Monday, March 29, 2010

Church to celebrate feast of long-time prostitute turned hermit

Church to celebrate feast of long-time prostitute turned hermit

CNA STAFF, March 28 (CNA) .- Thursday, April 1, is the feast of a little-known saint whose story demonstrates the power of the Church as the home of forgiveness, redemption and mercy. St. Mary of Egypt was a prostitute for 17 years before she received the Eucharist and chose the life of a hermit.

Born in 344 A.D., Mary of Egypt moved to the city of Alexandria when she was 12 years old and worked as a prostitute for 17 years. With the intention of continuing her trade, she joined a large group that was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

On the feast day itself, she joined the crowd as it was headed to the church in order to venerate the relic of the True Cross, again with the intention of luring others into sin. When she got to the door of the church, she was unable to enter. A miraculous force propelled her away from the door each time she approached. After trying to get in three or four times, Mary of Egypt moved to a corner of the churchyard and began to cry tears of remorse.

Then she saw a statue of the Blessed Virgin. She prayed to the Holy Mother for permission to enter the church for the purposes of venerating the relic. She promised the Virgin Mother that if she were allowed to enter the church, she would renounce the world and its ways.

Mary of Egypt entered the church, venerated the relic and returned to the statue outside to pray for guidance. She heard a voice telling her to cross the Jordan River and find rest. She set out and in the evening, she arrived at the Jordan and received communion in a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

The next day, she crossed the river and went into the desert, where she lived alone for 47 years. Then, while making his Lenten retreat, a priest named Zosimus found the hermitess. She asked him to return to the banks of the Jordan on Holy Thursday of the following year and to bring her Communion. The priest was true to his word and returned bearing the Eucharist. Mary told him to come back again the next year, but to the place where he had originally met her.

When Zosimus returned in a year's time, he found Mary's corpse. On the ground beside it was a written request that she be buried accompanied by a statement that she had died one year ago, in 421 A.D., on the very night she had received Holy Communion.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CHAR VANCE - After a startling vision of Jesus on the cross, comedian turned into a Catholic Written by Michael H. Brown

Reported in Spirit online newspaper. When life seems to be closing in on us, in a world that so often seems upside-down, there one way to exit, and that's through humor. A sure cure for our ills is found in laughter! Usually, we should be laughing at ourselves. And one thing that should make us smile is how silly it is to worry when we have God. In the Light of His eternity and angels and watchfulness, there is nothing to fear but lack of prayer. We can even pray for a good sense of humor!

Many of you have heard the experts talk about how laughter can help us recover from serious illnesses. That's because humor is a spiritual release and when we release something on that level, it goes to both our emotions and bodies.

A great example of this -- of both healing and laughter -- is Char Vance, the television producer and comedian from New Orleans who is often out there speaking at conferences and causing people to roll in the aisles. Char had been in the radio business when she suffered a horrendous accident. It was on Halloween night at a farm she owned back in the 1980s. She and a group were riding on a tractor-pulled wagon when suddenly they caught sight of the barn on fire. Char jumped off in hopes of running to the blaze but got caught underneath, injured so badly it looked like part of her leg would have to be amputated. The ankle was severely damaged.

Just crushed. No bone support at all. It looked like a lifelong handicap. At the time, Char Vance was not a Catholic, but a friend got her to go to the apparition site of Medjugorje -- much besmirched these days by the devil. And for good reason: this is a place of enormous conversion. Ask Char. Her recounting of her trip and her conversion to the Catholic faith -- more importantly, to faith in Jesus -- is a hilarious excursion into deep spirituality. Finally, it has been captured on videotape.

At Medjugorje, where Char hobbled in a huge, lumbering cast, the Louisiana woman climbed the holy highland of Mount Krizevac despite those who thought it was crazy and despite her own skepticism. "I wondered why [after Apparition Hill], they wanted us to go up the mountain," she jokes. "I said, why do you have us climbing two hills, two mountains in one day? It's not like we're going to run out of fun things to do here!" Here she was in a place with no TV and no hotels and no pools, drinking beer while everyone else was praying the Rosary in a way she saw as strange and obsessive. But Char went up the "hill." As she walked a dirt road on the outskirts of the village, something had said to her, "You know, it will be just your luck if something big happens up there and you're gonna miss it." That's what had finally convinced her to go up. She and her companions caught a cab. When they got to the mountain, many others were doing the same.

