*Best of DTB #319* The Catholic Defender: The St. John The Baptist Story

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 29th, 2015

imagesCAZUTHDNSt. John the Baptist was born with a purpose, God ordained this purpose from the foundation of the world.

We see that Isaiah foretells St. John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah.

Isaiah 40:1-5 states, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

St. Luke 1:57-66, 80 states: “When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”

heston-joao-batistaSt. John the Baptist was the herald before the Lord. Matthew 3:1-5 states, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.”

This was known before his conception. We see the same thing with the Virgin Mary.

These singular graces given to St. John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary were given for all of us.

We too share in these gifts because it was meant for the whole world.

John the Baptist was born without Original Sin. He was conceived with Original Sin, but he was born free of this fallen nature.

How can this be? Luke 1:13-15 states, “But the angel said to him (Zechariah), ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb”.

images (1)Luke 1:44 states, “For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy”.

This fullfulls what the angel had said. At this moment, St. John the Baptist was given an infusion of Sanctifying Grace that cleansed him from the Original Sin.

This was not a baptism, but a singular grace given. This event was a preparation for St. John the Baptist to be the herold of the Messiah, the forerunner of Jesus.

Another significant correlation concerning the birth of St. John the Baptist is the timeline of the fulfillment of this word and the Wise men following the Star of Bethlehem. Both those events point to the birth of Jesus Christ.

October 3 B.C. The Day of Atonement-Yom Kippur, the busiest Temple day of the Temple year (Luke 1:10) sometime late March early April. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah and announced the coming of John the Baptist.

September 3 B.C. The planet Jupiter was in conjunction with Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo-Leo the Lion. This would be the star the wise men would follow leading them to Bethlehem. They followed the star for about 16 months until the Star rested over Bethlehem for six days beginning on Dec 25, 2 B.C.

imagesMarch-April 2 B.C. “In the sixth month (since the announcement of John the Baptist-October 2 B.C.), the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end.”
(Luke 1:26-22)

March-April 2:B.C. Mary hastens to visit Elizabeth who was in her sixth month of pregnancy.

June (25) 2 B.C. Birth of St. John the Baptist.

This sign of grace given to John was very important in God’s plan of salvation.

imagesCA0ZB1RBJesus said of St. John the Baptist, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of woman there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).

St. John the Baptist was the last of the Prophets of the Old Testament, he died before the reign of Christ which would begin on 3 April, 33 A.D.

The death of St. John the Baptist can be found in Matthew 14:1-12 and is remembered on the Church calendar on 29 August.

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The Catholic Defender: The St. Peter Claver Story

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 29th, 2015

Peter c 21 Timothy 6:1-3 “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;”

Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Soon, this coming September 9th, the Church will celebrate the life of St. Peter Claver which illustrates the very intent of St. Paul’s writing to St. Timothy and to the Galatians. His whole life was modeled after the New Testament.

St. Peter was born of impoverished parents at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain. This early experience would be the foundation that St. Peter would come to understand the people whom he would serve with pastoral care. In 1580 Spain St. Peter grew up in the environment that is not too different from what is happening in the United States today. The Spanish tax burden fell upon the poor, hitting the agricultural sector particularly hard. Despite this, the Spanish Government’s expenditures continue to climb.

The-Fruit-Seller-C.-1580As a result, the Spanish Government both borrowed money, and then assigned future revenues to the bankers. Does this not all sound familiar? The interest that the Government has to pay back kept the Government from ever paying off their debts.

This was the environment that St. Peter Claver was raised and he really didn’t have the heritage that his ancestry once had owned. From his early years, he places himself in the heart of Jesus and Mary. His love for the Lord was apparent to all who knew him. As expected, St. Peter decided to attend a Jesuit college in Barcelona and in 1602, at age 18, became a novitiate at Tarrangona. He took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. St. Peter was only 20 years old.

During his study, St. Peter became associated with St. Alphonsus Rodriquez who influenced St. Peter to be a missionary. They were inspired to go to the Indies and save millions of perishing souls. These two great saints took 2 Timothy 4:5 to heart, “But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.” Both St. Peter and Alphonsus developed this great zeal for evangelization.

St. Alphonsus was a hard worker who was a door keeper, he would meditate on the scriptures in his mind while hard at work. He allowed the Holy Spirit to work in his life. That light was irresistible to St. Peter who was greatly encouraged by St. Alphonsus.

Peter cThe Church for a long time had condemned slavery, Pope Paul III condemned Slavery the century before, but the European colonist refused to listen. From Africa, there was money to be made for each, the black tribes living in Africa, and the European buyers who enslaved Blacks forcing them to work farm plantations and mines.

The journey from Africa to the Americas was a terrible hardship. Once in the Americas, the Slaves were expected to live their lives as slaves. When St. Peter Claver became exposed to what was happening, he resolved to make this by slaving himself on behalf of the slaves for the rest of his life.

St. Peter did everything he could to bring material aid and eternal salvation to all the African Slaves. In 1610, He arrived in modern day Columbia where he made his vow to serve the African slaves forever until slavery would be finally ended. St. Peter overcame health problems adjusting to the tropical climate, he learned to communicate with the African population he served.

Because of St. Peter, his influence, Spanish Royal Officials contributed to help the slaves giving relief and religious education. But the Slave-traders continued to be harsh, they felt that St. Peter was in the way of their money making agenda.

Despite the influence of St. Peter, several of the Spanish refused to go to Confession where the Slaves were populated. Even today, we can still see this affect of separation in America.

By his whole example, St. Peter lived the Catholic faith totally being the example to all he met. He lived on meager means himself living in the conditions of those he served. His generosity affected thousands. His reputation did far more in securing food, drink, and helping the sick. Like St. Paul, St. Peter’s life of humility and penance led to miraculous occurrences as when he healed the sick with the touch of his cloak, or appeared surrounded by a supernatural light during his hospital visits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAActs 19:11 states, “So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of St. Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them”.

In the course of time, September 8th, 1654, St. Peter baptized and reached more than 300,000 slaves serving four decades in Cartagena, Columbia. Like St. Paul before him, St. Peter Claver would enter into the heaven glory. Pope Leo XIII canonized both St. Peter Claver and St. Alphonsus on 15 January 1888.

Prayer: St. Peter Claver, you showed Christ’s love to the slaves, going where no one else would go, and doing what no one else would do. Give us the courage to put aside our fears and prejudices and give wholly of ourselves to minister to those enslaved by poverty, hunger, fear, and ignorance. Help us to demonstrate Christ’s love by our actions as well as our words, so that others may come to believe in his saving power. Amen.

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The Catholic Defender: In Prison And You Visited Me

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 27th, 2015

works-of-mercyJesus stated very clearly, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” These works that Jesus instructs we must do are called the Corporal Works of Mercy.

To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To harbor the harbourless. (also loosely interpreted today as To Shelter the Homeless)
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned (classical term is “To ransom the captive”)
To bury the dead.

Many people gives money to charity that does mostly these works, money given to the missionary field. But as I grew a little older and began to see this more clearly, there is a lot of opportunities to do these acts of charity within our own communities.

