The Body Politic

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.”  But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord,  and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.  Just as they have done to me from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only, you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:4-9

In Scripture we see how the People of God, Israel, ask God for an earthly King. God makes in clear that in doing so they are actually rejecting Him, as they have time and again.

The People of God have but one King, when they asked for an earthly King, they were handing their God given domain over to an earthly authority and rejecting the heavenly one. It seems they were surrounded by other nations who had Kings. It was not enough for them that God had shown them he was the best King by freeing them from the slavery of Egypt. It is here that they chose to go back to a form of slavery. The subsequent lines in Samuel is a listing of what the King would take as his. Despite all of this, they wanted a King who would;

….go out before us and fight our battles. 1 Samuel 8:20

And thus, we see that the People of God, whom God himself had fought for –

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

choose time and again the earthly way of fighting instead of the Godly way. They didn’t trust God and were afraid to fight battles without an earthly King. It is here that the People of God became members of the body politic, a body which, rather than being subject to the purity and charity of a God who loves them, is instead subject to the whims of the ideology of the leader or even the people who asked for the leader. An ideology which we know is not God’s way. How do we know this? Because God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. And God told His people through Samuel this is not what He wanted. But being the gentleman that He is, God did not force His Way on the People of God. The decision of the People of God thousands of years ago, put us in the situation we’re in now. It isn’t bad for us to participate in this body politic, so long as we know it isn’t the highest authority, nor the way that is best for us.

We must realize that God in His fathomless love wanted us back as part of the greatest body, of His Body. His body is Mystical and it elevates human nature to be incorporated into His Divine nature. And so He sent Himself in the form of the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, to earth, humbling Himself in the Incarnation through the Blessed Virgin Mary, to bring us back to unity, as part of His Body; the Church is the bride, the Mystical Body. The trajectory is to be one as Jesus and the Father are one. How we get there depends on our cooperation, or lack of it.

For generations we have had trouble cooperating though of late it has gotten precipitously worse. It seems most of the world, including some inside the church, are not cooperating. We get afraid when we see the earthly structure collapsing. As individuals we need to make sure we know God will fight for us by being in alignment with what He asks and doing what He commands. But it isn’t enough to do these things because we are afraid, we must do them because we love.

He left us a church with it’s 7 sacraments that provide real sacramental grace to elevate us. And he told us to “Baptize all nations,” and promised to be with us until the end of the age. Do we believe He is with us now in this current world crisis? Are we listening to him and cooperating with what He left us? Are we actively seeking to be part of the Mystical Body and inviting others to do so?

The way to healing is through right worship, not right voting, though voting rightly is important! Yes, we are living within the confines of the worldly structures of government; but the body politic is a mere reflection of the idolatry of the People of God and the mess of our worship. We must listen to His commands and worship the way God asked in order to be healed. When we continue to fight against Gods ways, or look only for the earthly solution to a problem, we miss how big God actually is. When we try to force unity in an earthly way, we actually end up only with division, because it becomes devoid of truth. We make idols of ourselves and reject the one true God.

It is He who corrects and blows over our institutions when they become so corrupt, just as happened over and over to the People of God. But He does so only so that He can bring us back to true love. Just as He gave the Israelites what they asked for, an earthly King, so too He will give us what we ask for, which is essentially our own demise. We are on the precipice;

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those who by their injustice suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been seen and understood through the things God has made. So they are without excuse,  for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. Their females exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the males, giving up natural intercourse with females, were consumed with their passionate desires for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to an unfit mind and to do things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of injustice, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents,  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die, yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:18-32

Here in this passage from Romans we see our own idolatry. We can see by examination of our own conscience and through conviction of the Holy Spirit if we are a member only of the body politic, or if we truly seek the Mystical Body. We cannot control our governments, nor other people, but we can control what is listed in that passage by being obedient to God. For if we love Him we keep His commandments. And if we ourselves are in right worship of God then we are participating with great love in the Sacraments, praying ardently for Holy Mother Church and for her Priests and for our own families. The Mystical Body elevates you beyond the bickering of politics. The Mass is the Center of the World, from it will actually flow the body politic, when we worship rightly the systems He allowed us to have at our own request work better, when we don’t it becomes total chaos. When the chaos overwhelms, God intervenes.

