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Archive for May, 2006

Justice of the Womb

 

 

FEAST OF THE VISITATION

While pregnant with Jesus, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Upon Mary’s greeting, Scripture retells that the child within Elizabeth’s womb–John the Baptist–"leaped for joy".

John sensed Jesus.

How can we read this passage and fail to recognize the life and presence of a human person within the womb? This day, my heart has been weighed with the sorrow of abortion in North America. And the words, "You reap what you sow" have been playing through my mind.

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, FAITH AND MORALS, SIGNS | on May 31st, 2006 | No Comments »

THE flesh is lazy and idolatrous. But half the battle is recognizing this, and the other half then, is not fixating on it.

It is the Spirit who puts to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:13)–not self-centered bemoaning. Fixing our eyes on Jesus in a gaze of trust, especially when we’re weighed down by personal sin, is precisely the means by which the Spirit conquers the flesh.

Humility is a gateway for God.

The image of this is the thief on the cross. He hung by the weight of his sinful flesh. But his eyes were fixed on Christ… And thus, Jesus–whose gaze was fixed on him in extraordinary love and mercy said, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Even though we may hang by the weight of our failures, we need only turn to Jesus in a glance of humility and honesty, and we will be assured to hear the same.

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 31st, 2006 | No Comments »

If my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced,
humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways,
I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.
(2 Chron 7:14)

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 30th, 2006 | No Comments »

Storm Sky


IF I were God, watching unfold before My all-seeing eyes the painful headlines of the day, the open rebellion to My plans, the apathy of My Church, the loneliness of the wealthy, the hunger of the poor, and the violence to My little ones…

…I would fill the spring air with the most beautiful fragrance, paint the evening sky in delightful colors, water the ground with cool rains, and send a warm Breeze across the earth to whisper in every ear,

“I love you, I love you, I love you…”

“…RETURN TO ME.”

*I took this photo after ministering at a conference in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 27th, 2006 | No Comments »

IT IS essentially understood, based on what Christ himself said, that Judas had chosen his final destiny. Jesus says of Iscariot, "it would be better for that man if he had not been born." And again in reference to Judas, "is not one of you a devil?"

However, it wasn’t only Judas who betrayed Christ: all of them fled from the garden. And then Peter denied Christ three times.

But they all repented… and thus Christ’s first words to them after He rose from the dead were, "Peace be with you." Judas on the other hand did not repent; after betraying Life, he then took his life. Christ would have forgiven him, offering the kiss of peace to absolve the kiss of betrayal. But Judas did not convert, and thus, "it would have been better if he had not been born."

Could I possibly betray Christ like Judas, and lose my salvation? Yes, this is possible, because like Judas, I too have free will. But if I do not despair–if I turn my heart back to Christ as Peter did–love and mercy will receive me back more quickly than I had sinned.

    Money is more important than communion with Jesus, it is more important than God and his love. In this way, [Judas] becomes hard and incapable of conversion, of the confident return of the prodigal son, and throws away his destroyed life.” (Pope Benedict XVI on Judas; Zenit News Agency, April 14th, 2006)
Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 27th, 2006 | No Comments »

I AM drawn so strongly these days to John 15 where Jesus says,

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (v. 5)

How can we ever grow in holiness if we do not remain in Him? Prayer is that which draws the sap of the Holy Spirit into our souls, causing the buds of holiness to spring forth. But they will only bloom if we nurture them in the will of God:

If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love. (v. 10)

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 26th, 2006 | No Comments »

JESUS says before his coming,

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. (Matt 24:7)

While we’ve seen these things through the past two millennium, what we have not seen are these events increasing in frequency, as they are, like labor pains. So if we are in those days, what next? The very next verse:

Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name.

Is the Da Vinci Code the beginning?

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 19th, 2006 | No Comments »

The “School of Mary”

Pope Praying

POPE John Paul II called the Rosary "the school of Mary".

How often have I been overwhelmed by distraction and anxiety, only to be immersed in tremendous peace as I begin to pray the Rosary! And why should this surprise us? The Rosary is nothing other than a "compendium of the Gospel" (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, JPII). And the Word of God is "living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12).

