Thursday, December 27, 2018

St. John, the Builder of Mary’s House

By: Dan Lynch
December 27 is the feast of St. John, the Beloved Disciple. From the day of the crucifixion, when Jesus entrusted His mother to the care of John, he took her into his heart and cared for her. After the persecution under King Herod Agrippa I in the year 42, John left Jerusalem and sailed over the Mediterranean Sea with Mary to safety to Ephesus, in what is now Turkey. Ephesus was the rich center of the Roman Empire in the East with a population of a quarter million. There he built her a house where she lived and from which she was assumed into heaven.

In the 18th century, Pope Benedict XIV accepted the accumulated evidence and tradition and wrote in his Treatise on the Holy Mysteries on Holy Friday that “St. John leaving for Ephesus, took Mary with him and it was there that the Blessed Mother was assumed into heaven.”
In the early 1820s, Blessed Sister Catherine Emmerich saw visions of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of her house in Ephesus. Blessed Catherine was a German mystic who was bed-ridden with the stigmata. She never left Germany. Her visions were extraordinarily extensive and detailed. They contained facts and places that she could not have naturally known. She described her visions in detail to her secretary, Clemens Brentano. He published a book about them.

Dan Lynch at Mary’s House

Blessed Catherine said that after Our Lord's Ascension, Mary lived on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, then in Bethany, and then was taken by St. John to Ephesus, where she lived for nine years in the house that he built for her. Several Christian families had already settled there in caves or rustic huts in a scattered village where they lived a simple, natural life.

In 1890, Brentano's book was read by some priests in Izmir, Turkey, near Ephesus. They were curious to see whether they could confirm Blessed Catherine’s description of Mary's House from the evidence on the ground. So, they went up the mountain in the summer of 1891. After searching in the mountains, they came upon some natives who led them to the remains of a small house near the summit of an isolated peak. The site and the remains corresponded accurately to Blessed Catherine’s description.

On December 1, 1891, Archbishop Timoni of Smyrna declared in a formal document that those remains were truly the remains of the house inhabited by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The priests learned that the natives were descended from the early Christians of Ephesus and that the house had been venerated since time immemorial. They called the house Panaya Kapulu– “The House of the Holy Virgin”.
Archaeologists discovered that the foundation of Mary’s House dated to the first century. Later archeological excavations corresponded with Blessed Catherine’s description and diagrams. They proved that her visions in fact showed reality and eventually Mary's House was rebuilt upon the original foundation.

Eusebius wrote in his chronicle that St. John died in peace at Ephesus, in the third year of the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan and the hundredth of the Christian era at the age of approximately 94. He was buried in a graveyard on Ayasuluk Hill in what is now the city of Selcuk.

In September 2001, soon after the 9/11 attack on America, I flew to Muslim Turkey with three companions on an almost empty airplane. Many people were afraid to fly for fear of more airplanes being hijacked.

Pilgrims of all faiths come to visit Mary's House, especially Muslims. They call the House, Meryem Anna Evi, Mother Mary's House.

Pope Pius XII said, “The holy House should be a Marian center which is unique throughout the world, a place where Christians and Muslims of all rites and denominations and of all nationalities can meet each other to venerate the Mother of Jesus, and make true the prophecy, ‘All Generations will call me blessed.’ ” (L’Osservatore Romano, April 24, 1954).

St. John XXIII, St. Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI all made pilgrimages to Mary’s House. Over one million visitors journey there each year.

I went to Ephesus to pray for reconciliation and peace with Muslims. I also went there to walk in the footsteps of St. John to Mary’s House. The early morning sun beat down on me as I prayed at his tomb located in the ruins of the Basilica devoted to him on Ayasuluk Hill outside of the city of Ephesus. John wrote his gospel and his letters in Ephesus and he often walked through the ancient city and up the mountain to Mary’s House.

I walked in the footsteps of John's likely route down from his Basilica and west to the ancient city of Ephesus. I stopped there for a visit at the ruins of Mary’s Church. This was the first church in the world that was dedicated to Mary. The Council of Ephesus was held there in 431. It proclaimed the first Marian dogma that Mary is the Mother of God.

