Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Memo From God

Godvine has many inspiring videos and stories of inspiration to a life of faith.  I have no idea on the site where of even if they keep the stories, though the videos are evident at the link.  But, I receive them daily with a list of the most recent videos, and usually something in the email touches my heart.

I hope that the Memo to you/me from God below touches you.  We try so hard to figure it out - whatever it is. We want to solve our problems to bolster our self esteem, but even when we do appear to solve our problems there are the conjunction of various circumstances that cause this to happen.  Of course, we would like to believe that we are in charge and that they are just coincidences.  But, as a Catholic priest friend of mine told me a number of years ago, they are not coincidences, they are GOD INCIDENCES.

The hardest thing to do in life is to Let go and Let God, or more formally to abandon ourselves to Divine Providence.  Yet, nothing can bring greater satisfaction than to recognize the One who loves us and who cares about everything, every situation in our lives, and only wants to love us and see us through them.

Here is a memo from God to us.

Reference: LIFE

I am God.

Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help.

If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. All situations will be resolved... but in My time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now

If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

Should you decide to send this to a friend, thank you. You may have touched a life in ways you will never know!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Please Come Home

A Call From "True Life in God"

Between 1986 and 2003, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ  used the hand of Vassula Rhyden to write a call of love to all His people here on earth.  It, in no way supplants the Holy Bible, nor the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.  But, it does supplement the Truth that we have written in our hearts, though supplement is an inadequate word to describe this work.
I have found this book to be invaluable as I seek to draw closer to the God of Love, and to conform my life to what He desires it to be.

I have long been troubled by the words of Jesus calling us all to be one, as He and the Father are one, particularly when I gaze upon the world of Christianity, and its division upon division upon division.  It is clear to me that this separation of believers in Jesus Christ from each other is caused by man's disobedience, mine no less than that of any other man on the earth, or who has walked on the earth.  Today, while reading from True Life in God (page 504 of the 1550 pages in the PDF version of the book available for free here), I read the following:
I call each one of My shepherds by their name, but very few hear My Voice ... I stifle, I suffocate to see them filled with dead words; hear Me, I have, daughter, called you to serve the cause of right, I have taken you by the hand and formed you to witness, I have shown you the Truth and I have unveiled your eyes to see whom I had chosen to sit in Peter’s Chair, and to whom I once said: “you are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it; I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven;” (Mt. 16:18-19)     
I had given this man this Authority, and today you are trying to overthrow him and steal his shepherd’s staff so that you rule with the sceptre of Falsehood and Vice; Peter? Peter-of-My-Lambs, My beloved shepherd, I know how your heart lacerates and bleeds in rivers for this ungrateful and unfaithful generation; I know how they have turned your eyes into a spring of tears; I know how many of your brothers have turned their backs to you; these are, My beloved, those shepherds who know nothing, feel nothing, they all go their own way, each after his own interest, serving Folly instead of Wisdom, Lust instead of Poverty, Disobedience instead of Obedience;  
I gaze from My Cross on all who inhabit the world, and I am telling you who people many nations, that soon the Hour is with you, the time is almost up, and the days will not last long before you pass your nights weeping, you unfaithful shepherds, shepherds who sin against Me by faithlessness, you who cry Peace! when there is no Peace; return to Peter, all you who have strayed away in a different direction; serve Me; why serve Unholiness? be Mine, not the Rebel’s, why are you so willing to serve the Rebel? even foreigners, even these have listened to My Voice and have understood My Words; My Principles are Holy and I tell you most solemnly that Holy They shall remain forever and ever     
daughter, read My Word  
(The Lord indicated to me where. Again in Mt. 5:18-19.)  
read and write: “I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved; therefore the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven;"
How can we think that we, mere mortals, had the authority to "Reform" God's Holy Church?  When Jesus said that He formed His Church under His Peter, who are we to Re-form it, and if so, in who's image were we reforming it?

There is no doubt that there was corruption in the Catholic Church in the time of the Reformation.  There is corruption in every hearts and mind of every person on the earth, including every person who has claimed Christ as Lord and Saviour.  It is a function of the human condition.

But, when Christ's words are so very clear, who are we to try and turn them to justify our own sin?

It is time for all Christians to unite.  Our enemy is not each other, but the principalities and rulers of this dark and evil age.  The energy that we expend haggling over man made doctrine is destructive, at a time when we must be on the alert for the real evil in this world.

1.2 billion babies have been aborted in the last 32 years, many of them the babies of women and men proclaiming themselves to be Christians.  Many more babies have been created only to die before implantation because of the use of oral contraceptives.

We live our lives for ourselves, not for Christ, and how is that serving us?  Look around you.  It does not serve us well.

We must all turn our hearts towards Jesus, seek forgiveness for our sins, swear our allegiance to Him, and Him alone, and then turn and see Him in our brothers and sisters.  Every person on this earth is a son or daughter of God.  Every one is our brother and sister.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hard Truths

From GodVine

The following was in my daily digest from GodVine today, and it speaks volumes.  For those who claim to be Christian, it reminds us that we not perfect, but we are forgiven.  For those who do not claim Christ, there is hope as well, the same hope from the same Lord and Saviour, who wants to be Lord and Saviour to each and every one of us, no matter how sinful we are, no matter how broken we are.  We are His.  He died for us, and He wants us to love Him as He has loved us.

