Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Three Ages of the Interior Life - Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange


As everyone can easily understand, the interior life is an elevated form of intimate conversation which everyone has with himself as soon as he is alone, even in the tumult of a great city. From the moment he ceases to converse with his fellow men, man converses interiorly with himself about what preoccupies him most. This conversation varies greatly according to the different ages of life; that of an old man is not that of a youth. It also varies greatly according as a man is good or bad.

As soon as a man (woman) seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary (1) consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.

The interior life thus conceived is something far more profound and more necessary in us than intellectual life or the cultivation of the sciences, than artistic or literary life, than social or political life.  Unfortunately, some great scholars, mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers have no interior life, so to speak, but devote themselves to the study of their science as if God did not exist. In their mo ments of solitude they have no intimate conversation with Him. Their life appears to be in certain respects the search for the true and the good in a more or less definite and restricted domain, but it is so tainted with self-love and intellectual pride that we may legitimately question whether it will bear fruit for eternity. Many artists, literary men, and statesmen never rise above this level of purely human activity which is, in short, quite exterior. Do the depths of their souls live by God? It would seem not.

This shows that the interior life, or the life of the soul with God, well deserves to be called the one thing necessary, since by it we tend to our last end and assure our salvation. This last must not be too widely separated from progressive sanctification, for it is the very way of salvation.

St. Pope Pius X miracle 1954

Editor of Vatican paper says he received miracle from St. Pope Pius X

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The editor of the Vatican newspaper said he was cured of a childhood disease through the intercession of St. Pope Pius X. "I have an authentic veneration for him because, according to family tradition, I was miraculously cured because of him," said Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano. In 1954, when Vian had just turned 2 years old, he was struck by "an almost deadly form of diphtheria," he said in an interview with Il Consulente Re, an online Italian Catholic magazine. Vian said that on the eve of Pope Pius' canonization in May 1954, a Spanish priest who was a friend of Vian's father said the family should pray for the intercession of the late pope. Family members already felt a close tie to the Treviso-born pope because they were from the same part of northern Italy, Vian said. After the priest celebrated Mass "on the pope's tomb" in St. Peter's Basilica, "I was cured," Vian said.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Dear friends,

I would like to share with you what happened after my healing on October 19, 2010 in Medjugorje.  When I walked out of the church in Medjugorje on that first evening I was able to see the light, faces of the people, I could see how their lips and eyes were moving. As days passed by, my sight was improving gradually. Today, I only thank my Lord for not having healed me at once, suddenly; I wouldn’t be able to take that. On the way back to Switzerland, as we drove in the bus I was able to see some kind of “messy trees”. My friend Claudia told me to tell her if I happen to see something like that again. Few minutes passed by, the bus continued its drive and finally I was able to see “messy tree” again. It turned out those were palm trees, Claudia told me.  Imagine how you would feel if you woke up after 42 years. Nothing is as it was before. My friends from prayer group are wonderful to me. They are giving me strength for this new awakening, for looking into the Light.
When I returned to Switzerland, I got to know anew my two brothers, my sister, and my parents. When it gets dark, that becomes resting time for me. The life starts to look as it was before. I do not stop with my prayers to Jesus and Mary. It was my parents through whom I started loving Jesus and Mary, and I passed the same love towards my daughter Vinciane, who was in Medjugorje with me.
In those first days, as I looked at high buildings in Lausanne, buildings with more than ten floors, I would be sick all the time, I was sweating and felt like vomiting. I didn’t feel like going out at all, because I would have to look at those high buildings. The same was with the people: every encounter was making me nervous and uncomfortable. Whatever happens, I am not losing my faith, for if Jesus through Mary gave me back my sight, I am positive He will give me strength to bear with difficulties that are accompanying my healing.
Faith, patience, courage and trust are those kind signs that I am holding onto in my life. I am sure that Jesus always completes his work, He who does it all in kindness and in discrete way.
Today I am able to differentiate the colours. I can see huge objects like houses, trees, green gardens, cars; I can see our ca, stairs, sun and people. I came back to work and I am able to do all house works much easily. Vinciane rejoices to this change that happens to her mother and says that we have God’s peace in our home! I remain with you in prayer.

