors prayed too. At 6:20 the visions would start. Around 6:40 they would stop and the people would pray the last set of mysteries.
On our second day there I sat on the balcony of our guesthouse with a large woman named Eleanor. As we began the rosary I looked up and the sun was a blaze of light in the sky. I looked down to the car parked below and the sun was reflected in the hood of the car as a blaze of light. Eleanor and I prayed the rosary together. I had my eyes closed.
At 6:20 Eleanor gave me an elbow in the ribs and pointed. The sun was now a disc of white light in the sky like a Eucharistic host. Then as I watched it began to spin, first clockwise then anti clockwise. Sparks spit out from the rim of the sun like a firework. I looked down and the sun was a white spinning disc on the hood of the car.
I don’t think this would have happened if it was just my eyes playing tricks on me. Plus, Eleanor saw it too. That’s why she gave me an elbow in the ribs. I am not sure how long this lasted, but when we spoke about it to our fellow pilgrims they said many people in the town square had reported the same phenomenon.
A few other strange things: the days we spent there were ones of incredible fellowship. We seemed to be on a higher plane of consciousness. We seemed to love one another and we laughed joyously almost constantly. Think of being on vacation with really good family and friends and being high the whole time on the love and joy you were sharing. We also met pilgrims from around the world and established an instant family like rapport, and oh yes, the new rosary I bought there was a pewter color, but when I got it home–still in its package–it had turned a gold color.
So now what do I make of all this?
Well, the same as I make of the other supernatural experiences I have had. It was inexplicable. That’s why it was supernatural. I cannot rule on the authenticity and I am not much interested in the controversy. I know the experience I had bolstered my faith. It was one of the things that drew me to Catholicism ’cause let’s face it, the Protestants don’t really have stuff like that! Also I was drawn closer to the Blessed Mother. Somehow I understood her role and the blockage I had as a Protestant was further eroded.
Does this mean I am a die hard Medjugorje devotee? No. I’ve followed the story a bit over the years. I wish them well and I hope it will one day all be sorted out. If the church says the whole thing is authentic I don’t have a problem. If it is ruled inauthentic I don’t have a problem.
My own opinion is that something authentic happened there at some point, but that it has been infected with human ego, greed and probably a concerted attack by Satan. The waters have been muddied. Bad stuff has now happened to discredit the events. Whatever transpires, I will accept the church’s decision and don’t really mind one way or another.
I thank God for what I experienced at Medjugorje, but the truths of the Catholic faith and the authority of the Catholic Church are what are most important, and I am sure the Blessed Virgin would approve of that.
I tell this story, by the way, because I have been asked to–not because I wish to cause controversy or upset people on either side of the controversy. As it happens, I’ve had some pretty wonderful supernatural experiences along my way with Christ, and I take them all with a sense of wonder and a pinch of salt and try to keep my eyes on Jesus.

6/26/15

Statue of Virgin Mary Beheaded

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By Daniel Klimek Pope John Paul II once powerfully observed, “Today’s world has lost its sense of the supernatural, but many are searching for it – and find it in Medjugorje, through prayer, penance, and fasting.” The late pontiff and…Continue Reading 

6/25/15

Our Lady's Medjugorje Message to Marija of June 25, 2015

"Dear children! Also today the Most High gives me the grace to be able to love you and to call you to conversion. Little children, may God be your tomorrow and not war and lack of peace; not sorrow but joy and peace must begin to reign in the heart of every person - but without God you will never find peace. Therefore, little children, return to God and to prayer so that your heart may sing with joy. I am with you and I love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."      

6/23/15

Testimony about Medjugorje from an Italian priest

date: 22.06.2015.
Father Giuseppe Piva from Vicenza visited Medjugorje recently. He began his priesthood with the Franciscans of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but because of his health difficulties he had to leave that order and he is now active as the Diocesan priest in Palestrina, close to Rome. He came to Medjugorje in 1986 after he completed high school and told us this: „Back in those days I was going to the church, I was the altar boy, but I cannot say that I was the true Christian who lived his Christianity every day in the genuine way. It was after the confession that new horizons and new perspectives were opened and my heart began to thirst for God. When I recall the past, I know it existed earlier in me as well. But, from that time, it was different, it was more profound. Desire to consecrate myself to God was bigger and bigger and after a few years I began to study theology. It was after the studies that I had some time to reflect upon this all, as I wanted to have deeper relationship with God. Sadly, we did not pray that much when I was seminarian. I came to Medjugorje and I was here for seven – eight months.” He added that after months he spent in prayer here in Medjugorje he continued his studies and completed it. In 1999, he was ordained as a priest. “I am really happy to be a priest and I am so grateful to God. I am trying to live Our Lady’s messages in my life. It was in Medjugorje that I felt how Church is alive and places Jesus and Mother Mary in the centre. I felt that Gospa’s intercession in God’s heart is really almighty”, said Fr. Giuseppe.     http://www.medjugorje.hr/en/