After a refreshing drink of water, I continued through the magnificent ruins of Ephesus and began the climb up the highway of Nightingale Mountain, from which I could see the powder blue sky, the cobalt blue Aegean Sea and the Island of Samos glistening like a diamond in the sea. As I climbed the road up the mountain, I passed the huge statue of Mary that overlooks the valley below. I took it as a sign that she was encouraging me to keep climbing up to her House.

Three and a half hours after I left St. John’s Basilica, I reached a plateau hidden on the back of the mountaintop. As the sweat poured off my face, I stood before Mary’s House which is nestled in the mountainside. The restored House is made of stone and its foundation has been there for almost 2000 years. This House was the fountain of grace from which sprang the dogma of Mary Mother of God and the great basilicas of Ephesus dedicated to Mary and to St. John. From here her body and soul were assumed into heaven.

I walked up to her House and entered the chapel which was once Mary’s living room. I prayed there and then exited through what was once Mary’s bedroom.

Then I walked behind her House and prayed while on the path of the Stations of the Cross that Mary herself made, according to the visions of Blessed Sister Catherine Emmerich, and then at the likely place of her assumption. I reflected on her House that had lain here in ruins for almost 1900 years, little known by the world except for local venerators, until the Church ruled in the late 19th century that the ruins were the remains of Mary’s House.

You may read the full story of the life of St. John and Mary’s House in my book The Gospel of Lovefound here.

Father Peter Damian Fehlner, O.F.M Conv. S.T.D. wrote about the book, “You will experience John’s life as if you were with him nearly 2000 years ago. You will experience John’s innermost thoughts and doubts as he struggles to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and his teachings that constitute the Gospel of Love. You will see John’s transformation from tempestuousness to tranquility as he gradually comes to know and believe in the love that God has for all of us. Our thanks to Dan Lynch for this inspiring work!”

Father James McCurry, Minister Provincial of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, gave the homily at Father Peter’s funeral.  He said that he was a “scholar, theologian and genius.” He said that Father Peter was “genuinely a true genius, one of the greatest scholars in the 800 year history of the Franciscan Order.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The birth of the world is the birth of Christian prayer

With the Word of the Father, the words of Christian prayer are born from the Virgin’s Womb. Such was the mystery of prayer learned first by the One who Believed as she felt Him ready to enter the world. It is not seized by force or mastered by practice. The result always exceeds expectation but can never be calculated. This prayer can only be welcomed as a gift and requires that humble reverence without which no love is ever possible. There is no other prayer that the human heart can offer that is given to us as this prayer has been given.
Just as she carried the Lord in her womb before His birth, every prayer offered in Christian faith also carries Him. Since her “fiat”, the Word of the Father has never stopped coming and with each advent, He prepares a new theophany whenever a heart says “yes” to Him. Each new word of prayer offered by faith in Him makes space for Him to be born and opens unseen human poverties and miseries to Divine Peace and Glory.
As she waited for that first Christmas, filled with wonder, the humble Handmaid knew the mystery first conceived in her heart by obedience would soon be heard and seen in the shadow of the Almighty. She must have been amazed that the very vulnerability of His prayer, even when only an infant’s cry, would pierce the heart of the Father and unveil the deep things of God. Her mind must have bathed in astonishment over how His prayer would echo at the center of human history and in every human heart. Did she guess by the way it drew her that His prayer had the power to draw all men back to all that is noble and true about humanity, and to all that is good and tender about God?
She must have wondered over that mysterious silent love by which He raised His Heart. If she felt this in her womb, could she see with her heart that His canticle of love would not be dimmed even when He suffered death? She nonetheless believed that the humble glory of his unvanquished petition would make powerful knees bend and haughty heads bow down. By the invincible hope of His cry, she still rejoices that the prayers of those who believe stand in the midst of hardship and shine brightly against the darkness.
It is possible to learn such prayer in these finals days before Christmas. These are words that are learned by an obedience that suffers, progresses and dies in love just as He did.  The Man of Sorrows is the Way that prayer must walk if Christian faith is to attain what it seeks. The Just One is the Truth who makes true the desires of the Christian heart. The One Crucified by Love is the life for all those who, by prayer, die to themselves and live no more this earthly life. A wondrous gift is offered in the simple surrender that would turn again from sin, persevere in love and invoke His Name; and that prayer that amazed the Mother of God becomes also the prayer coming to birth in the heart. 
By: Anthony Lilles

