Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation

     I have been enjoying Jeanette Salerno's newest book, Padre Pio's Christmases, a delightful collection of factual encounters with Padre Pio and the Baby Jesus.  The book also includes my translation of St. Pio's Christmas Meditation, which appears in the Italian edition of Volume IV of the letters of the saint.  Jeanette and I thought it would be appropriate to blog this beautiful rendition of the Christmas story, so that the lessons Padre Pio delineates can bring joy, comfort and light to as many people as possible.

    Far into the night, at the coldest time of the year, in a chilly grotto, more suitable for a flock of beasts than for humans, the promised Messiah – Jesus – the savior of mankind, comes into the world in the fullness of time. There are none who clamor around him: only an ox and an ass lending their warmth to the newborn infant; with a humble woman, and a poor and tired man, in adoration beside him.
    Nothing can be heard except the sobs and whimpers of the infant God. And by means of his crying and weeping he offers to the Divine justice the first ransom for our redemption.
    He had been expected for forty centuries; with longing sighs the ancient Fathers had implored his arrival. The sacred scriptures clearly prophesy the time and the place of his birth, and yet the world is silent and no one seems aware of the great event. Only some shepherds, who had been busy watching over their sheep in the meadows, come to visit him. Heavenly visitors had alerted them to the wondrous event, inviting them to approach his cave.
PPInfantJesus.jpg (17808 bytes)
    So plentiful, O Christians, are the lessons that shine forth from the grotto of Bethlehem! Oh how our hearts should be on fire with love for the one who with such tenderness was made flesh for our sakes! Oh how we should burn with desire to lead the whole world to this lowly cave, refuge of the King of kings, greater than any worldly palace, because it is the throne and dwelling place of God! Let us ask this Divine child to clothe us with humility, because only by means of this virtue can we taste the fullness of this mystery of Divine tenderness.
    Glittering were the palaces of the proud Hebrews. Yet, the light of the world did not appear in one of them. Ostentatious with worldly grandeur, swimming in gold and in delights, were the great ones of the Hebrew nation; filled with vain knowledge and pride were the priests of the sanctuary. In opposition to the true meaning of Divine revelation, they awaited an officious savoir, who would come into the world with human renown and power.
    But God, always ready to confound the wisdom of the world, shatters their plans. Contrary to the expectations of those lacking in Divine wisdom, he appears among us in the greatest abjection, renouncing even birth in St. Joseph’s humble home, denying himself a modest abode among relatives and friends in a city of Palestine. Refused lodging among men, he seeks refuge and comfort among mere animals, choosing their habitation as the place of his birth, allowing their breath to give warmth to his tender body. He permits simple and rustic shepherds to be the first to pay their respects to him, after he himself informed them, by means of his angels, of the wonderful mystery.
    Oh wisdom and power of God, we are constrained to exclaim – enraptured along with your Apostle – how incomprehensible are your judgments and unsearchable your ways! Poverty, humility, abjection, contempt, all surround the Word made flesh. But we, out of the darkness that envelops the incarnate Word, understand one thing, hear one voice, perceive one sublime truth: you have done everything out of love, you invite us to nothing else but love, speak of nothing except love, give us naught except proofs of love.
Padre_Pio_a_Natale.jpg (68654 bytes)
    The heavenly babe suffers and cries in the crib so that for us suffering would be sweet, meritorious and accepted. He deprives himself of everything, in order that we may learn from him the renunciation of worldly goods and comforts. He is satisfied with humble and poor adorers, to encourage us to love poverty, and to prefer the company of the little and simple rather than the great ones of the world.
    This celestial child, all meekness and sweetness, wishes to impress in our hearts by his example these sublime virtues, so that from a world that is torn and devastated an era of peace and love may spring forth. Even from the moment of his birth he reveals to us our mission, which is to scorn that which the world loves and seeks.
    Oh let us prostrate ourselves before the manger, and along with the great St. Jerome, who was enflamed with the love of the infant Jesus, let us offer him all our hearts without reserve. Let us promise to follow the precepts which come to us from the grotto of Bethlehem, which teach us that everything here below is vanity of vanities, nothing but vanity. 

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Gospel is to be preached to the Jew first.

The Gospel is to be preached to the Jew first.

Recently I posted on my blog the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Francis of Assisi: “Go and repair my house which as you see is falling completely into ruin.” Currently there is an urgent need to repair the Church's attitude towards converting the Jews. 

St. Paul wrote that we should not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it brings salvation to those who believe, to the Jew first. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.” [Romans 1:16]. Here St. Paul clearly indicates that the Gospel is not simply meant for Jews and others, but is for the Jew first. Yet the new document issued by the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews states that “. . . the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”

This may be true now, but it was not so in the past.

In the 19th Century two brothers converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism, and with the blessing and permission of three Popes labored for the conversion of the Jews. These brothers, Alphonse and Theodore Ratisbonne were both ordained as Catholic Priests. Fr. Alphonse Ratisbonne, with the consent of Pope Pius IX, left the Jesuits in order to labor for the conversion of Jews and Muslims. Pope Gregory XVI specifically granted Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne's request to seek the conversions of Jews to the Church, and Pope Leo XIII appointed him prothonotary Apostolic. Both brothers founded schools and societies dedicated to the education and conversion of Jewish children. The Congregation of Our Lady of Sion which the brothers established for both priests and sisters still exists, but unfortunately since Vatican II their mission is no longer the conversion of Jews; rather it is “to witness in the Church and in the world that God continues to be faithful in his love for the Jewish people and to hasten the fulfillment of the promises concerning the Jews and the Gentiles." (Constitution, article 2).

The Jew Alphonse Ratisbonne was miraculously converted to the Faith while praying before this image of Our Lady at the basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, in 1842.

Below is source material from the traditional Catholic Encyclopedia.

“After his conversion he assisted his brother, Theodore, in founding the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Sion in 1843, was ordained priest in 1847, and entered the Society of Jesus. Desirous, however, to devote himself entirely to the conversion of the Jews, he left the society with the consent of Pius IX, transplanted the Sisters of Sion to Jerusalem in 1855, and built for them in 1856 the large Convent of Ecce Homo with a school and an orphanage for girls. In 1860 he erected the Convent of St. John on the mountain at Ain Karim, together with a church and another orphanage for girls. Here Alphonse laboured with a few companions (Pères de Sion) for the conversion of Jews and Mohammadens until his death. For boys he erected the orphanage of St. Peter, near the Gate of Jaffa outside of Jerusalem, with a school for mechanical arts in the city.”

