MARY, OUR MOTHER

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April 2015 Monthly Message from Anne, a lay apostle



Direction for Our Times
 
We continue our cycle of monthly messages for 2015 with the message from April 1, 2007 for our prayer groups and personal reflection.
 

 
Jesus

My beloved apostles rest in My heart each time they pray. Truly, when you come to Me, I am there. There are times when you feel abandoned as I felt abandoned. I allow this so that you can share My experience. In this way, by sharing My experience of abandonment, you come to know Me more completely. Through this intimacy you become more like Me. My dear ones, it is through sharing My experience that you learn to love others who carry crosses. There are times when your humanity leads you to judge another but because you have suffered, you offer compassion instead of condemnation. Each experience in your life, shared with Me, increases your holiness and your capacity for compassion. Think of the times when someone treated you with compassion when you expected condemnation. Think of the times in your life when someone treated you with kindness and support, overlooking a failure or a flaw. My friends, you do not always understand but it is the crosses you carry that enhance these heavenly capabilities in your soul. I know you struggle. I accept your weaknesses. Do not think that your anguish is a measure of your holiness. Do not think that because you find your cross heavy, you are not making progress. I am with you and I am advancing you, even while you groan with weariness. The Kingdom will make the best possible use of the inevitable suffering that accompanies your humanity. Your decision to serve is all that is necessary to draw graces for others from your life. Be at peace that I understand your suffering and your movement to holiness. I am with you in each moment. I take the greatest joy in accepting your offering of suffering and rewarding it with heavenly gains, both in your soul and in the world. You are My beloved ones. You are My chosen ones. The greatest care is taken with each of your little souls. Your progress is apparent from My vantage point. You must trust Me and allow Me to access others through you. Think back on our walk together. Think of the great graces I have flowed through you in the past. This flow of grace is increasing by the moment and is not dependant on your perfection but on My perfection. My presence in your soul brings a perfume into the world that is irreplaceable. I need you. Our unity, yours and Mine, brings unique benefits to the Kingdom. Yes, you are important to Me and to your heavenly family. Rest against your Jesus now as I send you courage and strength and heavenly calm.
 
 
 
 
 

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These Stone Walls: Holy Week


Mary Magdalene- Faith, Courage, and an Empty Tomb s


History unjustly sullied her name without evidence, but Mary Magdalene emerges from the Gospel a faithful, courageous and noble woman, an apostle to the Apostles. Please, read and share: "Mary Magdalene: Faith, Courage, and an Empty Tomb."

--
Sent on behalf of 
These Stone Walls

AMAZING EASTER PRIEST MIRACLE STORY!

Work for the Good of the Priesthood

 
Deacon 

It all started over four years ago when Pete received a phone call from a priest who was barely intelligible.  
 
“I’m not sure, hum, I don’t know, hum, he told me to call you.  It’s in this letter right here.”  Pete struggled to understand what was being said and asked, “Are you a priest?” “No, no, no, not anymore, no” was the response.  Then the call ended.  
 
“Okay, that’s not good,” Pete thought as he quickly checked caller ID... 
 
Read the rest of Pete's AMAZING EASTER PRIEST MIRACLE STORY here:
 
 
Please consider sharing this for Easter :)

Thank you!

Joe

Joe Maher
Cofounder and President
Opus Bono Sacerdotii


Opus Boon Sacerdotii

Mary TV Daily Reflection 4/1/2015



(c)Mary TV 2014 

J.M.J. 
April 1, 2015
Wednesday of Holy Week

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Also today the Most High permits me to be with you and to lead you on the way of conversion. Many hearts have shut themselves to grace and have become deaf to my call. You, little children, pray and fight against temptation and all the evil plans which the devil offers you through modernism. Be strong in prayer and with the cross in your hands pray that evil may not use you and may not conquer in you. I am with you and pray for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (March 25, 2015)

The saddest sentence in this message is this:

"Many hearts have shut themselves to grace and have become deaf to my call."