"I didn't know a lot of prayers," says Char, who was not a Catholic at the time. "I knew 'Now I lay me down to sleep' and the Lord's Prayer, but that's the most wonderful thing you Catholics have: you have prayers for everything," she jokes. "You know, you got department heads. You lost something, you got St. Anthony. You got bad eyes you got St. Lucy..." Heading up the mountain and praying at the Fourth Station of the Cross, Char propped up her cast on a boulder and here comes a monk -- a very unusual monk. "He had on this white robe and the hood up and he's carrying a tripod with nothing on it, no camera. And he's looking directly at me," says Char. "And coming to me. And he says, 'You know, when I was in Germany, I had the good fortune of meeting Theresa Neumann.' To me it was like saying, 'I met John Jones.' He said, 'You know who that is, don't you?' I said, 'No.' And he said, 'Well, she was a stigmatist.'" Got me again, said Char. "Don't you know what a stigmatist is?" the man asked.

Uh uh, replied Char.
He explained what a stigmatic was (someone who had received the wounds of Christ) and pulling out a rosary told her that he had put it on her stigmatic wounds and that it had since healed people of many problems, including cancer. "Here I am with this big cast on the rock, and he says, 'I would like your permission to put this on your head!'"It's hard to convey how Char tells this story. Her inflections, her timing, her side comments are hilarious. The tape shows an audience in constant stitches. But she was telling a serious story. "When something like this happens, you think 'somebody has tapped into your thoughts' -- and you better start thinking some holy pious thoughts QUICK!"

The mysterious stranger told Char to say seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Bes, and when she got to the top, the Creed. "When he left he would talk to others," she recounts. "If they were French he would begin talking in French. If you were Spanish he would start speaking Spanish. It was like he knew what you were before he got there."At the seventh Station, the comedian noticed the "monk" was kind of winded. Char offered him a canteen of water. "He smiled a smile that went all the way through me," she says.

Medjugorje is famous for the reports of mysterious strangers -- including monks or nuns in white. When Char got to the top, the seers were ready to have an apparition. Char didn't want to see anything -- afraid there would be hysteria and she would fall off the mountain! They were at the large cross there. "All of a sudden it's gets quiet, quiet, quiet. All of a sudden, that cross lit up, and it lit up, best I can describe it, like those old strobe lights, quick, and I see Jesus on the cross. I saw him like I have never seen a person before or since. He looked horrible -- horrible -- his nose was laying over, and He had this enormous crown, not this little crown like you see. This thing was like a big bird's nest. That quickly it lit up again and I saw it again."

Vance wasn't alone. Others in her group were astonished to witness the same thing. The mountain is known for a wide array of phenomena -- although this particular type we had not previously encountered. It is the cross where the Blessed Mother says she prays each day.

A woman next to Char said, "Did you just see Christ on that cross?" Char felt "totally zapped." She now knew without a doubt that God and the Blessed Mother existed. When she got back, she had to go to the doctor for x-rays. She went in the waiting room "and all of a sudden the technician comes out with all these x-rays and he says [in a loud voice], 'Charlene Vance, you've been healed, you've been healed!'" "You should have seen the people in there with their People magazines!" she jokes.

But it was true: the nurse ran in too, and then the doctor arrived -- gracing them with his "presence." "When's the last time you saw a doctor come into the waiting room!" she recalls with a roll of her eyes. "The nurse said, 'Did you hear about?'" The doctor said he had to take a look at it. It looked like there was bone growth! He asked Char to slowly try to see if she could move her toes. She could do more than that. She could rotate her whole ankle! She was with her mother. "I started dancing around and saying, 'Ma, ma, I can walk, praise God I can walk!' He runs out and brings out another doctor and they look at the x-rays and my mother says, 'Doctor, doctor, what is it,' and he says -- direct quote -- 'There's absolutely no correlation in her x-rays before she went and when she got back. There's total bone growth everywhere.'"

Jesus is the same as He was 2,000 years ago, she tells those who see her. "Miracles do happen. Believe in miracles. Expect a miracle. Miracles do happen," says Char, who now helps produce videos for Focus International, headed by retired Archbishop Phillip Hannan. "The real miracle was when God healed my head with the gift of faith. Miracles do happen, but they happen in God's time and in His way."

