Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Last Fisherman

A novel of the last Pope, the Antichrist and the end of the age by Randy England

Some time ago, I got connected to a site called Tuscany Press LLC.  Tuscany promotes Catholic fiction writers, and I for one am glad they do.

I get regular emails from them because I signed up for Catholic, Ink a weekly newsletter highlighting new Catholic fiction and articles about authors and things going on in the Catholic writer world.  I am happy that I signed up for Catholic, Ink because I have then gone on to purchase several of the novels referred to by clicking over to them on Amazon.  1 Click and the novel is on my Kindle app on my iPad.  Pretty simple.

The other day I purchased 3 new novels that way, and have just today completed reading the first one, "The Last Fisherman."

Randy England told a fictional story of the end of the age, with a credible last Pope and a credible evil Antichrist character.  It was a book I did not want to put down, and so basically I didn't, finishing it in a couple of extended reading sessions.

The good news is that it is a well written story.  The bad news is that if Tom Clancy had written it, it would have been 650 pages longer.  David Baldacci or Robert Ludlum would have only added another 250 to it. So, simply there could have been more detail in character development, and plot thickening.

At first, that irritated me, but then I prayed and thought about it, and came to a different conclusion.

Good Catholic fiction has a somewhat different objective than other good fiction.  Good Catholic fiction should be faithful to the Magisterium (bingo), faithful to the Bible (bingo), faithful to Church tradition (bingo), and it should tweak your faith, and lead you to prayer (bingo).  Though it should entertain you it should leave you thirsty (bingo once again).

In His Message for Lent 1993, Pope John Paul II referenced the words of Jesus on the Cross "I thirst." Mother Teresa subsequently wrote a letter to her congregation about the thirst Jesus has for us, His Beloved. So, it is my contention here that if Jesus thirsts for us, should we not thirst for Him?  Accordingly, then should things that are Catholic that we read or see increase that thirst in us for Our Beloved Saviour?

Clearly, for me at least this book of Mr. England's made me thirst.  I was driving for two hours to Toronto, 120 miles away from home today to visit with my daughter and prayed about "The Last Fisherman" and contemplated as I drove.  In that two hour drive I drew to the above conclusions.  On that basis alone I would rate Mr. England's book a success as Catholic fiction.

Though I enjoyed the book from cover to cover (or at least electronic cover to electronic cover) there was one particular excerpt that caught my attention.  In this excerpt, the new Pope describes a one act play for a non Catholic believer to explain some of the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism.  That alone was worth reading the book, because it was very thought provoking.

This book can be acquired for Kindle or for Kindle readers on other formats here at Amazon.  As of today, the book can be purchased for 91 cents for Kindle.  How can you go wrong with that?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stop Wasting Time

I am an inveterate time waster.  Since I no longer have a job that I have to get dressed for and get out the door to go to, I don't.  I have my relationship with my wife to nurture, have friends and pursuits that occupy my time, but a lot of time is wasted in my day.

But, I have had a sense that I am called into a deeper relationship with Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour. Anyone who has spent a modicum of time in prayer would probably sense that, so there is not special revelation in the earlier statement.  But, frankly what does that mean - to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?

Fortunately, a new prophecy arrived late last night that gave a clearer answer to that for me.  As I have noted previously, there is a soul under the direction of Father Sam Johnston in Ridgetown Ontario who receives words of prophecy from Jesus that she writes down and which I have the privilege of posting to the internet over at a blog for Father Sam called Life in the Spirit.

As also stated previously, there is no obligation for anyone to believe these words.  They are not approved by the Church, and will not be any time in the near future, since they are not required to be, and there is no move by anyone for them to become official from a Catholic Church perspective.  If you read them and if they support your faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church, in other words if they line up with the Bible, teaching of the Magisterium and Catholic Tradition, then let them draw you into a deeper relationship with Jesus, as this latest prophecy has invited us.

I am finding these prophecies to be getting deeper into us and Him, and how we are to function in Him, and relate to Him.

Here are a few key excerpts from the prophecy starting with the opening lines:
My call to you is continuous, what I am seeking from you is an ongoing personal relationship.
That is a relationship where you will ask Me and tell Me about the small things of your day, important and insignificant things, your hopes and dreams.
So, Jesus, the Saviour of the world is interested in the small things of our days, not just the big stuff, the tiff you had with your wife, or your son or daughter, or your boss,  the anxiety you feel when you have a bad day at the office, factory or other employment.  You know, there are some things you don't even discuss with your spouse, because you do not want to cause stress or strain for him/her, and so you have nowhere to go with these things.  You might go to a friend and unload on him or her about your challenges.

Jesus has told us in other prophecies on the same site to keep our own counsel on many things, and not to blab them to others.  Well, sometimes I need to get it off my chest, and here He says to tell it to Him.