We have the answer;

  1. Prayer from the heart, especially the Rosary
  2. Mass, receiving the Eucharist in a state of grace
  3. Reading Scripture Daily
  4. Fasting
  5. Going to Confession

We can make sure by participating in things with great love that we are an open vessel of God’s grace so we aren’t filled with sexual impurity, malice, murder, slander, gossip, or haughtiness or boastfulness or any of the things listed in that passage from Romans. If the church herself, in her structure, forgoes any of the things we need, as she did during the pandemic by removing the Sacraments from her people, we must keep doing the things within our control to rightly align ourselves in worship as best we can. God’s grace then becomes sufficient in our weakness and the things we cannot control. God can operate in ways we don’t understand to bring the greatest amount of healing.

God is bigger than every single thing that is happening in this moment. Rest in that knowledge because it is true. Consecrate your tongue to the Blessed Virgin Mary so that when you speak you speak love in truth.

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Canticle of Confidence

The dome at Mount Tabor, Transfiguration – Holy Land – Photo taken by Ana Zarraga

 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;  you shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:2

In my RCIA class the other day we were speaking about the fact that most of us don’t think big enough of God. By that I mean we seem to put limitations on what He might be able to do in any given situation. We’re not the only generation who has done this, it is ancient. Sarah laughed at God when she was told she would have a child in old age. Zechariah questioned God when he was told Elizabeth would have a child. In both these cases there was an interior disposition that didn’t believe.

This is where Mary is different, when she questioned the angel, her disposition was one not of thinking God couldn’t do it, but of trying to understand how He would. It’s an interior disposition of awe at the greatness of God. Mary is our guide for these times.

We find ourselves in strange times where things are sometimes scary. Sometimes we may not feel safe. I was thinking, there are days that can feel like the Israelites who had been freed from slavery only to start complaining in the desert that they missed their slavery. Comfort zones have been stretched and we don’t like it. And I realized this kind of complaint can end up with seraph serpents biting you. That is, old sin that kept you in chains, starting to creep up and tempt you again, trying to take you backwards to comfort. A false comfort, born in chains that God brought you out into the desert to look at. He is asking for surrender and abandonment to His Divine Will. He wants to take you beyond your limits to show you just how big and how loving he really is. He wants you to realize how much His grace sustains you when it’s hard and how much healing He has in store. It’s a promised land. Don’t go backwards. Don’t complain. Be grateful. God’s glory awaits you.

And so, because I could see the desert devil, I decided to do what so many in scripture did. Bring praise to the God who is bigger than I can imagine. He is bigger than my suffering. He is bigger than my thoughts and ways. Have confidence and know He is bigger.

Canticle of Confidence

Blessed Be the Most Holy Trinity, the three in One.

You are Abba, the great I AM.

You created the universe and all within it.

You do not forget or abandon your people.

You parted the sea for Moses when there seemed no way out.

You closed the mouths of lions for Daniel.

You sent down fire from heaven when Elijah called upon you.

There are no other gods before you.

Your promises are true.

You came to dwell among us.

You healed the blind and the leper.

You raised Lazarus from the dead.

You cast out demons.

You forgive our sins.

For you are the God of mercy whose ways are not our ways.

You sent the Paraclete.

Greater works you promised.

Miracles abound from generation to generation.

You gave us your Mother, your perfection.

Magnanimous for us.

You set us upon a rock and foundation.

There is nothing you can’t overcome.

Your spirit is not timid.

We approach your throne with confidence in our time of need.

We were made for these times.

We repent of our sin.

Make us Holy Lord.

Your grace is sufficient for us.

We thank you all the days of our lives.

Blessed be the Most Holy Trinity.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

We were blessed to have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from Albuquerque, NM for a parish mission.

Please forward the video until you see a person speaking.