Sunday, December 16, 2018

St. Thérèse Was A Prima Ballerina

Recently I was listening to an Avila Institute class lecture. Professor Hollcraft’s comments on fortitude in the everyday situations and decisions of our lives solidified something which struck me deeply a few years ago.

My friend was giving a talk about the loss of her two-year-old son in a drowning accident. An amateur ballet dancer, she has a great love for St. Thérèse of Lisieux. “The Little Flower,” she said, “is a prima ballerina. A prima ballerina spends endless hours, years and years, doing minuscule movements over and over until she can do them with precision and perfection which appear almost effortless. The movements seem repetitive, boring and pointless but build a strong foundation of the ballerina. If incorrectly practiced, a dancer cannot grow. If done correctly with purpose, she abounds in grace. We see her dance across the stage and it looks easy and graceful. But we could never do it because we have not put in the ages of work behind the scenes. St. Thérèse’s life appears to us a masterpiece of simplicity and easy trust that has appeal because it looks so fluid and natural – but those millions of acts of love were anything but easy. She became a saint because she practiced painfully for years.”.

This, I think, begs a profound reflection. We too will have our hour on stage – often that stage resembles the severity of the cross. And the world will watch – and most importantly, God will watch. And how will we perform? It will greatly depend on how we practiced in the millions of unseen instants of our lives. The exercise of virtue gives strength to the soul before the curtains are raised. The small sacrifices and tiny movements of love will crescendo into our final act – we pray it will glorify God and leave the world searching for what we have found.

My ballerina friend Angee has the gift of fortitude in spades. After God led her deeper into relationship with Himself through many and experiences and people, she practiced the faith and participated in the sacraments joyfully and faithfully. And when, in the sudden loss of her son, she was asked to make the supreme sacrifice, she did so with a grace and strength that left the Church of Phoenix amazed. She clung to the cross with white knuckles but never slipped – because her spiritual muscles were strong. I pray to have such fortitude, too. To embrace this gift, exercise it, and ask to be ever mindful of it. We have a thousand opportunities each day.

To pick up a pin for love of God can convert souls. – St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pope Francis on the ‘Gay Mentality’ That Has ‘Influenced the Church’

by Father Roger J. Landry on Wednesday Dec 12th, 2018 at 9:31 AM
Article main image
On Dec. 3, The Strength of a Vocation, a book-length interview with Pope Francis by Father Fernando Prado, a Spanish Claretian Missionary, was published in 10 languages.
Father Prado, a theology professor at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, asks 60 questions on a wide range of topics, including priestly, religious and consecrated vocations, but the only subject that made headlines was what Pope Francis said with regard to priests, religious, seminarians and candidates with same-sex attractions.

