The Guardian Angel: The Eucharistic Miracle of Mogoro Italy, 1604

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 30th, 2016

mogoro 4This past Easter Sunday Marks the 412th anniversary of a Eucharistic Miracle that took place on the Island of Sardinia 1604. During the Easter Mass, two men who had not been practicing their Catholic Faith, they were well known in the community of not being the holiest guys around. Perhaps they were Christmas and Easter Catholics, maybe they were having known affairs. St. Paul warns us that serious sin has serious consequences. Consider Galatians 5:1921:

“Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

People can be morally sick and not know it. That is what our two men were about to learn, I call it a learned blessing because they learned from it. How many people today are not awake and living the same kinds of moral decay? They think by going to Easter Mass they are good to go.

Father Salvatore Spiga, the Pastor of St. Bernard Church in Mogoro Italy was celebrating Easter Mass with the usual large crowds. Many visitors arrived visiting family and friends traveling miles and miles. Did you know that a main reason for incense in those days were to hide the smell of pilgrims body order? That is an interesting point that also reminds us that our souls need to be cleansed as do our bodies.

As Catholics, we believe that at the moment of the consecration Eucharist, Jesus truly becomes present in the form of Bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus is truly present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist, or better said, the consecrated Host becomes Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:27-29):

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

Mogoro 1As Father Salvatore was distributing Holy Communion, he recognized the two men in line coming to the Communion rail. With reservation, they both were given Holy Communion when they became violently agitated. Both men spit the Eucharist our of their mouths complaining the Host had burned their tongues. Quite shaken, Father quickly went to retrieve the Sacred Consecrated Hosts that had been lodged behind the Altar rail when he realized that the Hosts had left an imprint on the stone cold floor.

Father had the area cleaned several times but the imprints could not be washed off the floor. Father asked the two men what happened and they told him that upon receiving the Sacred Host, the Host became like a hot burning ember scorching their tongues. Both men had the same affect.

Is there a teaching to glean from this: Consider Isaiah 6:1-8:

Mogoro 6“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

We should be coming up to receive the Eucharist with humility and thankfulness. Not as a right, but as an invitation, a call, send me oh Lord, send me.

I also compare this with Revelation 8:3-5:

Mogoro 7“And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

What is happening at the Altar of the Lord is taking place on all Catholic Altars all around the world. Not only is Isaiah being sent, we are all being sent to go into the world and bring the sinner home. That is our call. James 5:19-20

Our two heros in this story both recognized that they were sinners, what a great grace they were given. Hopefully, we are listening here! This was a great wake up call. This call is for all of us. With their remorse, they realized the need for Confession:

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:23

Father Salvatore was about to pick up the Sacred Hosts when he realized that the Hosts left an imprint where the Hosts had landed. It was like a charred imprint burned onto the stone floor. The areas were thoroughly washed but nothing could get the imprints to come off. Several times they attempted to clean off the imprints until Father called for the local Bishop, Antonio Surredo who called for an investigation.

mogoro 2mogoro 3There was not natural explanation for the imprints or the fact they could not be washed off. On May 25, 1686, a wooden tabernacle was erected over the main Altar that was placed the the preserved stone with the miraculous imprints. At the base of the tabernacle it reads, “The Stone Of The Miracle”. Luke 19:40 talks about the rocks crying out when mankind forgets to praise Jesus name:

“I tell you, if these were silent (the faithful people), the very stones would cry out.”

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which he is offended. And, through the infinite merits of his Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.

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The Catholic Defender: Will The Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 29th, 2016

Dump TrumpFrom the beginning of the 2016 Campaign, I originally supported Ted Cruz for President, but maintained that I would support the eventual nominee who ever that might be. At the time there were 17 Candidates in the running. As the “Never Trump” crowd grew, so did their attacks on Trump supporters. I began receiving hundreds of Anti-Trump Memes from good friends, Church family, and Facebook friends and acquaintances. I suppose they tried to recruit me to their “Never Trump, Dump Trump” groups. Well, because I was receiving so many reasons as to why I should never vote for Trump, I began looking into their many attacks on Donald Trump. It will surprise people if they were to see where a lot of their talking points are coming from?

dump trump 1The following is a post written towards me in response to my assertion that a no-vote against Trump was a pro-vote for Hillary Clinton. I will take the accusation line by line with my response line by line because to this point, I’ve not seen a lot of credible response to these accusations. I will only use the first name of the author of the post.

Therese is blue:

You Donald Hartley as a supposed Catholic have touted Donald trump on your page knowing that he praises planned parenthood and saying he will not defund them because they do “good work”?

dump trump 2Therese sees me as a “supposed Catholic” because I have defended against some of the attacks made by Anti-Trump Surrogates who seemed to come up with new ones every hour. First, it is important to note that Donald Trump places defunding Planned Parenthood (PP) in his top ten promises to America. The main reason is because of PP’s abortion policy which Trump opposes. The Anti-Trump attacks are coming from Ted Cruz himself who equates PP with abortion, so if you think that PP does some good things, you must support abortion.

That is a false accusation. Donald Trump from the beginning of his campaign expressed his support for women’s health. At the time, Planned Parenthood was rightfully being attacked for the selling of body parts, which is totally barbaric but because many women have depended on PP for other services, Trump wants to let women know that he will continue supporting women’s health issues. This was clearly expressed in one of the early Presidential debates dealing with a question on abortion.

Ted CruzSince that time, Ted Cruz has spent millions of dollars accusing Trump of being pro-choice because of his support for women’s health. What the Anti-Trump crowd is not getting is the idea that Trump will defund Planned Parenthood and use our tax dollars giving to other healthcare institutions to include Catholic and other organizations that cover women’s health. You will never hear this at a Cruz rally or from Cruz supporters.  Interestingly, the Anti-Trump leagues would be joining the ACLU in opposing tax dollars being used by religious groups who oppose abortion.