Why would someone shut themselves to grace and become deaf to Our Lady's call or worse to Jesus' call? In the Gospel for today we see one such heart, closed and completely deaf to Jesus. Judas heard Jesus declare, "One of you will betray me..." Judas also heard Jesus say "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me." He then heard the Lord say, "It would be better for that man if he had never been born." Warning after warning was spoken. But Judas was deaf to them, his heart completely closed to the enormity of his actions. He was bold enough to reply, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" (cf. 26:14-25)

We wonder how Judas could be so callous, so unfeeling. How could he be such a liar? It is unthinkable. But Judas' heart was closed to Jesus, and he was deaf to His call. All Judas could hear within his heart was his own voice, and the voice of sin.

In the Magnificat, Vol. 17, No 1. Holy Week, 2015, Fr. Pius Parsch speaks about closed hearts in reference to this Gospel:

The Pharisees' sin is the sin of shutting the eyes of the heart to the light, the sin of arrogance, the sin of unbelief, the sin against the Holy Spirit. This sin is a complete turning away from God. It is untruthfulness to oneself, and engenders in man a state which excludes him from God's friendship, a crime which even Christ cannot pardon. That is the thoroughly evil man who will not be converted, a classic example of whom we find in Judas...Judas was the type of man, evil and degenerate to the core, in whom grace could find no point of contact." (p. 78-79)

Such a closed heart is full of arrogance, unbelief, and a rejection of the Holy Spirit. It is a heart that has lost the ability to recognize truth. It is a heart in which the "self" is god.

We must take Judas as a warning ourselves. Are we given to arrogance? Renounce it like the plague. Are we tempted to doubt and unbelief? Make frequent acts of faith to counter this temptation. Do we ever ignore or reject a movement of the Holy Spirit. Pray for forgiveness and cling to the Holy Spirit who is life.

Our Lady is speaking to us on God's behalf. She is bringing us grace. May we respond with open hearts, and with open ears to her call! May we desire her Son, and stay close by Him throughout this Holy Triduum. Our lives depend upon Him.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015

PPS. Don't forget that tomorrow on April 2, 2015 Mary TV will stream the apparition to Mirjana Soldo, beginning at 8:00 AM Medjugorje time - 2:00 AM EDT. Join Mirjana in welcoming the Queen of Peace on this special day. April 2 is Holy Thursday and the 10th Anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II. What a beautiful day to be with Our Lady in Medjugorje!!






"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
Be connected!
www.marytv.tv

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spiritual Gems-Importance of Family and Anguish of Mary Sharing in Her Sorrows

The Importance of Family and the Anguish of Mary and Sharing in Her Sorrows

Our Mother explained to Elizabeth Kindelmann: "I want all to know the anguish that springs up from the boundless love of my maternal heart due to the danger threatening the entire world by the disintegration of the family sanctuaries.  I direct my maternal cry to all of you, and in union with you, I want to save the world....and all those who will share in my sorrow will also have the right to receive this great grace ( of the Flame of Love ) by which we will save souls from eternal damnation." (Please go to www.divineantidote.wordpress.com
to enter you email to receive more in depth posts on the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Spiritual Journey we are all called to embrace).

From the Spiritual Diary of the Elizabeth Kindelmann 1-17-1964


A Free Flame of Love book can be ordered in the US at www.flameoflove.us.
 
You can now order all of our Consecration boo​ks, in English and Spanish, and our Leaders Packages in the US on our website at www.myconsecration.orgYou can order one free copy of our traditional Montfort-style book at https://www.myconsecration.org/personal-request-form/.  You can also order “33 Days to Morning Glory” for a donation plus shipping at https://www.myconsecration.org/33-days-morning-glory-english/.  If you want more information, contact raymooney@myconsecration.org.



God Bless you and your work,
 
    Tony
     
    Anthony Mullen
    MyConsecration.org
    8 St. Albans Avenue
    Newtown Square, PA 19073
    visit us at: www.myconsecration.org

 

How Wonderful a Thing it is to be a Catholic







Remember “My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  Heaven Comes with a Price.”

by Fr. Daniel E. Doctor:
Starting with Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, the beginning of Christ’s Paschal mystery – His death and Resurrection. This should be a day of great mystery and deep reflection as we contemplate the great things Christ did for us and our salvation.