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6/20/15

THE LORD OF LIFESTYLE


"Stop worrying, then, over questions like, 'What are we to eat, or what are we to drink, or what are we to wear?' The unbelievers are always running after these things." -Matthew 6:31-32

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns us that we cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24). He means we cannot give ourselves to God and money (Mt 6:24). In saying "giving ourselves to money," Jesus means "worrying about our livelihood." We are not to worry about what we are to eat, drink, or wear (Mt 6:25). If we do, Jesus accuses us of having weak faith and acting like unbelievers (Mt 6:30-32).

In a society preoccupied with a pleasure-seeking lifestyle, Jesus' words are very threatening. We are continually thinking of creature comforts and petty pleasures. The average American has the most affluent lifestyle in the world. We have worked for years to get what we have. Now Jesus tells us we have been wrong.

Since we are "blinded by the god of the present age," the god of lifestyle (2 Cor 4:4), we find it difficult to take seriously Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (see Lk 16:14-15). We are like the rich man's brothers who would not have opened their eyes and changed their lifestyle even if the beggar Lazarus had been raised from the dead (Lk 16:31). We need a miracle. We need the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins (Jn 16:8) and crucify us to the world (Gal 6:14). Ask the Spirit to do this.

 Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, free me from my cultural blind spots.

Promise: "My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection." -2 Cor 12:9

6/13/15

THE MIRACLE OF TRUE LOVE


"When they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers thrust a lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out." -John 19:33-34

Through our sins, we have partially caused Jesus' crucifixion and death. After we committed this worst of all crimes, Jesus immediately gave us blood and water, flowing from His pierced side. The blood represents the Eucharist, Jesus' body and blood. The water represents Baptism and eternal life. Thus, Jesus gave us the greatest gifts, Himself and eternal life, immediately after we participated in torturing and killing Him. In this awesome way, Jesus showed His love to us, who were His enemies and executioners (Rm 5:8). Jesus' love is crucified, forgiving, and unconditional.

On this solemn feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart. This means that by God's grace we will love those who don't love us, who hurt us, and even keep hurting us. By God's grace, we will love by forgiving immediately those who have sinned against us and by giving generously to them, as the Lord leads us.
It is obviously humanly impossible to love as Jesus loves. Yet "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37). Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and receive the miracle of true love.

Medjugorje Minute from the crew of Apparition Hill 06/12/15

6/11/15

Medjugorje, the site of reported apparitions of Our Lady, attracts thousands...


Maximum Fruit


"He himself was a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby large numbers were added to the Lord." -Acts 11:24

St. Barnabas was extremely fruitful for God's kingdom. This makes him one of the greatest saints, for we are known by our fruits (Lk 6:44).
St. Barnabas bore fruit in risking his life to accept St. Paul (see Acts 9:27). Paul eventually became an apostle, the writer of many books of the New Testament, and one of the first Christian missionaries in addition to Barnabas.
St. Barnabas bore fruit in forming Antioch, the first missionary church. He had the daring and wisdom to seek out Paul to teach the church of Antioch for a year (see Acts 11:25-26). This church matured to the point that it heard and obeyed the Holy Spirit's command to send forth the first Christian missionaries (see Acts 13:2).

St. Barnabas bore fruit in John Mark, his cousin. After John Mark quit the first Christian missionary journey, Barnabas argued with Paul to have John Mark reinstated for the second mission (see Acts 15:37ff). Barnabas' support of John Mark eventually bore fruit when he wrote the second gospel, the gospel according to Mark.
St. Barnabas had a deep influence on the formation of the early Church, the New Testament, and the first missionary outreach of the Church. He is among the most fruitful Christians ever. Hear and obey the Lord as Barnabas did.

 Father, may I let You fully work out Your plan for my life.

St. Barnabas was "filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby large numbers were added to the Lord" (Acts 11:24).

6/10/15

The Medjugorje Message: Positive signs reported for decision on Medjugorje...

The Medjugorje Message: Positive signs reported for decision on Medjugorje...: Restrictions with supervision and support… Messages to continue… Vatican satisfied with Franciscans… A report in the Croatian newspaper...