As far as my being a “supposed Catholic”, I am not the one breaking the 8th Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex 20:16).

Ted Cruz is the opposite,he has a PROVEN prolife record and has defended the unborn the entire time he has held office…that’s what you should be questioning!!!

DTB 58This was one of the main reasons I began supporting Cruz, and also the eventual nominee against the Democrat, most likely Hillary Clinton. If Cruz validly wins the election, I will support him enthusiastically. But I have been concerned with many other issues of Ted Cruz that has plagued his campaign from the beginning.

You are showing that you belong to “the church of nice” not the uncompromising Catholic Church.

Not at all, everyday the Lord has blessed me with opportunities to stand up for the Catholic Faith. The Catholic Church is not the “church of nice”, but it is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. The Anti-Trump supporters have morphed their opposition to Trump into a moral debate making it a sin to support Trump. That is problematic because 95% of the issues used to attack Donald Trump stems 20-35 years ago. I’ve had people tell me that Trump is an adulterous person, married three times, appeared on Playboy Magazine. All this being said, goes back nearly 2 decades. One thing about our Catholic Faith is that it is all about forgiving the prodigal sons and daughters out there who are finding their way home.

dump trump 4Donald Trump has shared that Catholic leader, the late great Cardinal O’Connor of New York would have a positive impact on Donald Trump’s life helping him turn around. You will never hear anything like this from Ted Cruz or his supporters. It does not fall under their narrative that makes Trump an anti-Christ.

You have chosen to overlook the fact that Donald Trump shows he is pro choice, berates women with vile slurs, makes fun of disabled people, veterans,promotes violence and hatred etc etc…but you overlook all this because he is going to make America great again?

Since I have already debunked the pro-choice accusation, lets take a look at Trump berating women with vile slurs? Is that a valid accusation? I’ve seen about 20 rallies on the internet and went to one live, never once did he act in such a way. In fact, if you look into the thousands that go to Trump rallies, women are there in full force. But yet, Trump has made some comments that are not in keeping with Catholic living. If he is on the road to faith as I maintain he is, I will say Trump is a work in progress.

Trump 13I never said Trump is perfect, I just feel he is good for America especially if he is against Hillary. How about making fun of disables people? I remember there was one “disabled person” who wrote an article critical of Trump and Trump responded to that person for that article. Trump does not go around attacking or making fun of disabled people. Go to his rallies, Trump is gathering people of all kinds to include many disabled persons. These attacks are coming right out of the Ted Cruz Anti-Trump play-book. Kind of like the Anti-Catholic who uses the scatter-gun technique to throw a lot of attacks without much support behind them.

BTW, Trump has the vast majority of support coming from Veterans. I myself am a 27 year Veteran, recently I have interviewed World War II Veterans who fought in the battle of Midway in the Pacific and who served fighting the Chinese and North Koreans in Korea 1950 who are supporting Trump. I’ve spoken with hundreds of Veterans who feel the same way from Vets of the Viet Nam war to the present. The violence is coming from the Anti-Trump crowd, all you need do is watch what is happening now at Trump rallies. Bill Ayers and the far left is seeing to that.

You don’t fight evil with evil!

dump trump 5Agreed, what I would hope is that people will study and investigate the truth of both sides of an issue before they ramble off their coined attacks. That is not a Catholic perspective.

Take a page from the life of Mother Angelica and act like a Catholic when you go to vote because voting for Donald Trump is quite simply in complete contradiction to basic Catholic values!

I love Mother Angelica, and if the election is between Trump and Hillary, I will support Trump in that contest. Should Trump decide to investigate the Catholic Faith, I would support him there as well. Do I approve of all the things Trump has done in his life, no I don’t. But like President Ronald Reagan, I believe people can change and turn for the better. Hillary Clinton will not support Catholic beliefs so for me the issues are clear here.

And like Mother Angelica used to say:Vote for Life,it could mean your own someday…also just as a side note Donald has said he wants to appoint his sister to the Supreme Court and she is a passionate supporter of partial birth abortion.

dump trump 6This one is one of Cruz’s best dressed lies that is spread about by Anti-Trump haters. In one of the earlier Presidential debates, Trump was clear that he is pro-life and supports the constitution. He told FOX News that he would not be nominating his Sister, nor is she interested…

In an interview with Evangelical Pat Robertson, Donald Trump answered a question about the kind of judges he would want on the Supreme Court. Trump briefly said he wanted “pro-life conservatives” on the nation’s highest court and said recently-deceased pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia is his model. Trump said of Catholic Convert Justice Thomas, “Justice Thomas doesn’t get enough credit,” Trump continues “He’s a wonderful man.”  Again, the Anti-Trump supporters might be siding with Anita Hill?

During presidential debate South Carolina, the Donald Trump listed two federal judges he thinks would be excellent picks to have on the Supreme Court — Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor, who were both nominated to the United States Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush.

dump trump 7“In times of delay, we could have a Diane Sykes, or you could have a Bill Pryor, we have some fantastic people, Trump said. “But [the death of Scalia] is a tremendous blow to conservatism. It’s a tremendous blow, frankly to our country.”

When Pryor was nominated by Bush to the federal appeals court, Alabama.com reports that Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee tried to block the nomination because of a past statement Pryor made about the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. Pryor called the decision “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”

Trump responded to Cruz’s charge that he will appoint a liberal to the Supreme Court by attacking Cruz for “pushing” John Roberts to be on the Supreme Court. Cruz then explained that he would have nominated his former boss, Mike Luttig, who was Justice Antonin Scalia’s first law clerk.

