Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Prophecy from Father Michael Scanlan, TOR

This is a prophecy given to Fr. Michael Scanlan back in 1980.  It seems directed more to our current situation in the Church and in the world.  The following comes from In God's Company 2:

The Lord God says “Hear my Word.” The time that has been marked by my blessings and gifts is being replaced now by a period to be marked by my judgment and purification. What I have not accomplished by blessings and gifts, I will accomplish by judgment and purification. My people, my church is desperately in need of this judgment. They have continued in an adulterous relationship with the spirit of this world. They are not only infected with sin, but they teach sin, pamper sin, embrace sin, dismiss sin…Leadership unable to handle it…fragmentation, confusion throughout the ranks. Satan goes where he will and infects who he will. He has free access throughout my people and I will not stand for this.

My people specially blessed in this renewal are more under the spirit of the world than they are under the Spirit of my baptism. They are more determined with fear for what others will think of them, fears of failure and rejection in the world, loss of respect by neighbors and superiors and those around them than they are by fear of me and fear of infidelity to my word. Therefore your situation is very weak. Your power is so limited. You cannot be considered at this point in the center of the battle and the conflict that is going on.

So this time is now come upon all of you – a time of judgment and of purification. Sin will be called sin. Satan will be unmasked. Fidelity will be held up for what it is and should be. My faithful servants will be seen and will come together. They will not be many in number. It will be a difficult and a necessary time. There will be collapse, difficulties throughout the world, but – more to the issue – there will be purification and persecution among my people. You will have to stand for that you believe. You will have to choose between the world and me. You will have to choose what word you will follow and who you will respect. And in that choice what has not been accomplished by the time of blessing and gifts will be accomplished. What has not been been accomplished in the baptism and the flooding of gifts of my Spirit will be accomplished in a baptism of fire. The fire will move among you individually, corporately, in groups and around the world. I will not tolerate the situation that is going on. I will not tolerate the mixture and the adulterous treating of gifts and graces and blessings with infidelity, sin, and prostitution. My time is now among you. What you need to do is to come before me in total submission to my word, in total submission to my plan. In the total submission of this hour, what you need to do is to drop the things that are your own, the things of the past. What you need to do is to see yourselves and those whom you have responsibility for in the light of this hour of judgment and purification. You need to see them in that way and do for them what will best help them to stand strong and be among my faithful servants.

For there will be casualties. It will not be easy, but it is necessary. It is necessary that my people be in fact my people, that my church be in fact my church, and that my Spirit in fact bring forth the purity of life, purity and fidelity to the gospel.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

St. John Paul the Great: Open Yourselves to the Gifts of the Spirit

"Open yourselves docilely to the gifts of the Spirit. Accept gratefully and obediently the charisms which the Spirit never ceases to bestow on us. Do not forget that every charism is given for the common good, that is for the benefit of the whole Church."        
— St. John Paul II, 1998.

Hat tip to In God's Company 2!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Why Catholics Practice Fasting and Abstinence?

The following comes from the Integrated Catholic Life:
Would you like to know the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ?
Of course you would.  We all would.
Our bookstores are filled with books written to help us advance in prayer and the spiritual life. The “secret” we all look for is really no secret at all.  At its heart, the gospel message is one of self-denial and detachment from all things that are obstacles to our growth.  Jesus tells us that if we are to be his disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him (cf. Matthew 16:24). That is why Catholics practice fast and abstinence as a form of self-denial intended to lead us to perfection. So stick with me here and learn how self-denial will satisfy your deepest hunger.

