Rome & Ukraine or bust-page 3

Jan. 1, 2012

We got up before dawn and our group of about 20 people took a shuttle along with the Bishop to the Vatican. We were bound and determined to get a good seat and to be there early.

Paul, who is a longtime friend of the Bishop and his spiritual son and my prayer partner volunteered after much prayer, to escort the Bishop into the Vatican. The Bishop was going to sit with the other bishops but he had no ticket or any letter inviting him to the New Year’s Day Mass!

Those of us who dressed up in skirts and heels immediately regretted doing so because the cobblestones forcefully sent its cold through the soles of our shoes into our feet.
Bishop was given a chair to sit down upon while he waited on the security guard to grant him permission to come into the Vatican. He waited patiently and he only had a lite suit coat on under his vestments. His vestments were worn and frayed at the edges and his face had stubble on it because his electric razor wasn’t working very well. His hair was too long and needed to be brush down or cut. With his eyesight dimming and his hearing diminished he relied on others to lead him in total trust.
The only one at peace was the Bishop as he prayed silently and trusted that he would be allowed into the Vatican. After an hour sitting in the cold predawn some security guards came and escorted Paul and the Bishop in and I realized suddenly that I had the Bishop’s passport and his documents in my purse!!
I felt panicked at the thought that the Bishop would be turned away and there was nothing I could do because the crowd of people were now gathered so tightly and were moving forward towards the metal detectors again and there was no turning back. I felt sick to my stomach because I was in charge of keeping him organized and kept glancing back, but I did not see the Bishop or Paul.

As we got into the Vatican we raced towards the front so that we could be close to the area that the Bishops and Cardinals sat. I saw the bishop and Paul fifteen or twenty rows ahead but I could not just yell out Paul’s name in the hushed hall to tell him I had the bishop’s passport. The bishop was sitting down in a pew on the left near the aisle and Paul was seated at the other end of the pew on the right. Right under St. Paul the Apostle.
A security guard came up to the bishop and whispered something to him and I saw him checking his pockets and then he turned and stood up and walked towards Paul and he checked his own pockets. Paul then turned to the massive crowd and scanned it.  I raised my arm and waved frantically. He saw me and I met him at the barrier and I handed him with great sighs of relief the Bishop’s passport but I later found out that the security guard had never asked Paul for his passport which was a true miracle because we had been told over and over again, the Vatican has very tight security.

The procession started and the place was packed for those with golden tickets to be there. I felt more than blessed.

The Holy Father Benedict XVI came down the aisle on an electric gurney preceded by the Cardinals and Bishops, altar servers and security personnel. He again looked weak as he gently waved to the crowds of people.  The beautiful Mass progressed and we felt the divine energy of all the prayers rising up to God asking for mercy on the whole world. I looked at the back of the Bishop and saw him in his worn vestments with his head bowed down in prayer, not seeking attention but humbly making his presence known to God that he was there.

I looked around and thought to myself, “Many of those who are dressed in fancy clothes who have beautiful perfect vestments and who have powerful positions will look right past this humble Bishop and not know that he was a groundbreaker.”
He was a stedfast servant of Christ who tirelessly went against those who sought to compromise the teachings of the church.

In an article in the ‘Interim’ September 12, 1998, writer Donald DeMarco wrote, “In 1968 the “Winnipeg Statement,” while affirming the Church’s teaching in general, was widely interpreted as allowing contraception in certain circumstances. Critics argue it has led to the notion that an individual’s conscience can be a source of truth—an idea strongly opposed to Catholic doctrine. Conscience, just like a mirror, may reflect the truth, but it cannot create it. On July 29, 1998 Bishop Roman Danylak called on his fellow Canadian bishops to affirm Humanae vitae, and to retract their own controversial policy on the matter. Two bishops agreed to submit The Winnipeg Statement to the Holy See for evaluation. They were Bishop Basil Filevich, Eparch emeritus of Saskatoon (Ukrainian) and Bishop Roman Danylak, then Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto. While traditional Catholics in Canada have been calling for the retraction of the Winnipeg Statement for years, Bishop Danylak’s action marks the first time a concerted, public effort has been made to address the problem. It is also the first time a bishop has admitted frankly that the policy has created a great deal of confusion in the Church.”

Rev. Msgr. Vincent Foy, former Officialis, Toronto Tribunal in the article “An Historical Note on the Winnipeg Statement” posted on April 10, 2014 and published originally June, 2008, Catholic Insight, and republished on Lifesitenews.com said,

“In reply to this plea, only two bishops agreed to submit The Winnipeg Statement to the Holy See for evaluation. They were Bishop Basil Filevich, Eparch emeritus of Saskatoon (Ukrainian) and Bishop Roman Danylak, then Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto.  Because no Latin Rite bishop agreed to the procedure, I let the matter drop.”

As a young priest Danylak refused to sign the letter that went against Pope Paul VI’s document Humane vitae that basically said, “I will not teach this encyclical.” He was one of two priests who stood against bishops and peers. He was marked for persecution and derailed in his endeavors from then on. But our Blessed Mother took him to her heart. His love for her never wavered and his love for Christ and His tumultuous Church was always worth defending. So much so, that our Lord deemed to take him home with him on Oct 7th 2012 –just ten months after our pilgrimage. It was the feast of Lepanto; the well known battle that pitted a faith-filled Pope against a huge Navy of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras. It was the largest Navy battle in Western history since classical antiquity. It was the a defense of Christendom against Muslim invasions of Europe.

The only time I ever heard the bishop raise his soft voice is when I naively asked him, “Bishop, if we win in the end, why do we have to work so hard and battle so much?” Obviously I had no idea at the time what I was saying…It hit a nerve because he sternly replied, “We must NEVER stop working for the good of humanity with heaven as our goal! There are to many lazy people! To many lukewarm people! There are so many souls to save! If not you, then who will save them? Christ and our Lady are counting on you! “

He gave expert spiritual direction to his spiritual children with kindness and stressed courage and obedience and humility above all. His love for our Lady drew many people who were receiving apparitions and locutions to him for direction and discernment. His tiny apartment became a prayer haven and a meeting place for those who sought to ask questions without judgement or condemnation. He offered the Divine Liturgy every day and people stopped by just to go to confession and give him a sweet roll or a half dozen eggs. He loved listening and was so acute that he could recall even years later, conversations from people he had only met once. As a Canon lawyer Bishop Danylak was a brave and humble shepherd of the Church firmly loyal to the authentic Catholic Faith. He was fearlessly supportive of the Blessed Mother’s work in Naju, Korea. Giving testimony to the Vatican as the first to witness the Eucharistic miracles there. He fought against injustices especially when dealing with high powered officials with fasting and prayer. His defense of Maria Valtorta and her holiness and the authenticity of her writings drew sharp criticism from Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN who discounted them as nothing but personal writings; not of supernatural origin, even though our Lady Queen of Peace of Medjugorje even spoke of them. He used to give as a penance in confession pages of Maria’s books, the volumes of Poem of the Man God with the scriptural notations and the suggestion to read both and to go deeper into the life of Jesus and Mary. Now that Maria’s cause has gone forward to the Congregation of the Saints hopefully she will be acknowledged for her heroic suffering for Christ and her extraordinary gifts. Visionaries came from all over the world to visit with him. He traveled extensively with Josyp Terelya after he was released from prison after 22 years in the Russian gulags. He translated for him and sent his locutions and visions to the Vatican. Josyp met with Pope John Paul II eighteen times and had Benedict XVI on speed-dial.