A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary….don’t get it twisted…

trump-towerI will not be twisted, if the Presidential race is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I will support Donald Trump.  In my response, I want to let people know I do not harbor bad feelings or thoughts about Therese, not at all.  She is only going by what she has accepted as Truth.  I will leave this as an honest disagreement, but her Trump is not the Trump who is standing up today for President of the United States.

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*Best of DTB #313* The Catholic Defender: Come Out Of Her My People

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 29th, 2016

siege-of-Jerusalem1There has been a lot of cross talk on the internet among groups bent on attacking the Catholic Faith. I wanted to bring back this article because of this crosstalk. The following is my response to those who call people to leave the Catholic Faith. That is not what St. John was calling for. In truth, St. John was calling you to the Catholic Faith and calling you to come out of Jerusalem that was about to fall (which did in 70 A.D. to the Roman General Titus). I also want to dedicate this article for St. Charles Lwanga and Companions who gave their lives in the service of the King of Kings. These martyrs of Uganda (1886) truly did come out of the world and went into God’s Land of milk and honey.

Revelation 18:4-8, “Then I heard another voice from heaven say:  Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”

Certainly, the above is one of the most used scripture that is used to attack the Catholic Faith. How wrong this is, it is like pointing a loaded gun at innocent bystanders. But this is what the anti-Catholics are doing.

john 1St. John wrote the Book of Revelation while at the Island of Patmos. This is important because all the data taken from the book of Revelation concerning the “Whore of Babylon”, the anti-Christ, the false Prophet, the golden cup, the scarlet beast all points to one source.

Jesus told the Apostles, “You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down”.

Jesus was speaking of the Temple in Jerusalem. A warning that Jesus provides should not go unnoticed, “See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not be the end.”

Jesus is describing the fall of Jerusalem, the major war Jesus is referring to here would be the Jewish Roman War (67-70 A.D.). Jesus goes on saying, “All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. 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.”

Jesus is clearly giving the Apostles an overview of what is to happen, even until the end of the world. St. John is concerned about the followers of Christ strengthening and encouraging them in the face of this persecution. By the time of John’s writing of Revelation, the Church has already suffered great persecution first by the Jews and then by the Romans.

shroud 1Jesus then speaks about a great tribulation that will take place, “When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days.”

Jesus speaks of great tribulation, “Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the Sabbath, for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved: but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened.”

St. John’s warning in Revelation 18:4-8 is really speaking to the Fall of Jerusalem and the great tribulation that took place there. This destroyed the Jewish priesthood. Where was the Church at this time? The Church by this time was already building itself in Rome and so the early Christians did follow the warning of St. John.

The Catholic Church effectively escaped the siege of Jerusalem. According to Josephus, he claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved. 11,000 of them died of starvation, it was an ugly scene.

jerusalemJosephus states, “The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.”

Josephus states “that the Romans, having taken the city, brought their standards into the court of the temple, and placed them opposite the east gate, where they offered sacrifices to them. Many who survived were sold into slavery or taken to Rome for the wild beasts. The seven-branched candlestick, the golden table of the shew-bread and the golden trumpets were carried through the streets of Rome in triumph.” This was prophesied by Daniel and Jesus.

Jesus told us what would happen and clearly this is what St. John was writing about. He was living in the midst of this great tribulation. Can it all happen again? Yes, tribulation will come most certainly as Jesus spoke of this as well, but it is not the Catholic Church that is the “beast” or the “whore”.

So as Catholics, when they warn us to come out of the Whore, we can respond saying that we already did. We left Jerusalem before 70 A.D. In fact, at the Mass, we have something greater as we enter there in. Greater than the Holy of Holies, we have the tabernacle of God in every Catholic Church.

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*Best of DTB #302* The Catholic Defender: St. Pope Sylvester

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 28th, 2016

Sylvester 1One of my favorite early Church leaders was Pope Sylvester I. He was raised through the terrible persecutions of the Christians.

He understood what hardship was, he had friends and associates who died at the hands of the Romans. He himself was a Roman. All that would get you was a quick beheading like St. Paul.

December 31 is the Feast day of St Sylvester I who served as Pope between January 31, 314 A.D. to December 31, 335.

He became a bridge between the terrible persecutions by the Romans and the conversion of the Roman Empire.

For many Religious, it was a death sentence to accept positions in the Church. St. Sylvester was the Bishop of Rome at a very important time in history, especially Church history.

Sylvester 2Constantine’s conversion, was it real, what was the chief influence? This writer believes it was real because of the evidence of history.

Constantine’s Mother, St. Helena was a Christian and this did have an effect on Constantine, who had been in the court of Diocletian.

Constantine burned bishops to the stake, but as he did so, he began to develop a respect for their faith. With his Mother becoming a Christian, he became more open to the Faith.

St. Helena discovered the true cross in Jerusalem. Through a pre-planned event, she had torches lighted beginning from the hill tops from Jerusalem going all the way to Rome to report word of their finding to Constantine.

Sylvester 3St. Eusebius baptized Constantine as an older man, but it is what he did when he became Emperor that established his Christian beliefs.

It is believed that a sign from Christ appeared as a cross in the sky with the words, “by this sign you shall conquer”, Constantine placed the cross on the shields of his Soldiers.

Constantine routes the battle at the Milvian Bridge even though he was out manned and his forces were not as well equipped.

The enemy dies trying to flee back over the Tiber river. This would become very important during the Papal reign of St. Sylvester.

Constantine was determined to grant Christianity freedom, the Church received property and funds that had been confiscated.

constantineThe Edict of Milan gave the Church freedom to come out of the catacombs, the caves, and the homes.

St. Peters was built by Constantine in honor of the Martyrdom of St. Peter at Vatican Hill in 67 A.D.

A mountain was moved literally to build this monument in honor of where the remains of St. Peter were laid to rest.

