Thursday, December 29, 2016

Surfer Priest saved by Medjugorje

“I hated my life. My life was a waste, and I was hoping it would somehow come to an end”…Then the Queen of Peace Changed Everything.

It all began one night in March 1992 when, to the surprise of his friends, Donald decided not to go out partying, as was the usual routine, but to stay at home for the night. He felt immensely depressed, a longing and emptiness occupied his very being. “I found myself sitting there alone in my room with nothing to do and no one to turn to. My existence was laughable. My life was a waste, and I was hoping it would somehow come to an end…I hated my life. I was restless and anxious about everything.” Looking for a way to fill the time, he began browsing his parents’ bookshelf, not to find anything to read but, preferably, land on a National Geographic for the pictures. Instead, his hand landed on something else, an odd book about a subject so alien and obscure to the teenager that it was intriguing enough to read. The book was called The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje.
By Daniel Klimek

Heroine, cocaine, opium, marijuana, excessive alcohol, not to mention hallucinogenic drugs like mushrooms (psilocybin) and LSD – he consumed most of these before the age of 18, many before he turned 14, the addictions growing stronger as the existential emptiness deepened. What sounds like an introduction to a Hunter S. Thompson novel actually constitutes the autobiography of a Catholic priest. Fr. Donald Calloway of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception retells his dramatic and heart-wrenching life story in No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy.
As a destructive youth, Calloway spent his adolescence succumbing to temptations large and small, from sins of the flesh with constant promiscuity, to crimes against the law with thousands of dollars of grand theft in stolen merchandise, as well as nightly partying with friends consuming all forms of drugs and addictives while listening to heavy-metal music.
At one point, Calloway became a follower of the rock band the Grateful Dead, inspiring entrance into a psychedelic culture which—among other things—left him with a big Grateful Dead tattoo on his arm. To this day he has it, as a remembrance of the past he lived. The past he left. To this day he doesn’t have a clue how that tattoo got there, being stoned to oblivion during the night of its implementation.

During his youth, Calloway was such an angry and rebellious kid that he names a chapter in his book “Animal” in describing himself, his early mentality, his vicious ways. His family (especially his parents) suffered great emotional trauma as a result of their son’s behavior. For a while, they lived on a military base in Japan, for Calloway’s stepfather was an officer. This didn’t last too long. Running around with Japanese gangs, stealing tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise—from electric guitars to cars—got young Donald Calloway arrested and deported from the country. He was escorted through the airport by military guards with chains and shackles around his hands and feet, while he spat at his captors and threw out verbal obscenities to surrounding pedestrians, angrily cursing his way onto the plane.

Although, like any angst-filled adolescent, Calloway developed a strong hatred for his parents—notwithstanding their efforts to help their struggling son, praying for him and checking him into rehabilitation facilities numerous times—a guilt-stricken consciousness still haunted him about his younger brother, where a stronger bond existed. Fr. Calloway describes his feelings poignantly:
“The only bond that I had left with my family was with my little brother, Matthew. When it came to him, I felt terribly, almost inexplicably conflicted. Ten years younger than I, he would often plead, ‘Brother, play with me.’ A part of me wanted to stay home and be the big brother I wanted to be and thought he needed. But I was so preoccupied with my girlfriends and drug buddies that I didn’t want to commit to anything domestic.”

After returning from Japan and checking into an ineffective rehabilitation clinic in Pennsylvania, things did not get any better. For years the drugs continued, so did the promiscuity, the theft, and another arrest. In terms of his growing addictions, Calloway describes vividly what a poisonous rabbit hole he fell into, hitting rock bottom in what reads like a distant and dreary space.
“On one occasion, I even found myself in a crack house, crawling around on the rug on my hands and knees looking for any cocaine that might have fallen on the floor. There were cockroaches running around and maggots in the sink from all the unwashed dishes. A crying baby could be heard, unattended in a back room. Yet there I was on the floor, right along with the baby’s mother, searching frantically for white specs on the floor. If we found anything white, we’d put it in the bowl and smoke it, even if we didn’t know what it was.

So, what on earth could have turned this rebellious youth, this struggling addict, this “animal” (as he later described himself), into a devout Catholic priest, not to mention into an eloquent author of books on theology and Mariology?

It all began one night in March 1992 when, to the surprise of his friends, Donald decided not to go out partying, as was the usual routine, but to stay at home for the night. He felt immensely depressed, a longing and emptiness occupied his very being. “I found myself sitting there alone in my room with nothing to do and no one to turn to. My existence was laughable. My life was a waste, and I was hoping it would somehow come to an end…I hated my life. I was restless and anxious about everything.” Looking for a way to fill the time, he began browsing his parents’ bookshelf, not to find anything to read but, preferably, land on a National Geographic for the pictures. Instead, his hand landed on something else, an odd book about a subject so alien and obscure to the teenager that it was intriguing enough to read. The book was called The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje.

Essentially, it was the story of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje which brought on the crisis of his conversion. He was only one of the first of a long line of Christians who were to fall under the spell of the mystical Bosnian village, embracing that land of mystery.
“This book showed me a side of things I had never really heard of or experienced before, but I certainly could relate to the radical nature of the message…It wasn’t long before I realized this book was presenting me an offer to change my life and surrender to something greater than myself – to believe in God and be different. It was a revelation that required a revolution in my thinking. Could this be the way out I was looking for?”

He spent the whole night reading the book, until the early hours of the morning. In the process, the inner beings of his soul were transformed from the anxiousness and restlessness he previously experienced to a deep serenity and peace that radiated and pervaded his spirit. The messages of Medjugorje touched him on a higher level, the return to prayer, peace, fasting, a reconciliation with God and the need for conversion. For the first time, something offered him hope from his abusive past, from his life of sin and despair.

“The Virgin Mary was saying things that were so clear and captivating that I found myself moved and literally experiencing emotion in a deep way. This was a kind of emotion I hadn’t experienced since I was a little boy who really loved his mother and wanted to make her happy. And yet the Virgin Mary was saying that she was my mother, that she was the mother of those who had gone astray and was calling us back to God, to Jesus. She made it clear that she was not God, but she was pointing to her Son and saying He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. I found myself totally falling in love with this mother, this woman.”

The aesthetical quality was sublime. He was experiencing a beauty he hadn’t felt in a very long time. In this Woman, the Virgin Mary, he found a beauty that was not poisonous and sinful—like his past encounters with women—but pure and refreshing, an immaculate gentleness that offered a ray of hope and emanated a radiant light into Donald’s darkened world. Spiritual and sublime, this attraction led Donald to a small prayer of the heart, in which he revealed his longing for this mysterious presence in front of him.

“As I continued to read, I said to her in my heart, ‘I want to believe. I really do. You are piercing the little bubble of my world and offering me something more than I ever heard. I need this.’”
This inner need, this spiritual longing, was being satisfied. As he continued reading, a strange, but wondrous, rebirth from death to new life occurred. “Although I was in serious despair about my life, as I read the book, I felt as if my heart was being melted. I hung on to each word like it was transmitting life straight to me.”

Then a new day came. “Early in the morning, when I closed the book, I said, ‘The message in this book is life-changing. I have never ever heard anything so amazing and convincing and so needed in my life.’ One might say that this was my first prayer. Whoever this Virgin Mary was, I believed what she was saying – that she was my mother and came from heaven for me.”