But, it's not all about me and Jesus wants us to think about Him and His needs:
I long for you to be concerned with the things that concern Me also, and how you might be of help with prayer and sacrifice
Tell Me perhaps what made you think warmly of Me today, and what may have caused you sorrow, tell Me of dear friends and family who may have increased your love.
Jesus wants us constantly looking for TRUTH.  For me that is a challenge.  Most times I am more interested in being right than in really knowing the truth.  I mean, I can tell that something is basically true, and if that lines up with what I want it to be, then I often go no further.  Painfully, I find out often that what I thought was true was, but had not gone deep enough and so created a stubborn conflict with a loved one that was not necessary, and was therefor painful when pain was not required.

The prophecy is filled with gems as they always are, and is worth some prayerful contemplation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Embarking on a Journey

Being thick in the head is a common Irish trait, so I understand.  It is one that I share then with my ancestors. One of my thickest Irish ancestors was my grandfather Anthony Sweet, who died when I was in my 20s, so over 40 years ago.  I loved my grandfather, and this morning I thought of him and that I was named after him, and inherited his stubbornness, because I read the blog post of Father Gordon MacRae, a priest falsely imprisoned for over 20 years now in New Hampshire for sexual abuse that never occurred.

Father MacRae writes often about things that make me wonder which one of us in actually in a prison, him behind physical Stone Walls, or me, in the prison of my own mind, and sinfulness.

Today, Father MacRae caught me off guard again, by expressing an example of his own sin, which mirrors mine in many aspects of my life.  He wrote of a man named Anthony (which brings me to my grandfather and myself) and how he had responded in unpriestlike fashion to Anthony's anger, and stubbornness.

It made me wonder how often I have brought out reactions such as Father Gordon's from people that I have been belligerent with over politics, religion, sports, or whatever.  I am not, of course, trying to remove the responsibility from Father MacRae for his own actions, but having lived most of my life (well all of my life actually) as a stubborn curmudgeon (even before I was old enough to know the word or be able to spell it), I can see how his reactions might be justified, if not Christian.

I was raised by parents who valued education, rational thought, debate and discussion.  We were taught to think.  It was said about my mother, as it has been said about many that she was not always right, but was seldom in doubt.  Since she was the daughter of Anthony Sweet, she passed this on to her son successfully, though I also inherited color blindness from Grampa, and left handedness, two interesting though generally less painful (at least to friends relatives and others) traits.

I had an occasion the other day where people I was with expressed political views that did not conform with mine.  In other words, they were wrong.  I chose not to engage in a discussion (likely to become heated) but just to listen.  I actually learned something, and think I might do it again, and hopefully again after that.  That exchange actually prepared me for Father MacRae's article this morning.

Recently, I began a self guided 33 day retreat called "33 Days to Morning Glory", which I first heard about from Father Gordon, and then from another friend.  It is a retreat about consecration of oneself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and therefrom to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As I am getting into this retreat, I am finding that Our Blessed Mother Mary has many gifts in store for us, if we will just learn to trust her, and in turn Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.  She has a special place in their hearts, and should have in ours as well, since she is the Woman Clothed with the Sun from the Bible.

Father MacRae's article this morning inspired me to continue the retreat that I had every intention of completing anyway, but opened my eyes to some nuances and some of the beauty of God's plan for my life, and for my part in His plan for the life of my loved ones.

It is my fervent hope that I will learn to follow the words of the Universal Prayer from Pope Clement XI, the opening of which is reproduced below:
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
I urge you to pray for Father MacRae, as he inspires us by his faithfulness, and I also urge you, if you believe it is God's will for you to contribute to his defense fund.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Moral Relativism and Secularism - Products of Christianity

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi

Christians believe that Jesus Christ always was and is God the Son, one of the three Persons of the Divine Trinity, and as the Son of God He was born of a virgin, here on earth.  Unlike any religious leader before or after Him, he performed miracles, and passed on His power to do the same to His followers.  He alone suffered and died for our sins to conquer sin and death.  One of the reasons that He came to earth was to show us how we are to act towards others.

As Christians, we have been taught by the Master that all life is sacred, that we all (Christians and non-Christians) have been created in God's image, that the child in the womb from the moment of conception is every bit as important to him as all other human beings, that children are special to Him, and that we are to come to Him as little children.

But, more and more Christians have shown themselves to not be different than others who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

If it is clear teaching of Christianity that all life is sacred, WHY do Christians turn from that and support abortion, particularly some of our leaders, like Nancy Pelosi, and the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy?  Why do self proclaimed Christians like President Obama support a woman's so called right to kill the child in her womb at any time until birth?  Why do political leaders like Prime Minister Harper of Canada, the leader of the one party that claims to support the unborn, not stand up for the unborn?  Why is every Christian not united in supporting life?