6/6/15

Pope Francis Celebrates Mass in Bosnia Herzegovina


Pope Francis has celebrated Mass in front of tens of thousands of Catholics at a stadium in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The pontiff's visit to the capital, Sarajevo, is aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation across the country.
The Pope is also meeting members of the Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Jewish communities during his one-day trip.
Bosnia remains divided along religious and ethnic lines, 20 years after its civil war which depleted the Catholic population.
"War never again!" Pope Francis urged in his homily before 65,000 worshippers at Sarajevo's Kosevo stadium.
"War means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement, destroyed houses, streets and factories. Above all countless shattered lives," he said.
"You know this well having experienced it here," he added in reference to the 1992-95 Bosnian conflict, which left some 100,000 dead and two million displaced.


Papal Mass in Bosnia, 6 June 2015
More than 60,000 people converged on the stadium
Pope Francis arrives in Bosnia, 6 June 2015
The Pope was met on arrival by government leaders
A bullet-scared cross on display at the Sarajevo stadium where the Pope celebrated Mass, 6 June 2015
A bullet-scared cross was on display at the stadium

The Pontiff also warned that the world faced "a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal and, in the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war".

Ethnic divisions

The war between Christian Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Bosniaks in the early 90s resulted in deep ethnic divisions. There was also a Bosniak-Croat conflict within the wider war.
Bosnia-Herzegovina's Catholics, from the Bosnian Croatian community, are estimated to number 10-15% of the population.
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said a central aspect of the visit would be boosting the morale of Catholics, many of whom left the country after the conflict.
"In December the 20th anniversary of the war will be remembered but the traces and the wounds of war are still there," he told AFP news agency.
The Pope was welcomed in Sarajevo by children wearing traditional costume representing Bosnia-Herzegovina's three main faiths.
He also spoke to the three-member presidency and called on the country to reject division and continue working for peace to create "a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of the fanatical cries of hatred".
Speaking to reporters on his flight to Sarajevo, he described Sarajevo as the "Jerusalem of the West".
"It is a city of very different ethnic and religious cultures. It is even a city that has suffered much during its history. Now it is on a beautiful path of peace. I am making this trip to talk about this, as a sign of peace and a prayer for peace."
At least 5,000 police are on duty and authorities have published a helpline number if members of the public spot any suspicious activity during the visit.
On Friday local media reported jihadists claiming to be from Islamic State had issued a video, calling for action in the Balkans. However, it is not thought to be linked to the papal visit.
It is 18 years since Pope John Paul II travelled to Sarajevo during a severe snowstorm in 1997. A monument was erected in his honour in 2014.

6/2/15

Medjugorje: Our Lady's message to Mirjana of June 2, 2015

“Dear children, I desire to work through you - my children, my apostles - so that in the end, I may gather all of my children there where everything is prepared for your happiness. I am praying for you, that through works you can convert others, because the time has come for acts of truth, for my Son. My love will work in you - I will make use of you. Have trust in me, because everything that I desire, I desire for your good, the eternal good created by the Heavenly Father. You, my children, my apostles, are living an earthly life in union with my children who have not come to know the love of my Son, who do not call me 'mother' - but do not be afraid to witness the truth. If you are not afraid and witness courageously, the truth will miraculously win, but remember, strength is in love. My children, love is repentance, forgiveness, prayer, sacrifice and mercy. If you will know how to love, by your works you will convert others, you will enable the light of my Son to penetrate into souls. Thank you. Pray for your shepherds. They belong to my Son. He called them. Pray that they may always have the strength and the courage to shine with the light of my Son.”
Video-apparition to Mirjana  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBlh74pdOmQ

DIGNITY AND VOCATION OF THE PRIEST


THE SUBLIME DIGNITY AND VOCATION OF THE PRIEST


St. John Paul II and St. John Vianney 
 

Jesus said:  “The Harvest is rich but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers.”  Essential to the extension of the Kingdom and the salvation of souls is the Sacrament of Holy Orders, that we call the priesthood.

One of the greatest priests in the history of the Church, who spent close to forty years in the Parish of Ars France, spending from 13 to 18 hours on a daily basis in the confessional, reconciling souls to God, commented on the indispensable presence of the priesthood. This was the Saint John M. Vianney, known as the Cure of Ars (1786-1859). This saint knew the extraordinary value of the priesthood: “A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy.”

Let us listen to the exact words of the Cure of Ars and then translate them into the application in our spiritual lives. Some of the words and quotations of the Cure of Ars are overwhelming in depth and beauty but of the utmost simplicity. Let us read and meditate and then apply: “O how great is the priest! If he realized what he is he would die… God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from Heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host. Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in the tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for the journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest—always the priest. And if the soul should happen to die (as a result of sin) who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again the priest. After God, the priest is everything. Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”   Following will be a brief commentary on all the sublime functions the priest carries out so as to glorify God in heaven and for the salvation of the souls on earth.