"It was whilst in this city, in 1842, that his brother Alphonse, a free-thinker animated with greatest hatred against Christianity, was miraculously converted at Rome, and suggested to him to secure a home for the education of Jewish children. Providence seemed to design him for the work, and answered his prayer for light by sending him the two daughters of a Jewish lady whom he subsequently converted. During the same summer he went to Rome; Gregory XVI decorated him a Knight of St. Sylvester, complimented him for his "Life of St. Bernard", and granted his request to labour for the conversion of the Jews. Houses were opened under the patronage of "Our Lady of Sion" for the Christian education of Jewish boys and girls. Pius IX gave Ratisbonne many marks of his affection, and Leo XIII appointed him prothonotary Apostolic. At his death he received the last Sacraments from the Archbishop of Paris, and the final blessing from Leo XIII."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Lord spoke to St. Francis, "Go, and repair my house, which as you see is falling completely into ruin!"

     It was St. Francis who crossed the battle lines during the Fifth Crusade in order to try to convert the Muslims to Christ and His Church, setting an example which is unheeded today.  Not only are we not to "proselytize," but in just what condition is the Church to which one should be converted?  Today the Church is being torn by Progressivist laxity on the one hand, and those trying to preserve traditional Roman Catholicism on the other.  The words the Lord spoke to St. Francis over 800 years ago seem to be more relevant and urgent now than they were then.  As to what specifically must be done to "repair" His House, I will leave that to your comments below.

    "Francis left the town one day to meditate out-of-doors, and as he was passing by the church of San Damiano which was threatening to collapse with age, he felt urged to go in and pray.  There as he knelt in prayer before a painted image of the Crucified, he felt greatly comforted in spirit and his eyes were full of tears as he gazed at the cross.  Then, all of a sudden, he heard a voice coming from the cross and telling him three times, "Francis, go and repair my house.  You see it is all falling down."
     Francis was alone in the church and he was terrified at the sound of the voice, but the power of its message penetrated his heart and he went into an ecstasy.  Eventually, he came back to himself and prepared to obey the command he had received.  He was quite willing to devote himself entirely to repairing the ruined church of San Damiano, although the message really referred to the universal Church which Christ "won for himself at the price of his own blood" (Acts 20:28), as the Holy Spirit afterwards made him realize and he himself explained to the friars."
(St. Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis, circa 1263 A.D., Chap. II, no. 1).

    ". . . while he was walking near the church of San Damiano, an inner voice bade him go in and pray.  He obeyed, and kneeling before an image of the crucified Savior, he began to pray most devoutly.  A tender, compassionate voice then spoke to him: "Francis, do you not see that my house is falling into ruin?  Go, and repair it for me."  Trembling and amazed Francis replied: "Gladly I will do so O Lord."  He had understood that the Lord was speaking of that very church which, on account of its age, was indeed falling into ruin.
     These words filled him with the greatest joy and inner light because in spirit he knew that it was indeed Jesus Christ who had spoken to him.  On leaving the church he found the priest who had charge of it sitting outside, and taking a handful of money from his purse, he said: "I beg you , Sir, to buy oil and keep the lamp before this image of Christ constantly alight."
(Legend of the Three Companions, circa 1246 A.D., Chapter V).


    "Changed now perfectly in heart and soon to be changed in body too, he was walking one day near the church of St. Damiano, which had nearly fallen to ruin and was abandoned by everyone.  Led by the Spirit, he went in and fell down before the crucifix in devout and humble supplication; and smitten by unusual visitations, he found himself other than he had been when he entered.  While he was thus affected, something unheard of before happened to him:  the painted image of Christ crucified moved its lips and spoke.  Calling him by name it said: "Francis, go, repair my house, which as you see is falling completely to ruin."
     Trembling, Francis was not a little amazed and became almost deranged by these words.  He prepared himself to obey and gave himself completely to the fulfillment of this command.  But since he felt that the change he had undergone was beyond expression, it is becoming that we should be silent about what he could not express.  From then on compassion for the Crucified was rooted in his holy soul, and, and it can be piously supposed, the stigmata of the venerable passion were deeply imprinted in his heart, thought not as yet upon his flesh."
(Thomas of Celano, Second Life of St. Francis, circa 1247 A.D.,  Chapter VI, no. 10).

     "The church of San Damiano seemed to be collapsing from old age, already beyond repair, desolate, without devout worshipers and without prayers . . . . The painted wooden image of the Crucified Lord that hung by the altar had survived all that decay - an image of goodness and suffering, expressing with extraordinary vividness both martyrdom and love.  One day, going up to the city, Francis went into the church, knelt, and began to pray.  He asked to be given light in the midst of all his darkness, to know the divine will, in accordance with the promise made during the night in Spoleto.
     Suddenly it seemed to him that Jesus' gaze was fixed on him.  There was no doubt about it.  Those eyes had become animated, taken on life.  They were speaking and expressing a burning passion.  And, as in the night of the vision of the enchanted castle, the cavalier consecrated to a high undertaking distinctly heard his name being called.  The words fell like a whisper, a light sigh, scarcely perceptible.
     "Francis, go and repair my house, which, as you see, is falling into ruin."  After a short pause, the sad call was repeated for the second time, and for the third time.  Francis got up, frightened.  The church was again sunk into a silence without beginning or end.  He went out, sought the old priest who had custody of the place, and offered him all the money he had with him so that he might relight the lamp before the crucifix.
     Then he rushed up to Assisi.  He went to the shop [of his father] and took down some scarlet, the noblest and most expensive cloth that then existed, used for making mantles suitable for the grandeur of kings and elaborate gowns with trains for beautiful women.  Francis wanted to use it to cover the poor abandoned church in sumptuous purple."
(Arnaldo Fortini, Nova Vita di San Francesco, 1959, trans. by Helen Moak, Chap. 6.  Fortini was mayor of Assisi for 20 years, and his 800 page book is considered the most authoritative of the modern biographies.)


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Our Crosses are Good and Come from God

I.  Jesus gives us our own cross.

Mt. 16: 24.   Then Jesus said to his disciples, if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Lk. 9: 23.   If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Lk. 14: 27.   And he who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Mt. 10: 38.   He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

II.  God can only give us good things. 

Mt. 7: 11   Therefore, if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.

Rom. 8: 28.  Now we know that for those who love God all things work together unto good.

III.  The cross is for our good.
Gal 6: 14.   God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. 

Rom. 6: 6.   For we know that our old self has been crucified with him, in order that the body of sin may be destroyed, that we may longer be slaves to sin.   

Col 1: 24.   I rejoice now in the sufferings I bear for your sake.  

1 Cor. 2: 2   For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

IV.   To say that the cross is good and comes from God sounds like nonsense. 

1 Cor. 1: 18   For the doctrine of the cross, to them that perish, is foolishness, but to them that are saved, that is you, it is the power of God.