Jesus humbly enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. He knows that many of the same people who welcome Him with great joy will in a few days being crying our for His crucifixion and death – but He also knows that He is doing His Father’s will and nothing will impede His faithful fulfilling of it.
It was not easy for Jesus to enter the place of His death but He did it with courage and confidence – with His head held high – because He knows His Father will ultimately save Him from evil men.
He bravely moves forward facing whatever lies ahead and we are no different from Jesus in this respect – we don’t know for sure what lies ahead in this life for us; it maybe illness, or major health or family problems, financial difficulties, uncertainties of all kinds. But Jesus is an example to us on how to move ahead and to bravely face whatever comes – knowing and trusting the Father is with us too.

Taking the Easy Road

Sure it is difficult to be strong and courageous in a world that is telling us to take the easy road and indulge our disordered appetites, immoral passions and self centered feelings….Sure it is difficult to be a good example of Christian values; to stand and defend life, liberty and marriage and then to be made fun of – or completely ignored – or considered irrelevant, irrational, and unreasonable because of them . . . .  Sure it is difficult to stand against the culture of death that surrounds us and to stand for life unconditionally like the Church asks of us . . . .  Sure if is difficult to have a moral conscience in a world that has lost its ability to know right from wrong or the courage to stand firm in its own moral convictions.
Sure it would be much easier if the Church would stop preaching against the tide of evil that is overwhelming us and our culture and just give in and give up and embrace sin and vice.

Betraying Christ

These are all excellent arguments, why the Church should compromise with the world and its evil; why the Church should give up and give in, go with the tide.  But, the fact remains that, when it does – when the Church or . . . you or I . . . as its members chooses the world over what is right, good, or true – Christ is sadly betrayed again!!!  Take a deep look at our 2000 year history as a Church – the Christians of the first through the fifth century – could not refuse to worship the Roman Emperor as a god.  If they did – they were punished with death and martyrdom and even if their life was spared by some miracle – they would be ruined financially. Since this time – it has been the case century after century – that Christians had to made a real choice between material success and loyalty to Jesus Christ. But chose Christ anyway!!!
Remember the words of Jesus and let them sink into your hearts and give you hope – “If they did it to me – they will do it to you also.”
What a great gift this is that Christ’s gives to us – to allow us to suffer like Him – to imitate Him – to be abused by the world like our Savior was. How excellent a thing to be treated like the thousands of saints and martyrs that have gone before us – our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters in the faith – whose blood and example are the seeds for the future, fruitful, lasting growth of the Church.  How wonderful a thing it is to be a Catholic – always be proud of it and learn it, live it, love it – it’s your salvation and the greatest joy in this life.

Heaven Comes with a Price

If we get right down to the heart of the matter, wouldn’t we rather stand for something – to become something real – to be holy? than to fall for everything that lacks any real lasting value? Don’t we want to gain a crown of glory and have eternal life with God? Well, my brothers and sisters in Christ – heaven comes with a price. It cost Christ everything to save us . . . . the reading of the Passion of Christ today – should show us just how important our salvation is to Jesus Christ and exactly what He did to obtain it.
Now, it is our turn to show Christ by our actions, prayers, and example to others – that His passion and death- does mean something to us.


 
 from Courageous Priest



From Opus Bono Sacerdotii: Unless the Grain of Wheat dies!




 
Work for the Good of the Priesthood

 
Dear Friends
 
At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ the High Priest instituted the Holy Catholic priesthood.  This Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, the Church will remember the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the High Priest. These high holy days celebrate the Paschal Mystery—God’s plan for all humankind.
 