St. John Lateran was made the Popes Cathedral. This is very important because St. Sylvester was receiving great favor from the Roman Emperor.

The Pope sent delegates to represent him at the Council of Arles in 314 A.D. wanting to end the Donatist Schism.

Trouble began to brew again with another heresy began storming the land as a Deacon named Arius was causing a mighty stir.

sylvester 5The Council of Nicaea was called to end the division, St. Sylvester sent two embassies who represented his authority and concerns.

He was an older man by this time and was not able to make such a trip. There were about 300 bishops from the known world who gathered for the great Council.

The finished product was the defined teaching of the Trinity and the Nicene Creed. There were a number of disciplines that were debated among them was granting forgiveness to apostates who caved in to the Roman Persecutions.

Many of the bishops suffered greatly and this was a major issue. Ultimately, the Church granted repentance to those who would returned. St. Sylvester was the 32nd successor to St. Peter.

Sylvester 6Despite being an older man, broken due to the sufferings he received, he served the Church as the Lord’s Chief Steward for about 21 years.

He maintained the unity of the Church showing himself a man of peace, forgiveness, and humility. His love for the Liturgy and the Mass, he continued to improve devotion. He built schools and cemeteries, placed monuments over the sites of the martyrs.

The Saints of the early Church speaks loudly against those who want to rewrite history and tell the lies of men. The Catholic Faith is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, the saints bear witness to the truth.

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The Catholic Defender: Jesus Did Not Tap Out

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 26th, 2016

Courage_iStock_000016399116SmallCourage is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. This can be manifested in many different ways. St. Paul recognized the importance of courage writing, “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Courage can be shown by telling the truth even though you could be in trouble. Taking responsibility or being responsible sometimes takes courage. Courage can also take place when a tragic happening takes place.

We sometimes see greatness thrust upon people who reacts heroically to terrible crisis. Soldiers in a war zone are many times placed in conditions where quick decisions are made and heroic actions take place.

In Iraq, we have had Medal of Honor recipients who gave their lives to save others.

Firefighters.jpg 1Firefighters many times will place themselves where saving a life is most important. Many have risked their lives to save others and many gave the highest sacrifice to save others.

Police officers can identify with this on a daily work schedule. One never knows what the day will bring in but they must have a readiness about them that as things can happen at any moment.

So courage can come from taking a moral stand to do the hard right, and sometimes it can be dangerous. St. Paul took courage when he arrived in Rome and people came from as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns.

He remained under house arrest along with a guard. Uncertainty can be a huge challenge, but if we place our trust in the Lord, we can find ourselves achieving more than we ever thought possible.

jesus-carrying-cross (1)Courage must have a foundation based in love. Love for God, for one’s family, and for one’s country.

Many times in sports we see great courage, sometimes it can be brutal such as some of the tough man competitions.

The WWE use to be very popular, and still is for entertainment, but these tough man competitions have really grown the past few years.

Instead of seeking to pin a challenger, they seek to get an opponent to “tap out” through various holds.

Sometimes great courage comes from these competitions.

The highest example of courage comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

jesus-in-gethsemaneThe agony in the garden reveals a great deal of courage our Lord had for love of us.

“He began to feel sorrow and distress”, and he prostrated himself before the Father praying, ‘Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will”.

Jesus knew what was going to happen, he still did not “tap out”! His whole purpose in coming to the world was for this moment and he was made ready for this moment through love.

Lent is an opportunity for us to follow the way of sorrows, to gather strength in our own lives so that we do not tap out of life. We are to be encouraged because by His stripes, we are healed.

Jesus has inspired countless people to pick up their cross and follow Him. The Catholic Faith has a whole wall of fame honoring those who gave their all for the Lord. Heaven’s “Hall of Fame” is open for all to visit right in the privacy of your home or in shrines built in honor of them.

vatican 3The Catholic Church has had many examples of such heroic faith, many being crucified, thrown to wild beasts, ridiculed, burned at the stake, all of this as Jesus foretold to his Apostles.

Whom shall you serve this day? In your house, will you walk and serve the Lord, or will you tap out to the lures of this world.

Today, we should take the love for God and grow in His love. With His love for us, great is your reward! He offers His Divine Mercy!

“I desire that this mercy flow out upon the whole world through your heart. Let no one who approaches you go away without that trust in my mercy, which I so ardently desire for souls. Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in my mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least”. Jesus (Diary, 1777)

Jesus was laid in the tomb to await resurrection that offers of hope and gives us the courage to never give up.

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The Catholic Defender: Jesus Never Tapped Out

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 26th, 2016

jesus-carrying-crossCourage is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. This can be manifested in many different ways.

Courage can be shown by telling the truth even though you could be in trouble. Taking responsibility or being responsible sometimes takes courage. Courage can also take place when a tragic happening takes place.

We sometimes see greatness thrust upon people who reacts heroically to terrible crisis. Soldiers in a war zone are many times placed in conditions where quick decisions are made and heroic actions take place.

In Iraq, we have had Medal of Honor recipients who gave their lives to save others.

CameraFirefighters many times will place themselves where saving a life is most important. Many have risked their lives to save others and many gave the highest sacrifice to save others.

Police officers can identify with this on a daily work schedule. One never knows what the day will bring in but they must have a readiness about them that as things can happen at any moment.

So courage can come from taking a moral stand to do the hard right, and sometimes it can be dangerous. St. Paul took courage when he arrived in Rome and people came from as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns.

He remained under house arrest along with a guard. Uncertainty can be a huge challenge, but if we place our trust in the Lord, we can find ourselves achieving more than we ever thought possible.

Jesus-authenticity-and-courageCourage must have a foundation based in love. Love for God, for one’s family, and for one’s country.