1 Cor. 2: 23    We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness.

 The Cross of San Damiano, from which Christ spoke to St. Francis of Assisi these words: "Go repair my Church, which as you see is falling completely into ruin."

Posted 10/04/2015 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Four Mini-Gospels

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Is 11:2,3).
1  Fear of the Lord
2  Piety
3  Knowledge
4  Fortitude
5  Counsel 
6  Understanding
7  Wisdom 

The Seven Beatitudes (Mt 5: 1-9).  
1  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  
2  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. 
3  Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
4  Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice for they shall have their fill.
5  Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
6  Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.
7  Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called Children of God.

The Seven Petitions of the Lord's Prayer (Mt. 6: 9-13; Lk 11: 2-4). 
1  Our Father who art in heaven hallowed by thy name
2  Thy kingdom come,
3  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
4  Give us this day our daily bread
5  And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
6  And lead us not into temptation
7  But deliver us from evil

The Seven Words of Our Lord on the Holy Cross.
1  "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Lk 23:34)
2  "Amen, I say to thee: this day thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Lk 23:43)
3  “Woman, behold thy son.” To the disciple, “Behold your mother.” (Jn 19:26-27)
4  "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mk 15:34)
5  “I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)
6  “It is consummated.”  (Jn 19:30)
7  “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  (Lk 23:46)

Here is the key to meditating upon them:  The four Mini-Gospels correspond to each other in the order in which they are numbered one through seven.  St. Augustine and St. Thomas established the correspondence for the first three Mini-Gospels, and Bishop Fulton Sheen incorporated the fourth. 

The mini-gospels can be applied to the mysteries of the Rosary.  There is an easy way to connect them to the ten decades of Hail Mary prayers of the Rosary.  Please see the book How to Pray the Secret Rosary, here

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How a Mystic prepares for Holy Communion

The mystic Luisa Piccarreta was a victim soul, confined to her bed and living solely on the Eucharist and the Divine Will for some 60 years She received the command of obedience from her confessor to reveal how she prepares herself to receive and thank Jesus at Holy Communion. Here is what she wrote on April 10, 1910:   

I write to obey, but I feel my heart crack from the effort I am making. But, Viva Obedience – Viva the Will of God! I write, but I tremble, and I myself don’t know what I am saying. Obedience wants me to write something about how I prepare myself and thank blessed Jesus at Communion. I don’t know how to say anything about it, because my sweet Jesus, in seeing my incapacity and that I am good at nothing, does everything Himself: He prepares my soul, and He Himself administers the thanksgiving to me; and I follow Him.

Now, the way of Jesus is always immense, and together with Jesus, I too feel immense, and as if I were able to do something. Then Jesus withdraws, and I remain always the stupid one that I am, the little ignorant one, the little naughty one. And it is exactly because of this that Jesus loves me – because I am ignorant, and I am no one, and I can do nothing. Knowing that I want to receive Him at any cost, so as not to receive dishonor in coming into me, but rather, highest honor, He Himself prepares my poor soul. He gives me His own things, His merits, His clothing, His works, His desires – in sum, all of Himself. If necessary, also that which the Saints did, because everything is His own; if necessary, also that which the Most Holy Mama did. And I too say to all: ‘Jesus, give honor to Yourself in coming into me. My Queen Mama, Saints, all Angels, I am so very poor; everything that is yours – put it in my heart, not for me, but for the honor of Jesus.’ And I feel that all of Heaven contributes to preparing me. And after Jesus has descended within me, I seem to see Him all pleased, seeing Himself honored by His own things; and sometimes He tells me: “Brava, brava, my daughter, how happy I am – how pleased I am. Everywhere I look within you, I find things worthy of Me. Everything that is mine, is yours; how many beautiful things you made Me find!”

Knowing that I am so very poor, that I have done nothing, and that nothing is mine, I laugh at the contentment of Jesus, and I say: ‘Thank goodness Jesus thinks like this! It is enough that He came – this is enough for me. It doesn’t matter that I have used His own things – the poor must receive from the rich.’ Now, it is true that a few glimmers here and there remain in me about the way Jesus has at Communion, but I am unable to reunite these glimmers together, and form a preparation and a thanksgiving. I lack the capacity; it seems to me that I prepare myself in Jesus Himself, and that I thank Him with Jesus Himself.

From the approved Volume Nine of the spiritual "Diary" Book of Heaven, of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.  Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Did St. Paul withstand St. Peter to his Face?

There is ample evidence to suggest that he did not - that the person he rebuked in this Biblical incident was not Simon Peter, but another “Cephas.”


     It is an almost universal assumption in today's Catholic world that St. Paul did in fact rebuke the first Pope to his face. As is written in Galatians 2:11: “But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” This assumption is used to justify the concept that it is acceptable in extreme circumstances to publicly confront a Pope with what one believes to be his errors, and it is also an argument used to justify “resisting” the ordinances of a Pope. 
    However, while reading a short but well-documented biography of St. Peter, which I came across in an 1892 collection of Catholic writings, the following paragraph immediately struck me: 
"That the Cephas who was reprehended by St. Paul for the inconsistency of his conduct with respect to the Mosaic rites, was not St. Peter, is the opinion of the best writers.  Eusebius quotes Clement Alexandrinus as maintaining that this Cephas was one of the seventy disciples.  This opinion is followed by the most learned writers of antiquity, by St. Jerome, by St. Gregory the Great, by St. Anselm, and by many others."
    This surprising statement has caused me to investigate this issue further. 
    James Likoudis wrote a two-part article in the late 1990's entitled “Were the Apostle Peter and Cephas of Antioch the same person?” He admits that some of the greatest Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and contemporary exegetes contend that the person confronted by Paul was Simon Peter. However, he then presents arguments published by Jesuit Fr. D. Pujol over a century ago “. . . effectively demonstrating that the Apostle Peter and the Cephas of Antioch and Corinth could not have been the same person.” Fr. Pujol asserted that “Whether the dispute at Antioch between Paul and Cephas occurred before or after the Council of Jerusalem, it was chronologically impossible that Peter could have been there at either time.”

    Likoudis also mentions a vision by the stigmatist Theresa Neuman (d. 1962) in which she revealed:
"Cephas of the Epistle to the Galatians, whom Paul withstood to his face was not Peter, the prince of the Apostles. That there is no mention of this important personage in antiquity is based on the fact that Cephas was drowned in the sea while on a mission tour and thereupon the opinion arose that he did nothing in his new field of endeavor or even fell away from the faith." 
    Likoudis summarizes the work of other scholars on this issue, and concludes “That Peter and the Cephas (of Antioch and Corinth) are two different personages needs to be seriously re-examined and not be testily dismissed as a 'cockeyed theory'." He further states: ”The upshot of all the above is that in Gal. 2:7-14 where Petros is mentioned and then followed by a shift to Cephas, two distinct personages are differentiated.” 