The context was a conversation Pope Francis said he had had with a bishop who didn’t think it was a problem that several priests in his diocese were “openly gay” because it was just an “expression of affection.” The Pope corrected him, saying, “This is a mistake. It is not just an expression of affection.”
Neither the bishop nor the Bishop of Rome defined what was meant by “openly gay” — whether it meant participation in unchaste homosexual practices or publicly identifying oneself by his same-sex attraction and aligning oneself with the “gay movement.” Whatever the definition, however, the Pope declared, “In the consecrated life and in the priestly life, there is no place for that kind of affection,” meaning, it seems, no place for same-sex sexual activity, same-sex public displays of affection, or affection for the “gay lifestyle.”
With regard to priests and religious engaging in same-sex sexual activity, Pope Francis called them to stop living as hypocrites and make a choice whether to live a Christian lifestyle or one at odds with Christian belief.
“I say to the priests, gay religious men and women,” the Holy Father forthrightly stated, “we must urge you to live fully celibate and, above all, to be exquisitely responsible, trying not to scandalize your communities or the holy faithful people of God by living a double life. It is better that you leave the ministry or consecrated life rather than live a double life.”
Concerning candidates for the priesthood or religious life, Pope Francis said, “Homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates,” adding, “The Church recommends that people with this ingrained tendency not be accepted into the ministry or the consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”
“It’s something that worries me,” he continued. “We have to discern with seriousness and listen to the voice of the experience that the Church has. … It may be that at the moment they are accepted they don’t exhibit that tendency, but later they come out.”
For that reason, he said, we must “very much take care of human and sentimental maturity” when training future priests and religious, and “be demanding,” because “in our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable, and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church.”

None of what he said was really new.
With regard to priests not living chastely, Pope Francis has regularly called priests living unchastely either to repent and thoroughly convert or have the integrity to leave. Before the papacy, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio said in a book-length interview with Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti that a priest “cannot scandalize a community and abuse the souls of the faithful,” which is why “the great hypocrisy of the double life” cannot be tolerated. In another book with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, he said that if a priest violates his commitment to chaste celibacy, he tries to “help him to get on track again” through penance and chastity, but that one who proves incapable of observing celibacy must leave.
None of this is a contradiction of Pope Francis’ well-publicized 2013 statement, “Who am I to judge?” There, he was referring to a priest who had been previously caught in homosexual activity whom the Pope implied “committed a sin … [and] repented, sought forgiveness and received it.” Mercy was offered and received.
Pope Francis, however, certainly is one who judges, and judges negatively, as the Church always has, hypocrisy, infidelity to one’s priestly promises, and same-sex sexual activity by priests.

The Church has never considered kicking faithful priests out of the priesthood or faithful religious out of religious life simply for same-sex attractions. But if priests or religious want to identify with that lifestyle or live a double life, the Holy Father is underlining that it is incompatible with what they promised at their ordination.
Concerning candidates for the priesthood and religious life, there is a stricter standard because we are not dealing with those who are ordained or in final vows who have made public commitments in the Church. What Pope Francis said is consistent with the Congregation for Clergy’s 2016 instructionfor seminary formation that he approved and ordered to be published. That document, “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” reiterated the Church’s positions from 1962 and 2005, emphasizing:
“The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” The reason is because “such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women,” and “one must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
The instruction considers a few different situations.
The first is with regard to those who are engaging in unchaste and sinful homosexual activity or those who are living or promoting a lifestyle in opposition to Church teaching. It would be insane for the Church to ordain those who do not practice what they are called to preach.

Likewise, those who support a “gay culture” — and look at a same-sex lifestyle as something that should be celebrated, either by living it themselves or encouraging those who do — simply are not thinking with the mind of the Church they have sworn a solemn oath to represent.
The second is for those whose same-sex attractions are “ingrained,” “deep-seated” or profoundly rooted, in contrast to “transitory.” The Church recognizes that there is a huge difference between one who experiences some fleeting same-sex attractions — which, because of their ephemeral character, can and “must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate” — and another whose attractions are strong and seemingly a permanent part of one’s self-identity.

The Church has established the bar not at whether a man can practice continence (the abstention from sexual activity), but at whether he is free of what the Catechism calls “intrinsically disordered” same-sex affections.
Does this mean that the Church thinks that someone with same-sex attractions cannot be a good, holy and chaste priest or religious? No. Some are. The question is not whether it’s possible, but whether it is prudent and likely, for there have also been priests with same-sex tendencies who have not served with the same distinction.

