An Ancient Feast for These Times

michael

Earlier this week on the 8th, we celebrated a lesser known feast of St. Michael the Archangel, no longer on the liturgical calendar, which commemorates his appearance in a cave on Mount Gargano in Italy in the fifth century. We first posted this two years ago but wanted to share it with you again.  Here is the story behind the feast, according to Dom Gueranger:

A celebrated apparition of the Archangel took place, under the Pontificate of Gelasius I, in Apulia, on the top of Mount Gargano, at whose foot lies the town of Siponto.

A bull belonging to a man who lived on the mountain, having strayed from the herd, was, after much searching, found hemmed fast in the mouth of a cave. One of its pursuers shot an arrow, with a view to rouse the animal by a wound; but the arrow rebounding struck him that sent it. This circumstance excited so much fear in the bystanders and in them who heard of it, that no one dared to go near the cave. The inhabitants of Siponto, therefore, consulted the Bishop; he answered that in order to know God’s will, they must spend three days in fasting and prayer. Continue reading

The Woman & the Dragon, Life & Death

guadelupeAnd a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.

And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems:  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. (Rev 12:1-4)

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deut 30: 19-20)

Recently we’ve been talking about spiritual warfare – the war between satan and Saint Michael, the war between the prince of this world and the Kingdom of God.  It becomes even more tangible when you see the occult connection between a party’s platform and their personal life, as we saw in recently released emails regarding “spirit cooking” (if you don’t know what that is, look it up, it’s not just “performance art”).

I think sometimes we hear phrases like “culture of life” and “culture of death” and we can grow deaf to their full meaning.  When the Church speaks of the life vs death culture war we are engaged in, this is actually what She is talking about, this battle between the dragon, who wants to devour the Child, and the Woman, who represents both Our Lady and the Church, who gives birth to the King of kings and so defeats the dragon.  When you hear the Church say that we must put the life principles above all other issues, and at the top of that is the right to life of the unborn, She knows what She’s talking about. One political party has been called the Party of Death by many Catholics and Christians because of their unwavering commitment to abortion on demand and their alignment with anti-life principles. This naturally moves into attacks on religious liberty, two obvious examples are the court cases filed by EWTN and the Little Sisters of the Poor in response to the HHS Mandate. They, and many, many other Catholic and religious groups, want to continue operating without violating their deeply held religious convictions (convictions which one candidate stated publicly “have to be changed”)  by being forced to provide contraceptive coverage to employees.

St. Ignatius urges us to “wake up”, to be aware of evil within and without, in our own hearts and in the world around us.  We do ourselves, our country, and countless innocent children, born and unborn, a great disservice if we shut our eyes to the evil which is being revealed.  We might feel discouraged, we might feel hopeless but we actually have so many reasons to hope.  Jesus Christ is our first hope; He has defeated death and the kingdom of death, and we are united with Him in our baptism, and can be united to Him daily in Holy Communion.

jesus2He has given Our Lady to us as a mother and protector, and it’s her job to crush the serpent’s head.  She is working, and it may be that her time of triumph is quite close.  Remember the vision of Pope Leo XIII? On October 13, 1884, he was standing at the foot of the altar after Mass when he overheard two voices in conversation, that seemed to come from near the tabernacle.  A harsh voice said “I can destroy your Church.” A gentle voice replied, “You can? Then go ahead and do so.” The wicked voice said it needed more time, 75-100 years, and more power over those who would give themselves to his service. The gentle voice acceded saying, “You have the time, you have the power.  Do with them what you will.”  After hearing this conversation the Holy Father immediately went and composed the prayer to St. Michael which he requested  be recited after every low Mass.  Exactly 33 years later, on October 13, 1917, Our Lady’s final apparition to the three children in Fatima took place and the miracle of the sun was witnessed by tens of thousands of people.  Our Lady called for prayer and sacrifice for peace, for the conversion of Russia.  She foretold suffering and war if her message was not heeded, but that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph.

Perhaps the 100 year reign of satan is in its final stage, and that is why he reveals himself so blatantly now – he knows the end is near and he’s pulling out all the stops.  We don’t know what will happen this week, but we can be sure of a few things.  Firstly, that we must pray, pray, pray and fast for God’s Will to be done, for hearts to be converted, and for evil to be expelled from our nation.  We must vote according to the Church’s teachings on the non-negotiable issues: the dignity of human life from conception to natural death; the dignity of marriage and the family, the building block of every society; and religious freedom, including the rights of parents to educate their children. We must trust in God and speak the Truth – it is a weapon, a sword, Our Lord tells us, and a powerful weapon it is.  Truth is not just an opinion or a thought, it’s actually a Person:  Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  When we speak in truth we are united to Him.  In prayer, especially through meditating on His life in the Rosary, we come  to know Him more deeply, and to be conformed more and more into His image.  Our Lady can teach us so much about her Son, and we need to stay close to her through the Rosary.

It’s become commonplace in our culture for people to deny God, but also to deny the reality of evil.  It’s even tempting for those of us who believe in God to deny evil at times because it is so frightening.  But seeing evil so starkly presented can be an occasion for souls to turn to good, to turn to God.  Our Lady will triumph, we can be certain of that, and she is already working in the hearts and minds of many who don’t yet know her or her Son.  Continue to pray for the protection of all the truth-tellers who are putting their life and work on the line, we are so grateful to God for their courage.