To feed the hungry is a full time job in many American cities. This was an opportunity that we had when preparing young people for the Sacrament of Confirmation. There was always the opportunity to teach them the importance to volunteer serving food to the hungry at a local soup kitchen.

Many Catholic Parishes have a St. Vincent De Paul organization that supports the poor handing out food stuffs. I did this kind of work in college as part of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), we raised several thousands of dollars and food stuffs for the poor.

PrintThe Catholic Church has built in it outward ministry that focuses on these Corporal Works of Mercy. Some people literally will attack Catholics for doing these works because of a false doctrine of Martin Luther who developed a new doctrine, “Sola Fide”, Faith alone. So there are those who strenuously attack the Catholic Faith accusing to be a gospel of “works”.

Jesus is clear stating, “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous (those obedient to Jesus call to do the Corporal Works of Mercy) to eternal life.”

Another hurdle the anti-Catholics have to overcome is James 2:24, “See how a person is justified by works and NOT by faith alone.” That is amazing, the only place in scripture that speaks of “faith alone” clearly states that we are not saved by faith alone. James places a rubber stamp with a huge exclamation mark stating, “so also faith WITHOUT works is DEAD.”

This was a major reason Luther placed James in his non-canonical list of “Apocryphal” books. At the Council of Hippo (393-396) the Apocrypha were the many writings that were not admitted into the Biblical Canon of Scripture. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) reaffirmed the Biblical Canon because of Luther’s Reader’s Digest version.

Luther referred to James as a “gospel of straw”, that it lacked “backbone” because James disagreed with Luther’s Sola Fide doctrine. And this false doctrine mutates as division among Protestants continue to deteriorate through the passage of time and newer generations develop new heresies.

Few groups today actually hold to the traditional Protestant line today, but they certainly carry the rhetoric. What seems to unite many of these anti-Catholic groups are their attacks on the Catholic faith.

eph2The classic defense given to attack and mangle Jesus words in Matthew 25:31-46, Ephesians 2:8-9 is cited: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.” Lets break this down real quick, grace is the main point in this text. It is grace that saves a person, God offers grace free, we do not earn His mercy.

This is important and we place our faith upon that gift of free grace. What our friends ordinarily omit, is verse 10, “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the GOOD WORKS that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” So, when you see the whole text of St. Paul, we see a tight rope consisting of grace, faith, and works.

Just a side note on the topic of grace, Luther described grace like a cover of snow on dung.  That is really an incredible perspective? I see grace more like a Combat Medic who has seen war injuries.  Knife wounds, bullet wounds, protruding wounds that cause terrible painful injuries.  These injuries must be healed from the inside out.  Even cysts that require healing must be cleaned and properly treated to heal the wounds inside out.

When you go to Confession, when the sins are removed, what is left is the hole left from the result of the sin.  God gives his grace through penance to heal the soul inside out.  It is not like a blanket of snow over dung. God is healing us making us righteous.  It is a work in progress.

Faith and good works together both stand on the free grace given by God. We must co-operate with God’s grace and that begins with our “Yes”, just like Mother Mary, we then take ownership, we take on responsibility to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”. (Philippians 2:12)

This is the meaning of Jesus parable of the talents. I find it interesting that Matthew addresses this very parable of Jesus just before Jesus addresses the judgment of the nations. Read Matthew 25 and this is clear cut. One of the servants given the responsibility of a talent (money) buried his in the back yard.

TheDarknessOfTheOuterJesus said, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten… And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” Matthew 14-30

This is not a “works based” gospel as some imply, but is acts of love that we are to be good stewards of the gospel. Love is centered in all we do, we are to carry out the works of Christ. We become his voice when we proclaim his word, we become his feet when we go where he sends us, we become his hands when we do His will.

Jesus also includes that we must visit those in prison. Why would this be? We are to set the captives free. This does not mean that prisoners who have done serious crimes needs to get out of Jail. No, not at all, but what truly frees a person is the prison from within. To reach the prisoner for Christ with the message of forgiveness gives hope to those who are not free.

cd !!In 1977, after buying me a $60 baseball glove for the college spring baseball season and driving me to the School of the Ozarks where I went to college, my Uncle Philip went back home and that would be the last time I would see him. Soon after this, he was brutally murdered by teenage thugs who had been doing small time robberies for drugs.

After one of the largest manhunts in Southern Missouri, the killers were captured, sentenced and placed in Columbia prison serving life without parole. Years have come and gone as I left college, joined the Army, and retired after 26 years being all over the world at the expense of the Government.

I am so thankful that through all of this my Catholic Faith was always intact. Dr. Gregory Thompson and I was visiting my brother Randy, a former Marine, a no-nonsense kind of guy. 6 foot 7, a very strong man, my brother went with a group to the Columbia Prison to pray with some of the prisoners. What he did not know going there that one of the prisoners was the master mind who killed our Uncle.

I am very proud of my Brother in that he took a very awkward situation and turned it into a positive, he forgave the prisoner for the murder of our uncle. What a story this was to me. It recalled what Jesus did from the cross, it recalled what St. Pope John Paul II did going to the cell forgiving Mehmet Ali Ağca, we are to forgive.

The Catholic Church has always had a mission to reach out to the prisoners and one of the great testimonies that I have come to know is that of Russell Ford, a Catholic Convert while serving a 25 year prison sentence. Since his release, it is reported that Russell served 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, but what he did in prison promoting faith is very inspiring.

cardenasGod can take a negative and make a positive through the faithfulness of His servants no matter where they are planted. One area of ministry that Russell Ford has brought back to my psyche is the importance of sponsorship to those becoming Catholic. Since 1978, I have literally sponsored so many people, I can’t remember or count them all. In the Army, moving about all over it is easy to loose base with people you knew in former units. Time and space with separation makes it easy to loose such a base. Because of Russell’s influence, I try to spiritually pray for all those whom I have sponsored into the Church.

It is important for the Catholic Church at large to support the converts coming to the Church. That is really vital as many of them are coming from tough situation looking to Christ for healing and forgiveness. They should receive this from us, who Christ has called for us to do His work of setting the captives free.

Deepertruth  member Fred Williams recently has become very involved with the local prison ministry at our Parish. Every Thursday evening, he spends time at the Maximum Security Facility witnessing and teaching the prisoners helping to prepare them coming into the Church.

righteousSome of these prisoners have done horrible crimes, some of them are there for life, all of them are still loved by God who desires that their final word is to accept Him as their Lord. What a grace it is that any soul should make the last decision for Christ before it is too late. And for those who are carrying out this work of Christ, how great is your reward.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 states, “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

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The Catholic Defender: The Prayer Of St. Monica

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 26th, 2015

St. monica 2St. Monica is one of those Saints who helps provide hope for parents who have seen their children grow up and have left the Church.

There is never a fool proof how to book that parents can find to offer help.

The Bible gives the direction, but it’s not 100% especially since so much of society is rebelling against the bible.

When talking with friends who have experienced apostasy among their children, the favorite one liner I have given is, “Remember St. Monica”, she prayed 30 years for her son who did in the end came home.

Prayer must be the first baseline support for anyone who has fallen from the faith. Remember, St. Monica prayed for both her Husband, (Patritius) and St Augustine for 30 years.