Recently, I have defended the Catholic priesthood, saying correctly that the instance of sexual abuse by priests and other religious is no higher, lower in fact, than in other places in our society.  Though that is a true statement, it in fact misses the point.  Should Christians in fact be outraged that secular media and society have come down so hard on the Catholic Church?  All Christians bear the shame of the behaviors of some men and women claiming to be of God, who have sexually, physically, and emotionally abused young people in their care.

So, why would there not be moral relativists, and secularists rising up in our societies?  We should be ashamed that Mahatma Gandhi was spot on when he said what was quoted in the sub heading above.

We Christians have shown ourselves to be no different than the worst of the society that we claim is going to hell in a basket.

C. S. Lewis was quoted as saying: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

How are Christians, not just those special people like Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II, but you and me, living our lives differently from the main stream to prove the truth of Christianity. 

We will be held to account for not living the Gospel that Jesus gave us.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Casting Aspersions or NOT

The Dangers of Gossip

I  have just finished rereading an earlier posting from Father Gordon MacRae at These Stone Walls..  Readers of this blog may have read other postings I have made about this fine priest.  Please feel free to wander down the left hand side of this page, and click on the links.  Father Gordon, as you might know, ministers in the Men's State Prison in New Hampshire.  Would that he were going there daily to minister, but no, he does it from the inside because, as those who have researched him or even read his own accounts, Father Gordon has been an inmate of that prison for more than 19 years.  You see, he was convicted on no credible evidence of sexual abuse of a child, who was able to suck a significant amount of money from the Diocese of Manchester New Hampshire.

But, Father Gordon is a fine priest, and in my opinion a holy man, though again by his own accounts a sinner.  In that he is a sinner, he is no different from me, or you for that matter.

The big difference between Father Gordon and me, or you again, is that the main prison that he is in is physical, and can therefor be deemed real for all intents and purposes.  The prison that I inhabit, and you I would hazard a guess, is one of unrepentant sin, and diminution of the many gifts that Our Lord Jesus has given to us for our Daily Bread.  So, though I can get up at any moment from this computer and wander outside in the sunshine, I will carry my prison with me.

Father Gordon knows that he is in prison.  Me, not so much!  There is something to be said for the prison that you inhabit being a physical bricks and mortar prison, even if you cannot leave it, for you can see it, you can touch it, you can even taste it, though I would not really want to do that.  In a prison of the physical dimension, you can at least acknowledge it, and thereby choose to not allow it to take over your life, whereas the prison of my own sinfulness follows me everywhere, and impacts my life silently often, or leads me to sinful actions, words, or thoughts.

But that is not the only prison in each of our lives.  We have the ability to imprison others with our tongues, and also with our thoughts.

Father Gordon, in this latest post, wrote about a priest of his diocese who told a person attending mass, when asked about how to visit Father Gordon in prison, to avoid him saying  “He’s dangerous, and you should stay away from him.”  Though this was a blatant uncharitable act, it is not uncommon, and Lent is a wonderful time for us to examine our own consciences about the words, thoughts and deeds in our lives that imprison others.

The woman in this article by Father Gordon wanted to know how to visit Father Gordon in prison.  Jesus himself urged believers to visit those who were imprisoned as though they were Him, and the penalty for not performing acts of love to those less fortunate than ourselves was the ultimate penalty of eternity in Hell  But, her parish priest did not encourage her to live the Gospel, but instead slandered Father Gordon.

For some time now, My Dear Wife and my prayer partners and I have been praying for all clergy in the world to grow in holiness.  We have also been praying for ourselves to grow in holiness and for all of our family members to convert to faith in Jesus Christ or to revert, for all those baptized who have left the faith.

The priests of the Manchester New Hampshire Diocese have shunned Father Gordon, as have their leaders.  Shame on them for this uncharity and slander against one of their own.

But, lest we "Tut, tut", put our thumbs under our suspenders, and then wag a finger at them in our own self righteousness, let us instead look in the mirror and ponder on who that is in physical, mental, emotional or spiritual prison in our sight needs a shoulder to lean on, or to cry on, needs our financial assistance, and most importantly needs our prayers.

Judging another is such an easy thing to do.  It is far harder to look at ourselves.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hiding from Our Convictions

I am a Canadian, and I am proud of my Canadian heritage.  However, I have spent much time in my life in America.  My children are American citizens, Canadian as well, and are direct lineal descendants of one of the passengers on the Mayflower.  As a child, I was raised on Canadian and American history, and of course, the American history was more exciting, as was the American fiction, or at least it was presented as being more exciting.