The Catholic Disciplinary Laws of Fast and Abstinence

In these modern times, we don’t seem to hear much about fasting and abstinence anymore.  That’s a shame because the doctrine of self-denial is crucial to our becoming fully satisfied. Many of today’s Catholics associate fasting and abstinence only with the season of Lent and that’s a shame too. Let’s review the Church’s disciplinary law regarding Fasting and Abstinence:
  • Fasting During Lent – The Church requires its members to fast on two days each year — Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Bishops in the United States have defined the minimum requirement of the fast for U.S. Catholics to be one full (but not excessive) meal plus other food not to exceed the full meal which may be taken in part at breakfast, noon or evening, depending on when one decides to take the “one full meal”. This law applies to Catholics between the age of 18 and 59.
  • Abstinence From Meat on Fridays — The Church requires its members to abstain from eating meat on Fridays as an act of penitence.  In the United States, Catholics are permitted to substitute another form of penance on Fridays outside the season of Lent. This law applies to all Catholics who are over the age of 14.
  • The Holy Communion Fast — Catholics must also fast for a minimum of one hour before receiving Holy Communion.
The entire season of Lent is a penitential time and our attitude and behavior during this season should be marked by some sort of self-denial.  The season of Advent is also a penitential season, but of less severity, and we should also mark this season with some form of self-denial, even if it is less than that practiced during Lent.
That’s it!  And so many of us complain and wait for the clock to tick down to midnight so we can have a ham sandwich. We need to turn our thinking around because uncontrolled appetites only become hungrier and more insatiable. That is why there is a myriad of “miracle” diets and weight loss programs on the market that promise results without effort. Well, there is only one source of miracles and that is God.  He has already provided us the ultimate diet program if we will but listen to him.
Although we often only hear about fast and abstinence associated with Lent, it is really a practice that is important all through the year.

So Let’s Broaden Our Understanding

As you can see, “to fast” generally means to significantly reduce the consumption of food or to forego it altogether for short durations. Abstinence is generally seen as avoiding the eating of meat.  But both acts are forms of self-denial.  More broadly speaking, self-denial is the act of giving up something that is good, be it food or some other “good” for the purpose of deepening our spiritual life and making acts of reparation for our sin or the sin of others. There is a long-history of the Catholic practice of fast and abstinence dating all the way back to the time of Christ. Our culture often incorporates these practices into our everyday language.  For example, the word breakfast is formed from two words, “break” and “fast” meaning simply that the first meal of the day breaks the fast from our last meal of the previous day. Another example, although this has nothing to do with fasting, is our word for the celebration of Christ’s birth which is formed by two words, “Christ’s” and “Mass” or Christmas.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Where Are You Going?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Saint Joseph the Great!

The following comes from Bible Study for Catholics:

Consider this for a second: out of every single man on the planet and, indeed, in human history…God chose Joseph to teach Jesus what it meant to be a man. God could have chosen a famous teacher or an earthly king or a fearsome military leader to raise Jesus. He didn’t. God chose a humble carpenter from a town in the middle of nowhere. Joseph of Nazareth would not have had a verified account on Twitter. He wouldn’t have had many followers on Instagram. He was a no name, a “nobody” in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of heaven, St. Joseph was somebody very, very special.

The phrase “Abba” appears only three times in Sacred Scripture (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; and Galatians 4:6). Of course, the first time Christ uttered the word “Abba” on this earth, he was likely looking into the eyes of St. Joseph, which is a point that is worthy of mention. God the Father could have chosen to allow the Blessed Virgin to live and work as a single mother. He could have given her a couple of extra guardian angels or sent Elizabeth to care for her. He is the God who created the giraffe, the coffee bean, and cumulus clouds. He does not suffer from a lack of creativity or specificity in his providence, design, or problem solving.
Some suggest that God only had St. Joseph as part of the Holy Family because of cultural expectations, but that is dangerously presumptuous. This is a God who constantly laughs (Psalm 2:4) in the face of social norms. St. Joseph is not window-dressing in the home of the Holy Family; he is nothing less than one of the greatest men to ever walk the planet. A model of manhood and virtue, God the Father specifically called and designed Joseph to be the living embodiment of manhood and fatherhood to the second Person of the Holy Trinity during his most formative years. In St. Joseph, then, we’re given a glimpse into the heart of God the Father. It would be completely illogical to think, after all the trouble of the incarnation that he would fail to choose a man who reflected his divine image of paternal love with the highest possible measure of human faithfulness.
Scripture reveals to us that St. Joseph’s love for Mary was outdone only by his love for the Father (Matthew 1:19). Only his obedience and belief in the sanctity of the law could lead him to divorce Mary, but his love for her could not allow for harm to come to her, even if he was disgraced in the process. It sounds a lot like the love of God the Father, doesn’t it? His vow to the covenant couldn’t allow him to just dismiss our sin. His great love could not allow for him to dismiss us, even if he was disgraced in the process (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2).
How heroic the love of God the Father as embodied in Christ’s earthly abba, St. Joseph! How many mornings did he rise with the Egyptian sun, an alien in a foreign land, armed only with a tool belt, venturing into a hostile culture seeking enough employment to keep food on the Holy Family’s humble dinner table? How disciplined a man to have undoubtedly taught the God of the universe to invoke Scripture each day by praying the sacred Shema (the Jewish daily prayers). Echoes of Joseph’s and Mary’s voices can be heard in Christ’s responses to the devil in the wilderness, for his response to the first temptation is quoting the Shema he learned at the feet of his parents.
How focused and detail oriented Joseph must have been to make a living as a carpenter, in which the work of your hands points straight back to the craftsmanship of its creator. Could there have been a more perfect metaphor for the earthly father of God? Consider the humility he demonstrated throughout the unique circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy. Ponder his obedience in traveling almost one hundred miles with a wife in her third trimester. Contemplate the respect for others’ dignity and heritage that Christ undoubtedly learned from his parents (Matthew 2:10-12; John 4:30-42; Matthew 15:24-28). St. Joseph revealed the Father to Christ by who he was each day, not merely in what he provided for the family.
St. Joseph, pray for us!