There is so much in the scripture that speaks to this, but I wanted to share what Our Lord told St. Faustina in 1935:

Jesus is lord“Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Notice what Our Lord states, “During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is My Church”.

St. Monica 1This speaks volumes and this tells me we should not be taking this so lightly. We need to have the heart and mind of St. Monica.

Saint Monica is a patron saint for mothers and wives. She lived by example all her life. She exhibited great faith in the midst of trials and tribulations.

Today, this is all too common as our world has become more technological and advanced in knowledge.

It is interesting that Daniel 12:4 states, “As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall fall away and evil shall increase”.

St Augustine was sent to Carthage because of the great potential he exhibited, but it was not long that he would become involved with Manichean.

This would closely resemble much of the secular humanism of today. He would get involved with loose women much like the Prodigal Son.

He became addicted to sensual appetites and pleasures.  St. Monica’s persistence should be an inspiration to anyone who has wayward children.

St. Monica said not long before the Lord would take her to her heavenly reward: “I do not know what there is left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.  All I wished for was that I might see you a Catholic and a child of Heaven.  God granted me even more than this in making you despise earthly felicity and consecrate yourself to His service”.

Prayer to Saint Monica

St. MonicaExemplary Mother of the Great Augustine, You perseveringly pursued your wayward son Not with threats but with prayerful cries to heaven.  Intercede for all mothers in our day So that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, Even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.  Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. Yet, you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine; your prayers were answered. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea. (mention your intention here) Grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

This should be the cry of all wives and Mothers for their Children who have returned home to the Catholic Faith. This has to be our song.

Like St. Monica, we to can be over joyed when a Prodigal comes home. Not only is there a celebration in heaven, Our Lord says to St. Faustina, “As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”

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The Catholic Defender:The Divine Mercy Parish of Gardner Kansas

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 21st, 2015

IMG_1633In my travels the past two years, I have enjoyed the times I have visited Gardner Kansas and meeting the people of the Divine Mercy Parish.

Some here might remember a few months ago I interviewed Dan Quinn who is from here in Gardner KS.

The past few years has seen a tremendous growth for the Parish.  Today, they have about 1200 families and growing.

This past weekend they are in the middle of construction building on for all kinds of activities.

Father Cramer, the Pastor of the Parish told me when they get all the construction done, it would be great for us to come and do a presentation for the Parish.  That is so exciting to me and I look forward to the opportunity!

Editors note: Father Cramer walked me through the new Parish Hall, and in two weeks, the Bishop is coming to see this amazing structure. Donald Trump would be impressed with what they are building here in Gardner Kansas. I felt like a VIP as Father gave me the tour!

The Church is very beautiful and makes you really feel like your home in the Catholic Church. You can feel the presence of God as you walk into the Church. Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, and He is present in the people you meet.

IMG_1634As you walk in you see the prominence of the angel and the holy water font, I love this scene as it reminds each and every Christian who enters in that we are coming onto holy ground, much like what Moses walked upon in view of the burning bush.

The holy water reminds us to prepare ourselves for worship.

We literally renew our baptismal vows when you use the holy water blessing ourselves with the sign of the cross.

This tradition goes all the way back to 105 A.D. when then St. Pope Alexander (the fourth successor of Peter) placed the holy water at the entrance of the meeting place.

In those days, Mass would be held in homes, catacombs, caves, anyplace they could secretly hide.

Exodus 40 talks about the holy water that the priests would have available before they would enter in the holy of holies where the Ark of the Covenant was maintained in the Temple.

IMG_1635To the right of the holy water font, prominently displayed is the statue of Jesus of the famous Divine Mercy image.

“Jesus, I trust in you” is the motto of the Divine Mercy as Jesus Himself appeared giving the message and devotion to St. Faustina.

Jesus stated that He desires to give His mercy even to the most ardent sinner. Jesus longs for their conversion and repentance.

Everything that the Catholic Church does is to reinforce this message of the Divine Mercy. This is really the good news of the gospel as Jesus wants to set the captives free and to bring light where there was darkness.

There is always someone out greeting Parishioners making them feel welcome. This weekend, you could see outside that there is a lot of construction taking place as they prepare for the future. It was so great to see the work taking place.

IMG_1638Behind the main altar there is majestically set the Tabernacle of the Lord indicating His presence among His people.

Hebrews 13:10 states, ” We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.”

It is not a “right” to receive the Eucharist, but a privilege, or rather an invitation.

It is a blessing to the highest degree of worship as we are called to renew the Covenant.

This is where the Christian receives the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

The following are some very basic questions I found in one of their church bulletins:
IMGP00251. What is restored to the baptized by the Holy Spirit? (a) fallen nature
(b) physical health (c) divine likeness

2. What word in the fourth century described the unity between the
Father and the Son? (a) personhood (b) consubstantiality
(c) relationship

3. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are names designating merely different
expressions of the one divine being. True or False

4. According to St. Bonaventure, God created all things __________.
(a) to acquire perfection (b) to show forth his glory (c) to increase happiness

5. Every person’s free response to grace is part of God’s eternal plan
of salvation. True or False

I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to pray for their priest, their deacons, and their whole Parish and families. Pray for our Country because we need this now more than ever. God bless you all.

We are hot off the press from the Glasgow Missouri Marian Conference and now I have been able to pray the Rosary in the streets of Gardner Kansas. Please pray for Carlos, a young man I met on the street in a housing district who became interested in the Catholic Faith after speaking with him for an hour in front of his property!

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The Catholic Defender: Your Young Men Shall See Visions

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 20th, 2015

Mary 5Acts 2:17-19 states “it will come to pass in the last days, God says, I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh, your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon the servants and my handmaids, I will pour out may spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below.”

St. John writes, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1).

Jesus warns, “Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:11-14)

1 John 4:1 warns, “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

To aid the Catholic Church during times of trial, Jesus promised, “A have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

EucharistGreat signs from heaven will come preparing us through God’s grace and mercy for trials and tribulations that are on the horizons. Through the Catholic Church the Lord has always given it signs and wonders, “So they stayed for a considerable period, speaking out boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the word about his grace by granting signs and wonders to occur through their hands.” Acts 14:3

Acts 8:6 states, “With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.” These signs and wonders are given for our benefit, the Catholic Church is given for our benefit.

Ephesians chapter three, St. Paul speaks of being called by the grace of God to be a minister of the Church for our benefit. The Ministers of God are dispensers of God’s grace revealing to us the great mystery through “His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:5-6

bernadetteWe see from the very beginning that the Church was given great signs and wonders that confirm the Lord’s grace and favor through the work of their hands. Acts 5:12 states, “Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles.”

Jesus promised the gates of hell would never overcome the Church (Matthew 16:18), that He would remain with it even until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

The enemies of Christ will advance their work of deception and violence as they attack and persecute the followers of Christ. We see this taking place today at a large scale of untold suffering. Jesus told His Apostles that they would be His witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:8).

To give us encouragement through these great times of distress, place yourself in the shoes of the Iraqi people trying to flee Isis running in the desert with no money, no food, no belongings with loved ones? Yet, in the middle of this, great acts of heroism is taking place. We are not left as orphans by Our Loving Father.

chinesemartyrsThe following is a great sign taking place in Turkey captured by a bystander with a phone. I have followed a lot of the signs and wonders that the Lord has worked throughout the history of the Catholic Church. The following video offers me great hope as we continue to pass through the current tribulation.

