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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Small Is Beautiful--Hello to Readers in Andorra

Taking Christ Seriously

I think people pick and choose the words of the Word of God.

We cannot. We must immerse ourselves in the Gospels, understanding that the words of Christ are real, true, exact. Christ is God, the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity.

Those who do not take His words seriously do not believe Christ is God Incarnated.

Here are some of the passages for meditation and boldface highlights are mine:

Mark 1:22-27

"22 And they were astonished at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes.
23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24 Saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God.
25 And Jesus threatened him, saying: Speak no more, and go out of the man.
26 And the unclean spirit tearing him, and crying out with a loud voice, went out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying: What thing is this? what is this new doctrine? for with power he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."

That is from Mark 1:22-27. Here are some others. 

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” Matthew 19:24.”

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword” Matthew 10:34.

“Another of his disciples said unto him, Lord suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead” Matthew 8:21.

“All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb; and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” Matthew 19:11-12.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48.

 And, perhaps the hardest saying from Christ, as so many people do not believe this, from John 6.

"51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
52 If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.
53 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
57 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.
58 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.
59 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.
60 These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.
61 Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?
62 But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you?
63 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
64 It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life.
65 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.
66 And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father."

How To Prepare for Martyrdom Part Two

May I continue with the previous post, adding to the list, a list I pray I can implement with God's graces?

Eighteen, pray daily for final perseverance. The Hail Mary is a good start, "pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death..."

Nineteen, accept the sufferings God decides to give you humbly, rather than looking for other types. God knows what you need.

Twenty, be realistic that things are going to get a lot worse, a lot. Realize that God does not spare Christians when He punishes those who hate Him.

Twenty-one, know that patience comes from humility.

Twenty-two, never, never compare yourself with someone else in holiness, and never, never say, "Why me?" but  "Why not me?"

Twenty-three, learn to think like a member of the Church Militant. Never rest, never go "off guard".
Be alert and know that discernment allows one to know when one has to be a martyr and when one does not. Prudence is the mark of a saint.

Twenty-four, be devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows.

How To Prepare fo Martyrdom Part One

Looking at the world and having thought of persecution for years, I was thinking today on the fact that all of us should be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for martyrdom.

I think this is possible. May I make a list of suggestions on how to get ready for, perhaps, the ultimate sacrifice?

One, let God purify you. Let God deal with your predominant fault. Pursue perfection.

Two, do sacrificial actions and mortifications daily. This could include fasting daily and other things which bring discomfort to the body and humble the soul.

Three, realize that God gives grace, and that one's own strength is severely limited. Only God can make a martyr ready.

Four, learn to pray constantly, even at work or in a parking lot, or waiting in line at the store. Learning to concentrate on prayer and God in any place leads to mental discipline.

Five, surround yourself with holy, good people so that you know you have "back-up" spiritually. Today, I phoned a holy friend for advice. She said she would be my prayer-back-up. We are not in this persecution alone.

Six, go to regular, even weekly confession.

Seven, get to Mass and Adoration as much as possible.

Eight, read the Scriptures and meditate on the Life of Christ, our model in suffering.

Nine, accept suffering, all types, daily, peacefully, gratefully.

Ten, meditate specifically on the Passion of Christ and desire to be joined with Him.

Eleven, realize that detachment and objectivity allow one to love one's enemies, forgive them and even pray for them. Martyrs are not angry or unforgiving.

Twelve, die to self daily so that it becomes a habit of being.

Thirteen. be honest about how many people hate the Church, the Pope and, therefore, you.

Fourteen, accept physical pain and suffering. Learn to endure it, instead of rushing for ibuprofen or whatever. Learn to transcend pain for the sake of others, as intercessory prayer.

Fifteen, learn to forgive anyone immediately, knowing that, except for grace, one could be the persecutor.

Sixteen, ask God to take away all fears of suffering, abandonment, rejection and replace those with His Love.

Seventeen, love, love, love....

to be continued....