For one with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to become a holy priest, for example, he needs much greater humility and has to overcome many more obstacles than a typical heterosexual candidate. For him to believe and teach the Catholic faith, he must be able to say with integrity, “I have a disorder in my emotions and attractions that is not my fault, but which I have to work to overcome.” Otherwise, he will be tempted to conclude that the Church is wrong about her constant teaching on homosexuality, and therefore can be wrong on other matters of faith and morals about which she definitively teaches. Likewise, he must also overcome greater challenges in seminary formation and priestly living.

While it is of course possible with God’s grace for a man with profoundly rooted same-sex tendencies to remain chaste, seminary and rectory living would provide temptations to him that a typical heterosexual seminarian or priest living in those same circumstances would not face. Failure here, too, would be grievous for both the man and the Church.

The scandals of recent months, beginning with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and exacerbated by the report of the Pennsylvania grand jury, have revealed the problem in the Church of “lavender mafias” in various seminaries, religious houses and dioceses, which has brought this issue of the inadvisability of ordaining those with deep-seated same-sex attractions to the forefront.
The Church has not yet dealt adequately with the reality that four of five cases of the sexual abuse of minors are same-sex in nature; and four of five of those are not of children, but of post-pubescent boys. Many in the Church are in denial that there is any connection between same-sex attractions and activity with adults and the abuse of teenage boys, a connection that the notorious case of McCarrick has plainly illustrated. Whether the denial is ideological or simply a legitimate desire not to scapegoat all priests with same-sex attractions unjustly for the abuse crisis, it has prevented the Church from confronting at its roots the culture of sexual infidelity that allowed the abuse of minors to happen.

The source of the denial of such a connection is a 2010 report by the John Jay College on the causes and context of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the U.S. The report had two methodological flaws. The first was that the authors denied that most priests who molested boys could necessarily be classified as homosexual; the second was that if there were a connection, there should have been a linear growth between priests self-identifying as same-sex-attracted and higher rates of abuse of boys, which they said didn’t exist.
The report, however, examined no data on sexual identification, just some generic estimates. Father D. Paul Sullins, in an important study last month entitled, “Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?” looked at the available data and showed indeed that the “increase or decrease in the percent of victims who were male correlated almost perfectly (0.98) with the increase or decrease of homosexual men in the priesthood.”

The John Jay College report, however, did provide some data about behaviors that confirmed the wisdom of Pope Francis’ and the Church’s approach to those who have engaged in a same-sex lifestyle.
The study revealed that priests who engaged in same-sex sexual behavior before ordination were significantly more likely (than heterosexuals) to continue to engage in similar unchaste behavior both in seminary and after ordination; priests who identified as gay, bisexual or confused, as well as those with positive views toward homosexuality, were more likely to engage in seminary and post-ordination sexual behavior than those who consider themselves heterosexual or had negative views toward homosexuality; and if priests with pre-ordination same-sex sexual behavior did abuse a minor after ordination, it was much more likely to be a male victim.
Some have tried to accuse Pope Francis and the Church of an un-Christian animus toward those with same-sex attractions, speaking about chastity for one and not the other. The Church indeed calls all priests, religious, seminarians, postulants and novices to chaste celibacy — something that, frankly, everyone knows.

The issue is not that the Church treats heterosexual and homosexual unchaste behavior differently — the Church considers both sinful — but that the Church objectively treats heterosexual and homosexual attractions and “identity” differently, something that is offensive to “gender ideology,” which maintains that same-sex attractions are merely “differently ordered” than opposite-sex attractions.

The Church, however, holds that they’re rather “intrinsically disordered” at the level of their “affective and sexual complementarity,” and that when someone identifies deeply with them, it is germane to the question of fittingness for the priesthood or religious life.
As the Pope candidly affirmed, these matters are indeed highly relevant to the “strength of a vocation.”
Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mary Is The Heart Of Advent

If there are five days that summarize the significance of our extraordinary age of Mary, it is December 8-12. During these days we contemplate the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the events and messages surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe. These events are strategically placed by Divine Providence at the heart of Advent —not to distract us from the coming of Christ, but to better prepare us for it. They direct our attention to a beautiful and central truth about Mary which Venerable Fulton Sheen frequently pointed out — that Mary is always the Advent of Christ.