Joelle Beuret – Devanthery
Lausanne, November 19, 2010

P.S. Something that will help you in understanding what I am going through:
People always told me that I was lucky because I could not see this ugly and grey world. They told me that people are miserable. I imagined that the earth was grey, that people are like some grey sticks, that sun is shining through thick layer of fog, that even the water we drink is grey and blurry.
Imagine how I was surprised when I discovered beautiful and colourful nature, smiling people, beautiful sun on the blue sky, all full of order and kindness. Praised be Thee, my God!
I would imagine that people are crushed like fish in a can while they stand on the station stops and that used to wear me down completely. Today, I can save fifteen minutes every day because  I can find my way through the people much faster and I am able to get everywhere in faster way. Thank you, Mary!
Those unfaithful Thomas’ from my surrounding were saying how something like this is not possible. Few days later that called me and told me how they can recognise God’s work in this miracle.
And I could tell you many other things, but it would all be too long.
They performed some minor tests already. I can see the light with my left eye, with my right even better. On December 8, 2010 I am to have another test in Basel, with one professor of ophthalmology. I will write to you again. Let us remain united in prayer, thanking Mary, Queen of Peace and Her Son Jesus who said: you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you become like the children... This healing gave me the soul of a child, the look of child who went from the night into the Light! Lord, everything is from You, everything is for our happiness and everything comes back to You.
SOURCE -,-who-followed-group-from-lausanne,-switzerland-on-their-pilgrimage-to-medjugorje,3388.html

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spreading human misery

Spreading human misery

Almost nobody is beyond redemption from drug addiction, but you wouldn't know it from the deep-throated baying for addiction enablement that dominates debate on the issue. And oh, the hypocrisy: There isn't a single AC pundit in this country militating for Insite who would passively allow his or her own child to use their services. Each and every one of them would move Heaven and Earth to ensure that their loved ones got intervention and treatment. As retired Vancouver policeman Al Arsenault, who patrolled the "chemical gulag" of Downtown Eastside Vancouver for 27 years and who calls Insite an "abject and utter failure," put it: "The rich get treatment, the poor get [Insite]."
Nobody has ever died of an overdose at Insite, a key argument for its supporters. That is true, but so what? No depressed people would ever die from stepping off the Golden Gate Bridge if there were a safety net below it. The net would do nothing to solve the depression of those jumping into the net, or help the many thousands of others who continued to jump from other high places in plain sight of the net. It would only give the impression that society is "doing something" to reduce the harm.
Just like Insite. Yes, 1,400 people use it, but Insite does not protect them from the health risks of direct-to-vein injection. They don't die from a sudden overdose, but they do die from their behaviour. There are better ways than Insite to spend public money. It is puzzling and rather shameful that the federal government has not found its tongue in making its own case on this file.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Have you ever noticed how easy it is to become distracted and spend our time on activities that are either non-productive or ineffective?
Our productivity, personal growth, & our present as well as our future depends on what our minds are focusing on at any given minute.

Since our future depends on our focus, my thoughts often turn toward Ephesians 5:15-17 ~ Be very careful, then, on how you live---not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

