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)

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)

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?

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)


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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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.

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.

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.


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!

IF the home is a “domestic church”, then the family table is its altar.

Everyday, we should gather there to share in the communion of one another’s presence. Our dining rooms should be adorned with pictures, icons, and crosses which remind us of the Sacred. We should take time to savor not only our daily bread, but to sing the hymns of our daily lives, strewn with victories and hardships.

Above all, it should be a place of prayer, that Christ may become the invisible tabernacle in the center of our room. Or rather, that the invisible tabernacle may be opened, and Christ adored where two or three are gathered.

And if anyone has a grievance against his brother or sister, mother or father, he should speak with that one before supping, and exchange the sign of peace–that is–forgiveness.

Yes, if our homes were to become domestic churches, this aching loneliness which simmers beneath North America’s technological comforts would be lanced. For we would discover Him for whom we long, there, seated beside me, in my brother, my sister, my mother, and my father.

As it is, our televisions have become the new tabernacle, and our computer rooms, the new chapels. We are the lonelier for it.

The sacrament of Family
Three of our seven kids at supper: “the sacrament of family”

    BE not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father… –1485, St. Faustina’s Diary