Notice how spontaneous the crowd is of this current wonder they were witnessing. This is a very similar vision that 10,000 rebels during the Boxer Rebellion (1900 China) witnessed who literally began shooting at Mary. In that situation, St. Michael the Archangel appeared dispensing that crowd of Soldiers. That does not happen here with these onlookers. In China, there was great tribulation of Christians much like what we are seeing all over the world today.

Please listen in on Deepertruths’s Journey with Mary with Dr. John Carpenter each Sunday evening 7:00 Central. You can catch the show here

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The Catholic Defender: Mary, Queen Of Heaven

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 19th, 2015

Mary 6 (1)This coming Saturday, August 22, the Feast of Mary, Queen of Heaven will be celebrated throughout the world.

The Marian teaching “Queen of Heaven” is steeped in Old Testament tradition.

There are those who misunderstand this teaching and will even claim it is Pagan. Nothing can be furthest from the truth.

Some will surely want to raise the scripture coming from Jeremiah 7:16-18, “You, now, do not intercede for this people; raise not in their behalf a pleading prayer! Do not urge me, for I will not listen to you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cites of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem? The Children gather wood, their fathers light the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven, while libations are poured out to strange gods in order to hurt me. Is it I whom they hurt, says the Lord; is it not rather themselves, to their own confusion?”

The queen of heaven that Jeremiah is speaking of is not the Blessed Virgin Mary who is the true Queen of Heaven, but rather a false god. The Israelites worshiped Pagan gods that displeased the Lord. The Babylonians worshiped a woman called “Ishtar“, she was the goddess of love and war. Prostitution was a part of the temple worship. She was known to have had many lovers.

queen 1Contrast this with the Blessed Virgin Mary who represents chastity, modesty, faithfulness, and love of God. She is the purest of God’s creation. Unlike Ishtar and other female goddesses who were worshiped and called “God the Mother“, the Blessed Virgin Mary is called Mother of God. Not because she is a goddess, she is not, but because Catholics recognize Jesus as Divine. He is truly God and man.

Is Mary the true Queen of Heaven, is there such a position within the kingdom of God? The answer is yes, and this Queen is the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The foundation for this is found in 1 Kings 2:12-20. “When Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David, with his sovereignty firmly established, Adonjah, son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon. ‘Do you come as a friend?’ She asked. ‘Yes’, he answered, and added, ‘I have something to say to you,’ She replied, ‘Say it.’ So he said: ‘You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel expected me to be king. But the kingdom escaped me and became my brother’s, for the Lord gave it to him. But now there is one favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me.’ And she said, ‘Speak on.’ He said, ‘Please ask King Solomon, who will not refuse you, to give me Abishag the Shunamite for my wife.’ ‘Very well,’ replied Bathsheba, I will speak to the king for you.’ Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right.”

BathshebaBathsheba thus became the first Queen of Israel, the Queen was not a wife of the king, but the King’s mother.

Jesus is truly the Son of David, The angel Gabriel spoke of Jesus saying, “Behold, you (Mary) will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:3-33).

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:20).

We see a glimpse of this heavenly glory with the Messiah in heaven in Psalms 45. In verse 9-10 we see a very important scripture relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It reads, “daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stand the Queen in gold of Ophir”. Psalms 45:1-9 refers to Jesus and verses 9-17 concerns this queen. The same Queen St. John writes, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1).

king-queenPsalms 45 continues to say, “Hear, O daughter, consider, and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house; and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your Lord, bow to him; the people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts, the richest of the people with all kinds of wealth. The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes; in many colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions, her escort, in her train. With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. Instead of your fathers shall by your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever”(Psalms 45:9-17).

Notice that the “rich” seeks her favor, just like Adonjah had first sought Bathsheba’s intercession.

The Queen of Psalms 45 will be remembered and celebrated in all generations, and the people will praise her forever.

Is there any other woman in history that can fit this description? Hillary Clinton?

Mary 3This praise will not be worship that is given to God alone, but it will be honor and petition.

Notice what Mother Mary says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever” (Luke 1:46-55).

Psalms 45:9-17 and Luke 1:47-55 speak of the same person. The Virgin Mary, as the Queen of Heaven represents Jesus Christ in all that she does. There is no likeness to the pagan goddesses that were worshiped by the Babylonians and the cultures surrounding the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.

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The Catholic Defender: Conference At Glasgow Missouri

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 18th, 2015

IMG_7601This past weekend (8/14-15/2015) Deepertruth/Missouri Marian Association members teamed up with other great speakers for a conference held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Glasgow, Missouri.

Highlights of the conference began with the children bearing flowers, the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus escort, the carrying of the Blessed Virgin Mary Statue, and the local Parish Priest, Father Gabriel and Deacon Patrick O’Toole of Illinois trailed the formation.

Mass was central with the celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy, and Eucharistic Adoration. Confession was utilized through much of the two day conference.

IMG_7696Deacon Patrick O’ Toole spoke at each Mass as well as part of the conference, he gave a great talk on the Signs of the times.

Throughout his talk, Patrick compared historical events with current conditions giving a very important message that warns us that we must continue to be alert in our faith. If you ever get the chance to listen and hear one of Deacon O’ Toole’s talks, he is an inspirational speaker with great enthusiasm.

IMG_7675Michael McGlinn is also an inspirational speaker who can really sing. He is establishing himself as a noted singer and speaker throughout the country. He has a strong devotion to the Divine Mercy and St. Faustina.

This weekend Michael presented his talk, Conquering fear through Jesus, reminding us all that in Christ, we are made conquerors over sin and death. We are all called to live the gospel in our lives.

Something else about Michael that should be noted, he was also a standout athlete at Notre Dame. He lettered four years playing football and was seriously looked at for Professional football with the National Football League, but he decided to live for Jesus through Music.

Throughout the Conference, there was always a great crowd on hand, there were people from four different Diocese in Missouri. It was well attended and both Deacon O’Tool and Michael McGlinn were well received.

I have to also note that the Knights of Columbus and the Local Parish Marian Association were awesome in their support of the Conference helping with all the work involved, as well as all the great food.

IMG_7639Deepertruth member, John Carpenter gave his talk, Approved Marian Apparitions & Evidence, that was also a high mark for the conference.

People are always interested to see and hear the stories of the Virgin Mary appearing all over the world. John presented facts that is difficult to not be touched.

It really shows that we are truly living the bible in the here and now. John and I feature a weekly show on Deepertruthblog radio each and every Sunday Evening at 8:00 Central time.

That is a Deepertruth favorite.

IMG_7634Dr. Gregory Thompson, also a member of Deepertruth, voted Deepertruth  Man of the Year”, showed why as he lead the Marian Association setting up this wonderful opportunity.

These conferences have meant a great deal for many people. Many people are coming home to the Church through this great effort. Gregory also hosts a show with me on Deepertruth focusing on Eucharistic Miracles.