It’s our choice how we spend our time; we can choose to complain, criticize, worry & wish things were different or we can spend our time learning, creating, planning, encouraging & building people up. It’s difficult to be effective & productive in this life if we allow our minds to dwell on the negative.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Lent is here, and there's no better time than to begin the spiritual practice of fasting. Fasting is the utmost of prayers, causing breakthroughs within us and around us that prayer alone does not always do. Intractable problems are relieved. Jobs are found. Kids come back to church. Confusion dissolves into clarity. Hardship is handled. Doors open. Healing happens. And our hearts are cleansed to receive and give more love. A friend of mine once said to me, as his eyes filled with tears, "It's hard for me to fast, but I see so many beautiful things happening in my life, and to the people around me, that I can't stop."
Once you discover the blessings, heavenly aid, and power of fasting, you will not want to give up this important spiritual practice, even when Easter arrives. Fasting pulls down from God's throne a shower of graces.
But do we have to fast? Who says so? Jesus. Fasting, believe it or not, is a practice that Jesus assumed his disciples were doing. There are three very challenging and much ignored words that Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6. He says, "When you fast," and goes on to say, "do not look gloomy like the hypocrites." He doesn't say, "If you perhaps might one day decide to possibly give fasting a go, that is, if you feel like it." Jesus assumes that we are fasting in order to spread the kingdom of God. Fasting was a common practice in his time, and the book of Acts indicates that prayer and fasting were very important to his first disciples, aiding in their ministry and discernment (Acts 13:2, Luke 2:36-38). Moses fasted forty days and nights before receiving the Ten Commandments. Jesus fasted forty days and nights before beginning his public ministry. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also calls us to fast.   
Fasting purifies our souls, helping us to fight off temptation and conform our will to God's. When we say no to our appetites, we might see certain aspects of the flesh rise up in ourselves, like irritability, self-pity, anger, pride, lust, etc. We can blame it on the fasting, but actually, this practice simply allows us to see what is already inside ourselves, so that we might experience spiritual purification. It is no wonder that all the saints fasted. Without fasting, we can only get so far in the spiritual life, and our prayers for others and for the world will only be so effective. Prayer without fasting is like a bird trying to fly with only one wing.
An authentic Christian life is nurtured by acts of self-denial, which open the heart to love. If we were to follow our body's and our mind's every selfish inclination, we would successfully drown out God's voice and direction from our lives and mute the power of our prayers and Christian witness. Fasting tames our self-serving nature, and also unites us with the majority of the people in our world who live on simple diets like just rice and beans, since that's all they can afford.
Traditional fast days in the Church were Wednesdays and Fridays and Saturdays, and a most efficacious fast is to have bread and water on two of those days. As with all spiritual practices, danger can creep in, when one does it for the wrong reason: out of pride, or vanity, or without attention to personal health problems, or if one forgets that the entire reason behind it is to love God with all our mind, soul, heart and strength, and our neighbor as ourself. Fasting with the heart brings us closer to Jesus Christ. It is all about our intimate relationship with the One who loves us most.
God pays serious attention to our prayers when we fast because we're willing to sacrifice for what we believe in. A version of Mark, Chapter 9, verse 29 describes a situation where the disciples asked Jesus why they were not able to cast out a demon from a boy. Jesus responded: "This kind can only come out through prayer and through fasting."
The power in fasting has amazed me to no end, causing good things happen that otherwise might not. My husband and I adopted a beautiful baby boy a couple years ago, after waiting for a child in the foster care system for three and a half years. During the first week that we took the baby home, we came to a horrible crossroad. Our adoption worker called to tell us that the baby's biological mother, who had never met us, was choosing a different adoption service. The baby, with whom we were madly in love, was going to be taken away from our in two days on a Friday, and there was absolutely nothing we could do to prevent it. Shocked and grief-stricken, I began to cry, and my husband crawled into bed, pulled the covers over his head, and wouldn't move. We almost despaired. But by God's grace, we remembered there was something we could do. We could pray, and we could fast. For two and a half-days straight, we ate little-to-nothing and prayed constantly. Come that Friday, the day the baby was supposed to be taken away, the baby's birth mother and grandmother were sitting in our living room, grateful to choose us as parents.
St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, known for reading souls and converting an entire town in a few short years, was a great proponent of fasting. A parish priest once complained to him about the indifference of the people in his parish, and St. John Vianney answered, "You have preached, you have prayed, but have you fasted? Have you taken the discipline? Have you slept on the floor? So long as you have done none of these things, you have no right to complain."
He also once said, "My friend, the devil is not greatly afraid of instruments of penance. That which beats him is the curtailment of one's food, drink, and sleep. There is nothing the devil fears more, consequently nothing is more pleasing to God. Oh, how often I have experienced it! When I was alone, it happened at times that I refrained from food for entire days. On those occasions, I obtained, both for myself and for others, whatever I asked of Almighty God."
Mary, the Mother of God, has also spoken of the power of fasting through her messages in Medjugorje. She is urging the world to fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays-not just in Lent.
On July 21, 1982, she said: "The best fast is on bread and water. Through fasting and prayer, one can stop wars, one can suspend the laws of nature. Charity cannot replace fasting. Those who are not able to fast can sometime replace it with prayer, charity, and a confession; but everyone, except the sick, must fast."
A few months later, on December 25, 1982, she stressed again, "You have forgotten that through prayer and fasting you can avert wars and suspend the laws of nature."
If you find this hard to believe, I will conclude with a true story of prayer and fasting doing just that. I used to work as a resident minister at the University of San Francisco where I met a student named Dennis, who told me of something that happened to him in 1986, when he was home in the Philippines, a very Catholic country. During that time, people were no longer willing to tolerate the great injustice, corruption, and repression of basic human liberties by the country's dictatorship under Marco, which kept much of the population in extreme poverty. The people were demonstrating, marching and protesting in the streets. The government responded by employing tanks to begin firing at civilians. The Catholic bishops got word of this and publicized throughout the nation that everyone should begin to fast and pray the rosary. As this was happening, Dennis was marching in the street. A tank began to advance towards him, and he thought to himself, "I'm about to be killed. This is my last moment on earth." But suddenly he felt a wave of exquisite peace pass through him, and he fell to his knees, as though he were being lowered down gently. "It was so unreal," he said. "At one level, I knew that my life was in danger, and on another level, I was completely at peace, not worried about a single thing." Those who were standing around him fell to their knees, as well. All of the tanks came to a halt at the same time, and the soldiers began to climb out of them. They found themselves incapable of advancing or firing. Then protesters and small children walked towards the tanks and began handing the soldiers flowers. Later several interviews with soldiers revealed that they, too, had felt a wave of peace come over them and nothing in their entire beings would allow them to fight. They had overthrown the orders of their military superiors. This miraculous event came to be known as the Edsa revolution.
Through fasting, we take on a sliver of the cross, relieve some of Jesus' sufferings, help transform the world, and in return, gain a bit of heaven ourselves. If you wish to make a lasting difference in this world and experience spiritual breakthroughs in your life, try fasting this Lent-and beyond. 
Christine Watkins, MTS, LCSWAuthor of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of 
Healing and Conversion through Mary's Intercession
(AVAILABLE NOW from Ave Maria Press)