As Pope Benedict XVI processed out of the Vatican and behind him the princes’ of the Church followed.  I watched the Bishop still sitting in his chair, head bent in fatigue and prayerfulness giving thanksgiving to God for bringing him to this event and the beginning of this new year.

Paul went over and the bishop stood up and took his arm and as we all met up we walked out of the Vatican together and we smiled and laughed out loud. So much so, we got looks from the guards. As we got out the doors to my surprise there were thousands of people in Vatican square waiting for the Pope to give his New Year greeting to the world! I was thrilled and as the crowd was cheering we waved like we knew we belonged there. I walked down the steps to join the throngs of people and I felt this would be the last time I visited the Vatican.

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Rome & Ukraine or bust-page 2

December 31, 2011 last day of the year—

There is so much to be thankful for, so much to look forward to. I want to write about all that is going on, all the drama, all the joy and the sadness.
Right before I came on this trip to Rome and Ukraine I had a dream. In the dream I was standing on the sidewalk with about 40 people in front of a building. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI was coming and he was driving a Jeep (too funny because my son collects jeeps).  He was not going to stop but there was another Jeep coming towards him and he recognized the driver of the other Jeep and slowed down and stopped right in front of us. Both men got out and greeted each other, the other man was Archpriest Joseph Stanichar, a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic priest from the Eparchy of Van Nuys in Washington State; whom I knew. (he is also part of the Marian Movement of Priests)  Fr. Stanichar kissed the Pope’s hand and went to hug him and kiss him on his cheek but the Holy Father stopped him by saying, “No Joseph, do not kiss me, I am ill.” The Holy Father then turned and looked me in the eye and he stepped forward. I stepped forward and took his hand and kissed it. I knelt down on my knees and said,” Holy Father, I pray for the unity of the Apostolic Churches.” He then said as he laid hands on my head,” I bless your mission.”

This dream was the sign of something greater come.

I thought at first that the dream meant that I was not going to go see the Holy Father when we got tickets to see him in Rome. We had been told that there might be a chance to have an audience with him with Bishop Danylak.  That was okay with me, since I felt that I had received the blessing I desired in my dream.

I was totally okay not going to an audience with the group to see the Holy Father on New Year’s Eve or New Years day.  The group was one ticket short and I felt that that was my sign. I had a few very kind individuals like Anna and Gary come to me privately and offer their ticket to me. Lo and behold, Alvera, Olha and Orainia and I ended up going to the New Year’s Eve Vespers, Adoration and Benediction.  We took the crowded subway led by the young Ukrainian man who transported the giant wooden cross across the world who we had met the day before.  He was a godsend helping us get from one transfer to another. Alvera, who is Italian, had gone before us and the two Ukrainian women and I were on our own.
We arrived at the Vatican pillars and a crowd had already amassed. We integrated ourselves into the crowd while tightly holding our purses which held our documents and money. We were waiting for the guards to open the metal detectors so that we could go through.
Close behind us was a woman who was quietly praying the rosary and every so often she would ask someone in Italian if they had an extra ticket. We talked amongst ourselves and were amazed that she even bothered to get so deeply into the crowd without a ticket because once the crowd got moving there would be no way to get out. The crowd started moving and the bodies pressed closer and closer together and moved like a giant snake. Suddenly, a nun raised her arm and a ticket was in her hand and she yelled in Italian, “Does anyone need an extra ticket?” The praying woman yelled,” I do, I do!” And the ticket was passed through many hands to the praying woman, and she praised God. We were thrilled for her tenacious spirit and her perseverance.
We finally got to the metal detectors and made it through. Then we had to sprint to the steps of the Vatican and it was a mad dash to our seats. I was thinking about all the people with disabilities not able to come because of the unavailability of access for wheelchairs etc. We ended up with excellent seats and waited in joyful hope that we might get a glimpse of the Holy Father or some Bishop or Cardinal that we knew. Before we had left the convent, Orainia had spoken to Maria the visionary in Ukraine who was Bishop’s new spiritual daughter. She had said that our Lady had told her a small miracle would happen while we were at the Vatican. Later we found out from Maria that our Lady had come and kissed each one of us on the head at the Vatican. As the procession began, the choir sang hymns of praise and the Altar servers, Bishops and Cardinals came in before the Swiss guard with the security escorting Pope Benedict XVI down the aisle. I got a glimpse of Cardinal Bertone’, the Secretary of State second-in-command to the Pope. Shivers went up my back and I thought about the article that I had in my suitcase that I had printed out before I left for my trip.

Years ago during a Marian movement of priests’ (MMP) conference I was warned by a very holy priest to watch Cardinal Bertone. He had been chosen by Pope John Paul II to head up the commission to investigate sister Lucia of Fatima who was the sole remaining visionary of the three children of Fatima. It is my understanding that he brought a group of priests with him to do the investigation but as he went in to be escorted to Sister Lucia’s room, he insisted on going in alone to the surprise and consternation of those priests who had come with him.  When he came out and declared that the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had been done and that third secret of Fatima had been accomplished the priests were suspicious and now in their old age with nothing to fear, they were telling it like it was not fearing the consequences. It is purported that the book with the interview with Sister Lucia had been added to with the commentary by Cardinal Bertone, which made it sound like sister Lucia said it. All in all I didn’t know if it was truth or fiction. I was keeping a close watch on him and his actions and his commentaries and this latest article was very upsetting to me.

It said that there was a new mandate that no curia would be allowed to see the Holy Father without the explicit permission of Cardinal Bertone. This was unprecedented. The Holy Father was truly surrounded by wolves.

The Holy Father was on a moving platform and waved like a frail thin robot dressed in overbearing vestments. He waved with one hand mechanically to the crowd as he held his crosier. As he got to the front he was escorted off and kissed the altar and then the altar was incensed. The Vespers were sung and then there was the veneration of our Lady and the Child Jesus and then the Benediction prayers were prayed and the blessed sacrament was put in the monstrance on the altar and everyone knelt and prayed because this was the last day of the year and 2012 was at our doorstep. I thought about a quote I had read:

“They will have the two-edged sword of the word of God in their mouths and the blood-stained standard of the Cross on their shoulders. They will carry the crucifix in their right hand and the rosary in their left, and the holy names of Jesus and Mary on their heart. The simplicity and self-sacrifice of Jesus will be reflected in their whole behavior.”
–Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, speaking of the great Saints of the end times

It was a solemn holy event and I was so glad I was there praying with the Holy Father and with all the ambassadors to many nations and those who were privileged to be inside the Vatican on that special night. It was a dream come true.
I watched the incense rise to the top of the giant marble pillars and curl around them to the ceiling of the Vatican and I begged God for mercy not only upon me and my family but upon the whole world and upon this Pope. I prayed for the healing and conversion for my family and the healing of my sleep apnea. I know that there are many other things known to God that I needed, but his gifts are always perfect and sanctifying. His will be done. I thanked him for my blessings and offered my sorrows to his most Sacred Heart and our Lady’s Most Immaculate Heart and I begged him to come and renew the face of the Earth, soon.