       A quite intriguing article by James M. Scott delves into a 1708 work in Latin by French Jesuit Fr. Jean Hardouin called Dissertatio: In Qua Cepham a Paulo Reprehensum Petrum Non Esse Ostenditur (An Examination in Which It Is Demonstrated that Cephas Rebuked by Paul Is not Peter).
  The following quotes are representative of the views of Fr. Hardouin: 
Hardouin opens in AD 49, the year of the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. The general line of this argument is that the Cephas in Antioch in Gal 2 cannot be Peter, since for chronological and motivational reasons Peter could not have returned to Jerusalem for the Council. “
Hardouin maintains that it is all but impossible that Peter, who never had seen Antioch within the 14 year period from Paul’s conversion, would in the fifteenth year “have raced in unbelievable speed” (“incredibili celeritate advolasse”) from Jerusalem to Antioch, been rebuked there by Paul, and within a month have hastened back to Jerusalem to be consulted by Paul about the very controversy back in Antioch.” 
Hardouin says that Peter must be “clean from any blemish of heresy” (“immunem haereos labe…Petrum”) and that it is unthinkable that any “Summus Pontifex” would withdraw himself from baptized Christians solely because they were not circumcised. “

    For a thorough scriptural analysis of this controversy, I recommend this article by Bryan Davis. Although it is in the interest of Protestants to contend that Peter/Cephas are one and the same, since it implies fallibility, weakness and even sin to Peter, Mr. Davis, who is not Catholic, concludes with:

The evidence, both biblical and historical, is overwhelming that the man Paul confronted in Galatians is not the apostle Peter. That man was named Cephas, likely a Jew who sympathized with the Judaizers.

Because of Peter’s faithful defense of the Gentiles and their reception of the true gospel at every turn, it is important to make sure we do not denigrate Peter’s legacy with the false charge that he dissembled in Galatians chapter two. After the Holy Spirit indwelt him at Pentecost, he was sure and steadfast. Let us honor the truth about Peter and clear his name in the church, especially among those who have so greatly benefited from his faithful stand for our inclusion in the faith.

    Personally I am convinced that St. Paul did not rebuke St. Peter. Of course this blog post is certainly not going to resolve the problem, and scholars, pundits and bloggers will continue to debate the issue. However, it is clear that there is sufficient room to doubt the conventional scenario that St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face. Catholics who take comfort in this incident in order to contemplate a public reproof of their pope or resist his teaching should take heed.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Theology of the Community of Believers

Progressivist rationale for altering Catholic Doctrine.

From the time of the Council and even before, numerous progressivist authors have been demeaning the importance of Scripture and Tradition as the only sources of Revelation, in order to promote the inner experiences of the ecclesial community as a valid font of the Truth. This of course is in keeping with the Modernist concept of immanence, whereby each person primarily hears and senses the word of God spoken from within and only secondarily may hear it from a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, all people of any religion whatsoever have something to offer. Hence the call for an ecumenical dialog with these omnipresent elements of sanctity, and the need to consider the religious feelings of the believing community as indicators of God's ongoing revelation for the Church.

This progressivist rationale for modifying dogmatic Catholic doctrine has been brought to light in the well-researched and thoroughly documented study by prolific Catholic author Atila Sinke Guimarães. He asserts that along with Scripture and Catholic Tradition, and the dogmatic teaching of the Magisterium, progressivists consider that Faith as an object of belief will also encompass an ensemble of the 'divine experiences' of the community. In his book Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), Guimarães uses direct quotations from these thinkers to convincingly document their belief that salvation history as it unfolds in the religious experiences of the ecclesial community, is an additional criterion for determining doctrine.

As far back as 1970, Fr. Walter Kasper wrote:
. . . the charism of truth does not fall to the competence of a single individual, but to the unanimous testimony of the whole community of the faithful.” Kasper cites Lumen Gentium chapter 12, wherein we read:
The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith when 'from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful' they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals.”
It's a matter of dialog!

Kasper continues: “From this, a new, less static and more dynamic and dialogical conception of orthodoxy is born. The correct understanding of the Faith today must be periodically established through an open and public dialogue among all charisms, services and orientations existing in the Church, and by means of a communitarian listening to the Gospel”. [p. 339; Will He Find Faith?]
The Magisterium of the Diocesan Survey

According to Fr. Karl Rahner: [p. 321] “Catholic exegesis and biblical theology are seriously questioning themselves today regarding the words of Jesus, asking what can be literally considered an original word by the historic Jesus himself, and what …. is already a formulation of the 'theology of the community'.” “For not every word of the historic Jesus can be identified with the concept of an original revelation.”

Fr. M .D. Chenu: [p. 334] “As a consequence of the Council, theology is now conceived as 'salvation history'. Tradition is substantially qualified as living tradition.”

The Jesuit Fr. Alberto Franzini: [pp. 323-4] “Then one understands why the transmission of revelation is not confided only to preaching and teaching, but also to the witness of faith of all the believers.” “Finally, one understands how in the Church the Scripture is 'insufficient' to disseminate the revelation of Christ without the reality of the ecclesial community's living Tradition.” Franzini states that there must be a socially visible presence of salvation, “a presence that can be adequately assured by an ecclesial-communitarian form of believers. “

Thus it should not be a surprise that the Catholic understanding of marriage, the family, and reception of Holy Communion is now subject to the Magisterium of the Diocesan Survey, in the Pope Francis era. If this tactic succeeds in actually altering any traditional doctrine in the upcoming Synod or thereafter, then in this blogger's opinion, Modernism will have triumphed in the Vatican. The true Church, however, will persist like live coals under the ashes, even without the support of the hierarchy.

Guimarães' book, Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), from which the above quotes are taken, traces the history of the progressivists' influence on the Church and on the fruits of the Council. He demonstrates that to them, the Faith is subjective rather than objective, and is relative rather than absolute. After presenting an overview of Scholasticism, he turns to a consideration of modern thought from the Cartesian revolution and the French Enlightenment, through liberalism, modernism and existentialism. He quotes profusely from conciliar theologians such as Karl Rahner, Hans Von Balthasar, Yves Congar, Edward Schillebeeckx, and lesser known “lights.” The book is Volume VI of his indispensable eleven volume study of Vatican II.

Atila Sinke Guimarães' books on the Council are available Here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Effeminate Priests

Our Lord laments to Luisa Piccarreta about effeminate Priests, sacrilegious Masses, and the laity touching the Blessed Sacrament with their hands. 