The hell with hell! says the modern mind. Of all Christianity's teachings, hell is certainly the least popular. Non-Christians ignore it, weak Christians excuse it, and anti-Christians attack it.
Some, like Bertrand Russell in his famous essay "Why I Am Not a Christian", argue that because Jesus clearly taught it, he was not a good moral teacher. (Russell's essay, by the way, makes fine devotional reading for a Christian. My college roommate was about to lose his faith until he read it; he said to me, "If those are the arguments against Christianity, I'd better be a Christian.")
Why do we believe there's a hell? Not because we're vindictive. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Why, then? Simply because we've been told, by Christ himself. There's a popular fallacy that Jesus spoke only comforting words and that the fear of hell began with Saint Paul. The textual truth is the opposite: Jesus uttered many "hell fire and damnation" sermons, while nearly all the passages that offer any hope to the universalist (who believe all men will be saved in the end) are from Paul.
Fear of hell is not a base motive. As George MacDonald says, "As long as there are wild beasts about, it is better to be afraid than secure. "God's graciousness accepts even the "low" motive of fear of hell for salvation if that's the best we can muster. His arms are open to all prodigals. He is not high-minded, like some of his detractors. All's fair in love and war. And life is both.
Hell follows from two other doctrines: heaven and free will. If there is a heaven, there can be a not-heaven. And if there is free will, we can act on it and abuse it. Those who deny hell must also deny either heaven (as does Western secularism) or free will (as does Eastern pantheism).
Hell and heaven make life serious. Heaven without hell removes the bite from life's drama. C. S. Lewis once said that he never met a single person who had a lively faith in heaven without a similar belief in hell. The height of the mountain is measured by the depth of the valley, the greatness of salvation by the awfulness of the thing we're saved from.
What is hell? The popular image of demons gleefully poking pitchforks into unrepentant posteriors misses the point of the biblical image of fire. Fire destroys. Gehenna, the word Jesus used for hell, was the valley outside Jerusalem that the Jews used for the perpetual burning of garbage because it had been desecrated by heathen tribes who used it for human sacrifice. In hell you make an eternal ash of yourself. Hell is not eternal life with torture but something far worse: eternal dying. What goes to hell, said C. S. Lewis, is "not a man, but remains".
The images for hell in Scripture are horrible, but they're only symbols. The thing symbolized is not less horrible than the symbols, but more. Spiritual fire is worse than material fire; spiritual death is worse than physical death. The pain of loss – the loss of God, who is the source of all joy – is infinitely more horrible than any torture could ever be. All who know God and his joy understand that. Saints do not need to be threatened with fire, only with loss. "All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it – or else that it was within your grasp and you have lost it forever" (C. S. Lewis).
Jesus does not tell us much detail about hell. He tells us that it exists, that it's horrible, that any man can go there. Judas seems to be one, for Jesus says of him, "It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." If no one goes to hell, it would seem to be inexcusable for Jesus to give us so many fearful warnings about it. But he does not give us population statistics. To his disciples' question "Are many saved?" he does not answer with estimates but with a forceful appeal to the will: "Strive to enter in."