As the evening ended and the Pope processed out, our joy grew knowing we had participated and worshiped with Christ in His house with his beloved Pope and we were One Church from all over the world kneeling and begging mercy for the world.

Orainia then said, “I want to go to the Papal Mass at the Vatican tomorrow.” I said, “Remember, there are not enough tickets for us to go, that is why we went tonight.”
“If that woman in line has the faith to stand there for hours and pray for a ticket then so do I.” She adamently stated.
She walked up to a group of nuns and asked them if they have any extra tickets and they say no, but they said they would pray for her to get a ticket. We then saw Alvera who announced she has gotten three extra tickets for the Papal Mass on New Year’s Day for us. What a blessing! We squealed like little girls and laughed wholeheartedly as we danced down the Vatican stepped into the night lit by Christmas lights at the Vatican Christmas tree.
Just then, the Holy Father comes through the crowd in his Pope Mobile and we ran to the barrier and yell “Viva la Papa!” I love you Holy Father!! After he drives off into the night we walked and caught the subway and spoke about the different people that we saw and the many blessings we receive that night knowing we would have to get up very early the next morning to be at the Vatican again with our tickets for the Papal Mass because it was going to be New Years day.

As we got back to the convent the fireworks in the streets had started  and they only grew louder as the night got later. I had been around fireworks all my life and these were some seriously loud and powerful fireworks.  Our group met in the Chapel in the convent and we prayed more prayers asking God for mercy for us and the whole world.
I begged the Bishop to stay in bed because it would be such an early bus ride and the day would be exhausting, but he refused and stayed with us to pray.
As the clock hit midnight the intensity of the fireworks grew. I looked up at the ceiling of old painted frescoes and see them lightly crumbling through the beams of low light to the ground. The building is shaking with the intensity of the booms and bangs of the fireworks interspersed with mad alcoholic laughter and yelling. I closed my eyes and could imagine a great war going on outside. The safety inside of the Church seemed at once like a safe haven but it felt as if they were going to come through the door any moment with guns raised.

Rome & Ukraine or bust-page 1

27 December 2011
 I am on a plane headed from Billings , Montana to Rome, Italy and then onto Lviv, Ukraine. I look at this trip as a pilgrimage of sorts, but also to write about and observe my dear spiritual father Bishop Roman Danylak who was the Bishop of Toronto for the Ukrainian  Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and titular bishop of Nyssa by Pope John Paul II. He later served as canon of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.  When he retired, he came back to live in his apartment in Toronto. He is a man who Bishop David Ricken, former bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming and now bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin said, “Doesn’t it feel like you are in the presence of a Doctor of the Church?”

I realize profoundly that this is all bigger than me and I’m thrilled to be on my way.
Mysterious and angelic Rome, I love you! The Ukranian Byzantine Catholic Convent that I am staying in is cold and clean. So much marble! The nuns are in hiding and I only see them at early morning prayer when I got to sneak up to the balcony and watch them one morning chant their morning prayers like angels.

When I walked into the old chapel which is hooked to the convent the smell of incense and furniture polish and holy oil filled my nostrils. It makes me want to swoon with joy. I have yet to find any smell that gives me more joy except for the smell of the newborn baby. The chapel is small but old and ornate and the frescoes and icons are like old friends waiting for me. I want to photograph and touch everything.

I listen to the angelic chanting of the akathist hymn to the Mother of God, followed by Divine Liturgy from the Bishop. Afterwards we watched in the lounge as the Bishop joyfully showed his ten guests from all over the world pictures that Josyp Terelya, a Ukrainian mystic who was imprisioned for his faith for 22 years in the Russian gulags and who also was one of the bishop’s spiritual children, painted of Padre Pio, our Lady of Guadalupe, our Lady of the Indigenous people of Indian origin of Canada, and a portrait of the bishop as a younger man (which is a smaller picture of the large picture of him that is hanging in his apartment). He made great fanfare how young he looked in the picture and we all laughed. At 80 years old, he was sharp on most things and the kindest man I had ever met. He handled a crowd with ease and his dry sense of humor was always catching people off guard. He called me Bella, which is ‘beautiful’ in Italian. I laughed and told him he just couldn’t remember my name he had so many women in his life!

I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking traveling so far from home with severe macular degeneration and a profound hearing loss with two hearing aids in both ears.  Our Lord would have to heal him and make him younger to finish all the desires of his heart and to do all the traveling he wanted to do!  He was enjoying visiting with the people and having the adulation of the Ukrainian visitors. He is always kind and gentle to everyone he met and he was always giving of himself and his blessings and encouragement; as a good bishop should.


28 December, 2011 –

Today is the Bishop’s 81st birthday. May God be glorified by his birth! God grant him many happy years. The dinner was at a restaurant and the Ukrainian Bishop of St. Mary’s Maggiore was there. He gave a blessing and gave the Bishop a wooden plate that was hand carved and had a picture of our Lady and Child for a present. We sang to the Bishop and toasted red wine and laughed and ate and relished in the fact that we were celebrating a great man’s life. I ate spaghetti carbonara which has lots of scrambled egg in it with peppery bacon and tons of cheese. I remember how good it was from the last time I visited Rome years ago. I ate it slowly and it was fabulous. We sang and we told funny stories about bishop and I took pictures of the group. I was disappointed that several people left and I had to pay out of pocket for them. It’s always crazy at restaurants when you don’t know the language and the bill comes. On the way home I bought a bobble-headed roman soldier for my husband at a shop. He is an avid fan of Roman history and this will look great in his office.
We will eat breakfast this morning and I joke about drinking my nine lattes in tiny ceramic cups and delicate danishes and cold meat and cheeses.  Its absolutely heaven.  My thoughts go to sitting on a balcony in Venice with my sister years ago drinking wine and watching the sun set over the water with St. Mark’s Basilica in focus.  We both said, “I can die now.”

The Ukrainians will process with the cross today and celebrate at some point. There is a young man who has brought this hand hewn wooden cross to over 21 countries and has invited the Holy Father to the Ukrainian pilgrimage today. (He didn’t come) We went to Divine Liturgy at the church where St. Charles’ relics are. The cross that the Ukrainian young man brought was at least 10 feet long and it lay at a side altar in the large church to be venerated. Many rosaries, flowers and kisses cover the cross. Bishop celebrated Divine Liturgy with Father Vladimir, a Ukrainian priest who would like to go to Canada to live because his mother and sister live there. Beams of light shine through the dome of the darkened church down upon the men as they prayerfully brought Jesus to the altar. “We are in an era of the fulfillment of prophesy” bishop would say. The heart of St. Charles is in this church as a relic. The Bishop had been thrilled that I had brought his holy oil and he anointed anyone who came to him and there was a long line of people.