English Language Talks; Talk 1, Becoming Eucharistified, Talk 2, Arise from Darkness

Spanish Language Talks; Talk 1, “La Santa Eucaristía, fuente y culmen de la vida Cristiana.”

Talk 2 “Alabad a Dios por todas las cosas, porque Su misericordia es
eterna.” Misericordia y Sanación.”

The Franciscan friars of the Renewal depend upon our donations for their missions. Please consider donating.

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Saint Gabriel the Archangel

L’Annonciation
1638,
Musée de GrenobleGrenoble

 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. Luke 1:19

I composed this prayer to Saint Gabriel after reading the Book of Daniel and the Gospel of Luke, about Gabriel’s visits to Daniel, Zechariah, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Additionally, though not mentioned by name, it is thought that Gabriel is the one who spoke to Joseph in his dreams.

Prayer to Saint Gabriel the Archangel

Saint Gabriel the archangel, lover of the beloved and guardian of the sanctuary, you are the announcer of the good news of our salvation. 

Bestow upon us a spirit of understanding, knowledge and wisdom.


Encourage in us fortitude to be not afraid, that we may always say yes to God’s will.


Protect and warn us of those who seek to harm us.


Breath of the Spirit, messenger of the Incarnation, remind us always of the expiation of our sin and everlasting justice.


You who stand before God, draw us closer to the Sacred and Immaculate hearts so we may witness in our own lives the crushed head of the serpent. 

Through your intercession, Gabriel, may we be lifted to the heights of heaven.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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Saint Raphael the Archangel

Saint Raphael the Archangel by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Lord. Tobit 12:15

I wrote this prayer today after reading the book of Tobit. It struck me that Saint Raphael was helping to heal family generations and to facilitate marriage.

Prayer to Saint Raphael the Archangel

Saint Raphael the archangel, defender of the righteous, protect and heal our families and our marriages as you protected Tobias, defended Sarah, and healed the blind Tobit, in a world filled with turmoil. Assist also those family members who are seeking a Godly spouse.

Intercede for us and help us to the see the ways we are blind to one another, healing our relationships.

Oil of God, lover of the works of mercy and of morality, soothe our wounds.  Bind Asmodeus and all the evil spirits of perversion, immorality and death, sending them fleeing into the fires of hell never to return to our families again. Saint Raphael, bring our prayers to the Most Holy Trinity who we praise and thank all the days of our lives.    In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

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He Goes Before Her

Titian’s Assumption 1516-1518

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. Matthew 4:1

I felt compelled to pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows today. I wept as I did. I weep because of what I see coming. The church is being thrust into the desert. Be holy. I weep because of how much God loves us and how much we don’t know. Mary weeps for us. When I finished praying the chaplet, I wrote the following;

He Goes Before Her

He goes before her and protects her conceiving her Immaculately

He goes before her in purity fashioning her Ever Virgin

He goes before her as the Incarnation and makes her the Mother of God

He goes before her to the Cross and His grace flows through her

He goes before her in Ascension giving rise to her glorious Assumption

He goes before her crowning her Mother of the Church in her perfection

She weeps for her children to whom she calls, let Him go before you and follow Him

He will protect you.

He will purify you.

He will call you by name.

He will absolve you.

He will redeem you.

He will perfect you.

You are the church.

Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious. – Fulton J. Sheen

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Velocity Speeds Up

God answers Job from the whirlwind – 1803

Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength,  nor shall the mighty save their lives; Those who handle the bow shall not stand, and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives; and those who are stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked on that day, says the Lord. Amos 2:14-16

Patience is a virtue and it seems the past several years patience has been harder and harder for most people. Frustration fills the air. There is something about this time period we’re living in – everything seems to have sped up, especially since the advent of smart phones. I have no doubt most of this velocity is brought about by Satan, so as to distract us from keeping our eyes on Jesus.

You can bet Peter sank because of the velocity of the wind which distracted him when he had been looking at Christ and walking on water.