Instantly, after telling his overwhelmed mother about the experience, Donald—though not a Catholic yet—ran off to Mass for the first time in his life, speaking to a priest afterwards, confessing his entire past to the man. When he came back home, Donald began throwing out all of his filthy possessions from his past life, from drug paraphernalia to pornographic magazines ranging from his Playboy and Penthouse collections, to his heavy metal records, and his water bongs and pipes. Six 30-gallon bags were the result.

After clearing his space of all distractions, Donald knelt by his dresser and deeply desired to go into prayer. But he didn’t know how to pray. As he recalls, “Until earlier that day, I had never said a prayer in my entire life.” This did not stop him, however, from falling into an overbearing ambiance of deeply healing and purifying tears. His past was still very prominent in his mind and the remorse, the regret that was felt was overwhelming – the need for forgiveness encapsulated his entire being.
“In fact, I started crying so hard that I could hardly breathe. I had to literally gasp for air because I was crying so uncontrollably. There were torrents of liquid coming out of my eyes. Before long, the clothes I was wearing were soaking wet.”
Hours of such excruciating crying led to inexplicable tears of joy and, all of the sudden, Donald felt an immense peace in his heart, a tranquility that surpassed understanding. “I started to feel almost bubbly and giddy, almost like a child being tickled by his father. Suddenly, I was animated. I had life again and felt so much different. My body tingled all over. I was so wrapped up in Jesus that I became aware of how much I was loved.”

This purifying peace led to something inexplicable, a mystical—if not downright supernatural—experience. Like thousands of patients who have reported undergoing near-death experiences, Donald left his body.

“But all of a sudden something below me and within me – this is very difficult to explain – knocked me out of my body. I literally felt as if I had left my body. My physical form remained on the couch, but my soul or spirit had left.” The experience paralyzed him, as he gradually saw his body farther and farther away from him, his spiritual presence being slowly removed from the physical. Out of desperation, he led out a penetrating, spiritual cry to that person who had just touched his soul. “Mary!” What happened next was phenomenal. Donald was “violently slammed back” into his body.
“After I got over the shock of the impact, a feeling of peace overwhelmed me, a peace that was tangible. Then I heard a voice, the most pure feminine voice I have ever heard and ever will hear. It was within me, it was outside of me, it was like liquid love being poured over me. It was pure maternal love. It said, ‘Donnie, I’m so happy.’ That’s all I heard, but I knew who it was. Nobody called me Donnie but my mother. Nobody. I knew this was the voice of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was so at peace that I felt like a little boy snuggled close to his mother’s breast. I was so at peace, so loved, and so at rest that I went into a deep sleep. I hadn’t slept like that since I was a young boy.”

The phenomenon that Donald experienced, in addition to leaving his body, is called an interior locution (locution cordis), the mystical grace of hearing a spiritual presence – in this case, Our Lady – in an interior way through the depths of the soul.

After his profound spiritual experiences, an official conversion to Roman Catholicism followed. What also followed was the desire for the priesthood. Not just any priesthood. Donald wanted to become a Marian priest, both for Our Lady and for the reason that the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are the official promoters of the Divine Mercy devotions of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun and mystic who experienced visions of Christ in the 1930s. Donald saw himself, through his past, as the poster-boy for Divine Mercy. For, through the grace of God, he received the greatest mercy after a life of sin.

Becoming a priest meant going back to school. For this high school dropout, this wasn’t the easiest task. Notwithstanding, through his subsequent education and efforts, Donald was able to encounter some of the most eminent Catholic intellectuals and scholars in the world. After earning his GED and spending some time in community college, the Marians sent Donald to study at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where he earned his B.A. in theology and philosophy. It was at Franciscan that he encountered some of his favorite professors, including the prominent Catholic intellectuals Scott Hahn and Mark Miravalle. Donald admits that Professor Hahn had an influential impact on his studies, implementing a deeper love of God in his mind.

Professor Miravalle, a theologian and Mariologist, is a leading figure in the Marian movement, and also played a great influence on Donald. Miravalle is the president of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, a movement within the Catholic Church that hopes to gain papal approval to deem Mary as the Co-Redemptrix, becoming the fifth Marian dogma. Interestingly, Miravalle’s own connections to Medjugorje are not small. He has written numerous books on the subject and, when he was a doctoral student in Rome, his dissertation was called, The Message of Medjugorje: A Postconcilar Formulation of Lourdes and Fatima. The dissertation showed how the messages of Medjugorje align with Chruch tradition, ranging from the Gospels to the teachings of the early Church Fathers in their foundational elements and, of course, to Vatican II and other approved apparitions. The thesis was successfully defended in the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome in 1984.
Beyond inspirations like Professors Hahn and Miravalle at Franciscan, Donald went on to study with other greats. He received both his M.Div and S.T.B. at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and then earned an S.T.L. at the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio. At the Institue, Donald studied with such prominent theologians and Mariologists as Fr. Luigi Gambero and Fr. Eamon Carroll. Most remarkably, Donald took the last class that the great French theologian and Mariologist Rene Laurentin taught at the Institute. Laurentin himself has been one of Medjugorje’s greatest supporters for years, with countless of books on the apparitions.

Donald’s S.T.L. dissertation concentrated on the Mariology in the diaries of St. Faustina Kowalska, combining his love for Our Lady with his love for the Divine Mercy devotions. The dissertation was over 200 pages long, contained over 700 footnotes – in Latin, French, Polish, Italian, and Spanish – and, years later, was published into a book called, Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina. He even graduated summa cum laude with his S.T.L.

The former drug addict, convicted criminal, and high school dropout graduated summa cum laude with an advanced degree, studying with some of the most renowned theologians in the world, and publishing his work into a book about the Mother of God. Today, Father Calloway is the House Superior for the Marians of the Immacluate Conception and their vocations director. He preaches his story throughout the world, reaching countless of hearts. His life story is an example of grace and divine mercy in motion, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and particularly her continuing work in Medjugorje. No Turning Back constitues a powerful and poignant testimony about one man’s journey, being led out of a tunnel of darkness and despair into the radiance of hope and belief in something purer, truer, and warmer than the temptations of contemporary culture – what the human soul longs for, spiritual sublimity and meaning in one’s existence.

Father Calloway has a new best selling book called “Champions of the Rosary”

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Missionary Image Manifests Heartbeats and Kickings of Unborn Baby
                                                                                                                              Dan Lynch

On today’s Feast of the Holy Innocents, we remember the first martyrs for Jesus Christ. They were the babies under two years of age in Bethlehem whom were killed by the raging hatred of King Herod who wanted to prevent a prophesied Bethlehem baby from becoming a rival King.

We also remember the unborn victims of abortion and the many manifestations from the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe of heartbeats and kickings of an unborn child. Some of these heartbeats have been confirmed by medical personnel listening with stethoscopes.

In their reverential devotion, many of the faithful touch and kiss the Missionary Image. In doing so, many have felt warmth, an electric-like current, and Our Lady’s heartbeat. They’ve also felt a womb of flesh, beneath which they have felt the heartbeats, movements and kickings of an unborn child.

God gives these signs at his pleasure to increase our faith, hope and love of him. The heartbeats are also a sign that life begins at conception and is not a “choice” for the mother because God, the Author of Life, has already chosen the child for life.

Below are some testimonies from witnesses of heartbeats and kickings from the Missionary Image at Johnette Benckovic’s Women of Grace Retreat at Malvern, Pennsylvania last summer.