St. Monica's Legacy

One of the things I learned from St. Monica is to never stop praying, never to give up hope.

She is the emblem, the model of perseverance in prayer.

For all of us who have been praying for years and years for loved ones, she represents hope and persistence.

Can you imagine if she had given up on her prayers for her son?

No St. Augustine, no Augustinians, perhaps no Pope Emeritus....

No Confessions, no City of God, no sermons...

No correction of the Manicheans, no end of the Donatists...

No St. Augustine of Canterbury, no Canterbury, no Mottisfont Abbey, no Walsingham Priory, plus the other 133 Augustinian houses in per-Reformation England...

No St. Rita, no Augustinian martyrs of Japan, no St. Nicholas of Tolentino...

No Angela of Foligno, no Augustinian martyrs of Africa...and more.

One woman's prayers began all of this.


Why Consumerism Is So Evil

As I have been traveling, I have seen the devastation in America brought about by the great sins of greed and lust. Consumerism, the relentless desire and accumulation of things, has killed the souls of so many Catholics.

The reason why consumerism is so evil is simply that it is idolatry.

The things made by humans cannot bring life to the soul, and, in fact, take life from the soul.

Consumerism hides many other sins, such as materialism, the belief that there is no afterlife, but only the here and now.

Of course, most of us know that things cannot make us happy, so why the relentless striving after things?

I am so sick of psychological double-speak about people being deprived of love in youth so they seek compensation in things.

Americans are among the richest people in the world. I hear people say to me that they are "poor" when in any other country, their lifestyle of eating too much, drinking too much, buying too much and having too much entertainment would be the lifestyle of the rich.

I know people who have food, clothing, housing, entertainment, alcohol, more food, more clothing, complaining that they are poor.

Consumerism has made them lose perspective.

Every American should travel to other countries and see the lower standards of living.

Consumerism has killed creativity as well. It deadens the imagination, the mind, the will.

It kills love.

James 4:3-4  You don't get what you want because you don't ask God for it. And when you do ask he doesn't give it to you, for you ask in quite the wrong spirit--you only want to satisfy your own desires. You are like unfaithful wives, never realizing that to be the world's lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who chooses to be the world's friend is thereby making himself God's enemy. 

Do you want to know who your god is? What do you think about most of the day? Self? Pleasure? Things? Another human? Status? Comfort?


Fear Culture

A friend wanted me to write about the culture of fear. Until recently, I did not realize that there were entire communities in America which live in fear.

They live in fear of strangers.

They live in fear of the "outside".

They live in fear of change, growth, repentance.

They live in craven fear of God.

Fear is a natural response to real danger. When a fear exists outside reasonable expectations, that fear is irrational. Some people with mental illness experience irrational fears.

Humans need to fear God, in a healthy realization that He is God, Almighty, Justice and Mercy.

We need to fear the devil and his minions.

We need to fear falling into sin.

But, perfect love does cast out fear.

The more one is drawn closer to God in love, the less one fears. Love does drive out fear.

Fear of others is demonic. Years ago, when I was in Ireland, my host had a television show on about home invasions. A couple who experience this were being interviewed. The documentary was two hours long.

When I looked up the statistics on Irish home invasions, I was not surprised to discover the low number of crimes in this category.

The television program producers were creating more fear than necessary. Fear breaks down communities and even causes families to have a "moat mentality", which can be extremely unhealthy.

I think today of St. Paul shipwrecked on the Island of Malta. The locals came out and helped all those in the terrible disaster. They fed and took care of St. Paul, who healed their sick and preached the Gospel.

Malta became, until recently, a beacon of light in a dark world, a great center of Catholicity.

What if those original people had feared St. Paul and the Romans?

Christianity created friendships, families, communities, even nations. Christianity created schools, universities, monasteries, convents.Christianity created beauty, art, architecture, music.

Christianity created "friendship in the Lord." Christianity brings about healing and new life.

Fear drives away love and healing.

Do not be afraid.