His main talk for the conference was based on this great apostolate. We always work to increase Eucharistic Adoration in every Parish we speak. Gregory also acted as MC introducing the speakers and keeping time for each event.

He really does put together a great event for all people. These conferences are very Orthodox in that they are solidly behind the teaching of the Catholic Faith. Everything must be approved by the Church, there is great liberty knowing the Commandments of God and His Church.

We believe it is vital that people hear the fullness of truth at these conferences.

IMG_7707Matthew Whitney is another member of Deepertruth who is an absolute prayer warrior totally dedicated to Jesus Christ and His Mother.

He has a wonderful Family who definitely prays together. Matthew spoke his talk, Hard as Heaven, giving a great lesson on why the Church opposes Abortion and Artificial Birth Control.

He spoke primarily from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Saints. Matthew gave the difference between objective and subjective reasoning why the Catholic Church is the only true way of Salvation.

It is important for people to be challenged to live their faith that is increasingly opposing faith in America.

We are seeing great results coming from these conferences and Deepertruth Radio. As always, I really enjoy participating in these events as well, it is really great to see and meet people from all over the United States.

It is great to see St. Joseph Radio who comes and tapes these events. All of these people add so much to what is happening.

IMG_7653Here we are in Glasgow Missouri, right near the Missouri River. What a historic place to be. My talk was entitled, Going Places You Can’t Go On Your Own, which I centered on the importance of Prayer. Particularly, the Rosary.

St. Mary’s Church here in Glasgow Missouri is very beautiful. It has certainly been here for a good while. From their website:

Beginning about 1860, German and Irish immigrants began to settle in and around Glasgow, lured by reports of the prosperity of the area and the similarity of the terrain to that of their homeland. With them they brought Catholicism. Irish settlers tended to live in town, engaging in various businesses; Germans took up agriculture. The wheat they produced bolstered the economy of the area. In 1866 a permanent parish was founded in Glasgow. Father Henry Meurs was named first pastor. The first church was completed in 1869. By 1909 about 300 of Glasgow’s 1800 inhabitants were Catholic. The first church building badly needed repair. The people decided to build a new church rather than renovate the old one. On may 30, 1912, Monsignor O.J.S. Hoog laid the cornerstone. By july of that year newspapers reported railroad cars with brick, stone, sand and lime needed for construction were arriving daily. Some stained glass windows were imported from Germany.

IMG_7642On May 11, 1913, 700 people arrended the dedication of St. Mary’s. The American Gothic edifice had cost almost $49,000, a sum equal to one-third of the total capital of the Gaslow Savings Bank at the time. The church measures 96 feet from vestibule to sanctuary. The vaulted ceiling made it possible to construct a nave unobstructed by pillars or other supports. Religious paintings, statues and a rainbow of colors streaming through the windows remind worshippers of religion’s ultimate goal. The golden cross on the steeple canbe seen for miles.

I also looked at the last four things, death, judgement, hell, and heaven. You can order these CD’s and DVD’s from St. Joseph Radio, 3920 S. Old Hwy. (94 #36) – St. Charles, Mo 63304. You can call them at 636-447-6000 www.saintjosephradio.net

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The Catholic Defender: Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 13th, 2015

Article from FB Friend Frank Monacayo
MaxSaint Maximilian Mary Kolbe.
HOLY MARTYR
Feast: August 14.
Information:
Feast Day: August 14
Born: 7 January 1894 at Zdunska Wola, Poland
Died: August 14, 1941, Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
Canonized: 10 October 1982, Rome, Italy by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine: Basilica of the Immaculate Mediatrix of Grace, Niepokalanów, Poland
Patron of: 20th century, Pro-Life Movement, drug addiction, drug addicts, families, amateur radio.
Pray to Him today, for a special Spiritual Grace in your lives, Amen.

O Beloved Saint of God, Holy Maximilian Mary Kolbe, You Who went to Asia, to Japan to Proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God, and that there is no other Who can Save us, Pray for the Trip of Pope Francis’ Trip to Korea, Amen.

Maximilian-boyHis name wasn’t always Maximilian. He was born the second son of a poor weaver on 8 January 1894 at Zdunska Wola near Lodz in Poland, and was given the baptismal name of Raymond. Both parents were devout Christians with a particular devotion to Mary. In his infancy Raymond seems to have been normally mischievous but we are told that one day, after his mother had scolded him for some mischief or other, her words took effect and brought about a radical change in the child’s behaviour. Later he explained this change. ‘That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.’ Thus early did the child believe and accept that he was destined for martyrdom. His belief in his dream coloured all his future actions.

In 1907 Raymond and his elder brother entered a junior Franciscan seminary in Lwow. Here he excelled in mathematics and physics and his teachers predicted a brilliant future for him in science. Others, seeing his passionate interest in all things military, saw in him a future strategist. For a time indeed his interest in military affairs together with his fiery patriotism made him lose interest in the idea of becoming a priest, The fulfilment of his dream would lie in saving Poland from her oppressors as a soldier. But before he could tell anyone about his decision his mother announced that, as all their children were now in seminaries, she and her husband intended to enter religious life. Raymond hadn’t the heart to upset his parents’ plans and so he abandoned his plans for joining the army. He was received as a novice in September 1910 and with the habit he took the new name of Maximilian. From 1912 to 1915 he was in Rome studying philosophy at the Gregorian College, and from 1915 to 1919 theology at the Collegio Serafico. He was ordained in Rome on 28 April 1918.

max 10The love of fighting didn’t leave him, but while he was in Rome he stopped seeing the struggle as a military one. He didn’t like what he saw of the world, in fact he saw it as downright evil. The fight, he decided, was a spiritual one. The world was bigger than Poland and there were worse slaveries than earthly ones. The fight was still on, but he would not be waging it with the sword. At that time many Catholics in Europe regarded freemasonry as their chief enemy; and it was against the freemasons that Maximilian Kolbe began to wage war. On 16 October 1917, with six companions, he founded the Crusade of Mary Immaculate (), with the aim of ‘converting sinners, heretics and schismatics, particularly freemasons, and bringing all men to love Mary Immaculate’.

As he entered what was to be the most creative period of his life, Fr Maximilian’s health had already begun to deteriorate. He was by now in an advanced state of tuberculosis, and he felt himself overshadowed by death. His love for Mary Immaculate now became the devouring characteristic of his life. He regarded himself as no more than an instrument of her will, and the only time he was known to lose his temper was in defence of her honour. It was for her that he strove to develop all the good that was in him, and he wanted to encourage others to do the same.

max 5When Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 he rejoiced to see his country free once again, a liberation which he typically attributed to Mary Immaculate. Pius XI in response to a request from the Polish bishops had just promulgated the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Poland, and Fr Maximilian wrote: ‘She must be the Queen of Poland and of every Polish heart. We must labour to win each and every heart for her.’ He set himself to extend the influence of his Crusade, and formed cells and circles all over Poland. The doctors had by now pronounced him incurable; one lung had collapsed and the other was damaged. Yet it was now that he flung himself into a whirlwind of activity. In January 1922 he began to publish a monthly review, the , in Cracow. Its aim was ‘to illuminate the truth and show the true way to happiness’. As funds were low, only 5,000 copies of the first issue were printed. In 1922 he removed to another friary in Grodno and acquired a small printing establishment; and from now on the review began to grow. In 1927 70,000 copies were being printed. The Grodno Friary became too small to house such a mammoth operation, so Fr Maximilian began to look for a site nearer to Warsaw. Prince Jan Drucko-Lubecki offered him some land at Teresin, west of Warsaw, Fr Maximilian promptly erected a statue of Mary Immaculate there, and the monks began the arduous work of construction.