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.  But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:28-30

Satan will do anything to keep us from looking at Christ. He especially will do this to those whom he knows actually pray. He will make us so busy, so frustrated, so distracted that we take our eyes off of Christ and sink into the details of our daily life. We can’t see past the minutiae in order to start walking again. Despair can take over. We can begin to believe that God doesn’t see us.

When we find this happening to ourselves, our thoughts get more frenzied, our language gets worse, and soon our actions become a pathway to hell. I have noticed the “F” word fly, even among Christians due to the frustrations of technology, or the frenzied schedule of life. This word, though people debate the etymology, has it’s roots in copulation. Demons love this word because it can keep the cycle of delving into impurity going, it feeds impure thoughts. Impure thoughts feed impure words which feeds impure actions.

The man of impure speech is a person whose lips are but an opening and supply pipe which hell uses to vomit its impurities upon the earth. – Saint John Vianney

We are at a precipice and must be working towards stopping this cycle that distracts us from true love. I believe COVID was a warning. We had an opportunity to slow down, but instead we buried ourselves in virtual reality and became worse towards one another. Real reality passed us by.

When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.  When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came toward them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. Mark 6:47-48

In the passage in Mark, the Apostles cry out to him in their fear when they see him, did we do the same? Did we refocus back on Christ?

This opportunity to slow down, it gives God the opportunity to go big, for his speed is swifter than any demon.

By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent Job 26:13

God will part a sea if we sit still.

But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.  The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” Exodus 14:13-14

It is imperative in this time of distraction, that we become a people of prayer who act only when the Lord says and who wait on the Lord.

but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

This does not mean not to act, it means to wait for the Lord to tell you how to act.

The other day in my journal I wrote what I felt the Lord speak to me (for your discernment);

September 27, 2022

Beloved Lily of the Father,

Lead us not into temptation; what you are praying for is protection. You are praying for the “garden of your soul” be “kept” so the serpent doesn’t get in. You’re praying for the consequence of concupiscence to be blotted out; so you aren’t just forgiven, but delivered and restored.

(Redacted)

Prayer is communion.

As velocity speeds up due to the evil one, you should slow down and wait for me. Prostrate yourself before me. I will fight for you.

Those who endure never stop praying. They are righteous in following the law but sanctified by love, that is, by their heart which is open to me.

Cease striving and know that I AM.

If you wait and listen I will command what needs to be done. When you wait for me your strength will be renewed.

Stand firm.

You will behold the wonder of not just the law, but of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Return to worship and rest. Make your life an act of worship. You shall be restored. Trust.

(Redacted)

Abba

So my friends, let us not get so frustrated and distracted that Christ passes us by. Let us pray more and wait on the Lord for right action. Don’t get impatient if he doesn’t answer right away. He is stronger and faster than anything we can imagine and His timing is perfect.

“I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me that I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’
 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;  therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6

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Ecumenism

There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

I am sure many of you are in a period of intense suffering, as these times seem to be increasing with velocity. Yesterday in my prayer I was lamenting to the Lord at how many times I fall. God made me to know that though He doesn’t want me to sin, it is my lack of trust in His greatness He is most concerned with. When I suffer, he doesn’t want me focused on my falling, but instead on His greatness. This is where He elevates you. It is a deeper surrender when you are made to know your weakness, but your expectation is in His power. He has a better plan.

It was here that I started thinking about our individual salvation, but also the larger picture of humanity. How God does will that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4); but how many are not (Luke 13:23-24). I felt like He pointed out to me the term “People of God,” that though this is a correct Scriptural term, it doesn’t go far enough.  It seems when we use that term, in the context we use it, the focus is on the People. Whenever we focus on people instead of God chaos ensues. When we focus on God, we truly love people. When we use the term Mystical Body of Christ, the focus is actually on Christ.  

I think using the terminology of “People of God”, more frequently than we use Mystical Body of Christ, came about in an effort to be more ecumenical as it is a biblical phrase; to be more inclusive of Protestants, and perhaps other religions.  But instead of it making the other religions come to know Christ, it seems to have made us move further away from Him.  It isn’t wrong to use, it just doesn’t convey the pilgrim path we are on. The path as a people, all of us, is to be incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ.