Many times in sports we see great courage, sometimes it can be brutal such as some of the tough man competitions.

The WWE use to be very popular, and still is for entertainment, but these tough man competitions have really grown the past few years.

Instead of seeking to pin a challenger, they seek to get an opponent to “tap out” through various holds.

Sometimes great courage comes from these competitions.

The highest example of courage comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Copy_of_Passion_Jesus-in-gardenThe agony in the garden reveals a great deal of courage our Lord had for love of us.

“He began to feel sorrow and distress”, and he prostrated himself before the Father praying, ‘Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will”.

Jesus knew what was going to happen, he still did not “tap out”! His whole purpose in coming to the world was for this moment and he was made ready for this moment through love.

Lent is an opportunity for us to follow the way of sorrows, to gather strength in our own lives so that we do not tap out of life. We are to be encouraged because by His stripes, we are healed.

Jesus has inspired countless people to pick up their cross and follow Him. The Catholic Faith has a whole wall of fame honoring those who gave their all for the Lord. Heaven’s “Hall of Fame” is open for all to visit right in the privacy of your home or in shrines built in honor of them.

vatican 3The Catholic Church has had many examples of such heroic faith, many being crucified, thrown to wild beasts, ridiculed, burned at the stake, all of this as Jesus foretold to his Apostles.

Whom shall you serve this day? In your house, will you walk and serve the Lord, or will you tap out to the lures of this world.

Today, we should take the love for God and grow in His love. With His love for us, great is your reward! He offers His Divine Mercy!

“I desire that this mercy flow out upon the whole world through your heart. Let no one who approaches you go away without that trust in my mercy, which I so ardently desire for souls.  Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in my mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least”. Jesus (Diary, 1777)

Jesus was laid in the tomb to await resurrection that offers of hope and gives us the courage to never give up.

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The Catholic Defender: St. John Chrysostom’s Homily for Good Friday

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 25th, 2016

doctor3The Power of Christ’s Blood, Homily for Good Friday, St. John Chrysostom (349-407) Feast day celebrated 13 September.

“If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

cross-water-bloodThere flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.”

Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings For Good Friday

saintj25When you read the context of the Early Church Fathers, this sermon given by St John Chrysostom is very typical of a purely Catholic preacher.

St John Chrysostom clearly is connecting the New Testament with the Old Testament. Consider the line, “Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist.”

It is clear that St John Chrysostom is connecting the water and blood that flowed from the side of Christ with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

This is no symbolic belief, but a very real foundation. Transubstantiation is not specifically named here, but it is being taught. I love the connection given between Adam and Jesus, no question that we are addressing St. Paul’s letter letter to the Romans chapter 5:12-21.

We believe the actual date of Jesus Christ’s death is April 3rd and in the year 33 AD.

Let’s look at the evidence.

jesus-carrying-cross (1)First, The third chapter of Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.

Although Tiberius actually took power in late 14 AD, the common ascension method of dating starts counting at the beginning of the Jewish Ecclesiastical calendar on 1 Nisan, 15 AD. This means that Jesus is about 30 in April of 30 AD.

However, what exactly does about 30 mean? 25-35? 28-32? 29-31? or closer?

John Chapter 2 tells us that at the start of Jesus ministry, the temple in Jerusalem had been under construction for forty six years. When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was said that it had been under construction for 84 years. Subtract 84 years from 70 AD and you arrive at 16 BC. The project to rebuild the temple was commissioned about 19 BC and it would have taken at least three years to accumulate the builders and stone.

If the Temple had been started in 16 BC, Jesus would indeed have been about 30 years old 46 years into it’s construction in 30 AD.

Jesus sheepFinally, if Jesus was born in December of 2 BC, then Jesus was, indeed, about 30 years old in 30 AD (30 years and about 3 1/2 months to be exact)

Since there are 4 consecutive Passovers mentioned in the Gospels, with the first starting His earthly ministry and the last ending it, we know that his ministry lasted 3 years.

Now let’s look at what we know about the day Jesus died.

It was on a Friday that was the preparation day for the Sabbath. That is, we have to find a year when the Passover begins on Saturday.

It was a day approximately 3 years from the start of Tiberius 15th year, either by calendar method or direct ascension method (this could only be 32 or 33 AD).

It was a day where there was an eclipse.

The date would have to fit all 3 of these criteria.

Can such a date be found?

Yes. First there are only two dates during this time period when the Passover is immediately preceded by a Friday. One is 30 AD. There is no plausible way you can put Christ as 33 years old in 30 AD because, he would have been 30 in Tiberius’ 12th year. Secondly, there is no record of an eclipse on this date.

eclipse-1However, there was an eclipse on April 3rd, 33 AD, the Friday immediately preceding the passover, when Jesus would indeed have been 33 years old.

There is one final piece. In the 9th chapter of the book of Daniel, there is a prophecy that stipulates 483 Jewish years from the decree of King Artaxerxes of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem until the Christ is cut down. This decree was issued approximately 444 BC which, converting the calendars, takes us to about late 32/ early 33 AD.

Along with the other clues, we believe the case is clear- April 3rd, 33 AD as the date of Our lord’s death and April 5th as the Resurrection.

 

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*Best of DTB #297* The Catholic Defender: St. John Chrysostom’s Homily for Good Friday

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 24th, 2016

doctor3The Power of Christ’s Blood, Homily for Good Friday, St. John Chrysostom (349-407) Feast day celebrated 13 September.

“If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

cross-water-bloodThere flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.”

Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings For Good Friday

saintj25When you read the context of the Early Church Fathers, this sermon given by St John Chrysostom is very typical of a purely Catholic preacher.

St John Chrysostom clearly is connecting the New Testament with the Old Testament. Consider the line, “Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist.”