On 21 November 1927 the Franciscans moved from Grodno to Teresin and on 8 December the friary was consecrated and was given the name of Niepokalanow, the City of the Immaculate. ‘Niepokalanow’, said Fr Maximilian, ‘is a place chosen by Mary Immaculate and is exclusively dedicated to spreading her cult. All that is and will be at Niepokalanow will belong to her. The monastic spirit will flourish here; we shall practise obedience and we shall be poor, in the spirit of St Francis.’

maximilian2At first Niepokalanow consisted of no more than a few shacks with tar-paper roofs, but it soon flourished. To cope with the flood of vocations all over Poland, a junior seminary was built at Niepokalanow ‘to prepare priests for the missions capable of every task in the name of the Immaculate and with her help’. A few years later there were more than a hundred seminarians and the numbers were still growing. Before long Niepokalanow had become one of the largest (some say largest) friaries in the world. In 1939 it housed 762 inhabitants: 13 priests, 18 novices, 527 brothers, 122 boys in the junior seminary and 82 candidates for the priesthood. No matter how many labourers were in the vineyard there was always work for more. Among the inhabitants of Niepokalanow there were doctors, dentists, farmers, mechanics, tailors, builders, printers, gardeners, shoemakers, cooks. The place was entirely self-supporting.

Not only the friary but the printing house had been expanding. More modern machinery had been installed, including three machines which could produce 16,000 copies of the review in an hour. New techniques of type, photogravure and binding were adopted. The new machinery and techniques made it possible to meet the growing demand for —which had now reached the incredible circulation figure of 750,000 per month—and to produce other publications as well. In 1935 they began to produce a daily Catholic newspaper, , of which 137,000 copies were printed on weekdays and 225,000 on Sundays and holydays.

Maximilian did not rest content with mere journalistic activity. His sights were set even further. On 8 December 1938 a radio station was installed at Niepokalanow with the signature tune (played by the brothers’ own orchestra) of the Lourdes hymn. And now that there was so much valuable equipment around, Niepokalanow acquired its own fire brigade to protect it against its enemies. Some of the brothers were now trained as firemen.

max 4There was no doubt that Niepokalanow was going from strength to strength, a unique institution within Poland. The results of the work done there were becoming apparent. Priests in parishes all over the country reported a tremendous upsurge of faith, which they attributed to the literature emerging from Niepokalanow. A campaign against abortion in the columns of the (1938) seemed to awaken the conscience of the nation: more than a million people of all classes and professions ranged themselves behind the standard of Mary Immaculate. Years later, after the war, the Polish bishops sent an official letter to the Holy See claiming that Fr Kolbe’s magazine had prepared the Polish nation to endure and survive the horrors of the war that was soon to follow.

Fr Maximilian was a restless spirit, and his activities could not be confined to Poland. His junior seminary had been started in 1929 but he didn’t intend to wait for its first priest to be trained before he himself set out for the mission lands. To those who pointed out that Niepokalanow wasn’t yet up to undertaking foreign apostolic work, he quoted the example of St Francis, who had risked himself on the mission fields when the other Orders had remained uninvolved. With the blessing of his Father General, Maximilian prepared his expedition. Asked whether he had money to finance it, he replied: ‘Money? It will turn up somehow or other. Mary will see to it. It’s her business and her Son’s.’

On 26 February 1930 Fr Maximilian left Poland with four brothers from Niepokalanow on a journey to the Far East. They travelled by way of Port Said, Saigon and Shanghai, and on 24 April they landed at Nagasaki in Japan. Here they were given episcopal permission to stay. In fact Archbishop Hayasaka received them very warmly when he learned that Fr Maximilian had two doctorates and would be able to take the vacant chair of philosophy in the diocesan seminary in exchange for a licence to print his review.

Maximilian_Kolbe_3The going was hard. The Poles’ only shelter was a wretched hut whose walls and roof were caving in. They slept on what straw they could find and their tables were planks of wood. But despite such hardships, and the fact that they knew no word of the Japanese language, and had no money, on 24 April 1930, exactly a month after their arrival, a telegram was despatched to Niepokalanow: ‘Today distributing Japanese . Have printing press. Praise to Mary Immaculate.’ After that, it was scarcely surprising that a year later the Japanese Niepokalanow was inaugurated, Mugenzai no Sono (the Garden of the Immaculate), built on the slopes of Mount Hikosan. The choice of this site in the suburbs had been dictated by poverty, but it proved a lucky one. People thought Fr Maximilian was crazy to be building on steep ground sloping away from the town; but in 1945, when the atomic bomb all but levelled Nagasaki, Mugenzai no Sono sustained no more damage than a few broken panes of stained glass. Today it forms the centre of a Franciscan province.

Despite his passionate zeal in the cause of Mary, Fr Maximilian proved to be a wise missionary. He did not attempt to impose Western ideas on the Japanese. He respected their national customs and looked for what was good in Buddhism and Shintoism. He entered into dialogue with Buddhist priests and some of them became his friends. In 1931 he founded a noviciate and in 1936 a junior seminary. And of course he continued to publish his beloved magazine. , the Japanese , had a circulation six times that of its nearest Japanese Catholic rival. This was because it was aimed at the whole community, not just Catholics. The first 10,000 copies had swollen to 65,000 by 1936.

max 11Father Maximilian’s health was rapidly deteriorating, but he didn’t allow this fact to diminish his zeal or his restless energy. Although he often complained of the lack of manpower and machines needed to serve the people of Japan, in 1932 he was already seeking fresh pastures. On 31 May he left Japan and sailed to Malabar where, after a few initial difficulties, he founded a third Niepokalanow. But his superiors requested him to return to Japan, and as no priests could be spared for Malabar that idea had to be given up. On another of his journeys he travelled through Siberia and spent some time in Moscow. Even here he dreamed of publishing his magazine-in Russian. He had studied the language and had a fair acquaintance with Marxist literature. Like Pope John XXIII he looked for the good elements even in systems which he believed to be evil; and he tried to teach his friars to do likewise.

In 1936 he was recalled to Poland, and left Japan for the last time. He had thought that he would find martyrdom there; and indeed he had found martyrdom of a kind. He was racked by violent headaches and covered with abscesses brought on by the food to which he could not grow accustomed. But these things were only pinpricks: the real martyrdom awaited him elsewhere.

Just before the Second World War broke out Fr Maximilian spoke to his friars about suffering. They must not be afraid, he said, for suffering accepted with love would bring them closer to Mary. All his life he had dreamed of a martyr’s crown, and the time was nearly at hand.