All-encompassing power of Holy Mass
 
If there is no priest, then there is no Holy Mass; if there is no Holy Mass, then there is no consecration of the Sacred Host; if there is not consecration of the Sacred Host then there is no Holy Communion; then if there is no Holy Communion there is no Sacramental Presence of Jesus. That means that we become spiritual orphans. We become like a ship without a port, an arrow without a target, a scout without  compass, a dog without his master. We wander through life aimless and with no clear purpose.

The same great Saint made the following observation.  In all the key spiritual moments in our lives, who is present?  Baptism? Usually it is the priest who God uses as the instrument to transform that child into a son/daughter of God. Confession?  It is only the priest who is the means by which we are reconciled to God through the outpouring of the Blood of the Lamb that cleanses our souls and consciences of sin and guilt that weighs us down so heavily. Finally we can experience true peace of soul! First Holy Communion? It was the priest who celebrated Holy Mass, confected the Eucharist and gave us the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus the Lord.

Confirmation?  It was the Bishop, who has the fullness of the priesthood, who confirmed us by which we were fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit, ready to be soldiers of Christ to both spread and defend the faith. What about Holy Matrimony?  It was most likely the priest who sat down explaining the sublime vocation of Holy Matrimony, the importance of being faithful until death do we part and the importance of being open to life and bringing forth children into the world so that one day they will be eternal citizens of Heaven.

Anointing of the Sick? It is the priest that we spontaneously call when we see our grandmother, mother or any person’s health has so seriously declined that they might die. It is the priest who anoints them with holy oil by which they are strengthened to fight the good fight and unite their sufferings to the sufferings of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Death and burial? Who is present at the Funeral Mass praying for our loved one who has passed away and has gone to be judged by Jesus who will come to judge the living and the dead? We all must pass through the gateway of death and pass from the realms of time into eternity. It is the priest, acting in the person of Christ, while celebrating Holy Mass, who offers the Victim Jesus to the Father for the purification and salvation of this immortal soul.

Family problems?  Often when family problems set in who is it that the family will have recourse to as a means to work through these tangled and intricate and knotty problems?  Frequently it is the person of the priest who comes to mind. The priest becomes the listener, the sounding board, the counsellor as well as the consoler to save the family from capsizing and sinking into the depths of sadness and oblivion! It is the priest who, like a human sponge, absorbs all of the problems in his heart and offers them to Jesus the Eternal priest for healing and salvation.

Sorrows and sufferings of all sorts? When sorrows, sufferings, contradictions, and depression visits our homes and hearts, who is it that we seek out as a solution for problems that seem to be beyond the realm of solution? It is the priest!  It is the priest that listens to the problems. It is the priest who opens up his heart to hear and understand. It is the priest who is called to the ministry of compassion. Exactly what does this word compassion mean? Compassion means the willingness and the ability to suffer with those who suffer.

Like the Holy Father, the priest is a listener
 
Listening?  Who is the one we seek out to listen to our inner anguish and agony, because we know others either do not know how to listen or they simply do not want to listen attentively. It is the priest the one that we seek out to be heard, listened to and to be understood. How true this is!  Often we might come into the priest overloaded with moral, emotional, spiritual baggage that we know not where to dump it, to leave it and to be alleviated from this burdensome weight.  Then the priest receives us and invites us to be open and bare our hearts and reveal our tortured consciences.

Listening and healing. How often this is the scenario!  We unload all of our baggage and the priest is simply there to listen. We weep, cry, complain, get angry, and blurt out nonsensical ideas in our anguish and confusion. And the hands on the clock fly by—already 50 minutes and then an hour has flown by!  The poor priest has barely even opened up his mouth to say a word! After this session of unloading, we get up renewed, energized, with healing and hope. Overflowing in gratitude we tell the priest thanks a million times for having been of great help to resolve these—so to speak—impossible problems!

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in prayer
 
Prayer? How often have we felt totally overwhelmed with life and problems that seem to be a mountain in size and weight? We want help and we know only God can help us. Who then is it that we turn to with faith and trust to intercede on our behalf and to pray for us so that this problem will be resolved or at least we can cope with the problem better? It is the priest.  The priest becomes the intercessor or the mediator for us between heaven and earth.

Our Lady with the priest at Holy Mass
 
OUR LADY. Let us then turn to Our Lady who is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Mother or all mankind, but especially she is the Mother of priests. Let us beg Our Lady to place her mantle of love and protection and comfort over all priests so that they would be protected from the fiery darts of the enemy, also that they would be protected from the devil of discouragement. Let us beg Our Lady to pray for priests that they would strive with all of the energy in their minds, hearts and souls to conform themselves to Jesus the High and eternal priest. May Our Lady’s prayers help them to recognize that Jesus is the High and Eternal priest—how lofty and sublime—but also that Jesus is very close to them as their best Friend in time and He will be their best Friend in heaven for all eternity. Posted by