English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ
English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ the High Priest proclaims the reign of God – the powerful presence of God’s love in human history. He still invites us to live God’s plan of love in our own lives. This week’s memorial of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection challenges us to take up our crosses each day as we serve our Catholic priests — sacrificing ourselves in love especially for our priests who are the most trouble, discouraged and suffering. The mystery is that if we die to ourselves and give ourselves in service to others, especially our Catholic priests, we will find true freedom and life everlasting. As Jesus proclaimed: “Unless the grain of wheat dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit” (Jn 12:24).

The need is so desperately urgent now, in this most Holy of weeks!  Every day our work touches the lives of many Catholic priests.  Pope Francis keeps asking all of us to live the Gospel, especially by reaching out to those priests who are experiencing serious difficulties and caring for them in their most dire circumstances. We started living the Gospel years ago by caring for just one priest in 2002. Today our loving response to priests in trouble cares for hundreds of Catholic priest each month through our facilitation services in its multiple forms – providing spiritual directors, moral support, psychological counseling, vocation crisis intervention, civil and canonical legal defense, grants for food, clothing and housing, arbitration between priests and their superiors, and so forth.

Help us to continue our vital mission to the Church and her bishops and religious superiors in finding solutions to the proper care and treatment of their priests. Your tax-deductible contribution to our ministry is literally saving the lives of countless Catholic priests who depend on our support daily.  You are already a Partner in Mission and a cherished member of the Opus Bono family! That is why I appeal to you. Please help us with your prayers and your most generous Easter contribution in thanksgiving for the institution of the Holy Catholic priesthood.

Along with the thousands of priests who will be offering their prayers, sufferings and Holy Masses for you this Holy Week, I pray that you will be truly blessed with an increase in the virtues of faith, hope and love. May the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the High Priest strengthen you, and grace our broken priests with peace.

 
The need is so desperately urgent at this time.  Please take moment to click on the link below to make an on-line donation.
 
 
Or send your Easter donation to:
 
Opus Bono Sacerdotii, PO Box 663, Oxford, MI 48371

Gratefully yours,
 
Pete
 
Pete Ferrara
Cofounder and Treasurer
Opus Bono Sacerdotii
 
 
Opus Boon Sacerdotii
P.O. Box 663, Oxford, MI 48371-0663   P 313.937.6305 




Mary TV Daily Reflection 3/31/2015 - One of you will betray me...


(c)Mary TV 2014 

J.M.J. 
March 31, 2015
Tuesday of Holy Week

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Also today the Most High permits me to be with you and to lead you on the way of conversion. Many hearts have shut themselves to grace and have become deaf to my call. You, little children, pray and fight against temptation and all the evil plans which the devil offers you through modernism. Be strong in prayer and with the cross in your hands pray that evil may not use you and may not conquer in you. I am with you and pray for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (March 25, 2015)

As we approach the Passion of Our Lord in the readings for daily Mass, we are presented with the actions of Judas. The scene is being set for the handing over of Jesus to the Jews. In the Gospel for today, St. John tells us that Jesus was deeply troubled as He sat at table with His disciples. "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me" (Jn 13:21). When I hear these words read at Mass, I feel like we are all looking around, uncomfortably wondering if it might apply to us as well. And indeed, it very well might be.

Our Lady says as much in this message. We, like Judas, have the weakness of fallen nature that makes us subject to temptation. We, like Judas, can be fooled by the bogus plans of the devil, plans that look so promising at first glance, but hold the seeds of terrible evil. Judas was used by evil, and conquered by it, it seems. His love of money entangled him until he became the tool of the devil. I doubt he realized what was happening to him until it was too late.

We are so blessed to have Our Mother with us in these days to warn us, to correct us and to guide us out of such danger. She speaks very clearly to us in this message. She is here at the permission of the Father to be with us and lead us on the way of conversion. She can help us disentangle from the web of the enemy, and find our way on to the solid ground of conversion. But we must participate in this conversion process. We must fight temptation and reject the plans of the devil, we must pray and take the cross in our hands as a sign to Satan that we belong to Jesus. We must renounce Satan so that he may not use us or conquer in us.

But we are not alone in this battle, Our Lady is with us. She will pray with us and for us. With her help, we will be able to stand firm, and not betray Our Lord.