Char had some medals from Medjugorje and started walking all around and passing them out to the people in the waiting room. "Have a medal! Have a medal!" She walked out of that office and never needed crutches like they said she would need crutches and never received a day of therapy. And of yes: Charlene Vance became a Catholic six months to the day that she had climbed the mountain. [Footnote: she also was to learn that Theresa Neumann, the stigmatic, had been born on Friday, April 8, which is Char's birthday -- in fact she too was born on a Friday -- and was injured trying to put out a fire in a barn. It was her ankle that was injured, and the mystic was healed a year later!]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rosary - Incredible Photo

An amazing picture became a message of faith in Spain . This was taken at the baptism of Valentino Mora, son of Erica, a single mom of 21 who asked the photographer to take a picture of her son for free.

The photo of the baptism of Valentino Mora is sweeping the Internet, because at the time the priest pours the Holy water over his head, the water flows in the shape of a rosary (see photo above).

This story began at the Parish of the Assumption of Our Lady in Cordova , Spain , where the baptism of a one month baby took place. At the time that Valentino came to the baptismal font for the sacrament of baptism, Erica asked the photographer Maria Silvana Salles, who was hired by other parents baptizing their babies, to take a photo of her son as a favor, since the young mother had no way of paying for it. The photographer, moved by Erica's request, agreed to take a photo of Valentino.

Maria Silvana works with a traditional camera and had to send the film to be developed to a shop in Cordova. When she received the photos, she noticed with surprise that the water poured from the head of Valentino was a perfect rosary.

The photo of the baptism of Valentino has awakened faith in the people of Cordova who come to the humble home of Erica and Valentino Mora to touch him.

The truth is that this sign of faith has mobilized this town in Cordova, whose neighbors go to Maria Silvana's store to buy the picture as if it were a prayer card.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Colleen Willard Medjugorje Testimony of Healing

Medical Report: Women was healed of cancer and other illnesses at Medjugorje

We report the recent appearent healing of a woman from Chicago that might inspire some of us for God's presence in our lives.

When a woman from the western suburbs of Chicago named Colleen Willard who apparently experienced a remarkable healing at the famous apparition site of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina went to her doctor in Chicago, a pulmonary specialist, she walked right up to the reception desk and said, “I’m Colleen Willard”. Everyone in the office knew her by sight and said, “No, you’re not”. Shocked, she said, “Yes, I am!” They screamed running through the office yelling, “Dr. Duggan, Dr. Duggan, come here!” Baffled by the excitement in his office he walked into the room quickly. He saw Colleen and, as if struck by lightening, his entire perspective on life changed. He said, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”

We first heard Colleen's story in September from long-time Medjugorje resident Patrick Latta. Immediately we called Gail and Jack Boos and heard the following story from Gail:

"Colleen suffered from an inoperable brain tumor that affected her pituitary gland and all of her fine and gross motor skills. She had rickets, her thyroid had completely dried up to the size of a raisin, she had lupus, fibromyalgia and nine other painful and deadly illnesses. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota (top research clinic in the United States for spinal cord injuries and brain tumors) reminded Colleen often that just to be alive was a miracle, even without the brain tumor. We first met Colleen when she asked us, despite her pain, if she could volunteer for our organization, St. Clare Helper of the Poor, Inc. She became one of our biggest fund raisers for refugees and the poor in Bosnia, utilizing the telephone when her voice permitted.

In the last stages of cancer, Colleen’s suffering became so extreme that prayer was her only recourse. She could no longer climb the stairs to her bedroom or prayer room, she could not go to the bathroom without assistance, and to only touch her skin caused unimaginable pain. Colleen’s husband, John, continued to work while their 21 year old son agreed to stay home and take care of Colleen. One day I shared with Colleen about our many trips to Medjugorje. Colleen felt inspired to go but she knew she couldn’t go in her present physical state. And with medical bills from Mayo Clinic piling up, her family simply did not have the money. Still, Colleen said, “I don’t want to go for a healing, I only want to go and experience Blessed Mother and this holy place”. That was in April. In August Colleen called us and said, “John and I are praying about going on this trip.” I said, “Colleen, it would only be by the grace of God that you could make it across the ocean in your condition.” And she said, “No Gail, we’ve been praying with our hearts and I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, if you really want me to go, I need a confirmation. Let Fr. Agniello call me tomorrow and I will know that I am supposed to go.’ The next morning at 9:00, Fr. Agniello called and said, “Colleen, I don’t know why but I’m supposed to call you this morning.” So she knew that she and John were meant to go. That was her confirmation.