Afterwards the Bishop went home to nap and Audrey, Alvera and I went sightseeing and saw Rome at night and it was exciting and surreal. We held onto each other and it all went by to fast. The decorations were still up from Christmas and the New Year holiday.  It was chilly, but people were in a festive mood and the tourists were out in force. The exterior of the buildings are ancient and the streets are so narrow that barely two cars can fit, yet buses go by. The people melt into the street as soon as the vehicle has passed. There are musicians, chalk writers, dark salesmen that pawn their illegal wares and scatter when the police come by. The vehicles pass so fast and so close together it takes your breath away. The ancient buildings are a stark contrast to the modern shops with toys, clothing etc. that are in them.

Alvera and Audrey and I went for dinner and talked and even they were not informed about all the evil that seeks to destroy us physically, emotionally and especially spiritually. They didn’t know that the consecration to our Lady is a protection that we put on for the battle that we face every day. Everyone here that is with the Bishop has a mission of sorts. Alvera, my roommate has the mission of exposing the Catholic school corruption in Canada. It has been fostered by the infiltration of liberal theology and bullies. This is a direct result of a loss faith and a power struggle. The Government and freemasons are directly involved. She is focused and dedicated.  Paul and his wife Audrey are here from the U.S. to see the sights and visit the bishop. Long time friends, they are dear to my heart. Paul and I have been prayer partners for twenty-three years and we have traveled extensively together. He is my brother in Christ and is about twenty years older than I am. Bishop is his spiritual father too. Many are from Ukraine and others are from the bishop’s prayer groups he has in Toronto.
(continued on page 2)

 

Dying, you restored our life…

    In October of 2010 my husband and I hosted a man by the name of Brother Stanley Villavicencio from Cebu, Philippines. He was traveling all over the world telling his incredible testimony of dying for three days and coming back to life and his encounter with Jesus of Divine Mercy. 

Brother Stanley was a man of few words. He didn’t like to chit-chat but when he did speak, it was incredible what he said. Once he got settled in we drove to a small town called Roundup and there were about fifty people in the parish waiting for him to speak. I found that the more people cry the more joy I have because I know they are cleansing tears.  At every talk Stanley starts out by saying that this is the 5,723rd time he has told his testimony. At the next talk he will add one more number. After his talk he patiently answers questions if he has time and the people venerate the beautiful image of Divine Mercy.  

When we got home my husband and kids had masterfully prepared a meal and beautifully set a table for us.  Stanley explained during dinner that Catholics have the fastest road to heaven but that ‘religion’ will not save us. Salvation is for all. Fastest, because we have the Sacraments. We have the protection of the sacramentals and the Magisterium of the Church as our authority and sole mission to defend the truth of Christ.  I was telling him that I was trying to be less worldly. Trying, but that I had a journalist’s view of the world and felt a great need to educate and spread the word on many subjects.  I said, “How does one balance?”  

He smiled and said, “There is no balance, only trust. Only prayer.” As a father of thirteen children, I was incredulous. I see it, but can I do it? tomb

On Sunday we got up and went to a town an hour and a half away called Forsyth. We had 53 people. They came from miles away and venerated the image a long time. We ate and drove home in time to take a 25 minute nap and left for our local Church called St. Pius X. The people poured in. My joy was about to pour out of my chest! At least 225-250 people came. I got to chant the Divine Mercy chaplet and made the introduction. Stanley was flawless. People wept, laughed and enjoyed the afternoon. What no one realized was that during Stanley’s talk the sun started shining through the stained glass windows  and red and white streaks came down the wall behind Stanley. Like the rays of blood and water. Here I was with no camera!  The love offering/intention basket overflowed with money and intentions.  This money would be split in half. Half going to Stanley’s family to feed his children, and half going to the diocese of Cebu and Cardinal Christopher Vidal who was his spiritual director who used it to feed the poorest of the poor.  By all standards, it was a huge success.  Stanley got home and went straight to bed. 

Later at dinner with priests and friends he said that two women came up to him and said they were going to get abortions and now they weren’t. One woman stated she had had an abortion forty years ago and she had never confessed it. She promised Stanley she was going to confession the next day. One man said it was singularly the most impacting day of his life. My hope was that this drop of water was going to reverberate throughout the state of Montana.  

The next morning Stanley was in a great mood.  He said Jesus had come to him during the night and that he was very, very happy and said MANY souls had been saved.  Jesus wanted to thank us for helping and that many blessings would come.

Stanley then was animated and said, “I got up to go to the restroom during the night and looked over at your prayer space and there was a VERY large beautiful angel standing in the altar area.  We all were thrilled, especially our children. They high-fived and said, “Cool beans! We have a huge angel in our home!”

At breakfast he told three stories I’d like to share. He said one day his wife called him and said his children had poor grades and the teachers were complaining.  She said, “I cannot motivate them and do it all.”  Stanley replied, “I will take care of it.”  He then prayed to Mama Mary, “Mama, I cannot be at home, I am doing your son’s work.  Please help my wife and children in this matter.” Later his wife called and said all was solved. He stressed that we did not need to worry about our children. JUST PRAY.  ALL is solved through prayer.  He told us about his son who was with all his friends (5 total) in a car going up a steep hill.  The brakes failed and they went backwards–off a cliff 300 hundred meters down and the car exploded into flames and pieces.  All his friends were killed.  He walked away without a scratch.  The newspaper interviewed him and asked him what happened. “Jesus and my angel saved me. I felt a white pillow wrap around me as we flew off the cliff.  When the car exploded nothing happened to me and then the wings of the angel opened up like a door and I got up and walked out through the fire unscathed.” His other son was in a restaurant and a man came in with a sub-machine gun and shot dead seven people and critically wounded eleven others.  All in the restaurant were shot. His son was mere feet away from the gunman at a table and he wasn’t touched by a bullet. He walked away.  

Stanley said, “THIS is the power of prayer! This is what God desires to do for us, if only we TRUST HIM!”  

After breakfast we knelt and prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy together before our altar.  Stanley’s slow recitation of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Creed was beautiful, but when he started praying the prayer, “Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ….the soulful mourning of his voice, the touching reflection of his knowledge of all our Lord’s desires and promises came to me.  The whole weekend was suddenly before me.  Souls WERE saved! My family had been a part of this wonderful weekend and my brother who had been far from the faith had flown in and been a part of it and was deeply moved.  We were in the presence  of someone who truly knew how to trust God…

Then Stanley started praying…”For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” The whole family looked at him. My teens got tears in their eyes. I started crying. We were stunned by his pleading words to God. The sorrowful tone of Stanley’s voice will never leave me! Oh! that the whole world might RUN to Christ’s merciful arms! Lord, save us from divine justice! Stanley is a man who has seen our Lord’s passion.  He has seen how much our Lord Jesus loves us and desires to wipe our tears and hurts away.  Christ alone is our salvation and hope!  There is nothing that cannot be confessed. No man can take his place and nothing in this world is worth having besides God.  