A number of years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to become snowbirds, northerners who head to the south of the US (or elsewhere warm) for the winter.  Though we have had occasion to travel to Florida, Texas, and California, we have settled in Southern Arizona and have a "candominium" in an over 55 RV resort there.  A candomium is a humorous epithet for a park model trailer, and these abound in most over 55 RV resorts throughout North America.

Living here for a significant part of each year, I have had the chance to study the people, their attitudes and history, as well as their founding documents, and their understanding of them.  Reading the documents upon which this nation (America) was founded is an inspiration, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution and its Amendments.

Accordingly, watching how the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch of the government have largely destroyed the intent of the founding fathers particularly in the last 50 years though is particularly disturbing.  Needless to say, seeing how our Canadian politicians abuse our rights and freedoms is also extremely tortuous.

In both of our once great nations of North America, we have moved from standing on the bedrock of our faith in Jesus Christ to sliding around on the sands of political correctness, where what we once knew to be sin has been glorified, tolerated and in fact, encouraged.

For fear of offending others, we have put down the biblical principles of our faith in Jesus Christ, and taken up this mantle of tolerance for our own sins and the sins of others.  Where the Bible tells us to lovingly reprove our brothers and sisters in grave sin, not by judging them, but by confronting them for their own salvation, we instead, have stood idly by, while pornography, abortion, contraception, adultery, and homosexuality have run rampant in our society.

I say this not to judge, since I had a lengthy period of grave sexual sin in my life, and am easily tempted by the rampant, and continually growing list of books, television shows, movies, both mainstream and pornographic, web sites, and other media, to sexual sin.  I know that the proliferation of things alluding to or directly supporting sexual sin in our society create for me the "near occasion of sin", and believe that it is not me alone that faces these temptations.

If we tell someone who is living with her boyfriend, or his girlfriend in a sexual relationship, or is living a homosexual lifestyle, that they are in a state of grave sin, then we are considered haters and intolerant.  The same is true if we confront a man or woman, who is having an extramarital affair.

During the period of my life, when I was in grave sexual sin, not one of my Christian friends confronted me.  All were tolerant and "understanding" of my personal sadness at the time over the general situation of my life, and ignored what else was going on, even though it was pretty obvious.  For my part, I was in a period of emotional turmoil, but I was medicating my emotional distress with sexual license.  A couple of people did talk about me behind my back, and as word of what they said about me filtered its way to me, it was so distorted as to qualify as gossip, and not be corrective nor instructive.

In America, people trumpet the First Amendment to the Constitution as a license to say what they want, and by extension, do what they want, except when they hoist up the Second Amendment, so they can carry a gun, in case someone doing what they want appears, or might appear, physically harmful to them.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That Amendment has been used by pornographers to justify selling smut everywhere, or displaying it on the internet for all to see.  And we, the people, including those of us who are not citizens, have stood silently by.  By the way, in Canada it is the same.

But, interestingly, and more importantly, religious people, who have strong convictions against funding contraception, which is really a form of abortion in many cases, and directly against funding abortion, are having to fight against the government of the day and the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, requiring virtually all employers to provide these facilities in their health care plans.

Corporations like Hobby Lobby are in a fight for their lives literally.  The owners, and principals of dissenting and litigating businesses and institutions are fighting to have the right to have conscience objections to providing these things in their health care plans, while wanting to provide real health care to their employees and members.

So, the government that the people of America have selected to govern their affairs is forcing an ideology of sexual freedom (the apparent right of anyone to have sexual relations with anyone they choose at any time, regardless of sex, religion or race) upon the people of America, with nary a whimper from most, and from rampant bloviating by those who claim that Hobby Lobby and their ilk are mere troglodytes from a dark, evil age that has passed out of fashion.

In Canada, the provision of contraception entered into health care plans, including those of private school boards, and religious institutions, also with nary a whimper, and our Catholic bishops stood by, even fanning the flames of this travesty by issuing the Winnipeg Statement in 1968, after Pope Paul VI had released the seminal, and tragically prophetic encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. In the Winnipeg Statement, our Canadian Catholic bishops basically stated that Humanae Vitae was too harsh, but not in so many words, and told Catholic Canadians to follow their consciences, without providing them with the proper guidance to help them do so, in accord with Catholic teaching.

And, in Canada, we have no laws whatsoever governing abortion.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zero.  Not only that, but our national health care system pays for them, as just one more necessary health care procedure.

In Canada, we have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and like the First Amendment to the US Constitution, section two of that charter grants certain rights as follows:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
What is shocking and most frustrating is how the freedom of religion has been scourged in both countries by courts and pseudo courts such as human rights commissions, who, in the interests of political correctness have eroded these rights and supplanted them with artificial rights of individuals to not feel judged, or hurt, or discriminated against.