Jesus says the way to hell is broad and many find it and that the way to heaven is narrow and few find it. And he means it: you don't get to heaven simply by being born, by being nice, or by oozing into an eternal growth experience. But "few" here does not mean that less than half of mankind will be saved. For God speaks as our Father, not our statistician. Even one child lost is too many, and the rest saved are too few. The good shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep safe at home to rescue his one lost sheep found even 99 percent salvation too "few".
The most important question about hell, as about heaven, is the practical one: What roads lead there?
The most important question about hell, as about heaven, is the practical one: What roads lead there? They are interior, of course. In fact, heaven and hell may be the very same objective place – namely God's love, experienced oppositely by opposite souls, just as the same opera or rock concert can be heavenly for you and hellish for the reluctant guest at your side. The fires of hell maybe made of the very love of God, experienced as torture by those who hate him: the very light of God's truth, hated and fled from in vain by those who love darkness.
Imagine a man in hell – no, a ghost – endlessly chasing his own shadow, as the light of God shines endlessly behind him. If he would only turn and face the light, he would be saved. But he refuses to – forever. Just as we can attain heaven by implicit as well as explicit faith ("Saint Socrates, pray for us," says Erasmus), so hell too can be reached without explicit rebellion. This is the terrible – and terribly needed – truth taught by C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce and Charles Williams in Descent into Hell. We can drift, slide, even snooze comfortably into hell. All God's messengers, the prophets, say so.
We desperately need to hear this truth about hell again, simply out of honesty, because it is there. And also out of compassion. For when an abyss looms ahead, the least compassionate thing to tell the traveler is "peace, peace, when there is no peace". Out of love for god and man, let us tell the truth about hell!
Sure, we'll be mocked as vindictive, manipulative, or fundamentalist. Let it be so. Sometimes it seems that we're more afraid of sharing our Lord's holy unrespectability than of hell itself. It's a small price to pay for the salvation of a single infinitely precious soul. And that is the business we're supposed to be in.

“Reading souls, expelling demons, gift of prophesy”

“Reading souls, expelling demons, gift of prophesy”Petition for sainthood filed with Los Angeles archbishop on behalf of Claretian priest credited with miraculous cures
The first step in the process toward canonization has been taken for a Claretian priest who ministered in California before his death in 1981 and is buried at the San Gabriel Mission.

A petition for sainthood was submitted to Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez in March for Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria, described on the Fr. Aloysius Project website as a “well known Basque Claretian mystic, with a reputation as a miracle worker in California, especially in the Los Angles area, in the 1950's through the 1970's.”

[Image]“During these years, even the very famous would visit him, or seek him out for advice, or in some cases, receive through his intercession miraculous cures,” according to the website. “Father Aloysius always attributed the many graces which people received to the goodness of the Almighty God. Among his many ‘gifts,’ Father had the charism of reading souls, expelling demons, and the gift of prophesy. He became well known for his unique presence, as he reflected peace and goodness. He was always grateful to God for many graces which God granted in request to his prayers on behalf of others. Gratitude to God was, for Father Aloysius, most important.”

“Three decades after his death, a steady stream of visitors from around the country still pay homage to the San Gabriel Mission grave site of Father Aloysius Ellacuria,” reports the 
Pasadena Star-News. “Now, the Basque Claretian Missionary priest, who had a reputation as a miracle worker and ministered for many years within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is on a path many of his devotees hope will lead to sainthood.”

“In addition to having great love and devotion to the Virgin Mary, the father had a tremendous interest in invoking the intercession of St. Anthony Mary Claret -- who founded the Claretian Missionaries in 1849 -- on behalf of the sick, said Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia,” the
Star-News reported.

"Father Aloysius had great compassion for the sick, a great empathy for those who were suffering, especially from cancer," Cardinal Rigali told the newspaper. The cardinal, said the 
Star-News, knew Fr. Aloysius personally “when Rigali lived in Los Angeles more than five decades ago as a seminary student.” The Claretian priest prayed for Cardinal Rigali’s mother, who was suffering from cancer and later recovered after treatment, said the newspaper.

“Among those who support the priest's beatification, is Frederic Anthony Riaza of Murrieta, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 5 and given only three months to live,” said the 
Star-News story. “After Father Aloysius and his guilds prayed ‘non-stop’ for Riaza and the priest offered Masses to him, the boy and his family were told by a baffled doctor following two weeks of tests that he could leave the hospital.”

“Riaza said he is confident he was healed as a result of Father Aloysius' prayers for him,” reported the

“Kenneth M. Fisher of Anaheim recalls seeing his late nephew's ‘crooked arm’ straighten before his very eyes while the teen was being blessed by Father Aloysius in Fountain Valley,” the newspaper reported.

"From my perspective, the church at this time needs examples of heroic sanctity and holiness, which would certainly counteract... the scandals of the recent past," Fr. Kevin Manion, a priest of the Archdioceses of Guadalajara, Mexico, who submitted the petition for sainthood and who worked with Fr. Aloysius as his secretary for eight years before his death, told the 
Star-News. "Aloysius was in charge of formation; he formed priests to be holy. If there is anything needed today, it is priests who are holy."

To visit the Fr. Aloysius Project website, Click Here.