Do you wish to cut through the sorrow of your heart? Do you wish to pierce the darkness within your soul? Then take up this Sword in the shape of a chain, and with it, contemplate the face of Christ in the Mysteries of the Rosary. Outside of the Sacraments, I know of no other means by which one can so quickly scale the walls of holiness, be illumined in conscience, brought to repentance, and opened to the knowledge of God, than by this little prayer of the Handmaiden.

And as powerful is this prayer, so too are the temptations not to pray it. In fact, I personally wrestle with this devotion more than any other. But the fruit of perseverance can be likened to the one who drills for hundreds of feet beneath the surface until at last he uncovers a mine of gold.

    If during the Rosary, you are distracted 50 times, then begin to pray it again each time. You have then just offered 50 acts of love to God. –Fr. Bob Johnson, Madonna House Apostolate (my spiritual director)

     

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, MARY | on May 16th, 2006 | No Comments »

The Trojan Horse

 

 I HAVE felt a strong urge to watch the movie Troy for a number of months. So finally, we rented it.

The impenetrable city of Troy was destroyed when it permitted an offering to a false god to enter its gates: the "Trojan Horse." At night when everyone was asleep, soldiers, hidden within the wooden horse, emerged and began to slaughter and burn the city.

Then it clicked with me: That city is the Church.

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SIGNS | on May 13th, 2006 | No Comments »

ONE day while driving through a pasture on my father-in-law’s farm, I noticed that there were mounds here and there throughout the field. I asked him why this was. Several years ago, he explained, my brother-in-law had dumped manure from the corral, but didn’t bother to spread it around.

But this is what caught my attention: on every mound, the grass was deep green and lush.

So too, in our own lives, we have piled up many wounds, sins, and bad habits over the years. But God, who can make “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28) is capable of anything — including making good come from the piles of crap we’ve created.

It’s never too late for God.

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 12th, 2006 | No Comments »

THIS came to me in prayer this morning:

    The glory of the future Church will not be its political power or impressive worldly structures, but the face of Love, shining brilliantly.

But first, the Church must be purified.

For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God (1 Pt 4:17)

The judgment has begun with the Hierarchy, and will continue with the laity until it becomes general in the world. Scandals are being exposed; corruption is oozing to the surface; and that which is hidden in darkness is being revealed.

The Refiner’s Fire does three things: by its light, it exposes hidden deeds; by its heat, it draws them to the surface; by it’s flame, it consumes and purifies.

This is the Time of Light, of Mercy, when the Fire is exposing sinfulness by it’s gentle flickering, and the heat of its nearness is drawing out the pus of evil. If we acknowledge our sins now, God is faithful and just and will cleanse us from every wrongdoing (1 Jn 1:9). Even those caught in the most scandalous of sins are being offered immeasurable Mercies! (Listen, dear bishops and priests, those authors of innumerable scandals–Christ loves you and greets you with the kiss of peace! Receive it!)

For soon, the Fire will be applied, and begin its work of burning–the Time of Fire, of Justice. If we have repented in this Time of Light, then there will be little to burn; the Fire will serve to illuminate and refine, rather than consume. But woe to those who do not repent! There will be much to burn… and sorrow will spill into the streets like blood.

Remaining, will be a humble, pure, and holy Bride–her face, shining with Love.

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 11th, 2006 | No Comments »

DURING prayer, I had an image of a Bible in one hand, and the Catechism in the other. Then they turned into a single double-edged sword, held in both hands.

Sword

We fight not with our own weapons, but with that which Christ gave us: Scripture and Tradition.

I thought of how our Protestant brethren often fight expertly with just the single-edged sword of Scripture. But, without the proper interpretation–Tradition–many have accidentally turned the sword on themselves.

Catholics have often entered the battle with just the single-edged sword of Tradition. But ignorant of the Word of God, they have been impuissant, leaving their sword in it’s sheath.

But when both are wielded as one… falsehood is slayed, lies are be-headed, and spiritual blindness put to flight!

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL | on May 10th, 2006 | No Comments »