In peace, let us enter this time of intense prayer and meditation, with the eyes of our hearts on Jesus, and our hands firmly in the hand of Mary.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015

PS. Denis and I will pray the Divine Mercy Novena this year at 3:00 pm EDT, at  www.marytv.tv . It will be aired on the Mary TV Channel on our home page. It will begin on Good Friday, April 3, 2015!

PPS. Don't forget that on April 2, 2015 Mary TV will stream the apparition to Mirjana Soldo, beginning at 8:00 AM Medjugorje time - 2:00 AM EDT. Join Mirjana in welcoming the Queen of Peace on this special day. April 2 is Holy Thursday and the 10th Anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II. What a beautiful day to be with Our Lady in Medjugorje!!






"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
Be connected!
www.marytv.tv

Monday, March 30, 2015

From The Friars eLetter: Silent Psalm


Psalm 123

To you have I lifted up my eyes,
you who dwell in the heavens.
My eyes, like the eyes of slaves
on the hand of their lords,
like the eyes of a servant
on the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes are on the lord our God,
till he show us his mercy.
Have mercy on us, lord, have mercy.
We are filled with contempt.
Indeed, all too full is our soul
with the scorn of the arrogant,
the disdain of the proud.


It’s a silent psalm full watching.

The lifting of eyes. The muted gaze of slaves upon their masters. The hushed attention with which the servant girl steadies her eyes on the hand of her mistress. The heavens, silent, somewhere beyond the clouds.


Lent is a silent season. A season of watching. We fix our eyes not on the hand of our Lord alone but upon his whole body. We note each scratch, scrape and wound of the one we call master and Lord. Yet the psalmist doesn’t stop with just quiet observation. The focus shifts dramatically from his eyes to the depth of his throat and his gut as he cries out, “Have mercy on us Lord, have mercy. / we are filled with contempt.” He started with his eyes, but we are left—among remorse—in the psalmist’s heart.

It is a great mediation for lent, in fact, all of prayer. So often it starts with our eyes, our eyes upon a word or a devotional image, sometimes a moment or an aspect of creation. Then like the servant our eyes must engage the person to whom the hand belongs, the Living One made present by the word or image.  Holy week will fill you with plenty of these words and images to capture your eyes and external senses. May they capture, also, your hearts, and lead you to the person to whom they point, the Crucified Christ. From there, what you say, how you engage him, is up to you.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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 from From The Friars - CFR Blog 

Mary TV Daily Reflection 3/30/2015 - Pray and fight against temptation...



(c)Mary TV 2015 

J.M.J. 
March 30, 2015
Monday of Holy Week

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Also today the Most High permits me to be with you and to lead you on the way of conversion. Many hearts have shut themselves to grace and have become deaf to my call. You, little children, pray and fight against temptation and all the evil plans which the devil offers you through modernism. Be strong in prayer and with the cross in your hands pray that evil may not use you and may not conquer in you. I am with you and pray for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (March 25, 2015)

Our dear St. John Paul II published one of his last books, "Memory and Identity - Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium", in 2005. In it he shares his views of the political situation in the world today, and reflects on where to find hope for the future. He describes very accurately what Our Lady spoke of in this message, Modernism.

We need to understand this very effective tool of the enemy, as we strive to fight against temptation and the evil plans which the devil offers us today. Here is a powerful excerpt from St. John Paul's book:

"...We may say that Christ is always the "cornerstone" of the building and the rebuilding of society in the Christian West....At the same time, however, we cannot ignore the insistent return of the denial of Christ. Again and again we encounter the signs of an alternative civilization to that built on Christ as "cornerstone" - a civilization which, even if not explicitly atheist, is at least positivistic and agnostic, since it is built upon the principle of thinking and acting as if God did not exist. This approach can easily be recognized in the modern so-called scientific, or rather scientistic, mentality, and it can be recognized in literature, especially the mass media. To live as if God did not exist means to live outside the parameters of good and evil, outside the context of values derived from God. It is claimed that man himself can decide what is good or bad. And this program is widely promoted in all sorts of ways.