We were down to the last couple of weeks of getting everything ready to go to Medjugorje. John paid their fare and we were all to meet in Chicago. I talked to John and told him that I thought it was really important that he take out a second insurance policy on Colleen because if she were to get really sick in Medjugorje, she might die and the cost to get her back home might be six or seven figures.

Just a week before leaving, she was in the hospital. She was supposed to be on oxygen in order to survive. This was last year. She could hardly speak for more than several minutes at a time. "It wasn't actually confirmed as cancer, because they could not even do a biopsy," Colleen said later. "It was an inoperable brain tumor that sat right in front of the hypothalamus gland next to the major blood vessel in the brain".

Getting onto the plane, Colleen and John were miraculously upgraded to business class. Colleen was given medication every two hours to control the pain. In Split airport, John and Jack took Colleen’s feet and lifted them one at a time, step by step onto the bus. But in all of her pain she was joyful, always smiling, always praising God that she had made it that far.

The next morning, Vicka was speaking. (ed.: Vicka is one of the visionaries in Medjugorje, shown left on the picture that was taken in the middle of an apparition.) Colleen was pushed in her wheel chair as far as she could go in order to get a glimpse of Vicka. But all of the people around were pushing her, leaning on her, mothers were bringing their children in and passing them over her head--I thought, ‘I made a horrible mistake by bringing her up here. Please Lord forgive me. This is too much for her!' Just then her head dropped and I thought Colleen had died because she had told me that she could die at any moment if the pituitary gland gave way or her head was hit too hard. Her husband was way in back so he pushed his way through the crowd, lifted her head back, put some morphine mixed with another medicine under her tongue and we waited. It took her quite some time to revive.

When Vicka finished speaking she pushed her way through the crowd and approached Colleen. Her first words to her in English were “Praise God! Praise God!” Vicka opened her arms, reached inside Colleen’s wheelchair and pulled her into her chest hugging and kissing her, holding Colleen's body. Then she put her left hand on Colleen’s head and as she went to put her right hand also, pilgrims literally pulled her hand away and stuffed prayer petitions, rosaries and pictures into her hand. But Vicka, with her beautiful heavenly presence and her smile, continued to pray over Colleen and several of us saw this: It looked like a golden globe came from Vicka’s hand. Vicka had her hand on Colleen for a long time and Colleen kept saying, “My head is like coals! My head is burning! It’s like a spiral going through my body!.” When Vicka finished praying over Colleen--about 10 minutes--she bent over and hugged Colleen again and kissed her again. Colleen was crying. (Vicka is on the right with an unusual light.)

So we got Colleen into a taxi and back to church and John rolled her to the very front. Jack and I stayed at the back. Later, Colleen shared with us that when the priest began to consecrate the host, she heard the Blessed Mother say, “My daughter, will you surrender to God the Father? Will you surrender to my Spouse, the Holy Spirit? Will you surrender to my Son, Jesus?” and Colleen heard Blessed Mother say, “Will you surrender now?” And Colleen said, “Yes I will surrender now, all for the glory of heaven, all for the glory of God”. At that moment, her legs began to tingle.

As Vicka prayed, Colleen was taken into a different realm. One observer said it looked like "a golden globe came from Vicka’s hand. Vicka had her hand on Colleen for a long time and Colleen kept saying, 'My head is like coals! My head is burning! It’s like a spiral going through my body!'" Adds Colleen herself: "There was total silence. I'll tell you this: I'm not afraid of dying any more. There wasn't even light. The moment she placed her hand on my head, all outside sound stopped, totally. I was so immersed in the Presence of God, nothing else existed but Him and His Presence."