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Girl Who Inspired Archbishop Fulton Sheen

The following comes from St. Mary Valley:

A few months before he died in 1979, Bishop Fulton Sheen gave a tv interview. The reporter asked, “Your Excellency, you have inspired millions. Who inspired you? Was it the pope?”

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not the pope or a cardinal or another bishop or even a priest or nun. It was an eleven-year-old girl. He explained that when the communists took over China in the late forties, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory. Looking through the window, he saw the soldier enter the church and break open the tabernacle, scattering the Blessed Sacrament on the floor. The priest knew the exact number of hosts: thirty-two.

Unnoticed by the soldiers, a young girl had been praying in the back of the church and she hid when they came in. That night the girl returned and spent an hour in prayer. She then entered the sanctuary, knelt and bent over to take one of the hosts on her tongue.

The girl came back each night, spent an hour in prayer and received Jesus by picking up a sacred host with her tongue. The thirty-second night, after consuming the final host, she made an accidental sound, awakening a soldier. He ran after her and when he caught her, he struck her with his rifle butt. The noise woke the priest – but too late. From his house, he saw the girl die.

Bishop Sheen said that when he heard about this, it inspired him so much that he made a promise that he would spend one hour each day before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He always said that the power of his priesthood came from the holy hour.

Tonight, brothers and sisters, we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist. At the end of the Mass we will have a procession inside the church to adore our Savior. We will invite you to spend an hour with Jesus. From him comes our strength.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Feast of Saint Patrick

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Everyone can be Irish today and celebrate! Maybe we can all imitate the holiness and zeal of St. Patrick as well! The following comes from the site:

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story. Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote "The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family. He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years. Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to
Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461. He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Joy of Suffering

The following comes from In God's Company 2:

"I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us." -Romans 8:18

When we suffer, we may take a pill for pain relief. However, Paul recommends that we pray for a deeper awareness of God's glory. We need to increase our awareness of God's glory more than decrease our pain. Then we will consider our suffering as nothing compared to His glory to be revealed in us. We can even become so aware of God's glory that we consider suffering a privilege (Phil 1:29), find our joy in our suffering (Col 1:24), and even rejoice in proportion to our suffering (1 Pt 4:13).

For most people, their joy increases as their suffering decreases. For Christians aware of God's glory, our joy increases as our suffering increases. This is only possible for those deeply aware of God's glorious presence (1 Pt 2:19). This fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10), even of wisdom concerning our suffering. We find joy in suffering only when we suffer redemptively through self-sacrifice and persecution.

Most suffering should be removed through repentance, evangelization, deliverance, and/or healing. Redemptive suffering, however, should be compared to God's glory and considered nothing (see Rm 8:18). We should rejoice in redemptive suffering and even seek to increase it by living totally for Christ.

 Father, give me the faith and love to pray to share more in Your sufferings (see Phil 3:10).

 "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but shall do My will, achieving the end for which I sent it." -Is 55:11