On Saturday night at Malvern, I was alone with the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe image and I used the stethoscope provided to try to hear Jesus' heartbeat. I did not hear anything for the first couple of seconds, but then the sound of a baby's rapid heartbeat! Then, I was quite literally kicked by Him in the womb. I was being very delicate with the stethoscope, and He kicked the hand holding it. 

I thought I might be imagining what I had been praying for. I had been asking the Lord to reveal Himself to me in a unique way and I believe He did.

I repeated the above process, and the same thing happened. I knew then that I had received a great grace and miracle. I told Johnette on Sunday, but I have only shared this with my husband, daughter and one friend who needed encouragement.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you.



I had been thinking about how the Protestants I know would mock us for venerating the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but my son's Confirmation saint is St. Juan Diego, the one to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on December 12, 1531. So, I thought that I should go up to venerate the image. The second, the very second that I stepped foot on the stage, I began trembling to my core. (I know this sounds trite, but there is just no other way to describe it).  

Others were praying over the image and had their hand on it, so I tried waiting...but I hadn't noticed before how round and full Mary's belly was. I told myself that was silly and that I had seen so many photos and pictures of the image, but then again, how could I have missed how obviously and truly pregnant Mary was. And then, I did what most people do when face to face with a pregnant woman-my hand shot out. And as my hand made contact just under the black belt- boom boom! I drew my hand away and my trembling grew worse.

A second time I reached out and was kicked! No one said anything about the baby Jesus kicking! Just that if one used a stethoscope, one might hear a heartbeat, but this sweet baby couldn't wait for us to get one I guess. A third time I reached out, only to be greeted by the energetic kick again. I did not need to wait, but hurried back to my seat (I'm not sure how since my legs were trembling so hard) only to find a dear sacred sister was sitting next to my bag. I was so grateful and my heart swelled as we began singing and then reciting the Rosary together before hours of adoration and contemplation.

 For years, I have loved talking to teens of the sweet baby Jesus and while worshipping this past year at the Shrine of Saint Anthony, I have prayed that my heart, too, might so resemble Mary's that the infant Jesus would come to me.  If only I could have imagined that He would choose this Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, so dear to my own son. 

I was profoundly moved by the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe when I first saw her on Friday, even before I knew that this was a digital image taken from the original. One of the women told me about it and then I read the description on the image that explained it. I was moved by how reverent the women were as they patiently waited their turn to pray before the image.

Two nurses brought a stethoscope on Saturday and we listened for heartbeats. I heard a strong heartbeat from Our Lady and a softer one from Baby Jesus. I also heard a swishing noise that a woman told me was the amniotic fluid.

I made another visit on Saturday and again heard the heartbeats.  I felt as if it was a special blessing. It helped me to feel closer to the humanity of Our Lady and Jesus. I am very grateful.

I didn't hear anything on Sunday but during the Consecration and Holy Communion I experienced a deep healing. I was drawn after Mass to kneel beside the Blessed Mother and thank her. it was hard each time to pull myself away from her. I could have stayed there for hours.


Concluding Prayer for Today’s Feast of the Holy Innocents

O God,
Whom the Holy Innocents confessed
and proclaimed on this day,
not by speaking but by dying,
grant, we pray,
that the faith in You which we confess
with our lips may also speak through our manner of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
— Amen.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Advent 2016, Christmas Eve

I  have not posted much during Advent because I kept thinking things would get better. This has been the most difficult Advent of my life.  I am not from a family of die hard Catholics, as a matter of fact myself, my husband and one 30 year old son are the only practicing Catholics in the family. The year of Mercy has apparently done nothing to convince any of my blood relatives of their need for Christ and redemption.   As the press beats up on Donald Trump, my immediate family is pummeling me. Electing a president who challenges the Godless society of our time you would think to have made things better. Not yet.

A long time Catholic friend of mine said, I love saying "Merry Christmas," again. So that is a start.

For my entire life I have looked to Advent as a time of Hope, and Joy. This year, as in others, it seems that most of the closest people to me want to steal the Joy, the magic of new life in Christ.  I am making a choice right now to say no to the darkness and walk in the light.  To be Joy and Hope to any and all who are open to receive it and to pray, pray, pray for those who are still struggling to believe in the loving gift of the Christ Child. It is about the Fathers gift of his only Son to us. The gift of salvation and everlasting life. The message is profound because it goes with us into eternity.
I guess my message for this Christmas is to make peace with your enemies as best you can and accept the things you can not change.  I am giving my family to the Holy Family and praying for the entire world. We all fall short of the Glory of God.
In His precious Love,
~Margaret of souls for Jesus

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Novena

This Christmas Novena starts on December 16th. Don’t forget to pray each day – *Click here to get novena reminders by Email! * – No spam, just prayers…
Christmas Novena
Prayers to be used during the Novena of Christmas, or at any other time. Please join us in praying this novena as a preparation for the coming of our Lord on Christmas!
Spread the word to get more people praying during this wonderful season!

Join thousands of faithful people in praying the Christmas Novena for an end to abortion!




Christmas Novena Prayers

Opening Prayer

O Lord, Word of God, You, whose glory is complete, came to us in perfect humility as a child in the womb. Your love for us and humility is unsurpassed and brings us to our knees in prayer and worship.
Your incarnation forever changed the world.
All Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and forever shall be, world without end.

Day 1 – Joy

O Lord, infant Jesus, fill us with Joy! The birth of any child is a cause for joy and so much more is the birth of You our Savior. We pray in union with Mary, Your mother, for a greater joy this  Christmas.

Day 2 – Humility

O Lord, infant Jesus, grant us great humility! You gave us the model of perfect humility in your incarnation, life and death. We pray for a greater Humility this Christmas.

Day 3 – Faith

O Lord, infant Jesus, give us the gift of Faith! You, Lord, deserve our complete faith. We pray for deeper and more perfect faith in you this Christmas.

Day 4 – Hope

O Lord, infant Jesus, bring us the Hope that saves! Your birth to the Virgin Mary brought a Hope to the world that continues to sustain us. We pray for a saving Hope this Christmas.

Day 5 – Love

O Lord, infant Jesus, inspire in us Your selfless love! You humbled yourself to become like us in all things but sin, and even humbled yourself to die on a cross. We pray that you will help us to love as You love this Christmas.

Day 6 – Peace

O Lord, infant Jesus, give us Your peace! You are the Prince of Peace and the ultimate fulfillment of your incarnation brings us to you in heaven where peace will come to perfection. We pray for peace this Christmas.

Day 7 – Forgiveness

O Lord, infant Jesus, move us to forgive others as you forgive us! Your Divine Mercy is unending! We pray for Your Divine Mercy on us and that we may participate in Your mercy by forgiving others this Christmas.

Day 8 – Holiness

O Lord, infant Jesus, inspire us to be repulsed by sin! You, Lord, are holy but we are not. We pray that you will make us holy and keep us from temptation this Christmas.

Day 9 – Life Eternal

O Lord, infant Jesus, bring us to live eternal with You! Jesus, your nativity was not without purpose. Your purpose was to bring us to You. We pray that you will bring us to Life Eternal with you this Christmas.