So, in both our countries, where certain Christians in keeping to their principles, have either refused to perform a marriage ceremony for a homosexual couple, or to photograph such an event, or  to provide flowers or a cake for such a ceremony, they have been taken to task by the preservers of political correctness.  Apparently, if you have a Bed and Breakfast in your home, you cannot exclude a homosexual couple from renting your room either.

What is also shocking is that there seems to be no practical instances of heterosexual couples who are not married being denied accommodation.  It may be easier to draw the conclusions that two people of the same sex are a couple, and therefor assumed to be homosexual, whether that is in fact true or not.  However, since lots of married couples have different last names, and many marrieds do not wear wedding bands, knowing that a couple entering your hotel or B&B are in fact not married would require asking a question of them to confirm their marriage status, and that seems, well, out of the question.

To use discrimination in its non pejorative meaning as merely to differentiate between two things, why would a resort, hotel or other place of accommodation not refuse a room to all couples that are unmarried, in the biblical sense of that word?

Christians have found it all too easy to not really stand on all the principles of our faith. 

Last evening, I watched a movie where a man was forced to figure out if what he believed in was important enough to take a stand on.  The principle of the movie was based on the loss of Christmas in our society, which is rapidly being replaced with "winter holiday", but the issues he faced, including the difficulties of taking a stand are similar.  What was most clear to me was that the right of Christians to express their faith in public has been being eroded for a long time, and we have generally stood by and watched it happen.

I have linked the video below if you wish to see it.  I believe that it is worth your time.

So, I have a closing question, and my question is this.  Have we lost the courage of our convictions, or have we lost our convictions? 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seeing With the Eyes of Faith

Lately, I have been seeing visions of things in the spiritual world.  Last night, I went for a drive with a very good friend and another Christian friend and I shared with them 3 visions that I had recently had.  My very good friend asked me if I knew what they mean.  I confessed at the time that I did not.

Then this morning I had a fourth vision, and though I am not certain of all the meaning I have some clues.

So, here are the visions.  The first three occurred at early morning Mass on three different occasions at St. Peter's Basilica here in London Ontario.  The fourth vision occurred this morning as I was driving to the early morning Mass there.

The first vision happened 16 days ago, on a Tuesday morning.  The celebrant of the Mass was a priest that both my wife and I know and love Father Jim Mockler, who is rector of the Basilica.

As the Consecration prayers were being said by Father Jim, I first saw very clearly Jesus on the Cross, and the Cross lying on the altar.  Then I looked again and saw the Blessed Virgin Mary standing behind Father Jim, with her hand upon his shoulder.  She was looking at Father Jim and smiling at him lovingly.

9 days later on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Father Jim was not present and a retired priest of the Diocese celebrated the Mass with us, as he does often.  Due to some confusion over the Mass readings, the Mass started 10 minutes late.  As well, the celebrant read part of the wrong Gospel, before correcting himself.  He then gave a rambling homily, probably because of the anxiety of his earlier confusion.  So, by the time he got to the Consecration, there was some impatience among the faithful in attendance.

As he prayed the Consecration prayers, I had the second vision.  When he lifted up the chalice, I saw that there was a semi circle of angels behind him all with hands and arms uplifted praising God and worshiping Him.  I noticed the smell of incense for just a moment.  And again, I saw the Blessed Virgin Mary with her hand on the priest's shoulder, and she was looking lovingly at him.

At the end of Mass, one of the attendees was expressing a great deal of angst over the delay in the Mass, and the reading error, as well as the rambling homily.  I explained what I saw, and that the Mass was no less valid if the priest made mistakes or was late.  It was still the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Frankly, I thought that was the purpose behind the visions.

But, then 2 days ago, on Tuesday morning at Mass, Father Mockler was the celebrant again, and I had the third vision.  This did not occur at the Consecration, but at the end of the Gospel reading and during the homily that followed.  In that vision, I first saw Jesus standing behind Father Jim as he spoke.  His hand was on Father Jim's shoulder and HE looked at Father Jim with love.  A few moments later, I saw that Jesus was Father Jim.  It was Father Jim speaking, but it was Jesus that I saw standing in his place.

Those were the visions that I had seen when I shared them with my friend last night.

But, this morning as I was on my way to Mass I had the fourth vision.  When I drive in my car, I often pray the Rosary.  We have Rosaries in each of our vehicles, in my desk at home and around the house, and in our winter home in Tucson.  The Rosary is a prayer that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time now, and I particularly like praying it with my wife.

As I was driving along and praying, I saw somehow that the Blessed Virgin Mary was behind me and had her hand on My shoulder, while looking at me with love as she had the priests previously.  She was pointing with her other hand towards the Basilica that was still in the distance.  Just before I saw this I felt an anointing of the Holy Spirit, which continued until after the vision was ended.  Also, when I shared this vision with the friend I had seen last night, I felt the same anointing of the Holy Spirit, as I do now as I write this.