It is clear that St John Chrysostom is connecting the water and blood that flowed from the side of Christ with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

This is no symbolic belief, but a very real foundation. Transubstantiation is not specifically named here, but it is being taught. I love the connection given between Adam and Jesus, no question that we are addressing St. Paul’s letter letter to the Romans chapter 5:12-21.

We believe the actual date of Jesus Christ’s death is April 3rd and in the year 33 AD.

Let’s look at the evidence.

jesus-carrying-crossFirst, The third chapter of Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.

Although Tiberius actually took power in late 14 AD, the common ascension method of dating starts counting at the beginning of the Jewish Ecclesiastical calendar on 1 Nisan, 15 AD. This means that Jesus is about 30 in April of 30 AD.

However, what exactly does about 30 mean? 25-35? 28-32? 29-31? or closer?

John Chapter 2 tells us that at the start of Jesus ministry, the temple in Jerusalem had been under construction for forty six years. When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was said that it had been under construction for 84 years. Subtract 84 years from 70 AD and you arrive at 16 BC. The project to rebuild the temple was commissioned about 19 BC and it would have taken at least three years to accumulate the builders and stone.

If the Temple had been started in 16 BC, Jesus would indeed have been about 30 years old 46 years into it’s construction in 30 AD.

536960_10202600804361672_656160094_nFinally, if Jesus was born in December of 2 BC, then Jesus was, indeed, about 30 years old in 30 AD (30 years and about 3 1/2 months to be exact)

Since there are 4 consecutive Passovers mentioned in the Gospels, with the first starting His earthly ministry and the last ending it, we know that his ministry lasted 3 years.

Now let’s look at what we know about the day Jesus died.

It was on a Friday that was the preparation day for the Sabbath. That is, we have to find a year when the Passover begins on Saturday.
It was a day approximately 3 years from the start of Tiberius 15th year, either by calendar method or direct ascension method (this could only be 32 or 33 AD).
It was a day where there was an eclipse.

The date would have to fit all 3 of these criteria.

Can such a date be found?

Yes. First there are only two dates during this time period when the Passover is immediately preceded by a Friday. One is 30 AD. There is no plausible way you can put Christ as 33 years old in 30 AD because, he would have been 30 in Tiberius’ 12th year. Secondly, there is no record of an eclipse on this date.

eclipse 1However, there was an eclipse on April 3rd, 33 AD, the Friday immediately preceding the passover, when Jesus would indeed have been 33 years old.

There is one final piece. In the 9th chapter of the book of Daniel, there is a prophecy that stipulates 483 Jewish years from the decree of King Artaxerxes of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem until the Christ is cut down. This decree was issued approximately 444 BC which, converting the calendars, takes us to about late 32/ early 33 AD.

Along with the other clues, we believe the case is clear- April 3rd, 33 AD as the date of Our lord’s death and April 5th as the Resurrection.

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The Catholic Defender: The Sacrament Of The Anointing Of The Sick

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 24th, 2016

reconciliation2I was brought up to understand that a Sacrament was as an outward sign of the inward grace we receive through what I will call the Lord’s outreach to His people. Certainly, in my life, the Sacraments have been a life line.

While stationed at Fort Campbell Kentucky, I use to go to St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Oak Grove just outside of the Military post.

I was very involved with the Parish through the Knights of Columbus, the RCIA, the Youth Group, CCD, Bible Studies, I even would take my 53 inch TV to present good Catholic programs after the Saturday Mass.

anointing-of-the-sick (1)Without a doubt, one of the greatest honors I have ever received was given me by Father David, the opportunity to go with him when he would go on a call to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

Because I was in the medical field, he liked having me along with him. In the ancient world, oil was used for medication. Through Father’s Ministry, the Lord worked miracles of healing.

I first remember this great Sacrament offered to my Mother when I was in college. My Mother in the latter 1960′s was hit by a car broad side as it went through a red light.

My Mother had her back broke in a number of places and for about a year I had to live with relatives while Mom recuperated. For years my Mother suffered from severe headaches, spinal taps, and loss of mobility.

I remember Mom would be in her garden moving from one plant to the next kind of scooting along making her way. She could barely walk. One day at Mass Father invited anyone who had been sick to come up for this great Sacrament.

Anointing of the SickMom went up along with about 12 other people and when Father came to her, she later explained she felt a warming sensation that went throughout her body. From that time on, Mom was able to move around at a much greater mobility and she never complained again of the headaches.

That was the first time I was exposed to something that God sometimes does to intervene in the life of His people.

James 5:13-15 states, “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven”.

anointing of the sick 1This certainly gives greater light to Mark 6:13 which says, “They (the Apostles) drove out many demons and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them”. St. James is recognizing the presbyter as a true agent of God in the Ministry of the 12 Apostles. That is the connection between St. James and Mark’s context. Father David (and all Catholic Priests) whom I served holds the same Apostolic Ministry.

This Sacrament is the true extension of the Lord’s healing hand. Jesus is working within His Ministry.

I have long seen this scripture as important to Catholic teaching the need of the priesthood. It is quite noticeable that a presbyter is called upon to offer this great Sacrament.

healing_MassHence, the dreaded middle man some of my Protestant friends would reject? Also, through the action of the Priest, the person’s sins are forgiven, just as in the Sacrament of Confession. What a great blessing we have in this great Sacrament.

My Mother was able to do far more in her 50′s than she ever was in her 40′s. When I lived in Harrison Arkansas in the early 1980′s, the Catholic Priest (Father Micek) of the Parish there told me of the time he was just ordained a priest serving in northern Arkansas in a mission territory.

He was instructing an elderly lady who was coming to him learning about the Catholic Faith. One night he receives a call from a daughter of this lady who asked for him to see her Mother.

anointing of the sick 3She had been in a coma for five days, had not eaten anything or had anything to drink. When Father arrived, he administered Baptism to the Lady and then administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick. Just as Father completed the task the lady opened her eyes and sat up saying “Thank God thank you Father”!