It also occurred during Mass. Colleen feels that the Blessed Mother spoke to her. "God does not give you a disease and leave you abandoned," is the way she summarizes the lesson. And He brought that message all the way to Bosnia. "He was still there, the whole time, and it was right before the consecration at Mass that Our Lady had said this. And when I heard her, never having heard her before, as God is my witness, I heard her as if it went through my entire self. And when she spoke I couldn't hear any other words that were being said. When the Eucharist was placed on my tongue, immediately at that point I was aware of heat leaving, and when the heat was leaving, the pain that I had 24 hours a day started to go. It was at that point, after Holy Communion, that my husband looked at me and never said a word. He saw on my face what was happening, and got down on his knees next to the wheelchair. I said, 'John, please get me out of this wheelchair. It feels cumbersome. I can move my hands. I can move my arms. Look: there's no pain!" To the shock of observers, she was able to get out of the chair.

It was a total shock. John was behind her pushing the empty wheelchair and there stood Colleen. She walked right out of church. We went to Viktor’s restaurant and people were running to her. They had heard of the healing and even seen it. She walked back to the pansion where she played with her husband, pushing him in the wheelchair. The next day she climbed Apparition Hill on her own. Then she made it to the sixth station of Krizevac, even though she had the strength to make it to the top—at the request of a priest—she prayed instead of continuing.

Upon her return to the team of doctors in the United States who were looking after her health, Colleen was completely tested and all tests came back normal. She now has a working thyroid, the brain tumor has disappeared and all illnesses are eradicated from her body. But, Colleen and John wondered how they would explain her healing to the doctor at the Mayo Clinic. When she opened the door for her appointment, the doctor pushed his chair away from his desk, smiled at her and said, "So, you have been to Medjugorje! You are our third major unexplainable healing coming from there!" The problem was solved. There was nothing to explain.

Colleen's healing has joined hundreds of others in St James parish records which closely resemble those from Lourdes. But Colleen's story is far from being over! As she was courageously serving Jesus and the poor before her healing, offering up the terrible and continuous pain she endured, she now offers her health to answer Jesus' call. The key words of Colleen's life and of all the incredible blessings which are flowing from it, are indeed, "Yes, I surrender!"

The healing process was at full throttle. God had intervened. Most of the ailments had disappeared. And now it is up to the experts at the parish and even at the Vatican to discern if this is a recognizable miracle -- one of hundreds reported at the apparition site. As for Colleen, her advice to the infirm: remember that when we are sick, there are many blessings available.

EXCELLENT 20 MIN - YOU TUBE of Colleen Willlard Testimony


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

During the season of Lent, a time to renew our spiritual life and to offer up gifts of love to our God, there is no better gift than to reflect on our souls as to where we presently stand in the light of God's judgment. For surely, with so many prophesized warnings given by saints, seers and prophets throughout the ages of an exact time when every living being will see their souls exactly as God sees it-that is, all the good and all the bad accumulated in a lifetime up to that point-it will occur.

According to many related and recorded near-death experiences, this same grace happens at the moment of death or near-death; and, for those of us alive at the time when it occurs throughout the world to every living being, it will come without warning and we will experience the exact same grace. The difference is, we will have full, undeniable knowledge of the reality of God, and the free will choice to do something about it.

This holy grace of revelation as to where we stand in the judgment of God has generally been called "The Warning" or "The Illumination of the soul." Whatever one wishes to call it, it only makes sense that it is also one of the ten secrets the Blessed Virgin Mary has given to the visionaries of Medjugorje. It can be further stated that it is conceivably one of the three warnings that will be given at Medjugorje after the apparitions cease to occur, to let the world know that this event is from God and that He is real. The first three secrets are in fact the warnings. Since it has been revealed by way of personal messages received by the visionaries in the early days of the apparitions what two of the warnings are-even if purposely ambiguous-this could conceivably be the other.

The Illumination of the Soul will be like a spiritual x-ray that will reveal to each individual which path they are on: the path to damnation or the path to salvation. Man-kind will then have the free will to decide to follow the path to God or the path to Satan. Sadly, as the Blessed Virgin Mary has stated in her messages to various seers, some will still follow the path to damnation, even though they will know without doubt that God exists and that He loves every creature.