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise.

Ah the beauty of God's creation is beyond description.

As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work.

As I sat there, I felt the Lord's presence with me.

He asked me, "Do you love me?"

I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!"

Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?"

I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn't be able to do, the things that I took for granted. And I answered, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."

Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?"

How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation.
So I answered, "Its hard to think of it, but I would still love you."

The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?"

How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God's Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word."

The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?"

How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, "Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.

And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?"

With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!"

I thought I had answered well, but...

God asked, "THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?"

I answered, "Because I am only human. I am not perfect."


No answers. Only tears.

The Lord continued: "Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?"

The tears continued to roll down my cheeks.

"Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?"

I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.

"You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all."


I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When I my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, " Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child."

The Lord answered, "That is My Grace, My child."

I asked, "Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?"

The Lord answered, "Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you."

"When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you.
When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you.
When you are down, I will encourage you.
When you fall, I will raise you up.
When you are tired, I will carry you.
I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever."

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, "How much do You love me?"

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Beloved Catholic Priests

Recently, I had some binary interaction with two Catholic priests, Father Terry, and Father John Abberton, over their comments to the first and second articles that I have recently posted on "True Life In God", the messages of Jesus, and Mary to Vassula Ryden, and to all of us.

Father Terry, Editor at CatholicCanada.com  pointed out the 1995 report of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faiths which was critical of Vassula for a number of reasons that were articulated at the time.  However, as usual there is far more to the story than just that notification.  There was and continues to be considerable dialogue between the CDF and Mrs. Ryden, and much of that correspondence can be viewed here.  Having read much of the book, as a continuing journey of personal faith, and the 1995 report of the CDF, it appears to me that they have very little intersection.  I am not sure what the CDF was writing about, but apparently nobody there has read the book - Just my opinion.
Then, of course there is the little matter in the "True Life in God" manuscripts of the nihil obstat and imprimatur.

There are also such things as the testimony of  retired Bishop Joao Evangelista Terra, S.J. from Brazil, who for ten years was Auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia until he retired in 2004.  Here is a brief interview with him about True Life in God.  From his many years of working with then Cardinal Ratzinger, her had this to say, which is in the interview:

I worked for about ten years with Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome, at the Pontifical Commission. And then at times I had the opportunity as consultant, to be involved on Vassula's work and that Notification was not from the Cardinal. And when I spoke with the Cardinal and asked him about Vassula's work he replied to me in German: "Continue to practice always with great confidence, remain in peace and be prudent. Relax, everything is ok."
Regardless, there is something important that comes from reading True Life in God, several things actually.  If one reads True Life in God with an open heart, a challenge for most of us earthlings, and if one reads as Jesus requests the reader to do, by replacing the name Vassula with the reader's own, then some amazing things start to happen.  Here is just one of them.
My prayer partners and I began praying in earnest for the sacerdotals (priests) among us.  By their commitment to undertake to present, with and for us, the source and summit of the Catholic faith, the Eucharist, they become the sworn enemies of Satan, the evil deceiver.  That makes them subject to serious attack, and Satan knows their individual weaknesses better than they do.  Though they are men committed to serving God, they are men, and as such are sinners, like you and me. 
When they fall, as a not insignificant number did, into areas of sexual sin with minors, their sin is magnified by the media, and takes on a life of its own. There is a serious bias in the media against the Catholic Church, though media members would not admit it, of course.  Our mere mortal methods of pointing out the truth about the pervasiveness of the scandal across all men in all walks of life, and in higher proportions than in the Catholic Church fall on deaf ears.

BUT, our prayers do not.  Our Saviour's cup of wrath against this perverse generation is ready to overflow, but the cup of His mercy is larger still, and it is filled with the prayers and sacrifices of His children. 

One of the prayers that Jesus calls us to pray in True Life in God is the Novena of Confidence to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as follows:
O Lord, Jesus Christ, to Your Most Sacred Heart I confide this intention. (Here mention your request). 
Only look upon me, then do what Your Heart inspires, Let Your Sacred Heart decide, I count on it, I trust in it, I throw myself on Its Mercy.Lord Jesus You will not fail me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Thy love for me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom Come.O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked for many favours, but I earnestly implore this one.Take it, place it in Thy Sacred Heart. When the Eternal Father sees it covered with Thy Precious Blood, He will not refuse it. It will be no longer my prayer but Thine, O Jesus. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee. Let me never be confounded. Amen.
My morning prayer partners and I have made the continual growth in holiness of all Catholic priests, and reverence for the Holy Eucharist an ongoing intention. 