By 13 September 1939 Niepokalanow had been occupied by the invading Germans and most of its inhabitants had been deported to Germany. Among them was Fr Maximilian. But that exile did not last long and on 8 December the prisoners were set free. From the moment that he returned to Niepokalanow Fr Maximilian was galvanized into a new kind of activity. He began to organize a shelter for 3,000 Polish refugees, among whom were 2,000 Jews. ‘We must do everything in our power to help these unfortunate people who have been driven from their homes and deprived of even the most basic necessities. Our mission is among them in the days that lie ahead.’ The friars shared everything they had with the refugees. They housed, fed and clothed them, and brought all their machinery into use in their service.

GermansInevitably the community came under suspicion and was closely watched. Early in 1941, in the only edition of which he was allowed to publish, Fr Maximilian set pen to paper and thus provoked his own arrest. ‘No one in the world can change Truth’, he wrote. ‘What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is an inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?’

He would never know that kind of defeat; but a more obvious defeat was near. On 17 February 1941 he was arrested and sent to the infamous Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Here he was singled out for special ill-treatment. A witness tells us that in March of that year an S. S. guard, seeing this man in his habit girdled with a rosary, asked if he believed in Christ. When the priest calmly replied ‘I do’, the guard struck him. The S. S. man repeated his question several times and receiving always the same answer went on beating him mercilessly. Shortly afterwards the Franciscan habit was taken away and a prisoner’s garment was substituted.

AuschwitzConfinedOn 28 May Fr Maximilian was with over 300 others who were deported from Pawiak to Auschwitz. There he received his striped convict’s garments and was branded with the number 16670. He was put to work immediately carrying blocks of stone for the construction of a crematorium wall. On the last day of May he was assigned with other priests to the Babice section which was under the direction of ‘Bloody’ Krott, an ex-criminal. ‘These men are lay-abouts and parasites’, said the Commandant to Krott, ‘get them working.’ Krott forced the priests to cut and carry huge tree-trunks. The work went on all day without a stop and had to be done running—with the aid of vicious blows from the guards. Despite his one lung, Father Maximilian accepted the work and the blows with surprising calm. Krott conceived a relentless hatred against the Franciscan and gave him heavier tasks than the others. Sometimes his colleagues would try to come to his aid but he would not expose them to danger. Always he replied, ‘Mary gives me strength. All will be well.’ At this time he wrote to his mother, ‘Do not worry about me or my health, for the good Lord is everywhere and holds every one of us in his great love.’

One day Krott found some of the heaviest planks he could lay hold of and personally loaded them on the Franciscan’s back, ordering him to run. When he collapsed, Krott kicked him in the stomach and face and had his men give him fifty lashes. When the priest lost consciousness Krott threw him in the mud and left him for dead. But his companions managed to smuggle him to the Revier, the camp hospital. Although he was suffering greatly, he secretly heard confessions in the hospital and spoke to the other inmates of the love of God.

max 13In Auschwitz, where hunger and hatred reigned and faith evaporated, this man opened his heart to others and spoke of God’s infinite love. He seemed never to think of himself. When food was brought in and everyone struggled to get his place in the queue so as to be sure of a share, Fr Maximilian stood aside, so that frequently there was none left for him. At other times he shared his meagre ration of soup or bread with others. He was once asked whether such self-abnegation made sense in a place where every man was engaged in a struggle for survival, and he answered: ‘Every man has an aim in life. For most men it is to return home to their wives and families, or to their mothers. For my part, I give my life for the good of all men.’

Men gathered in secret to hear his words of love and encouragement, but it was his example which counted for most. Fr Zygmunt Rusczak remembers: ‘Each time I saw Father Kolbe in the courtyard I felt within myself an extraordinary effusion of his goodness. Although he wore the same ragged clothes as the rest of us, with the same tin can hanging from his belt, one forgot this wretched exterior and was conscious only of the charm of his inspired countenance and of his radiant holiness.’

There remained only the last act in the drama. The events are recorded in the sworn testimonials of former inmates of the camp, collected as part of the beatification proceedings. They are as follows:
Tadeusz Joachimowski, clerk of Block 14A:

max 12‘In the summer of 1941, most probably on the last day of July, the camp siren announced that there had been an escape. At the evening roll-call of the same day we, i.e. Block 14A, were formed up in the street between the buildings of Blocks 14 and 17. After some delay we were joined by a group of the Landwirtschafts-Kommando. During the count it was found that three prisoners from this Kommando had escaped: one from our Block and the two others from other Blocks. Lagerfuhrer Fritzsch announced that on account of the escape of the three prisoners, ten prisoners would be picked in reprisal from the blocks in which the fugitives had lived and would be assigned to the Bunker (the underground starvation cell).’ Jan Jakub Szegidewicz takes up the story from there: ‘After the group of doomed men had already been selected, a prisoner stepped out from the ranks of one of the Blocks. I recognized Father Kolbe. Owing to my poor knowledge of German I did not understand what they talked about, nor do I remember whether Fr Kolbe spoke directly to Fritzsch. When making his request, Fr Kolbe stood at attention and pointed at a former non-commissioned officer known to me from the camp. It could be inferred from the expression on Fritzsch’s face that he was surprised at Fr Kolbe’s action. As the sign was given, Fr Kolbe joined the ranks of the doomed and the non-commissioned officer left the ranks of the doomed and resumed his place in his Block; which meant that Fritzsch had consented to the exchange. A little later the doomed men were marched off in the direction of Block 13, the death Block.’

max 16The non-commissioned officer was Franciszek Gajowniczek. When the sentence of doom had been pronounced, Gajowniczek had cried out in despair, ‘O my poor wife, my poor children. I shall never see them again.’ It was then that the unexpected had happened, and that from among the ranks of those temporarily reprieved, prisoner 16670 had stepped forward and offered himself in the other man’s place. Then the ten condemned men were led off to the dreaded Bunker, to the airless underground cells where men died slowly without food or water.

Bruno Borgowiec was an eye-witness of those last terrible days, for he was an assistant to the janitor and an interpreter in the underground Bunkers. He tells us what happened: ‘In the cell of the poor wretches there were daily loud prayers, the rosary and singing, in which prisoners from neighbouring cells also joined. When no S. S. men were in the Block I went to the Bunker to talk to the men and comfort them. Fervent prayers and songs to the Holy Mother resounded in all the corridors of the Bunker. I had the impression I was in a church. Fr Kolbe was leading and the prisoners responded in unison. They were often so deep in prayer that they did not even hear that inspecting S. S. men had descended to the Bunker; and the voices fell silent only at the loud yelling of their visitors. When the cells were opened the poor wretches cried loudly and begged for a piece of bread and for water, which they did not receive, however. If any of the stronger ones approached the door he was immediately kicked in the stomach by the S. S. men, so that falling backwards on the cement floor he was instantly killed; or he was shot to death …

max 7Fr Kolbe bore up bravely, he did not beg and did not complain but raised the spirits of the others…. Since they had grown very weak, prayers were now only whispered. At every inspection, when almost all the others were now lying on the floor, Fr Kolbe was seen kneeling or standing in the centre as he looked cheerfully in the face of the S. S. men. Two weeks passed in this way. Meanwhile one after another they died, until only Fr Kolbe was left. This the authorities felt was too long; the cell was needed for new victims. So one day they brought in the head of the sick-quarters, a German, a common criminal named Bock, who gave Fr Kolbe an injection of carbolic acid in the vein of his left arm. Fr Kolbe, with a prayer on his lips, himself gave his arm to the executioner. Unable to watch this I left under the pretext of work to be done. Immediately after the S. S. men with the executioner had left I returned to the cell, where I found Fr Kolbe leaning in a sitting position against the back wall with his eyes open and his head drooping sideways. His face was calm and radiant.’

max 15The heroism of Father Kolbe went echoing through Auschwitz. In that desert of hatred he had sown love. Mr Jozef Stemler, former director of an important cultural institute in Poland, comments:

‘In those conditions … in the midst of a brutalization of thought and feeling and words such as had never before been known, man indeed became a ravening wolf in his relations with other men. And into this state of affairs came the heroic self-sacrifice of Fr Maximilian.