But, to answer my friend, what does this all mean?  I do not believe it is for me to interpret these visions in their totality, but I think that I have some insights about them.

Catholic Christians believe in the motherhood of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, and that she has an integral part in the plan of Salvation.  She, herself, is the Mother of God, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour.  We believe that Mary does not act on her own account, but in obedience to and in the Will of the Father, through the Blood of her Son, and in the Power of the Holy Spirit.  At all times, when she has appeared on the earth, she has always pointed to her Son.  We believe that she is our Mother, and that she wants us all to be drawn into relationship with her Son for our own personal Salvation in and through Him.

So, to see and feel in the last instance her love for her children, even me, left me desiring to draw closer to Jesus.  Her simple act of loving me pointed me to her Son, Jesus, both literally and figuratively.

In a series of locutions received by a person in Pennsylvania, locutions that have been going on for a few years, and are reviewed by the person's spiritual director, Monsignor Essef, a Catholic priest in PA, the most recent group was Mary speaking to the individual about her embrace of the world.  These visions are found here.  They are consistent with these visions I have just described.

This morning before I left for Church, I had been reading the blog of Father Gordon J. MacRae.  You may recall from other postings of mine, that Father MacRae is a priest who has been imprisoned for about 20 years on sexual abuse charges, where the events could not even logically have occurred.  Father MacRae is not embittered by his wrongful imprisonment.  Had he just made up a confession that he had done what was claimed, he would be on the street, not imprisoned.  Only a fool or an innocent man would proclaim his innocence over the possibility of not spending years and years in prison.

Readers of his blog know that Father celebrates Mass in his cell each week, but the posting also dealt with his attendance with another prisoner at Mass being said by another priest who visits the prison.  as I read his post, I became aware that what I saw in the three visions at the three Masses happens at every Mass celebrated throughout the world.

Every time a Catholic priest consecrates the bread and wine, Jesus is present crucified on the altar, regardless of where that altar is, or what it is made of, and also regardless of the faith or state of the soul of the individual priest.  When a priest consecrates the Eucharist, or speaks as a priest in a homily or in his faculty as a priest, he speaks as alter christus, which is why I saw Jesus with his hand on Father Mockler's shoulder as he spoke, but also saw Jesus in the place of Father Jim at the same time.  We are all called to be Jesus for each other, but a priest has a particular faculty to be Jesus in a way that most of us cannot, through the Consecration of the Eucharist.

 It does not matter that Father MacRae is in prison and that Father Jim Mockler is in a Cathedral Basilica.  It does not matter whether 2, 50, 100, or thousands of people are in attendance, Jesus is present there.

As well, Our Blessed Virgin Mary has a particular affinity for her sons who are priests, and that affinity is specially evident in the Mass and in the sacraments.

But, her love for her children is not just limited to ordained priests.  All baptized Christians are baptized into the royal priesthood, and as such we are all priests in our own right.  Hence, when we pray, when we commit ourselves to service of our fellow man, when we seek to be like Jesus, and to become Jesus for others, we are exercising our faculties as royal priests.

Our priests should have special places in our prayers and in our hearts.  We must not expect them to be perfect, but must lift them up to God in supportive prayer.  The devil is constantly trying to diminish their vocation, by tempting them to sin, and by tempting others to sin with and against them.

Please pray for Father Gordon MacRae and all priests who are persecuted for their vocation that the devil's plans for their spiritual demise will fail.  And also please pray for all priests who are able to lovingly exercise their vocation like Father Jim Mockler that they will never be tempted beyond their ability to withstand such temptations.

 May we also entrust all Catholic priests to the love of Our Blessed Mother Mary, and to the protection of the shed Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ridgetown Prophecies 2013

For the last few years words of prophecy have been received by a person in Ridgetown Ontario, under the spiritual direction of Father Sam (Martin) Johnston, a retired priest of the London Ontario Roman Catholic Diocese.

These prophecies are significant, informative and may be used to build up one's faith.  They are of the category in the Church called private revelation, and are not binding on any person of faith.  That does not detract from their potential to improve your faith in Jesus Christ and in His Love for you and me.

Here is the list with links to date of these prophecies for the year 2013.  When I have posted those that came before, I will produce similar listings.

May God richly bless those who read these words, consider them to be from God, and follow them in their own lives.



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Conflict in Syria - A Novel Approach

Military Solution?  Political Solution?  Maybe a better Solution!!

In case you are unaware, there is serious conflict in Syria currently, though there is conflict in Egypt and several hot spots around the world as well. 