The credibility of the Illumination of the Soul (or The Warning) comes from a number of supernatural events. It was foretold to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830 (at Rue du BAC in Paris, France place of the Miraculous medal), to St. Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s (Divine Mercy Kracow, Poland), and to the four young seers of Garabandal, Spain, to whom Our Lady appeared many times from 1961-1965. Other visionaries have since spoken of it and there is general agreement that, as a result of this happening, millions of sinners will repent and be restored to grace. With the nearly 29 years of daily apparitions at Medjugorje and the thousands of messages of calling for repentance now, the battle lines between good and evil are more clearly drawn than ever before.

According to the visionaries of Garabandal, within one year of the Warning, or Illumination, a great miracle will occur in the skies over Garabandal involving a sign that they say can be seen and photographed but cannot be touched. The same has been related by the visionaries of Medjugorje. A permanent sign is to be left on Podbrdo Hill (Apparition Hill as we call it) where the apparitions of Medjugorje began. As at Garabandal, it can not be touched; does that mean it physically can not be touched or that it is forbidden to be touched? We do not know.

This permanent sign, they say, is the third warning, or the third secret of Medjugorje. They go a step further to report that the Virgin stated that the first warning, or secret, will be a great upheaval somewhere in the world. Again, there is no revelation as to whether it will be geographic, political or something else. Regardless, if a soul is not converted to God by this time, it will be too late.

With such knowledge given and verified so many times, our reaction based on faith and the confirmation of Medjugorje's messages, should be one of repentance. Repentance loosely defined is acknowledgment of not following the way of God as best we can. It can be interchanged with the words contriteness, regret and remorse.

Thus, Lent is our time to closely reflect as to where we stand with God now, not waiting for that fearsome event of Illumination of the soul; and then, of course, to do something about it.

According to a wide number of souls who have experienced near-death and have come so close to actual death, what they saw in their own judgments was so many little slights to others by word, thought and deed. These acts toward others appear to have great weight. Some of what we might consider to be the most trivial of things. As one woman who experienced near-death put it, she saw how every nice word or action created light that circled the world while each negative one did the opposite.

A great Catholic theologian named Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange once wrote that "at the moment of separation the soul knows itself without medium, on all its merits and demerits. It sees its state without possibility of error, sees all that it has thought, desired, said, and done, both in good and evil." The entire past, he said, is seen "in a glance." That is precisely what those who have been declared dead but then miraculously revived have reported.

As Our Lady has said so many times in her messages to us through Medjugorje, don't wait for the secrets before deciding to change and follow God. Do it now.

Lent is the time to begin the change.
May the peace, grace and love of Jesus be with each of us.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Deceiver by LIVIO FANZAGA***

Satan seduces, but you are the one who decides. Even though his seduction is very powerful, he can not bend your will to do evil. Even though the tempest of thoughts, desires, resentment, and hatred he stirs in your heart is overwhelming, there is no sin without your free and conscious consent. Eve sinned because she wanted to sin. God has put our will exclusively in our hands.

The Corruption**

There are apostles of evil. They are people who besides ruining themselves drag along other souls also. They have perverted themselves into becoming demons, as Saint Catherine of Siena asserted, and thus "fulfill the office of the demons," inducing others to sin. It is truly said that one never sins alone. Our sin is negatively reflected in our neighbors. If we do not repent quickly and return to God the heart is hardened and, almost to reassure ourselves, we drag others along the way of ruin.

Eve was so possessed by evil that she did not hesitate to entice Adam also. "She also gave some to her husband, and he ate" (Gen 3:6). When you examine your life, remember all the times that by your words, evil example, and complicity you have pushed your neighbor into the arms of the evil one. Think of all those souls that are lost in sin because of you. Repent before God, repair the damages you have caused, and make yourself an apostle of good.

The corruptors of souls are the great strength of the demon. In the contemporary world, they occupy very significant and visible positions in various fields such as culture, science, politics or economics, including the realm of the mass media. They have learned the vernacular of flattery and lies from their teacher. Despising truth and exalting error, they disparage good and virtue while exalting evil and vice. They are the faithful servants of Satan, and they will go with him to his kingdom of death in recompense.

Watch out for such people, even if they are very close to you and united to you by bonds of affection. You show your worthiness as a human being by saying no to evil, even if the one who proposes it is most dear to you. If Adam had said no to Eve, he would have undoubtedly saved himself and perhaps even her. No human respect, no bond of friendship, no reason of human nature, nor any interest must ever cause you stay with anyone who proposes evil. It is much better to lose a friend or family member than to lose God for all of eternity.