The Mystical Body of Christ is what we are to call people towards.  The Protestants are a part of this body (Mark 9:38-40), but in an imperfect way, in the way a body might have an auto-immune disease where it’s attacked from the inside.  The people are inside the body by virtue of baptism,  but the lack of belief in parts of the Creed – that lack of belief is an antibody attack on the people.  The more we don’t proclaim that truth, the more the body gets distorted.  We don’t seem to trust God enough. We want to elevate the People of God without telling them of the Mystical Body of Christ.  We rely on our own human efforts.  The pilgrimage ends up walking away from the Tree of Life (See Synod logo).

Jesus is a Divine person.  In His Divinity He wants to divinize us.  We must then look at what He did with His human nature and will.  He nailed it to a cross.  Focusing on the Passion is primary in our pilgrimage on earth (Matthew 16:24-26).  If we skip the Passion to play nice, we miss the total incorporation into the Mystical Body, which is unitive perfection. Mary did not skip the Passion. Whoever has ears to hear this, should. While Christ did “meet people where they were”, He didn’t leave them there. He revealed the truth of who He is, and sent them on the Way. In everything, He loved them. We too must love, we must always be understanding in our walk, but we should not get sidetracked or compromise truth because we will end up in a dialogue with the devil. Just ask Eve how that worked out.

The other religions, like Islam and Judaism, can be considered – People of God – but they are not part of the Mystical Body, because they are not baptized (Acts 19:13-15).  We should want that they be baptized. In all we do, we should be inviting people into the Mystical Body, because it is here we can become Sacrament; an outward sign of God’s grace. The Church herself is Sacrament.  But until we go back to being unafraid to proclaim truth, we will go down the autoimmune attack path – which eventually kills the body.  Though, even in this, God is bigger and can resurrect.  Again, we must think bigger. We as individuals can take up our cross and follow him, but as a church we can also do this. One way or another we end up on a Passion walk (CCC 675).

Which brings me to Mary who walked the walk from the Incarnation to the Crucifixion. It seems we have been afraid in the past to declare doctrines of Mediatrix of All Graces, or Co-Redemptrix. God willed human cooperation in His plan of redemption, and Mary’s fiat brought the mediator here. He came to us through her and her yes. Therefore she is Our Mother and Mother of the Church, which has been proclaimed.  

By not recognizing fully the role Mary had in our redemption, we are not recognizing the healing power of Christ, who was the “keeper” of the garden of Mary.  It is as if the church authority is putting a limit on the healing power of God in regards to the church herself.  Blessed Duns Scotus said that God’s healing power goes beyond forgiveness and preveniently saved Mary.  We must ask what will God’s healing power do for the church? It is a restoration of the wholeness created in the garden, but for Mary, unlike Adam and Eve, her cooperation led to perfection. God’s perfection.  She cooperated to the full. Where Adam didn’t “keep” the garden because he let the serpent in to tempt Eve in the first place, Christ did keep the garden and Mary didn’t have original sin or concupiscence. Mary didn’t have the inclination to give into temptation. She didn’t dialogue with the devil. Christ Himself protected Mary.  She, in turn cooperated in God’s total love, a vessel to be perfected. For us, this means, the more we recognize what God did for Mary and her cooperation with God, the more we recognize, “the woman”, the more that we become protected and filled by the Christ who protected and filled her; the more we become whole and healed, the more God’s glory descends. 

The authority of the church recognizing Mary for all of who she is, all of what God made her, will help usher in the will of God on earth as it is in heaven.  She is a house of prayer, and she did not allow her gifts to be stolen like a den of thieves.  We seem to have taken, in recent years, in order to not offend, the reverse path almost ignoring Mary, so as to be more ecumenical.  But here again, we rely on ourselves and our own understanding to save.  If we proclaim God’s truth, will God Himself not save?  Will God Himself not bring people to understanding? Will not our seeing and proclaiming the total truth elevate us as a church body because God is revealing truth and He is the one who elevates? Cooperation receives the gift.