When I took Stanley to the airport I was concerned about him taking so much money with him through security.  He pat me on the shoulder and said, “Trust Marti. I went to China six times and couldn’t speak the language and brought suitcases of chaplets, pamphlets and bibles and wore a tee-shirt with Jesus of Divine Mercy on it and not one armed guard saw these things. God put a veil over their eyes.  I rode inside of hay wagons and was taken to airplane hangers to speak to hundreds of people who had walked for days to see me and I had no interpreter. I opened my mouth to tell my testimony and all heard me in their native language. There is nothing to fear. There is ONLY TRUST!” We hugged and he turned and walked through security without a hitch.  I laughed and was reminded of the scripture that says, “…be aware, you just might be entertaining angels…”  

Stanley died in California a year later of lung cancer far from his family. I was able to text with him before he died. He listened to my petition for prayer for my intention and at exactly 3:00pm the next day during the hour of mercy, I received  my answer in a miraculous way. I cherish our time together and think of this great man so often! I pray and ask him to help me trust and I pray for his family he left behind. His is one of many during this time of Mercy that our Lord is using in a powerful way to bring us closer to Him. We are blessed to have had him in our lives. 

Unity and Russia

Unity and Russia

January 2, 2018Marti McCullough

Tremendous events have happened in Russia just this year. Some of them aren’t even headline news but if you look at the chain of events and the bigger picture they speak volumes. The Pope’s desire to unite the dates of Easter is well known and very important on his agenda for his pontificate.

Unity was of the utmost importance for John Paul II, Benedict XVI and it is for Francis.

On August 21, 2017 Vatican secretary Pietro Cardinal Parolin said, “I go to Russia a collaborator of the pope, who wants to build bridges to make grow the capacity to understand one another and to dialogue.”

He met with the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion;  his right hand man, and of course President Vladimir Putin.

I went to Moscow a week after the Cardinal’s visit to attend a True Life in God conference organized by Vassula Ryden. There were 700 pilgrims from 68 countries of which 100 were clergy from 24 different rites. The enthusiasm of the Cardinals, metropolitans, archbishops, bishops and priests changed my life. The title of the conference was “building bridges. “ This was the same title of the meeting of the secretary of the Vatican with the patriarch of Moscow. The same, but totally unplanned coincidence!

Jesus has told Vassula, “Will I brother, one more season go through the pain I have been going through year after year?  or will you give Me rest this time?  Am I going to drink one more season the Cup of your division?  or will you rest My Body and unify, for My sake, the Feast of Easter?  In unifying the date of Easter, you will alleviate My pain brother and you will rejoice in Me and I in you and I will have the sight of many restored.”      (Oct 14, 1991) 

Unity must desire unity.

Vassula met with Pope Francis before he even became Pope and told him this. She recently went to Syria and the Syrian Patriarch attended her entire conference and welcomed her.( on YouTube)

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I and Patriarch of Alexandria and all of Africa, Theodoros II (of Egypt) have written Pope Francis and asked that the dates of Easter be unified. This is huge!

The messages of TLIG are a cry for unity under one shepherd – Peter. This cry echoes in the hearts of all who truly seek to follow Christ, reconciliation, peace and unity.

When I was in Russia I discovered this was so much bigger than all of us. I know many people, including myself who have had preconceived ideas on how the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will unfold. I’ve been paying close attention with a very open heart since my conversion in 1982.

While in Russia, during the conference all Bishops and above along with many dignitaries including venerable Michael, a Buddhist monk who is from China but runs two universities in Paris, Three Sheikhs from the largest mosques in Europe, The Lutheran church in Sweden, the Protestant church of Spain, and Bishop Gavin Ashenden of England; former Chaplain to the Queen of England, and chief Rabbi of all of Russia and of course Vassula met with the assistant of Metropolitan Hilarion, who gave them Patriarch Kirill’s sincere blessing and had a question and answer session with him. This was NO world council of churches seeking one homogenized church!

We now know that the Russian Orthodox Church plays a key role in the triumph.

Russia is resurrecting, and the world is paying attention. So much so, the Secretary Cardinal Parolin did not rule out Pope Francis visiting soon.

These events are unfolding just as Jesus has been telling Vassula for the last 31 years. Her mission to unite the church is being done quietly and humbly. Hearts are being opened, healed and renewed.

In his book “Bartholomew-Apostle and Visionary”, John Chryssavgis spells out the events unfolding through the years with the Patriarch’s untiring participation.

“This council was anticipated and painstakingly planned for over 50 years.

The churches in attendance included the ancient patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem and the modern patriarchates of Serbia and Romania; as well as the churches of Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania and the Czech lands and Slovakia.”

What Pope Francis is doing regarding administrative decision making with bishops and within councils looks very much like what the early Church did.

“Since 1992 Bartholomew has convened gatherings of around 75 bishops called the synaxis of Hierarchs within his own immediate jurisdiction of the Ecumenical patriarchate throughout the world…” “Conciliatory and communion…” “At the Phanar, all Hierarchs work with their patriarch as one heart and one mind, together bearing the cross of Christ, together with witnessing to the gospel of Christ, and together advocating for the rights of God, humanity and creation.”

It is tradition and unity. “Tradition without formalism in a unity distinct from uniformity manifested in the tradition of Orthodox conciliarity.”

“ Bartholomew‘s tenure has been characterized by inte-Orthodox cooperation and inter-Christian and  inter- religious dialogue…”

On Jan 21,1997- the National Catholic Reporter reported (Bartholomew saying), “our aims are to update the church and promote Christian unity…”

Benedict XVI said in his letter of thanks for the magnificent birthday gift of ancient liturgical music he received from Patriarch Bartholomew, “…Let us have unity, and let it begin with music!”

Something that is well worth noting is this great document:

The Common declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew -Nov 30,2006.

https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2006/november/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20061130_dichiarazione–comune.html

I have Great Hope that ALL roads lead to unity through the Holy Spirit whose spouse, the Immaculate Virgin Mary works and pleads tirelessly for her children, the Church and those baptized into Christ.

I saw with an open heart these events unfolding in 2017. Let your eyes and heart not be distracted by worldly things but by those of the Spirit. Keep an eye out for these events that are happening that are not headline news. There are a lot of distractions to keep us from seeing what is truly good because there is so much confusion, falsehood and evil in the world. In the words of Saint Pope John Paul II,     “Be not afraid!”

 

Sweet Sophia

Sleepy grey kitten

When I was in Ukraine I met some of the holiest people I’ve ever known in my life. One woman was Sophia. She is a widow who has one grown son. She has given her life to Jesus as a third order Ukrainian Franciscan and has taken a vow of poverty and obedience and I was fascinated by her holiness. She slept on the floor on a pallet of a few blankets and she was 65. She only slept two hours a night. Jesus would call her and she would immediately get up on her knees and pray. She didn’t make a sound, it was as if she were waiting on the edge of consciousness for Him. She wouldn’t make a decision without asking Him and he would tell her where, when and how to go. She traveled by foot and bus from Adoration chapel to Adoration chapel throughout the city of Lviv starting at four or five AM. She was so joyful it made me tired. I would wake up in the middle of the night and turn over and through moonlight coming in the window I could see her silhouette praying. I felt like I was the laziest, most pathetic person in the world for wanting to sleep. I wrote about her in my journal and called her ‘sweet Sophia’ because she reminded me of a soft grey kitten who was tranquil and satisfied and almost purred when she knelt in prayer. She only had one grey skirt and two grey sweaters that she washed in the sink and hung to dry. That was her worldly goods. Her holiness changed my life.