From the Church-approved Volume Seven of the spiritual "Diary" Book of Heaven, of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.  Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia. 

The Lord, in a very afflicted state, lamented to Luisa: “My daughter, so much bitterness is given to Me by creatures that I cannot contain it all. For this reason, I wanted you to participate in it [as a victim soul]. In these times, all is effeminate. Even the clergy have lost the masculine character, and have acquired feminine manners. It has become more difficult to find masculine Priests, since there is an abundance of effeminate ones around. Oh, in what a deplorable state humanity is found in.” Luisa then wrote that she did not understand the meaning if what He had told her, but she still writes it down because she is under obedience to do so. (Oct. 23, 1906.)

My note: Since Luisa did not understand about effeminate priests, this appears to have been a prophetic utterance on the part of the Lord, who was talking about a future time, as He frequently does with Luisa. Seminarian Francesco Forgione, now known as St. Padre Pio, in that same year of 1906, was undergoing his formation in southern Italy, where Luisa lived. His training for the priesthood was very rigorous and demanding. Padre Pio himself in later life admitted that his seminary regimen could have been less severe and strict. It is not likely that there was a problem with effeminate priests in that era.

Three days prior to the above experience, Luisa had a vision which also appears to have been prophetic. Here it is revealed that Jesus considers that the laity, by putting their hands on the Holy Sacrament, entering the Sanctuary, and touching the Priests, are guilty of profanations deserving of severe chastisements.

In this vision Luisa found herself in a church where many people were taking part in the sacred ceremonies. Then, it seemed that with the approval of those in authority, other persons entered who began to profane the Sanctuary. Scurrying here and there, they sacrilegiously put their hands on the Holy Sacrament and also upon the Priests. Luisa, upon seeing this, cried out to the Lord to stop them from profaning His Sacred Temples, and she feared for the severe chastisements that He would pour out upon men for such horrible sins.

But the Lord replied that these enormous crimes are caused by the sins of the Priests. First, they profaned in a hidden manner His Holy Church with sacrilegious Masses, by mixing impure acts in the administration of the Sacraments. Committing these acts under the guise of holiness, they have arrived at not only profaning His churches of stone, but also at violating His living temples which are the souls, and profaning His very Body.

All of this eventually filtered down to the laity. Not seeing in the Priests the necessary light for their own progress, finding instead only shadows, they have become so darkened as to lose the beautiful light of the Faith; and without this light it is no wonder that they have come to such grave excesses. Prayer is needed so that the Priests may become a light for the people, permitting the seculars to reacquire the light to see the errors they are committing. Seeing them, the they will be reluctant to continue these grave excesses, which will be the cause of equally grave chastisements.

I have freely translated the above from the original Italian found Here. 
To learn more about the mystic Luisa Piccarreta, click Here.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is Our Lord pleased with Laudato Si? - Updated

Jesus explains that human and scientific interests are not a Priest's concern.


This morning, finding myself outside myself, I could see some Priests.  They were dedicated to human and scientific interests which were unnecessary to their state of life, and which were done with the mixture of a rebellious spirit to their superior authorities. 


Then Our Lord, who was very distressed, said to me: 


"My daughter, the human and scientific interests are not the Priests' concern. A muddy and putrid second nature is formed, and the works that come out of those interests - even holy ones - stink so greatly, nauseating Me so much as to be intolerable.  Pray and repair for these offenses, for I am weary."  (08/25/1906.)


From the approved Volume Seven of the spiritual "Diary" Book of Heaven, of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.  Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia. 

Update - from a vision of Luisa's (08/12/1910 volume 9): 


". . .  I saw many priests running away from the Church and turning against the Church to wage war against Her.  I looked at those priests with great sorrow, and I felt a light that made me comprehend that the origin of this and all the evil of priests is in dealing with souls about human things, things all of a material nature, without a strict necessity.  These human things form a net for the priest which blinds his mind, hardens his heart to divine things, and prevents his step on the path that befits him in the office of his ministry.  Not only this, but it is a net for souls, because they bring what is human, and receive what is human, and grace remains as though excluded from them.  Oh! how much evil is committed by these - how many slaughters of souls they make!"


To learn more about the mystic Luisa Piccarreta, click Here.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Counter-Encyclical

Against the Errors of Environmentalism

Brother Alexis Bugnolo, one of the world's foremost experts on St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscanism, and editor of the Franciscan Archive, presents a counter-encyclical to the Laudato Si' of Pope Francis.

Ostensibly written by a future Pope, its full title is “On the Honor and Glory Due to the Divine Majesty of the Most Holy Trinity – Against the Errors of Environmentalism. It “affirms and declares” that the totality of Laudato Si' and all its parts are to be considered merely as the personal doctrine of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and not of the Apostolic See of St. Peter.

Some highlights of the counter-encyclical

We consider it necessary to remove a grave scandal which has shaken the whole world: namely, that which emanated from the once unsullied throne of this Apostolic See. I speak of the encyclical letter, Laudato Si' of my predecessor, Francis, of infelicitous memory . . . promoting in an official papal document, into which he mixed many half-truths, the falsehood of environmentalism unto the deception of the entire Catholic world.”

The counter-encyclical enumerates many reasons to attest that “it is not man who is the lord and master of creation, but God; that it is not man who is first and foremost responsible for the heavens and the earth and all these contain, but God. . . For this reason it is theologically an effrontery to God to say or concede that the environment of this planet earth depends upon mankind.”

To say or imply, therefore, that man's activities in general make this world ugly or pollute it is false, erroneous and implicitly heretical, inasmuch as it impugns the Divine Goodness, Providence and Wisdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

This sinful obsession with earthly things is, as the glorious Doctor of the Church, the Seraphic Saint Bonaventure frequently notes, the necessary consequent of a human spirit bent down to face earthly things by the weight of his own sins and vices and concupiscences.”

We recognize and declare, that since God at the beginning had both made all things and declared them together with man, 'very good' (Genesis 1:30 and throughout), that it is a mortal sin of blasphemy to call them or their use evil, and thus, likewise a grave error and sin, to say that their non-use or discarding, is of itself, or according to its genus a sin.”

Brother Alexis Bugnolo links to this work Here and Here. A printable version of the text is made available by this blog, Here

Posted 06/19/2015 by Frank Rega, www.frankrega.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our Lord's Words to Luisa Piccarreta

From the Church-approved volume six of her spiritual "Diary," the Book of Heaven.
Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia. 

"My daughter, when the soul does all of her actions for the sole purpose of loving Me, and wants no other recompense for her work but my love alone, she walks always in daylight - it is never nighttime for her."

"My daughter, true love forgets himself, and lives of the interests, of the pains, and of everything that belongs to the beloved."