This recognition of Mary lends itself to the sacramental church being the mediator of grace through those very sacraments we seek to embody.  Because the truth is love, these things should be proclaimed from the rooftop as it would make disciples of all nations because it reveals God who wants to divinize us.   Our society has so degraded the woman that we can’t even define it anymore. The church, in her authority, can elevate the woman, by declaring who Mary is completely, thereby elevating the church herself. When we fail to fully proclaim the truth, the autoimmune disease takes over, and the organs begin to shut down one by one, until, she looks dead, the church looks dead, but it is only the disease that dies, for the body, because it is Christ’s, will rise again and the gates of hell shall not prevail.

It is said in apparitions, like Fatima, that it is Mary’s hand that holds back the flaming sword that would scorch the earth.  It is she who intercedes wanting us to recognize the truth of all that God is; which we know through Christ and which can be seen in her, a human person perfected.  The proclaiming of doctrines about her – says more about God, than her.  And God wants his church, his bride, to be perfected.  Why do we think he keeps sending Mary to proclaim this in apparitions?

We should not be afraid to proclaim these things to the world.  We should take heed of the angel’s words to Mary and apply them to the church…

Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:26-28

Do not be afraid church – for you have found favor with God.  Let all generations call you Blessed.

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Restoring Beauty

Mary Magdalene by Kathleen Carr

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I remember the first time I walked into the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, my breath was almost taken away. I had to pause to soak it all in. I thought I was in heaven, it was so beautiful. I have heard people criticize Mother Angelica for the money she spent on the place after she heard God call her to, “build a temple” for him. I don’t understand that criticism, in fact, their criticism reminded me of Judas;

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:3-8

Now sure, people can build and buy beautiful things for the wrong reasons, but that place, it was built for love of God, and you could tell. Just as the penitent Mary loved Jesus so much she anointed his feet with costly oil, her heart was pure, while Judas’ wasn’t. For me, in the place I was in spiritually, it was a soul healing encounter with God. The beauty lifted me up to Him at a time when I really needed Him.

We all know that beauty does come from within, but when our beauty comes from God it is outwardly expressed. The cathedrals of old were a breath taking example of this. They were a respite for both rich and poor alike, a place where anyone could go to worship, all are invited.

My cousin Kathleen, tells me she had the same experience when she walked into Saint John Cantius in Chicago, Il. But the thing about Kathleen is, she is an artist herself, so the fire that was lit inside of her compelled her to contribute to the beauty. Not only did she continue painting sacred Art, she started the Catholic Art Institute. It’s a place where artists can come together to work on what is good, true and beautiful. They are all about restoration of the sacred. They have a conference every year that is spectacular.

While we all know that we can worship anywhere that the Eucharist is, our eyes get lifted higher when the place is beautiful and the music transcends. When you see what beauty human hands can make for God, you know that what God can do inside of you pales in comparison to your own feeble efforts. When we act for God, God acts big.

We must always be careful not to make a god of beauty, for it is not the beauty itself that saves us. Scripture makes it clear that it is what is on the inside of our hearts that counts. But we must also never discount the impact beauty can have on the healing of a soul who needs it.

There is a renewal that can happen in a soul when the soul can worship in a beautiful place or listen to sacred music. We must not give up making beautiful things for God. While God actually needs nothing made for Him because He is perfect, when we make something for love of Him, His perfection is reflected in our work, for us, so that we may grow closer to Him.

I am telling you all this now and asking if you would consider making a donation to the Catholic Art Institute. My cousins work is valuable to all who are impacted by beauty that lifts them towards God. If you feel a call to give, please consider it. If you don’t feel that call, I do ask that you just pray for her and the flourishing of the Institute. I know people ask for money all the time. I actually have consciously tried to never ask. But I believe this is worth the ask, and after all, she is family.

May God Bless you all.

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Who will Save the Church?