I love listening to the Rosary with Fr. Groeschel which airs on EWTN.  In his meditations for the sorrowful mysteries we hear that whenever good confronts evil there is suffering.  Right now this confrontation is happening on a grand scale in our country.  And there will be suffering.  We don’t really know what that might look like, but we must keep in mind that we worship a Crucified Savior.  He saved us through the Cross, and we are called to follow in His footsteps.  Suffering, even dying, is not the worst thing that can happen to us.  Sin and spending eternity without God are what we should fear.  Put on the armor of God, pray, support all those who fight with the sword of Truth by your prayers and sacrifices – I’m sure many of them aren’t familiar with spiritual warfare, but they are committed to truth and transparency.  We can aid them in the fight by intercessory prayer.

When Our Lady of America spoke to Sr. Mildred Neuzil she said that America was called to be a beacon of purity for the entire world.

“I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations…I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul.” … “Pray and do penance, my sweet child, that this may come to pass.” (Diary, Pgs. 10-15.)

America is consecrated to the Immaculate Conception, she who was conceived free from original sin, the Purissima.  May she intercede for our nation and make it pure, God-fearing, and committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.  May she build in each of our hearts a culture of life.

The Power of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary with Saints, artist unknown, Brooklyn Museum

Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, formerly known as the feast of Our Lady of Lepanto, commemorating the decisive and miraculous victory of the Christian fleet over the large Turkish force.  Many of you have been participating in the 54 day Rosary Novena for our nation which concludes today.  We take hope from the many miracles Our Lady has wrought throughout history through the power of the rosary.  Here is another miracle story, which we originally posted a couple years ago:

In this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary we wanted to draw your attention to the power this prayer has in the most dire situations.  The rosary is one of the greatest weapons we have in the Catholic arsenal and stories of its power abound.  In fact, the reason we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the seventh of this month is because the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto is credited to the intercession of Our Lady through the rosary, which the whole Church was praying.

Last month we had the privilege of hearing Immaculee Illibagiza speak about her experience during the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s.  If you aren’t familiar with her story you need to read her book, Left to Tell, which has made a deep impact on each of us Continue reading

An Ancient Feast for These Times

michael

Today we are celebrating a lesser known feast of St. Michael the Archangel, no longer on the liturgical calendar, which commemorates his appearance in a cave on Mount Gargano in Italy in the fifth century.  Here is the story behind the feast, according to Dom Gueranger:

A celebrated apparition of the Archangel took place, under the Pontificate of Gelasius I, in Apulia, on the top of Mount Gargano, at whose foot lies the town of Siponto.

A bull belonging to a man who lived on the mountain, having strayed from the herd, was, after much searching, found hemmed fast in the mouth of a cave. One of its pursuers shot an arrow, with a view to rouse the animal by a wound; but the arrow rebounding struck him that sent it. This circumstance excited so much fear in the bystanders and in them who heard of it, that no one dared to go near the cave. The inhabitants of Siponto, therefore, consulted the Bishop; he answered that in order to know God’s will, they must spend three days in fasting and prayer. Continue reading

A Prayer to St. Joseph

One quick post on this last day of October, the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary.  We came across this prayer by “accident” which, of course, was completely Divine Providence.

Pope Leo XIII wanted this prayer to St. Joseph to be added to the recitation of the Rosary during the month of October.  Though that was in 1889, there’s no reason we can’t also add it to our Rosaries today.  In these times, when the priests and bishops of the Church are under such attack by satan, why not offer this prayer to St. Joseph (the Protector of the Universal Church) for their protection, courage and growth in personal holiness.   As St. Joseph was chosen by God the Father to guard and protect the Word made flesh, may priests and bishops always be guardians of God’s Word, and of Jesus in the Eucharist, where He is just as vulnerable and defenseless today as He was in His Infancy.

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou wast united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength.

Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption; mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death, and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.

And since it is All Hallow’s Eve, if you’re looking for a post about that, Taylor Marshall has a couple good ones here and here.

The Power of the Rosary to Transform and Heal

Our Lady of the Rosary with Saints, artist unknown, Brooklyn MuseumIn this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary we wanted to draw your attention to the power this prayer has in the most dire situations.  The rosary is one of the greatest weapons we have in the Catholic arsenal and stories of its power abound.  In fact, the reason we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the seventh of this month is because the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto is credited to the intercession of Our Lady through the rosary, which the whole Church was praying.

Last month we had the privilege of hearing Immaculee Illibagiza speak about her experience during the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s.  If you aren’t familiar with her story you need to read her book, Left to Tell, which has made a deep impact on each of us Continue reading

Odds and ends from our show

Just a few little things relating to last week’s show.

Sr. Mary Peter mentioned the late Francis Xavier Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, whose cause for canonization is going forward.  He endured a white martyrdom with great strength and faith, and through it converted many.  As promised, here are the books Sr. Mary Peter was referring to on the show: The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison, Testimony of Hope: The Spiritual Exercises of JP II, Five Loaves and Two Fish,  Prayers of Hope: Words of Courage; and last but not least, a book about the Cardinal by one of his seminarians: The Miracle of Hope.

Here is a short video with the lastest news on his cause.

The last two days we were very blessed to soak up the wisdom of three remarkable scripture scholars at the Fullness of Truth conference in Buda.  Drs. Scott Hahn, Michael Barber and John Bergsma spoke on the New Evangelization – what it means and how we can live it.  We learned so much, but more on that later.  For now, we wanted to share a thought from Dr. Barber on the Rosary, since some of our callers on Wednesday shared the difficulties they experience when trying to pray the Rosary.  The Rosary is a scriptural prayer that helps us meditate on the life of Jesus.  The more familiar we are with scripture, the more fruitful our meditations will be, the more the Gospel accounts will come alive.  He recommended a little blue book called The Scriptural Rosary, which gives you a scripture verse for each Hail Mary.  It’s a great way to stay focused on each Mystery as you are praying.