Nevertheless, Adam took the fruit Eve offered him without argument, and he ate it. He blindly followed his wife, even when fell into the abyss. How many behave like this! Like leaves in the wind, they are dragged where the world wants, and Satan rejoices over the spoils obtained so cheaply. The law of the herd, public opinion polls, and social brainwashing dominate the modern world. You, however, must be very attentive to the voice of God. Keep your conscience illuminated by the Church and never stray from her, no matter what others think, even if they are those whom you love the most.

From Disillusionment to Illusion**

When man commits evil, he is inevitably degraded. He then opens his eyes and all that before seemed beautiful and desirable, afterwards entirely loses its attractiveness. First evil attracts you, then it poisons you. From the illusion of obtaining much happiness follows both disillusionment and disappointment. Once the fruit was eaten "the eyes of both were opened." Adam and Eve had deluded themselves into thinking that they could become "like God" but found themselves deprived of divinity and its gifts. The conscience begins to feel remorse. That God Whom you have driven from your heart by sinning does not abandon you. In His goodness He makes you hear His voice in the depths of your being. It is a voice that disapproves of the evil you have committed and at the same time is an invitation to return to the straight way.

Consider this great grace that opens the eyes after the satanic temptation. It is the moment in which, if you are honest with yourself, you realize that Satan has deceived you. With all that he has offered you he has succeeded in destroying your dignity, morality and your soul. He has given you something, but he himself has taken your heart. You, like Adam and Eve, realize your nakedness. You have been stripped of sanctifying grace and of the gifts of spiritual beauty and wisdom that adorned you: now you see yourself in your misery.

The disillusionment that comes after every sin, with the verification of the deception, the remorse of conscience, and the consciousness of the damages you have suffered, constitutes a moment of great grace, even though in the context of a spiritual catastrophe. After every sin, the Divine Wisdom opens our eyes so that we see the despicable face of evil. This always happens unless a person, persevering on the way of ruin, suffocates his conscience and hardens his heart.

Adam and Even, having realized the lie of the tempter and the existential catastrophe into which they had fallen, would have been able and should have cried out to God from the depths of their misery. The Creator in His goodness would have listened to them and would have come to their aid. So we, dear friend, have at the moment of the grace of disillusionment the possibility of a ready rehabilitation, if we turn humbly and contritely to that God Whom we have foolishly abandoned.

Unfortunately, this happens all too rarely. More often, man falls again into that satanic deception, desiring to try again the fruit which has proven to be so untrustworthy and poisonous. The disillusionment is followed by a new illusion, and this process continues, so that man enters into a deadly mechanism that crushes the soul, driving it to blindness and to total death.

Many men waste their lives following illusions which are followed immediately by disillusionment. "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again," declare Jesus (Jn 4:13). Only the mercy of God can break this satanic chain which renders us slaves, but you must cooperate with the grace which opens your eyes every time you do evil. Think of the last sin you committed. Were you happy to place your trust in the demon? Didn't you become disillusioned, saddened, and degraded? Why then do you wish to repeat the same experience, believing again and again the allurements of the tempter?

There may come a time in which, having sinned, your eyes are no longer opened. It is a very alarming signal, because it means [ou are entering the spiritual status of impenitence. This happens when you advance unperturbed along the way of perversion and our conscience is finally snuffed out completely. Then the worst crimes can be committed without your feeling remorse. How many souls move in this level of deep darkness, in which they have given their unconditional consent to Satan and to his kingdom of perdition! Only a great grace, with the awakening of conscience, could now save them.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Transforming Power of Kind Thoughts:

The Hidden Power of Kindness-by LOVASIK

Kind thoughts help you deal successfully with others.
As a mother's love draws the heart of her child like a powerful magnet, so, too, does the genuinely kind person wield the power to influence others for good. Only a kind person is able to judge another justly and to make allowances for his weaknesses. A kind eye, while recognizing defects, sees beyond them. Its gaze is like that of a gentle mother who judges her beloved child more leniently, and at the same time more correctly, than a stranger would.