"Indeed, there is no beauty that equals suffering for the love of God alone."

"My daughter, in the Creation I gave my image to the soul; in the Incarnation I gave my Divinity, divinizing humanity."

"Therefore,  hold peace as your greatest treasure if you cherish being united with Me."

"Oh, how difficult it is to enjoy pleasures, to dress luxuriously on the outside, and to despise those things internally!  On the contrary, the opposite occurs - that is, one loves in his interior, and enjoys, what surrounds him externally."

"My daughter, my Life manifests Itself in the creatures through words, through works, and through sufferings, but what manifests It more clearly are the sufferings."

"The Life of God in the soul is Hope, and the more you hope, the more Divine Life you contain within yourself.  Therefore, hope -- hope always."

"In fact, if the soul lets herself be dominated by the cross, the cross destroys three evil kingdoms in her, which are the world, the devil and the flesh, and it constitutes in her three more good Kingdoms: the Spiritual, the Divine and the Eternal Kingdom."

"Not only this, but since the other things had been created for man, and man for God alone and for His Delight, as a consequence he was not only to encompass all creation within himself, but he was to surpass it to the point of receiving the image of the Supreme Majesty within himself." 

"How much attention it takes so as not to let material things enter inside, if by necessity she has to deal with them!  You, my daughter, be attentive; otherwise, if I see anything which is not divine in you, I will not make Myself seen anymore."

"Stability alone is what reveals the progress of Divine Life within the soul, because, since God is immutable, one who possesses Him shares in His immutability in good."

"Daughter, let everything in you be sealed by love.  If you think, you must only think of love; if you speak, if your work, if you palpitate, if you desire . . .  If even just one desire which is not love comes out of you, restrict it within yourself, convert it into love, and then give it the freedom to go out."

"Everything, everything should be enclosed in one single word: 'Love.'  If the soul does not enclose everything in this, it can be said that she does not know a thing about loving Me, and according to how much the soul loves Me, so do I expand the gift of suffering."

"In fact, the mind nourishes itself with what it thinks, and by looking at God alone, of the things down here, she looks only at those that God wants, not bothering about anything else, and so she remains always in God."

"The weight of any action, be it even an indifferent one, increases according to the dose of love it contains, because I do not look at the work, but at the intensity of love that the working contains."

"Indeed that of the soul which pleases me most is perseverance, because perseverance is seal of eternal life and development of divine life."

"This is the order of my Providence, of my Justice and of my Love - that in each era I must have at least one with whom I might share all goods, and that the creature must give Me everything she owes Me as creature. . .  This is precisely why I choose victim souls. .  . During the time of My Passion I had my dearest Mother who, while I shared all my pains and all my goods with her, was most attentive as creature, on gathering within herself everything that creatures were to do for Me. Therefore in her I found all my satisfaction and all the gratitude, the thanksgiving, the praise, the reparation, the correspondence which I was to find in everyone else."

To learn more about the mystic Luisa Piccarreta, click Here.

Posted 06/18/2015 by Frank Rega, www.frankrega.com

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Notes on Two American Icons, Yogi and Elvis

As the great catcher turns 90, an online petition to the White House seeks the Presidential Medal of Freedom for Yogi Berra.

On the day that Elvis Presley died, an astonishing and mysterious phenomenon occurred shortly after his passing. 
Part One: Yogi.

Yogi Berra Celebrates 90th Birthday. Here's a news article from the big day itself:

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (AP) As Yogi Berra might say, when you turn 90 you should celebrate it right the first time. Please click Here. 

"As Yogi Berra turns 90, baseball tips its cap." For an entertaining collection of reminiscences and birthday greetings from his teammates and friends. Click Here

And finally.... 

We petition the White House to award Yogi Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his military service and civil rights and educational activism. This is important: click Here to sign the online White House petition seeking Presidential Medal of Freedom for Yogi Berra.

Part Two: Elvis.

Dick Grob, who was in charge of the security detail that protected Presley, received an urgent phone call on the hot summer afternoon of August 16, 1977. The brief call to his home alerted Grob to the frightening news that Elvis was being taken to the hospital by ambulance in serious condition. Grob continues:

“Thoughts continued to race through my mind as I tried to assess the situation, Elvis was not at Graceland but en route to the hospital, so he must be “damaged.” It was becoming clear, I at least needed to go there first. That way I could assess the situation. If Elvis was going to be admitted, things would be handled as they were when he had entered the hospital before.

“As I raced at speeds up to 100 mph toward Baptist Hospital, only slowing for red lights and then speeding through them, I was mentally running through the thousands of different possible scenarios. I was still trying to fathom what might have happened. Not once did it occur to me that Elvis would be dead, that he had died at Graceland sometime before. Not once did this worst of all possible disasters pass before my eyes.

“Even with the air conditioning pouring out full blast I was already dripping wet with perspiration. Suddenly I felt a sudden and very different cold come over me. It wasn't like the cold one receives from an over-productive air conditioning system. This was an eerie unexplainable frostiness . . .

“Beside the chill, something else happened. I saw no visions, heard no words booming out loud to me from above, nothing like that, but I had a feeling, a mental thought. Through my mind passed a very clear meaningful message. It was more than my own thought, for I had been thinking any number of things but not anything close to this. It was as if someone were talking to me, telling me something, communicating with me. There was no sound. Whatever it was, was inside my head, in my mind. The clear, mental voice that I sensed, said: “Dick, slow down, it's over, there is nothing you can do now, don't kill yourself or anyone else because it is too late and there will be plenty of work to do.

“Little did I realize then, how true that voice and its meaning was to be in the days ahead. I immediately slowed to the speed limit, below the limit. It's funny, as I look back on that drive now, I can recall the instant when I mentally felt and heard that voice. I still get shivers from it. This was a voice without a body, a voice without a tone, a voice without a face, yet there is no doubt in my mind who was conversing with me mentally. An immediate calm came over me and all the negative thoughts stopped passing through my mind at once. My mind was no longer cluttered with different disasters . . . My mission had dramatically changed. Deep in my mind I knew Elvis would perform no more for mortal man. His next performance would be backed by a band of heavenly angels. Somehow, I knew exactly what I would find when I reached the hospital, and that my entire reason for being would dramatically change in the next few minutes.” 

Excerpted, condensed and edited from pp. 195-200. The Elvis Conspiracy? by Richard H. Grob, Fox Reflections Publishing, 1979. Info on this book Here.

Posted 05/17/2015  www.frankrega.com 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Seeking converts is solemn nonsense? The Council implicitly taught so.

Our Lord emphatically used the active verb “preach;”  he did not call for some kind of passive evangelization, yet this is what our recent Popes have embraced.

"Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us."

"The Church does not engage in proselytism. Instead, she grows by “attraction”:
On the other hand, this unity [of all Christians] does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not!”

courtesy of www.tripadvisor.com

Vatican II scrupulously avoided language such as “a return to Peter's fold.”

As explained by Cardinal Avery Dulles, “the Council implicitly taught that the united church of the future” will not result from the submission of other churches to Roman Catholicism. 

“Vatican II . . . distanced itself in two important aspects from the type of Catholic ecumenism now described [that is, the effort to bring other churches and communities to the obedience of Rome]. First, it linked the concept of union to that of reform. Scrupulously avoiding language such as a 'return to Peter's fold,' the Council recognized that in its present form, Catholicism suffers deficiencies in behavior, ecclesiastical discipline and even the formulation of doctrine, and that, therefore, the Catholic Church, as a human and earthly institution, needs a continual reformation.

“Second, Vatican II recognized that the life and truth of Christ are acting in other communities and that, consequently, these should not consider abandoning anything that the grace of the Holy Spirit has wrought in their hearts. On the basis of these two principles, one may sustain that the Council implicitly taught that the united church of the future will not emerge from the submission of the other churches and their absorption by Roman Catholicism.

“The longed for Una Sancta can be a joint creation that simultaneously completes and transforms all the churches that rejoin it. The Catholic Church, without dissolving herself in any way, would modify herself by entering this more encompassing unity.”

American Cardinal Avery Dulles (1918-2008), “Ecumenismo: problemi e possibilita per il futuro,” quoted on page 303, in Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), by Atila Sinke Guimarães.

Posted 04/27/2015 by Frank Rega, www.frankrega.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

When the Lord Returns, Will He Find Faith? - 2

The Vatican II mentality is open to toleration of heresy and error.

In his book Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), Atila Sinke Guimarães demonstrates that the thoughts and philosophy of the “experts” involved in composing the Conciliar documents are often in opposition to traditional Catholic doctrine. He does this by extensively quoting from their published works. Excerpts presented below from the writings of two of these men indicate their progressivist toleration of error and heresy.

Fr. Yves Congar, quoted in quoted in Inveniet Fidem? (pp. 34-35).
Fr. Congar made inportant contributions to several of the Conciliar texts.
  • “The fact is evident, in our attitude toward others, we passed from anathema to dialogue.”
  • “Today there is not only respect for, but also an interest in the other as the other.”
  • “The modern spirit has a bias that favors the heretic in every sphere: by denying received ideas, he opens a way for progress. The heretic brings the new, even in the order of truth.”

Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, quoted in Inveniet Fidem? (pp. 36-37).
Fr. Schillebeeckx was one of the most active theologians during the Second Vatican Council.  

  • “The objection someone raised to this – that evil and error have no right to exist – is based on a misunderstanding.
  • And a person has the right to admit as true that which in all sincerity appears true to him (even if objectively it is an error). This is why the person who errs has the same rights. Consequently, tolerance is an ethical and cultural duty for every man.”
  • “The State itself is, therefore, obliged to oppose any propaganda or organization that threatens freedom of conscience. This is why in extreme cases tolerance can resort to the use of arms.”
Guimarães comments that Schillebeeckx's intolerant tolerance presents the other side of the “sweetness” and “mercy” often put forth by the progressivists.

When the Lord Returns, Will He Find Faith? – 1 is here.

Posted 04/20/2015 by Frank Rega, www.frankrega.com




Thursday, April 16, 2015

When Our Lord Returns, Will He Find Faith?

Writing in what is essentially a college or graduate level textbook, Atila Sinke Guimaraes develops the thesis that, based on the Council, progressivism denies the fixed, immutable character of the Catholic Faith. His book, Will He Find Faith (Inveniet Fidem?), is the sixth of an eleven volume encyclopedic study of the sufferings of the Church since the Second Vatican Council. The book details the transitional and evolutionist character that progressivists have imposed upon the faith. This new faith is no longer objective, but subjective; no longer absolute and universal, but relative and adaptable to history.

In a section dealing with new meanings given to infallible, dogmatic formulas, one of the particulars that Guimaraes cites concerns the dogma of Jesus Christ as true God and true man. The rejection of the truth that Jesus is God is the notorious Arian heresy, which denies the divinity of Jesus. This error “. . . denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is not consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and therefore not like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real sphere of the Deity.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01707c.htm

The refusal to accept the other half of the dogma, that Jesus is true man, is the heresy of Docetism, which denies the humanity of Jesus. The Docetists were a sect that taught that Christ only “appeared or seemed to be” a man. “Some denied the reality of Christ's human nature altogether, some only the reality of His human body or of His birth or death.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05070c.htm

In a subsection of his book, under the heading The Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Guimaraes sets his sights on a volume written by Joseph Ratzinger in 1971, when he was at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria. While there he co-founded the journal Communio, along with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Walter Kasper, and others. In this book Fé e Futuro (unavailable in English), the future pope wrote: “But is it possible for God to be a man? A man completely human and at the same time true God, and hence entitled to demand faith from all and in all ages? Or is this not simply a case of overestimating a moment from the past? Once again, are we not encountering a mentality that we no longer share?” [quoted in p. 217, Will He Find Faith?]

Guimaraes asserts that with these remarks, Ratzinger “calls into question the dogma of Christ as true God and true man.” It should be noted here that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is fond of stating that he sees no change in his views over the years, e.g.: http://www.traditioninaction.org/ProgressivistDoc/A_071_Ratzinger_Same.htm
Since Guimaraes presents the above excerpt in a section dealing with the Humanity of Jesus, he apparently sees this as an attempt to deny or at least revisit the concept that Jesus Christ is true man. Spiritual writers and mystics present clear reasons why it is crucial to accept that the Lord, although a divine Person, was truly human:

“Beware, therefore, My child, lest thou hearken to them that say that there is a higher and better road for more perfect souls; a way, not of My Heart, but of the mere Godhead. A way which, setting aside or overlooking My Humanity, can lead thee in a sublime manner to thy end, through the Divinity alone. Whoever says this to thee, be he a man or an angel, believe him not, trust him not. For, through My Humanity I came to men, and through this same Humanity, must men come to Me.” [The Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Rev. Peter J. Arnoudt, TAN Books, chapter 26, book 4.]

“I assumed a Humanity which, moderating the rays of the light of the Divinity, was a means to instill trust and courage in man to come to Me. By placing himself before my Humanity, which spreads temperate rays of My Divinity, man has the gift of being able to purify, sanctify and even to divinize himself in My Deified Humanity. That is why all good things for man come from My Humanity.”
Book of Heaven, Luisa Piccarreta, Volume 3, entry of Aug. 1, 1900]

When Our Lord returns, will He find the Catholic Faith?