If, on the one hand, the West continues to provide evidence of zealous evangelization, on the other hand anti-evangelical currents are equally strong. They strike at the very foundations of human morality, influencing the family and promoting a morally permissive outlook: divorce, free love, abortion, contra-conception, the fight against life in its initial phases and in its final phase, the manipulation of life. This program is supported by enormous financial resources, not only in individual countries, but also on a worldwide scale. It has great centers of economic power at its disposal, through which it attempts to impose its own conditions on developing countries. Faced with all this, one may legitimately ask whether this is not another form of totalitarianism, subtly concealed under the appearances of democracy. (p. 47-48)

Our Lady tells us: "You, little children, pray and fight against temptation and all the evil plans which the devil offers you through modernism." Have we not felt the waves of modernism crashing against the foundations of our Christian way of life, eroding our faith by making it seem irrelevant? The enemy's plan is to deprive us of wisdom and truth, and leave us prey to every whim and selfish desire. In the battle for the right to life we see this plan in all its boldness. To kill another, simply because his life makes mine uncomfortable or inconvenient? This is where modernism has led our societies. We are all suffering from such depravity.

But the waves are strong and we must fight them. "Be strong in prayer and with the cross in your hands pray that evil may not use you and may not conquer in you." The campaign to eliminate God from human life is very strong in these days. Indeed it can feel like a totalitarian regime. If we are not prayerful and vigilant, it can begin to use us and conquer us as well. No one is immune from this fight.

The answer is simple and clear. Our Lady has come to plant that answer deeply within us. Jesus, our Savior and Lord, is the antidote to the modernist threat and to the evil of our day that has become a system. St. John Paul II continues:

The evil of the twentieth century was not a small-scale evil, it was not simply "homemade." It was an evil of gigantic proportions, and evil which availed itself of state structures in order to accomplish its wicked work, an evil built up into a system.

At the same time, however, divine grace has been superabundantly revealed. There is no evil from which God cannot draw forth a greater good. There is no suffering which he cannot transform into a path leading to him. Offering himself freely in his passion and death on the Cross, the Son of God took upon himself all the evil of sin. The suffering of the Crucified God is not just one form of suffering alongside others, not just another more or less painful ordeal: it is an unequaled suffering. In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love. It is true that suffering entered human history with original sin. Sin is that "sting" (cf. 1 Cor 15:55-56) which inflicts pain, wounding man mortally. Yet the passion of Christ on the Cross gave a radically new meaning to suffering, transforming it from within. It introduced into human history, which is the history of sin, a blameless suffering accepted purely for love. This suffering opens the door to the hope of liberation, hope for the definitive elimination of that "sting," which is tearing humanity apart. It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good. (p. 167)

This Holy Week, we are going to journey with Christ on His way of the Cross. We are going to meditate on and adore the Passion and Death of Jesus. He will show us the antidote to Modernism, to the infectiious "life without God". And He will invite us anew to join Him in the work of redemption, through our love and our choice for the Good!

St. John Paul II, pray for us!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015

PS. "Fruit of Medjugorje" tonight at 8:00 pm EDT!!


   





"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
Be connected!
www.marytv.tv


 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The irradiated Virgin of Nagasaki

Une Minute avec Marie

The irradiated Virgin of Nagasaki

When the American atomic bomb "Fat Boy" destroyed Nagasaki 65 years ago, one of the destroyed buildings was the Urakami Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Asia.


The blast that devastated that city on August 9, 1945, leaving more than 70,000 dead, smashed the windows and walls of the cathedral, burned its altar and melted its bell, but in a strange turn of events that Japanese Catholics consider to be a miracle, the head of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary survived the inferno!

The image has kept the scars of war—its eyes are burnt, leaving two black orbits, the right cheek is blackened and a crack runs the length of the face like a tear. "When I first saw her, I thought that the Virgin was crying," said Shigemi Fukahori, a 79 year-old parishioner who had seen the statue before the explosion. "It was as if she were warning us against the horrors of war by sacrificing herself," he added.