Closing Prayers

We pray also for these intentions… (State your intentions here)
May Your Holy Will be done in my life and with these intentions.
We pray that the work of salvation that Your first coming began will reach fulfillment in each of us.
All Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and forever shall be, world without end.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mother of Conversion, Pray for Us

I was saddened to hear today that it is likely that Rob Sherman, former national spokesman for the American Association of Atheists, was probably killed in a small-plane crash over the weekend. We were an odd couple of friends. I frequently had him on my radio show back in the day – and once he launched a small internet-based radio show, I appeared with him several times.
He was very much a showman, but not nearly as hostile to Christians as his rhetoric often sounded. I actually regarded him as more an agnostic than an atheist. He was profoundly pro-life, confounding the expectations of many. We once did a whole show debating the existence of God. At the end, he conceded there was a rational basis for such a belief, while not conceding any belief, himself. Privately, we often talked of God and faith and what all people – and Christians in particular – are called to be. Rob was a lapsed Jew, his wife a Catholic.
He was my friend and will be missed. On this Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe – or Our Lady of Tepeyac as I call her, I pray that Rob felt the mercy of God and the effects of conversion as his plane went down. Our Lady of Tepeyac is the Mother of Conversion.
I highlight today the Prayer of Miraculous Trust, which always acknowledges Our Lady of Tepeyac. Lisa Fixler at Full of Grace has added some tri-fold prayer cards for the Surrender Novena at her online shop. She has also added “Squirrel Shirts” to the collection related to The Next Right Step. I am thankful for Lisa, as she has been a primary support for my work since shortly after I first met her and her family. I am to be confirmation sponsor for her son – so I need to get back home so I can do my duty.
In these fearful times, turn to the saints and the holy angels to help you keep your eyes on Jesus. Today, ask Our Lady of Tepeyac to keep busy throughout the next year, converting the world as she once converted all the Aztecs. Ask her to intercede for the vulnerable unborn. And never neglect to add your intercession to that you seek from the holy saints and angels in bringing a great new light to our often terribly dark world.

Prayer of Miraculous Trust

We all need prayer. In Catholicism, we speak of the communion of the saints, which means that all the faithful – both here and departed – are fully alive to God, and we have access to the faithful departeds’ prayers if we only ask. (for those who have any theological doubts on this point, please see Matthew 22:32, Mark 12:27 and Luke 20:38). But the prayers of the Church Militant, that is the faithful still on earth, for each other are crucial – and even more crucial in these times.
Right around the turn of the millennium, the archangel, Gabriel, gave me a prayer and told me the time would come when we would need miracles – and many miracles would be wrought through the faithful use of the prayer.
Right now, our medical system is collapsing before our very eyes. We have more people uninsured than ever because Obamacare is forcing their cancellation. The early round of hospital closures has begun (four in Georgia, alone), people are being denied coverage – an eastern children’s hospital treated over 100 children with special needs for free because, under Obamacare, they had lost their specialty coverage. But of course, the hospital can’t continue to do that because both supplies and personnel are being lost. You know many of the horror stories, but it is far worse than you know, as both the media and officials are frantically trying to dismiss these realities. But with each new blow, more pieces of the system collapse.
When the normal means of healing are easily available, you should always take advantage of them. When God has provided abundant means of normal medicine, it is a presumption to demand only His supernatural medicine. Ideally, it is best to take advantage of both. But soon (and it is happening far more rapidly than I expected when this was enacted) availability of normal services will be spotty – and if you have something chronic or are elderly, much will not be available at all as surviving doctors start working under an implicit triage mentality because of the shortages of supplies and equipment. God will not leave you bereft.
Along with this posting I have linked to a religious supply house that has printed up thousands of prayer cards containing this prayer and instructions on how to use it. It is the Full of Grace Supply House which is also linked at the right hand of this page. The woman who owns it gave me most of them to give away. I always carry a supply with me. I asked her to carry them in her inventory, so that as many as possible might have access to them.
Now, if you treat these as some magic object, I have utterly failed my duty to you. There is no magic in the card, nor magic in the prayer. Rather, the instructions for the prayer teach you how to align your will with that of God. Having said that, there have been many startling results from the proper use of this prayer. Let me explain.
First, the Lord often acts to confirm His intentions. I tell you to acknowledge Our Lady of Tepeyac, which is Our Lady’s proper title in this image, though she is commonly called Our Lady of Guadalupe. I know this because she told me long ago. She is sent as the Mother of Conversion in these terrible times. It pleases Our Lord that you acknowledge, then spread devotion to His servant and mother in this role He has given her for these times.
Second, prayer must begin with faith, the knowledge that God is in control of all things. But it must not end there. The demons in hell know that Christ is Lord, they know Scripture better than you and all the greatest theologians combined and, as James said, they tremble because of that knowledge. If all you have is faith, you have nothing more than the demons in hell.
Faith must lead to trust, the trust that once you acknowledge and follow Him, whatever the Lord allows to befall you is for your benefit or instruction or that of another that you may give witness to, perhaps never knowing until judgment the witness you have given by your trust. Many Christians treat prayer as the cloth with which they rub the magic lamp to bind God to their will. Prayer is to bind you to God’s will – and to begin to understand it. That cannot happen unless you trust, knowing that His ways are not your ways. Some purported faith healers teach that God will always heal those who trust Him. They are right, but not in the way they think. Their imaginations are so impoverished that, whatever they say, the only good they can envision is of this world. God always heals for eternity – that you may have abundant life with Him in heaven. If that means you must suffer some here to quell your rebellious yearnings, than suffer you will – if you trust God. If you are a particularly useful soul, God may allow you to suffer in penance for others who do not know they need penance, that more might be saved. Trust.
Trust will lead to abandonment. That is giving yourself entirely and willingly to whatever God wants of you. Gabriel came to Our Lady, Holy Mary, and told her she would get a great honor if she accepted – become the mother of Our Lord in His human incarnation. But there was a catch, This would happen in a way that would subject her to shame and, perhaps even a brutal execution. What incredible faith, trust and abandonment she lived to be able to say almost immediately, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” Of course, as Gabriel noted when he first spoke to her, she is “full of grace.” It is hard to get outside yourself. Some years ago, I was undergoing some serious suffering – and it would not go away. I begged and begged to know what I was doing wrong so I could correct it and escape my sorrows. Finally, the Lord, Himself came and said, “This is not about you.” Then He told me who it was about – someone I dearly loved who, unbeknownst to me, was in great spiritual danger. The Lord asked was I willing to accept this penance on the person’s behalf, for he desperately needed it. Foolish and self-centered as I was, I am proud I said yes – and soon was rewarded by seeing how much it was needed. Abandon yourself to His will – and don’t feel bad when He shows you what a silly, little fool you are. He only does that to those in whom He sees great promise. Be glad of your rebukes.
Finally, it is good to have prayer partners. It is even better to have one who already beholds the Face of God, for the saints’ faith is assured and will not fail. Take full advantage of the communion of the faithful. We are really going to need all hands on deck.
Know that with God, the intention is the action. Keep your prayers of petition short. It is not the length of them that aligns you with God, but the trust behind it. If you had perfect trust, all your intentions would merely be stated and then you would accept perfectly what God sends you. If you pray long in petition, you risk deluding yourself it is the Herculean nature of your efforts rather than the effortless grace of God that brings light, and thus become vainglorious. And yet, do not begrudge those who must make long, moaning prayers of petition. It is their lack of faith warring with their hope that makes it necessary. Such brevity is not for all prayer. Prayers of worship, praise and thanksgiving may be said at great length, either privately or in community. Also, when a demon is involved, prayers of intercession may go for weeks, but that is best left to priests under most circumstances.
Do not say this particular prayer more than once for any specific intention. To do so is to fail in trust – and defeat the purpose of this prayer, which is abandonment to God’s will. Certainly, God knows how needy we are, so you may say other prayers for the same intention if the need arises, but not this one. If you can, it is best to say it and then let it go, trusting that whatever comes of the matter now is for your eternal good regardless of what happens
I saw a pithy saying last week I will end with: “Don’t worry about tomorrow. God is already there.”