Will He Find Faith (Inveniet Fidem?) by Atila Sinke Guimaraes, 2007, Tradition in Action, Inc., is available here: http://www.traditioninaction.org/books.htm

Posted 04/16/2015 by Frank Rega  (my Mom would have been 100 today, a prayer for her please).  www.frankrega.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Lord is Nailed to the Cross

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross,

According to the visions of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

Warning – an extremely graphic account.

Jesus was now stretched on the cross by the execu­tioners, He had lain Himself upon it; but they pushed Him lower down into the hollow places, rudely drew His right hand to the hole for the nail in the right arm of the cross, and tied His wrist fast. One knelt on His sacred breast and held the closing hand flat; another placed the long, thick nail, which had been filed to a sharp point, upon the palm of His sacred hand, and struck furious blows with the iron ham­mer. A sweet, clear, spasmodic cry of anguish broke from the Lord's lips, and His blood spurted out upon the arms of the executioners. The muscles and liga­ments of the hand had been torn and, by the three edged nail, driven into the narrow hole. I counted the strokes of the hammer, but my anguish made me forget their number. The Blessed Virgin sobbed in a low voice, but Magdalen was perfectly crazed.

The bore was a large piece of iron like a Latin T, and there was no wood at all about it. The large hammer also was, handle and all, of one piece of iron, and almost of the same shape as the wooden mallet we see used by a joiner when striking on a chisel.

The nails, at the sight of which Jesus shuddered, were so long that when the executioners grasped them in their fists, they projected about an inch at either end. The head consisted of a little plate with a knob, and it covered as much of the palm of the hand as a crown-piece would do. They were three edged, thick near the head as a moderate sized thumb, then tapered to the thickness of a little finger, and lastly were filed to a point. When hammered in, the point could be seen projecting a little on the oppo­site side of the cross.


After nailing Our Lord's right hand, the crucifiers found that His left, which also was fastened to the crosspiece, did not reach to the hole made for the nail, for they had bored a good two inches from the fingertips. They consequently unbound Jesus' arm from the cross, wound cords around it and, with their feet supported firmly against the cross, pulled it forward until the hand reached the hole. Now, kneeling on the arm and breast of the Lord, they fastened the arm again on the beam, and hammered the second nail through the left hand. The blood spurted up and Jesus' sweet, clear cry of agony sounded above the strokes of the heavy hammer. Both arms had been torn from their sockets, the shoulders were distended and hollow, and at the elbows one could see the disjointed bones. Jesus' breast heaved, and His legs were drawn up doubled to His body. His arms were stretched out in so straight a line that they no longer covered the obliquely rising crosspieces. One could see through the space thus made between them and His armpits.

The Blessed Virgin endured all this torture with Jesus. She was pale as a corpse, and low moans of agony sounded from her lips. The Pharisees were mocking and jesting at the side of the low wall by which she was standing, therefore John led her to the other holy women at a still greater distance from the circle. Magdalen was like one out of her mind. She tore her face with her fingernails, till her eyes and cheeks were covered with blood.

About a third of its height from below, there was fixed to the cross by an immense spike a projecting block to which Jesus' feet were to be nailed, so that He should be rather standing than hanging; other­wise His hands would have been torn, and His feet could not have been nailed without breaking the bones. A hole for the nail had been bored in the block, and a little hollow place was made for His heels. Similar cavities had been made all down the trunk of the cross, in order to prolong His sufferings, for without them the hands would have been torn open and the body would have fallen violently by its own weight.

                                                The Nailing of Jesus' Feet

The whole body of our Blessed Redeemer had been contracted by the violent stretching of the arms to the holes for the nails, and His knees were forcibly drawn up. The executioners now fell furiously upon them and, winding ropes around them, fastened them down to the cross; but on account of the mistake made in the holes in the crosspiece, the sacred feet of Jesus did not reach even to the block. When the executioners saw this, they gave vent to curses and insults. Some thought they would have to bore new holes in the transverse arm, for that would be far less difficult than moving the foot block. Others with horrible scoffing cried out: "He will not stretch Him­self out, but we will help Him!" Then they tied ropes around the right leg and, with horrible violence and terrible torture to Jesus, pulled the foot down to the block, and tied the leg fast with cords. Jesus' body was thus most horribly distended. His chest gave way with a cracking sound, and He moaned aloud: "O God! O God!" They had tied down His arms and His breast also that His hands might not be torn away from the nails. The abdomen was entirely dis­placed, and it seemed as if the ribs broke away from the breastbone. The suffering was horrible.

With similar violence the left foot was drawn and fastened tightly with cords over the right; and because it did not rest firmly enough over the right one for nailing, the instep was bored with a fine, flathead piercer, much finer than the one used for the hands. It was like an auger with a puncher attached. Then seizing the most frightful-looking nail of all, which was much longer than the others, they drove it with great effort through the wounded instep of the left foot and that of the right foot resting below. With a cracking sound, it passed through Jesus' feet into the hole prepared for it in the foot block, and through that again back into the trunk of the cross. I have seen, when standing at the side of the cross, one nail passing through both feet. The nailing of the feet was the most horrible of all, on account of the distension of the whole body. I counted thirty-six strokes of the hammer amid the poor Redeemer's moans, which sounded to me so sweet, so pure, so clear.

The Blessed Virgin had returned to the place of execution. At the sound of the tearing and cracking and moaning that accompanied the nailing of the feet, in her most holy compassion she became like one dying, and the holy women, supporting her in their arms, led her again from the circle just as the jeering Pharisees were drawing nearer. During the nailing and the raising of the cross which followed, there arose here and there, especially among the women, such cries of compassion as: "Oh, that the earth would swallow those wretches! Oh, that fire from Heaven would consume them!" But these ex­pressions of love were answered with scorn and insult by Jesus' enemies.

Jesus' moans were purely cries of pain. Mingled with them were uninterrupted prayers, passages from the Psalms and Prophecies, whose predictions He was now fulfilling. During the whole time of His bitter Passion and until the moment of death, He was engaged in this kind of prayer, and in the unin­terrupted fulfillment of the Prophecies. I heard all the passages He made use of and repeated them with Him, and when I say the Psalms, I always remem­ber the verses that Jesus used. But now I am so crushed by the tortures of my Heavenly Bridegroom that I cannot recall them, I saw weeping angels hov­ering over Jesus during this terrible torture.

The above is taken from:
The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations,
From the Visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
Volume 4, Chapter 46.

The complete text of all four volumes is online Here.  
Available in print from TAN Books Here

Posted 03/31/2015 by Frank Rega, www.frankrega.com