The historical-spiritual connections of the feast of the Immaculate Conception and its direct connection to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady Lourdes and even Our Lady of Fatima —in connecting the Old World and the Americas, the Eastern Church and the Western Church — are fascinating. I have written and spoken on them many times, but you can find a good summary here.

In this post, I want to focus on how the mysteries and events surrounding December 8-12 are meant to show us the path to greatest intimacy with God — a message so desperately needed for a world that has abandoned God. During this time, we contemplate how God wishes to establish intimacy with each of us through the tenderness of His Mother. It is how He did so the first time He came and every Advent is the Church’s opportunity to contemplate how this truth is re-lived in our own lives.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and her mystery as the Immaculate Conception give us two significant truths about the intimacy of God that have great importance to the life of every Christian. The first, as we saw in a very powerful way in Mexico City in 1531, is that Mary is always working, especially in these days, to prepare souls to receive the gift of Christ. And she showed the power of her efforts to do so by converting 9 million Aztecs (without saying a word to them!), whose civilization was built upon a culture of death based on human sacrifice. In other words, where the world sees no hope or possibility in finding God, Mary is God’s secret weapon. Secret because she comes not in forceful, conquering power, but in an unexpected tender way that disarms the world around her. We must never forget that Mexico is Christian because of Mary and Mary was able to obtain their conversion because the Holy Spirit only works through Mary because she is His inseparable Spouse, a teaching always held by the Church. As St. Louis de Montfort put it: “Jesus is always and everywhere the fruit and Son of Mary and Mary is everywhere the genuine tree that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother who bears that Son” (True Devotion, no. 44).

The second truth which Our Lady of Guadalupe reveals is that the secret to Mary being full of grace is found in her being immaculate — a word that means “without stain”. What stains our souls and our marriages and our relationship with God? Is it not self-centeredness, impurity, jealousy, putting people and material wants before God?

How is contemplating the Immaculate Conception the remedy to remove these stains? Simple. It reveals that humility and purity allow for our hearts to see God and receive the fullness of grace for which we were made. In Mary’s nothingness, she lost her identity in God. Mary is so self-less that her very self becomes identified with the Holy Spirit — “I am the Immaculate Conception,” she revealed at Lourdes. That is saying more than she is without sin. She is full of grace — she is so one with Her Spouse in grace — that when we see her, we see only God in and through her.

This is what she meant when she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Lk 1: ). A magnifying glass is transparent and magnifies only what is seen through it. Imagine having a personality completely possessed by God. Yes, it is hard to imagine it. Only those who trust God completely will receive the fullness of His grace to accomplish the unimaginable in your soul and through your works.

This is what the Church is asking us to contemplate about Mary this and every Advent because she is the model of every Christian. Yes, we are called to live the mystery of the Immaculate Conception in our souls where we will discovery an intimacy with God that will transform the world around us. God loves us when we make ourselves as small as we can because it gives Him the greatest room to make His masterpieces. Don’t sigh when you read this. This is real and it is God’s desire for you this Advent.

We all have our “fullness” capacity that God wants to fill with His grace. And what unlocks this capacity is by doing what the Wise Men did — they stooped (humbled themselves) in order to be able to enter the cave and find the fulfillment of their heart’s desire — Jesus Christ, the Savior who laid in the arms of Mary. Let us imitate the wisdom of the three magi and never forget that the more we are hidden from the eyes of the world, the more God can’t take His eyes off of us. Remember that when you’re praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary this Advent!

Our Lady of Guadalupe and of the New Advent, Pray for Us.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8th "Hour of Grace"

by Dr. Peter Howard and Patricia A. Fason

The following devotion was forwarded to me by a friend who has had two
miraculous cures from cancer attributed to faithfully observing this
devotion called "The Hour of Grace". I hope you will participate and please
let us know if any favors you request are answered!
The Blessed Mother promised that whatever a person asked her for during
this Hour of Grace (even in impossible cases) would be granted to them, if
it was in accordance with the Will of the Eternal Father.