Friday, December 9, 2016

Saint Juan Diego

December 9 is the Feast of St. Juan Diego. He was born in 1474, eighteen years before Columbus discovered America. He was born in the village of Cuautitlan, Mexico located 14 miles north of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. He was a Chicameca of the Family of Texcoco. His Indian name was Cuauhtlatoatzin that means “He who talks like an eagle”.

Juan received an early education and was later married and had children. He was a landowner, a small farmer and was involved in textile manufacturing. He converted to Christianity between 1524-25 and was baptized, together with his wife, Maria Lucia, by the Franciscan missionary Friar Toribio de Benavente. Maria died in 1529 and Juan became a widower.

Juan lived in Mexico before and after the Spanish Conquest of 1521 and before the establishment of Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English colony, in 1607. The Conquest was an apocalyptic event for the indigenous peoples. They lost their freedom, their land, their religion, their culture, their society and their great city of Tenochtitlan. Juan’s life bridged two cultures from the pre-Conquest worship of false gods and the human sacrifices made to appease them to the post-Conquest worship of the One True God and the end of human sacrifice.

Juan’s tribal family of the Chicamecas were part of the Triple Alliance with the Aztecs (Mexicas) and the Tlacopans. However, the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma, assumed total control and made enmities of the other tribes. They later allied with the Spanish in the Conquest of 1521.

Ten years after the Conquest on December 9, 1531, 57-year-old Juan, a recent widower, began his nine-mile walk from his home in Tolpetlac probably to Tlaltelolco near Mexico City “in pursuit of God and His commandments”, according to the Nican Mopohua, the earliest account of the apparitions written in 1545. Juan was walking to attend Mass and catechetical instructions.

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan as he walked near Tepeyac Hill that was the former site of worship to the Aztec goddess Tonantzin. In a series of apparitions between December 9 and December 12 she identified herself as “the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the only true God in whom we live . . . .” She entrusted to him a mission to request Bishop Zumarraga to build a church on the hill so that she could manifest her Son to all of the people.

Twice the Bishop politely rebuffed Juan. He prudently requested a sign from Our Lady so as to believe her request for him to build the church.

Our Lady promised to give Juan the sign on December 11. However, on the appointed day Juan cared for his dying uncle, Juan Bernardino, and he stayed with him. On December 12, he left his uncle to get a priest to give him the last rites. As he approached Tepeyac Hill, Our Lady intercepted him and told him not to worry, that his uncle was well.

 Our Lady told Juan to go up to the top of the hill and cut and gather the flowers there. Juan obediently did so and found miraculous flowers growing in the middle of the frosty season that included Castilian roses that were native to the Bishop’s homeland in Spain. He put them together and returned to Our Lady. She helped to place the flowers in his tilma (cloak) and said that they were “the sign to take to the Bishop. Tell him, in my name, that in them he will recognize my will and that he must fulfill it. You will be my ambassador, fully worthy of my confidence.”

For the third time, Juan requested the Bishop to build the church. He said, “Here is your sign,” opened his tilma and the roses fell. At that moment the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared on his tilma. The Bishop believed, the church was built, the miraculous tilma was displayed for the people’s veneration and it is still displayed today in the Basilica near Tepeyac Hill.

Our Lady was true to her promise and manifested her Son to the millions of indigenous people who converted to Him. For the next seventeen years Juan lived as a humble hermit in a hermitage at the base of Tepeyac Hill and cared for the nearby church that housed the tilma.

Because Juan was learned in Nahuatl and Christian doctrine, he was able to explain the Miraculous Image on the tilma that spoke to the natives as a pictograph. He explained its significance and the story of the apparitions over and over again. He spent hours in prayer to Jesus and Mary and cared for her Image. He lived a life of poverty, chastity and obedience and was revered by all. He was Our Lady’s messenger, “The Talking Eagle”, to the day he died.

He died at the age of 74 in 1548 almost a century before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. He was probably buried in his hermitage next to the church that he had cared for so well.

At Juan’s canonization Mass, St. John Paul II remarked on the formation of the Mexican people and said,
In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood that embraces all Mexicans.
Before his final blessing, the Holy Father said, “You have now in your new saint a remarkable example of holiness. . . . May he be a model for you and others that you may also be holy."
by:     Dan Lynch

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

the-immaculate-conception-by-giovanni-domenico-tiepoloThis Feast day is a high light of my year. My sister Patty was born on this day and my family is related to Pope Pius the lX, who instituted the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. I am in full agreement with the essay of Peter Howard in the article below. Many people are predicting a terrible future for this country and the world. Mothers never sit by and allow the worst for the family. Our stubbornness will determine the difficulty we will encounter on the road to salvation and friendship with her Son. What better friend to have than the humble Son of God.
~Margaret of Souls for Jesus

Mercy, Mary, and the Advent of Christ
Every sign of our times points to God, something great and something new in the world. In practically every instance throughout the history of God’s people, God’s salvation does not come in the way people expect it. He uses the most unusual instruments at times, such as King Cyrus of Persia (an outsider of the Israelites, a Gentile), who liberated God’s people from their Babylonian captivity and even issued a decree that allowed the Jews to rebuild the Temple. God uses who He wishes to accomplish His plan as He did when He moved Caesar Augustus to shift an entire empire to fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. He didn’t have to do that to accomplish this, but it shows the world Who is really in charge of history and that God’s ways are not our ways (cf. Isaiah 55:8)
There seems to be a parallel in our moment of history, as there is tremendous change taking place these days. We are witnessing the collapse of a world order that has been so anti-Christ, anti-Gospel, anti-life. It is like the wailing cries of an exposed and wounded beast knowing its hours are numbered before it breathes its last, and in its desperation flails about in one last attempt to tout its strength and destroy its enemy.
This collapse signals also the coming dawn of a new beginning, literally a new renaissance, a rebirth — and with it a new hope if the world turns its hope to God and away from man. Is it mere coincidence that this is happening as the Church enters into Advent — an Advent that has been preceded by a historical and extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. What is God saying to the world and for what is this year of Mercy preparing the Church?
This year was given so that our hearts may once again be cleaned out and make space for the coming of Jesus Christ, Who came to deliver us from the evils of this world and give us the life that leads to true freedom — a deliverance and freedom that is only found and given to those humble enough to ask for it and receive it from Jesus Christ.