The mutilated statue is now on display in the new church rebuilt on the same location, only 500 meters from the hypocenter where the plutonium bomb exploded.

Published by the French newspaper La Dépêche du Midi of August 9, 2010.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Parents, Why Are Your Children Crying in the Confessional?







Honest Question. “When was the last time you received the Eucharist?”

Parents, Father Gerber has 4 questions for you.
By Father Anthony Gerber:

Questions in the Confessional

For the first couple years as a priest, I would go through the usual Lenten ritual of sitting in the confessional for hours at a time, hearing various parishes kids’ confessions during school—whether Day School or PSR/CCD. And every year, I would hear the same litany of sins: “I was mean to my brother; I lied; I didn’t do what my mom told me to do; I said a bad word; and… I didn’t go to Mass.”
As a young priest, I wasn’t yet jaded to simply chalk this up to the typical child’s confession. So, a little surprised that a child didn’t go, I asked a simple question: “Why didn’t you go to Mass?”
Are Your Children Crying in the Confessional?
And the kids would answer in one of three ways: “Because I had a [sporting event/vacation]”; “Because we slept in”; or (and most frequently): “Because my parents don’t take me.”
“Because my parents don’t take me.”
I would hear that answer a lot. And what really struck me about this—what really shook me to the core—was not simply the frequency that this was said, but that most of the children were saying this with a deep sorrow in their heart and a deep longing to go to Mass. They knew they were supposed to be at Mass and they thought that they themselves were to blame for their not going. They didn’t yet realize that if their parents didn’t take them, then it wasn’t their (the kids’ fault), but the parents.
Quietly, there began to develop a righteous anger in me at the parents and a desire to “propose” certain questions to our parents, questions such as “Do you realize the impact you are having? Do you realize the sorrow that you are bringing to your child’s heart?”
But those questions I kept to myself. And the anger I brought to prayer and the tempering that experience would likely bring. Maybe I had an oversight; maybe I was being harsh and not compassionate. My anger subsided into a kind of pity for the whole situation.

Cultivating Indifferent Consciences

That is, until last year. Last year, I started to notice that, by the time the kids were in the seventh grade, they would confess this sin of missing Holy Mass with a kind of nonchalance. They would go through their litany of sins, but totally dispassionate. Some would even confess with a smile on their face.[ii] Why was this? During their earlier years, they confessed this with sorrow. But now, with lukewarmness? Why?
I started to think about this and I came to the following reason: at some point during the past few years, the child felt that she had to choose. She felt, in her limited and child-like understanding of things, that she had to choose between God and parent: to love God and upset the parents or to love parents and hope that God would be ok with not-choosing Him.
It’s a child’s hope. But it is a hope that easy devolves into presumption. And presumption accounts for the disappearance of the sorrow. If God doesn’t mind if we miss Mass, then why should we feel sorrow for it?
This presumption would further devolve into indifference when the child realizes that her parents—the parents whom she chose over God—are indifferent to Holy Mass.
So, by the time the child is in seventh grade, she sees both God and parents as indifferent to Holy Mass. Conclusion: Mass couldn’t be that important as to call missing it a “sin”—much less a sin to be sorry about.
By the example of their parents and by the love the children have for them, the kids’ consciences were slowly killed—and with it, any sense of sin and sorrow for it.

Questioning the Indifference

At which point, I was angry again. But it wasn’t a righteous anger at the parents. It was an anger of helplessness. I didn’t see how this situation could possibly be remedied without some kind of miracle. I was angry that there had been decades of indifference and that it seemed as though no one had done anything about it.
So I tried doing something about it: invitations to confessions, hearing confessions more, treating it as important, teaching on the Holy Mass, etc. I even—when giving the kids their penance—I even told them to offer prayers for their parents.
And there was some improvement. But I was still very much swimming against the stream.
I too was tempted to think that maybe this is just how things are and maybe this is all part of the whole becoming a “smaller Church” thing that Pope Benedict had talked about.
Until this year.
This year, I heard confessions all throughout the Archdiocese. And I had long ago stopped asking why kids were missing Sunday Mass. I knew the answer to that question. But I started asking a new question:
When was the last time you received the Eucharist?
That’s a different question. And that’s a whole lot different than simply asking about whether one is going to Mass. This question puts the crosshairs square on the target: on receiving Jesus.
When was the last time you received Jesus?

