The Useless Temptation



THIS morning, on the first leg of my flight to California where I’ll be speaking this week (see Mark in California), I peered out the window of our jet at the ground far below. I was just finishing the first decade of the Sorrowful Mysteries when an overwhelming sense of futility came over me. “I am just a mere speck of dust on the face of the earth… one of 6 billion people. What difference could I possibly make??….”

Then I suddenly realized: Jesus also became one of us “specks.” He too became just one of the millions who lived on earth at that time. He was unknown to most of the population of the world, and even in His own country, many did not see or hear Him preach. But Jesus accomplished the Father’s will according to the Father’s designs, and in so doing, the impact of Jesus’ life and death has an eternal consequence that extends to the very ends of the cosmos.



Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on April 10th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

The Rescuer

The Rescuer
The Rescuer, by Michael D. O’Brien



THERE are many kinds of “love” in our world, but not all triumph. It is only that love which gives of itself, or rather, dies to itself that carries the seed of redemption.

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. (John 12:24-26)

What I am saying here is not easy—dying to our own will is not easy. Letting go in a certain situation is hard. Seeing our loved ones go down destructive paths is painful. Having to let a situation turn in the opposite direction we think it should go, is a death in itself. It is only through Jesus that we are able to find the power to bear these sufferings, to find the power to give and the power to forgive.

To love with a love that triumphs.



Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on April 7th, 2012 | 2 Comments »

The Great Vacuum


A vacuum has been created in the souls of the youth generation—whether in China or America—by an onslaught of propaganda which centers on self-fulfillment, rather than on God. Our hearts are made for Him, and when we do not have God—or we refuse Him entry—something else takes His place. This is why the Church must never cease to evangelize, to proclaim the Good News that the Lord wishes to enter our hearts, with all His Heart, to fill the vacuum.

Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (John 14:23)

But this Gospel, if it is to have any credibility, must be preached with our lives.


Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE GREAT TRIALS | on April 5th, 2012 | 7 Comments »

Persecution! …and the Moral Tsunami



As more and more people are waking up to the growing persecution of the Church, this writing addresses why, and where it’s all heading. First published December 12th, 2005, I have updated the preamble below…


I will take my stand to watch, and station myself on the tower, and look forth to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:1-2)


THE past several weeks, I have been hearing with renewed force in my heart that there is a persecution coming—a “word” the Lord seemed to convey to a priest and I while on retreat in 2005.  As I prepared to write about this today, I received the following email from a reader:

I had a weird dream last night.  I awoke this morning with the words “Persecution is coming.” Wondering if others are getting this as well…

That is, at least, what Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York implied last week on the heels of gay marriage being accepted into law in New York. He wrote…

…we do worry indeed about this freedom of religion.  Editorials already call for the removal of guarantees of religious liberty, with crusaders calling for people of faith to be coerced to acceptance of this redefinition.  If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.—from Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s blog, “Some Afterthoughts”, July 7th, 2011;

He is echoing Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, former President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who said five years ago:

“…speaking in defense of the life and the rights of the family is becoming, in some societies, a type of crime against the State, a form of disobedience to the Government…” —Vatican City, June 28, 2006


Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE PETALS | on March 21st, 2012 | Comments Off

The False Unity





IF the prayer and desire of Jesus is that “they may all be one” (John 17:21), then Satan too has a plan for unity—a false unity. And we see the signs of it emerging. What is written here relates to the coming “parallel communities” spoken of in The Coming Refuges and Solitudes.


Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SIGNS | on March 17th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

The Judas Prophecy



WHY did Judas commit suicide? That is, why did he not reap his sin of betrayal in another form, such as being beaten and robbed of his silver by thieves or being slain on the roadside by a mob of Roman soldiers? Instead, the fruit of Judas’ sin was suicide. On the surface, it appears as if he was simply a man driven to despair. But there is something far deeper in his ungodly death that speaks to our day, serving, in fact, as a warning.

It is the Judas prophecy.



Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE GREAT TRIALS | on March 14th, 2012 | 3 Comments »

How the Era was Lost



THE future hope of an “era of peace” based on the “thousand years” that follow the death of Antichrist, according to the the book of Revelation, may sound like a new concept to some readers. To others, it is considered a heresy. But it is neither. The fact is, the eschatological hope of a “period” of peace and justice, of a “Sabbath rest” for the Church before the end of time, does have its basis in Sacred Tradition. In reality, it has been somewhat buried in centuries of misinterpretation, unwarranted attacks, and speculative theology that continues to this day. In this writing, we look at the question of exactly how “the era was lost”—a bit of a soap opera in itself—and other questions such as whether it is literally a “thousand years,” whether Christ will be visibly present at that time, and what we can expect. Why is this important? Because it not only confirms a future hope that the Blessed Mother announced as imminent at Fatima, but of events that must take place at the end of this age that will change the world forever… events that appear to be on the very threshold of our times. 



Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, MILLENARIANISM, THE ERA OF PEACE | on March 2nd, 2012 | 2 Comments »

Pentecost and the Illumination



IN early 2007, a powerful image came to me one day during prayer. I recount it again here (from The Smoldering Candle):

I saw the world gathered as though in a dark room. In the center is a burning candle. It is very short, the wax nearly all melted. The Flame represents the light of Christ: Truth. Read more… »

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, TIME OF GRACE | on February 24th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Charismatic! Part VII


THE point of this entire series on the charismatic gifts and movement is to encourage the reader to not be afraid of the extraordinary in God! To not be afraid to “open wide your hearts” to the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Lord wishes to pour out in a special and powerful way in our times. As I read the letters sent to me, it is clear that the Charismatic Renewal has not been without its sorrows and failures, its human deficiencies and weaknesses. And yet, this is precisely what occurred in the early Church after Pentecost. Saints Peter and Paul devoted much space to correcting the various churches, moderating the charisms, and refocusing the budding communities over and over again upon the oral and written tradition that was being handed on to them. What the Apostles did not do is deny the often dramatic experiences of believers, try to stifle the charisms, or silence the zeal of thriving communities. Rather, they said:

Do not quench the Spirit… pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy… above all, let your love for one another be intense… (1 Thess 5:19; 1 Cor 14:1; 1 Pet 4:8)

I want to devote the last part of this series to sharing my own experiences and reflections since I first experienced the charismatic movement in 1975. Rather than give my entire testimony here, I will restrict it to those experiences one might call “charismatic.”



Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, CHARISMATIC? | on February 22nd, 2012 | 2 Comments »

Charismatic? Part VI

, Artist Unknown



PENTECOST is not only a single event, but a grace that the Church can experience again and again. However, in this past century, the popes have been praying not only for a renewal in the Holy Spirit, but for a “new Pentecost”. When one considers all the signs of the times that have accompanied this prayer—key among them the continued presence of the Blessed Mother gathering with her children on earth through ongoing apparitions, as though she were once again in the “upper room” with the Apostles… the words of the Catechism take on a new sense of immediacy:

…at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 715

This time when the Spirit comes to “renew the face of the earth” is the period, after the death of Antichrist, during what the Church Father’s pointed to in St. John’s Apocalypse as the “thousand year” era when Satan is chained in the abyss. Read more… »

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, CHARISMATIC? | on February 18th, 2012 | No Comments »

Charismatic? Part V



AS we look at the Charismatic Renewal today, we see a great decline in its numbers, and those who remain are mostly grey and white-haired. What, then, was the Charismatic Renewal all about if it appears on the surface to be fizzling? As one reader wrote in response to this series:

At some point the Charismatic movement vanished like fireworks that light up the night sky and then fall back into the darkenss. I was somewhat puzzled that a move of Almighty God would wane and finally fade away.

The answer to this question is perhaps the most important aspect of this series, for it helps us to understand not only where we’ve come from, but what the future holds for the Church…



Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, CHARISMATIC? | on February 13th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Charismatic? Part IV



I have been asked before if I am a “Charismatic.” And my answer is, “I am Catholic!” That is, I want to be fully Catholic, to live in the center of the deposit of faith, the heart of our mother, the Church. And so, I strive to be “charismatic”, “marian,” “contemplative,” “active,” “sacramental,” and “apostolic.” That is because all of the above belong not to this or that group, or this or that movement, but to the entire body of Christ. While apostolates may vary in the focus of their particular charism, in order to be fully alive, fully “healthy,” one’s heart, one’s apostolate, should be open to the entire treasury of grace that the Father has bestowed upon the Church.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens… (Eph 1:3)


Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, CHARISMATIC? | on February 9th, 2012 | No Comments »