But, this conflict has had the element of the use of chemical weapons, though by whom they were used is in question.  And so, President Obama wants to use what is going on there as the buttress for a military solution, though what it is intended to solve is also unclear.  Of course, there is always the political solution, where the parties to this conflict actually communicate with each other directly, or through third parties to attempt to broker a peace.

But, in the midst of all of this sabre rattling, and posturing, and Obama going to the Congress to get them to support him attacking another sovereign country, a sane voice has risen out of the morass that is the current situation in Syria.

Our Beloved Pontiff is proposing that people of goodwill turn to prayer and fasting   Why didn't Obama think of that?

Robert Moynihan of the Moynihan Report has documented what we know at the moment here.

As he reported:

Today Pope Francis took the first, dramatic public action of his pontificate.

During his Sunday Angelus message, he called upon Catholics everywhere — and also all Christians and all men and women of good will — to join him in a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, where civil war has left thousands dead, and the involvement of other powers threatens a still wider war, this coming Saturday, September 7, the vigil of the Feast of the Birth of Mary, the Mother of God.

He asked Catholics everywhere to fast on Saturday along with him, and also to gather in their various parish churches to participate with him as he prays in Rome.

So the world will see something dramatic this Saturday: Pope Francis himself will be in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday evening from 7 p.m. until midnight, praying and fasting with the faithful of Rome and of the whole world, for peace in Syria and in the whole world.

(Some of the logistics are yet clear. Those Saturday evening hours in Rome would correspond to Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the eastern United States; it would seem that those hours would be the ones to pray along with the Pope. It is not clear whether the Pope will be present throughout the evening in St. Peter’s Square. Nor is it clear whether he will be praying out loud or in silence during those five hours, or in some combination of the two. Such details have not yet been released.)
 Prayer and Fasting are not new approaches to conflict, but they have fallen out of favor, as the military option has been the go to option, when political ones failed.  Who prays these days?  Well, surprisingly, many of us do.  And so, why not pray and fast with the Pontiff this Saturday, and let God handle the situation.

This is surely not unprecedented.  Maybe you have read of the Battle of Lepanto.  If not, you can do so here.  The victory in that battle was credited to praying the Rosary by the people as requested by Pope Pius V.  It resulted in the Feast Day on October 7 each year we now know as Our Lady of the Rosary. 

We pray for our friends, and we pray for ourselves, and if we have faith, we expect answers, though, if our faith is stronger, we do not have expectations about the particular answers, rather trust that God knows the best answer.

At the time of His Passion, our Lord Jesus Christ went into the garden to pray, and left his disciples to do likewise, but they fell asleep instead.  When he returned, he asked them: "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?"

The pope is asking us if we can pray with him over 5 hours from 7pm to 12 pm Rome time, 1-6 Eastern Standard Time, and to fast for the day on Saturday.

Military solutions in the middle east have not produced any good results to date, so why is this one going to be any different?  Political solutions are hard to come by when ideologies are so disparate among the factions and other interested parties.  So, why not do what we should have done in the first place and turn to the Maker of the Universe and ask Him for His asnwer?

My dear wife and I will be joining in solidarity with Pope Francis, and many others who see this solution as worthy.  Will you keep watch?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why Is Jesus Calling Us Now?


On January 10, 2013 Jesus gave a prophecy, one of the series being posted here at Life in the Spirit.   In it He explained why He is calling us at this time, or at any time, for that matter.  All indents are directly from the prophecy.  All comment is mine, and may or may not be inspired.

You who are now listening and envisioning Me, I came that you might have life unto the full.

He wants us to have a full life.  But, you say, I have a full life.  In that case, you won't be offended or challenged by the posting of Monsignor Charles Pope over at the Archdiocese of Washington today here. Don't forget to watch the video at the bottom.  Facebook would not allow it to be shown through Facebook, so it must be very contentious. 

Sin has robbed you of all that I had planned out of love for all humanity, burdening you with hardships.

As Jesus explains to us, sin has gotten in the middle between us and a full life.  You know, we all have our favorite sins, the things that we do so habitually, that we don't even think of them as sins, if we think of anything as a sin.  But, just because we do not think they are sins does not make it so.  The man who commits adultery "because his wife does not understand him," or the person who lives in a homosexual relationship because he/she "would not choose to be a homosexual" is deluded, as we all are in some ways into thinking that our feelings can direct our actions and thoughts, and we are not responsible for them.  But, for the unhappy adulterer (at least after the moments of sexual pleasure wear off) or the unhappy homosexual (when he or she knows in the heart that what he/she is doing is not right) and all of us whatever our sin/drug of choice is know that our sins cause us to carry a heavy burden.

But I have redeemed you, and each of you, if not already, will experience a moment of awakening to the Truth.