Indifferent Answers and Answering Indifference

I wasn’t ready for the answers I received. On average, fourth and fifth graders have not received Jesus since their first holy communion… in second grade. That’s two to three years without receiving Jesus.[iii]
I wasn’t angry any more. I was sad. I was deeply sad for the kids who haven’t had Jesus for two or more years.
When the seventh and eighth graders started coming to me for confessions, I started to ask them the same question: when was the last time you received the Eucharist. For the vast majority, it had been over a year. For some, it had been a full five years—again, since first communion.
Some seventh and eighth graders would smile as they told me that. At which point I would echo their answer: it has been five years since you have received Jesus.
And I added a new question:
Isn’t that sad?
Immediately, their conscience—just as it was way back when—was alive again. Every single one admitted that it was sad. Lukewarmness became sorrow again. And they missed Jesus. They knew it.
And maybe that might be seen as mean of me. But I am trying to keep their consciences alive. Trying to keep alive the notion that Mass is important. A notion that is being killed Sunday after Sunday by the example of their parents.

Trying to Find Answers to the Usual Questions

A couple years ago, I did an (anonymous) study at a Catholic day-school. I asked seventh graders a few questions. Those questions were:
1)      How often do you go to Mass?
2)      When was the last time you went to Holy Mass?
3)      When was the last time you went to Sunday Mass?
4)      How often do you go to Sunday Mass? [options: every Sunday, once a month, twice a year, twice a year or less, never]
Every child said that they went to Mass every week. On “Tuesday” (which was the day the kids went at school). 30% said they had gone to Mass in the last month. 70% said they go to Mass twice a year or less or never.
I did the same survey with the PSR/CCD program. And the results—save the part about going to Mass every week at school—were the same.
That probably would shock most day-school parents. It shocks every engaged couple that I’m preparing for marriage. Every time, the engaged couple says, “That’s odd. I thought that day school families would be going to Mass more than the PSR families. Seems like a waste of money otherwise.”
The natural question to ask here is: Why?
Why—not only why day-school and PSR families’ sacramental lives are nearly the same (despite one group spending thousands of dollars on the particular parish school), but also why some have the erroneous perception that day-school families are more faithful than PSR families.
A few months ago, I stopped asking why people aren’t going to Mass. After all, the answers to that question are usual and somewhat obvious: liturgical banality, secularization and frenetic pace of life, lack of examples of integrity of life and joy of faith, the killing of conscience, etc.
And I’ve learned that, sometimes, when we ask the same questions and get the same answers, maybe it is time to ask new questions.
I’ve also stopped asking questions about what I should do about it. Because, it’s not a matter of what I should do, it’s a matter of what people think they should do about it. And, right now, 70% of day-school and PSR parents believe this is not something to do anything about.

My 4 Questions for Parents

So, like Lent, different questions should be asked before we embark on projects that we think will solve the problem. But they are questions that I do not ask myself, but I think we should ask the parents. I’ve answered them for myself already. It is now time for parents to answer them. Here they are:
  • parents, do you know that you children cry in my confessional because you are not taking them to Mass?
  • parents, do you know that your seventh-grade child has a killed conscience, the victim of indifference?
  • parents, do you know that if you continue in the way you are going, you will not see your kids married in the Church, they will likely not have kids, and all of this time and money you are spending is really wasted?
  • And parents, isn’t that… sad?
Maybe the parents’ consciences were killed long ago too. Maybe an examination is in order—an examination with questions meant to clarify and purify.
Maybe then we can ask the next logical question, which is: What should we do about it?

 
 from Courageous Priest