Now that I am home once and awhile I see her with someone I skype with and we both start crying and throw kisses through the internet screen. All we say is, “I love you sister! I love you!”. She doesn’t speak any other English. It makes my day knowing she loves me.

One of the stories she told me Jesus gave her permission to tell was about the time she had found six cents (or the equivalent of that in Ukrainian money) in her purse. She remembered the women in her same ward who had been kind to her while she was in a hospital for some illness recently. Although they were ill, they showed her kindness and she wanted to show them kindness by going to town and buying six pieces of candy; one for each of them. Her home was a couple of hours from town, so she got up early and took the bus. She bought the candy and went the hospital only to find all the ladies had checked out. As she left the hospital she opened her purse and instead of the six pieces that were there, there was a whole purse full of candy. She was so thrilled she decided to share some with a woman who was homebound and poor. She visited with her and gave her some and her purse was still full to overflowing. She only wanted to show her husband. He was an unbeliever and in her heart she felt that if he saw he would believe. She got home as fast as she could and excitedly told her husband but when she opened her purse, it was empty. The look on his face, the words of scorn and ridicule and her surprise gave way to closing herself off to pray and talk to Jesus about this event. He comforted her and told her, “My daughter, this miracle was for you. Even if your husband saw, he would not have believed. Your kindness and generosity are pleasing to me. Be at peace. ”

Another time we traveled ten people in a seven passenger van. There were no seat belts and the potholes could have fit small families in them. We had wool blankets on our laps because there was no heat but body heat. After the first few times of my feet freezing I learned to take one shoe off and tuck my foot under me until it was warm and almost asleep and then do the other. We were taking a pilgrim statue of our Lady Rosa Mystica to someone’s home for Mass and Sophia volunteered to hold the three foot statue in the van. She held the face and I held the base and she held it like a tender baby. Every time we would hit a pothole, she would kiss our Lady’s face. She never quit praying so as she whispered the Hail Mary’s of the Rosary, she would kiss our Lady’s forehead, then her eyes, then her cheeks. Some times I would see tears coming down Sophia’s face and she seemingly whispered to our Lady something and closed her eyes and kept praying. It was as if no one around her noticed what was going on but me. Instead of wrapping the statue in a blanket and putting it in the back of the back to make us more comfortable, our Lady was made more comfortable and was caressed and preened the entire trip. Sophia never got out of the van even during bathroom breaks. She was dedicated to making sure the beautiful statue made it safely to the Mass which was being said in a tiny apartment by a Bishop, three priests and a deacon. As we walked in the door the crowd of people in the hallway made it almost impossible to take our shoes off. Sophia carried the statue in and as she passed everyone kissed our Lady’s feet, welcoming her to the humble home.

VOLODIMIR

Volodimir–by Josyp Terelya from his book: Body and Blood

CHAPTER IX— 

Volodimir
The year was 1983, I was in a penal camp. One day I got to know an unusual prisoner, a former Soviet army officer. 

His name was Volodimir and he hailed from east Siberia where he was raised in an orphanage. His Ukrainian parents, from Poitava, died during the great artificial famine that was orchestrated by the Masons/Communists of USSR.

Volodimir was an interesting fellow and we engaged in endless conversations. There was only one trait that irked me and that was his hostility to God.

Time passed.

One day, both of us were punished by being suspended in chains from the ceiling. It was a painful torture. It usually led to shoulders becoming dislocated because of the pull exerted by the dangling body.

Both of us got a 24-hour sentence. 

We hung together in the same cell.

After about an hour of this, Volodimir begged and pleaded with the guards. He was ready to do anything they asked of him. 

For me, this was not the first time, so I hung on in silence. They let him down. He was a wreck.

Volodimir could not understand why I wouldn’t give in. All through the hanging, he kept glancing in amazement at my silence.

-Don’t you hate them?

—-Why aren’t’ you cursing them?

After this event, his attitude did an about-face.

He asked me for a Bible that I had kept hiding. Shortly after that, Volodimir was moved out of my cell. 

Several months passed.

I met Volodimir again during one of the routine gatherings of prisoners. 

—-“Can I become a Christian?” he asked.

Several weeks later he was baptized by Father Anton.

After this, like many converts, Volodimir would openly speak about Christ. He also started writing poems and songs about Jesus and Mary. This was a marked departure from his previous behavior. Volodimir was a typical military type who had exhibited little literary inclinations.

All this changed dramatically. It led to escalating problems with camp authorities. 

On one occasion, Volodimir brought me a poem about the Virgin Mary. It was beautiful. It had touched me more than any I had previously read.

Soon after that Volodimir became subjected to a barrage of harsh persecutions. He was put in solitary confinement. This only increased his output of poems about Jesus and Mary.

The authorities responded by breaking and mangling his right hand. He never recovered its use.

Volodimir switched to using his left hand. 

Tragedy followed. Two degenerate Russians, Lieutenant Saburov and Captain Litvinov, thrust his left arm into a woodchopper. It was ripped off at shoulder level.

Volodimer was handless but the Lord did not leave him. 

Volodimer’s strength grew with the horrors of his ordeals.

It was incredible to see a man, who had not been able to tolerate one hour of hanging from the ceiling, transformed into a being who feared nothing and who bore no rancor for his enemies.

One day I was released from solitary and was about to be discharged from that particular camp.

Near the door I was met by a smiling Volodimir. Between clenched teeth, he held a paper with a new song. It was titled, “Oh Jesus Come to Me”. 

This song was written by brother Volodimir with a pencil held between his teeth. A month later I left the prison with his song.

I never saw him again.He died in prison.

Whenever I think of him, his song rises hauntingly within me.

Oh Jesus Come to Me

Don’t leave me, Jesus, do not leave me
I’m frightened, without you, on this path
The night is not a time to be alone
The forest dark to cross
Jesus, my pathfinder, be always with me

From early years I stumbled 
You helped me when I fell
Guardian, in this world of wrongs and woes
I need your firm supporting hand
Don’t leave me, Jesus, do not leave me

A clashing cymbal am I
When love of others is not in me
The spark of life is love
Without You dark prevails
Be my fire, Jesus, be my fire

From early years I stumbled
You helped me as I fell
Teacher, in this world of wrongs and woes
I need your saving truth
Don’t leave me, Jesus, do not leave me

The enemy his arrows shoot
My life in peril lies
Without You as my shield
I never will survive
Protector, stay you by my side.

SAINTLY SUPPORT

Saintly Support                         Feast of All Saints- 1 Nov 2007

      I went to Mass today for the Feast of all Saints. Most of the children dressed up and all of the moms were trying to keep their little saint sitting still in the pews.

During the readings and the homily, I started looking around and questions came to my mind. These little ones were dressed as those who have died tortuous deaths for their Catholic faith.  I saw a little girl who had had many heart surgeries and had greatly suffered through them and still had more surgeries in front of her.