How many of us ponder that Jesus REDEEMED us individually?  How awake are we to the Truth of that ?  Jesus says here that we will experience that moment of Truth.

This is the moment when you know Whose you are and that you are greatly loved and treasured.

What will that awakening feel like?  At that moment, we will know that we belong to God, and that we are greatly loved by Him, and in fact He considers us a treasure.  In that moment of Truth, we also know that it is He we have offended in ways we never even really knew, but that His love for us covers over all those sins. 

But, why do so few even think about God, or if they do think badly of Him?

The evil one convinces many, that I do not exist and that I am a harsh and uncaring God.

Ah!  There is another actor on the cosmic stage, the "evil one" or Satan.  Satan not only convinces many that God does not exist.  He also has many of us convinced that he does not exist, that he too is a figment of our imagination.  Though that probably hurts his ego, it serves his purpose.

But God is ever able to thwart Satan's purpose.

But the Truth is that I humbled Myself to associate perfectly with you and all humanity.

We tend to forget that Jesus did humble himself to come to earth and live with us.  He is not an impersonal God, but a very personal God.

How personal?

I am a personal God who sees and cares about each breath, and thought, and every aspect of your lives.

He cares about each breath I take? And every thought? Every aspect of my life?  And not only me and you, but every person on the face of the earth, and all those who have died and gone before.  Sounds pretty personal to me. 

My greatest joy will be to see you enjoy Paradise, which I formed for you for all eternity.

So, what is all this love God has for us about.  He wants us in eternal paradise with Him   But for many of us, we cannot see past the earth we are on here, and the simple life (though we think it is complex) that we live here on terra firma, though the terra does not seem so firma any more.

Some of My people are angry Souls, who without Me in their lives, hate everyone and all created things.  Hatred consumes them, and you My faithful servants, must inform them of My forgiving love, and that it is never too late, even to the last moment of their lives.

There are people on the earth whose lives are filled with hatred.  It does not manifest always in violence.  Sometimes these people just have not much good to say about people and places and things.  This kind of hatred looks benign, but is hatred just the same.  

But, God is making it our job not to leave them in their hatred, but to love them and let them know that He loves them.  Oh, and His love is forgiving.  One of the things that hatred is really about is the self, when the person sees that the self is not good enough.  Self hatred tends to manifest as hatred of others.

When they open the door of their hearts, I receive them, they feel love possibly for the first time in a long time, and they experience a joy that transcends all sadness and pain.
All the hurt and the ways that others have let them down, has been put behind them and they are unburdened.
But, God can heal all of that hatred, and fill the person with joy.  When a Grumpy Gus becomes a Happy Harry, the heavens rejoice.  And for the GG to become an HH, really takes letting go; letting go of a life on unmet expectations, and sadness.
You see, when I am given permission to take over a person's life, I do all the work that needs to be done, they need only cooperate and receive.
In the beginning, you are not able to do for yourself, what My Holy Spirit accomplishes within you.

All God wants from you and me is PERMISSION; permission to let Him take over our lives.  That is the hardest thing to do for us humans.  We think we are in charge, and if we let go, who is out there to take charge for us?  Why not ask God and find out?  What can it hurt?  If you ask God to help you our, and He doesn't exist or doesn't really love you, what have you lost?  You tried and it didn't work.  But it was worth a try.

However, it will work, because all God wants from you is a little "yes".

Little by little, I allow Faith which was given to you in Baptism, to flex its muscle, so to speak, and you learn to be faithful in small things.
I will eventually call upon you to grow in courage, your efforts are essential, it doesn't just happen, and you will be strengthened for greater responsibility, each has a mission in life.

If you say yes, He will do it all until you are able to take baby steps on your own in your faith, and you will grow stronger, more courageous, and happier than you can imagine, with only peace in your heart - real peace in your heart, not the kind that comes and goes depending on your mood, and circumstances.  Real peace.

Many of you have endeared yourselves to the Blessed Mother, this was My heart's deepest longing at the Cross, when I gave Her to you, and She has been drawing you to Me more each day.

Mary is there to help us; to help us draw closer to Jesus.  Jesus left her here on earth as our Mother, a better mother than our own human mother, because she has complete and direct access to God all the time, and because she carried the Son of God inside her, and was formed by God for that purpose, and to be our Mother.

In the coming time that remains to you, follow Me and forgive those who will be opposing and persecuting you, causing more hardships than you already endure. INRI
This is the tough part, but it is necessary.  We must not only follow Jesus, but we must forgive all those along our path who hurt us on our journey.  Why is that so important?  It is important for us to not harbor hatred and anger to others, because it turns us away from God, but our hatred sits on top of theirs and weighs them down even further.  Forgiving and loving those it is hard to love takes burdens off of them, and helps them to see what we are called to see,