This totally surprised Father as well as the family. For me, helping Father David at St. Michael’s only reinforced my beliefs. I would see this great Sacrament offered for both my Mother and also my wife and now finally, for myself. In our time, this Sacrament is being offered for those who are not only dying or very sick, but also for those preparing for a major surgery.

From the “Fish Eaters”:

The blessing of oils is performed by the Bishop of each diocese on Holy Thursday (Holy Week) in the Cathedral during the Chrism Mass. The oils are maintained in either metal or glass bottles called “Chrismatories”. These vessals are then stored in a cabinet called an “Anby” which is usually fixed to the wall of the sanctuary. Priests also have a portable “oilstock” which has a section for each of the three holy oils.

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The Guardian Angel: Eucharistic Miracle of Veroli, Italy, 1570

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 23rd, 2016

Mary in blueThe most perfect creature God made for all eternity was Mary, and besides her love and obedience, she has never been equaled in her humility. We must ask her Son Jesus to mode us into HIS Mother, so that she can mode us into HIM. Love and prayers in Christ, GregoryMary

Imitating Christ in the Eucharist

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The most popular book in the world, after the Bible, is The Imitation of Christ. Since it was published in the early fifteenth century, it has deeply influenced the spirituality of millions of believing Christians. Its basic theme is that, since Jesus Christ is true God and true man, by imitating Christ as man, we become more and more like Christ, who is God.

We commonly associate the imitation of Christ by following the example He gave us during His mortal and visible stay in Palestine two thousand years ago. However, as the great Eucharistic saints make clear, we are also to imitate Christ in the Holy Eucharist. After all, that is one reason why He instituted this sacrament. By reflecting on the virtues which the glorified Savior manifests in the Eucharist, we are inspired to imitate Him now living on earth in the sacrament of His love.

Before we go any further, let us be very clear in understanding that the whole Christ, in the fullness of His divinity and humanity, is among us in what we casually call the Real Presence. It is the same identical Jesus who was conceived in the womb of His Mother, who was born in Bethlehem, who lived for some thirty years in Palestine, who died on the cross on the first Good Friday, who rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, and who is now seated at the right hand of His heavenly Father.

jesus (1)This now glorified Jesus is living among us as the primary source of the grace we need to reach our celestial destiny.

There are three forms of the sacrament of the Eucharist, as Real Presence, as the Sacrifice of the Mass, and as Holy Communion. We are to imitate the Eucharistic Christ on each of these three levels and obtain from Him the power we need to become more holy, which means to become more Christlike.

HUMILITY AND THE REAL PRESENCE

We know what humility is. It is the virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unholy desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbor. Humility recognizes one’s total dependence on God. Yet humility is not only opposed to pride; it is also opposed to immoderate self-abjection, which would fail to recognize God’s gifts and use them according to His divine will.

Jesus (2)Humility is the one virtue that Christ most stressed in teaching us to follow Him. “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” During His whole visible stay on earth, Jesus practiced humility to a degree beyond our comprehension. A good definition of the Incarnation is the humiliation of God. The Creator of the universe, without losing His infinity, assumed our humanity. The Creator became a creature.

Now we turn to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. During His visible stay on earth, the Savior concealed His divinity so that only His humanity could be seen. But in the Holy Eucharist, He hides not only His divinity but His humanity as well.

No one has improved on the hymn, Adoro Te, of St. Thomas in which we pray: “Only the Godhead was hidden on the cross, but here the humanity is hidden as well. Yet I believe and acknowledge them both, and make the same request as did the repentant thief. I do not see the marks of the wounds, as Thomas did, yet I too own You as my God. Grant me to believe in You always more and more.”

EucharistWhatever else is humility, it is not displaying the talents or the gifts we possess. Passage after passage in The Imitation of Christ tells us to be humble. Like the Savior, hidden in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, we literally hide what others may see and praise. Says A’ Kempis, “this is the highest science, truly to know and despise ourselves.” And again St. Bernard, “Humility is the mother of salvation.”

Where do we obtain the grace to be truly humble, which means never to exhibit, never to display, never to show off who we are or what we have in order to be praised by others? Where do we obtain this grace? From Jesus Christ, present in the Eucharist. The almighty God who became the Son of Mary appears now on earth only as what seems to be a piece of bread. We must beg Him, and I mean beg Him in the Blessed Sacrament to give us the humility, without which we cannot reach our heavenly destiny.

SELF-SURRENDER AND THE MASS

Jesus heals 18In the Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus offers Himself to His heavenly Father just as truly as He offered Himself on the Cross. On Calvary, He offered Himself by shedding His blood and thus merited the salvation of the world. In the Mass, He continues to offer Himself just as truly as He did on the first Good Friday. But now, He confers the graces that He won for us on Calvary. What are these graces? In one sentence, they are the graces we need to surrender ourselves to the will of God.

The Church defines sacrifice as the voluntary surrender of something precious to God. That is why Christ continues to sacrifice Himself to His heavenly Father in every Mass that has been offered for the twenty centuries of Christianity. In every Mass, Jesus Christ is present in the fullness of His human nature and therefore with His human will. That is what the double consecration at Mass is all about. It signifies that Jesus is just as willing to shed His blood for our salvation as He willingly and actually shed His blood on Calvary. As the glorified Redeemer, He can no longer die. But He is willing to die.

It is from the Sacrifice of the Mass offered throughout the world that we obtain the strength we need to surrender ourselves to the divine will in this valley of tears.