The atmosphere grew lighter, as this thunderbolt provoked its profound and salutary shock.’ Jerzy Bielecki declared that Fr Kolbe’s death was ‘a shock filled with hope, bringing new life and strength…. It was like a powerful shaft of light in the darkness of the camp.’

His reputation spread far and wide, through the Nazi camps and beyond. After the war newspapers all over the world were deluged with articles about this ‘saint for our times’, ‘saint of progress’, ‘giant of holiness’. Biographies were written, and everywhere there were claims of cures being brought about through his intercession.

max 14‘The life and death of this one man alone’, wrote the Polish bishops, ‘can be proof and witness of the fact that the love of God can overcome the greatest hatred, the greatest injustice, even death itself.’ The demands for his beatification became insistent, and at last on 12 August 1947 proceedings started. Seventy-five witnesses were questioned. His cause was introduced on 16 March 1960. When all the usual objections had been overcome, the promoter spoke of ‘the charm of this magnificent fool’. On 17 October 1971 Maximilian Kolbe was beatified. Like his master Jesus Christ he had loved his fellow-men to the point of sacrificing his life for them. ‘Greater love hath no man than this … and these were the opening words of the papal decree introducing the process of beatification.

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Pray to Jesus, through Mary for our humble Conversions, Amen.
Mary, Queen of Poland, Pray for us, sinners, Amen

I dedicate this song for St. Maximilian Kolbe through my FB Sister Sandra Rowan, convert to the Catholic Faith!

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The Catholic Defender: A Hot Day In August, Feast of St. Clair

Posted by Donald Hartley - August 11th, 2015

CD #Editors note: It is hard to believe that it was a year ago today that Fred Williams and I made a day out of visiting local churches. I am thankful to be able to think back and remember this day. This upcoming weekend I will be at Glasco Missouri speaking at a Conference with Dr. Gregory Thompson and John Carpenter, both are members of Deepertruth. It’s good to remember the past and to look forward to the future, but it is the here and now that really counts. Also, we are celebrating a great Marian feast, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August). God bless you all!

This morning began in the usual way, I got up to face the challenges of the day when Deepertruth Member, Fred Williams gave me a call. He asked if I would go with him to see a patient who was recovering in a facility after a major operation. I felt that this was an important thing to do so I went with Fred to visit with Evelyn.

This is the kind of thing we do when we have the opportunity, I’ve been showing movies and conducting bible studies, rosaries, and even singing hymns with the senior citizens home. So when Fred called this morning, this was an opportunity for us to help brighten up a day for someone.

The traditional enumeration of the corporal works of mercy is as follows: To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To harbour the harbourless; To visit the sick; To ransom the captive; To bury the dead.

IMG_1711The corporal works of mercy are really taken from Matthew 25:31-46 and it is great to take the opportunity when you get it.

Especially at the senior citizen homes, many of those living there are alone.

That is really sad to be placed in a place and then almost forgotten by family. We see this a lot.

After this quick visit, on the way back, we stopped at the Belton Texas Catholic Church, Christ the King Parish and what an inspiration to go in and see the love the people share through their Church.

Notice the outdoor grotto just outside the Church.

There is a beautiful water fall and reservoir giving the place a strong religious foundation.

The image of Mary in the background is taken from her appearance at Lourdes France in 1858.

christ the kingIt was here that Mary identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.

What a blessing it was to make a stop here today.

When you walk inside the church you immediately feel the presence of God.

It has a traditional setting with the Tabernacle placed behind the Altar.

In every Catholic Church, there is such a rich history.

Hebrews 13:10 states, “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.” The Eucharist is given to us not as a right, but as a grace.

Ephesians 2:8 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.”

Christ the king 1Going back to Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.” What do we have? I love Acts 3:6, “Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.’ Then Peter took him by the hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.”

When we share our faith, we also help build people up. That is the miracle of our Faith! Sometimes we see healing like Peter witnessed, but it is the spiritual inner healing that is most important.

Fred and I left the church feeling really blessed to have made a pilgrimage there even for just a little while. Jesus is there and to be able to genuflect before the King of Kings, that is always a blessing. Jesus is Lord!

IMG_1720We took off down the road and kind of got lost, but we had an idea where we were going so as long as we were on our way to Killeen Texas,we were on the right road. We drove on until we noticed another Catholic Church was right there and we made the decision to stop and take a look.

This Church is called “St. Joseph” Catholic Church and it was also really a beautiful church. Here is a statue of St. Jude, he was really a miracle worker who has helped many people. The Saints in heaven continue to pray for us.

To visit Jesus in every Catholic Church. I remember that just driving by a Catholic Church, we do the sign of the cross in respect of who is there physically in the Church. In every tabernacle in the Catholic world.

And this afternoon we ended our day of pilgrimage by receiving the Eucharist at Holy Family Catholic Church in Copperas Cove. Today was a very unique day and which gives me a cause of reflection.

IMG_1722After we left St. Josephs Catholic Church we went to Holy Family where there was an afternoon Communion service.

In Iraq and throughout my military career, I would lead such services.

Today, after receiving Jesus in Communion, I love the Eucharistic Miracle given to the people of Assisi where Soldiers of King Ferdinand II of Italy were rampaging across Italy.

A Eucharistic Miracle occurred through St. Clare of Assisi.

She was a friend of St. Frances! St.Clare took advantage of Lent her whole life giving herself totally to God as St. Francis had done.

On one occasion when the army of Frederick II was devastating the Valley of Spoleto, some of the Soldiers threatened to sack Assisi.

St. Clare 2 (1)The Towns people surrounding the convent where St.Clare lived were fleeing the countryside fearing the worst for their lives.

As the Soldiers came upon the walls of the city, they placed ladders against the walls.

St. Clare prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist.

Her prayer was heard as she took the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and went to the wall before the enemy.

As the Soldiers were climbing up the ladders with crowbars, axes, bow, and spears, the town appeared lost.

Then Jesus in the Host illuminated brightly before the Soldiers. The Host became dazzling white blinding the attackers.

Due to a sudden panic, the Soldiers subsequently fled in terror.

St. ClareAs Jesus transfigured himself before the enemy climbing the walls of Assisi, may Jesus transfigure our hearts so that our hearts will beat a little faster when we receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

If you do, then surely when you stand before Jesus on “that day”, He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant, you listened to my voice”!

Father’s you all need to hear this!

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