* The request of Our Heavenly Mother   for the Hour of Grace *
*1. It is to be observed from 12 noon until 1 pm. **One full hour of prayer*

*2. During this hour the person making the Hour of Grace either at home or
in a church must put away all distractions.* Put the dog outside, shut off
your cell phone, do not answer the door, do not be cooking or doing
laundry, completely cut yourself off from the noise and distractions of the
world for one hour*. *If you are at work, take your lunch hour at that time
and find a quiet place to observe the hour.

*3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with
outstretched arms.* It is Psalm 50 in the Douay Rheims Bible. It is Psalm
51 in the Revised Standard Catholic edition. Both of these Biblical
translations are attached below for your convenience.

*4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with
God, adoring the Sacred Host, meditating upon the Passion of Jesus, saying
the Holy Rosary, praising God in you own way or by using favorite prayers,
singing hymns, etc.* The Precious Blood devotional prayers work very well
for this hour! But whatever you do, do it from the depths of your heart!

It is imperative that you follow these directions of Our Lady exactly as
she gave them. Modifying them to suit one's personal desires or public
Church functions may void the reception of the grace entirely. Obedience is
a great virtue that is lacking in today's society. The most powerful place
to observe this hour is in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in
Adoration, but you can pray this hour just as well in the silence of your
room. The focus is to be alone with God.

Let us know of any graces you received from observing this hour.

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email to do so. You can send it out to a whole list of people and we do not
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our system will disconnect YOU from our service! Use the safe forward link
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Our Lady Rosa Mystica

*Choose either one of these translations or use your own Bible: New Revised
Standard Version Catholic Edition:*
Psalm 51Prayer for Cleansing and PardonTo the leader. A Psalm of David,
when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
    and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
    a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
    and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
    if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

*(Repeat 3 times with arms outstretched)*

*Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition:*
Psalm 50 *Unto the end, a psalm of David,*

*2 When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bethsabee. *
3 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to
the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
6 To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou
mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother
conceive me.
8 For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy
wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.
9 Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt
wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
10 To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have
been humbled shall rejoice.
11 Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my
13 Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Church Crisis and Mary