Magi5A perfect revelation of this truth is found in the “wise men”, the great kings of the east — kings of great power and wealth — who saw the signs in the heavens which spoke to the coming of a King of Kings. How were they able to find Him? Ultimately it was not by looking up, but looking down into a cave. They realized that in order to enter and see the King of Kings, they needed to stoop to enter. In other words, they needed humility to find and come before Wisdom Incarnate. And when they found Him, they found Jesus with His Mother.
This mystery playing out before the Magi, the shepherds and the Holy Family at Bethlehem, in the midst of an unknowing Roman Empire, is found perfectly explained in Mary’s Magnificat:
His mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.
What do take away from these historical events revealing God’s Wisdom Made Incarnate? It is what the Church puts before us during Advent. Mary is always the Advent of Christ, who prepares our hearts to be immaculate and humble like hers, so that we may be blessed to see God as the Beatitude announces to us. Like the unborn Christ, we place ourselves within the ark of Mary (while the world shifts all around us) and allow her to take us to the place where Christ can be born in our hearts. And, as the Advent of Christ and the Immaculate Conception, Mary actively sets out to “crush the head of the serpent” and everything that is at enmity with God, so that God may reign with His mercy and justice upon this wounded world. There is perhaps no better example of these truths revealed that in what took place on Tepeyac Hill in 1531 where Mary showed that she is ALWAYS the Advent of Christ and His Kingdom and that “wherever she enters,” as St. Maximilian Kolbe put it so well in his prayer of consecration to Mary, “she obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, for it is through [her] hands that all graces come to us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”  (Mary and the New Times of Noah, Mary, Ark of Salvation “Last Call! All Aboard!”, Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Renaissance of Civilization, Mary, Advent of Christ, In the End, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph)

stomeradorationmaryandjosephbabyjesusnativityIn this Advent season, let us be like our Mother Mary and St. Joseph, and ponder these mysteries in their hearts along with all that we have been given in these times. Let us ponder why we have been given the extraordinary Year of Mercy and how our lives must never be the same as we look to a new reign of Christ in the world—a reign that will come only after it has been purified through the work of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Our Lady at Fatima has promised will happen. And as the Church in 2017 celebrates the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, may we contemplate the significance of her visitations in light of Mary always being the Advent of Christ. Let us especially “watch and pray” according to the critical message and warnings of Our Lady of Fatima as the Church brings its renewed heart and strength to a humiliated world that is being primed to receive anew its Savior, Who comes again through the merciful and sacrificial love of His Immaculate Mother. The renaissance of Europe and the Americas — as well as the restoration of all civilization — depends on how much we accept and incarnate these gifts in our own lives and in our families.

This message of consecration of families to Mary’s Immaculate Heart is so important that I am offering parishes a special opportunity to bring this message to their communities. All they need to do is pay for my traveling costs (flight + lodging + transportation) and facilitate a free will offering to support the family apostolate Heroic Families. Parishes would need to agree to provide strong promotion for the event to increase attendance. The event would consist of one 60 minute presentation with Questions and Answers (Q&A). Contact me today at and let’s get this critical message to your parish!
***For those wanting a more intensive immersion on the special centenary of Fatima beginning in 2017, Dr. Howard is now offering a separate speaking series titled: “Fatima: 100 Years Later — Family Consecration at the Heart of the Triumph”. Dr. Howard is an expert in this topic and is very passionate in sharing how important it is for families today. He is currently booking speaking events for 2017. Visit today to learn more on how to bring this soul-awakening event to your parish or conference. Tremendous fruits have already been experienced from these events.
Heroic Families Official Logo BANNER[1] (White)
Art for this post on Mercy, Mary and the Advent of Christ: Partial restoration of The Immaculate Conception, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, circa 1775, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men” (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar), Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”; Nina-no (Nina Aldin Thune), 2006, own work, CCA-SA; Matthias Stom, circa 1635-1640, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; all Wikimedia Commons. Logo for Heroic Families, used with permission.

Profile photo of Peter HowardAbout Peter Howard

Dr. Peter Howard presently lives in Illinois with his wife, Chantal, and five children. Dr. Howard is a professor of Theology at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation ( In 2015, Peter and Chantal founded dedicated to the mission of “awakening Catholic families to their critical call to live their faith with courage, passion and purpose.” He is also a Catholic videographer (, author and national Catholic speaker who has spoken at the 2015 American Chesterton Society Conference, 2012 Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas; the United States Air Force Academy; parish retreats and on Catholic radio programs such as Radio Maria. Peter earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. Dr. Howard's theological expertise lies predominantly in Mariology and the teachings of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. He is the author of the 2014 book: The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen. Like his spiritual mentor, +Fulton Sheen, Dr. Howard is passionate about evangelizing families by communicating the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith as the answer to the challenges and errors of the world. If you would like to invite Dr. Howard to speak at your parish or event, contact him at

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hate and Healing Psalm 97:10 "A lover of God hates evil."

I don't know exactly how this happens but I do know that our emotional wounds run deep. As I have gone from new born to 65 years old, I have always believed that hatred is very wrong. I have refused to recognize hatred in my life and in  my own heart. I know that all negative emotions are harmful to us. Unfortunately as we travel this road of life if  we choose God and travel towards Him we become holy. Holiness abhors evil. How does evil manifest in our lives?  More often than not it is manifest through the people closest to us. Through people we normally depend on for support and love . This is  a situation that blinds us and blocks purification, healing and peace. 

God our loving Father is on a world wide mission to bring love and healing to His creation.  Healing happens when we recognize our own faults and failings . We bring those situations we are aware of to Jesus in the Sacrament of reconciliation.  So we are faithful to the Sacramental life yet we are still sad, depressed, angry.  I have never confessed hatred for any one or anything.  Recently I knew I needed confession, I raised my heart to Jesus in front of the Tabernacle and much to my surprise his response was, "Tell the priest you hate _______!" ~Wow what a surprise!  I am obedient to God's voice in my life. I was worried, not sure what the priest would say. As God expected his holy priest handled the situation very well.  A well of tears I had been holding back for years was released and I received a much needed healing. This for me has been  a much needed life changing experience. 

I share this because I am not alone on this journey of love.  I also believe that many of us are afraid to call evil and hatred for what it is.  Don't be afraid to ask Jesus if there is something of hatred and evil keeping you from his peace and love.
God is with us,
~Margaret of Souls for Jesus  

Friday, December 2, 2016

*Our Lady's message to Mirjana Soldo of December 2nd, 2016*

Dear children, my motherly heart is crying as I am looking at what my children are doing. Sins are multiplying, the purity of soul is all the less important; my Son is being forgotten - honored all the less; and my
children are being persecuted. That is why, you my children, apostles of my love, with soul and heart invoke the name of my Son. He will have the words of light for you. He manifests Himself to you, He breaks the bread with you and gives you the words of love so that you may transform them into merciful acts and, thus, be witnesses of truth. That is why, my children,
do not be afraid. Permit my Son to be in you. He will make use of you to care for the wounded and to convert lost souls. Therefore, my children, return to the prayer of the Rosary. Pray it with feelings of goodness, sacrifice and mercy. Pray, not only with words, but with merciful acts. Pray with love for all people. My Son, by His sacrifice, exalted love. Therefore, live with Him so that you may have strength and hope; that you may have the love which is life and which leads to eternal life. Through God's love, I am also with you, and will lead you with motherly love. Thank

*Mirjana said that Our Lady was very sad.*

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Novena Prayers for the Immaculate Conception 11/29-12/7

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ. The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.
I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests…
(Mention your intentions)
My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.
As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(same prayers for each of 9 days)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24, 2016 - Thanksgiving

I awoke this morning realizing that this could be the first real good family day we have  had since this day a year ago. As a civilization we are in the process of purification. We have obviously gone so far from our created purpose we are in grave danger. I am 65 years old and in those 65 years I have seen and experienced a lot of suffering.  This year tipped the scales. Many serious and painful situations uncovered in order to be healed by the Holy Spirit of God. "Everything done in secret will be revealed at the proper time." ~Mark 4:22.  As I listen to the painful stories from other families (as well as my own experience),  I realize that we are not accustom to the truth.  As Jesus spoke to  me a few years back: "My people no longer know the difference between the truth and a lie." We can be assured that God is healing His creation.