No one ever saw human weakness more clearly than Jesus saw it in His apostles. Yet how patient He was with their worldliness, their faults! The wellspring of His patience was a kindness of heart that nothing could disturb. His followers clung to Him with an un­shakable confidence. Love radiated from His person and warmed the hearts of those surrounding Him. Nevertheless, on occasion He could show a firmness that nothing could weaken. Never did He waver or compromise when the glory of His Father or the sal­vation of souls was at stake.

Whenever your soul cherishes a gracious thought, it is as if God sees His own Being reflected in a silent, sacred likeness. A kind thought is like the image of the Savior in your soul. God beholds it and rejoices at it and blesses your soul because your thoughts and sentiments are so much after His own Heart.

Character is both formed and influenced in the world of your thoughts. If you are master in your thoughts, you are master... 1 John 3:14...everywhere.
If you have learned to control your thoughts, you have yourself completely under control. If you have a kind heart, your words and deeds will also be kind. If you fostered more kind thoughts, you would necessarily be richer also in kind deeds. It must, therefore, be very important to cultivate kind thoughts.

Kind thoughts preserve you from many sins against charity.

The practice of kind thoughts has an effect on your spiritual life. It leads to self-denial. The practice of kind thoughts enables you to overcome criticism and all the influence it may exert on others. You thereby sacrifice successes at the moment they are within your reach. The triumph over a proud heart and a bitter temper is the result of difficult spiritual combat, but it brings its re­ward, for self-denial is a fountain of peace and joy in your soul.

The practice of kind thoughts is your main help to that com­plete control of the tongue without which all religion is vain, as St. James says.130 The interior beauty of your soul through habitual kindness of thought is greater than words can describe.
The practice of kind thoughts helps you to grow in the spiritual life. It opens and smooths the paths of prayer. It sheds a clear, still light over your self-knowledge and enables you to find God easily.Kind thoughts imply a contact with God and have a special power to let in upon you the light of God. They are the scent with which the creature is penetrated through the indwelling of the Creator.
Charity is the deepest view of life, because it is nearest to God's view. This is the reverse of a worldly and superficial view of things. God's view is not merely the truest view, but the only view that is true at all...'"James 1:26....

Thus, uncharitable judgments and prejudices, misun­derstandings and suspicions, envy and jealousy, and uncharitable words and slander will not take root in a soul that thinks kind thoughts. Aversions and bitterness disappear, strained relations are smoothed out, and petty arguments end of themselves.

If you were to make it a practice to begin each day with benev­olent thoughts in your heart, instead of selfish ambition, you would not be inclined to deny a helping hand or ignore a favor rendered you.

You would certainly be disposed to spare the feelings of oversensitive persons, to sympathize with the suffering, and to help others in the solution of vexing problems confronting them. If, instead of harsh thoughts and bitter resentment, you fostered in your heart a readiness to forgive and forget, you would not find it too difficult to adopt a friendly attitude toward those who are ha­bitually cold and hostile toward you.

To keep firmly to supernatural principles in your daily conduct is not easy. It takes great willpower to master thoughts of hatred, selfishness, and mistrust that rush in upon you and to turn them into gracious and kind thoughts. You need God's grace and much self-discipline to realize the ideal expressed in the words of St. Paul: "Put on, then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, com­passion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience."13
Get into the habit of putting a kind interpretation on all you see and hear, and of having kind thoughts of everyone of whom you think. This will enable you to live a new life in a new world.

Compare it to your state in Heaven someday. One very impor­tant feature of Heaven will be the absence of all bitterness and criticism and the possession of thoughts of the most tender kind­ness. Thus, by cultivating kind thoughts, you are in a very special way preparing for Heaven. You are actually earning Heaven. By God's grace, you are imitating in your own mind that upon which, in the Divine Mind, you rest all your hopes — merciful judg­ments, favorable interpretations, thoughts of kindness, and tolerant compassion.

Kind thoughts imply a great deal of thinking about others ac­cording to a divine ideal — the ideal of charity. By sweetening the fountains of your thoughts, you destroy the bitterness of your judg­ments. And if you are habitually kind in thought through super­natural motives, you are far on the way to becoming a saint....Col. 3:12. 132 Phil. 4:7. 133 Matt. 5:9.