How as a parent can I explain suffering and heaven to my seven children?  I imagined the conversation, “Yes, you have suffered, but you are going to suffer a whole lot more, and by the way—you will do it joyfully!  What a huge responsibility!  How can I explain heavenly life?  “You need to forget this life, there is a better place. No, there is no video games, but you’ll like it.  God says you will.  No, I have never been there, but there are many who have and I believe them”  ….hmmm.  Hard sell!

I remembered yesterday my seven-year-old daughter was trying on her saint outfit.  She was giddy and showing off a see-through slip with wings and a pair of black pants.  She wanted to be St. Gabriel the Archangel.  I said, “Nope, I don’t think so.  You are see through.”  She very matter of factly said, “Yep, I’m a spirit…AN ANGEL!”  I said, “Well as long as you are still human and I can see through your slip and so can your brother and all the people at church, you cannot wear it without a turtleneck underneath. Its not modest!”  She incredulously barked, “A modest Angel?!”  and she walked off in disgust to change clothes.  I wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement.  She ended up being a Korean Martyr, covered from head to toe.

I scanned the crowd of people at Church.  All of the adults were holding onto their children and trying to participate in the Mass, showing them how to do it.  We have to show them how to pray, how to suffer, how to see the stained glass window thru the eyes of virtue and thru the eyes of reverence.  We have lost that in so many ways.  How did our Blessed Mother prepare Christ to suffer?  Did she say, “It’s okay, there is the cross; your walk will be painful, but I am here.  I will not leave you. TRUST ME.

As Catholic parents we revere those who go before us and suffer and die for the faith.  Somehow we must impart that there is something greater than ourselves. SOMEBODY greater than us. Greater than this experience, greater than this life that is worth dying for.  I can do all the educating, but God has to give them the grace to love Him.  We have to bring our children to the door and teach them how to knock, but we cannot do it for them.  They have to knock; they have to WANT to knock.  I have to trust and teach my children to trust that God will answer and open those doors that they have knocked on.  How do we teach this? 

How is teaching our children different than those parents who tell them they will die a martyr’s death if they strap a bomb on themselves and blow up others who don’t love their god?  They do that with total faith, but its a false faith.  I know it is prayer, conversion and a denial of self that Jesus wants.  No person wants to be forced to love someone.  The difference is that our Lord is a merciful and loving God. We are not slaves forced to love. God freely gives his love and is love. Even if we turn away, his love doesn’t change. We are given our whole lives to study, look, smell, touch and look with a microscope and a magnifying glass at Jesus.  How we are taught is what we will see. What a responsibility!

We must be a good example, to teach, to give introductions to the holy in our lives. We must help our kids recognize what HOLY is. 

I remember I used to go into my room to be alone and pray.  I would get out my picture of Divine Mercy and set it on the floor and surround it with little candles and kneel down and pray.  Of course my children had their radar go off in their heads. Where is mom?  Is she doing something fun without me?  Is she on the phone or someplace I need to be so I won’t miss a minute of her trying to be alone?  They always found me!  They crept in quietly closing the door, snuggled up beside me as I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet. They would chime in trying to memorize what I was saying.  By the end of it, I had all my kids on their knees with me in the dark with the dog watching the candles flicker while my husband wandered around downstairs, wondering where everyone went; yelling for warm bodies to come out of hiding to help pick up the downstairs family room. I smiled as I remembered this and tears came to my eyes.

         I prayed, “Thank you God for those moments. I wish there could be more. I’m sorry, I am trying!  Keep bugging me about the opportunities to teach my children and lead them to you so that you can make saints out of them.  I am having a hard time finding you in all I do. Forgive me for what I have done and what I have failed to do.  Please Blessed Mother, be a mother to me.  Help me see with your eyes and forever feel with your heart so that I can love Jesus more.  Do whatever you have to do to get us to heaven!” 

The tears had traveled down to my chin now. I wiped them off with my hands and I wiped my nose with the back of my hand.  I immediately looked around embarrassed and realized I couldn’t shake anyone’s hand as we stood for the sign of peace.  I begged off to those around me saying, “I have a cold, sorry!”  Then, the kids taking the cue refused to shake hands with the people around us!  In my frustration I said, “Why did…”  and they said, “Well, you didn’t…”  and we left it at that. 

As we were walking to the car after Mass I said to myself, “They saw, they copied, they obeyed.” Wow! I’m not doing so bad!

“That we all might be ONE”

“I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue”-Pope Francis, after signing the Common Declaration of restored relations with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill

Today I have such great joy and hope in my heart for the Church. The meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is a 1000 years overdue. Our Lord has suffered long enough.

I read the Declaration to my husband in our dark car on our way home from Stations of the Cross tonight. Every paragraph is like a sledge hammer slamming down onto the culture of death. By the end, I was in tears praising God for His Mercy!!

I got home, crawled in bed and watched the videos and I laughed out loud. Most people don’t know the story about Saint John Paul II going to Cuba. But I do.

Fidel Castro used to vacation in the summertime in Russia to get out of the Havana heat and stay with the parent’s of Josyp Terelya.  Josyp’s parents were high ranking Russian Officers. His mother was personally responsible for wiping out religion, destroying Churches, imprisoning clergy or killing them in Russia. Josyp was practically raised by his Catholic grandmother (his mother’s mother) and was later imprisoned for his faith for 22 years in the Russian gulags.(see the book I helped publish called ‘In the Kingdom of the Spirit’-by Josyp Terelya)  The only reason he was kept alive was because of who his parents were.  In that time in prison our Lady appeared to Josyp and saved him from sure death several times. She even predicted his release and the Chernobyl nuclear accident. In Josyp’s many visits to the Vatican to see the Pope and visit with him the fact that Castro knew Josyp and his family was made known. The Holy Father then asked Josyp to go to Cuba ‘quietly’ and talk to Castro and make a deal. The deal was that if the Pope could come to Cuba, he would give millions of dollars worth of medical supplies and medicines to Castro’s hospitals. Castro gave the go ahead, and the rest is history!!

Now, there was Castro’s brother standing next to Pope Francis and the Russian Patriarch!    

       (in the blue tie) Incredible! Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.29.29 PM

Now the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is chiming in!!  WHOA!!

The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, is praying for the meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill on Twitter!

In all of this, I am not surprised. This is ALL part of the DAWN OF THE TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY—prophesied in many places by many prophets and visionaries, but the singular mission of Vassula Ryden (http://www.tlig.org/) is the UNITY OF THE CHURCH. Approved by Cardinal Ratzinger who was head of the Congregation of the doctrine of Faith at the time (see the Vatican documents on the website along with the Nihil Obstat Imprimatur).  This message to all the people of God is most urgent and so needed RIGHT NOW!  To understand what is happening, what has transpired and what our Lord’s desire is–that we all might be ONE, I urge all my friends reading this blog to read the messages or listen to them on http://www.tligradio.org . They will change your life!

There are two types of ignorance: Invincible ignorance-that which we have never heard, and Culpable ignorance-Not willing to do the footwork to find out the answer. Do not be guilty of culpable ignorance! A Church divided is fodder for the world.