I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. Colossians 1:24

The recent news of the Vatican Dicastery suppressing Latin Mass is disheartening. As you all know I don’t like to get into Liturgy wars, but I do see the Latin Mass as a better Mass. There are just so many reasons why. I say this as a person who doesn’t attend regular Latin Mass. I had access to it for awhile, but no longer do without much travel.

I have stated in the past we can treat the Eucharist like Mary and Joseph treated the infant Jesus, or we can treat the Eucharist like Christ was treated on the Cross. The abuses I have seen take place in the Novus Ordo Mass in a lot of places seems to fall into the latter category. This is not to say that in the past, there was never abuse, but by in large the formula protected it from abuse.

I have stated before that the Mass is the Center of the World, and the way the Mass goes, so too the world will go. It is all connected. We as individual lay people can be reverent and our hearts can participate with love in any Mass. The attachment to God alone will ensure our perseverance in suffering, so we need not be afraid of the trajectory we are on. But the consequences we are seeing in the world around us, they are all connected to the Mass.

Why do I say this? Well because the Mass is where heaven and earth meet. It is where God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. When the Mass becomes less about God and more about us, we actually can reject heaven. God should come first, and with that comes peace and love of our fellow man. When we miss that point everything gets disordered. Latin was about universal unity, it put the Priest in a position of humility of the offering, a unity of sacrifice was made, not a forced manmade unity that is so active at times you can’t even really pray. That is not to put all new Mass down. I have also stated the Latin Mass won’t save us, God will. But I can observe, as many already have that fifty plus years of the new Mass and attendance at Mass is at an all time low and the belief in the Eucharist as the true presence is too.

As we went with the vernacular language in Mass, the language in the world got worse. When was the last time you went out and didn’t hear the “F” word a million times from the people around you? Or heard people using the Lord’s name to damn one another instead of bless one another? Now language is twisted so bad that we can’t even get pronouns straight. Pretty soon, if not already, we find ourselves speaking with people who speak our language but we can’t understand one another at all. And the “unity” we seem to promote is actually harsh judgment against those who have a different view, especially if that view loves Latin Mass. They are often accused of the very thing that is actually happening to them.

For those of you who feel disheartened, I have a story for you.

I have been caring for my mom with dementia now in my home for over 18 months. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and it is also beautiful.

Mom can’t walk because of two strokes and a previous broken hip. She partakes in what is called confabulation. Confabulation is a statement or action that is incongruent with the patients history. To most of us it feels like a lie, untruths that the dementia patient speaks. Mom has told me she is a baker, and has told others that I am a cruise director. She often tells people I am her sister. If you try to correct her you face the agitated wrath she flings at you, accusing you of being a liar. If you weren’t aware of the disease inside of her, you would think you were being gas lit. Mom often makes no sense. She went from being a power house of a woman who could conquer the world, and did so in her career and as a mom, to a weak, frail, disease ridden woman who is trying desperately to maintain her dignity. It is my job to help her maintain her dignity and love her despite all her weaknesses and despite the disease that has taken over. Mom’s dignity does not depend on her strength because it was given freely to her as a child of God. It can never be removed from her because it is God’s gift to her and God is holy. I must love her and stay true to her, even when it seems impossibly hard. I must know that suffering for love is God’s grace pouring out for redemption.

My mom reminds me of the church. As the church has had her legs, particularly tradition, taken out from under her, as the church has members who babel incoherent non-doctrinal statements, that constantly need clarification and correction, as the church confabulates and is incongruent with her history, and spits wrath at those who point it out; the church, she is still holy because she belongs to God and God is holy. Though the smoke of Satan may have entered and diseased the body, the body belongs to God, and we must trust completely that He has a better plan. He is allowing the purification, the crucifixion, of sin. This always brings Resurrection.

So my friends, now is not the time to despair. It is the time to love more and love harder. You be holy. We cannot control the trajectory of things, but we can allow God to work inside us for the sake of his body, the church. Everything could get taken away, including the Eucharist, which is why we need to be a Eucharistic people; a people of thanksgiving who trust God and his promises, even when we stand at a cross. He doesn’t just want to forgive us, he wants to glorify us, trust in that.

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