I am so happy to be a member of the Catholic Church. As 2016 has been the most difficult year myself and my family have ever experienced. Lots of healing is necessary on my part and that of my husband. We need to be healers to our children and that takes everything our hearts can endure. We have been introduced to the Cursillo movement by our new friends from way up in the North Country (Colebrook, NH). We both experienced the Cursillo at different times. The most loving, healing, life changing organized experience we have had in our lives as a married couple.  My advice is to find a Cursillo and go.

You may have noticed that I have not been writing for a while. I apologized to Jesus for this and He told me that I am living out my vocation which is how I please Him and serve Him  this world. Praise be to the King of Kings!

For most of my life I kept waiting for the: "And they all lived happily ever after." scenario. I am a very slow learner. Finally I realized that happily ever after is in the after life and hopefully in heaven. 2017 is looming in front of us. My advice is to be very prayerful in order to know God's Will for you and to surrender, surrender, surrender.  Go to confession often and start all over again.

I have and will continue to rely on the prayer formation of this apostolate to fill me with healing and peace in order to continue with love, courage and perseverance. "When you are weak I am strong,  says the Lord."  ~2 Corinthians 12  9-11.  Yes I am weak and broken, yet very strong in faith, hope, and love. "My grace is sufficient for you."

This Thanksgiving we have the privilege of becoming grandparents for the first time. Killian Daniel arrived shortly before midnight. it was a 2 day labor and delivery, grateful thanks to all who prayed for us. 

~Margaret of Souls for Jesus

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sex and the 2016 Election

Dan Lynch has expressed what Jesus has asked  me and others to suffer for, "The Crux of Mankind's problem, the way we treat our sexuality."  It is a relief to me to have a  man of his character understand the severity of this issue and the importance of making it known.    
God is with us and He will never forsake His own.
~Margaret of souls for Jesus
 It seems that the issues of the election of 2016 had much to do about sex. However, it was not about the sex of the candidates, male and female, and the potential first woman President, but about support for immoral sexual acts. “If all the fury directed at religious believers could be pressed into a single word, as it can, that word would … be sex.” (Mary Eberstadt, “The New Intolerance”, First Things).

Hillary Clinton supports the immoral sexual acts of same-sex relationships; public accommodations for those who claim to have changed their sex; abortion from conception to partial birth for the unwanted human beings conceived by sexual acts; and, against consciences and religious liberties, mandatory provision of services for celebrations of same-sex relationships; mandatory payment for contraceptive insurance coverage; mandatory payment for abortions from our taxes and mandatory requirements for doctors to perform or refer attempted sex-change operations. Mrs. Clinton said that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

Mrs. Clinton’s response to those who opposed her support of immoral acts was not reasoned argument but simple name-calling. She said, "To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it."

Donald Trump wrote to the Catholic Leaders Conference, at which I spoke. He said:
I have a message for Catholics: I will be there for you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you. I am, and will remain, pro-life. I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions.

As First Lady, US Senator, Secretary of State, and two-time presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton has been hostile to the core issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics: life, religious liberty, Supreme Court nominations, affordable and quality healthcare, educational choice and home schooling.
You may read Donald Trump’s full letter to the Catholic Leadership Conference here.

Catholics, who comprise 25% of the voters, accepted Mr. Trump’s message and their votes, together with those of other people of goodwill, resulted in his election.

It seems that our society is divided by moral issues and not by political issues. Reasonable minds may differ on political issues and come to different, but moral, prudential judgments. Not so with moral issues which are absolute and can easily be known through the natural law that God implants in our hearts and by the exercise of right reason.

Our division is between light and darkness and between those who follow the light of God and those who stumble in the darkness of moral evil. It is a division between God and Caesar. Those who cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion said, “We have no King but Caesar!”  They did not recognize God as their true King. Neither do many today who call themselves liberals and progressives. Their king is the state and not God.

However, St. John tells us, “Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9).

In fact, many “progressives” are secular humanists who believe only in this world in which humanity without God will try to make its own heaven on earth.

"Progressivism" is ideological, coercive, and ultimately opposed to the truth about human sexuality, marriage and the family. “Progressives” replace these truths with their ideology and attempt to use the state to further it with its mandatory sanctions. They act as if God does not exist. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever.” (Romans 1:25).

They are rebels against God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ and they will not serve him or his and his Church’ s teachings on the natural moral law about what we must do or not do in order to have eternal life and happiness with him. It seems that they are not progressing but regressing to the moral rebellion in the Garden of Eden.

The truth against the rebellious and morally evil practices of contraception, abortion, same-sex sexual relationships and transsexuality is simply revealed to us by God. In the Garden of Eden God created them male and female, two separate sexes. He did not create any so-called “transgender” sexes. He told the man and the woman, Adam and Eve, to unite and join together to become one flesh and to multiply. Union of husband and wife with an openness to new life is how he established true marriage and the family with its purpose for the procreation and education of children.

Some of the rebellious practices against these truths cause abuse against the dignity of women, many of whom think that they are sexually liberated. However, many are in fact used and abused by men who treat them as objects and not as persons. Just one small example of this comes from the words of JayZ. He is a rapper who sang at a rally for Hillary Clinton without any later correction or comment from her about his lyrics.

His lyrics motivated my daughter, Maggie Eisenbarth, who gave birth to Fletcher, her ninth child, two days after the election, to post the following on Facebook on election eve:

Seriously! Last night I was curious enough to watch JayZ, some other rapper and Beyonce at some free Hillary concert/rally and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A lot of “eff this and N%$#@ that", and to really make it sweet and to get thanks from Hillary was, "...bringin' back 5 or 6 hoe, @#$% them, then we kick em... she deserved that..." It was grotesque, dark and evil. Raise the bar country! Raise your children on the Truth.
In response to Hillary’s supporters who didn’t acknowledge his abusive lyrics, Maggie wrote:
No woman will ever be free as long as we allow and condone men referring to us as hoes and reference abusing us. It's not complicated, it's wrong. It is not music. If you're not going to wonder what Hillary is all about when this is what she chooses to represent, then don't play the same game with others. It is hypocrisy. I think our country and our children deserve the Truth, deserve light, deserve goodness, deserve to grow and be nurtured absent vulgarity, profanity and evil. I believe in a better day, a better America. Would Allison Krauss please come forward and sing for us all now, that would make me happy, that and honoring God in our country.
Maggie’s post exemplifies the division in our society between light and darkness. Let us pray a novena to Our Lady of America for her to mediate a river of the light of God to our society. May this light penetrate and melt the hearts of the secular humanists who support moral evils. May they turn to God who lovingly waits for them to receive his mercy. His merciful arms are wide enough to embrace all repentant people of good will and to forgive them so that they may have eternal life and happiness with him.

However, it seems that their minds and hearts have been made dull and hardened and that God has placed a veil over them so that they cannot understand and accept the natural moral truths of life, marriage and the family. It seems that this veil will not be removed unless and until they turn from the idols that they have created of their own enlightenment and sexual revolution and accept these moral truths.

Let us pray that secular humanists come to know the truth, the love and the mercy of the one true God. He tells us that, “if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

The birth of any child, like Fletcher, my new 25th grandchild, is a sign of hope for the future. As President John Kennedy once said, “Children are our most important natural resource and our best hope for the future!”

Let us be hopeful! What St. John Paul II wrote to Europe, also applies to the United States. "Be certain! The Gospel of hope does not disappoint! Throughout the vicissitudes of your history, yesterday and today, it is the light which illumines and directs your way; it is the strength which sustains you in trials; it is the prophecy of a new world; it is the sign of a new beginning; it is the invitation to everyone to blaze new trails in order to make the continent a true common home filled with the joy of life." (John Paul II, Ecclesia in Europa, 121).