Advent brings the face of Mary to the forefront of our glance: manger scenes, postage stamps, Christmas cards.  
Does the Mother of Jesus have any relevance to the present Church crisis? In light of the ubiquitous commentaries questioning obedience to Pope Francis, clerical sex abuse, and the proper role of bishops and laity, it is, perhaps, time to return to basics. It is time to return to Mary. 
Mary brings the Divine Redeemer into the world by an obedient fiat. She does so with an obedient faith which, as St. Augustine reminds us, first conceives the Word in her heart, and consequently in her womb. St. John Paul II confirmed that before and beyond the Petrine model of the Church is the Marian model. If no one says, “yes” to the invitation of the Gospel, then there is no one to guide with a hierarchical structure.  
What would Mary’s response to Peter’s office have been? Mary was superior to Peter in knowledge of the Gospel, wisdom in its application, and purity in its lived expression. How then would Mary respond to Peter’s authority? In spite of her superiority to Peter in most every conceivable measure, Mary responded to Peter’s office of authority with the same obedient fiat. For Mary saw Jesus in Peter, and thus continually gave the obedience to her Son’s Vicar that which she gave to her Son. 
It is somewhat alarming to hear otherwise orthodox Catholic theologians seeming to suggest the possibility of separating the magisterium from the office of the pope. What if the apostles came to a consensus contrary to Jesus? Would that position, then, constitute an authoritative teaching of the early Church? 
In regards to clerical sex abuse, turning to the Immaculate Mother, once again, invaluable.  
The Church must be purified, all agree. The question is one of means. 
If we seek to cleanse the Church with the political spirit similar to the mobs of the French Revolution, with anger begetting anger and blood begetting blood, we will only find ourselves farther away from the interior metanoia demanded to solve the present crisis. Mary, on the other hand, offers us the model of purifying the Body of Christ with an uncompromising zeal for true purity and renewal of life, but in a reverent manner that does no violence to the Body itself. Mary has been cleaning the Body of Jesus since he was an infant. She does so with a maternal thoroughness, but in a manner that does no harm to what is, in its very nature, of divine institution and life. She will do the same, if invited, for her Son’s Mystical Body today. 
The relationship between bishops and laity in application to the present crisis can be complicated, but should not be adversarial. The relationship must continue to be guided by their crucial metaphysical and canonical foundations. Pope Francis, in speaking recently to Italian seminarians, reiterated that the bishop must in the first place be a “spiritual father” to his clergy and faithful, not a “padrone” who simply directs his commands. To focus predominantly on external norms of conduct without the appropriate internal disposition of heart could unintentionally lead to a type of episcopal formalism that will fail to get to the root of the problem. For bishops to most effectively oversee seminaries, for example, they must return, as individuals and as a body, to the spiritual and formation practices by which solid seminarians are themselves formed. 
For an authentic interior renewal of episcopal and clerical purity and life, our present bishops and clergy must return to and restore the consistent prayer, sacramental, and psychological practices of what should be at the heart of every authentic seminary experience. It may appear ‘unscientific” and “non-pragmatic,” that the foundational solution to the present crisis is spiritual and interior. Nevertheless, it remains true that the renewal of our bishops and priests can only be achieved through a newfound commitment to classic Catholic spiritual practices such as daily Eucharistic holy hours, the faithful praying of the Divine Office, the daily praying of the Rosary, monthly confession, consistent spiritual direction, and ongoing human formation. These are the pillars of authentic clerical formation, and without the hard work on the soul, it is all too possible that legal measures and punitive norms will have little positive impact in truly battling what, in the final analysis, constitutes the violation of the fundamental moral teachings of Jesus, as exemplified in ongoing homosexual activity and deceitful cover-up. 
Christian Holiness and its restoration must now become the number one agenda item at our Church convocations—for clergy and faithful alike. 
Here, too, Mary guides the way. 
As Spiritual Mother of all peoples, Mary sees everyone -- bishop, priest, religious, lay person—as her little child in true need of the ongoing interior conversion which alone can make the external living of the Gospel, obediently, chastely, and joyfully, possible in our times. Our Lady, with a unique and personal maternal solicitude, encourages each of us, in the quiet of our hearts, towards a greater generosity of time in Adoration of her Eucharistic Son, in the praying of her Rosary, in the reception of the Sacraments, in obedience to her son’s Vicar—and in whatever way we personally can better “do whatever he tells you” (cf. Jn. 2:5). 
Let us entrust the critical need for thorough purification of the Church to the Church’s Mother, that she may guide the Vicar of Christ and the People of God, unified in obedience and solidarity, through the necessary cleansing that will courageously recover the purity, obedience, and love reflective of the true Body of Christ. 
* Dr. Mark Miravalle 

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A teacher exposes the LGBT agenda coming into in elementary schools

Sunday, December 2, 2018


Dear children, when you come to me, as to a mother, with a pure and open heart, know that I am listening to you, encouraging you, consoling you and, above all, interceding for you with my Son. I know that you desire to have a strong faith and to express it in the right way. What my Son asks of you is to have a sincere, strong and deep faith – then every way in which you express it is proper. Faith is a most wonderful mystery which is kept in the heart. It is between the Heavenly Father and all of His children; it is recognized by the fruits and by the love which one has towards all of God's creatures.
Apostles of my love, my children, have trust in my Son. Help all of my children to come to know His love. You are my hope – you who strive to sincerely love my Son. In the name of love, for your salvation, according to the will of the Heavenly Father and through my Son, I am here among you. Apostles of my love, along with prayer and sacrifice, may your hearts be illuminated with the love and the light of my Son. May that light and love illuminate all those whom you meet and bring them back to my Son. I am with you.