As we all know from personal experience, God can make heavy demands on our generosity. He will send us trials and difficulties and sufferings. Why? In order that we may prove our submission to His divine will. God will take away so many things, dare I say everything that we consider precious in this world. Again why? In order that we may recognize Him as our Lord and ourselves as His servants.

humility-inspired-by-JesusNo words can describe the depth of this necessity to surrender our created wills to the divine will of the Creator. Where, where can we obtain the courage we need to make this self-surrender? Where, except from the God who died on the Cross for our salvation and continues to offer Himself in every Mass.

The lesson this should teach us is obvious. We must assist at Mass as often as we can. We must learn to live the Mass by putting into practice the graces which the Savior gives us through the Holy Sacrifice.

One more observation, in the form of a long quotation from Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mediator Dei, which is the foundation of the true spirit of the Second Vatican Council.

It is desirable that all the faithful should be aware that to participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice is their chief duty and supreme dignity, and that not in an inert and negligent fashion, giving way to distractions and day-dreaming, but with such earnestness and concentration that they may be united as closely as possible with the High Priest, according to the apostle, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus(Phil. 2, 5). And together with Him and through Him let them make their oblation, and in union with Him let them offer up themselves.

CameraI do not think I need apologize for this long quotation. The widespread liturgical abuses in the offering of Mass should only inspire us to participate in the Holy Sacrifice as often and as fervently as possible. Saints like Leonard of Port Maurice do not hesitate to say that the world would long ago have been destroyed for its sins except for the Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is through the Mass we are able to imitate Jesus Christ in living lives of total self? Surrender to the will of God.

SELF-LESS LOVE AND HOLY COMMUNION

We are speaking about the Imitation of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. What does He reveal to us when we receive Him in Holy Communion? He shows us how deeply and completely He loves us.

Whatever else love may seem to be, it is the giving of oneself to the one whom we love. Could Christ have shown His love for us more completely than by instituting the Eucharist as the communion of Himself with ourselves? When we receive Him, we receive the whole Christ, divinity and humanity, body and soul, flesh and blood. As the Church has solemnly defined, in Holy Communion we receive everything that makes Christ Christ. In Latin, we receive the totum Christum.

Jesus heals 21Here we could begin not just the closing of this conference but a two semester series of lectures on the blessings of Holy Communion.

We are to imitate Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. When He comes to us in the Sacrament of Communion He shows us how deeply He loves us. But Holy Communion is not only a manifestation of His selfless love. It is also, and especially, the principal source of the strength we need to love Him with our whole heart and to love others out of love for Him.

That is why true love includes pain. It is the pain of giving up what I want out of love for the God who provides me with the privilege of proving my love by surrendering my heart to His Sacred Heart. That is also why the true love of others means that I am ready, even happy, to suffer for the one I claim to love, like the one I say I love, with the one whom I love and, what is most demanding, suffering from the one whom I love.

All of this would be pious fiction except for our faith. We believe that every Holy Communion enables us to do the humanly impossible, to practice the heroic charity which the Savior tells us is the hallmark of being a true Christian, “You are my disciples if you love one another even as I have loved you.” Jesus died on His cross out of love for us. By receiving Him often, even daily, we are enabled to die on our daily cross out of love for those whom He puts into our lives to show how much we love Him.

Eucharistic Miracle of Veroli, Italy, 1570

Eucharistic Miracle of Veroli, Italy, 1570During Easter of 1570 in the Church of St. Erasmus in Veroli, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed (at the time, the Blessed Sacrament was first placed in a round pyx and then placed in a large chalice, covered with a paten) for the Forty Hours of public adoration. The Child Jesus appeared in the exposed Host and manifested many graces. Today, the chalice where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed is kept in the same Church of St. Erasmus and is used once a year at the celebration of Mass on Easter Tuesday.

At Easter in 1570 in the Church of St. Erasmus, the consecrated Host, according to the traditional rite at the time, was placed in a round silver container (pyx) and placed in a burse-like holder. This was later placed in a large, ceremonial silver chalice with its paten; the whole wrapped in an elegant silk cloth. It should be mentioned that at that time exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance was not a widespread practice, even though the Council of Cologne (1452) specifically referred to the monstrance.

It was the custom for each civil confraternity to be present for an hour of adoration before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. It was at one of these hours of adoration which had the members of the Confraternity of Mercy (which predated both the Confraternity of Corpus Christi and of our Blessed Lady) vested in their black robes and kneeling in prayer.

Eucharistic Miracle of Veroli, Italy - 1570 1The most authentic document about this Eucharistic miracle was taken immediately by the chancery. This document is preserved in the archives of the Church of St. Erasmus. The detailed deposition and account of the miraculous event is given by a Giacomo Meloni who was among the first witnesses. His testimony follows: “Raising my eyes towards the chalice, I saw a most brilliant star at the base of the chalice’s cup, and above the star, the Blessed Sacrament in the size of the Host used by the priest at Mass. The star was attached to the Blessed Sacrament (…). The vision ended when small children in adoration, similar to small angels, were seen around the Sacred Host…”.

To this day, this miraculous event is commemorated with solemn ceremony in the presence of the bishop.

The chalice, its paten, and the silver pyx where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, have all been preserved and they remain with the relics/ reliquaries of the saints. The Sacred Species (the consecrated Bread) of the miraculous Host of Veroli was consumed after 112 years.

Eucharistic Miracle of Veroli, Italy - 1570 2In 1970 on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the miracle, the Third Eucharistic Congress of the Diocese of Veroli-Frosinone was celebrated. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place every First Friday of the month, with all other churches being closed (…).

Soul of Christ, sanctify me Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me Water from Christ’s side, wash me Passion of Christ, strengthen me O good Jesus, hear me Within Thy wounds hide me Suffer me not to be separated from Thee From the malicious enemy defend me In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels Forever and ever Amen.

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