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Who Is Your Real Enemy and What Are his Tactics?

nov10-blogIn the aftermath of the recent election, our country and our parishes are divided. Some people are hurt and angry while others are jubilant and hopeful. But although we often square off in opposing corners and stare fearfully at each other, we should remember our common enemy, the Devil. There’s a saying that warring brothers reconcile when there’s a maniac at the door; and the Devil is surely a maniacal and cunning opponent. One of the key elements in any battle is understanding the strategy and tactics of your opponent. In the spiritual battle of life, we need to develop some sophistication in recognizing, naming, and understanding the strategies and common tactics of the Devil.
A 2011 book by Fr. Louis J. Cameli, The Devil You Don’t Know, can be of great assistance in this matter. In the book, Fr. Cameli breaks the Devil’s tactics down into four broad categories. I highly recommend reading the book, where Fr. Cameli expounds on the topic much more fully than I can do here.

While the categorization comes from Fr. Cameli, the reflections that follow are largely my own, although surely rooted in his excellent work.

I. Deception Jesus says, The Devil was a murderer from the beginning he does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks according to his own nature, he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
The Devil attempts to deceive us with many false and empty promises. Most of these center around the lie that we will be happier and more fulfilled if we sin or deny aspects of the truth. Whatever passing pleasures come with sin, they are just that—passing. Great, accumulated suffering eventually comes with almost all sinful activity. Yet, despite this experience, we human beings remain very gullible; we seem to love empty promises and put all sorts of false hopes in them.
The Devil also tries to deceives us by suggesting that we introduce all sorts of complexities into our thinking. He seeks to confuse us and to conceal the fundamental truth about our action from us. Our minds are very wily; we love to indulge complexity as a way of avoiding the truth and/or making excuses. Conniving with the Devil, we entertain endless complications in our minds by asking “But what if this?” or “What about that?” Along with the Devil, we project all sorts of possible difficulties, exceptions, or potential sob stories, in order to avoid insisting that we (and/or others) behave well and live according to the truth.
The Devil also seeks to deceive us with “wordsmithing.” The dismemberment and murder of a child through abortion becomes “reproductive freedom” or “choice.” Engaging in sodomy is called being “gay” (a word which used to mean happy). Our luminous Faith and ancient wisdom is called “darkness” and “ignorance.” Fornication is called “cohabitation.”  The redefinition of marriage as it has been known for some 5000 years, is labeled “marriage equality.”  And thus through exaggerations and outright false labeling, the Devil deceives us. We too easily connive by calling “good,” or “no big deal,” what God calls sinful.
Finally, the Devil deceives us through the sheer volume of information and with selective use of it. Information is not the same is truth, and data can be assembled very craftily in order to make deceptive points. Further, certain facts and figures can be emphasized while other balancing truths are omitted. And thus even information that is true in itself can become a means of deception. The news media and other sources sometimes exercise their greatest influence in what they choose not to report.
We do well to assess very carefully the many ways Satan seeks to deceive us. Do not believe everything you think or hear. While we ought not to be cynical, we should be sober, seeking to verify what we see and hear and square it with God’s revealed truth.

II. Division One of Jesus’ final prayers for us was that we would be one (cf John 17:22). He prayed this at the Last Supper, just before He went out to suffer and die for us. This highlights that a chief aspect of His work on the cross was to overcome the divisions intensified by Satan. Some argue that the Greek root of the word “diabolical” (diabolein) means to cut, tear, or divide. Jesus prays and works to reunify what the Devil divides.
The Devil’s work of division starts within each one of us, as we experience many contrary drives: some noble, creative, and edifying; others base, sinful, and destructive. So often, we struggle within and feel torn apart, much as St. Paul describes in Romans chapter 7:  The good that I want to do, I do not do …, and when I try to do good, evil is at hand. This is the work of the Devil, to divide us within. And as St. Paul lays out in Romans chapter 8, the chief work of the Lord is to establish within us the unity of soul and body, in accordance with the unity of His truth.
The Devil’s attack against our inner unity of course spills out into many divisions among us externally. So many things help to drive this division and the Devil surely taps into them all: anger, resentment, fear, misunderstanding, greed, pride, and arrogance. There is also the impatience that we so easily develop with those we love, as well as the flawed notion that we should seek out other more perfect and desirable people instead. This leads many to abandon their marriages, family, churches, and communities; always in search of the elusive goal of finding better, more perfect people and situations.
Yes, the Devil has a real field day tapping in to a plethora of sinful drives within us. His goal is always to divide us within and to divide us among ourselves. We do well to recognize that regardless of our struggles with others, we all share a common enemy who seeks to divide and destroy us. St. Paul writes, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). Yes, feuding brothers reconcile when there’s a maniac at the door. Step one is to notice the maniac and step two is to set aside our lesser divisions.

III. Diversion  For all of us, our most critical focus is God and the good things awaiting us in Heaven. Faith, obedience to the truth, love of God, and love of neighbor lead us on the path toward Heaven. The Devil does all that he can to divert us away from our one true goal.
Perhaps he will do this by making us overly absorbed in the passing things of this world. So many people claim that they are too busy to pray, attend Mass, or seek other forms of spiritual nourishment. They become absorbed in worldly things, which pass, ignoring the lasting reality that looms.
Anxieties and fears also cause us to be distracted. The Devil causes us to fixate on fears about passing things while neglecting to have a proper fear of the judgment that awaits us. Jesus says, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28). In other words, we should have a holy reverence and fear directed towards the Lord. If we do this, many of our other fears will be put into better perspective or will go away altogether. In this matter of fear, the Devil says just the opposite: we should fear the myriad things that might afflict us in this passing world and not think at all about the most significant thing that awaits us—our judgment.
At the heart of all diversion is the fact that the Devil wants us to focus on lesser things so that we avoid focusing on greater things, such as making moral decisions and attending to the proper overall direction of our life.
We must learn to focus on what matters most and decisively refuse to be diverted by lesser things.

IV. Discouragement As human beings, and certainly as Christians, we ought to have high aspirations; this is good. But as with all good things, Satan often seeks to poison them. With our high aspirations, sometimes we lack the humility to recognize that we must make a journey in order to achieve that which is good or best. Too easily, Satan tempts us to impatience with our own self or with others. Expecting to achieve our aspirations unreasonably quickly, we can be uncharitable toward our own self or others. Some grow discouraged with themselves or with others and just give up on the pursuit of holiness. Others give up on the Church because of the imperfections found there, as are found in any institution with humans.

The Devil discourages us with open-ended aspirations. There is always room for improvement; we can always do more. When we can always do more, it is easy to think that we’ve never done enough. And thus the Devil discourages us, sowing thoughts of unreasonable demands within us about we can or should be able to achieve each day.
The Devil also discourages us through simple things like fatigue, minor personal failings, setbacks, and other obstacles that are common to our human condition living in a fallen world with limited resources.
In all these ways the Devil seeks to discourage us, to make us want to give up. Only a properly developed sense of humility can save us from this discouragement by Satan. Humility—which is reverence for the truth about ourselves—teaches us that we grow slowly and in stages and helps us to recognize that we will always have setbacks and that we live in a world that is hard and far from perfect. With humility we can learn to lean more on the Lord and trust in His providential help, which grows in us incrementally.
Here, then, are four common tactics of the Devil. Learn to recognize and name them. In this way, we can start to gain authority over them. Consider reading Fr. Cameli’s book to learn more.