As the times get tougher for our priests, and they will, as the world spins away from faith in God even further, they are in need of our prayer support. 
I urge anyone who reads this to adopt all priests they know, or know of in their prayers, and lift them up to the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Catholic Priest Humor and the Clerical Collar

The other day I came across a cute joke about a Catholic priest (at least I hope no priest I know will be offended).
A priest was invited to attend a house party. Naturally, he was properly dressed and wearing his Priest's Collar. A little boy kept staring at him the entire evening. Finally, the priest asked the little boy what he was staring at. The little boy pointed to the priest's neck. 
When the priest finally realized what the boy was pointing at, He asked the boy, "Do you know why I am wearing that?"  
The boy nodded his head yes, and replied, "It kills fleas and ticks for up to three months".
Though the little attempt at humor above is cute, it is, of course not true.  The Clerical Collar is in fact an important article of clothing for male clergy.  In the Catholic Church, the Clerical Collar is worn by bishops, priests, deacons, both permanent and transitional, and by some seminarians.

The Clerical Collar is at once a statement of faith in a vocation, and a reminder to the wearer of one's own vocation. 

Roman Catholic Vocations blog has a copy of an article from another blog, since discontinued, that speaks to the Clerical Collar quite well here.

The Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, prepared by the Congregation for the Clergy and approved by Pope John Paul II on January 31, 1994 has this to say, which is quoted from the above referenced article:
In a secularized and tendentiously materialistic society, where even the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to be disappearing, the necessity is particularly felt that the priest-man of God, dispenser of His mysteries-should be recognizable in the sight of the community, even through the clothing he wears, as an unmistakable sign of his dedication and of his identity as a recipient of a public ministry. The priest should be recognizable above all through his behavior, but also through his dressing in a way that renders immediately perceptible to all the faithful, even to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and to the Church.
If I wear a business suit, as I did in my past life, I am conveying a message, either knowingly or inadvertently.  When I managed a staff of 50 information technology consultants years ago, I instructed them that although the world was getting more casual, and our clients had dress down Fridays, which eventually became dress down days that end in "y", we were to dress appropriately, at least as well as our clients.  Staff were prohibited from wearing blue jeans, t-shirts and other overtly casual clothing.  We were being paid to operate professionally, and so how we looked was an impression we were giving to each other and to clients' staff.

It is the same with priests.  The Church speaks of sacraments in the old Baltimore Catechism as "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace."  The Clerical Collar may not be a sacrament, nor was it particularly instituted by Christ, though the vocation for which it stands clearly was, but the wearing of it by a man of God provides opportunities for that man of God to partake in the dispensing of grace to any individual that he meets.

In a world that ridicules faith in anything that is not able to be touched, or at least pretends to, we need signs that faith matters.  We, the faithful need these signs to encourage us along our journey of faith, and as I said above our religious need the signs of their own vocation to remind them of that responsibility that they have undertaken.

Let us pray for all priests and deacons particularly, that they will continue to grow in holiness, and to help us along our path to holiness as well, by their prayers and the living out of their vocation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Transfiguration

A Puzzle Is Solved

Some time ago, over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, the blog of Father Tim Moyle, a discussion ensued with "Martin" a longtime friend of Father Tim's, who likes to be contentious, and in that regard took Matthew Chapter 16:28 as a proof that the Bible was filled with errors in fact.
Matthew Chapter 16:28 says in the NIV translation:
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Martin said in so many words that all who were with Jesus at the time had died and not one of them ever saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.  Almost sounds convincing, and I can tell you that the arguments that some of us put up for Martin were not convincing to him.
Although my faith was not shaken, it was a challenge that I did not have a really satisfactory answer for.
But, today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and I was praying the Lauds from the Liturgy of the Hours as usual, but decided to look at the earlier office for the day, the Office of Readings.  There is in that liturgy a number of longer readings from scripture, and one from a well respected teacher in the history of the Church.

Today's Second Reading was from a Sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord by Anastasius of Sinai.  The good Bishop tells us that the Transfiguration which is described in Matthew Chapter 17: 1-11 is that fulfillment of Matthew 16:28.

Here is the biblical description of the Transfiguration from Matthew in the NIV translation:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Bishop Anastasius describes the words of Chapter 16:28 and how the Transfiguration relates to them in his sermon, in this excerpt from it:
Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration in the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. It was as if he said to them: “As time goes by you may be in danger of losing your faith. To save you from this I tell you now that some standing here listening to me will not taste death until they have seen the Son of Man coming in the glory of his Father. “Moreover, in order to assure us that Christ could command such power when he wished, the evangelist continues: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. There, before their eyes, he was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Then the disciples saw Moses and Elijah appear, and they were talking to Jesus.
These are the divine wonders we celebrate today; this is the saving revelation given us upon the mountain; this is the festival of Christ that has drawn us here. Let us listen, then, to the sacred voice of God so compellingly calling us from on high, from the summit of the mountain, so that with the Lord’s chosen disciples we may penetrate the deep meaning of these holy mysteries, so far beyond our capacity to express. Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and - I speak boldly - it is for us now to follow him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in his radiance, renew our spiritual nature and transform us into his own likeness, making us for ever sharers in his Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed of.
So, for Martin and all those who think the Bible is untrue, it may take some digging or some divine providence, or just faith that God is not a liar, not today, not yesterday, and not ever, and that He inspired the Bible, but the answers are available - eventually.