Something worth learning about is:

EIRENICISM. This is a branch of theology that seeks to promote unity between different churches and religious groups. That Christianity must remain under one church both theologically and literally; under the body of the Catholic Church.

FALSE EIRENICISM is that theology which promotes that ‘we are all the same’, ‘if we just live a good life’ then we will be saved. (example:World Council of Churches) It intends to promote peace by avoiding any polemical discussion and argumentation at the expense of truth and to cover over the dirt. Analogy: ‘feeling the love’.

What Vatican II hoped for was that other faiths would sit down at the table and see the truth in Catholicism but instead FALSE EIRENICISM took over.  Vatican II was trying to get people on the right track, but there were accommodations, conciliations and appeasements and capitulations that were made by those with agendas.  Instead, the Church became less disciplined (among other things) and lost its sense of reverence and awe, watered down the truths of the faith in most areas of the world and went about destroying our Catholic culture which upholds truth and compels us to be willing to die for that truth.  (which we are given at baptism).  There are consequences of appeasement and capitulations: Relativism, Communism, Atheism, naturalism, consumerism, fundamentalism, pluralism, Marxism liberationism, materialism and so many more –ism’s that TAKE US INTO A SPIRITUAL DEATH!

The Church realized it could not do things the way it had in the modern world (technology etc.) without changing some things. (No, they didn’t change Morals and Dogma).  John Paul II in fact wrote several encyclicals to develop dialog amongst the Churches;  Redemptoris Misso (The Church’s Missionary Mandate), Ut Unum Sint (the Commitment to Ecumenism), and Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). Although I don’t have time to go into each one of these right now, I beg you to take the time to read these masterpieces!

As Pope Francis said today after signing the Common Declaration of restored relations with the Russian Orthodox, “Unity is done by walking together.”  There is diversity in the Church. Division is diabolical. The times we are living in are special. We are to bear witness to history and unity. We MUST be the Mercy we want from Christ. Our Popes of the 20th/21st Centuries have been preaching this but between the wars, rumors of wars, divisions, distractions and the noise of disagreements and DISOBEDIENCE– WE HAVE VIRTUALLY IGNORED THEM. The evil in the world that is killing Christians, destroying our sacred temples, desecrating our holy shrines and historical monuments are FORCING US TO UNIFY!  Isn’t that something to think about!

We have to give thanks to the Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Truth, for being the light in this darkness and for our Pope and the Patriarch –for bending in humility for the sake of humanity and for the Love of Christ and His Church!

Lions pacing at the Door

 

 

I went to my first Cum Christo weekend. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. So much came back to me in prayer during the weekend and I had a good time reminiscing and thanking God for His blessings and for putting up with me.

I had gone to a Cursillo 25 years ago and it was all a blur. What I remember was a lot of talks and that during prayer time I distinctly heard our Lord say to ‘Protect the priests’, ‘Pray for the priests’.  I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me? I am the one who is afraid of priests!”  How was I supposed to protect them if I was afraid of them? Why did they need protecting? My first thought was to protect them physically. I mean, that was silly. I couldn’t do that. I was just a mom with four kids. I wasn’t that big or that scary.  I guess I could pray for them; however, they were the ones who were supposed to pray for me right?

My fear stemmed from my ignorance of the faith and my recent (within five years) mystical experiences which I was not comfortable talking about at all. I was afraid someone might put me in a padded room!  No priest had ever been mean to me, indifferent yes; but as I found out years later, it was because I failed to properly approach them, which I now know how to do. Sanity can be seen, smelled and felt and so can insanity.  Although I haven’t met but a handful of what I could call insane people, I’m sure Priest’s get their fair share inside and outside of the confessional.

Within my experiences I was shown how awesome and incredibly deep the Priesthood was. So you’d think I would jump at the chance to be best friends with priests! Nope. I was stunned into tongue-tied silence. Because I was so ignorant of the faith it seemed that everything that came out of my mouth was ignorant. I would try and say something witty, intelligent or holy and priests would just look at me, or chuckle under their breath. I was ridiculous! Daily Mass was my joy and consolation and I quickly learned to leave out the side door as soon as the priest processed out.

During the Cum Christo I realized that even though it was twenty-five years ago, the experience with the un-named priest at the Cursillo was life changing. After I was directed by the Lord, I decided to take a chance and go to confession face to face with him and lay it all down, ridiculous or not. I remember squeezing my eyes shut and saying, “I’m afraid of priests!”  I heard him take a deep breath and ask me why. Had I been hurt? I then explained that I was in awe of what God had shown me about the priesthood. He had shown me that the Eucharist was truly His Body and Blood. He showed me it wasn’t a symbol. He showed me the priest and his need for holiness.  I told him about it and then shut up. He sat there for a moment and then said, “You know, I could be your older brother. I could be your cousin or your son. Would you be afraid of me then?” I thought about that and replied, “No, I could probably relate better.”  He then said, “What if I said to you that I had never had a mystical experience like you have had and that I am in awe of you and that I can’t talk to you because you know more than me and that you are a mother and have given birth and that is an awesome and life-giving miracle and that I stand in awe of you and your experiences—so I can’t talk to you…”  I laughed.

I lamented, “But you are so gifted, so blessed. You are able to GIVE US JESUS!”  He replied, “Yes, but you give Jesus souls for the Kingdom of Heaven. Your yes is our Lady’s yes to bring Jesus’ hands and feet into the world. Have you read the stories of the saints?”  I told him that although I had been brought up Catholic, I was seriously uncatechized. I really had only read the story of St. Francis and that my knowledge of the Blessed Mother had been zero up until a few years ago. I don’t know where my head was when I was going to CCD as a kid, but it wasn’t there learning about the faith. Being a Jesus freak was so out of my radar as a teen that I made every excuse to stay away from Church. He smiled and said, “Take my word for it, I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like your husband and I don’t have a magic wand in my back pocket. The priesthood is very hard, just like motherhood and fatherhood is hard. God gives us the grace however to go forward. I NEED YOUR PRAYERS. I WANT YOU TO PRAY FOR ME. I WANT YOU TO LOVE ALL PRIESTS AND GIVE THEM YOUR PRAYERS.  Will you do that? Will you silently pray and sacrifice for me and give me secret graces to lift me up when I am attacked with sadness, or lack of faith, or temptation?”  My eyes were filled with tears and my heart was full of love. “Of course I will!”  and I realized ALL MY FEAR WAS GONE. It was replaced by a great love and respect for priests and their suffering and their work.

So, today at the end of Cum Christo, I realized that I have come full circle. This ministry has brought me great joy and great friendships.  I look at the incredible multitude of priests I’ve had in my life and the life of my family since then. I am amazed at God’s providence and kindness towards me in my ignorance and for the incredible priest he had talk to me that time in confession who said just the right thing in the right way. He blessed my life and I asked God to bless him because he opened the door for me to realize how much we can do for our priests.  The responsibility is great and dire. Souls are at stake!  We must suffer more, offer more, pray more and support them more, lest they go astray. They bring us Jesus Christ! Nothing is more important.

The lion paces at their door waiting to devour them.

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